Summertime Spells & Rituals

“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)

The time of summer is now upon us and that means it is time for the Wolfa Coven to perform the Rite of Summer and also in the near future the Summer Solstice Sabbat.

The Maypole we had this year at Beltane was absolutely beautiful! A big thank you to our coven’s Vestal Virgin for taking this beautiful photo!

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.

The smell of Lilac in the garden is truly magical and highly fragrant.

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.

Roses from the garden from late May – early October are typically among some of the flowers arranged on our altars here at the Wolfa Coven. The magic and mysticism surrounding roses are many – especially since much of what goes on at a coven is “sub-rosa!”

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.

Cinquefoil or the “Five Finger Grass.” A prized little herb of witchcraft. Here in Pennsylvania, it grows everywhere and most consider it a weed.

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!

My favorite book on Herbalism and referenced quite often!

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 MagickHis 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.

The Gala Tradition of Witchcraft is a coven-based tradition, which focuses on discovering the male mysteries that are unique to gay and bi-sexual men.   http://www.galawitchcraft.com 

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.

Blessed Be!

Bibliography & Works Cited:

  1. 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.
  2. Starhawk; The Spiral Dance- Special 20th Anniversary Edition; HarperCollins, New York, NY. 1999. Print.
  3. Braden, Gregg; Secrets of the lost mode of prayer: the hidden power of beauty, blessing, wisdom and hurt; Hay House, Inc. 2006. Print.
  4. Leek, Sybil; Diary of a Witch; Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 1968. Print.
  5. Reppert, Bertha; Mrs. Reppert’s Twelve Month Herbal; Remembrance Press, Mechanicsburg, P.A. 1996. Print
  6. Mikkelson, Clifford J.; How to Help Nature Spirits Clean Up the Environment; Golden Gnome Press. Birch Tree, MO. 1996. Print.
  7. Farrar, Janet & Stewart; Spells and How They Work; Phoenix Publishing, Inc. Custer W.A. 1990. Print.
  8. MacCulloch, J.A.; The Religion of the Ancient Celts; T & T Clark, Edinburgh. 1911. & Constable and Company Limited, London. 1991. Print.

Dreaming of Ritual Practice

“Students of occultism are well aware that it is indeed true that “thoughts are things,” for every thought impresses itself upon the plastic elemental essence and generates a temporary living entity, the duration of whose life depends upon the energy of the thought-impulse given to it. We are therefore living in the midst of an ocean of other men’s thoughts, and whether we are awake or asleep, these are constantly presenting themselves to the etheric part of our brain.”   (1)
-C.W. Leadbeater, “Dreams.” Originally published in 1898.

I would imagine that the power of the dream state has fascinated people since the dawn of time.  At times, our dreams can be upsetting and at other times our dreams can be most refreshing.  Either way, it seems that our dreams seem to be able to work out situations in the most remarkable ways.

“I’ll sleep on it” seems to be an almost instinctive way of trying to work out problems that we have yet to find answers.  How many times have you went to bed angry only the next morning to find your temper has cooled or problems that seemed overwhelming one moment were made clear or less problematic the next morning?  This seems to be a fantastic phenomenon to me and makes me think that if we all sleep on an issue before lashing out at others; we might get along better with other humankind.  This may be something that may be beneficial for us – as we live in a world where rapid communication happens in seconds.  How many times have you ourselves in disagreements online where one side of the argument escalates very quickly?  Tempers may have cooled if we only have waited until dawn the next day.

Many have reported wonderful accounts of premonitions that have come true as well.  Others may have found themselves dreaming about a particular individual only to find the next day that person was dreaming about them too!  I have experienced this phenomenon many, many times myself.  Usually people have been quite surprised to find this occur, especially our most skeptical friends!

I remember one very close friend of mine who is a staunch atheist, but has no problem or concern with my own acceptance and belief in the Ancient Wisdom Religion.   He was remarkably astonished to find that he dreamed about me the same night that I dreamed about him with remarkable similarities.  Of course, he still continued on as a staunch atheist, but opened up his willingness to explore other forms of psychic phenomenon such as astral projection.

Dreams may be but one way of cooling heated tempers, working out problems, and even a way of receiving premonitions; but at times can be a form of spiritual communication with those whom have gone before….

A remarkable experience seems to happen when you are an initiate of a coven line or lineage:  the ability to be plugged in to Guides of the coven that have transitioned from this life to the next and for them to communicate directly about coven practice through dreams and visions.

