Practical Magick

I’m hoping to be on here a bit more soon, as for Lent I’m going to try to focus more on my spiritual self. I’m going to start up Magickal Week at a Glance again (sorry for the unintentional hiatus) with a partial week. I’m going to start posting them on Sundays instead of Mondays. A few readers have also requested that I start tagging them and add a link on my home page, so I’ll be implementing that soon. I’m also hoping to catch up on all the past Pagan Blog Posts for the year by this Friday. A few letters will be done in advanced to go with current events (for example F for Fat Tuesday). I’ll also be posting a bit about Judaism as I’m learning about it a) to satisfy a requirement for my 3rd Degree, and b) to learn more about my fiance’s familial customs (he’s Jewish, but doesn’t practice Judaism). You’ll also get to hear about different marital customs over the next several months as I begin planning my wedding. And as always, we’ll be exploring various pagan topics and veiling. 

If you send topics to my inbox I’ll discuss them here. :)

PBP: M is for Motherhood

Monday evening my boss’s cat gave birth to 5 kittens, right next to me. And my younger sister’s due next week. And as a nanny, I’m definitely learning how difficult and yet wonderful caring for small beings is. The universe is definitely trying to show me something. While I’m not sure I’m ready just yet to be a mother myself, and I am definitely contemplating becoming a midwife. :)

PBP: Midsummer

While my favorite sabbats are honestly Mabon and Samhain, the Summer Solstice has always been important to me. For me it is a time or rebirth and rededication. Of cleansing the soul and getting rid of the old, the bane, and the no longer needed. I have preformed the same ritual every year for the past 5 years, and I have rededicated myself on the solstice for the past 7. My ritual is a combination of the ritual given in the BOS at the back of Cunningham’s Solitary Wicca and the ritual given by DJ Conway in Celtic Magic. Considering that it was written by other people, it sounds kinda lame. But it’s one of the most powerful and meaningful rituals I perform. Conways’s rite comes first, and it’s a rededication to the gods. Cunningham’s comes second. For that you prepare a small cloth pouch the night before. It has to be hand sewn because you poor out all your illness, negative feelings and experiences, etc from the entire year into each and every stitch. You then fill it with herbs associated with the solstice. During the rite you ask the sun to purify you and then you burn the pouch and visualize all your banes burning away. You honestly walk away feeling like a new person. Lighter. Freer. 

This year I stepped it up a bit. I started my cleansing a few days before with fasting and a detox. Immediately before the rite I took a ritual shower and imagined that all my banes were washing down the drain. I used a peppermint and rosemary body wash because they are purifying herbs. I dressed in an cotton robe/dress given to me by my Uncle from his homeland, Ghana. It’s purple and hand embroidered and despite it’s origins, I can’t help but think of the Celts whenever I wear it. My ritual took place outside with me barefoot. I wanted to FEEL the earth. I set up my altar underneath a large maple tree that I’ve worked magick with since childhood. I called the quarters, and began my rite. The wind was pesky. But the candles remained lit exactly as long as I needed them. Once that part of the ritual was over, they were immediately out. And though it had been cloudy all day, the sun seemed to come out just for my purification. After the ritual I felt clean inside and out, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Immediately following my ritual it began to downpour and it was amazing. It was as if the universe itself was washing away my pain, my fears, my guilt. 

PBP: L is for Link Round up!

So I got the idea for this after a friend of mine expressed the fact that while she was interested in Wicca and Paganism, she was afraid to just google it because she was well aware that some site were good and some were complete crap. So here are my favorite pagan sites: 

http://paganwiccan.about.com/

http://hellenismos.us/b/

http://www.moonsmuses.com/

http://www.waningmoon.com/darkpagan/

http://www.pathcom.com/~newmoon/index.htm

http://www.patheos.com/Pagan.html

http://www.sacredfire.net/altindex.html

http://teenwitch.com/

http://witchvox.com/

http://sacred-texts.com/

http://www.classes.witchschool.com/login.asp

http://www.northernway.org/school/onw/celtic/cstudyhall.html

http://teenwitch.com/guide/goddessplan.html#basics

I’ve always got most of my information from books. Or simply googling. I was never afraid of finding a crap website. If I found one I found one, and would then return to my search and move on. I never looked at it as a big deal. And to be honest, I was always less interested in the informational sites and way more interested in all the little shoppes!

