Merry Meet All,
I apologize for the recent lack of posts. I have been down with an illness and now have my health under control. So today I took time off from my usual obsessive writing/ editing and spent an afternoon on some creative tasks. The first thing I did was make my own deck of Zener cards. I bought bristle board, which is cheaper than card stock. I used a tarot deck card as a template. I used the High Priestess card from the Rider Waite Tarot deck for the template. I cut around the card carefully. I fashioned twenty five identical cards and then counted out twenty five cards. I separated the cards into five piles. I googled the symbols for the cards and using a black permanent marker, marked the symbols on the cards. I left the deck of cards on my altar to empower them with energy.
Next, the purple candle. I made a purple candle earlier in the fall. However, I did not make the candle correctly. So I melted down the wax in a double boiler. I let the wax simmer and added some other old wax for fragrance. I removed the old wick and set it aside. I poured the hot purple wax into the glass mold / jar carefully. Then I set the candle on the counter and secured the wick. I hope this time the wick is centred and it burns properly this time. The candle is cooling on my kitchen counter now.
Last night, I made a pendulum from embroidery thread and a clear quartz crystal. The crystal had a piece on the top that had a hook so I secured the embroidery thread. For the string, I used blue and white embroidery thread to complement the crystal. The crystal comes down to a point, which will make it an excellent pendulum. I tied a dragon ornament to the other end of the string. The pendulum is beautiful now.
Every Imbolc, I become very creative. I am not surprised by this burst of creative energy because Brigid is one of my matron deities. Do you get a burst of creative energy at Imbolc? I would love to hear from you.
Tonight is the Full Moon. Worship the Moon in all her glory and power. Blessed Be
Merry Meet All,
Who says January isn't an exciting month? I have been busy. The Cold wolf Moon will howl in the night sky on January 26. Imbolc occurs on February 2. There is lots to do and prepare for. Imbolc is about the return to the light half of the year. Burn frankincense to invoke the energy of the sun.
The Crone is fading in her power. The Maiden emerges in the spring. The Crone is still there, hiding in the shadows. You can still call on her for wisdom and strength at the full Cold Moon. Visualize a Goddess, older, wise and strong, and leave an offering for her. Consider her to be your mentor. Light a candle and offer sandalwood incense. Ask her to be your guiding light.
Cold as stone, the night you roam,
Guiding light leads me home
Meditate also on the energy of the wolf. Draw the wolf card in your animal totem deck and see if there any messages for you. Wolves are one with the night and the moon and its phases.
Merry Meet All,
Today the snow is blowing hard. The sky is a greyish white and tree boughs darken against the colour of the sky. I think that makes trees appear even more beautiful. A graceful birch tree trunk reaches to the sky outside my bedroom window. I love trees. They have sheltered and protected humans and animals for millennia. Some tree branches shiver from the harsh wind. It is not long though till the arrival of spring. I cling to the dark half of the year like a single leaf or berry clings to a bough.
Why? I like this time of year. I always turn inward and rest. I feel the energy within me. I love the simpler crude beauty of winter. The white snow, the bark of the trees that stands out more in winter, and the energy that lingers, according to me, from Samhain. Samhain is my absolute favourite time of year. I don't fear it.
I love summer too. The days stretch on and my garden is in full bloom. But winter is my time of rest and like the foxes and bears that hibernate in caves and dens, I store my energy to reserve it for the coming months. I get a lot done too. But Imbolc can be a time to plan for the coming spring season. Don't get me wrong, I pored over that seed catalogue. I can't wait to try organic container gardening.
I am plugging away on my ghost story. I am currently reading The Witches' Book of the Dead by Christian Day and a tome of actual ghost occurrences for research purposes. That is why I love this time of year. I fear I will not have the same energy to want to work on it in the summer. It is not a light story. It is not for the faint of heart. This time of year feels perfect to work on it. But then I am taking forever to finish it. I always seem to have just one more book to read for my story. Eventually I will have to stop researching and complete my editing. I have to send my novel out there.