This is a re-occurring theme that seems to happen is where the coven guides communicate about rituals and magical practice through dreams.  I’ll give you an example:

One night during a dream, I walked into a beautiful antique shop and sitting in front of the counter/cash register was a stack of rituals on old yellowed paper. The deceased coven member I met in the dream said they did not have the chance to make full use of them so they were handing them on to me to see if I could make use of them.  Then, as if by strange coincidence, two weeks later rituals and spells arrived by mail to me from a close witch-friend on old, yellowed paper; I was astonished!  Situations like this have occurred more times than I can count.

Other times, I will receive information and magical practice from the Guides by dream as well – almost as if they are teaching me in a way they are able to reach me – through the dream state.  I have brought forth many spells and rituals in this way, having been taught them by deceased members of the coven line.

I decided to write this article today because I had another one of these dreams last night.  A wonderful witch somewhere in the coven line named Kim (whom must have passed away a long time ago possibly and I have not met psychically before?) shared with me a ritual booklet in this dream.  This booklet was stapled.  It was almost as if it was printed on large over-sized paper, folded and then stapled inside.  The document was for the coven and friends of the coven.

Of course, at times, I can’t always read all the words in this document in the dream state – but many times I can remember the photos.  I remember vividly the photo of a magical circle made on the ground in the forest with flowers in-between the two circles. The magical tools placed around the circle. Beautiful indeed!

After I heard from Kim and she showed me the document, I woke up around 4:30 A.M.  In days past before cell phones, it was recommended that you keep paper and a pencil by your bed to record down what you received.  So what do I do first thing?  Well, I grabbed my cell phone and after my eyes adjusted for 20 seconds or so to the bright cell phone light in the dead of night, I performed a search online via Bing search engine and on amazon.com to see if this was a booklet that someone had mentioned online or if it was in print somewhere.  I remembered pieces of the title on the front of the little booklet that was put together.  (I can’t confirm if Kim was the writer of the document, or if she was passing on what she was given? I searched for her too!)  

It is possible today to be able to make a short recording or video on your phone which enables us to get our thoughts down quicker than the old standby of paper and pencil.  See, a witch adapts to the newly available tools at his or her fingertips!

Unfortunately, the search turned up no responses to this document.  So if it does exist, I can’t find mention of it online or a search of anyone talking about it or maybe even the title was different.  So now at this point, I have to either wait and see if anything turns up from anyone I know, if it shows up, or it could be a possibility that if it doesn’t exist anymore, that I should write it down and create my own little booklet for members of the coven.

One skill I don’t possess well is the ability to draw or paint beautifully.  Fortunately, we do have members of the coven who can.  What I think this tells me is that when one of us does have a special psychic observation like this that you should work with someone skilled at drawing so they can translate the descriptions that were brought out.  This makes a wonderful magical cooperation!

I was able to download in my mind bits and pieces of the document – and if it doesn’t exist anywhere, hopefully through psychic means, I can transcribe the rest for the other members of the coven.

Through this, I can see how many other occult texts have been written – psychic inspiration through one form or another probably is how most of the world religions were able to have transcribed their own texts – from either Guides or entities or those dearly departed.  I would bet many of these came through or were inspired by dreams.

Usually I try to include photos in the blogs here that either a member of the coven takes a picture of or a photo I take on my cellular phone during the experience itself. I apologize for the lack of visual photos here – but I just couldn’t think what would be appropriate to put here at this time because the work of dream magic seems to require no other thing but your body and a place to sleep.

If the idea of dream work is something that you are interested in understanding a bit more – I can make a recommendation of a small little booklet that has been most helpful to me in the understanding of this type of psychic phenomenon.   I quoted the booklet above and also have listed full details below in the Bibliography of this article below so that you may find a copy of it if you wish.  It is a short read and has been most helpful in aiding me over the years to try and better understand how dreams work!

Blessed Be!

Bibliography:

  1. Leadbeater, C.W., “Dreams”, The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar India. 1918. Print

Springtime Spells & Rituals

The last two weeks have brought us some lovely weather which motivated me to get outdoors and do some work in the yard to engage in some spring gardening and just some normal yearly freshening up of the garden.  This little chore is never finished, but still always brings enjoyment and most importantly; exercise that gets the blood pumping.

After I finished breaking up some dried fallen twigs that fell from the trees from winter in order to save for kindling for summer bonfires, I knew it I needed to rake away some of the last fallen leaves away from the herbs and flowers.  As I was raking some of the last dead leaves that covered up some of the flower beds, I received a nice whiff of the large spring Hyacinths that smell just so beautiful each spring.  This is a smell that always feels like spring to me, as there is just nothing like it.  The pink and purple Hyacinths are just magical as their scent awakens the olfactory senses.  What starts out as a chore, turns into a labor of love.

