I couldn’t let the month go by without writing an article about Halloween and spell making! Yes, it is that time of year once again and the Wolfa Coven and other friends of the Wolfa Coven have been extraordinarily busy since Lammas.
This year, I presented a lecture at our local Pagan Pride Festival on Healing Magic and the Seasonal Rites. I taught the folks in attendance about the methods Sybil Leek taught on Healing Magic and how they could get started, along with giving them various resources in which they could learn how to perform healing magic like the witches do!
At the lecture, the people in attendance also learned about Sabbats and Seasonal Rituals. I even read to them a passage from the classic book, The Corn King and the Spring Queen, which gives examples in novel form of the four Seasonal Rituals that we might call Sabbats today. (the book was written in the 1930s and the main character is a witch – a novel that would be of interest to many witches) Along with this reading, we talked about how they could write their own Sabbats for coven use or for solitary use.
One thought on Seasonal and yearly rituals that I didn’t speak of as a resource but I have thought a but about recently is the classic book written by Valerie Worth titled, “The Crone’s Book of Wisdom,” (1) which in recent years has been re-titled to “The Crone’s Book of Charms & Spells.”
Worth’s book does not follow the standard four classic Sabbats or four Seasonals, or even the modern eight that many now call “the Wheel of the Year,” but instead elects for twelve symbolic rituals for each month of the year. Some are timed at various phases of the moon, some at the celestial times such as the equinoxes and even one for the first day of the year.
The reason I thought a bit about the symbolic rituals for the yearly cycle in Valerie Worth’s book recently is because you do not hear too many people discuss the performance of these rituals. I have always wondered if there were groups out there that make use of them. (I know many that have made use of her excellent spells, but have not heard of anyone making use of these twelve symbolic rituals. If any of you have used them in your covens, please let us know!)
Now we should probably move on to talking about magical spells at Halloween. I know I have written before a number of articles about this time of year and the spells that are appropriate for this time, but this is a new and fresh article with thoughts for 2017. I will also try to list some of my past blog posts at the end of the article should you wish to read even more spells and magic for this time of year that we at the Wolfa Coven have been into over the past couple years!
First, when it comes to spells, many people parrot definitions of what “magic” is or they lump magic and spells together for this definition. Many times, the definition stated is a quote from Dion Fortune or Crowley. For me personally, I prefer a much more practical approach. Rather than give the standard definitions that everyone just continues to repeat each other on, I am going to give you a quote that I think matches our own Wolfa Coven’s philosophy in the Horsa Tradition of magic because it relates to the many Theosophical definitions rather than the Dion Fortune and Crowley that at times confuses new seekers to Wicca. (While D. Fortune and A. Crowley are interesting people and have much to share, I think what they are referring to in many ways is different than the practical, everyday witchcraft that folks reading this article may be interested in.)
“When you send out thoughts (which is what you are doing when casting a spell), they set up a vibration on the Astral Plane, the vibration reaches the astral counterpart of the person on whom you are casting the spell and he or she responds accordingly.” (2)
-from “Book of Spells” by Marc de Pascale
Now that we have given a closer definition here, let’s get on with what activities and spells may be of interest to you now that we are approaching Halloween.
Speaking of the power of thought and spells, the wonderful old book by Elbee Wright, Book of Legendary Spells (3), has a particular ritual within it called “Spell for Creating a Familiar.”
This spell for creating a familiar is really creating what we might call a thought-form in the shape of a person that you give form and shape to in order to accomplish certain tasks for you.
The ritual for the familiar starts out with the pretty standard ceremonial pentagram ritual of white magic and then tells you to construct the being with step by step directions.
We know beings like this are a form of thought-form that is shaped out of astral matter by concentration. The elemental spirits/astral light (the nervous system of the astral plane) is shaped by our thoughts when we concentrate and apply the right amount of emotional involvement. (I have watched and heard witches mistakenly call these created beings “elementals” but that is incorrect as the elemental spirits exist outside of our concentrated (or sometimes subconscious thoughts, which combine with the Astral Light.) This type of familiar would be more typically called a “thought-form.”
Another subject important to the witch is prayers and incantations. The prayers that were written by Sybil Leek are important to our coven. They are used in ritual and when performing solitary work. One of the prayers she wrote titled A Grateful Incantation (4) would be an appropriate one to use this time of year. A time to give thanks to that which we have received and all the good blessings we are appreciative of. If you have Sybil’s “Complete Art” (3) book you can use it as is within your ritual, or you may compose one of your own so that you can customize it to the blessings you have received.
Magical charms and talismans are another type of magic that would interest the witch at this time of year. Since witches are said to be able to see or observe what other people miss or fail to observe, how about a charm that is reputed to do just that!
Marcello Truzzi wrote in his old book, Cauldron Cookery, a spell titled “To See What Others Cannot See.” (5) This spell uses a cat’s eye gem or you can substitute a tiger’s eye, and lay it in salt water for three day, then in the sun for six days and then wear it as a necklace. This may be a charm that could help you observe and see spirits as you enjoy the ghostly delights of this time of year!
