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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Temperance Banner

The new banner on this blog was created from a photo I took at the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan, USA.  It's of the Temperance sculpture dedicated by a Christian group in 1910.  While I don't agree with the extreme temperance movement (an oxymoron if there ever was one), the virtue of temperance itself is I believe worthy of respect.  Here is part of the definition taken from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition:
  1. Moderation in action, thought, or feeling: restraint.
  2. Habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions.
Side view of Temperance sculpture
How boring some would say and point out the quote I've seen attributed to Oscar Wilde, Ben Franklin and Mark Twain among others, "Moderation in all things, including moderation."  This quote is something I wish those pushing alcohol abstinence when this statue was erected would have taken to heart.

By no means am I temperate in all things.  But it's a personal goal I strive for at all levels physically, mentally and spiritually and in my dealings with other people.  I was reminded of this photo because of the somewhat recent internet Pagan brouhaha over soft vs. hard polytheism.  My eclecticism or maybe just my personality keeps me from caring about what others believe or how they practice their religion or live their spirituality as long as it isn't trampling on the rights and lives of others.  That doesn't mean I'm a big fan of the coexist bumper sticker ideology though.  Moderation shouldn't mean tolerating murderous, misogynistic religious ideologues.

Does temperance imply no passion?  I don't think so.  But scholars have been pondering this for centuries so I have some way to go in expounding on the virtue.  I'll leave you with some quotes I found to ponder for yourself.
"A man who is eating or lying with his wife or preparing to go to sleep in humility, thankfulness and temperance, is, by Christian standards, in an infinitely higher state than one who is listening to Bach or reading Plato in a state of pride."  ~ C. S. Lewis
"Temperance is moderation in the things that are good and abstinence in the things that are foul."  ~ Frances E. Willard
"Taste every fruit of every tree in the garden at least once.  It is an insult to creation not to experience it fully.  Temperance is wickedness."  Stephen Fry
Hmmm, it seems one man's foul would be another man's pleasure.

Basically, I hope you like the photo gentle readers.  Blessings.

© Trish Deneen

Monday, July 1, 2013

Oak Tree in Natural Medicine and Magic

The oak tree has long been associated with the Druids. These ancient priests are believed to have held a grove of oaks as a sacred meeting place. Its use in healing has been known for centuries as well as for building, which is no wonder in a tree known for its incredible strength and durability.

The Oak Tree in Natural Medicine

The bark of the oak brewed into a tea has been used for healing varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and reducing fevers. Acorns from the tree are also crushed and used in various herbal preparations including mixing with milk to help counteract reactions to medication.

Oak was one of the first Bach flower remedies. Dr. Edward Bach developed his oak essence to be used by those who suffered from instability and hopelessness drawing upon the tree's physical strength and ability to give shelter.

The Oak Tree in Spiritual and Magical Practice

As mentioned, the Druid priests considered a grove of trees, especially the oak, as a sacred space for religious communion and ritual. Drunemeton is a Celtic word for sacred oak grove, and some Pagan groups today gather in what they call their Nemeton or grove. The Druids, according to the Roman natural historian Pliny, believed that the parasitic plant mistletoe was a great healer used best if gathered from the Valonia oak tree on the sixth day of the moon.

Catherine Yronwode tells us in Hoodoo: Herb and Root Magic that African American hoodoo practitioners use tea brewed from oak bark to remove a jinx from their clients. In this tradition, oak chips and mistletoe are burned to remove unfriendly spirits from a dwelling.

The planet Jupiter is heavily associated with the oak. The god the planet takes its name from was a ruler among gods and held the responsibility of law and order as one of his tasks.

Oak is considered mighty ruler among trees in folklore and has come to be associated with sacred kingship. The cycle of the oak and holly king in Wiccan rituals represents the death and rebirth of the sacred king. Therefore, magic and ritual honoring the divine masculine is especially powerful when aided by the oak.

Modern Pagans use wands from the tree as well as leaves, acorns, and bark for use in magic, meditation, incense and talismans. Its strong, sheltering presence is the chief energy drawn upon for use in oak tree medicine and magic.

References not mentioned in article:
  • Hopman, Ellen Evert. Tree Medicine Tree Magic. Phoenix Publishing, Inc., 1991.
  • Green, Miranda J. The World of the Druids. Thames and Hudson, Ltd., 1997.

© Trish Deneen

Friday, June 28, 2013

Ash Tree in Natural Medicine and Magic for Weight Loss and Spells of Creation & Destruction

The ash tree is prized for building and flexibility and has been used throughout time to make weaponry and useful household items. Spiritually, it has a special association in different cultures as being a tree of creation, destruction, and rebirth.  Some variations of the ash tree used in medicine and magic include the white, native to North America; the European, native to Europe; and the flowering, native to Europe and Asia.

Ash in Northern European and Celtic Mythology

In Northern European lore, the famed World Tree—Yggdrasill—may have been an ash or a yew. This tree is at the heart of the nine worlds. Each world has its own inhabitants, from Asgard as the realm of the gods and Midgard as the world most familiar to humankind; to Hel as the underworld and the subconscious. The creation, destruction, and rebirth of the worlds are woven into the mythology of Yggdrasill.
Yggdrasill, public domain Wikimedia Commons


In Celtic lore, the ash was sacred, especially to warriors. Steve Blamires states in Celtic Tree Mysteries that the ash was a favorite wood for fashioning spears. He goes on to suggest that the spear is not just a physical weapon but symbolic of a magical weapon and relates it to the spear of the Celtic god Lugh—the god of many talents.

The Ash Tree in Natural Medicine

The leaves from the white and European ash are used to make a tea for weight loss as it has diuretic and laxative properties. Ash bark is believed to have liver and spleen cleansing attributes.  In homeopathy, the white ash is used for uterine problems and European ash for rheumatic conditions. The berries of the tree, also called keys, are used to relieve gas.

The Ash Tree in Magic

As mentioned above, the ash spear is a magical weapon and corresponds to the wand used by modern witches and Pagans. This, paired with the ash being associated with masculine and sun energy, enhances the purpose of this magical tool which serves to direct energy in magic.

While a magician may want to interchange the ash spear and wand in ritual, a spear could be used for magic which calls for more strength, will and focus, especially in the context of magical battle. This battle could be with a foe or some aspect of the self, which takes just as much, if not more, determination.

When things that no longer serve the magician are removed, the situation at hand can be approached from a new perspective. Meditating on the physical flexibility of the ash tree aids the magician in understanding how that same trait is needed mentally in order to remove obstacles to bring forth the spiritual properties of rebirth after a period of creation and destruction.

References not mentioned in article:
  • Hopman, Ellen Evert. Tree Medicine Tree Magic. Phoenix Publishing, Inc., 1991.
  • Gundarsson, Kveldulf Hagan. Our Troth Volume 1: History and Lore, second edition. BookSurge, LLC, 2006.

© Trish Deneen

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Walnut - Witchcraft Tree for Fertility Magic, Healing and Transitions

The walnut tree has provided food and material used for healing since the Roman times. Its long association with witchcraft once made the tree an object of suspicion and fear. Modern witches, however, hold the tree sacred and use it in folk magic and herbal remedies following in the footsteps of their ancient counterparts.

In much of Europe and Asia, the common walnut, also known as the English walnut, is widely cultivated for its delicious nuts. The most prevalent walnut trees in North America are the white or butternut walnut and the black walnut tree.