Looks like the Wolfa Coven is up to some sort of ritual…. Read on to find out more!

As the rake pulled away the damp leaves, in my mind I am envisioning the awakening of the Great Earth Mother.  Like we find a nice back-scratch from a loved one so stimulating and sometimes needed for relief of sore muscles, I imagine in my mind and visualize how this little act must feel for the Great Mother Goddess as I tend to her as she has tended to me.  Though I don’t look at her as a humanized figure, I can’t help but relate the two.  This is a simple act of magic to me, and just like at the Sabbat ritual itself where the poundings of the High Priestess’s hand on the ground to invite the Great Mother Goddess back to spring and awaken Her and the corresponding pounding of the besoms on the ground. Now, the final uncovering begins so that delicate herbs and plants can come through in full bloom.

It wasn’t long after that when even more flowers fully sprouted forth into small photo-worthy scenes.  As these flowers smiled at me, I smiled back towards them.

This above little narrative is something that I try to get across in a number of the articles here which is that even the most routine acts can be practical forms of magic and meditation which has the potential to enrich the soul, promote happiness and assist us in the cultivation of a harmonious existence with man, crops and animals.  A quote to illustrate this point further by Wilfred A Peterson:

“Happiness doesn’t come from doing what we like to do but from liking what we have to do.” (1)

We have to do many, many things in our lives, and how we go about them can make all the difference.  Some of the things we have to do can take a lot of blood, time, sweat and tears; so why not approach them with an awareness of mind and heart in which we infuse a bit of the Ancient Wisdom Tradition into it?

Even the most humdrum affairs can be approached with a personal awareness in which we can find comparisons and matters in which those that follow more Eastern belief systems might call our dharma. 

So what are some other spring-time spells and rituals that we might engage in?

Wolfa Coven performing the Spring Rite.

Well, one of the first things that comes to mind is a little ritual that our coven participates in during our Spring Rite in which the planting of prayers, petitions and wishes of things we wish to work for and cultivate in our lives.  This technique is one that is so well-known amongst witches and has been written about in many different forms.  One technique of doing this that is very effective is described by William G. Gray in one of his excellent old books titled “Seasonal Occult Rituals” (2) and is one that I am fond of.  These rituals were tried out by occultists and witches alike in England before its publication and adapted in various ways that suited different groups.  Patricia Crowther has talked about performing these same old rituals in one of her books (3) too that I would assume she and her coven adapted for use in witch-rituals as well.  Even though she doesn’t call them out in full specifics, I could tell immediately by the descriptions that she shared a fondness for these same old rituals too – as Gray was an associate of Patricia when he was alive. I was delighted to read that her coven was engaged in the use of these same old rituals as well and would be fascinated in how she adapted them for use compared to how we adapted them for use – the similarities and differences.

The technique itself may be best summarized by the writing of petitions which are ceremonially collected and then invocations to the Supreme Being made before the eventual burning in the Sabbat balefire.  Then, a little of the ashes are scooped out and mixed in which the soil with a blessing.  The breath of life is breathed over the soil, and then the water is blessed.  The seeds or bulbs are then planted and ceremonially watered.  The resulting blossoms which should be produced by summer are a figure in the Summer Rite, and then by the Autumn Rite should go into seed. When autumn comes, we must accept our just rewards – either the attainment of our desires or the failures of that which we didn’t tend to.  This teaches us the important lesson learned from what we may describe as the Law of Compensation which is one way of describing Karma.

An Amaryllis in full bloom – was planted at the Spring Rite of 2016. I’ve never seen an Amaryllis get so big before in a simple pot. It grew at over 2 feet tall!

As you can see, this technique described above and in itself is a way of keeping in touch with the land, its growing cycles and the results.  What can be more beautiful than that than engaging in a ritual or seasonal cycle in which we attempt to stay in touch with the growing, nourishment and harvest of the earth?   Even if you cannot perform this ritual outdoors with other witches at coven, you can indeed participate in this ritual indoors with simple supplies of seeds, bulbs, pot, soil and water.

The beauty of some of these simple spring rituals is they can be adapted whether you live in the country or in the city.  They can be adapted to those who can be physically active outdoors and with much drama or pomp and circumstance as you prefer or performed in a more scaled-down version if you have disabilities which prevent you from traveling to coven in the woods or countryside.   This is the beauty of occultism and magical practice.