Enjoy the winter season
Merry Meet All,
Ice candles are easy to make and lots of fun. Ice candles are a perfect way to celebrate Imbolc in the chilly month of February.
You will need the following:
color and scent, essential oils
a taper candle
A candle mold or cardboard container
a double boiler
or two pans
Melt paraffin wax in a double boiler. Be sure the wax is never placed right over the heat, or you could start a fire. While the wax is melting, prepare the candle mold. If you choose to add color or scent to the candle, do it now. Use colors and scents that are appropriate for Imbolc.
Place the taper candle in the cardboard carton. Centre the candle. Fill the carton with ice. Pack the ice in around the candle. Do not use large chunks of ice.
Once the wax is melted, pour the wax into the mold. Be careful. As the hot wax pours in, it melts the ice, leaving small holes in the candle. Let the candle cool and poke a hole in the bottom of the container so the melted water can drain. It is good to do this over a sink. Let the candle 'set' overnight to harden the wax. In the morning, peel back all the cardboard container. You now have an ice candle in time for your Imbolc celebrations.
Tie a red and white riboon around the candle. Give the candle as a gift or use it in your rituals for Imbolc.
Lady Spiderwitch )O(
Merry Meet All,
A blanket of snow covers Halifax. I can't believe how much snow we are getting. I am hibernating in my apartment. Though Imbolc is around the corner, the ocean of snow is forcing me indoors to write my blog.
Imbolc is the time to honour the Goddess Brigid. The white mantle of snow shelters the sleeping earth but Imbolc is the first Sabbat of early spring. Here is a winter meal blessing you can say at meal time to welcome spring.
Winter comes to an end
the supply of food lessens
Yet we give prayers for the bounty
In the chilly winter months,
We are grateful for our fortune
and the food from the snowy earth.
Light a candle at the meal. A new candle would make it special. Leave the candle in the fridge for twenty minutes and then set the candle in a meaningful candleholder. Focus on the warmth emanating from the candle and reflect on Brigid's flame.
Here is another prayer for Brigid.
FIRE MEAL BLESSING
Brigid is the lady of flame,
the fire that warms our food
Hail to Brigid and to the hearth,
May she bless our food!
These are some prayers that you can focus on while dining or even meditating. Add your own meaning or words to them if you follow a different tradition. Imbolc is the traditional time for Brigid.
Lady Spiderwitch )O(
Merry Meet All,
Around the time of Imbolc, I become extremely creative. I get like that at Samhain, too. Here are steps to make an Imbolc corn doll. You can find corn husks at the local grocery store. You will also need ribbon, yarn and some cotton balls.
Take on strip of a husk, and fold it in half. Place two or three cotton balls in the middle, and twist the husk, securing it with string to make a head. Leave a bit in the husk and back, and under the head, to create the torso.
Make the arms for your doll by folding two husks in half and tying at the ends with string to make the hands. Slip the arms between the husks (torso), and tie off at the waist. Consider using ribbon or yarn in colors that correspond with Brigid. Slip cotton balls in to give the doll shape.
Arrange more husks, upside down, around the doll's waist. Overlap them slightly and tie in place with yarn. Tie the waist and then fold the husks down, so now her skirt falls downward, to where her feet would be. Trim the hem of the skirt to even out the hem. Let the doll dry.
Once the doll has dried, you can decorate her. Use yarn for hair and a marker for her face. You can use beads, sigils, make her an apron, or whatever strikes your fancy.
Place your Brigid doll on your altar. When you invite her into your home, you invite her energy and blessings.
Here is how to make a Brigid's bed. It is simple to make. You can find the craft supplies at your local art store or thrift store. Begin with a blanket. You can use a small cloth for a blanket. Or stitch up a mattress by sewing two rectangles of fabric together and stuffing it with down. Place this in the basket. Make a pillow in the same manner. Put a warm blanket over the top, and set on your hearth or altar.
Put your Brigid doll on the bed before you go to sleep at night. If you do not have a Brigid doll or do not have the time to make one, then use a besom instead. The broom stands for the symbol of female power. Keep her company with a Priapic wand.
