“One must KNOW in order to DARE. One must DARE in order to WILL. One must WILL to have the Empire. And to reign, one must BE SILENT.” (1)
This is a time of the year that we all seem so very busy. Being witches, we understand and respond to the tides and changes in nature and since we are in the tide of rapid growth, which means rapid activity for everyone. This is normal within the natural cycle of things and is never a surprise for a witch – for we understand these times come around again each and every year. I always tell my students, “Strike when the iron is hot!”
Maybe you are new to witchcraft and want to know what activities that many witches engage in this time of year or maybe you are seasoned in the arts of witchcraft and looking for fresh ideas of what other witches may engage in. You may ask yourself even, in the life of the witch, what activities might we find enjoyable and worthwhile in the magical work that we perform this time of year? In this blog I hope I can give you some inspiration from the magical work of the Wolfa Coven….
Because the weather here in the Northeast of the U.S. is fair and nature springs forth in full bloom, many of our activities focus on activities out of doors. You might find yourself carrying forth the old cauldron for cooking your meal over the Sabbat baalfire at coven (an article here on The Witches Cauldron!) or you might find yourself casting spells with flowers and plants that you gather outside. This is something that is a specialty in the Wolfa Coven as we have a great affinity for spellmaking with natural items.
An example of spells using plants and flowers is to gather together flowers and plants that correspond with the desire you wish to bring about – these flowers become a physical petition for your will. These flowers can be arranged in a vase in your home or artfully designed or tied into a posy or nosegay to be dried and carefully work their magic in your home, office, bedroom or even given to a friend for healing or so they may obtain their desires.
I was pleasantly surprised a few years ago when I purchased the new edition of The Spiral Dance by Starhawk in which she describes in her notes a similar technique of creating a spell of this nature on page 273 that she calls “eco-spellcasting” (2) because the items themselves are all natural and can be given back to nature when completed. The method Starhawk describes is sound, practical and costs little to nothing to do. Most importantly, it is down-home practical spellcasting.
Another version of this work is performed by the Wolfa Coven and I’m sure many other witches as well and that is arranging the appropriate plants and flowers upon the Sabbat altar. Flowers present on the altar are important for the attraction and working with nature spirits and serves as a method for us to align with the energies of the season. To do this, we gather cut flowers, tree branches, plants and herbs from outdoors and arrange them into a beautiful vase to decorate the Sabbat altar. The plants selected are almost always plants in season that correspond with the correct time of the year.
This idea common in Wicca has been thought about by many others too, as many have seen the power and simple effect that cut flowers and plants have on the space when carefully arranged. A beautiful quote that emphasizes this is:
“Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – like writing a poem or saying a prayer.” – a beautiful quote penned and made popular by Anne Morrow Lindberg
Speaking of the idea of prayer, it is but a powerful form of communication and radiating of power in which you use certain divisions of seven-fold bodies of man that make up our very being. The problem is that so many folks do not know how to correctly “pray.” The practice of prayer is very common among the members of the Wolfa Coven – the power of applying correct prayer. With nature in full beauty and nice weather, it makes a great time of the year to travel to certain locations that allow us to pray.
While I can’t write about here our exact techniques in the application of prayer, I can direct you to a wonderful new book that teaches many great techniques of applying prayer correctly – bringing to modern man the ancient techniques of prayer. You can discover some of these techniques from a wonderful book by Gregg Braden called Secrets of the lost mode of prayer – the hidden power of beauty, blessing, wisdom and hurt.
The experienced witch may find this brief quote will ring-true to them and may whet your appetite a bit to purchase this book yourself and learn about how to pray:
“What you have seen is what we do to create the feeling in our bodies.” (3)
What could be a more simple and worthwhile endeavor for a witch to learn more about? Many who are new to witchcraft shun the practice of performing prayer because the word itself may bring up hurt feelings and emotions from possibly a previous religion they have left. Once you are able to let go of the hurt emotions that only impede our progress to finding real occult truths, you may find it a worthwhile practice to integrate. The fact is – prayer belongs to no one religion. You can be any religion and engage in prayer, or no religion whatsoever!