Before we leave the topic of planting rituals, another spell that seems to be as old as the hills is a particular Love Spell which typically involves the planting of a bulb such as an Amaryllis, Hyacinth or Daffodils for the purpose of obtaining what we all seek after at some time in our lives: Love! This spell is very hard to cite in the Bibliography below because it, like the last one, has been written about so many times and in so many different ways and is incredibly old.  However, I will list two places in which it is referenced in case you want to explore this spell further.

One famed witch known as Gundella, the Green Witch has spoken about this spell on her wonderful record on the practice of spell making titled The Hour of the Witch (4) which is a Vinyl record that has been around for quite a while.

Gundella, the Green Witch’s Vinyl Record. A true gem indeed!

In all the various versions of this spell, the bulb is named after the person whom love is sought after – where amorous feelings of love is sought to be reciprocated.  The bulb is then planted in a pot and is tended to each day so that as the flower grows, so it is alleged that the love between you and your intended lover will grow.  Some witches add a little verbal charm to this – and this is another case where this charm and various versions of it has been written in so many ways and so many different times that it is hard to pin-point, but one particular version of this was written about in a wonderful little booklet on witchcraft by Delphine C. Lyons called Everyday Witchcraft. (5)

“As this root shall grow, And this blossom blow, So let his heart be Inclined unto me.” (5) -Delphine C. Lyons

A more modern book in written by Pauline Campanelli and illustrated by Dan Campanelli that is titled Wheel of the Year (6) and it can give you various spells, lore and rituals that they enjoy at their home at Flying Witch Farms in New Jersey. It is quite a delight and entertaining read that gives you a whole seasonal cycle of lore for all 12 months of the year.  They also have written a number of other books that are equally entertaining, but the fascinating and handy thing about this book is they make it easy to flip to the month of the year that we are in and read about activities that you can enjoy by yourself, with other witches, or even if you have a family tradition of witchcraft that the whole household can be involved in.

One April tradition that the Campanelli’s discuss is a sanctuary garden. This one looks near and dear to my heart as I have performed similar types of activities on my own.  I will most likely eventually blog about this somewhere at a later time!

One thing to be aware of when it comes to seasonal grimoires such as this:  most books will typically be written with a local flair.  This book works very well for me because since at the time of its writing, the authors are/were located in New Jersey which matches my local environment/seasonal cycle.  For those that are located in areas other than the Northeast, you may have to adjust some activities a bit to match your own local seasonal cycle.  There will always be activities that are universal, but some may occur at earlier or later months.  For many of our witch friends who live in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasonal cycles might be reversed.  This would be an easy adjustment to make for.  Witches make do!

To end this article, I wanted to leave you with a spell that could be done at any particular season of the year and either indoors or outdoors and can be performed easily whether you have physical limitations or not.  This would be what is famously known as the Seven knob Wish Candle.  This spell is a very common spell among witches, but today, it seems many folks forget its wonderful simplicity.

The only supplies you need for it is a candle and matches.  You can either use a molded seven knob candle that has been molded with the seven knobs already such as can be found at most occult supply stores, or if you can’t locate one of these specialty candles found in occult candle shops, you can make do by taking your White Handled Knife and carving 6 circular lines in the candle.  Many people like to inscribe their candles by writing the summarized wish directly onto the candle with their W.H.K. and if you do so, a molded candle will be better for this than a taper – as one that is traditionally dipped can flake off because of the layering process that occurs when you dip the candles.  In this case, another work-around that witches might typically do is to take one of those long hat-pins and place it into the candle and when the pin falls, they extinguish the candle and the next day they will engage in placing the pin down the candle a little bit more – doing this for seven nights.

 

A Seven Knob Wish Candle burning on the first night of a secret wish! The candle is set to burn one knob per night – each night, a concentration of thought is held in the mind for a specific outcome. Only one wish per candle is ever made.

You would then take the correct magical occult oil and begin the process of anointing it.  For witches, there is a specific technique that we use when anointing traditional candles for spells and rituals that I can’t go into here, but for Seven Knob Candles you would typically anoint then from the top down.  The purpose of the carving and the anointing is to magnetize your wish into the candle.  The thought-impregnation enters the candle, and being a “magically magnetic” object, it is easy for candles to absorb our thoughts. The process of burning the candle releases those thoughts through the fire elemental which responds by combustion. (the burning of the candle)

So here is how I do this spell when by myself outside of coven:

I take a circular brass tray and set it on top of what is known as a T.V. stand near the couch where I typically do my reading and such and place on top of that a candle holder that is fireproof that will hold my candle.  After it has all been anointed and carved, I will light the candle and concentrate my summarized wish and burn only one knob.  I blow out the candle after the first knob is burnt and then go on with my night.  I do this for 7 nights in a row – the only difference is that on the seventh night, I allow the candle to extinguish itself.

