Sunday, February 28, 2010

Full Snow Moon

Today's full moon is known as the Full Snow Moon or the Full Hunger Moon, both for rather obvious reasons given that it falls in the month of February! This moon is in Virgo, and that will enable us to make order out of the chaos inevitable in our lives, thus allowing us to simplify our daily routines. Organization is key, as is the feeling of wanting to heal and to find a higher purpose for our existence. With this moon our sense of compassion for the well-being of others and for the desire to deepen our sense of spirituality will be paramount.

As do all the full moons, this one has many different names. The Micmac tribe of Eastern Canada called this the Snow-blinding moon, while the Kutenai tribe of the Northwest referred to it as the Black Bear Moon. In Colonial America it was known as the Trapper's Moon. The Native American Tribes of the United States called it, variously, the Full Bony Moon, the Moon of the Raccoon, the Moon When Trees Pop, and once again referring to the difficulty in finding food at this time of year, the Full Famine Moon. Old English and Celtic peoples named this moon the Storm Moon and the Moon of Ice respectively.

This is a time to not only think of others and to nurture the inner you, but to embrace your creativity and freedom of expression. Go with it all, and feel your heart and soul expand exponentially! This is a truly beautiful moon that begs for all to embrace and utilize the incredible power she has to offer.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


As a general rule, I don't work with nor do I worship any specific gods or goddesses during ritual or while working spells. I tend instead to merely call on a generalized idea of the god and goddess in my invitation to join me in my sacred circle, the male and female embodiment of all that is divine and spiritual. I've given some thought as to why I don't think in more specific terms and I think it's because I just like the simplicity of keeping it generic. There are so many pantheons to choose from and none of them thus far has felt quite right to me. I admire those who adhere to the lineage of the Greeks, or the Egyptians, or the Celts. And while there are some truly interesting gods and goddesses to choose from, I stick with what feels right to me, boring as that may be.

I do on occasion call on one or two goddesses, every now and again. I like to work with Diana at the new moon and have called on her to help me work a spell or two, and Brigid when I am feeling at my most creative. There is, however, one goddess that quite appeals to me and if I were to ever choose a patron goddess to really get to know, to work with, to rely on, I would choose Hestia.

Hestia, in Greek mythology, is the goddess of the hearth, domesticity and family. She was rather unpretentious in her temple, sitting on a plain wooden throne with a rough wool cushion. The fire in a Greek home was never to allowed to go out, save for during ritual when it was intended to be extinguished and then relit, and as the goddess of all the households, the first offering of every sacrifice went to Hestia. Just like the ritual flames lit and extinguished in a sacred circle, as well as the eternal flames lit for various personal spiritual purposes, Hestia embodies all that is sacred in a very feminine and nurturing way.

As the goddess of the hearth, and basically stuck within a dwelling, Hestia figures in no wild tales of adventures as do most other gods and goddesses. She defers to others and lives a quiet existence providing what is essential to daily survival. She's sort of the no frills-no fluff, always dependable girl who tends to the essentials at home while everyone else is out living large, and I rather like that.

Keeping it simple, keeping it gentle and in the process taking care of all those who are deeply loved with just a small 'thanks' given in return each that sounds good to me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nearly Spring

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

Percy Bysshe Shelley, from "The Sensitive Plant"

Photo courtesy of Emblita on flickr.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is This the 21st Century or the 12th?

This disturbing article comes from the Huffington Post. I don't usually write about modern day witch hunts here, even though they can and do still occur in a great many countries where taboo, superstition and folk beliefs reign supreme over rational thinking. Having just recently discussed the pros and cons of staying in the broom closet here in the (supposedly progressive) western world, reading about violent witch hunts, led by the pastors of fundamentalist Christian churches, and aimed at helpless, innocent children is unspeakable. I know that the vast majority of non-pagan, non-craft practicing folk simply don't understand what being a "witch" means, but for any Christian church to perpetuate the mindset of the Dark Ages under the guise that the bible "says so" is reprehensible. Please be forewarned that this is a rather unsettling article.

Why can't we all just be kind to one another and respect one another, children and adults both, and let everyone live their lives peacefully and with love? Why must there always be such pain, misery and violence? Only the man-made god is a god of hatred.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Valentine's Day Love Spell

This is a sweet and easy little spell to bring love to you. To work it you will need:

A sheet of white paper
A red ink pen
A small red envelope
Three small pink candles
A small handful of red or pink (or both) rose petals
A dash of cinnamon

Your cauldron or a small, safe heat-proof dish
Incense of your choice that evokes feelings of warmth and love (optional, but nice)
A short, personal spell chant you compose (again, optional)

With your red pen, write your love wishes on the sheet of paper and seal them within the envelope (give it a kiss if you think it will boost your energy). While envisioning with perfect clarity your love wish, place the three candles around the cauldron and light them. Sprinkle the rose petals within the cauldron and add the pinch of cinnamon. Gently mix. While still concentrating on your wish, light a corner of the small red envelope and place it within the cauldron. As it burns to ash, envision your love wish rising up on the curls of smoke and off to be heard and answered by the Universe. Feel the energy of your love wish rising powerfully. You may chant your written spell here if desired. If you wish, you can leave the candles lit until they have fully burned down, in a sink or bathtub (keep an eye on them!), but if you choose to blow them out, once cooled throw them out as it will destroy your love energy to reuse them for another spell.

