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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

THE WITCHES HERBS ( part 1 )




Over the centuries the healing properties of plants and herbs has not changed. What was a healing plant or herb five thousand years ago is still a healing plant or herb. Because great confidence was placed in them, Witches and physicians of the ancient world were expected to know their herbs. Plants gave healing powers to those who studied them, worked with them, and respected them. In many lands and in many times, healers spent a good part of their lives in the field and forest gathering green medicines. They remembered and discribed what they learned passing it on.
Today we have the opportunity to benefit from the accumulated herbal wisdom of the ages. This advantage allows us to peer back through history, harvesting for our own benefit only those herbs that have stood the test of time. But even the herbal uses that didn't pan out are fascinating. While the story of healing herbs has it's comic episodes, it is also a dramatic story of human sacrifice, complete with medical hero's, men and women whose work deserves to be recognized. Much of this credit in my opinion should go the the Witches of the past because they are the ones who essentially began the work of learning and understanding herbs and their benefits.


Agrimony: placed under the pillow aids in sleep. It is also powerful in cleansing negative energies and emotions.






Allspice: is often used in good luck charms, and charms to increase vitality, stamina and health.



Aloe: is considered a plant used for spells for healing and beauty. In the Southeastern United States the plant is kept inside the home to guard against negativity and danger.

Amaranth: protects the wearer against illness and gunshot, a sacred plant.



Angelica: Used to break hexes, used in exorcism, banishing and protection.




Anise: used to restore lost youth and beauty, also used in charms to avert hexes and aids in psychic and clairvoyant spells and charms.


Apple: promotes peace and harmony, a common element in love spells especially where marriage is the desired outcome.


Apricot: is commonly used in love spells where the intended is fed the ingredients.
      

Monday, September 5, 2011

WHAT IS MAGICK




Mention magic to most people and they immediately start thinking about Wicked Witches, Wizards and Sorcerers conjuring up evil sounding spells and poisons from boiling bubbling cauldrons sat on blazing smoking fires. Others imagine comedians on stage with funny pointy hats and black and white wands. Still others think of Illusionists making people disappear then re-appear from boxes and other contrived stage props.

Since time immemorial magic has been used in witchcraft, and many myths and evil associations have been attributed to its use. Here I shall concentrate on magic and how it is perceived by witches of today. Not everybody agrees and there are many theories on the subject, so this is my theory, based on my opinion and my experiences. At the end of the day you shall have to form your own.



So what is magic really? (Or “magick” as those in the craft would term it). How, what, where and when should it be used? These are the questions I aim to answer here.

First let us destroy the myths of wizards throwing around lightening bolts doing battle with evil sorcerers, and all other such nonsense’s. Magick is a force utilising power, wisdom and knowledge. It is both more and less powerful than the ignorant can suppose. Magick can only be used to change the changeable, for instance - it can be used to cure a sickness but not to replace a lost limb. Magick is not a power to be used in place of our other powers, meaning those of our physical, mental or emotional abilities. Nor is it a crutch for the weak or an ego-boost for the inadequate. Magick is an art and skill unto itself. It needs to be learned then trained to develop, and that takes time and patience.

If we believe that everything and all originate from the same source, then the ability for using magick must be retained within us all. Magick then is a forgotten art passed down through aeons of reincarnations and it resides inside us all. Therefore magick is a skill that needs to be re-learned and trained if it's to be used well, effectively and wisely.

In modern days magick is used not only in ritual ceremonies, but also on a daily bases during spiritual communication with the Goddess and God. It is used daily for healing purposes and perhaps more frequently for personal purposes like reducing negativity, protection and improving the self. It can also be used for many other purposes as determined by the individual while bearing in mind “The three fold law”.



Magick in essence is the use and control of natural energies or power to produce and effect needed change. There are three basic sources of natural energy or power used: Personal Power, Earth Power and Divine Power.

Is the life force that sustains us and protects our earthly existence. It's the power that resides within our own bodies; some may call it "willpower". As we go about our daily business we are constantly absorbing energy, be it from the sun during the day or the moon during the night or the food and drink we consume. This energy we store and release during movement, exercise, sex, and even through our emotional states. This we all do quite naturally.

In magick we learn to harness and arouse this personal power, infuse it with a particular purpose, release it and direct it towards it's goal.

Is the power that resides within our planet and its natural products. Such things as: Stones, Trees, Wind, Fire, Water, Crystals, Oils and Scents. All these things and more possess unique powers and give out specific energies that can be harnessed and used during ritual and magick.

Hold a stone in the palm of your hand (receptive hand), concentrate on your hand and visualise the stone. Feel it's force tingling? A crystal can be charged and then held against the forehead to clear up migraine or headaches with it's healing properties. Like-wise herbs and oils can be charged then rubbed onto the body to effect internal changes. These are just a few examples of earth power and it's uses.