Some witches might even incorporate magical talismans such as can be found in The Greater Key of Solomon or even the seals in the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses by drawing them out on one side and then writing the wish on the back of talisman/seal in the Witches Alphabet.  These little petition papers can be burned on the 7th night or carried on the person if you wish.  The finished talisman or seal can be placed on top of the circular brass dish and the fireproof candleholder placed on top of that.  That can be great fun as well and can be another way to add more thought-concentration to the wish you are making.

It is a fun little spell in total, hope that you enjoy its simplicity!

One last resource I want to leave you with is a reference to a book of days.  These are fun books to flip through as they typically will leave you with quotes and seasonal thoughts for you to meditate on or think about.  I can’t tell you how many times I will pick up a book of days, quotes or poetry to contemplate and mediate on.  Sometimes, entire rituals can be penned from the inspiration of reading a simple quote.  I have a collection of seasonal books and books filled with quotes, but one little gem that I refer to for seasonal inspiration from time to time was edited by the founders of The Witches Almanac, Elizabeth Pepper and John Wilcok, which is called A Book of Days: Wisdom Through the Seasons. (7)

To finish this article, I will leave you with a spring-time quote:

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan but also believe.” -Anatole France

Blessed Be!

You can probably tell by now that we enjoy gathering around the central bonfire – which is the representative of the Supreme Being, since we post a lot of photos of them.

Bibliography & Works Cited:

  1. Peterson, Wilfred A., The Art of Living, This Week Magazine. 1961.
  2. Gray, William G., Seasonal Occult Rituals, The Aquarian Press. Great Britain, 1970
  3. Crowther, Patricia., High Priestess: The Life & Times of Patricia Crowther, Phoenix Publishing. Blaine, Washington. 1998
  4. Gundella., The Hour of the Witch, Mutt Record Productions. Inkster, Michigan, 1970
  5. Lyons, Delphine C., Everyday Witchcraft: love magic, charms and spells, fortune telling; everything you need to know to enjoy occult power!, Dell Publishing Co., 1972
  6. Campanelli, Pauline., Wheel of the Year: Living the Magical Life, Llewellyn Publications, St Paul, MN. 2000
  7. Pepper, Elizabeth and Wilcock, John., A Book of Days: Wisdom Through the Seasons, Capra Press, Santa Barbara, CA. 1996

Antiques, Psychic Work & Your Temple

It has been a busy start to spring as the weather vacillates from cool to warm and back again, but finally some of the early varieties of daffodils have started blooming with many more on the way.  I’m looking forward to the days ahead when we can gather outdoors at night once again which is a love that most members of our coven strongly enjoy and look forward to.  Witches can’t keep away from a good bonfire – it attracts them quicker than anything else.  If any of us say we are having a little bonfire, you will pull witches out of the woodwork from all over!

A game room at Old Sled Works with old-fashioned game machines. Retro fabulous!

Until then, we have done some other things that can be accomplished indoors.  One of the easiest things is saving old newspaper to use in the garden to keep the weeds down.  Some folks like to put plastic, rubber and spray harsh chemicals down to keep the weeds down; but I have found it works extremely well to save your old newspapers and weekly sales flyers to place down on the ground around plants and then add a nice layer of mulch on top.  The paper will easily and slowly biodegrade and keep the volunteer weeds from coming up.  (I have some friends that told me they use old cardboard for this too.  When you have packages delivered, you can save the cardboard and cut it to size to use just the same.)

Cleaning up our online coven blog here has been a nice task too – and we have updated our page on the Sacred Pentagraph, which is one of the traditions that our coven operates.  (Sacred Pentagraph is a Wicca tradition focused on classical witchcraft founded by Charmaine Day and Tarostar with Sybil Leek’s guidance. More can be found by clicking on our Sacred Pentagraph banner here.)  Recently, a new coven has just hived from our coven here in PA in another state.  We are mighty proud of them and you will hear much more about them and from them at a later time.

Sacred Pentagraph tradition is one of the traditions that our coven, the Wolfa Coven, practice in.  There is not a lot out there quite like it today!

