Practical Magick
Pagan Celebrities?

So there’s a screen image of a list of supposedly openly pagan celebrities going around. I rather doubt many of the names on the list so have tried to research them. 

Alyson Hannigan — As far as I can tell it’s just a rumor tied to her being Willow on Buffy

Avril Lavigne — She apparently declared herself openly as a wiccan in an interview a few years ago but I was unable to find it. It’s also been cited that she’s a Roman Catholic. (Could she possible be a Christopagan??). So, she’s either Wiccan or Catholic. 

Fairuza Balk — She’s the only one on the list that’s a “maybe” that I believe to be pagan. She was openly pagan after The Craft, and owned at least for awhile an occult shop. 

Fred Durst — He was apparently raised a Wiccan, but I was unable to find this cited anywhere reliable. 

George Lucas — He’s also a pretty likely maybe. But most listed him solely for “the Force”. 

George Takei — Can’t figure out why he’s listed. I found absolutely no reference to him being pagan. 

Tamora Pierce — Yeah, she’s seems to only be listed because most of her books use made up pagan religions. 

Vanessa Carlton — again, nothing reliable. She apparently uses pagan imagery in her music, though I’ve never heard it in any of the songs I’ve listened to of hers and that’s a lot. 

Virgina Woolf — She’s likely a neo-pagan, which is what she apparently claims to be. I couldn’t find any reference to this at all tho. 

Yoko Ono— As far as I can tell she was only listed because she was into tarot and psychics. 

The entire list can be seen at www.angelfire.com/ia/Geoff/famous.html but the site seems to have been inactive since about 2006. I was going to contact the author to hear his references for my own personal knowledge, but he has absolutely no contact information on the site, not even an email address, instructing visitors to sign his guestbook in order to contact him. The guestbook has been disabled. 

Do you know anything that could solve this debate?

If you do, please include the source or information to find it. Thank you. 

Magickal Week At A Glance: August 27 - September 2

Monday 27
-Procession of Bast
-Birthday of Nuit

Tuesday 28
-Sacred to Nebet-Het

Wednesday 29
-More Herbs, Less Salt Day
-Sacred to Hathor

Thursday 30
-S’mores Day

Friday 31
-National Trail Mix Day
- Full Moon (Blue Moon) 9:58 am EDT

WELCOME TO SEPTEMBER!
-Chicken Month
-Honey Month

Saturday 1

Sunday 2
-Sacred to Dionysus

One of my ex covenmates had a bonfire to celebrate Midsummer last night and invited everyone still in our coven, except me. I realize I’m being a tad childish, but I felt really hurt and left out. So I calmly and politely sent her a message and instead of responding me, this is what she put as her flipping facebook status: “You comment on a status and then message me. I don’t give a fuck that you feel left out. You mess with my mojo”. O.o WTF. Seriously?!???!? She was my best friend for over a decade. One of the first people I ever worked with in ritual. Instead of coming to me and expressing her concerns she just stopped talking to me completely and then pulled this. I do not understand. I’d also like to point out that the damn status I commented on wasn’t even hers. It was my sister’s. She just happened to be tagged in it. So freaking glad that a huge part of my ritual is about banishing negative feelings, illnesses, etc from my life. I always feel so refreshed afterwards. I need that so bad right now. 

PBP- C is for Spring Cleaning!

(Note: I wrote this on the 5th of February)

"One custom held on February 1 in honor of Bridget is a spring cleaning. The house is cleaned from top to bottom, and the women call out to the Goddess to welcome her," (Wishart). 

This is especially true for myself and my family this year as we have to completely clean out our house in order for my father to redo our bathroom, laundry room, two of the bedrooms, and do a bunch of other renovations all before my sister’s baby arrives in July! I’m actually looking at a stack of boxes sitting in my room as I write this. 

Traditionally I start my personal spring cleaning every year on February 3rd, though this year I woke up a tad ill so the cleaning started yesterday. 

Cleaning in and of itself is a very important task for the witch, even if we don’t often thing about it. My favorite saying is “negativity brews in dusty corners,” and boy is that true! There are usually far more arguments in my home when its messy, but this also spills into magick. Try working a spell in a dirty room and see how well it turns out! And very few gods or entities will appreciate being summoned into a room with a pile or laundry sitting in the corner. Speaking of I should go take care of that!

Now that that’s taken care of, one way to think of cleaning is like this: You wouldn’t be able to work magick on a dirty cluttered altar would you? Things would be burned by candles and incense and soaked by water and wine. But how, you may be asking, can you incorporate your pagan ways into this oh so sacred task?