Walnut Trees in Natural Medicine

Besides being a favorite nut in baking recipes, the walnut itself contains the mineral manganese. Linda Rector Page, N.D., in Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone relates that one of the many benefits of manganese is supporting the brain and nerve centers. It also helps eliminate fatigue and nervous conditions.

The leaves from the tree are gathered in the spring or summer and dried for use in relief of skin conditions. Tea made from the leaves is also used for stomach problems and sore throat.  The green husks of the walnut have natural healing properties as well. They are boiled in water with honey added when cooled and used for sore throats. The husks are also known for being germicidal and antiseptic.

Walnut Trees in Magic and Transitions of Life

The planetary correspondence for the walnut tree is the sun, which makes its element fire. Wands from the tree have this fiery, masculine energy, believed to have magical associations with fertility and high energy.  The tree was also sacred to Astarte, the Semitic goddess of war, sexuality and fertility. The Greeks later came to associate her with Aphrodite who is most commonly known as a goddess of love and beauty.
Black Walnut By Jami Dwyer
 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

It once was called the tree of evil since witches in Italy are said to have danced under walnut trees during their rituals. Modern Pagans and witches may not carry on this specific tradition, but its use in magic is still prevalent. Specifically, carrying the nut in the shell is believed to promote fertility of mind and body.

The walnut tree is also helpful in making a transition from one state of affairs to another including major changes in life circumstances. It has the ability to break the link of past unwanted associations. Meditation on the energy of the walnut tree helps to bring clarity and strength to make the needed change.

References not mentioned in article:
  • Cunningham, Scott. Magical Herbalism. Llewellyn Publications, 1993.
  • Hopman, Ellen Evert. Tree Medicine Tree Magic. Phoenix Publishing Inc., 1991.

© Trish Deneen

Monday, June 24, 2013

Willow Tree in Natural Medicine and Magic

*Previously published elsewhere; see note at end of article. This information is based on my understanding and research done at the time of original publication.  Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

The willow tree has been used medicinally and magically in cultures nearly worldwide. The Salix alba or white willow bending over lakes and ponds is what is most commonly associated with this tree. However, there are approximately 300 species within this genus in the form of trees and shrubs.

Willow in Natural Medicine

In the New Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses, author Deni Bown relates that the anti-rheumatic properties of this plant are recorded on clay tablets of the Sumerian period as early as the 4th millennium BC. Bown also states willow was once a tree associated with grief in England where garlands of the leaves were worn in honor of departed loved ones.

Willow is considered a natural aspirin alternative. In fact, the active ingredient in aspirin is the synthetic acetylsalicylic acid, which is a derivative of salicylic acid in willow. Its pain-relieving and fever-reducing properties were known to Native Americans who brewed the bark into a tea for such purposes.

English astrologer-physician Nicholas Culpeper in his famous 17th-century Culpeper's Complete Herbal tells us the white willow in particular is good for healing wounds, stopping vomiting, and clearing skin of spots and the scalp of dandruff.

Willow in Magical Practice

Culpeper also tells us that willow is governed by the moon. Many Neo-Pagans associate the moon with the Divine Feminine. As such the willow has come to be associated with the feminine aspect of nature. Wands made from willow are used by witches and Pagans to draw upon this energy.

In African American hoodoo, willow is used for good or ill as a doll baby, which is a representation of a person. In conjure work, another term for spell work, willow is combined with other items in mojo bags that are usually made of red flannel.

Since it has such a strong association with water, willow also relates to emotions, the moon, intuition, love, and friendship. The leaves are used in love magic and divination. Wands are used in full moon ceremonies when the feminine energy is considered at its highest. Branches are popular for dowsing because of the tree's natural inclination towards water.

Observation of its characteristics belies its flexible nature as it bends with the wind. This bending down also gives it a sheltering nature. Thus, it is used in protective spells for warding the home and person from evil or ill intent.

Modern Pagans use its leaves, bark, and branches in medicine bags, for wands, and herbal mixes in magic or they simply commune with the tree's essence through meditation to bring these feminine and protective energies into their relationships and lives.

References not mentioned in article:
  • Hopman, Ellen Evert. Tree Medicine Tree Magic. Phoenix Publishing Inc., 1991.
  • Yronwode, Catherine. Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic: A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure. Lucky Mojo Curio Company, 2002.
[Note: This is one of my original articles that was first published at Suite 101. Unfortunately, much of my work has been copied and posted it elsewhere. All of the content on this site is my original work unless otherwise noted.]

© Trish Deneen

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Summer Solstice

Happy Midsummer, Summer Solstice or Litha.  By whatever name you call the holiday and however you celebrate may you have a beautiful summer season.

I've always loved Lisa Thiel's voice.  I found this tune on YouTube in honor of Litha.  Enjoy!



© Trish Deneen

Birch Tree Medicine and Magic for Sleep, Purification and Rites of Rebirth

*Previously published elsewhere; see note at end of article. This information is based on my understanding and research done at the time of original publication.  Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

The birch tree has many species including short trees and shrubs, but the two most well known are the tall white and paper (a.k.a. canoe) trees. The peeling bark was used to make paper and in the construction of canoes. The wood is used for household items such as items and kitchen ware. All parts of the tree have uses in natural medicine and magic.

Birch Tree in Natural Medicine

Birch tree drawing -
By published by Ward, Lock, & Tyler of London
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Oil extracted from birch bark is astringent and used in healing severe skin conditions such as eczema. Tea made from fresh leaves is used in breaking up small kidney stones. Tea made with either young leaves or the inner bark is used for rheumatic conditions and as a sleep aid.

Leaves of birches have diuretic properties and are used in teas along with young shoots as a laxative. All parts of the birch are high in potassium and vitamins including A, B, C and E. A tincture made with birch buds is used for fevers, colds, stomach and rheumatic problems.

Birch Tree in Magic and Divination

The Irish word for birch is beith (pronounced bayth). It was the first letter in the ancient Celtic alphabet known as the ogam. According to Erynn Rowan Laurie in her book Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom, drawing birch in a reading may indicate a need to purify intentions or that clarity and discipline are required for the question at hand.

As a result of its association with purification, birch can be used in meditation to cleanse the mind and energy fields. Brooms made of birch twigs can be used to sweep away negativity before rituals or around living spaces.

The birch tree has a feminine energy which is exemplified in berkano, a rune from an early Northern European writing and magical system. Berkano represents the goddess in her birth, death and rebirth aspects. It can be used in protection magic, especially for mothers and children as well as fertility spells. Drawing this rune in a reading signifies a rebirth or death of an old way of life.

In Celtic Tree Mysteries: Practical Druid Magic and Divination, Steve Blamires calls birch a colonizer. Because of its shorter life span than other trees, it gives its life to fertilize the ground for other forest life. Birch signifies a new beginning and the possible need to sacrifice a strongly held desire for the common good. Wands made of birch can be used in rites where the magician wishes to invoke a new phase of life.

References not mentioned in article:

[Note:  This is one of my original articles that was first published at Suite 101.  Unfortunately, much of my work has been copied and posted elsewhere.  All of the content on this site is my original work unless otherwise noted.]

© Trish Deneen

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Georgian Wicca


*Previously published elsewhere; see note at end of article.  This information is based on my understanding and research done at the time of original publication.  Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.
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The Georgian tradition is a branch of the Neo-Pagan, nature-based religion of Wicca. Its roots go back to the 1970s and include influences from older Wiccan traditions.  One of the stated goals from the Georgian Wicca website is to bring about understanding between different branches of Wicca and witchcraft.

