Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Poppet

Where I live, weather-wise thus far, this winter has been simply brutal. The month of January alone has brought more than four feet of snow. For those who believe that Hecate brings storms and difficult weather, trust me, she's been working overtime in my neck of the woods. And with so much snow in every direction I look, I can't help but think there has to be a use for it in magickal ritual. After all, the power of winter's weather is extraordinary, so why not harness a teeny bit for one's own personal use? And given that I'm also a huge fan of snowmen of all shapes and sizes, it was a quick jump to thinking that a little snowman would be the perfect stand-in for some poppet magick.

To work this spell, go outside into the snow at dusk or early evening, just as the light is fading to dark. For a banishment spell, the waning moon is best; to manifest something, use the waxing moon. Think of something in your life you'd like banished or drawn to you, something you would like the poppet to represent: be it energy, wealth, or even an emotion (good or bad). While meditating on whatever energy you wish to instill in your poppet, build your snowman. While he can be big, keep in mind that you're going to need to fill him with your energy to make this spell work, so smaller may be easier to successfully work with. Personally, I'd keep him no bigger than a foot tall. Decorate him as you would a cloth poppet (or in any way that makes your energy rise and your heart sing) and then circle him with nine snowballs. Be creative! Within your circle, light a small blue candle, place it at your snow poppet's feet and concentrate on sending your spell energy into the ether. When you reach the point of release, say:

With snow and ice, this witch's spell,
I cast you now to speed this well.
I focus my powers outside on this night
Now gather within and give my spell flight.

Throw up your arms to send your energy skyward. Allow your candle to burn down (safely) and your snowman to melt naturally. Give thanks.

Photo courtesy of ClanSoul on flickr.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cold Winter

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.

-Andrew Wyeth

Photo courtesy of the always amazing Giles C. Watson. Thanks again for allowing me to borrow a bit of your stunning work.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Three Signs You Might Be a Witch

Witches never use salt and avoid it at all costs. According to medieval records, you'd know you had sat down to dinner with a witch if one of your guests complained that her food was too salty and refused to eat it, or kept the salt cellar as far away from her as possible. Legend states that in Europe, all fairies hated salt, and as witches were known to cook offerings for the fairies, a witch, both in her daily life and her magickal one, would learn to studiously avoid salt of any kind.

In cultures where it is the custom for a woman to cover her head or tie her hair up neatly, a witch will always wear her hair loose and uncovered. Dirty, tangled and unruly hair is one of the hallmarks of a witch. It's said that even if she tries to keep her hair neat and clean, it will naturally fly out from beneath her scarf or hat, nor will it stay pinned or braided. Legend states that hair holds a great deal of magickal power for a witch (think of how many hex spells require a snippet of the victim's hair). And while her hair doesn't need to be a rat's nest to wield such power, a witch's hair is always compelling to look at or touch. In some way it must be unique: the volume of it, the beauty of it, or perhaps an unusual or radiant color (red or black, anyone?).

Witches like to linger in grocery stores or at the mall. Traditionally, it's said that they liked to linger in the marketplace long after their shopping was done as they could absorb a great deal of usable energy from all the shoppers haggling and fighting over the food and wares. If you lingered far longer than the village's powers-that-be deemed necessary for ordinary shopping, you could be branded a witch and tried accordingly.

Food for thought.

The Weiser Field Guide to Witches, Judika Illes, Red Wheel/Weiser LLC, 2010

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Moons and Totems 4

Everybody knows their western astrological profile and most people also know their eastern, or Chinese, astrological sign as well, but few know their moon profile from the Native American culture and the totems for each moon. As with the two more mainstream belief systems, the moon totem profiles are not only a very accurate read of an individual's personality, but they also add a rich dimension to who we are and where our weaknesses and powers come from.

Deep Snows Moon
January 11-February 10

This is the moon in the deepest dark of winter and as such, the people of the Deep Snows Moon tend to be introverted and often depressed, as well as very rigid in their thinking. While they like to do everything in a very controlled manner and can at times be difficult to deal with, they are very honest, forthright and reliable folk who can always be counted on when we need them most.

The element for this moon is earth and the animal totem is the blue jay. The blue jay will tell you exactly what you need to know when you need to know it. While the jay is a wise and honest bird, it can often be a little too vocal, not always knowing when to stop sermonizing, a behavior that people of the Deep Snows Moon need to guard against despite their only wanting what is best for the rest of us. Curiosity and carelessness in regards to personal safety (a frequently dangerous combination) is another thing that both the jay and the folks of this moon share in common. The Deep Snows Moon's plant totem is the poplar, a tree that is able to withstand a great deal of hardship before it falls under the weight, and its mineral totem is the amethyst. Amethyst is the stone of wisdom, purity of thought and the light before the dawn. Lastly, the color for this moon is violet. Violet is the highest vibration of light on the spectrum, increasing mental activity, intuition and raising one's spirituality. Like the amethyst whose color is the same, violet is the color of the sky just before the dawning of the full light of day (and spring).

Everyone is most compatible with those people born under the moon opposite to their own and the opposite moon of the Deep Snows Moon is the Hot Winds Moon (July 11-August 10).

Photo courtesy of Aegolius on flickr.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year, New Moon

Peach Moonstone pendulum with a sterling silver spiral womb goddess pendant and tiny sterling silver and moonstone rounds. Moonstone is a feminine stone, ideal for awakening one's intuition and deepening one's meditation practices.

Tonight marks the first New Moon of the still very new year, making it a perfect time to work quite a bit of magick, all in one night. New Moon magick is dedicated to new beginnings, new projects, capturing your independence, feeling your personal strength and honoring your instincts. And as we all know, the new year is the time to cast off that which is no longer working for you and bringing in new beliefs and behaviors that hopefully will make you a much better person.

I had planned on just spending a little time in circle tonight meditating on the new year and all the possibilities and hopes she holds, as well as purifying and consecrating within the four elements my new moonstone pendulum, but then a friend gave me a wonderful new year's resolution ritual that just spoke to my heart. I'm generally not one for once-a-year resolutions as I try to be constantly aware of what I'm doing and thinking and how it impacts both myself personally and all I come into contact with in my own little corner of this vast world. I modify myself countless times throughout the year, changing what I am able to, as the year progresses through her seasons. In that vein, much of what this ritual called for has been discarded in favor of a very simplified act: writing down onto pieces of paper those things I wish to leave behind, personal beliefs that I feel no longer work for me, behaviors I wish to eliminate, anything I want banished from my life, and burning them on a bed of dried sage in my cauldron as I make a conscious intention to let these things go. It's a sort of witchy variation on the tradition of making one or more New Year's resolutions. I thought the sage would be a nice spiritual touch and a sweet-smelling way of sending those unwanted things back to the universe, where she can recycle that negative energy and sent it back out to the world as something positive.

After much hemming and hawing over candle colors for the quarters, I've settled on a deep, rich purple, the color of spiritual strength, power, healing, psychic gifts (needed for my work with this new pendulum) and because this color provides a link with the higher planes.

All in all, it should be a wonderfully productive, spiritually deepening and emotionally cleansing circle tonight.

Blessed Be.