In ancient Egypt, temples employed several wab priest and priestesses to take care of the temple. They cleaned statues and ritual tools. Organized altars and kept them tidy. They picked up after large rituals and even saw to it that the other priests and priestesses were keeping good hygiene! I even once read that everyone had to serve as a wab priest at least once in their life. Why? Because the Ancient Egyptians understood how important it is to have a clean temple. And for most of us, our home is our temple. 

Deborah Blake has four important steps to keep in mind during spring cleaning: Intention, smudging, salt and water, and blessing. Before you begin she suggests taking a few moments to think about your intent. Visualize clearing away all the negativity and bringing in positive, fresh, cleansing energy to replace it. She also suggests opening a window in each room if the weather will allow it. After the physical cleaning is done, walk room to room with a burning smudge stick, then do the same by sprinkling salt water. She also suggests adding a few drops of rosemary essential oil to the water or soaking rosemary in the water, to add a protective element. When you are completely finished she suggests blessing your home. 

She also suggests adding purification and protections oils to your mop water (i.e. geranium, lemon, rosemary), or to sprinkle a few drops on the floor before sweeping.

It’s probably pretty obvious, but natural cleaners are the preferred cleaners for magickal home maintenance. even if it’s homemade! I actually keep recipes for homemade cleaners in my book of shadows!

Silver RavenWolf included a full chapter on magickal housecleaning, which she calls “spiritual cleaning”, in her book To Light a Sacred Flame. She suggests not only empowering al your cleaning supplies before you begin, but also planning out your cleaning intentions room by room. She suggests getting index cards (one for each room) and labeling them. Each card should include the energies you want to evoke there, as well as the colors, deities, magickal symbol, and element that goes with that energy. And optionally, the week day or moon phase best for that energy. The card in my hand (written last year) is for my bedroom and this is how it reads:

Bedroom- sun/mon/wed/fri. new/waxing moon.

  1. Energies- peace and creativity
  2. Colors- purple and blue
  3. Deity- Brighid
  4. Magickal Symbol- Ken
  5. Animal- Dragonfly
  6. Element- Water

Ideally you’d fill out a card for each room. RavenWolf states that there are  five main parts to spiritual house cleaning.

  1. "removing all negative energy fields".
  2. Filling the home with positive energy
  3. Invoking the intended “divine” energies
  4. aligning elemental energies to your intended energies
  5. securing the positive energies in the home

Negative energy pockets (often in corners) are areas in your home that always seem to evoke negative emotions. They may also be areas that feel unnaturally “sticky”, “heavy”, “soft/hard”, but definitely different than its surroundings. Go room to room and break these up by using bells, rattles, drums, and the like. I prefer bells. This can either follow or prepare for the physical cleaning, although I’ve found it easier to locate these energy pockets when the room is clean. I then tend to go through the house with either a smudge stick or purification incense, followed by a lit candle (just walk through the home), and I end with the salt water. If we need an added protection boost at my house I sprinkle sea salt in the crack between the doors (there’s generally a teeny between the floor and the door frame, or the track for a sliding door) and in the metal of your window frames. I then invoke deities room by room as well as individual elementals and release them before moving on to the next room. 

When doing overall house cleaning and blessing, I prefer the follwoing two charms by Wishart and Blake respectively:

"Goddess Bridget, I ask your blessing on my life. May it be filled to overflowing with goodness and love. May you bring prosperity and happiness to me. May your warmth light my home and my heart. Thank you, dear Goddess."

"Bless this home where I reside,

Keep it safe from woe and harm,

Watch over those who here abide,

I make it so by will and charm.”

You can also bless the utilities (i.e. furnace, water heater, plumbing, and electricity) and major appliances. My coffee pot is blessed and I had to resist the urge to bless it in the name of the mighty goddess Caffeina!

Other was to incorporate magick into home maintenance is through banishing ghosts (only do this if they are “evil” [ie, causing physical harm] or if they’ve made it openly known that they want this. My great-great grandparents still reside in our home and we’d never think of banishing them!)., and pagan decorating. There are whole books dedicated to these so I”ll save those topics for another day. 