The Founder of Georgian Wicca

This sect of the Craft takes its name from George Patterson, a World War II veteran who founded the tradition with Zanoni Silverknife and Tanith in 1970. The group became a legally recognized church in the state of California in 1971.

Influence from British Traditional Wicca

British Traditional Wicca is the term for those Wiccan traditions that can trace their lineage back to the New Forest area of England. While Georgian Wicca cannot claim this lineage, it is heavily influenced by BTW in that it is an oath-bound initiatory path.

Some of the sources drawn from to develop the Georgian tradition were Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca, the New England Covens of Traditionalist Witches as well as Patterson's own studies.

Beliefs and Practices

As mentioned, Georgian Wicca is oath-bound which is only one of the things that makes it a more traditional sect of the religion. Other traditional aspects include a three-degree initiation system, the male/female polarity in training, and the rituals are passed only between coven members of the appropriate degree.

Their are also a set magical and personal ethics coveners follow as guidelines for right relationship with their fellow Georgians and those outside of the coven. Members are encouraged to challenge themselves and grow personally.

Famous Georgians

One of Georgian Wicca's biggest claims to fame is having the prolific Craft author Dorothy Morrison as one of its high priestesses. She is known for her practical, down-to-earth books on the Craft which have introduced Wicca to people around the world.  While she does not publish Georgian material as that is against the oath-bound concept of the tradition, she has presented workable material for solitary students as well as those wanting to form groups.

I'm happy to say there is a new published Georgian author.  I very briefly studied with Puck Shadowdrake, the HP of Circle of the Samhain Moon in Michigan.  He's a great teacher and his book, Magickal Manners:  Guide to Magickal Etiquette is sure to be a valuable resource to coven leaders and seekers.

Georgian Wicca - A Tradition of Unity

In the changing landscape of eclectic Wicca where covens come and go, the Georgian tradition has outlasted many into the 21st century. There are Georgian covens across the United States and the world with membership and interest still growing.

With its history of producing notable members as well as attracting those from many walks of life, Georgian Wicca is likely to maintain its status as a solid spiritual choice for those interested in a nature-based path that encourages personal growth as well as building bridges between traditions.

Source consulted:
© Trish Deneen

[Note:  This is one of my original articles that was first published on either BellaOnline or Suite 101. Unfortunately, much of my work has been copied and posted elsewhere. All of the content on this site is my original work unless otherwise noted.]

British Traditional Wicca

Note: This information is based on my understanding and research done at the time of original publication which has been several years.  Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.  The closest I've come to working with a traditional Wiccan coven is a Georgian Wiccan group.  They were great people, though I decided this wasn't the path for me.
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British Traditional Wicca or BTW as it is commonly shortened to is a term that refers to branches of the Neo-Pagan religion Wicca that have origins in the New Forest area of England.

Origins of Wicca

Wicca is a nature-based, mystery religion that combines ancient and modern spiritual concepts. Gerald Gardner, a former British civil servant and folklorist, is credited with bringing Wicca to the public eye in the 1950s with publication of his book Witchcraft Today. He claimed to have been initiated into a coven of witches practicing an ancient strand of witchcraft in England. This group came to be known as the New Forest Coven.

Gardner later formed his own coven. More recent scholarship indicates that he may have pieced together parts taken from ceremonial magic with folk beliefs and practices from around the world as well as from the New Forest group to form the foundations of modern Wicca.

Traditional and Eclectic Wicca

Wicca has grown exponentially since Gardner began initiating coveners in the 1950s. His brand of the craft is called Gardnerian Wicca, which includes a three-degree initiation system with set tenets and beliefs to be adhered to. That is not to say that Gardnerians have no autonomy, but there is pride taken in traditions handed down from coven to coven. Each group has oath-bound material available only to coven members of the appropriate degree.

Offshoots of Gardnerian Wicca began to appear, namely Alexandrian Wicca founded by Alex Sanders, that started to develop their own lineage of covens. British author Raymond Buckland is known as the father of American Wicca. He was of Gardnerian lineage and later devised his own tradition called Seax-Wica. Lineage is one major aspect of delineation between traditional and eclectic Wicca. Eclectic Wicca is usually defined as not having a traceable line back to the New Forest area as well as having a tendency to incorporate beliefs and practices outside of Wicca and that may or may not include an initiation system.

Lines between BTW and BTW-influenced Wicca have become blurred as other groups such as Georgian Wicca founded by George Patterson in California also have an initiatory, oath-bound tradition. Strictly speaking, they are not BTW but do share a common thread of appreciation with the more traditional aspects of Wicca as opposed to religious and spiritual practice derived from books prevalent over the last several decades.

The Reason for the BTW Distinction

From my understanding, the term British Traditional Wicca is used mainly outside of Britain. In England, the religion is identified as Wicca, the Craft, or by other identifiers such as Gardnerian or Alexandrian. The distinction is needed more in the United States where hundreds of eclectic covens with various affiliations have sprung up over the latter part of the 20th century which may have vastly different practices from traditional Wicca.

Source consulted:
  • Hutton, Ronald. The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft. Oxford University Press. 1999.
An excellent resource for those interested in learning about different forms of Wicca is Wicca for the Rest of Us.

© Trish Deneen

Friday, March 1, 2013

Four Thieves Vinegar

Four thieves vinegar is used by modern witches, magicians, and hoodoo practitioners for personal protection against psychic attack and to banish an enemy from their surroundings. Being easy and cheap to whip up in the kitchen has made it a popular magical item.

Legends of the Four Thieves

There are several legends associated with the use of the vinegar. Perhaps the most well known is that of four thieves who lived during the time of the plague in France. They were caught for their thievery and imprisoned but were promised that if they buried the dead and lived, they would be set free.

The legend says that one of these thieves knew the art of herbalism well. He made some of the magical elixir to keep he and his friends safe from the plague as they were busy burying corpses. Other legends place this tale in Italy.

These legends have woven their way into folklore and permeated magical culture. A French origin is plausible since this recipe was and still is popular in hoodoo, which has strong ties to New Orleans, a city heavily influenced by the French.

Common Four Thieves Vinegar Ingredients

Just as legends vary about the vinegar's origins, so do the recipes. Basically, at least four protective herbs are needed, one for each thief, and apple cider vinegar. Garlic is usually among the five ingredients. It wouldn't be too far fetched to assume these were used because garlic has long been known as a protection against evil and vinegar as a cleansing agent.

Noted hoodoo teacher and folklorist Catherine Yronwode states on her Lucky Mojo website that she uses garlic, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Other recipes call for those three items plus black mustard seed.  Rosemary, sage, lavender, and thyme are all considered protective and cleansing herbs. This is where the creative kitchen witch can have fun and use what is appropriate for the work at hand.

Technique for Making Four Thieves Vinegar

Making four thieves vinegar is quite easy. Here is a basic technique:

  • Place the four (or more if desired) ingredients in a jar just to about 1/2 inch from rim and cover with the apple cider vinegar. Regular or red wine vinegar can be substituted for apple cider vinegar. Seal and let steep for at least a week to 6 weeks. Strain the vinegar into a clean jar and use as needed.
  • Put strong intent for the magical use while mixing the vinegar and herbs such as for all-purpose protection, banishment or cleansing.

Uses of Four Thieves Vinegar

If the herbs are safe for eating, the vinegar can be used as a condiment to be placed on food before consumption as a vehicle for protection. It can be poured in the bath for the same purpose. One traditional hoodoo use of Four Thieves Vinegar involves sprinkling it across the doorsteps of the troublesome person to banish them or simply to stop them from causing problems. Four thieves vinegar is an excellent magical tool to have on hand, especially when there isn’t a lot of time to prepare a spell.