Discard the cauldron ash into the earth once all has burned.

(As always, use common sense and the utmost care when working with fire. Use caution with your dish or cauldron of choice, your hair or your sleeves. Never leave a burning item unattended and when discarding anything burned back into the earth, be sure it is fully burned out and cool. Never discard a burning or smoldering object where it can cause damage.)

Photo courtesy of ms.lume on flickr.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Indoor Herb Garden

Once again it's that time of year when it's impossible to go anywhere and not see an enormous display of this year's seeds: colorful packets upon packets of flowers, veggies and herbs. While I grow a few herbs out in my gardens with my flowers, it's been a few years since I've had an indoor windowsill herb garden of my very own. This is because I have a cat who is incapable of leaving well enough alone and while I love my cat, I miss having within my kitchen the scent of fresh herbs and clean soil.

Here is a list (and it's by no means comprehensive) of some of the more commonly used herbs. I've chosen only those herbs that grow well in small pots, are safe for children or pets who are curious, hungry or destructive just for the sake of being destructive, are used for magickal purposes and also can double for cooking (or brewed as teas) as well. While there are others that top most folks' lists, they're roots, flowers, or poisonous if ingested. Some are simply far too large for a little indoor garden.

Rosemary. If you grow nothing else, grow rosemary for it's the Queen Mother of magickal herbs and is very powerful. It cleanses and purifies, works well in healing and love spells, increases mental and psychic powers and tastes delicious in dishes. Dried, crushed rosemary is the perfect simple incense for burning in ritual and is a perfect substitute for frankincense, an ingredient used in a lot of spells.

Basil. Basil is great for love divinations, wealth spells, exorcising evils spirits and negative energies, purification spells and luck.

Catnip. Catnip is a powerful component in love and beauty spells and when hung in your home attracts good luck as well as positive energy and gentle spirits. Grow as an offering to your familiar or family pet and maybe kitty will stay away from all your other herbs! It's believed that when you give your cat catnip you will forge a psychic bond between the two of you that can't be broken.

Dill. A protective herb that is also powerful in money spells, as well as love and lust divination.

Fennel. Fennel confers protection, purification and works well in healing spells.

Lavender. Lavender is an incredibly versatile herb used in protection and purification spells, longevity work, healing spells, and brings peace, calm and happiness to the home it's grown in and all the inhabitants within. If you wish, lavender will help you to see ghosts. It can be used in more mundane ways as well, such as in sachets, pillows and poppets.

Mints. Mint is used in protection spells, for travel safety, to exorcise evil spirits, in money spells and to heal. Peppermint heals headaches and encourages sleep. Spearmint is best for upper respiratory ailments and to sharpen mental powers. Wintergreen removes hexes and curses and when placed on your altar will aid your magick.

Thyme. Burn thyme as a simple ground incense to attract good health. Use it for healing spells, sound sleep, to increase psychic powers, and to give you courage and energy. The ancient Greeks burned thyme in their temples to purify both the building and its occupants prior to ritual and you can do the same. Thyme is a wonderful cleansing herb.

You might have noticed that sage is not on this list. That's because it is unlucky to plant your own sage. If you can't get someone else to plant and tend it for you, leave it be and buy what you need as you need it or else you risk very bad luck befalling you and your loved ones. If you do choose to grow sage yourself, be sure to grow another plant in the pot or plot with it as a full bed of sage also brings ill luck. When handled properly, sage can be used in spells to make your wishes come true, for wisdom, longevity and immortality.

Photo courtesy of dogeared on flickr.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Akashic Meditation

While the Akashic records are believed to contain a record of all human existence and the knowledge of all the universe from beginning to end and everything within it, they are also said to contain, on a more intimate scale, the knowledge of all our past lives and deaths. So it would be only natural that if one was able to access these records, one would be privy to knowledge of who and what they were before they became who and what they are now. This is a simple little meditation that, if done successfully, will enable the participant to access that part of their mind and soul that contains this deeply hidden information, and then while dwelling in the silence be able to watch the details of their past lives unfold before them like home movies being projected within their mind.