Other than that, sorting through the various drawers, nooks and crannies of the house is fun.  Sometimes we tuck things away in spaces and forget they are there.  This can be a shame indeed, as just letting items sit around is a terrible waste of space when other people can use them, be recycled or up-cycled or donated to charity.  This is a never-ending process that I know we all go through, but one that is an important activity for the witch.  An important Precept of Cosmic Order in our coven is to simplify your life.  It is said that the wise always work toward simplicity in all things.  Our day to day world is complicated enough, so what good does it do to come home to a complicated home life?

But one activity stands out above them all that is great fun (until the late nights are warm enough for bonfires and time spent in the garden) is antiquing!

My favorite antique market that is not too far from me is called “Old Sled Works” located in Duncannon, PA.  It is called that because the very large building it is located in used to be an old sled factory.

A fantastic set-up at Old Sled Works – it has that old malt-shop or Soda Jerk settings that can really take you back to a different time! When looking at scenes like this, I am just dragged back to the time period. I long for these time past in moments of Deja Vu.

I can’t even begin to tell you about all the fascinating finds and cool little treasures that I have found in antique shops and marketplaces such as this.  I remember when I wanted to make a spirit box I even traveled here to find a suitable box that could be used for this magical endeavor.  Beautiful jars and vases can be used to hold magical items and beautiful dishes used to hold water for sprinkling, asperging or even to hold magical items.

Some folks may cringe at the idea of antique shopping – sometimes calling it just a storage place for people’s junk they no longer want.  While I am sure there are many things that are complete junk, many items can be used or up-cycled by folks with a lot of imagination and creativity to make something fascinating and new – such as when I up-cycled an antique rectangular box many years ago to make a spirit box.

On a personal level, I can’t help but think on the thoughts of the people who originally purchased these items many years ago and the journey they have been on since.  Old tables and chairs that once graced kitchens and breakfast rooms, old trunks that once held delicate treasures that the lady of the house may have sequestered away out of the sight of prying eyes, dishes and depression ware glass that once graced homes or were given to someone as a gift of love – and after they have passed on, left neglected until someone decided to go through the items and needed to clean them out – but thought that someone else may have a use for them.  Each and every item has a story to tell.  It may even be quite fun to make a story about a particular item and pass it on to others, to give a Bardic tale like an old Druid-Bard; passing down pieces of lore through the art of poetry and creative story telling meant to impart an important life lesson or magical axom.

Sybil Leek even wrote two entertaining books on the antique business that are quite fascinating, such as her “Shop in High Street” and “Have Mania, Will Collect.”  For those interested in selling and trading in the antique business they may be valuable reads that can give you quite helpful hints!  For folks like myself that like to antique as a hobby, it gives me some interesting insight into the mind of the successful hunt for old and delicate treasures.  (Sybil once operated antique shops in the New Forest)

If we think of antiques and witchcraft, they seem to go hand in hand.  This may come as a surprise to many of you who may have cut your teeth learning witchcraft from reading the old medieval grimoires/grammars of magic because of the instance of everything being “virgin items” and having not been used for anything whatsoever before their employment in a particular magical operation.  While this is valuable advice for things such as candles that have the great ability to absorb and hold the magnetic thoughts and emotions of those who are around them, it is not the same thing when we think of antique brass candlesticks!

As a side thought – you should be certain to ALWAYS wrap up your virgin candles that you either make or purchase for witchcraft practice and sequester them away.  Never leave them sitting out in a common area or exposed to the wondering thoughts of people in your home.  They should be stored away in a dark space in a drawer until you need to make use of them.  Then, you would take them out and carve them and dress them with the appropriate oils.  Even when it comes to candles you buy off the shelf at an occult shop or candle store, we have little ceremonies that we do to make them virgin by impressing blessings of our will to overpower any will that may have collected in it – as long as they haven’t been sitting out on the shelf collecting dust and thoughts for years and years and years! The most picky and selective practitioners will even wrap their colored candles in the correct color of tissue paper as an added layer of chromo-therapy (color therapy).

There is a reason that when we think of witchcraft that we think of old books, antique candlesticks and almost rust covered items that need a little bit of cleaning.  The mystique, the mystical and the hidden call unto witches (occult) and attract us like the positive and negative ends of magnets!  One of the altars our coven uses is a very old antique vanity.  Our salt and water dishes are old as is our coven sword.

Does this make the item any better?  Not necessarily in the least!

Not only do the old, mystical and mysterious looking items draw the attention of our primal minds, but -typically most antique items owned by old-school witches have been in use for many, many years.  As we know, these items then tend to build up an “aura” about them and begin to retain a little bit of that power that has been running through them.  This may be best described like a pipe in which water has run through.  You can turn off the faucet, but the inside of it will still be wet!