Related:
© Trish Deneen


Monday, January 28, 2013

Cleansing Sacred Objects

*Previously published elsewhere - see note below

Items used in ritual are tactile representations of their communion with the spiritual realm. These can include simple tools such as prayer beads, rocks, shells, and feathers to more elaborate items such statuary, altars and large cauldrons. Just what makes these objects sacred varies from each person. A rock on the beach may seem mundane to some but feel like the perfect devotional tool in the hands of someone else.

One belief among Pagans is that these objects can be charged with the energy they are to be used for such as healing, divination or devotion. Before this can happen, it is necessary to cleanse the items of previously imbued energy whether it is negative or otherwise. Below are some simple cleansing rituals that can be utilized for this purpose.

Smudging

Smudging is the use of incense or herbal smoke to purify the item. This became very popular due to the use of sage in Native American inspired spirituality. A favorite incense can be used and tailored to the item's purpose such as using lavender for a healing tool or patchouli for a divination object.

Burying

If there is a great deal of negativity to the item, burying it in the earth for a short time is another way to cleanse it. Some Pagans believe this energy is transformed by the earth into nutrients for plant growth such as happens in composting waste into nutrient rich soil.

Water

Putting the item under running water is another way to cleanse. Especially powerful is running water from a fresh stream if at all possible. This is a popular method used with divining tools since water has a correspondence with psychic ability.

Sea Salt

Known for its healing properties, sea salt is one of the most widely used cleansing tools. It is especially effective in cleansing stones and crystals used for healing or psychic work. Place the item in a jar or bowl and cover with sea salt. Leave it overnight. Remove the item then dispose of the salt. Large quartz crystals cleansed with sea salt are used to place sacred objects on for cleansing. The crystal will need to be periodically cleansed after using this method with several objects.

Energy Work

One doesn’t have to be a Reiki practitioner or other healer to perform energy work. Place your hands over the item and imagine healing energy from a divine source moving into the object. This source could be a patron deity, the earth, a fresh water stream or the universe. Visualize the energy as a white or gold light, a religious symbol or whatever is appropriate for the cleansing.

Personalizing Cleansing Techniques

All of these techniques can be personalized to a specific tradition. For example, a devotee of a goddess associated with water such as Aphrodite might cleanse a shell under running water for use at a devotional shrine.

Other Techniques

These are some of the established ways of cleansing sacred objects but not the only ones. Prayer, aromatherapy, color therapy, moonlight or sunlight are some other methods used. The intention of clearing the object of negativity and focused intent on that goal is what is important.

Related:

[Note:  This is one of my original articles that was first published on either BellaOnline or Suite 101.  Unfortunately, unscrupulous people have copied much of my work and posted it elsewhere.  Please rest assured that all of the content on this site is my original work unless otherwise noted.]
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© Trish Deneen

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ley Lines in America

One of my newest articles at Squidoo is becoming one of my most popular.  I've always been fascinated by the ley line theory and sacred sites.  If you believe the earth has grid system of energy points, then you might enjoy my intro article:  Ley Lines in America.  It's actually about ley lines in North and South America.  There were already articles there on ley lines in other parts of the world so I decided to focus on the Americas.  Enjoy.

© Trish Deneen

Friday, January 25, 2013

Top Ten Healing Crystals

Crystals are used in energy healing to affect a change on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual planes. Below is a listing of the metaphysical properties of ten popular stones that can be used to make gem elixirs, in laying on of stones and with meditation. This information is not meant to replace medical advice.

Agate - Stone of Inspiration

Agate is a chalcedony that comes in a variety of colors. Some characteristics that all agate share are intellectual stimulation and balance between the emotions and intellect. Some commonly known agate types are:

Blue lace agate: This stone is used to increase effective communication and for treatment of throat ailments.
Smoky Quartz
Fire agate: A stone used to inspire action and freedom from inertia.
Moss Agate: Elixirs made from this stone are used to treat skin problems, eye disorders and to aid digestion. It's a stone of prosperity and increases self esteem.

Amethyst - Meditation and Balance

Amethyst is a variety of quartz that comes in shades of purple, from light to dark. It has been used to aid meditation, to increase psychic ability and spiritual awareness as well as to relieve headaches. It's a stone that balances the emotions and intellect.

Aventurine - The Gentle Healer

Aventurine is generally pale green in color. It's often used in conjunction with rose quartz because of its association with the heart chakra. It's used in protection against negative influences on the heart center, both physically and emotionally.

Bloodstone - Stone of Strength and Ancestral Communication

Bloodstone, also called heliotrope, is a form of chalcedony that is green with red specks. It's used to purify the blood and increase strength and vitality. In meditation, it aids in opening a link for communication with ancestors. Because of its association with blood, it has become a popular stone for menstrual problems and wound healing.

Carnelian - Stone of Sexuality and Creativity

Carnelian is a chalcedony that comes in several colors, including pink, orange, red and red brown. It stimulates creativity and compassion. Because of its association with the second chakra, it's used for sexual dysfunction and to increase passion.

Clear Quartz - The Master Programmer and Cleanser

Clear quartz is a name used for the form of silicon dioxide that appears colorless. It's used to clear the aura and physical surroundings of unwanted influences. Because of its amplification properties, clear quartz is often used to enhance the energies of other stones as well as to increase positivity. It brings a sense of clarity to all situations.

Lapis Lazuli - The Deep Healer

Lapis is deep blue in color with gold and white specks. In healing, it is used to help release deeply buried emotional disturbances from past hurts as well as to assist with problems arising from the disturbances such as anxiety and depression. It aids in psychic development, dream recall and astral travel.

Moonstone - Stone of Emotions and Intuition

Moonstone is a form of feldspar and is translucent white in color. It helps to bring emotions under control by assisting in balancing between extreme emotionality and repression. It also increases intuition and aids in psychic development.

Rose Quartz - The Love Stone

This stone comes in various shades of pink to white. It's known as a heart or love stone because of its ability to produce a calming, gentle feeling in the aura and atmosphere. It's used to heal emotional disturbances related to relationships.

Smoky Quartz - Grounding Stone

True smoky quartz appears transparent with tones of gray or black throughout and should not to be confused with clear quartz that has been radiated to create a darker color. This stone corresponds the root chakra and aids in feeling grounded and being able to provide for material needs. It helps to balance the spiritual pursuits with physical reality.  Learn more about this crystal and Spiritual and Healing Properties of Smoky Quartz.

References:
  • Melody. Love is in the Earth: A Kaleidoscope of Crystals. Earth-Love Publishing House, 1995.
  • Raphaell, Katrina. Crystal Enlightenment: The Transforming Properties of Crystals and Healing Stones. Aurora Press, Inc., 1985.
© Trish Deneen

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Odin's Associations in Myth and Magic

*Previously published elsewhere - see note below

The Norse god Odin is often depicted as a fierce warrior, but that is just one of his many attributes. This is partly due to the fact that his worship differed among the tribes of pre-Christian Northern Europe as well as the evolution of his character over time. He is complex and at times mysterious, a god of life and death, poetry and magic who can provide inspiration for various types of magic and ritual.