The opposite of prayer is meditation, which instead of radiating power outward, we read the astral matter around us to discover what is truly there. This may best be described as contemplation and we have written a blog about this as well that you can find here.
The world’s most famous witch, the late Sybil Leek, talked about the importance of understanding the difference between prayer and meditation in her best-selling book Diary of a Witch (4) in which many magical gems are revealed to the reader if you are careful enough to watch for them. Many times, we are obsessed with the actual story itself, rather than reading between the lines to find the gold-nuggets that are discerned by the occult adept. They are there to find if you know how to spot them.
In the teachings of the Wolfa Coven, we work with the elementals and the manipulation of the aether through the correct concentration and movement of what today might be called the power or astral light/aether by concentration which attracts the elementals to a place and then directed by thought. This might be used in combination with techniques similar to Starhawk’s “eco-spellcasting” (2) or through use of natural items and concentrated thought using a magical fluid condenser upon an object. The study and understanding of the higher mind, the desire body, the electromagnetic field and the astral/ethereal body gives many hours of fascinating study into this subject.
Speaking of the power of plants, you may be surprised that many activities for the herbal enthusiast can occur at any time of the year. Many great herbals can give you wonderful information that you can use the natural items that Dame Nature gives us. One of my favorite little gems is Mrs.Reppert’s Twelve Month Herbal by Bertha Reppert. (5) In the book, she gives us an herbal activity for each day of the year! The activities can be for making herbal remedies, herbal treats, growing and tending to plants and flowers or even working with garden fairies! If you are interested in some of my favorite herbals that I refer to time and time again, I have written a blog on my favorite herbal books that will introduce these to you that you can have hours upon hours of enjoyment learning about and practicing herbalism and the gentle art of brewing potions, tisanes, simples and even recipes for dinner!
Speaking of nature spirits, a worthwhile activity is tending to the environment around you. If you haven’t started the practice of recycling, it could be a good idea to take that up! Summer cleaning in which you go through your house and de-clutter can be a spiritual activity in itself. As you remove clutter from your space to donate, recycle or even up-cycle; you can spiritually clean the space. Almost as if you mentally say, “As I give of this item so that ………..”
Tending to your immediate environment not only attracts the attention of the nature spirits around you, it changes the energy of the area around you. A great little booklet by Clifford J. Mikkelson called How to Help Nature Spirits Clean up the Environment (6) gives helpful ideas for what we might call “Mindful Living” today by outlining a few simple techniques to recognize the power of them in your environment and also how you can be mindful of their presence.
Magical herbalism is a very popular venture among witches. One traditional herb that is picked at Midsummer is St. John’s Worth which is said to ensure pregnancy (7) as a folklore fertility charm. In fact, either Midsummer or St. John’s Eve is said to be the most popular time to pick herbs. In fact, in Gypsy Witchcraft the Summer Solstice is said to be the most powerful time of the year to cast love spells and brew love potions. Both the Gypsy witches of England and of Eastern Europe consider this a very powerful night. Some Gypsy witches might even consider all spells to be most powerful this time of the year.
Also on the subject of herbalism, one close friend of mine who is a Gardnerian initiate of the Wicca who lives on the West Coast is engaged in creating herbal items that will be of interest to many readers of the Wolfa Coven blog. She is finishing her preparations of these herbal brews and will soon have them ready for sale after they have been consecrated in circle. We have spent many hours over the last year talking about this fun venture she is doing and I can’t wait to write about her amazing abilities and products in magical herbalism here on this blog and introduce you to her items. Stay tuned!