For witches that are very sensitive to psychic impressions that are picked up through touch, an antique mall such as the one I visit can be a wonderful practice ground.  The difficult task of places like this is you also have another layer of thought impressed onto items such from the people that are visiting, picking up and inspecting these items with the difficult task if ferreting out that information that you seek. It may be a good idea to take members of your coven with you – make it a magical adventure!

Pretty fascinating, isn’t it?

As you walk through the antique marketplace, you and members of your coven could walk slowly and allow the magnetized energy to reach out to you in this place.  You may then find yourself picking up the item and telling each other a story about what you have found.  Doesn’t that sound exciting?  Alas, but so few witches today around the country are up for the challenge.  My hope is that someday they will reach back and try to cultivate these old ways of doing things once again.  (It is not always about pedigree, nor is it always about the exact words parroted from your old coven rituals – it is about the abilities in the Craft that you learn to develop with what you are given.)

Outside at the entrance – Duncannon, PA

Many times when I go antiquing it is a spontaneous trip.  This morning while I was in the shower using a fantastic homemade sugar scrub that a friend made, it reminded me of one of the important teachings of Wicca that I was taught. “Clean the body, for THAT is your temple.”  It surprises me today with how some witches today are carefree about the items and things they put on and in their body.  No matter what your budget, whether on a limited budget or one more expansive one, you can carefully select the items that you use to clean your temple (body) and also what you adorn your temple with. (The clothes you wear)  What you scent or sweeten the body with is also part of that process.  The entire process from cleaning the body, to sweetening the body with scrubs/lotions/potions, the manner of dress, makeup and products all assist the witch to weave a particular aura that helps to impress your will on the world around you.  What we adorn our temple-bodies with can in fact be a very old technique of spellcasting. (Possibly the oldest indeed – that of magical assumption of a certain form, god or spirit!)  If you think about it, everyone’s modern idea of a stereotypical witch has them set apart looking different than the everyday person, even though most of the time we look no different than anyone else.  So why does this image always creep up in the mind?  Well, because there is some type of universal truth going on here.  A Priesthood of times gone by – whether Druid, whether Egyptian, Sumerian or Persian; were set apart by their vestments.  Take a look at the photos of the Siberian Shamans – they will dress very different than those who are non-Shamans and this is done for very specific reasons to them.

The simplicity of our home lives – from that of simple cleaning of our bodies, to going through items that are just taking up space and haven’t been looked at for a year or more, to the up-cycling of antiques; this can all be part of simplifying our life.  The contemplative-meditation on an old antique piece is a cultivated magical action.

A last thought on antiquing – you may want to be selective on where you antique.  If you antique in tourist-towns, you will find the prices are typically much higher than when you go antique shopping in places that you least expect. Neither is better or worse than the other, it is just something to be aware of.

So to end this article, you may wonder what treats I found today one my antique shopping adventure.  Here is today’s find!

Our coven typically usually only old brass candlesticks when working in the coven temple. Some were handed down and the rest gathered from antique shops. As if we didn’t have enough, we have added 6 more from today’s find! Also, you will see a beautiful old perfume bottle and lastly an old metal bowl that looks like a cool little witches cauldron. This will be used as a burning pot for witches petitions to be burned in them – both to invoke new things and to release past wrongs. Pretty nice finds today, eh?

Blessed Be!

 

Initiation and Spring

The interesting thing about initiation is that it not only inducts the new member into the path of witchcraft, but it will also have a deep-found effect on the participants as well.

It seems the preferred time period for initiation of a witch to be anytime between Candlemas and Beltane with the Spring Equinox being a preferred timing.  This is because the astrological year begins again when Aries the Ram takes over.   The Spring Equinox is a new cycle of initiation and new growth, so hence it makes sense that a new path be marked for the initiate.  As spring does send forth its new buds and flowers, so does the spiritual progression of an individual begin to bud and blossom too.

The time of the Spring Equinox can be a time of chaos because of the back and forth that we go through (here in the Northeast) of cold weather, warm weather and so forth. Spring seems to be reluctant at times, although eventually will bow to the inevitability of the unconquered Sun.

At this time, the initiate will go through a trial ordeal (sometimes as many as three) before swearing to either the vows or resolves of the initiate. 

May this new cycle of the season be a fruitful time for all the hidden children of the Wicca.

Blessed Be!

