All posts by thornnightwind

Lunaria, the Money Plant

This is Lunaria – also known as Money Plant, Silver Dollars or Un-Shoe the Horse:

This was something that I have nostalgia over as my Grandmother always grew it in her garden. The stems that have the ovals on is what are the “Silver Dollars” and they dry out and become paper-like.

When they dry, you cut them and put them decoratively in your home to always have money.

#herbal #herbalwitch #greenwitch #plantwitch #sorcery #folklore #spells #gardenwitch #spellcasting #gardening #pennsylvania


The season of Summer’s Fire…

There is but a time for everything, and all things unfold and blossom in their own time, according to natural laws, and in perfect order of Nature’s design. By the time we reach Midsummer, we hope to see the seed-thoughts we have tenderly nurtured begin to bloom and flower in our lives – bringing them to their height of beauty and rich unfoldment. I have, metaphorically, seen some of these thoughts begin to blossom already and have enjoyed the sweetness of their scent.

Some of us aim to experience, if possible, the richness of the season to discover a zest for living in the now: to dance to the music like no one is watching, taking time for friends and fellowship to encourage personal growth and trust, sitting by the fireside, and enjoying walks beneath the warm light of the moon to take in the wonderment of nature. Travel and pilgrimage to favored locations that enrich us spiritually and emotionally, and time for meditation on nature’s wonder and the practice of practical magics.

I enjoy engaging in ideas expressed and exchanged for the betterment of all, and am happy for the additional opportunities to to bring additional depth to my life and with fellow initiates over glasses of wine, a warm fire and the smell of incense wafting in the air.

I give myself permission to live … and to enjoy the wonderment of nature. Oh the things that a simple flower or bee can teach us. Be still…. Listen….

Napoleon Hill once wrote, “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

Seasonal Rituals

There are certain themes that occur in our standard four quarterly #rituals. The first ritual, the Spring Festival, has within it the symbolism of planting the seeds of our intentions and desires. These seed-thoughts; or thought-forms are given up through fire and earth in order that these wishes may grow in our lives. This Festival is sometimes called #Candlemas or February Eve.

The Summer Festival, sometimes called May Eve, or today called #Beltane by many, is the time of cultivation and growth. The wishes are encouraged and fertilized so that they may grow to flower and eventually to fruit at #Harvest. Protection is ensured by the purification of the baalfire or the need-fire, which is the central hub around which we circumambulate #widdershins.

At the #Autumn Harvest Festival, sometimes called #Lammas or #Lugnasad by those who study #Celtic #Witchcraft, is a time where we get to brag a little. At this time we must accept our just desserts for what we have planted. “You must reap what you have sown.” Whether the harvest has been good or bad, libation is indeed offered up to the Great Mother #Goddess in thanksgiving for what we have been provided.

Lastly we arrive at the Winter Festival, which is sometimes called #Hallowmass or even by the name #Samhain. In #Horsa, we release everything that no longer serves us, we release our failures as well. This is a time of purging what no longer serves us so that we can start the cycle again fresh. Also, because we don’t want Winter to come and for the light of the sun to lessen, even though the cycle must be followed, we perform incantations to recharge our psychic batteries to carry us through to the next season. Typically a ritual of prognostication will occur, and on some years, we will perform the High Rites of Necromancy as taught per Sacred Pentagraph and end with a prognostication for the watchword which will carry us through the rest of the year until Spring renews us again.

What could be more simple than that? We are a practical bunch that focuses on simplicity. The wise always find ways to simplify their lives.

A Prayer to the Mother Goddess – a Rose betwixt the Thorns:

“Within me resides the wisdom I seek, O Gracious Mother Goddess who hast formed all life. Allow me not to remain in the darkness of my own ignorance, but see the roses you hath formed, rather than only the thorns. May the thorns of my mistakes be few and may the roses of delight and beauty that unfold before me always be aplenty. May the uplifting scent of the rose enrich me and may the sight of it make me smile. May the soft petals bring happy memories of nostalgia and may the new buds that form remind me always to look forward to the promise of abundance that come on the morrow.”

-prayer from the Wolfa Coven, 2023.