Welcome Brigid by gathering around the fire and saying the following chant three times:
Brigid is come, Brigid is welcome!
Let candles burn beside Brigid through the night. Leave them to burn in a kitchen sink or bathtub all night long. Meditate before you go to sleep to wish for fertility and abundance.
I hope you enjoy these crafts and have a wonderful Blessed Imbolc!
Lady Spiderwitch )O(
Merry Meet All,
Imbolc is associated with Brigid. She is the goddess of smithcraft, poetry, and healing. There are other deities associated with Imbolc and Valentine's Day.
Aenghus Og, a Celtic god, was associated with love, beauty and inspiration. He went to a lake and found fifty women chained together. One of them was the girl he was in love with, Caer Iborneith. All the girls but the one he loved were turned into swans every second Samhain. Aenghus was told he could marry Caer if he could identify her as a swan. They both turned into swans and flew away while singing exquisite songs to each other.
Cerridwen represents the powers of divination and prophecy. She was the keeper of the cauldron of knowledge in the Underworld. Many other deities may be associated with Imbolc. These are just a few. Imbolc is the time of the early stirrings in the earth and when ewes give birth to kids. The Wheel of the Year turns again.
Make an offering at your altar to the deities of Imbolc. Some offerings could be milk and honey, wine, make a bed for Brigid, offer herbs or seeds. Ask that the deities bless and enchant your Imbolc this year.
Merry Meet All,
Start your Imbolc off right on the right broomstick with a house cleansing ceremony.
The first step is to physically clean your home. Put on some pagan chants or related music and clean every inch of your home. Vaccuum the floors, wash the floors, water your plants, scrub the pet food bowl clean. It has been proven that dishtowels and pet food bowls contain the highest number of germs. Do the laundry and wash all the dishes. Set aside a bag or a box for recycling and one for donations.
Now you can spiritually clean your home. You will need the following items:
A bowl of spring water
A smudge stick of sage or sweetgrass
A blue candle
A clean glass bowl
Begin at the front door with your cleansing tools. The front door is where you enter and exit the home many times. Now move through the house in a sunwise direction with the salt, sage, candle flame and water. Chant an incantation such as:
By the element of water,
by the element of air,
by the passionate element of fire,
by the grounding element of earth,
I cleanse this space.
As you travel from room to room, anoint each door and windowsill with the Blessing Oil. Trace the sign of a pentagram on the window and door. This prevents anything negative or unwelcome from entering the home.
Once you have gone through the entire house, put the salt outside, spill the water outside and extinguish the smudge stick. Let the candle burn down and dispose of the wax. The salt, water, flame and smudge stick will have absorbed the energies of what you were cleansing and must be disposed of immediately after cleansing. They will otherwise contain those energies.
You can opt to sit in the center of your home and meditate on filling your home with positive energy. As you sit on the clean (!) kitchen floor, close your eyes and visualize the whole house being filled with white light. Get into every crack and crevice. When you are done, open your eyes. Marvel at how positive your home feels. Your home is cleansed for Imbolc!
Merry Meet All,
Imbolc is about cleansing and purification. You can cleanse your home, your mind, body and spirit. The best way to do this is in a ritual. I just refreshed my altar and smudged it with sage. My altar was still dressed for Yule. But the Wheel of the Year is soon turning to Imbolc. The altar cloth is white and I placed my serpent wand (elements of earth and air), an artificial and beautiful birds' nest, and a cow figurine on my altar. I think the best colours for an Imbolc altar are whites and muddy browns. The colours signify that winter is still here but the snow is melting to reveal the muddy colours of spring.
Here is a ritual to do for a cleansing. First, try to be undisturbed for the ritual. Tell your family you need some time alone. Turn off the phone and dim the lights in the bathroom. Light candles or add an essential oil to the candle then light it to waft the fragrance around the room.
Play a CD of your favorite soft classical music or music with nature sounds such as a waterfall or whales. Relax in the tub. As you run the bath, use herbs that have cleansing properties. Put herbs into a muslin cloth or bag and suspend the sachet from the faucet so as the warm bathwater runs through it into the tub. The herbs associated with cleansing are rosemary, lavender, sandalwood, chamomile, and peppermint. You can use one of these herbs or combine them for extra powerful cleansing.