Odin as Creator, All-Father and Wish-Father

The Norse creation myth begins with two worlds of fire and ice. From the meeting of these worlds, Ymir is born. He is the primal giant who created the first gods. Odin and his brothers, Vili and Ve, slayed most of the elder gods and from the body of Ymir created the world of men called Midgard as well as the inhabitants of that world. Vili and Ve are often seen as personality aspects of Odin, and he has eventually become the most well known of the three.

Odhin by Johannes Gehrts
One of Odin's roles is as an All-Father or leader of the race of gods known as the Aesir. He ruled from his home in the realm of the gods known as Asgard. He presides over the Aesir as an organizer not as a judge like gods from other mythologies such as Zeus. Besides his fearsome aspects, Odin the Wish-Father is a granter of wishes and prosperity. He does tend to play favorites and enjoys granting the desires of those he favors.

Odin's Appearance and Symbols

Like gods from other pantheons, Odin can take on different guises to suit his purposes. Besides his virile warrior appearance, he is seen as an old, one-eyed man leaning on his staff and wearing a wide-brimmed hat covering half of his face. He has a long gray beard and wears a dark blue cloak.

He is often shown with his spear and two ravens, Hugin and Munin (sometimes translated to mean thought and memory), who keep him abreast of activities on earth. Other animals associated with him are:

  • The wolf which represents his ferocity.
  • The gray, eight-legged horse Sleipnir which may denote his psychopomp status.
  • He turned himself into a snake and eagle in search of the mead of poetry.

Another one of Odin's symbols is Ansuz which is the rune of communication and divine inspiration.

Odin's Association with War and Death

Odin is often depicted as a god of war in full battle regalia. Our modern term 'running berserk' comes from Odin's inspiration of the berserks in battle who were Scandinavian warriors with a fierce frenzy that seemed unstoppable. He bids his female warriors the Valkyries to grant victory in battle to those he chooses. In this way, he is the god of life and death.

He's also the psychopomp god who leads souls to Hel, the land of the dead and then brings the wisdom of the dead to the lands of the living. The blue color of his cloak mentioned above was a symbol of death in pre-Germanic culture. Indeed, his appearance in Norse lore in his old gray form usually precedes a death.

Odin as Mystic and Poet

Odin was a mystic and seer and god of poetry and magic. He used trickery to win the mead of poetry from the giant Suttung. The mead was said to bestow the gift of inspiration to any who drank it. Odin appeared as a serpent to Suttung's daughter whom he convinced to allow him to take three drinks from the mead. In doing so, he took all the mead with him as he turned himself into an eagle and flew away with the prize.

He's noted for bringing the runes, an ancient writing, divination and magic system to mankind. For nine days and nine nights he hung upside down on the World Tree and received the wisdom of the runes in return. He gave himself up for sacrifice to gain wisdom.

Honoring the Many-Faceted God

Odin is also a husband, lover, father and teacher. In Norse lore, which is rich with stories of his deeds and foibles, there are over two hundred names for him. Because of his long list of traits, this god appeals to modern followers with vastly different backgrounds. For this reason, he can be called upon in rites for purposes ranging from prosperity spells to shamanic journeys between worlds.

Sources:

© Trish Deneen

Related reading:

[Note:  This is an original article by me that was first published at Suite 101.  Unfortunately, unscrupulous people have copied much of my work and posted it elsewhere.  Please rest assured that all of the content on this site is my original work unless otherwise noted.]
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Moon Phases in Magic

The moon has long been associated with mystery and magic. While timing magic with the phases of the moon isn't necessary for a spell to work, it definitely helps to give spells that extra push in the right direction.

Magic of this type is generally performed to coincide with either the waxing, waning, new and full cycles of the moon.

Moon Phases 


New
  • New Moon: Also called the dark moon. At this point in the cycle, the moon is in conjunction with the sun (between the sun and earth) when the light from the sun renders the moon invisible to the naked eye. Some consider this a time to rest from magic. It is also good for working darker magic and communing with dark deities such as Hecate and Lilith as well as darker aspects of the personality. This is also an excellent time for binding and banishing spells.

Waxing
  • Waxing Moon: The waxing phase is the time that the moon appears to be growing larger in crescents towards the right in the sky up until the point of the full moon. This appearance of the increasing moon makes it an excellent time for magic for increase and attraction of desires such as prosperity and love spells.
Full
  • Full Moon: At this point, the moon is rising as the sun sets. Without the bright sunlight to block the view is when the moon is seen in all its glory. Magically, the energy of the moon is at its peak. This is the best time for spells of increase personally and for the planet. Rituals of protection, divination and honoring the moon are also performed. While it is good to try to time magic exactly on the full moon, it can be acceptable to perform full moon magic one day before and one day after the actual date to get the desired results.
Waning
  • Waning Moon: The waning phase is that time when the moon appears to be growing smaller in crescents to the left to the point of the new moon. This is the best time magically for decrease and to perform spells to let go of unwanted things, situations and habits. Spells of banishment and curse removal are more powerful during the waning moon.

General Moon Cycles

This appearance of a growing moon is actually caused by the position of the moon relative to that of the sun and the earth. The entire cycle lasts approximately 29 days and there are usually 13 of these cycles every year.

Importance of Wording of Spells with Moon Magic

Spells can be performed during different phases of the moon depending on the wording and intention. A healing spell could be worded as a desire for increased health which would be performed during the waxing phase or on the full moon. A desire can also be stated for the illness to diminish. In that case, the spell would be performed during the waning phase.

Spells for weight loss could be done during the waning moon while magic for increased will power can be done during the waxing moon. With this strategy in mind, there should be no difficulty in finding just the right moon phase to perform spells.

Source consulted:

Yronwode, Catherine. Moon Phases in Hoodoo Magic. Lucky Mojo, 1995-2009.


© Trish Deneen

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Odin's Journey for the Runes

The Norse god Odin is known for his traits both praised and loathsome. He ruled Asgard, the realm of the gods, and is called the All-Father, he who made the worlds with his two brothers, Vili and Ve. He also plays a major role in Northern European lore as the god who received the runes by his own shamanistic death journey.

Odin as God of Death

He is known as a battle god not so much for fighting but for choosing which warriors are to be slain. In this sense, he is a god of death and a psychopomp leading souls through the worlds. Many times though the Valkyries performed this task in his name. He was loved as a giver of wealth and good fortune yet feared for his association with death.

Odin as God of Communication and Magic

H.R. Ellis Davidson in Gods and Myths of Northern Europe links Odin's death aspect with his role as a god of magic. He brought forth the runes used in writing and spellcraft. Galdor (also spelled galdr) is the combination of poetry and rune carving both of which Odin is a master of.

Odin's Sacrifice on Yggdrasill for the Runes

Sacrifices were common to the god in the form of piercing and hanging the sacrificed from a tree. However, Odin expected no more from his worshipers than he did from himself. In order to learn the wisdom of the nine worlds (the heathen concept of the otherworld), he pierced himself with a spear and hung from Yggdrasill, the World Tree.

Yggdrasill itself is at the middle of the worlds. Midgard is the physical realm. At the bottom of the tree is Hel, the land of the dead, which contrary to the similarity to the word for the Christian Hell was not necessarily a place for sinners.

Davidson likens Odin's act of self sacrifice to a trance journey through the land of the dead such as shamans of other cultures took to gain wisdom, though modern scholars and heathens hesitate to call the Norse a shamanic culture. Through pain and deprivation he sacrifices himself to himself to gain initiation into the mysteries he seeks.