The Season of Wine and Roses

Roses are not only the Queen of the Garden, but occult symbolism teaches that when meeting – we meet “sub-rosa” or beneath the rose, hence, why occult lodges will have artful pictures of roses or on the ceiling. What is said “beneath the rose” must stay beneath the rose….

Gerard in his old classic “Gerard’s Herbal” from 1636 said, “… the Rose doth deserve the chief and prime place among all flours whatsoever; being not onely esteemed for his beauty, vertues, and his fragrant and odoriferous smell…”

And through history to this present day: doesn’t the rose, in all its many varieties, still mesmerize us all? Whether it be natural or an artificial fragrance, the scent is still unmistakable. Many modern varieties of roses have lost a great deal of their scent compared to the old fashioned roses. The beauty of the old school damask rose and even the cabbage roses are still remarkable. And many herbalist still prize the classic “Apothecary Rose” for their herbal preparations.

We give roses to others on important occasions and even carefully select the colors of the roses we give by their meaning through the old flower language that is still so important. When sending secret messages between covendoms or even to coveners, the color of the rose (and also many other herbs and flowers) convey a certain message or feeling in this secret language. This is a secret language that does not compose full sentences, but conveys a clear message and feeling behind it.

Certain cut roses and flowers can be placed in a location in order to provide healing too – to not just “lift the spirits” but artfully placed to impart a type of magnetism to the area they are displayed.

Arranging flowers can provide an offering to the Gracious Goddess and can represent a silent or secret invocation to her.

Gerard also says in his classic Gerard’s Herbal that: “… by no means endure to see the leaves of Roses fall to the ground, becuase some of them have dreamed, they the first of most antient Rose did spring out of the bloud of Venus…”

witchcraft #wicca #wiccaspells #altarspace #altarpics #traditionalwicca #traditionalwitchcraft #garden #gardening #witchery

The Rings of Initiation

Having just been part of a recent initiation in the Wolfa Coven for someone entering the High Priesthood, I wrote down some thoughts to explain roles in Wicca as we know them:

The Altar at the most recent initiation at the Wolfa Coven

Initiation is a new beginning. It can be a confirmation and recognition of a community. It can also be a culmination of your efforts – the fruit of your labors and/or growth. Something gained by effort. It can almost be described as rings to circle, rather than a ladder to climb.

In our coven, level of initiation has more to do with role, responsibility and function than anything else:

The Vestal Virgin invokes the Great Mother Goddess by her movement and dance. The VV is consecrated to be able to handle the tools and serves at the fire-altars of Vesta. The VV is outside the levels of initiation of the coven; but may also go through the other initiation rituals in the coven too in time, for the symbol of the VV is the unbroken circle – the symbol of initiation into our Craft.

Initiation makes one a member of a coven and has passed the quest of finding the tools of Wicca and must master them, one by one, through consecration and learning their inner meanings to consciousness. These items communicate on the physical with the entities that we believe reside upon the Astral Plane: the elementals of Nature. Symbolism within and without. They are a Priest or Priestess.

The Second Degree has mastered the tools and some psychic skills and enters the ring of the High Priesthood. In most cases, they do the teaching and passing down of wisdom. They are able to lead coven rituals. The Bards of Wisdom.

The Third Degrees have mastered further mysteries and typically do not do as much teaching, but instead focus on ensuring the rituals of a coven. They are the Keepers of the Sacred Fires and work to ensure continuation of Wicca.

The Queen Mother and Lord Father serve in the advisory role of a coven, having lead the coven for a number of years and worked (and still working) to ensure its continuation and survival.

The last stage of initiation is the transition at passage. Death and birth are initiations too. The coven, with the aid of the initiate’s Besom performs the initiation when this stage occurs and their Astral Candle is changed to a black candle of Saturn.

And so, the road continues on…

May Eve or Beltane 2023

Our May Eve or Beltane Sabbat was a beautiful time with each other and we were able to make really beautiful chaplets or floral crowns with each other to wear into the ritual. In this post, we’ll share some of the photos of the event from last night’s ritual.