Relax in the tub and meditate on the herbal bathwater and clear your mind. Take as long as you feel is necessary. Concentrate on pushing the negativity within you leaving your body. When you drain the tub, the negativity will flow down the drain, leavin you purified.
Relax after you leave the tub. It helps if you set towels or a robe and your warm plush slippers nearby so they are within reach. Take deep breaths to ground your energy. If you used Epsom salts, have a glass of water. The salts can dehydrate you. You need to replenish your body with water. If you have a shower stall, you can hang the herbal sachet from the shower faucet.
After that cleansing ritual, cleanse your home to welcome Imbolc, the first spring Sabbat. Stay tuned for a house cleansing and blessing ritual tomorrow.
Merry Meet All,
I just returned from a local farmers market to pick up some delicious organic apples. Think of how long farmers have been growing and selling their food. It is a long time. I support the farmers markets because they sell organic food. When you buy the food, you know it is not poisoned with chemicals, that livestock was not forced to suffer to make the milk or pork or whatever, and you feel good about yourself, about the food and that you are doing your part for the economy and the earth.
I am sure the Goddess Brigid would hold that in her favor. More and more companies and stores and farmers markets are becoming more sustainable and organic. People are demanding organic food. This cannot be just a fad. We must maintain the demand for organic food. Do you really want to take into you something sprayed with chemicals? You do not just eat the apple, you take in the energy of the apple. So you take into you the poisons and the intent of who sprayed the chemicals onto the apple. Do you really want to consume that? I would hope not. Since I have been eating organic food, I can't believe the difference in how I feel. I can think more clearly, feel healthier, and actually have more energy.
In ancient Ireland and Scotland, such chemicals and preservatives were unheard of. It was not till the Industrial Revolution that we began to spray everything. Think of how good food tasted back then. Chemicals and pesticides and the chemicals injected into cows and chickens hurt the animals and poison lakes, rivers, streams and the oceans and kill the aquatic life.
You can grow herbs, fruits and vegetables and know they will contain no toxins. Pressure companies to initiate sustainable practices and to produce organic food and other products. There are alternatives available. Organic herbs retain the lovely essential oils that they are so loved for. This is the way it should be. We need to care for the earth, because then we do that, we are truly honoring the Goddess and the God.
Merry Meet All,
Brigid is a triple goddess. She is the goddess of sovereignty. She is the goddess of Fire, poetry, smithcraft and healing. Often goddesses were given many attributes, not only one. The Welsh word for king, 'brenin,' was thought to mean 'consort of Brigantia. Bruide was the Pictish word for royal throne name. The Bruide name was allotted to each Pagan Pictish King who was perceived as the male manifestation of the Spirit of the Goddess. But the Welsh and Pictish names for the kinds proves that there was widespread favor and honor of the Goddess Brigid.
Brigid is also connected to divination. Since she is a goddess of fire and smithcraft, magick involving candles and fire would be appropriate for Imbolc. Pyromancy is a form of divination that you can practice. Set a candle on your altar and make yourself comfortable. Meditate to be open to receiving any messages. Pray to your deities/ animal totems/ or spiritual guide to guard you as you meditate. Visualize a sacred circle cast around you to discourage any unwanted energies.
Think of any questions you may have and gaze into the candle flames. Phrase the question short and to the point. Try asking something that would require a yes or no answer. Note if you see any dancing flames. Listen to the logs snap.
When you have received an answer to your questions, thank the fire deity and your spirit guides for their presence. Note the answers in your journal or Book of Shadows. The answers may not come into clear form. Trust your initial impressions. Release the circle of protection, and return your awareness to the room you're in.
You could write down a wish on a sheet of paper and cast the paper into the flames. If it burns fast, it will come to you fast. If it sparks and takes a longer time to burn, you have longer to wait for the wish to manifest itself. Tune into your feelings.
Tomorrow I will post about a cleansing and purification ritual for Imbolc.