In the Auden and Taylor translation of the Havamal, a poem through which Odin purportedly speaks, he tells us:
"Wounded I hung on a wind-swept gallows
For nine long nights, Pierced by a spear, pledged to Odhinn,
Offered, myself to myself
The wisest know not from whence spring
The roots of that ancient rood
They gave me no bread,
They gave me no mead,
I looked down;
with a loud cry
I took up the runes;
from that tree I fell."
Odin's Gift to the World 

Odin gave the greatest sacrifice to receive the runes—his life and ego—and was rewarded with the wisdom he sought. He shared them with man leaving what information he believed humankind unable to handle as mysteries retrievable by those willing to make their own journey of sacrifice for the sake of wisdom.

Source:
© Trish Deneen

Monday, January 21, 2013

Aleister Crowley Quotes on Magic and Will

*Previously published elsewhere - see note below

Crowley as a young man in ritual regalia
As magician Aleister Crowley told it, he was so mischievous his mother would call him Beast 666 in comparison to the evil biblical creature.  Later in his life, this famous occult figure continued to call himself the name as part of his rejection of what he believed to be oppressive societal standards.  His written works on the occult and magic have spawned a religious movement and influenced modern witchcraft. Here are some quotes from his most famous material.

Quintessential Crowley

Aleister Crowley's most well-known and talked about quote is from his seminal work Magick in Theory and Practice and states his idea of the nature of magic:
"Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will."
The concept of the pure will of the individual was paramount in Crowley's philosophy and is touched upon below.

Wisdom from the Book of the Law

While on honeymoon in Egypt, Aleister Crowley's wife, Rose, received instruction through a trance that her husband needed to once again begin his magical studies that he had been ignoring. Per instruction from Rose, Crowley sat down at given times to transcribe the message he was supposed to receive.

Liber AL vel Legis or the Book of the Law was dictated over the days of April 8, 9, and 10 in 1904 from what Crowley claimed was the voice Aiwass, a messenger announcing the changing of the age to that of the magical child. These are but a few of the quotes from the book that would eventually give birth to Crowley's Thelemic spiritual order.

  • "Every man and woman is a star."
  • "For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect."
  • "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."
  • "There is no law beyond do what thou wilt. Love is the law, love under will."
His use of the word will has caused much contention. While it may be seen as a license for hedonism without thought for others, that is not what was meant in the Book of the Law.

Crowley believed that the pure will of every man and woman was their highest nature which was in harmony with the divine will of the universal creative force.

The Holy Guardian Angel

Crowley stated about the purpose of magic in Magick Without Tears:
"It should never be forgotten for a single moment that the central and essential work of the Magician is the attainment of the knowledge and conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel."
This magical concept of uniting with this supreme spiritual being was not new but expanded upon by Crowley. He believed pure will can only be expressed after this meeting with the Holy Guardian Angel (also referred to as the HGA).

Notably, Crowley was no angel himself. His childhood propensity for challenging society's assumptions of what was good and evil stayed with him throughout his life.

Sources:
  • DuQuette, Lon Milo. The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of Rituals of Thelema. Weiser Books, 1993.
  • Holy Guardian Angel. Thelemapedia: The Encyclopedia of Thelema and Magick. June 2005. March 2009.
[Note:  This is an original article by me that was first published at Suite 101.  Unfortunately, unscrupulous people have copied much of my work and posted it elsewhere.  Please rest assured that all of the content on this site is my original work unless otherwise noted.]




(c)Trish Deneen

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How to Make a Moon Elixir

 *Previously published elsewhere - see note below

Goddess-centered groups and other Pagans honor the phases of the moon in ceremony and magical practice. One reason for this is to bring the qualities of the moon into their lives including increased intuition, self-awareness, healing, magical ability and feminine power.  A simple moon elixir can be prepared and used by those who want to enhance their magical rites.

Lunar Phases for Magic

Before making the elixir, it's good to note what magical qualities each phase of the moon possesses. The elixir will then take on the quality of that particular phase. Below is a brief explanation of lunar phases:
  • Full moon:  This is the peak time to perform spells for increased wealth, health and romance as well as protection.
  • Waning moon:  Rituals of release and letting go of unwanted things, habits and relationships.
  • New moon:  A good time for banishment and binding spells.
  • Waxing moon:  This phase lends its energy to attraction of material, emotional and spiritual desires.
Items Needed to Make a Moon Elixir

The materials required to create a moon elixir include:
  • Spring or distilled water
  • Glass bowl or jar
  • Plastic wrap (optional to cover jar)
Moon Elixir Preparation

To make a moon elixir, simply pour spring water in the container and leave outside for several hours during the desired phase of the moon.

A moon elixir can also be made like gem elixirs and flower essences with brandy or cider vinegar as a preservative and stabilizer. First, a stock essence is made by placing equal parts of the charged water with brandy or cider vinegar in a dark-colored, glass dropper bottle. A dosage bottle is made from this by placing two drops from the stock essence into a 20-mL dark, glass dropper bottle with one teaspoon of brandy. Fill the bottle with water. The use of this dosage essence is explained further below.

Moon Elixir Variations

Crystals enhance the effectiveness of moon elixirs and can be added to the elixir bowl while it's under the moon. Popular stones are those that are thought to increase clairvoyance such as moonstone, amethyst, obsidian and lapis lazuli. However, other stones can be used relating to the particular need of the practitioner.

The bowl of water can be placed on an altar with statues or magic tools that represent specific gods and goddesses to add their attributes to the elixir.

How to Use Moon Elixirs

Moon elixirs can be used in spells to draw on lunar energy. It's useful to have elixirs on hand that were made during each moon phase to use if the magic can't be performed during the correct phase called for in the spell. The elixir can be used to cleanse sacred objects, bless altars and people and for scrying.

Ritual participants can drink the elixir from the bowl immediately after it has been sitting in the moon during a ceremony to take in not only lunar properties but also the energy of the particular rite they're performing.

Dosage-strength elixirs can be taken like flower essences by placing 2-4 drops under the tongue or in a small glass of water. This is not meant as a medicinal remedy but to imbue the user with the same energy as the specific phase of the moon.

The Wiccan ceremony of drawing down the moon calls upon the energy of the goddess to enter into the priestess during a full moon rite. By partaking of moon elixirs the celebrants at this or any lunar rite add power to the ceremony by increasing their awareness of moon's magical aspects.

Source consulted:

  • Cochrane, Amanda and Clare G. Harvey. The Encyclopaedia of Flower Remedies: The Healing Power of Flowers from Around the World. Thorsons, 1995.

[Note:  This is an original article by me that was first published at Suite 101.  Unfortunately, unscrupulous people have copied much of my work and posted it elsewhere.  Please rest assured that all of the content on this site is my original work unless otherwise noted.]
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© Trish Deneen

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Singing Crystal Bowls Meditation

I used to belong to a women's group that would meet mainly for full-moon ceremonies.  Occasionally, one of the members would bring her set of crystal singling bowls to include in a pre-ritual meditation.  They were incredibly effective in raising the vibration of the group and ritual space.

Tibetan Buddhists utilize singing bowls in ritual and they are believed to have an ancient origin but I'm not sure if the origins are clear.  They've been popular with New-Agers and Pagans alike as well as yoga practitioners and alternative healers.  As sound is a powerful vibratory force, it only makes sense that it can affect us on that level.

This meditation by Luminous Energies on YouTube is very relaxing, but there's just nothing like being in the same room with them.  There are sets that are sold with bowls that correspond to each chakra and are named with notes, C note, B note, etc.