Ella’s Spring Cleaning Tips

  • Go through your clothes and shoes. Put what needs mending in one pile, what doesn’t fit in antoher, and throw out wat isn’t repairagl or is too stained. What doesn’t fit (or you simply don’t want) can be donated to GoodWill, homeless shelters, women’s shelters or several other local charities. This can also be applied to books and children’s toys. Most local Churches will also take these items and donate them, but you’ll want to call ahead to find out.
  • If you grow your own herbs, hang hooks or a small coat rack on the wall and you can use it to hang herbs to dry later in the spring and summer.
  • Those pesky ant infestations will be arriving in a month or tow. Peppermint oil sprinkled around the home and entrances will prevent their invasion.
  • Plant a lilac bush on your property for protection. (My great-great grandparents planted one when they built our house and nothing bad ever happens here. We’ve had lightening and tornados hit the yards on all four sides of our home, but our entire property has never been damaged in the 50 some odd years that bush has been here).
  • Avoid all chemical house cleaners. Homemade cleaners are safer for children and pets, smell better, and are often cheaper.
  • Pine oil is good for general cleaning.
  • Baking powder is your friend and has multiple cleaning purposes.
  • sweep/mop/vacuum from east to west.
  • Following spring cleaning is a good time to begin new projects create or break habits, and start new traditions.
  • Take a few minutes to flip through your book of shadows. Mend torn pages. Go over faded writing, etc. This is especially true if you have a 3 ring “Binder of Shadows”. I have a journal bos, a large “leather” bound we use for m coven, bu I also keep a binder used for random planning and notes, deity information, to-do lists, the list of those who’ve died since samhain (this list is used in my Samhain ritual), all my herbal and healing notes, the bulk of my spells and rituals, and essentially anything I need to be able to find on a regular basis. So for me spring cleaning includes organizing this monster (it’s over 3 inches thick!), replacing pages that are ripping out and rewriting pages that are no longer readable. I also take the time to add things that are needed, and remove things that aren’t (I have a stack of things that need to be added!).
  • Take inventory of your magickal cabinet as well as you kitchen cabinets! If you’re like me and my family we stock up on most things in november. Herbs, canned goods, things we’ve canned ourselves, candles, fabrics, thread, and by spring we’re running low and several things and out of others. It’s always a good idea to clean out the cupboards and take inventory. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve swore we were out of something only to find it in the very back corner! It’s also a good time to look through the kids’ school supplies. 
  • If you start your spring cleaning around Imbolc it’s also a great time to make hand-dipped candles! I suggest using beeswax for this. If you prefer to make jar candles you can use soy. I’ve never seen soy candles in anything other than jars, so I don’t know if it can be used for votives or tapers. 
  • Soap making is also a good spring craft idea because it can be done on rainy days and the kids can get involved. 

Sources:

Blake, Deborah. The Goddess is in the Details. Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, MN. 

RavenWolf, Silver. To Light a Sacred Flame. (1993). Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, MN. 

Wishart, Catherine. Teen Goddess. (2003). Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, MN. 

PBP- B is for Bastet

"Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this." —Familiar saying. 

Bastet (also known as Bast) was highly honored in all of ancient Egypt, but her base of worship was in the city of Bubastis, located in Lower Egypt. There she was called the “Mother of All Cats” and was revered as a goddess of cats, fertility, the moon, motherhood, sexuality, protection from evil and she was known as both a protector and a healer. The Greeks and Romans associated her with Artemis/Diana.

According to Ellen Dugan, “Bast was a very popular figure in Egyptian mythology… Today Bast is a traditional goddess for cat-loving Witches and other magick users”. Her magickal correspondences include: cats, kittens, woven baskets, sistrums, the moon, kohl eyeliner, and catnip. She can be called on for assistance for any of the areas she over saw, but she is especially good to call on for matters involving fertility, protection of children, and anything related to cats. 

Egyptian woman used to hang Bastet plaques in their homes to promote fertility, successful pregnancies, and safe deliveries. If they wanted a certain number of children, they would wear “cat family” amulets which were necklaces depicting a mother cat with the number of kittens matching the number of children the woman desired to have. 

Bastet often appears as a woman with dark skin dressed in a long green dress with a headdress similar to that of Hathor with a litter of kittens at her feet. Sometimes she also appears with the head of a black cat with gold hoops piercing her ears and thus black cats are especially sacred to her. And while she has never appeared to me in this way, she occasionally is depicted with wings. Dugan says, “Sometimes Bast was depicted as a hawk with the head of a cat, or a regal feline with outspread wings.”

Some especially powerful nights to call on her include: full moons, the Egyptian days (last monday in April, second monday in August, and third monday in December), November 16 and 24, December 14, February 20 (cat magick specifically), May 16, the month of june and June 4 (especially for cat magick), and August 27.

Some other interesting information is that in Egyptian the word for cat is “mau” which means “to see” and the Egyptians believed cats to be messengers to the gods as well as psychic. And the term for a female cat is “queen”. 