PBP: L is for Lilac

Folk Names: Common Lilac

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Venus

Element: Water

Powers: Exorcism, protection

Magickal Uses:

  • drives away evil where planted/strewn
  • "In New England lilacs were originally planted to keep evil from the property" (Cunningham’s).
  • fresh flowers can be put in haunted house to clear it. 

Medicinal Uses: 

  • was used to treat asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough, etc. 
  • Kidney stones
  • epilepsy
  • arthritis

Sources: 

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs

http://healthmad.com/conditions-and-diseases/medicinal-properties-of-blooming-lilacs/

PBP: K is for Knot Magick

Knot Magick isn’t something I have a lot of experience in, but it’s as familiar to me as my favorite childhood songs. Growing up, my mother would braid her hair every morning and then she would braid mine, as she was braiding she told me to make a wish. She was braiding the wish into my hair. Later, when my grandmother taught me to braid, she would tie yarn to the back of a kitchen chair and tell me to think of what I wanted as I braided and then to carry the braid with me for luck. Well, those yarn braids didn’t always turn out so great, and they usually ended up in the washer with my jeans. I didn’t think of this as magick growing up.

I hadn’t thought back on those memories for a long time, not until the letter K was coming up and I was having trouble coming up with something to write about. Braiding may not necessarily be knotting, but magickally it works it much the same way. Macrame is something of a middle ground between braiding and knotting, and it’s a skill I was taught in Girl Scouts. There are various styles and techniques withing macrame, the easiest to learn consisted of three strands and looks something like this if repeated over and over to make a bracelet: Alternating Half Hitch Sennit

generally, that’s how I use my knot magick. I knot my wishes and intentions into bracelets which are then worn. I just made one for my best friend for his upcoming birthday for good luck and protection: 

I also made one for my neice for when she’s born (only a few more weeks!) for protection, health, and joy: 

You can use many materials to make such bracelets, but I prefer embroidery floss because of the many color options. Both of the bracelets I’ve shown are my own pattern using four colors. The first uses two strands of each color that are used as one strand, the second does the same using 3 strands per color. Also incorporated beads into that one. 

Here’s a nice site for other knotting patterns: http://www.free-macrame-patterns.com/

PBP and Herbal Wednesday: K is for Klamath Weed

Klamath Weed is  a folkname for St. John’s Wort and as today is St. Johns’s Eve as well as Midsummer’s Eve, and the herb is one of today’s sacred plants, I thought this would be fitting for our rather late Herbal Wednesday and Pagan Blog Post! Most information is from Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. All other sources will be listed below. 

Other Names: Amber, Fuga daemonum, Goat Weed, Herba John, John’s Wort, Sol Terrestis, and Tipton Weed. 

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Sun

Element: Fire

Deity: Baldur

Powers: Health, Protection, Strength, Love, Divination, Happiness

Magickal Uses: 

  • makes soldiers invincible
  • attracts love
  • place in a jar and hang by a window to protect against lightning, fire, and evil spirits
  • "dried over the Midsummer fires and hung near the window to keep ghosts, necromancers, and evildoers from the house, and is burned to banish spirits and demons" (Cunningham’s).
  • carry to detect other magicians
  • place under the pillow allows unmarried girl to dream of future husband
  • hang in door ways and widows to drive away evil spirits

Medicinal Uses:

  • Wards off fevers and colds
  • "If it is gatherned on Midsummer’s day and worn it will keep mental illness at bay and will also cure melancholy" (Cunningham’s).
  • relieve pain, burns, wounds, bruises, and hemorrhoids
  • treats depression and mood swings
  • easy to find in capsule form
  • "A standard infusion of the fresh flowering tops helps ease menstrual cramps" (The Herb Book).
  • can calm nerves and relieve insomnia
  • "ability to stop the multiplications of retroviruses" (The Herb and Spice Companion). 
  • can be used to treat aids
  • as a lotion can treat varicose veins, bruises, and sunburn

Warnings: “Prolonged exposure to strong sunlight after using the herb medicinally can cause skin allergies in some people” ( The Herb Book).

Sources: 

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

The Herb Book by Jennie Harding

The Herb and Spice Companion by Marcus A. Webb and Richard Craze

J is for Jade and Jasper

Jade

Jade is generally green in color, but can also be purple such as the one my mother owns. It was called “greenstone” by the Moari of New Zealand. It is used to promote peace and serenity and is a symbol of love. It is also used for good luck and to make decisions. Jade is used in gardening magick to improve the health of the plants. It’s also a protective stone, especially against negative energies. Jade corresponds to the element of Water, the planet Venus, the heart chakra, and is the birthstone for March. 

Jasper

Jasper is brown in color and is typically stripped with light and dark shades. It was called “Egyptian Marble” by the ancients and “the rain maker” my some Native American groups. Jasper can be used for centering, balancing, and grounding as well as to attract luck. It can also be used to reduce fear and guilt. The Ancient Egyptians believed it could increase sexual energy and they often wore it carved in the shape of a scarab beetle.”Legend says that Jasper would drive away evil spirits and protect against snake and spider bites” (shimmerlings). “Drinking jasper water on hour before each meal is said to promote weight loss (to create jasper water, place the stone each night into a glass of water and cover, by morning it will have become jasper water)” (Shimmerlings). Brown Jasper is associated with the element of earth, the planet Saturn, is the birthstone for October, and can align all chakras at the same time. 

Sources: 

http://wicca.com/celtic/stones/stonef-j.htm

http://www.shimmerlings.com/gemstones/jasper.htm

http://www.shimmerlings.com/gemstones/jade.htm

PBP: J is for Jera

Moonchild Rune Page - The Twelvth Rune - Jera

Jera is improvement

Jera is something new

Jera is change for the better

Jera is harvest

Jera is the agricultural year

Jera is fertility

Jera is fruition

Jera is success

Jera is harmony

Jera is creativity

Jera is cycles

Jera is peace

PBP: I is for Incense

I’m the type of person that literally needs incense to get into a magickal state of mind. I need to light the match and place the flame against the stick/charcoal/cone. I need to watch as the smoke begins to rise and swirl like tiny slyphs dancing. I need the scent. But since my sister got pregnant, I’ve not been allowed to light any. For awhile I used an oil burner instead, until my sister decided the scent was too strong. With rules like this, I feel like I’m 13 instead of 20. 

Every year I stock up on incense sticks at my local renaissance festival. I’d stocked up only a few weeks before my sister found out she was pregnant, so I’m sitting here looking at a box full of all different scents while I type this. 

My stockpile includes: 

  • Patchouli
  • Amber
  • sage
  • Pine
  • Clove
  • Citronella/Bug Repellent (for outdoor rituals)
  • Magick
  • Witch Magic
  • Egyptian Musk
  • Dragon’s Blood
  • All Hallow’s Eve
  • Vanilla
  • Frankincense
  • Samhain
  • Mabon
  • Lammas
  • Yule
  • and more

This isn’t even taking into account the custom blend loose incense I make during the harvest season. I don’t buy cheap incense, so I’m sure you can imagine how much money I’d spent on something I can no longer use. My faith itself seems to be suffering from it. I just don’t feel the same during my devotions, meditation, and rituals with out incense swirling through the air.