 © Trish Deneen

Friday, January 18, 2013

How to Make a Gem Elixir

*Previously published elsewhere - see note below

Gem elixirs store the properties of crystals in liquid form. They're also called crystal or gem essences and are used for healing the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies. Below are instructions for making personal gem elixirs with variations. This is not meant to replace medical advice but to act as a complement to traditional health care.

Materials Needed to Make Elixirs

The materials needed to make gem elixirs can be easily found and are listed below. Crystals are often sold in metaphysical shops or online. Most of the items listed can be purchased at a grocery or drug store. The amber dropper bottles can be found online at natural health outlets including those that sell aromatherapy supplies.

  • Crystal of choice (polished or well-cleaned stones are best to prevent raw material from getting into the elixir)
  • Distilled or spring water
  • Glass bowl
  • Glass jar
  • Amber dropper bottles (optional)
  • Brandy or cider vinegar (optional)

Prepare Crystals for Use

Crystals must first be cleansed of previous energies they have acquired. Passing them through incense or under running water while consciously affirming that they're being cleared of any previous energies are two effective ways of doing this. Smaller stones can also be placed for 24 hours on a larger clear quartz crystal cluster that is used for cleansing purposes.

Programming is the term used for placing focused intent into the crystal for use. It's essential to meditate with the crystal to affirm what it is that stone will be used for before making an elixir with it. This will ensure that the elixir carries the specific healing properties desired.

Gem Elixir Preparation and Variations

Place the crystal in the bowl filled with water for 24 hours in the sunlight. Store in a jar or use immediately.
The elixirs can also be made and used in the same manner as flower essences. A stock essence, also called the mother tincture, is made by placing equal parts of the gem elixir and brandy or cider vinegar in a dark-colored glass dropper bottle. To make a dosage essence, place one teaspoon of brandy and two to four drops of the mother tincture in a 20-mL amber dropper bottle and fill with distilled or spring water.

How to Use Gem Elixirs

Elixirs are used to treat the subtle energy fields of the body as well as the physical body itself. Below are common ways to use them:

  • Add it to a bath for meditation.
  • Drink the water (not the mother tincture) as a tonic.
  • Take two to four drops of the dosage essence directly under the tongue or in a glass of water up to four times a day.

Popular Crystals to Use in Elixirs

There are hundreds of stones available for use in elixirs. Those from the quartz family are some of the most common including clear quartz, rose and smoky quartz and amethyst.  For a look at more, visit Crystals for the Solar Plexus Chakra, Spiritual and Healing Properties of Purple Crystals and Crystals for the Heart Chakra.

References:


[Note:  This is an original article by me that was first published at Suite 101.  Unfortunately, unscrupulous people have copied much of my work and posted it elsewhere.  Please rest assured that all of the content on this site is my original work unless otherwise noted.]
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© Trish Deneen

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chaos Magic and Sigils

Chaos magicians have a penchant for using sigils in their rites. Sigils are symbols used to create reality according to the will of the magician. Since symbols have resonated deeply with humanity for thousands of years, this is an especially powerful way to practice magic.

Attributes of Chaos Magic

Chaos Star
Unlike what the name implies, chaos magic is hardly chaotic. It can be, but the point is to be freed of cultural programming in order to bring about true change. In this sense, chaos is the cathartic element that pushes the magician past restrictive personal boundaries.

Chaos magicians stay away from a dogmatic approach. Instead, they believe in embracing different belief systems as a means to an end. For instance, for one rite, they may immerse themselves in ceremonial magic techniques and for another may use a more nature-based ritual to achieve success in their work.

A.O. Spare - Pioneer in Chaos Magic

Austin Osman Spare, an early 20th century English artist and occultist, pioneered chaos and sigil magic in what he termed the atavistic resurgence. According to a short biography of Spare by Nevill Drury in Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult, he used sigils as a way to access the godhead within as a source of genius.

Spare believed that sigils could be used as a symbolic set of instructions to direct the will. He used them in a trance state to connect his subconscious mind with the universal spirit that he called Kia. He would achieve this state by one of several methods including deep meditation and sexual release. He believed the latter especially was a time when a state of momentary absence of thought was achieved and was the best time to be united with Kia.

How to Use Sigils in Practical Magic

While Spare's goal was to contact the higher self and spiritual realms, his techniques have been adapted for practical magic which focuses on immediate material or emotional gain.

Sigils are most effective when created by the magician for personal magic. To construct a sigil using Spare's method, do the following:
Job Sigil
  1. Write out the desired magical effect as a sentence such as "I desire a new job."
  2. Cross out all repeating letters.
  3. Make a glyph with the remaining letters so that they appear unrecognizable to their original form.
  4. Build energy around the sigil either through meditation or an ecstatic method such as orgasm or dancing and music.
  5. Once this energy has reached its peak, release it while visualizing the sigil.
  6. Make a record of successes and failures in a magical diary in order to develop the best personal magic practice.
  7. Try to forget about the sigil after this. Otherwise, the energy hasn't truly been let go for the magic to work.
Further source:
  • Hine, Phil. Condensed Chaos: An Introduction to Chaos Magic. New Falcon Publications, 1995.
[Note:  This is an original article by me that was first published at Suite 101.  Much of my work has been copied and posted elsewhere.  All of the content on this site is my original work unless otherwise noted.] 



© Trish Deneen

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Holy Harmony by Jonathan Goldman

I've recently discovered Jonathan Goldman who creates beautiful music for healing and meditation.  I used to be much more in the loop regarding these types of artists when I worked in the alternative health field.  I'm sorry I've missed out on Mr. Goldman's work all these years, but I'm making up for it now.

This music is from his CD Holy Harmony.  From the Amazon description, this music includes sounds of:
"tuning forks of the complete healing codes of the Bible, and the choral chant of YHSVH, an ancient Hebrew sacred name of Christ."
To me, this is a deeply prayerful piece.



You can learn more about Jonathan Goldman at his website.

© Trish Deneen

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chakra and Flame Psychic Self-Defense Meditation

Psychic self-defense is a term used to describe protection from unwanted influences whether or not they're from intentional psychic attack, also known as psychic vampirism. This can be from an outside source or from self-destructive behavior. One technique used for protection is visually bathing the body in the colors of the chakra system and encasing it in a protective blue flame.

Chakras, Psychic Attack and Psychic Vampires

According to psychologist and founder of the International Parapsychology Research Foundation, Joe Slate, in his book Psychic Vampires: Protection From Energy Predators and Parasites, psychic vampirism is an energetic phenomenon that leaves victims feeling lethargic, emotionally drained and even physically ill.

An energetic field surrounding the body, has been recorded by techniques such as Kirlian photography. Metaphysical practitioners and researchers including Slate call this field the aura and believe it can extend several feet out from the body and be weakened by stress, illness and psychic attack. His theories are experimental and based on years of working with private clients.

In Eastern spiritual traditions, chakras are energy centers of the body that govern specific physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of a person as well as the aura. In theory then, meditative exercises focused on strengthening the chakras provide needed support to the aura making it less vulnerable to psychic attack.

Psychic Protection Meditation Technique




The chakras are usually visualized as spheres of light just outside the physical body. However, in this technique, the entire body is encompassed by each of the colors to bring a strong sense of awareness of the affect that each chakra can have on the entire system. The following meditation begins with the color of the root chakra at the base of the spine and moves up to the first located in the forehead area.

