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Showing posts from 2012

Celtic Devotional by Caitlin Matthews

*Previously published elsewhere - please see note at end of article.

Prayer crosses all cultural boundaries and doesn't need to be formal. However, even those who don't belong to a specific spiritual tradition would like a personally fulfilling regular prayer practice. Caitlin Matthews provides a basis for such a practice with the Celtic Devotional: Daily Prayers and Blessings. It has prayers for people regardless of what spiritual path they follow.

Devotional Calendar Layout

The calendar begins in November since that was the beginning of the year for the early Celts. There are four main sections which follow the ancient Celtic fire festival seasons. Matthews describes these as seasonal quarters as explained further below.

Winter quarter: Samhain (pronounced "Sow-in") is from November to January.Spring quarter: Imbolc is from February to April.Summer quarter: Beltane is from May to July.Fall quarter: Lughnasadh is from August to October.
Prayers honoring the seasons op…

Review of Pagan Book of Living and Dying

[This article was originally published on the Pagan site at BellaOnline and later at HubPages.  HP has deemed this article idle, so I'm republishing it here.]

*Please note that in some of my older pieces I used the term "Pagan community" a lot.  I've come to really dislike the term but at the time it seemed to fit how I was writing.


Pagans and Grief

As the Neo-Pagan community ages, we have come to realize the inherent need for something that more established religions take for granted – a process to help us with the death of a loved one. The Pagan Book of Living and Dying by Starhawk, M. Macha Nightmare, and the Reclaiming Collective provides valuable guidance for the dying, their caregivers, friends and family.

Grief can overcome us whether death is sudden or is brought on by a long illness. The stress is compounded when misunderstandings arise regarding religion. These misunderstandings can happen even if Pagans are completely open about their beliefs or still in the…

Magical Aromatherapy by Scott Cunningham

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Scent can evoke an emotional response both positive and negative. That response can be used in magic to create change.

Author Scott Cunningham provides an introduction to using aromatherapy effectively in magic and ritual to create desired changes in the magician's life in Magical Aromatherapy: The Power of Scent.


Essential Oils for Magic

Aromatherapy is a complex subject and is used as an alternative medicine treatment for physical and emotional health. Magical Aromatherapy is not a manual on how to treat health problems with essential oils but how to use them and other items such as flowers in magic.

Cunningham provides listings for many common and some less common oils. While the physical attributes are given, his focus is magical and he explains what magic the scent is best for including prosperity, love, protection or increasing psychic ability.

He gives examples of techniques to be used including visualization and inhalation for what he terms "programming of personal ene…

Review of Welcome to the Episcopal Church by Christopher L. Webber

[Author note:  HubPages is making changes again and I'm moving some of my hubs to other outlets.  This article was originally published in 2011 when I was considering attending Episcopal services.  I don't plan to now, so please consider this a snapshot in time of my thoughts back then. But this is still a good intro book, so I'm republishing the review here.]
A Beginning
I've been looking for a church that isn't too far right or left of center and won't chase me from the pews if I don't take the Bible completely literally. I would also like a church that is open to discussion on the nature of God.
At the very least, I want to be left alone to contemplate God and vote for who I want to without being denigrated. Growing up Baptist and then spending 20 years in neo-paganism, I know this is a tall order as I've found that some people of both religions don't allow much room for discussion politically, religiously, or socially.
From the research I've …

Runa Raven and Rune-Gild News

Update February 2013:  Unfortunately, I didn't receive my order from Runa Raven after many months.  I received one email with a lame excuse but did not receive any response when I asked them to either send my order or refund my money.  While I may still enjoy books that were published through Runa Raven Press, I couldn't recommend doing business with Mr. Thorsson if he ever decides to open the Press again.

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Runa Raven Press, the Northern European tradition publishing house run by Edred Thorsson, is closing September 20, 2012.  Thorsson is the author of the rune magic trilogy consisting of Futhark:  A Handbook of Rune Magic, Runelore:  A Handbook of Esoteric Runology, and Runecaster's Handbook among many others.  I know he's a controversial figure but I enjoy his rune writings as part of the larger body of rune books by many authors and he's certainly no intellectual slouch.

