Autumn Equinox


It’s a bit late to be writing about this, but last week went mental and I didn’t get time to post.

Unfortunately I also didn’t get to plan out my ritual, but had to do my usual standard one. I have seriously got to start researching the festivals again before I celebrate them, or I risk my celebrations becoming stagnant.

It went well, despite having a baby around. At first I was going to put the baby monitor on and do the ritual outside, with him inside. Then I realised he’d try to roll over in his playpen, get stuck, yell and I’d have to go back inside to sort him out just in case he was yelling for something else e.g. feeding or wanting Mummy cuddles.

So I took him into the circle as he hasn’t yet learnt to crawl and he was as good as gold. He’ll probably be crawling by Samhain, but I’ll worry about that when I get to it.

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New Old Habits


It’s so difficult to get back into old habits.

This morning I realised that I hadn’t meditated, which I used to do at the weekend and am trying to get back into.

I’m also finding it difficult to get back into sorting out a ritual for the next festival, although this weekend I spent five hours sorting out a job application which required an application form and a letter, so that was a huge chunk out of my weekend. I would much rather have been sorting out the ritual.

This coming weekend I will have to meditate twice (or see if I can do it elsewhere in the week) and write a ritual for Lughnasadh.

Imbolc


Between the Winter Solstice and Imbolc I clear out the house. I go through my files and throw out/shred anything that’s no longer relevant, delete any files I don’t need on the computer and donate to charity any books or clothes I don’t want/need anymore. Unfortunately this year I only did some of the books and the files. I’m still helping hubby sort out his Mum’s place and being away every other weekend is taking its toll.

Imbolc was much busier than I had meant it to be. I did my ritual before breakfast. This was the first time I’d done a ritual straight after waking up and without having anything to eat for around eight hours. The ritual was heightened by my lack of sleeping and eating beforehand. I would like to experiment with a proper fast, but at the moment it’s inadvisable medically. I would recommend anyone who is able to do a pre-breakfast ritual to try it.

I had stopped writing rituals as they turned out to be mostly the same, but after Imbolc I will have to start writing again as I was so unprepared for it. I had meant to make Boxty Bread, which is a traditional Irish Imbolc dish which I made last year, but I got to the 31st and thought “aargh, it’s Imbolc tomorrow”.

The ritual went well, but it could have been a lot better. I did my usual post-ritual meditation and the deities were happy with my work, it was just that I’m not happy with it. Winging it is all very well on the odd occasion, but I want my rituals to have more substance and that means writing them, so I can plan things properly and have food and drink and other things in place before the ritual starts.

I had to go into the woods to get a branch to make my Brigit’s cross. The woods were a quagmire and I went in and out quickly as it was threatening to rain, but I got the wood I needed. When I made the cross I placed it over the front door for protection and then moved last year’s cross to the loft.

The old crosses traditionally go into the rafters to protect the house from fire and lightning, but I had moved them out as we were having work done on the loft. They’ve been waiting to go back in, so this was a good time to do so. I was surprised to find that I had five crosses to be placed in the loft – I didn’t realise I had been doing this for so long.

I also renewed protections on the house. Imbolc is a good time to do this, but if I miss it I will do it when I remember. The fact that I do it on Imbolc helps me remember, but it can be done any time of the year.

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.

Old Ways


When I am cooking something for ritual or my ancestors I make sure I use the old way of cooking.

This means translating the measurements from imperial back into metric, which I was taught to cook with by my Mum. Kitchen scales in Britain usually have both imperial and metric measuring systems, as we started the change over into metric a few decades ago and many recipes have both systems of measurement.

It also means using less gadgets. I rub butter into flour by hand, instead of using a food processor to do it for me.

To do, to Dare and to Keep Silent Part Three


The third part of this triad is to keep silent. There are things you are asked to keep silent about, and whether this is an oath or a promise to a deity, in my opinion you should not break either of these.

If you break an oath which is a magical bond, then in my ‘umble opinion if you get magical repercussions, then you knew that something would happen and it’s your own fault and responsibility. I have made promises to deities to keep things silent until the deity says otherwise. I will not break my word as it goes against my ethics and also because I believe the deity would mete some sort of repercussion out to me. If someone were to find out, accidentally or otherwise, then that would be different.

The other part of keeping silent is how much do you tell anyone? There are people out there who just want their path handed to them on a plate. They want to follow. They don’t want to do any work. This blog is written for fun, but I deliberately give people the framework and not any of the details. For example, when I have helped with a spell, I’ve said that you can use X and Y but I haven’t given them any of the words. The only time I’ve made an exception was when I gave someone a ritual because she had clearly done the work and read a lot of the forum I was on, she wanted to know what to study next (out of three choices) and no-one else was able to help her.