Speaking of Marcello Truzzi’s book, a good friend of his when they were both alive, Gundella the Green witch (I have written a little about her before), is having her classic 1971 vinyl record, “Hour of the Witch,” released through Modern Harmonic in Vinyl, Compact Disc and MP3 album. It looks like you can purchase this through Amazon, Books-A-Million, or any other place where you can purchase music. It has an official release date of October 20, 2017.
Check out this great article by Dangerous Minds talking about the re-release of Gundella’s Hour of the Witch!
Check out this great promo video clip here of the re-release! Let Gundella teach you how to cast spells!
Why mention Gundella’s “Hour of the Witch” record? Well, her record is full of classic, traditional magical spells and how to make them that even the beginner can learn to master. Gundella was a great story teller and retired school teacher who rose to fame on the lecture circuit and was part of a coven that was located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (outside of Detroit) I always liked Gundella because I considered her tradition of witchcraft to possibly be kin or like-minded to our coven’s tradition of witchcraft.
See a video clip of a 1979 interview that Gundella gave. Great video! Here it is:
Let’s now talk about dreams and dream work since Halloween is when we enter the dark time of the year….
“Tell your dreams to the sun, and they will leave you.” (6)
Because the amount of daylight hours we are experiencing is rapidly shrinking, we spend more time in darkness than we do during earlier points of the year. This allows for even greater forms of introspection and mind work.
One book on how dreams work that was highly recommended by Sybil Leek is a small book by C.W. Leadbeater titled, Dreams. This book will give you info on how Dreams come to be from an occult standpoint so you can understand them better. One of my favorite passages from this book is:
“If one guides his soul persistently upward, its inner senses will at last begin to unfold; the light within the shrine will burn brighter and brighter, until at last the full continuous consciousness comes, and then he will dream no more. To lie down to sleep will no longer mean for him to sink into oblivion, but simply to step forth radiant, rejoicing, strong, into that fuller, nobler life where fatigue can never come – where the soul is always learning ……” (7)
Next, I would say the learning of some simple folk charms and remedies for healing would be in order. Already, some folks are starting to feel the typical fall and winter season colds and congestion. There are many folk remedies for assisting this, including many herbal ones, but there are also folk charms that involve simple remedies such as burying items in a tree in order to be rid of certain illnesses and many others.
One interesting little healing charm written about by Delphine C. Lyons in her fantastic little book, Everyday Witchcraft (8), which gives a few healing spells including one to break a fever in which seven knots are tied in a piece of string and it being tossed over your left shoulder into a stream. (8) The purpose of tying the knots into the cord is to bind in the fever into the knots. The throwing it into a stream over your shoulder is of course an act of getting rid of the fever you’ve bound in the knots and letting the water carry the fever away in the cool water from you, cooling the fever as it travels away from you. As you toss the cord, speak a small little chant to symbolize the water taking the fever away. It is one clever little spell.
Since when we think of ‘Halloween’ we all automatically think of pumpkins being carved into Jack-o-lanterns, you might wonder, are their any spells that can be done with a pumpkin?
Europe didn’t have pumpkins to carve, but the idea of carving turnips and other root vegetables was translated into pumpkins when folks found them here in the new world. These jack-o-lanterns, whether they were carved into the old root vegetables like a turnip or in our American style pumpkins, were designed to drive away evil and provide protection for the home.
Earlier we spoke about one of Valerie Worth’s books, The Crone’s Book of Wisdom, but in regards to pumpkins and Halloween I want to speak about another one of her witch books, which was called “The Crone’s Book of Words” which was republished as “The Crone’s Book of Magical Words.”
In Worth’s “Words” book, she describes directions for a magical spell using a Jack-o-Lantern on All Hallow’s Eve with a little incantation that says, “Let the pumpkin’s candle glare, into darkness everywhere; burn all evil from the air!” (9) Valerie Worth gives some other directions for setting out the pumpkin too, but this book is another one that is just as strongly recommended as the other one by her for first-rate spell making!
Having the ability to work outside underneath the full moon is a beautiful thing. The October moon is a sight to behold! Last week, various members of our coven and related witch-family met outside underneath the light of the Full Moon and I am told, the weather was just so beautiful indeed and perfect here in Pennsylvania! I was with other witch-family this past week camping out in a beautiful home in the rural mountains of West Virginia but still had the chance to enjoy the beauty and power of the Full Moon even though it is a bit chillier there than at home.
Thinking of the power of Full Moon Ritual reminds me of a magical practice called “Moon Bathing” that was talked about by a West Coast witch Lady Sara Cunningham, who was a student of Israel Regardie and taught “Wicca Craft” on the West Coast.
In Lady Sara’s book (10), she recommended holding a red filter over the body at various parts under the moon to filter the moonlight. After so long, you would perform the ceremonial ritual known as “The Middle Pillar” and this along with the Moon Bath with a red filter was said to increase vitality and sexual potency.
Has anyone tried moon-bathing this way before? I haven’t tried this myself with filtered light but I will have to try this sometime as our coven does use moon light and the dew at night for certain magical uses. If you have, please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below!