Lie quietly and comfortably on your back on the floor. Align yourself with the earth's energy and feel yourself protected. Breathe slowly and deeply as you fully relax. Take your time. When you are ready, begin to feel the sensation that you are both simultaneously rising up a bit above the floor and sinking into it. Try to focus on this feeling as you continue further into this meditation as this will help you to remain grounded within present time. Visualize your Third Eye which is just between and just above your eyebrows in the lower center of your forehead. This is the seat of your esoteric knowledge. Concentrate on the energy you generate from this point. Feel your body filling up with the color indigo which is representative of this energy point for your soul. In theory, once tapped, the images should start to flow freely and you will be able to see that which has been hidden deep within your psyche.

While each experience is unique to the individual, this is a meditation that will undoubtedly open you up to your inner tranquility, help to ground you more fully, and quite possibly give you a peek through the keyhole into the mystical knowledge your amazing brain holds within it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Kitchen Witch

The kitchen is the place where we make simple, common magick every single day and while we are in there working, why not make sure both ourselves and our homes are protected?

Grow an aloe plant in the kitchen for protection from negative energy and accidents while cooking. Placing it in a sunny window is best, but if you can't keep one in your kitchen, having one somewhere else in the home is almost as good. Onions, garlic and peppers are also known for their protective properties. Hang a rope of any one of them in your kitchen to keep you and your family safe. If a whole string of them is too much for you, a single onion or a bulb of garlic placed on the windowsill will ward off negative, harmful energy. If you are using these as a protective measure, be sure to never use them to cook with. You don't want to ingest any of the negative energy they've been absorbing!

It's considered very bad luck to ever run out of salt in your kitchen and home. It's long been thought that to do so means certain bad luck, bad health or even worse, so be sure to keep an extra container of salt at the back of your cupboard that you never open or use and this will never be an issue for you.

Make yourself a Kitchen Witch Bottle. Take a clean bottle and place within it three needles, three pins and three nails. Fill the jar with salt and a pinch of dried rosemary, shake it nine times and drip red candle wax over the jar lid to seal it. You can say a brief protection incantation and make the sign of the pentagram over it if you'd like before you place it in the dark at the back of a cabinet where it won't be seen.

Stay safe while making your house a healthy, well-fed and happy home!

Photo courtesy of The Titus on flickr.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Trees 101: Brambles and Vines

While we may not consider brambles and vines trees according to the modern definition of what constitutes a tree, the ancient Celts classified anything with a woody stem or stalk just that. Consider blackberry or grape vines, or even ivy, for example. Vines tend to grow in the shape of a spiral and the spiral is symbolic of the Goddess and the unending continuation of life. Wine, essential to so many rituals, is made from blackberries and grapes. Imbolc is the Goddess Brigid's sabbat and it is customary to use blackberry wine in rituals for this sabbat and anytime you choose to honor her.

One of the nine sacred woods of the sabbat fire, vine represents joy. It has many medicinal uses. The leaves of the blackberry vine may be dried and made into a tea used to cure gout and the leaves may also be used in a poultice to treat burns. If you find a bramble bush with a natural arch to it, crawl through the arch backwards and then forwards three times, going as close to east to west as you possibly can, and you will be cured of boils, acne, whooping cough and rheumatism. Grapes (and raisins) increase fertility and hone mental powers.

Dreaming of blackberries or grapes that are still on their vines means abundance, success and prosperity. As such, use blackberries in spells to increase wealth. Grapes may also be used for money spells. Place a bunch of them on your altar while working your magick.

Vines and brambles vibrate to a feminine energy and the element of water. They are ruled by the planet Venus and the Moon. Use these plants in rituals to enhance psychic abilities and deepen levels of conciousness, for grounding, for celebration and to access the faery realm.

Photo courtesy of photofinger on flickr.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Imbolc Poetry

I pray to the Goddess of the waning night,
I honor your presence as the earth grows light.
Deep in this darkness of winter's last days
I yearn for young buds to begin to show,
I listen for the young who'll begin to grow,
And I wait for the coming of life's warmer ways.

The God, deep in your womb, grows stronger
As days and light grow steadily longer,
And Mother Earth's renewal begins once more.
I feel the green again beneath my feet,
I taste her fruits that will again grow sweet
And feel the warm sunny days and balmy nights I adore.

Rest for now, Goddess, for the God's birth is nigh,
Slumber still longer before the sun sits high.
For soon the God will be grown into man.
In the warm days of his rebirth he'll grow strong,
He'll provide through the days that grow long,
And all life will sing his abundant song.
But for now, Goddess, rest quietly while you still can.

Copyright Victoria Marks. Written for an Imbolc ritual, February 2, 2007.

Photo of Y Lleuad courtesy of Giles C. Watson on flickr.