People will take what you write and put up on the net and blindly copy it, instead of doing the work and (most importantly) thinking for themselves. The people who have the real problems with this are those who are running pagan businesses. Time and time again they put up pictures of what they are selling only to find that someone else has copied what they have done. Frankly, I hope the deities have a lightning bolt with these people’s names on it.

To do, to Dare and to Keep Silent Part 1


Some people will have heard this maxim for a witch, as it’s oft quoted on the net. I thought I’d take some time to think about it and write my thoughts here.

The first part of this triad is “to do”. As most people have worked out, it’s getting off your backside and doing things.

I have known a lot of solitary pagans/witches who say something like “I just went out for a walk to celebrate the last festival”. There are things that stop us from practicing witchcraft and paganism and relegate us to the armchair. Illness, family problems and getting married are some of the things that can stop us practicing. I have known a lot of people who do not have a good reason and still don’t celebrate.

It doesn’t take much to do a small ritual indoors or outdoors that taken ten minutes for a festival. It’s only by doing things that we progress in this craft and actually get there. As I wrote in my previous post, it’s like cooking : you can read all the books in the world, but you don’t know anything until you actually try to do it.

Lughnasadh


Monday was Lughnasadh, a festival that the god Lugh set up to commemorate his foster mother Tailte, who died clearing the plain of Mag Mell.

I did a small ritual to commemorate Tailte and mark the harvest.  As most people reading this blog know, I write a new ritual each time.

However, I didn’t have time to do it and decided to make it up as I went along.  This is the first time I have done this with a festival, and I decided to do it to see how it would go.  The ritual went well, but I had the feeling that if I had planned it beforehand it would have been better.

Bad Ritual


Last Friday I went to a group called “A Sacred Place” in London which was supposedly not for beginners and was supposedly to utilise ritual for magic in a group setting.  I thought I could learn something from them and it would be interesting.

I came in and was given a refund on my money because of the Tsunami.  I asked why we were being given a refund as I would have been okay with my money going to help the survivors and the person manning the desk didn’t know why.

We then went downstairs and after introducing ourselves we split into groups to discuss why the Tsunami happened.  The leader is a nature worshipper and couldn’t make sense of why it had happened and was upset because of it.  I later learned that the Shinto monks in Japan had campaigned against nuclear power on those sites as it was against the land spirits.  When we reformed into one big group the idea put forward was that “it happened because of the planet’s karma”.  One of these days I’m going to have to learn about karma just so I can tell people why they’re speaking absolute rubbish.

The leader called for a break so that they could smoke and get the room ready.  Candles of colours representing north, south, east and west were placed in the corners of the room.  Since we would be casting a circle of some sort I wondered why we were putting candles in the corners which delineate a square.  I would have moved them forward till they weren’t in the corners, but still standing at the compass point they represented.

Then we stood in a circle and the circle was cast by the leader pointing a wand at us and every time he pointed the wand we had to say “I cast this circle with care and compassion”.  It’s a basic tenet of every type of witchcraft or paganism I have come across that when you cast a circle you are inside the circle.  This was setting us up to be the circle, which is so not a good idea.

The wand went faster and faster around until we could go no faster.  It was a good way of building up power, but there was so much power already in the room that we didn’t need to build anymore up, we could have used the power that was in the room.  We also chanted “earth, water, fire and air” to build power up.  That worked, but the ecstatic dancing around the room (everyone was left to their own devices as to which dance to do) dispered the power somewhat and broke the circle.  After which the ritual just ended.  I didn’t dance as half-way through the ritual I had wondered why there was so much power in the room and then I realised it was because they weren’t doing anything with the power they had built up.  When I realised this I hastily protected myself and stood outside the ritual as all that they were doing was turning themselves into one huge, blaring lighthouse for anything out there and I really didn’t want to be in the firing line when anything out there noticed them.

This was a ritual to help the tsunami.  I’m very glad they didn’t do anything with the power because as I understand it a tsunami is the water which has been displaced by an undersea earthquake and therefore has more than enough power of it’s own.  If these people had sent out all the power to the tsunami the power would just have fuelled it on.  Plus the chant for raising power should have been something appropriate, not “earth, water, fire and air”.  The tsunami was fuelled by earth and water and I hate to think what a mix of power raised by chanting these elements would do.

I’m glad these people were too inexperienced to know what to do as otherwise it would have been a prime example of the amount of damage that can be done by a little information in the hands of people who can’t think through what they’re doing.