Tend the hearth!!
Merry Meet All,
Imbolc is almost here! Imbolc is one of the three spring Sabbats. The Wheel of the Year turns on its axis to spring. We are passing the cold crust of winter and soon buds will be blossoming from the earth.
Ewes are nursing their lambs. Spring and the planting season are around the corner. The Goddess Brigid corresponds with Imbolc. In pre-Christian Ireland there was a goddess called Brighid, and she was the daughter of the god Daghdha. She was an ancient Mother deity to the Irish. The Irish Druids had their own concept of the Goddess Brighid. The Druidesses liked the goddess Brighid. The Druidesses were prized for foretelling the future, and the leaders trusted them. Brighid (The High One) was the new name for the goddess. She was credited with fertility aspects, agriculture, and animals. Goibhnui, whose name meant 'smith', and was a smith god, and Dian Cecht, whhose name translates to 'he who travels swiftly', their attributes were credited to Brighid. That is how the goddess came to be honored with the triple aspects of fertility, smithcraft and inspiration. The attributes remained with the Goddess Brighid (The High One) to this day.
Some Irish traditions keep to this day. In Ireland, it was customary to rake the ashes of the hearth over the embers, a custom known as coiglt as nine (raking the fire), which preserved the mother fire, the an mhathair and then the fire was stoked to life in the morning. Hearth prayers and blessings were recited and the same practice prevailed in Scotland. They depended on the hearth for warmth, healing and cooking. Another practice involved peat since it was a common fuel. Peat was easier to keep in the fire. It was called smaladh (in Celtic Gaelic, which meant hill or mound.) A ritual developed from the practices of tending the hearth. The women of the house created a circle from the hearth ashes. The circle was divided into three sections and a small mound in the center. "Three pieces of peat were laid between each section, with each piece touching the central mound. The first peat was laid down in the name of God of Life, the second in the name of the God of Peace, and the third in the name of the God of Grace." Ashes were then covered over them. It was known as the Three of Light, Tula non Tri (Mound of the Three". The Celts loved everything in threes. The woman closed her eyes, stretched out her hands, and intoned a charm for the hearth, the Beannachadh Slamadh (Smooring Blessings).
"Smooring the Hearth (Smaladh An Tula)
I will smoor the hearth
As Bride the Fostermother would smoor.
The Fostermother's holy name
Be on the hearth, be on the herd,
Be on the household all."
Another popular tradition was making Brighid's crosses, a tradition that carries to this day. We still honor Brigid, the Goddess, during Imbolc. I will post more about Imbolc and Brigid this month. Be sure to stay posted to learn more about Imbolc.
Information for post from the book Brigid: Goddess, Druidesss, and Saint by Brian Wright.
Merry Meet All,
Winter is the time to turn inward. It is cold and it is when most people hibernate for the entire season. I hibernate to a degree. But how does that affect your magick? It can enhance your magickal workings.
In winter, the animals either hibernate or migrate. Geese and monarch butterflies make the long perilous trek to warmer climates. Bears retreat to the shelter of caves. Foxes nestle down in dens for the winter. Look to nature for more inspiring examples.
They know what to do and when. For us, winter is the time of the Crone. The Crone represents death and renewal. We know the cold winter eventually melts and spring returns. But it can be a perfect time to perform magickal workings. The days are short and bone chilling cold. There is more time to meditate, to perform divinations, peruse seed catalogs, and to plan for the coming year or season. You could rededicate yourself to the gods and even plan a ritual to honor Imbolc.
Go out in nature- bundle up first, and enjoy the rustic beauty of the woods. Decorate your altar with nature findings. I find the rustic beauty of the woods to be just as beautiful, if not more than stunning in winter. Take some photographs. Build a snowman.
Complete those projects that you did not have time for at Mabon or Samhain. Donate unwanted items to a thrift store. There are many things that you can do. Before we know it, it will be Imbolc. Imbolc is the first of the three spring sabbats. Don't worry, you will be prepared for it.