They're still taking orders up until the end date.  Besides runic titles, there are…

The Mark of Cain by Ruth Mellinkoff

I came across a fascinating little book while doing research on different witchcraft legends called The Mark of Cain by Ruth Mellinkoff.  This book actually has nothing to do with witchcraft but with Judeo-Christian concepts.

The mark of Cain refers to the biblical story of Cain and Abel, sons of Adam and Eve.  Cain is known as the first murderer after he kills his brother whose offering was accepted by God while his own offering was rejected.  The 'mark' referred to in the title is mentioned in the story of the brothers in Genesis 4:8-15 (KJV):
8 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.  9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?  10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.  11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened he…

Eliphas Levi on Magic

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I'm currently reading The Essential Golden Dawn by Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero, an excellent introduction to that magical tradition, and in it they quote Eliphas Levi on magic and prayer.  I just wanted to share it here:
"All ceremonies, consecrations, ablutions,and sacrifices are prayers in action and are symbolic formulas; and they are the most potent prayers because they are translation of word into action, showing will power and persistence, seeing that they require more constrained attention than silent prayer, or prayer expressed in words; and so they constitute real work, and such work demands a man's whole energy." Not only is this a perfect answer to the question, "Why not just pray?" but it also reminds the magician what is needed to practice artfully - one's "whole energy."

Eliphas Levi was a French would-be priest turned occultist credited with greatly inspiring the Western Magical Tradition including the Golden Dawn.  Some of h…

Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes and Processes

I was doing some research on the history of  Murray and Lanman's Florida Water used in conjure (though some say it was only used in Santeria) and as fragrance and after-bath splash.  I came across Catherine Yronwode's excellent article on the subject.  In it she mentions some sources for recipes on making your own waters including Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas, Recipes and Processes.  I have no interest in making my own as I adore the Murray and Lanman product.  But I also saw the book mentioned in a survival forum which piqued my interest.

I found the book free on Google Books, though I'm sure you can find it reprinted at Amazon if you're inclined to buy it.  Florida Water is a unisex scent that has come to be used in hoodoo for cleansing and protection.  Page 514 of the book has the recipe.

I haven't read the book and am unsure if Henley means essential oil when he uses the term "oil of."  The process of extracting oil may be described in the…

Neo-Hoodoo - The New Cultural Appropriation

It happened in the 80s and 90s with Native American culture and the 90s and early years of this decade saw the explosion of so-called Celtic Spirituality, not to mention Northern European traditions.  Now it's happening with a tradition unique to America, that of hoodoo.  I'm speaking of cultural theft.

I came across a post at the Demoniacal blog in which the author, a traditional hoodoo practitioner, discusses a run-in with a Wiccan who wants to create Neo-Hoodoo.  Essentially this Wiccan believes hoodoo is a dying tradition and Wiccans should be able to appropriate it and do what they want with it.

This isn't a new attitude and certainly not one that is limited to Wiccans.  I remember in the 90s when sweat lodges were all the rage.  I took part in many but not any put on in a traditional sense that I know of.  Eventually, I saw more of racist attitudes by whites as in "natives don't know their own ceremonial history, so why should we listen to those who tell u…

The Ciceros on Magical Egos, Pop Psychology and More

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I came across an interview by Avalonia of Chic and Tabatha Cicero that's several years old but definitely still worth a read.  They are Chief Adepts in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and have written several books on this magical tradition.  I like their style.  There is a lot of bickering back and forth between magical folks, but here is a quote from the interview that I think sums up their attitude pretty well:
"We would like to think it’s because people “get it” that we’re not interested in attracting followers, or pretending that we are greatest magicians on the planet, or trying to fleece people out of their money." On a different note, one thing I've noticed, online anyway, is that sometimes Golden Dawn and other Western Magical Tradition concepts are over simplified by some to be all about positive thinking and that the spiritual beings worked with in magic are all just parts of ourselves.  The Ciceros address this too:
"Some authors psychologize …