May Eve is one of the quarterly Fire Festivals, we burn to fertilizing ash any remnants of the corn/grain husks of the seasons’ past in order to nourish the soil so it may become rich and fertile.

This action is symbolic of turning the mistakes of the past cycles we have learned from into useful symbolic fertilizer so that our decisions and progression forward will be made with rich wisdom, fed with the purified lessons of the past. Life is an ascending and onward spiral of progression. This is the law of cause and effect, or the Tenet of Reincarnation in action in our everyday lives.

In nature; fire symbolizes a great vivifier and purifier for that which can’t be washed clean with water. So we might request that as we leap the fire’s purifying flames, that we too may fertilize, with wisdom, the seeds we have planted at Candlemas or February Eve, and will hopefully reap the harvest at Lammas or the Autumn Rite.

“May the seeds we have tended to and have sprouted; flower fully this Summer. May they ripen into fruits of our harvest this autumn.”

Book Review: Coal Region Hoodoo by Maxim W. Furek

As a life-long resident of Pennsylvania, Maxim Furek’s book took me on quite a journey and introduced me to many tales I hadn’t heard about, and I was deeply pleased.

My whole life I have been exposed to tales that included monsters, psychics, supernatural of many types, witches, spells and the whole lot including tales of forest bigfoots and all manner of things that seem to be prevalent tales along the ancient Appalachian mountains that run through PA. And charms taught in secret; through families and covens.

I had heard of Romero’s movies, for example, like Night of the Living Dead but had no clue on some of the details Furek talked about in the book and it’s impact (and success). I also had no idea of it’s eventual impact, down through the decades to the still popular zombie-apocolypse genre.

In the horror genre, wow, Pennsylvania is totally unmatched! Creatures deep within mines? There are so many tales of underground beings, worldwide, that I would have been surprised if they didn’t tell the tales of seeing them – whether real to them or hallucinated, and the gruesome tales that push the mind’s most unthinkable taboos, such as the rumors that occurred surrounding Sheppton, Pa.

The section on Ed and Lorraine Warren was fascinating to read too, as legendary as they are controversial, I did learn some things I didn’t know before.

Kecksburg UFO story, to the town of Centralia and extensive information on people involved in Bigfoot ideas and so much more and now I have a lot of further reading to do on a number of subjects.

This book is one of the most well-rounded books on the paranormal in Pennsylvania I have read by a journalist. If you are into all of this you won’t be disappointed!

Thank you Maxim for such an informed book!

You can purchase Coal Region Hoodoo: Paranormal Tales from Inside the Pit by Maxim W. Furek by clicking here.

Ritual to Attune to the Growth Energies of Spring

Ritual to Attune to the Growth Energies of Spring.

A traditional rite passed down for Spring. A spring rite that can be performed each day for a number of days in Spring until the candle is out – reminding us of the importance of Spring – the expansion of our awareness and our understanding. Think simplicity.

🔥 “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.”

🌺 “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.”
–Anne Morrow Lindberg

Drawing Down the Moon

The phrase ‘Drawing Down the Moon’ has been commonplace in Wicca-rituals and conversation on rituals for many decades now. For some covens, this is a monthly ritual performed by a coven of initiated witches at the Full Moon where an invocation to the Lady is made so She may speak through the body of the High Priestess to the Coveners. In this article, we wanted to share some information about how our coven sees this practice and just briefly describe a sacred ritual in our religion.

Drawing Down the Moon as done in the Sacred Pentagraph Tradition – the Ancient Order of Bell, Book & Candle

The practice of conversing with spiritual intelligences … including angels, elemental spirits, and spirits of the other side has always been part of our tradition. When it comes to the topic of DDTM: The terminology of describing a ritual as “Drawing Down the Moon” is a borrowed terminology made popular by other traditions of the Craft that came out of the broom closet around the same time as our tradition’s practices did – however – it is lingo that is understandable to most Wiccans, so we might as well use this term for this article to speak a common language; even though our ritual rubrics for carrying out this ritual are different than other traditions — though we might have a similar goal in mind in some instances.

The Coven Medium receiving messages from the Gracious Goddess – personal messages for the Coveners, the Covenstead and for the quarter ahead.