Now from my personal experience of working with Bastet I have learned that Anubis was indeed her official consort and they did have children. Some scholars list Ptah as her consort and Nefertum as her son, but they belonged to her sister Sekhmet. I do not know the names of any of her legitimate children; she has yet to reveal that information with me. Also, while many claim that she was either the twin of Sekhmet or just one of the faces of the Hathor-Bastet-Sekhmet trio, neither of these views is correct. All three goddesses are very separate individuals, and both Sekhmet and Basted have made it very clear that Bastet is the  youngest sister and the “baby” of the family. She greatly prefers the colors blue and green, and she often just wants people to adore and worship her. She’s also rather vain at times, and Sekhmet rarely hesitates to remind her of this. She’s also revealed that she’s very protective and loving of pregnant woman. “I just like to watch them and care for them,” is what she told me, and she’s definitely the goddess to call on for healing if you’ve had a miscarriage. And for some reason she’s told me often that she hates cold weather, and the ocean (oh, and swimming pools). I clearly understand the cold weather thing, but I don’t understand the ocean hatred. She has no problem with fresh water. I have a fairly odd relationship with Bastet, Sekhmet, and Nefertum. 

Side Note: 

I named my cats long before getting The Enchanted Cat (which has lists of names for magickal cats). I didn’t get the book till this summer. And my cats are 2 and 3 years of age. Morgan is 2 years old and is a people cat. She loves people and is definitely a little flirt. She’s also my familiar and is super attracted to all magickal energies and is very attuned to the lunar and seasonal cycles. She was named for Morgan Le Fay and also for Morgan Rowlands form the Sweep series by Cate Tiernan. And I’m not exactly sure she’s not a demon or fae in disguise trying to take over the world. She’s very mischievous and always seems to be up to something. In fact her nickname is “The Pesky One”. Phoebe is 3, and will be 4 in July. She has the most beautiful eyes; pale green on the edges that fades into sky blue near the pupil. She’s stubborn, determined, and rebellious — a typical Leo! She actually came into my life in a quite odd way. She just appeared in my aunt and uncle’s basement one day at the age of about 6 weeks. My father brought her home so my uncle wouldn’t throw her in the woods where she would have been devoured by the coyotes that live there. She’s still quite close with my dad. Morgan has instinctively aligned herself with Bastet, and Phoebe with Sekhmet. Ironically they symbolize them as well. Morgan is the sleek, graceful, and extremely fertile (she goes into heat every month the week before my moon time) little sister, and Phoebe is the stocky, survivalist, no-nonsense older sister who doesn’t take crap from anyone. Unlike her very vocal baby sister, she doesn’t say much, so when she does you take note. 

Now here’s what their names mean according to Ms Dugan and you’ll see why I’m so surprised at the meanings!

"Morgan: Morgan Le Fay was the enchantress of Camelot. An appropriate name for a queen who is sensual, mysterious, and seems to have an agenda of her own."

"Phoebe: This is the name of the goddess of the pale and rising moon. And enchanting title for a witchy cate with pale-colored eyes". 

Sources: 

My own head/ relationship with Baster/ prior knowledge

Solitary Witch by Silver RavenWolf

The Enchanted Cat by Ellen Dugan

"Divine Cat" by Ellen Steiber found in Nyx in the House of Night

Finally got the cord for my printer!! Now I can scan and upload all my new art!!

I’ll be posting it all here as I get it uploaded, but you can check my deviant-art for more timely updates (http://monster-grrl.deviantart.com/). I’m currently working on my Goddess series, which is composed of paintings of all different goddesses from different cultures around the world. So far I’ve done Lilith, Bast/Sekhmet (there’s was together), my Sekhmet tattoo was included, and I’ve done the sketches for Selene and Eurybia. I’m hoping to get to do the sketches for the following goddesses this week in order to paint on Imbolc (next thursday 2/2/12): Maiden-Mother-Crone, Artemis, Bastet, Brighid/Hekate (with full explanation of this pairing), Gaia, Sekhmet, and the Fates (Moirea). I’ll also being doing some sketches for my new project which will be a series on the Tudors. It will mostly focus on Anne Boleyn’s life and family, but there will also be portraits of each of the other wives, lots of Elizabeth I, Mary I, courtiers, and a few figures not necessarily Tudors, but important to English history such and Margaret Anjou and Eleanor de Aquitaine. I also have a 5 portrait series in the planning, one for each of the elements, and a few fantasy/fairy tale paintings brewing in my head: Alice in Wonderland, Goldie Locks, Little Red Riding Hood, a few witches, a bunch of mermaids (I’m itching to do some mermaid pictures) and I’d just expect some vampires and fallen angels to show up somewhere. ;)

I do take suggestions for paintings for all of my series (i.e. a particular historical figure, a favorite goddess, mythical/fantasy creatures, fairy tale characters), and I’m also debating doing my own reditions of the Monster High students as well as some Disney princesses and Tim Burton characters, but I’m trying not to get sucked into the fan art mind set. Oh, and I do submissions if I get them, but that’s not often. yes, the Imbolc energy is getting to me. It’s like a creativity high!

(I’m posting this on both the coffin-club and practical-magick just in case someone thinks something weird is going on).