Today, the practice of “Mindfulness” and mindful living has become a recent trend in a positive direction. You can find this practiced amongst lunch-clubs, with co-workers at the office or even in schools today to help children in their cognitive thinking. This is a positive thing in the Age of Aquarius that has occurred in which the art of expanding our own awareness has shown positive impacts. How better would this world be if we were all more mindful of what we say and do in our interactions with others? This is a subject that also is of an interest to members of the Wolfa Coven and both members of the Horsa Tradition and Sacred Pentagraph have practiced for many years, and in fact, hold this as one of our Tenets of Witchcraft! To us, Mindfulness falls in under the Tenet of Harmony in which we constantly work to be in a place of harmonious existence with the world around us. (Something we constantly strive and aspire to do) To find our place in the grand scheme and be in harmony with it – with people, nature, spirits, etc. It is amazing how the Tenets of Witchcraft that we practice is very similar to many of the trends that spiritual and mindful folks in the world are now constantly working towards developing on a wider scale. This is amazing to see!
Another activity that we find to be popular at the Sabbat of Midsummer is that of the bonfire and the dance. A great description can be found in MacCulloch’s wonderful and informative book titled, The Religion of the Ancient Celts:
“Dancing sunwise round the fire to the accompaniment of songs which probably took the place of hymns or tunes in honour of the Sun-god, commonly occurred, and by imitating the sun’s action, may have been intended to make it more powerful. The livelier the dance the better would be the harvest. As the fire represented the sun, it possessed the purifying and invigorating powers of the sun; hence leaping through the fire preserved from disease, brought prosperity, or removed barrenness.” (8)
Today, many witches still leap the fires for luck!
Another exciting thing a witch engages in during all seasons is the learning of new skills and knowledge. As you know, the path of becoming the witch is always one of constant learning. We take the Tenet of Learning very seriously in that there is always something new to learn. A good friend and witch downline has recently written a new blog post titled Magic Words and Sigil Magick. His blog explains this magical art in very easy to understand language and is well worth the read. Fen Alarun is a serious witch and a thinker whom I admire.
For the readers of this blog who are interested in the role of gay and bi-sexual male perspective of witchcraft, another witch I admire who leads a sizable group of gay and bi-sexual witches that practice coven-based witchcraft all over the country has released a series of articles detailing the role of gay and bi-sexual male mysteries – both from the past and in the present day. You can read the articles at www.galawitchcraft.com The beauty of the Gala Tradition is that it is inclusive of gay men, of all gender identities who wish to practice and explore together – the becoming of the gay mystic and occultist.
Overall, as you can see it can be quite a busy and active summer with many things to read about, explore and practice. If you missed the first article in this series, Springtime Spells & Rituals, feel free to check that out too. We look forward to continuing this series with both an autumn and winter edition as we continue to explore spells and rituals throughout the seasons.
Bibliography & Works Cited:
- Levi, Eliphas; The Doctrine and Ritual of High Magic, a new translation by John Michael Greer and Mark Anthony Mikituk; A TeacherPerigee Book, New York, NY. 2017. Print.
- Starhawk; The Spiral Dance- Special 20th Anniversary Edition; HarperCollins, New York, NY. 1999. Print.
- Braden, Gregg; Secrets of the lost mode of prayer: the hidden power of beauty, blessing, wisdom and hurt; Hay House, Inc. 2006. Print.
- Leek, Sybil; Diary of a Witch; Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 1968. Print.
- Reppert, Bertha; Mrs. Reppert’s Twelve Month Herbal; Remembrance Press, Mechanicsburg, P.A. 1996. Print
- Mikkelson, Clifford J.; How to Help Nature Spirits Clean Up the Environment; Golden Gnome Press. Birch Tree, MO. 1996. Print.
- Farrar, Janet & Stewart; Spells and How They Work; Phoenix Publishing, Inc. Custer W.A. 1990. Print.
- MacCulloch, J.A.; The Religion of the Ancient Celts; T & T Clark, Edinburgh. 1911. & Constable and Company Limited, London. 1991. Print.