In the Sacred Pentagraph tradition, the practice of Drawing Down the Moon could potentially be performed four times per year during the Full Moons of March, June, September and December. These are the months in which the Solstices & the Equinoxes occur.

Since the months of the Solstices & the Equinoxes are times which initiate the beginning of each of the four seasons in the yearly quarterly cycle, this is the most opportune time to ask for messages from the Gracious Goddess in order to receive insight needed for that quarter. It is also recommended that it is not necessary to be performed more than these four times per year in our tradition, as that gives all the Coveners adequate time to put to use the information received by the Gracious Goddess. If we did this every month, we may not have had the opportunity to put into place all the insight that has been given – so this is a good ‘conservation of energy’ thing to consider. There are literally dozens upon dozens of other Full Moon Esbats that can be performed for many purposes during the other months of the year.

The initiate of the Coven who serves as the Coven Medium for the Gracious Goddess must have developed their mediumship abilities. In this ritual, it is most likely the High Priestess who will serve this role as the Coven Medium. In our own Wolfa Coven, most of our established and regularly attending current initiates have mediumship abilities to one degree or another – which means that any initiate of one of the higher degrees could technically do this for the coven if needed. I think it’s a little unusual to have a full coven of mediums like we do – it’s just worked out that way for one reason or another. The rubrics and rituals of this ritual have not been put into print, but we can at least describe our thoughts and reflections upon it so that other covens who are curious what we do get an idea of our ideas, and also for readers that just want to read about diverse thoughts and practices in the religion.

We cast the Cosmated Esbat Circle to begin – usually this circle is cast by the High Priestess, the High Priest, the Handmaiden & the Practicus who serve as the four officers of the Esbat circle – but in the case of this ritual, since the High Priestess and High Priest must focus on inducing the trance state, that usually means the Practicus and Handmaiden will carry this out, and witches make do!

We have many ways of creating a magical circle, and this method for Esbats is very quick and takes very little time. Since the time of Esbat is highly focused on spellcasting, psychism and talismanic magic, or the very practical sides of Wicca, the focus is mainly on these specialized areas rather than on the communal seasonal themes partaken of at a Seasonal or Sabbat where on occasion more ceremonial aspects of ritual might be done.

The Coven Medium sits before the cauldron with the hood covering her head and arms. Her body wrapped up in her robe and cape in order to go into the silence and allow trance to come on and speak forth the messages of the Gracious Goddess. It can be performed indoors or outdoors. The coven dances and invokes the Gracious Goddess to come down, and the High Priest will direct the Ether raised within the atmosphere to the High Priestess to use in trance.

After the Gracious Goddess speaks fourth what needs to be heard, then there may be a time allowed where questions can be asked of Her.

The Scribe of the Coven scribbles down notes as fast as they can, as quickly as the messages come in.

When finished, the High Priest asks the heaviness to withdrawal and the Handmaidens of the Coven perform specific actions which help to bring the Coven Medium back into normal time and space.

Before closing the Cosmated Esbat Circle, we like to have some wine and some bread in order to have some togetherness and ease back out of the state of consciousness that has been invoked, especially before the Coven Medium and others need to stand again. Sometimes, depending on the Coven Medium, sessions of trance mediumship can take a little while to shake off. This time sharing food also allows us conversation to discuss things shared and bring ourselves back gently.

In our own experience in our coven, every Medium experiences different effects on the mind and body through these types of rituals. Why this is so, could be many … some of the reasons can be related to the type of Spirit Guide that each Initiate of the Coven has that assists them on the Astral Plane; some could be because of the spiritual development that the Initiate currently has gone through in this life and the many lives before and some could just simply be related to the specialty and talents of the Medium.

During the time of trance as a Coven Medium, there are many things that happen — The most common thing that occurs is messages are shared, prophesy is spoken, clairvoyance is used. On rare occasions, even spirit healing sessions occur.

These rituals and how to do them are ones you learn and participate in a traditionalist coven amongst initiates.

Blessed Be!

If you wish to learn more about our practices, you can buy a copy of the Sacred Pentagraph book here from Amazon.

The Sacred Pentagraph – Five Books in One