Following a Pantheon


When you follow a pantheon of deities I advise you to make notes on them from any book that’s mentioned plus a note of the book the deity was mentioned in. This means you can easily search computer notes for a deity connected with X, rather than having to wade through lots of books.

Just because deities are in the same pantheon it doesn’t mean that they get on with one another. Think about family arguments that you’ve been involved in, except with deities it goes a bit further when X has killed Y’s son/daughter, so be careful who you put on your altar.

I also advise reading up on your pantheon repeatedly. We need to understand our deities and memory degrades over time.

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Tree Worship


A large part of my path is worshipping trees. I talk to them, give libations at the Winter Equinox and have a tribal tree.

Talking to trees is more difficult than it seems. First of all, the tree may not be in a receptive state. I would recommend trying to talk to a tree that you pass daily. That way, it gets to know you and you it. Whatever you do, do not try to get inside the tree and find out how it works. This is invasive and the tree doesn’t like it. Some trees can and will lie to you, so don’t accept everything they say.

The Winter Equinox is the traditional time that people wassailed. This was when they’d beat the tree and pour cider on it to make the tree (usually apple) provide more fruit. I haven’t heard of it being done in Ireland, but since I live on English soil (where it was done) I keep the practice up.

I have a tree for the tribe. This tree can be petitioned for family affairs via offerings and sacrifices. The usual method is to hang something on its branches – clothing or a strip of cloth.

Ritual


There are many ritual structures out there, but they don’t tell people how to make a spiritual ritual. The important things to do are as follows :

Do your research. Put deities together who will get on and if (for example) it’s an Irish ritual don’t invoke Herne the Hunter. Research what offerings the deities will like by reading the stories and seeing what they like and don’t like.

If you’re not sure about what you’re doing then shelve it until you’ve had time to research it further and try it out on your own or ask advice from someone else.

Don’t lead a ritual if you’re not comfortable with leading people or feel you don’t know about ritual enough to do it. Gracefully bow out if you can and if they won’t take no for an answer then I would throw a sickie and seriously consider my future in the group.

Select your attendees and/or participants carefully. Make sure the participants know what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and don’t have any problems with it. Make sure the attendees take it seriously. It’s okay to carry the odd person, but once it gets to more than the odd person they really drag the ritual down.

Magic Wands


If you come into witchcraft thinking that it will cure all ills you will be sorely disappointed.

There is no magic wand that you can own and make everything better with one wave of the wand. We all have to work at it, finding ingredients and crafting spell and/or ritual to make what we want come true. We also have to research what we are doing to make sure the desired intent comes true and, most importantly, think about it.

Sometimes it’s better not to do magic at all. This is one of the reasons that we do divination, so we can see if witchcraft is needed. I first queried this practice as my source was Silver Ravenwolf, but others assured me that it’s standard practice.

Sometimes things sort themselves out without us having to do anything and other times we need to step in and sort it. Divination helps us differentiate which it is. Witchcraft is hard work; why do it if things are going to sort themselves out anyway?

Cat Protection Spell


At Beltane I did a spell to protect my cat against illness. It can be done at other times, but it’s appropriate at Beltane and it’s an easy date to remind myself that it should be done.

Some of you will be saying that I should have pet insurance. I do, but the insurance does not protect you from the inconveniences of your pet being ill or from having to pay the first £50 of the bill, which has just gone up to £70 due to my pet’s age.

I made this spell years ago after my cat had caught ringworm from hedgehogs. I wasn’t insured then, as she was very young so I hadn’t bothered. The treatment cost me £100, plus I had to shampoo the affected part, which fortunately was only one of her ears.

My cat is now approaching eleven years old and apart from wounds sustained while fighting I haven’t had to pay out for any illnesses.