Is spiritual power, that which is charged and channelled by the Goddess and the God. Personal power and earth power are both manifestations of divine power. Divine power is the force of life, the source of everything, the power of the universe that created existence.

To use divine power the Goddess and God need to be invoked to bless the magick being prepared, this is normally done inside a properly constructed circle (see Circle Casting). For instance during ritual, personal power may be used to effect some personal change, then directed to the deities asking for a specific need to be met.

Magick is not just about the use of power; one can not just stand up, call out to the Goddess and God and demand the magick be done -" so Be It" A lot of work is involved in preparation for the use of Magick. Once a need for the use of magick has been identified, careful consideration needs to be given to other associations if a successful outcome is to be achieved.

When planning magical workings, consideration needs to be given as to when the work needs to be performed for best effect. We need to ascertain the best time or day for when to perform it. Days have their own magickal associations, which are similar to and connected with the other tables. Thus creating harmony during ritual and generating increased power when all are working together. Days in general are associated with and influenced by the Sun and six of the Planets.

As with most other religions, tools are used in Wicca to aid and enhance ritual worship. Tools have no powers within themselves save for that which we pass focus our will and concentration. Tools are used to invoke deities, banish negativity, and direct our Tools).

energies though touch and intention. Thus we through them, though they do have powerful symbolic significance’s, which help us to

need to know and understand the properties and symbolism of our tools in order to use them properly and correctly. (see Ritual



Sunday, September 4, 2011

RITUAL TOOLS





BOOK OF SHADOWS: The Book of Shadows is the workbook of the witch.  In it is recorded: Rituals guidelines, Invocations, Spells, Runes, Rules of a particular Coven or Tradition, Symbols, Poems, Chants, and anything else of use to the witch during ritual.  


ATHAME: The athame is the traditional ritual dagger of the witch.  Commonly it has a black handle and steel double-edged blade.  Many Wiccans engrave the handle or blade with magickal symbols indicative of deities, spirits or the elements as sources of power.  The athame is a tool of command, it is used to direct what power we pass through it.  It is used to cast circles by tracing the circumference, to charge and consecrate objects and banish negative energies.  In most traditions, it is never used as a mundane knife for cutting purposes, and is used strictly for magickal purposes only.  As an elemental tools of the craft, in most traditions it is associated with the elements of Fire, in others it is associated with Air.  The phallic symbolism of the knife links it with the God. 



CHALICE: The Chalice is one of the four elemental tools of witchcraft and represents the elements of Water.  It is a symbol of containment and often represents the womb of the Goddess.  The base is symbolic of the material world, the stem symbolises the connection between man and spirit and the rim or opening symbolically receives spiritual energy.






THE CAULDRON:  is a well-respected Wiccan tool. It is a vessel for transformation, and represents the very essence of fertility and femininity. Is a common tool, though not all modern Wiccans have one. The cauldron has a great deal of history and tradition associated with it, and for Wiccans, it is the vessel where magickal transformations occur, such as brewing and cooking, along with much more mystical purposes. It is also sometimes used to light a fire at certain ceremonies.



THE PENTAGRAM: A five-pointed diagram, one of the most sacred geometric forms of magick. Each of the five points represents one of the five elemental powers. The uppermost, single point is symbolic of Spirit, Goddess and dates back as far as 3500BC.



PENTACLE: A ritual item, symbol of the Earth, consisting of a flat, round disc, engraved with a pentagram


CANDLES: One candle for each of the directions, colour-coded, are often used on a Wiccan altar. One would go in each appropriate direction . . .
  • For North: black, green, or brown
  • For East: yellow or white
  • For South: red or orange
  • For West: blue or aqua
  • For Centre, where you aren't using God and Goddess candles: white, silver, or gold. and are used to invoke and hold the Powers of each direction.
Often large candles, such as pillar candles, are used to represent the God and the Goddess. These are usually set on either side of the Pentacle, or somewhere in the centre of the altar.


Other options are having just one large candle for the Great Goddess, or three - white, red, and black - for the Maiden, Mother, and Crone.
Where they go is up to you. Somewhere they won't drip onto delicate items or catch things on fire is always good.
These candles invoke the Energies of the Divine.



WAND: and staff is made of wood and made by the person who will use them. Since all woods have unique Powers, Both Staff and Wand are of the Element of Air and are aligned with the East(although some traditions hold that the wand is an instrument of fire and aligned with the South).The wand is like a portable, handy version of a broom. There is a theory that originally one instrument performed all the purposes served by the two today.  


  you may like to choose the wood to suit your particular needs.
Wands can be used for divination and channeling magickal energy. They can be used to cast and recall circles, in place of the athame.
The magickal wand goes in the South, for the power of will, magick, and transformation. It also god, energy.

  
THE BELL: Are like the Voice of the Goddess. When you ring one, it brings the Divine's attention to you. And your attention to the Divine!   