  1. Set aside at least 10 minutes or more to do this. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and take three slow, deep breaths. Perform a grounding visualization such as imagining tree roots coming down from the base of the spine into the center of the earth. Incorporate the colors black and red which represent the root chakra by visualizing the roots of the tree as black with red veins.
  2. Visualize a ball of brilliant opalescent light above the body. Notice the translucent rainbow quality it has. This ball slowly becomes large enough to encompass the entire body and extend beyond it about 3 feet in length. Now, see the light slowly turn deep orange and then bright yellow. These are the colors of the second and third chakras respectively which are the pleasure and power centers.
  3. Now, visualize the ball of light turning green and then blue which represent the heart and throat chakras. These two centers govern healing, relationships and communication.
  4. Next, visualize the light turning indigo which is a combination of deep blue and purple. This is the color of the third eye chakra which governs dreams, spirituality and psychic ability.
  5. Keep this indigo color in mind while visualizing a controlled bright blue flame surrounding the body and its chakras.
  6. Keep this flame in place while visualizing the indigo turning back to the opalescent light at the beginning of this meditation.
  7. Stay focused on this powerful protective flame for a few minutes. Now, visualize the flame and light slowly fading away. Remember, however, that the flame is still there and ready to be called upon for protection at any time.

Chakra Meditation Additions and Variations

A lit blue candle may be used as a focal point to aid in visualizing the protective flame. Affirmations can be added which reinforce a safe state of being. The flame is sometimes associated with the protective fiery sword of archangel Michael. Either he, an ancestor, spirit guide or other trusted figure may be visualized along with the flame.

Prayers and offerings to specific deities either before or after this exercise would be helpful in setting an atmosphere of sacred space as would performing this meditation at an altar where prayers are consistently offered.

Benefits of Psychic Self Defense Techniques

Taking defensive action against psychic attack can produce a feeling of self-confidence which permeates into other areas such as work and relationships. Focusing on clearing and protecting the chakras can bring a sense of calm.

Paying attention to the body's energy centers may also aid in perception as to whether there is truly a psychic attack taking place or if the stressful situation is personally inflicted through lack of self-care of physical and emotional needs.

Source:
  • Judith, Anodea. Wheels of Life: A User's Guide to the Chakra System. Llewellyn Publications, 1987.
© Trish Deneen

Monday, January 14, 2013

Uruz - Rune of Health and Manifestation

*Previously published elsewhere - see note below

Uruz (pronounced oo-rooz) is the U rune and comes from an early Northern Eurpoean letter script which later came to be associated with magic and divination. Its divinatory meaning is linked with the word's origin and Norse mythology. It's used to attract good health, manifestation of desires and also during times when strength of mind, body and spirit are called for.

Etymology of Uruz

There are different associations with the word uruz. The scholar R.I. Page in Runes: Reading the Past suggests that it's reconstructed from the word ur in Old English and Old Norse which had different meanings in each culture. In English, it meant wild ox or cow but in Norwegian meant slag which is a by-product of metal working. In Icelandic, the word is associated with drizzle or rain. Some modern rune authors focus on one or more of these different meanings along with the study of Norse lore to derive magic and divinatory uses for the rune.

The Wild Ox in Norse Myth
Ymir and Audhumla

The aurochs was the ancestor of the wild ox. The first aurochs named Audhumla played a large part in Norse creation myths. Before the earth was created, there were worlds of fire and ice. In the meeting of these two worlds sprung forth Audhumla out of the melting ice.

In Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, H.R. Ellis Davidson relates one myth in which Audhumla sustained Ymir, another creature who came forth from the ice. He suckled her milk to survive and was the giant from whose left arm was formed the first man and woman.

Audhumla was also responsible for releasing Bor, the progenitor of the Norse gods, from the ice by licking away the rime. The gods would eventually slay Ymir and his blood is what formed the earth while from Audhumla's udders came the milk that would become the rivers of the world.

Magical and Divinatory Uses of Uruz

Due to the association with Audhumla and creation, uruz is commonly considered a rune of growth, virility, and the ability to shape one's own reality. As the ancient auruchs helped bring forth the creators of humankind and the world, so to does uruz unearth latent potential. It can be combined in spells with any other rune to add a boost to that particular rune's purpose.

When uruz is drawn in a reading, it can signal a time of manifestation of current desires or needs. It might also indicate the health of the querant either good or ill depending on its position to other runes. In its slag or drizzle sense, drawing this rune could mean that it's time for a cleansing whether it be mental, spiritual or physical. It could also mean that after this cleansing the situation should then be looked at from a clear state of mind.

The auruchs was an animal of great size and strength. Meditating on the rune symbol or carrying the rune as a talisman are ways to draw on the strength of uruz. A simple talisman can be made by drawing the symbol on paper, carving it in wood or painting it on stone while intently focusing on the talisman's purpose. On a personal level, working with uruz increases self-awareness of what strengths and weaknesses are brought to any given situation.

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[Note:  This is an original article by me that was first published at Suite 101.  These articles were meant for a general audience and don't necessarily represent my current personal practice but I share them for those who will find them useful.  I started a rune series for Suite because there wasn't on there but left the site before I finished the series.]
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© Trish Deneen

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fehu - Rune of Wealth and Power

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

Fehu (pronounced fay-hu) is a rune of wealth and mobile power. In divination, it often refers to issues of money, but it is also used in magic and meditation to attract wealth, an attitude of prosperity and a sense well-being.

Original Meaning of the Fehu Rune

Fehu is the Germanic word commonly used for this rune. However, the word has several variants in old languages. In Old Norse, it's "fe"; in Old English, it's "foeh", and "faihu" in Gothic. All of these terms roughly translate to cattle, wealth and livestock. Cows and other animals were a measure of a person's success and ability to provide for his needs. Those with money had power to rule their own lives and very often the lives of others.

Divination With Runes

As with most divination systems, the meaning of fehu is conditional depending upon the question that was asked during the reading and the other runes appear in the reading. For example, if the isa (ice) rune is next to the fehu rune, there may be a temporary setback monetarily. Wealth is usually seen as positive, but money is also associated with the duty to use it in a responsible manner.

Prosperity can also be interpreted as creativity and fertility, which can be in the form of a baby, a good crop year, or an increase in work or productivity.

Changing Attitudes With Runes

Meditation with the rune helps a person develop a better attitude towards work and money. It also helps to see what if any mental or emotional blocks there may be to receiving prosperity. As mentioned above, the concept of mobile power is illustrated by fehu's original association with cattle. Therefore, meditating daily on the image of this rune helps to break through periods of stagnation.

Fehu in Magic

Fehu can be drawn on paper and used as a magical talisman to attract money and overcome creative blocks. It can be etched on clay or glass beads and burned or painted onto wood beads and used the same way as a paper talisman. Creating the runic image should be done with strong intent and purpose either through meditation or more elaborate rituals.

It's important to be specific about the desired outcome of the magic keeping in mind the different associations linked to fehu. If the fehu rune's other associations are not considered, then a spell done using a generic term like "prosperity" might result in fertility in a case where cash was the desired object.

Rune Use for Personal Development

Consistently working with fehu can increase confidence in personal power and the ability to provide for oneself. This confidence is carried over into other areas of life including work and family relationships and creative endeavors. In this way, fehu is a tool which lays down a harmonious foundation from which to further develop personally and spiritually.

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[Note:  This is an original article by me that was first published at Suite 101.  Unfortunately, unscrupulous people have copied much of my work and posted elsewhere.  Please rest assured that all of the content on this site is my original work unless otherwise noted.   I started a rune series for Suite because there wasn't one there but left the site before I finished it.]
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© Trish Deneen