Charm Bracelet

I have finally bought a charm bracelet.  Charm bracelets are an Egyptian practice which was brought over to Britain by the Victorians.  They are a way of carrying spells around with you.

I am using this practice because I work in a place where my bag has been and may be searched.  I carry two charms around in it : protection on journeys and a charm to reflect back any harm anyone sends me.  Since I want to add a charm for good luck for me to carry around, this is the point where the charms are bulking my bag out and also I don’t want them to be pawed over by the people doing the searching.

Also if charms are kept in a bag, there is the problem of remembering to move the charms to another bag if you are not taking that bag with you, whereas my bracelet lives on my wrist (except when I am doing things like washing dishes) and this problem does not arise.  It’s one of the reasons why I spent some extra money and got one in gold, instead of silver which tarnishes.

Unfortunately there is no equivalent of charm bracelets in Irish practice, or I would be using that.  I don’t like having to use things which are outside Irish practice, as it opens the door to pick-and-mix neo-paganism but there are some times when what is used by another culture is applicable, such as astrology from other cultures in place of the astrology which was used, but is only mentioned in the texts.

We can only reconstruct things so far, and there are occasions when we have to use things from another culture to plug the gaps.  I make an exception for a charm bracelet because it has a practical use.

So far I only have one charm on it, which is a horse for travelling.  Since the bracelet has been made with the objective of the charms actually being used for charms instead of just jewellery, the horse will work anyway but I am still going to add a spell so that it will be directed properly.  For example, the horse charm on its own may provide me with protection on journeys but without a spell I think that it won’t get me there on time.

In the future I will add a reflection charm and a good luck charm, but it will have to wait till I have the money to do so.

Winter Solstice

I celebrated the Winter Solstice by taking my home-made sloe gin and giving it as an offering to our tribal tree and two of the guardian trees around the area.  In our area there is a guardian tree for the forest and one for our estate.  The forest’s one is an oak, the tribal tree is an ash and the one for our estate is a lombardy poplar.

Guardian trees are (in lore) native trees, but the lombardy poplar is definitely a guardian tree as it’s awake enough to talk in winter.  Deciduous trees that are not guardian trees start going to sleep as they lose their leaves and by winter they’re sound asleep.  I haven’t tried talking to any evergreen trees yet.

With each tree I poured a little bit of the sloe gin out at three places at the base of the tree, but only with our tribal tree I took a mouthful of the sloe gin myself.  Drinking part of the offering binds you to the entity you are doing the offering to and I wish to keep the guardian trees of the area separate from our tribal tree.

The sloe gin was made a while ago.  It would have been better if I had sloe gin which had been made from the sloes in the area, but of the blackthorn trees in the forest only one of them had fruit on it, and as there were only one or two sloes I left them for the forest.  However, I don’t yet know all of the forest and I hope there are blackthorn trees elsewhere which will have sloes on.

Water Worship

The Celts used to worship sacred springs and wells devoted to the deities.  One of the best known ones of these is the baths for Sulis Minerva in the town of Bath in England.  Sulis was a Celtic goddess who the Romans thought was the equivalent of Minerva, so they stuck the appellation of Minerva on to her name and with time I think she would have become Minerva.

Because the church failed to stop people making sacrifices and offerings at these springs and wells, the church took some of them over and consecrated them to the saints and they became holy wells and springs.  Others have become wishing wells in England, or clootie wells in Scotland.  A clootie well is where you take a piece of cloth, dip it in the water and wash the afflicted part of your body with it.  You then hang the cloth (or cloot) on a nearby tree.  This practice combines both tree and water worship with it.

The Celts would often throw damaged swords, damaged jewellery and coins into bodies of water as a sacrifice or offering to their deities.  Our wishing wells derive from these practices.  There is an old wishing well in the village of Sheldon in Devon, but a lot of wells are modern ones where the money goes to charity.

A few years ago I was living by a canal and working as a temp because I couldn’t get permanent work.  One of my agencies phoned me up offering me some work and I accepted.

On the first day I had to take a bus which got me to the job an hour early, so I hung around a shopping centre for a while.  This shopping centre then had a modern wishing well, so I threw a pound coin in and wished for what I wanted in my new job.

And I got it.  For the next year I threw a pound coin into the canal where I lived and wished for what I wanted to happen at my job and every time I got it.  I used the canal because we were living on and making offerings to the land next to the canal, so I thought the local spirits were more likely to be friendly to me.

And each time I got exactly what I had wished for.  Two years ago I got my present job and at that time doubts had crept in about what I was doing and I was wondering if it really worked.  So I didn’t do it for my current job and as a result I have been trying to leave that job from when I was a month into it.

I have also given a pound coin to a local body of water when I went on holiday and as a result have had great weather for the duration of the holiday.  One time we were in Venice and I foolishly decided to give it to a beggar instead.  The next day rain was forecast and we got a storm instead.  We had booked a walking tour and were drenched and our shoes and my favourite handbag were destroyed.  The next time I gave an extra pound coin to the waters of Venice in restitution.

In Rome it is also said that if you put money in the Trevi fountain you will return to Rome.  My betrothed has done this and gone back to Rome since he threw the money in the fountain.

Coming Down From Meditation

After meditating a lot of people feel somewhat spacey afterwards and I am often left wondering if I am back in the real world.  There are various methods that can be used to bring yourself properly back.

I find that it helps if you eat directly after meditation.  Tea or coffee are great from bringing you down, as is chocolate.  I usually meditate before a meal; either lunch or dinner as I’d probably fall asleep in the meditation if I meditated before breakfast and my deities don’t like me falling asleep when they’re trying to talk to me.

When I was a newbie, I was given a method of coming down.  You can pretend that your feet are roots and visualise them going into the ground.  I found this to be quite effective when you have your shoes and socks off and are standing on grass, but prefer the method of eating directly after meditation.

Tree Ritual

At the weekend I finally got to do my tree ritual.  I’d been told by the goddess Sianon to go into the woods and find a tree, which she guided me to.  I was told to make that tree the tree for our tribe.

The Irish peoples used to have trees for various tribes.  There are several sacred trees that are mentioned in the texts, which include the Yew of Ross.  The texts also mention other tribes cutting these trees down.  I think that cutting another tribe’s tree down would not mean destruction for the tribe, but that the tribe would have made another tree their tribal tree.  I think that a tribe’s tree would be destroyed to insult that tribe.

I collected nail and hair clippings of our family, which is currently my betrothed, the cat and myself, then burnt them to reduce them to ash.  There are several reasons for this : ash makes the ground fertile, so we were feeding the tree.  The ashes contained part of us, so we were giving the tree something of us and also because the tree is an ash tree.  The last reason is because I was writing in quatrains and the druids, who would have written in quatrains, often used double meanings.  The Colloquy of the Two Sages is a prime example of this.

I am not an expert in fires, so I got my betrothed to help me with this, and it was a good thing too.  I built the fire well, but I put the clippings in at the bottom of the fire.  Apparently fire burns from the top down, so the clippings would never have burned if I had left them at the bottom.

Since I had a lot more ash than I thought I would have, when we got to the tree we circled it three times while I was dropping some of the ash.  I dug a hole at the base of the tree and put the rest in after saying the quatrain.

The result so far is that I have a picture of the tree at all times in my head.  So the ritual was a success from the point of making it the tree for my tribe.  From the book I’m reading currently (Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe by H. R. Ellis Davidson) which I will review when finished, the tree is a focus for the tribe and we should go there when we need help with tribal problems.