 
A bell with a lovely tone will call beautiful, healing energy to you. Bells can also be used to clear energy. At the end of a ritual is a good time for this, but if unwanted energy crops up during a ritual, you can use the bell to disperse it.





 BOLLINE ( WORKING KNIFE ):  The Bolline or White-Handled knife as it is now known, is the practical knife of the craft.  Traditionally it was used to harvest herbs and had a blade in the form of a small sickle.  Today it is normally a mundane knife used for cutting and carving.  It has a white handle to differentiate it from the Athame, which has a black handle and is used only for magickal purposes.  The bolline is used to cut wands and herbs, to mark and carve candles with symbols and to cut cords for use in magick.  Any other ritual function requiring the use of a knife, such as cutting flowers for the altar, can be performed with the bolline. 
.


 INCENSE BURNERS AND CENSERS:  The censer is an incense burner used to contain burning incense during ritual.  Any type of censer can be used, even a simple bowl filled with sand will do.  The censer represents the elements of Air and is normally placed before the images of the Goddess and God on the altar.   



INCENSE: Incense has long had associations with magick and witchcraft, as indeed it is used commonly by many other religions.  The use of Incense in witchcraft  is threefold : 


(1)  It conditions the mind by stimulating our senses of smell.
(2)  In connection with spells, it draws down the spirits through it's magickal association with the elements of Air.
(3)  According to ancient beliefs, when a spell is done.  It raises the spell up into the ether and sends it on it's way.
In magick, the type of incense used needs to correspond with the nature of the spell being worked.  Most spells require an incense associated with a particular planet or deity.  Many are used for their purification and cleansing properties during ritual. 
THE GOD AND GODDESS:  Honor the god and goddess, which helps invoke them into your ritual and spell. Recognize them during every spell and ritual you perform.

ALTAR CLOTH: An altar cloth is optional, but useful. By choosing one with an appropriate colour or design, you set the stage for the energy of your altar.




OFFERINGS: When you would honour the Divine with a gift of thanks or prayer, you can bring them to the Altar as an offering.

Often flowers are kept on the altar as an offering. Anything that is beautiful or special to you, or symbolic of the purpose for the offering, can be offered.


Since the Divine lives in all things, anything you harm is an injury to the Divine. And pragmatically, you'll be giving the offerings to the Earth later.
Offerings are one of the most overlooked practices in Wicca today, yet one of increasing spiritual power and importance.


SALT WATER: A small bowl of water with salt dissolved in it, for cleansing. This would be appropriate in the centre. Alternatively, the altar chalice may be used to hold the salt water.


Water and salt are both purifying agents, not only in the physical realm but the energetic as well. Salt water also represents the energies of earth and water united, the ocean womb which gave birth to all life on the planet. So while this may seem an insignificant addition to your altar tools, it holds great power.



THE RITUAL ROBE: It is said that the truly skilled practitioner of magic needs no special equipment or clothing, but this is a counsel of perfection rather than a practical suggestion for most people! Robes and other magical clothing support any ritual by altering the wearer’s psychological state, and indeed the cloth itself acquires a magical energy of its own with repeated use.



LIBATION DISH: all dish, bowl, or cup can go in the centre, ready to receive offerings for the gods and goddesses. You can also use your altar chalice or cauldron for this purpose. Later, pour or bury the offerings in the Earth, or into living water (rivers, lakes, etc) to carry them to the Divine.



BESOM ( WITCHES BROOM ): Many pagan traditions have the bridal couple, jump across the broom, a symbol of  fertility (old bit of agricultural fertility magic), to signify the establishment of their new household. The brooms are usually decorated for the occasion and then kept in a place of honor in the home.
In many Wicca handfasting(marriage) rituals, couples often jump over the broom if they want children.
Historically, brooms made great gifts for weddings or handfastings. Just add a little ribbon, some flowers, and your are good to go. No wrapping needed. Every new home needs a new broom!

Witches use brooms in magick and ritual. The pagan broom or "besom" is used in ritual for cleansing the general circle or ritual area.  The besom is sweeping away the psychic dirt, getting the area purified for the ritual at hand. 
A Witch may begin a ritual by sweeping the area with the magick broom, visualising the psychic dirt being swept out of the ritual area. The sweeping also helps to get the mind ready for the ritual, quieting the mind and narrowing the focus for the witch.  The besom is a purifier and is related to the element of Water.

Besoms have been used by Witches to indicate to other occultists that they were resident, or at work, by placing a besom (broom) outside the door. This is NOT to say that anyone who has a kitchen broom sitting outside their door is a witch. Only Witches keep a besom by their door, or hanging from their door to protect the home from unwanted outside energies.




 





CAKE AND ALE: The Wiccan ritual known as Cakes and Ale is often celebrated as a way of thanking the gods for their blessings. Cakes are usually just cookies prepared in the shape of crescent moons, and the ale can be alcoholic or it can be apple cider, juice, or even water.