Enjoy the magick of winter
Merry Meet All,
Welcome in the new year 2013. I trust you all had a wonderful holiday. Here is a spell, while it may be late in arrival, you can still cast this spell because the moon is waning. The waning moon is the perfect time to banish unwanted energies. This spell comes in two parts.
The ideal time to cast this spell is during the waning moon and at Yule or after Yule, but leading to the new year. The aromatics to use are pine, woodruff, and rosemary. Use black and gray candles to ground the negativity and salt as a banishing component.
Call the quarters and invoke the deity or deities of your choice, depending on the path you follow or your tradition. Try saying this: "Lady of peace and light, I call to you this day from this place not a place, and this time not a time. I invite you to join me within my temple to bless this ritual of healing with your presence. Welcome, Bright Lady; Welcome, Forest Lord, so mote it be."
Express your goal or intent for the spell. Bless and consecrate the candles for the spell to clear them of their previous negative energies to charge them for this spell. Say aloud: "I will no longer have financial trouble." Say aloud: "I ask the great love of the cosmos, the light of the Universe, to bless and charge these components that they may be prepared and consecrated to ensure my success. Bless these ingredients, and bless my goal. These are my words. This is my will."
Carve a symbol or words onto a black and gray candle of the area of your life in which the difficulty exists. Be thoughtful and purposeful as you carve, knowing that your intention is to banish the negative energies. Light the black candle come the dark moon, saying: "Candle burn, burn, burn; negativity turn, turn, turn; good luck return, return, return." Here is a tip: chant that as long as you can and with much feeling. Be in contact with the candle or hold your hands near the candle. Continue chanting. Your "words are an inexhaustible source of magick." (Professor Dumbledore, Harry Potter.) He was right. The chant adds power to the spell. Say the chant with feeling.
Rub olive oil onto the candle from the bottom up to banish the energy. Continue to chant as the candles burn and let them burn all the way down. Leave them in the sink if necessary. Leave the candles to burn of their own accord and dispose of the wax outside to literally push the negativity away from yourself.
For this spell, you will use a black candle that was dipped that color. On the bottom of the candle, carve symbols of your hopes and wishes, then dab them with an essential oil. Leave the top half of the candle blank. Place a straight pin in the center (this marks the turn around point.) Light the candle saying: Negativity ends as the magickal pin bends. Negativity, destroy, I reclaim joy: As the candle burns, by and by, all energies are purified."
Turn away from the candle and do not return until it has completely burned down. By the way, a visual alternative on this spell is to let the candle burn down to the pin then turn it over on its stand. This puts out the "negative energy," giving more support to the represented hopes and dreams.
Collect one black candle and one candle whose color represents the area where your trouble lies. Light the candles every night for seven nights at dusk, the time of closure, saying: negativity return from whence you came, my life will ne'er be the same! Happiness and joy I now reclaim."
Each night you do this, move the black and gray candles further and further away from the other one (slowly moving it closer to a door in your home.) On the morning of the eighth day, take the remnants of the black candle outside and let it melt in the sun, banishing that darkness with light. Dispose of the candles properly.
If there is snow outside, use some snow for the final step of the spell. Sunday is ruled by the Sun and is associated with power, leadership, authority, and success.
Scoop some snow in a spell and return to your circle, sealing the circle. Set the bowl on your altar and put your hands over the bowl of snow. With as much feeling as you can, and it helps if you say the chant, push your feelings and banish the negativity into the snow. When you are sure you are ready, cast the snow outside away from you and wash the bowl you used to cleanse the bowl of the negativity.
Closing the spell:
Say aloud: "Lady of peace, Lord of light, I thank you for your presence within my temple this day and for lending your presence and power to this ritual of healing. I honor you, my Lord and Lady, and bid you farewell. So mote it be."
In reverse order, the last quarter called is the first quarter called. Then say aloud: "I want to be cautious and clear of what it is I hope to banish. I hope to banish the negative energies and recent actions done by those who wished ill towards me."
Merry Meet All,
Welcome to 2013! We have all enjoyed a long break and are welcoming in the New Year!! I hope you had a wonderful holiday and you can all look forward to more exciting blog posts in the near future!