What about songs and rituals this time of year? One Seasonal ritual uses what is called “The Sleeping Song” written by William G. Gray in his classic book: Seasonal Occult Rituals. (11) Our coven has used this beautiful ritual and I have read that other covens have to, such as Gundella’s coven of Ann Arbor Michigan and so did Patricia and Arnold Crowther’s Sheffield Coven. (She talks about these same rituals in her book “High Priestess” as Patricia was a good friend of Gray.)
Gundella the Green Witch gives the words to “The Sleeping Song” here in one of the newspaper articles about her that matches the version of “The Sleeping Song” we use. (clicking this will open up a new window for your to view the scan of the article – you will need to zoom in closer to read it clearly.) You can also view the entire ritual completely by obtaining a copy of Gray’s wonderful book.
Maybe this time of year makes you introspective enough that you wish to think esoterically on the magical tools. One of my favorite books, The Mind of the Druid (12), talks about what we witches would call the Magic Cauldron (the cooking pot) and the Fire at the Hearth and how when cooking something within the metaphorical heart is similar to cooking simple food at the hearth. This brings new meaning to the idea of the witch’s cauldron. The author, Dr. E. Graham Howe says,
“So the four elements of fire, earth, water and air, each plays its rightful part, before we can cook the simplest food. It is the same for the work which is done in the heart, where fire (idea, will or intention) inspires; water (desire, feeling, “blood”) contributes its warning timely quota; air (the detached observant eye if cool, clear cerebration) sees what is happening; and all us brought down to earth in due season, with the fulfillment of achievement.” (12)
-The Mind of the Druid, Dr. E. Graham Howe
You might also ask where you can go to learn more spells. Isn’t there a book out there that is filled with a tremendous amount of spells on a wide range? Well, one book I can strongly recommend was written by one of my mentors, so I may be a little biased, and that book is “The Witch’s Spellcraft” by Tarostar. This book goes from herbs, to oils, to poppets, to candles to talismans. He covers it in all in a small concise volume.
Now for practical jokes of trick-or-treat and because my witchcraft grand-kids have a wicked sense of humor, two of them bought me this from an antique store:
I hope you realize the humor of this Money House Blessing spray and the craziness of why this is funny! They got a big kick out of seeing my reaction to such a thing!
Lastly, I wish to leave you with this quote that inspired many talks I have had with students and witchcraft grand-kids this month regarding thought-forms, the elementals and our talks on the Seven-fold Principles of Man. This quote is on the Art of Thinking:
“The art of thinking is the greatest art if all, for “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” The thinker knows he is today where his thoughts have taken him and that he is building his future by the quality of the thoughts he thinks.” (13)
-quote from “The Art of Living” by Wilfred A. Peterson
Happy Halloween & Blessed Be!
Other articles by Wolfa Coven about Spells and Magic at Halloween:
- Rite of Winter
- Meditation & Introspection in Ritual
- The Witches Cauldron
- Dreaming of Ritual Practice
- The Witches’ Seance
- Spirits, the Dearly Departed and Reincarnation
- Necromancy & the Dumb Supper
- Dreaming About Someone?
- Cold Air?
- The Dark Night of the Soul
- Spells, Rituals & Meditations in the Darkness
- My Inspiration: Sybil Leek
- Hallowmas High Ceremonial Dumb Supper
Bibliography and Educational Quotes Included from:
- Worth, Valerie; The Crones Book of Wisdom (now called: The Crone’s Book of Charms & Spells); Llewellyn Publications; St. Paul, MN.; 1988. Print.
- Pascale, Marc; Book of Spells; Taplinger Publishing Company; New York, NY; 1971. Print.
- Wright, Elbee; Book of Legendary Spells; Marlar Publishing Co.; Minneapolis, MN.; 1968, Print.
- Leek, Sybil; The Complete Art of Witchcraft; Harper & Row Publishers; New York, NY; 1971. Print.
- Truzzi, Marcello; Cauldron Cookery: An Authentic Guide for Coven Connoisseurs; Meredith Press; New York, NY; 1969. Print.
- Paulsen, Kathryn; The Complete Book of Magic & Witchcraft; Penguin Books Ltd.; New York, NY., 1970. Print.
- Leadbeater, C.W.; Dreams; The Theosophical Publishing House; Adyar, Madras, India; 1918. Print.
- Lyons, Delphine C.; Everyday Witchcraft; Dell Publishing Co, Inc.; Canada; 1972. Print.
- Worth, Valerie; The Crone’s Book of Words (now called: The Crone’s Book of Magical Words); Llewellyn Publications; St. Paul, MN; 1971. Print.
- Lady Sara; The Magical Virtues of Candles, Herbs, Incense and Perfume; Aleph Books Publications; Glendale, CA; 1974. Print.
- Gray, William G.; Seasonal Occult Rituals; The Aquarian Press; London, Great Britain. 1970. Print.
- Howe, Dr. E Graham; The Mind of the Druid; Skoob Books Publishing LTD; Bloomsbury, London. 1989. Print.
- 13. Peterson, Wilfred A.; Twenty Three Essays on The Art of Living; This Week Magazine; Mount Vernon 10, NY. Print.