Gala Witchcraft – covens for gay and bi-sexual men

Even though this particular coven wordpress site is about our own Wolfa Coven, we do like to talk more universally about topics of interest and various things relating to witchcraft, the Wicca, the paranormal and even spiritualism and even about things that other folks that are connected to our coven are up to, doing or are interested in. Today, I wanted to write a short blog about a coven-based system and practice of witchcraft that is specific to gay and bi-sexual men…..

There are many traditions and covens of witchcraft in the world today.  As most coven are autonomous units unto themselves, each coven will generally have it isn’t own specialties and intricacies that are unique to each coven – even though many covens within the same tradition shares the same base.

I always like to describe the various witchcraft traditions in the world as “the foundation upon which the house rests upon.”  Each witch, being initiated into the mysteries of their own tradition, also develop their own unique practice that is right for them which sometimes leads them to discover or re-discover new (old) ideas that are just right for them. That means that witches typically will have their own unique practice they have built based on the foundation mysteries they are introduced to when entering a coven.  This sometimes means they eventually move on to discover even greater mysteries that are just right for them. This allows the practice of witchcraft to be ever dynamic and ever-changing.

Because of this, some ventures go on successfully for generation upon generation or even sometimes quickly fizzle out.  At the end of the day, witchcraft, in some form will always survive and be passed on; even if former practices inspire new practices.

One such practice of witchcraft that came into fruition about 4 years back is now called “Gala Witchcraft.”  The tradition itself has a new website that is:  www.galawitchcraft.com  Not much is listed yet on their new and improved blog and site, but they have said more will come in the future.

This coven-based tradition focuses on discovering the male mysteries that are unique to gay and bi-sexual men.  The founders have created a practice that is just right for them.  Initiates can be found on the East Coast and West Coast of the U.S. and it seems to have a wide interest among men who wish to explore the practices of witchcraft with other gay men.  Even though initiates are spread across the U.S., they still fly in to practice and get together once a year for a grand gathering.

As many of the readers of this blog are aware, witchcraft seems to find expression in many forms.  Some of those forms lead to the Wica, Wicca or even other forms of witchcraft that are either already established or are created based on need, motivation and desire.

I am also a firm believer that at certain times, certain practices are pushed forth into life from something outside and greater than the founders themselves.

I think we will see many great things in the future from them.  Stay tuned!  Blessed Be!

Plowing Eve: Corn King and the Spring Queen

Novelist Naomi Mitchison penned a wonderful historic novel and published it in 1931 called The Corn King and the Spring Queen. It was a favorite among many Elders of the coven at one time and is one of my favorites today.  This book was strongly recommended to Seeker’s if they want to get an idea or feeling of intent behind many coven rituals.

As a Wiccan, the most interesting parts to pay attention to is the descriptions and narrative feel of the rituals. One such ritual she beautifully described is called “Plowing Eve,” which for some witches it is called the “Spring or Vernal Equinox.”  For some witches as well, they may perform a ritual at this time around the full moon closest to the spring equinox.  Some covens may even call the ritual performed at this time of year the “Spring Rite” or “Rite of Spring.” (of course, each coven and tradition has their own specific rituals)

The ritual of “Plowing Eve,” which was co-led by one of the main characters of the book, Erif Der (a witch) was the Spring Queen and her husband Tarrick is the Corn King.

Mitchison described their roles in this ritual as such:

“Tarrick was the plow, the seed, the warmth and force of growth.  Erif was the hard, fallow field; the cold reluctant spring.” (1)

Partaking in Seasonal Rituals myself, I can totally see this beautiful scene played out and the feelings behind the words where she as the Spring Queen stands firm and he, the Corn King riding in on the ox-led plow.  This is just like the play between the two primal deities: the sun and the earth, which is what the Seasonal and Sabbat rituals are all about!  The solar and celestial changes that occur in the sky (The God) initiate the earth’s terrestrial response. (The Goddess)

During this ritualistic fertility play, Mitchison describes the response of the crowds….

“…..the women shouting at the Corn King to plow deep and hard, the men calling on the Spring Queen to be kind.” (1)

Finally at the height of the ritual, she leaps up to the Corn King and they dance and court each other and the people cry, “The spring is awake!”

This ritual drama is a great description of the Celestial and Earth response when spring rolls around.  The earth continues to be reluctant and cold until finally embracing the sun’s influences.  It is a beautiful play of Nature’s changes that can be observed year after year.  It can also be fun to re-enact at Seasonal Celebrations and gatherings as well as radiating out good, magnetic thoughts of blessings for man, crops and animals.

Other festivals are written about in this historical novel such as Midsummer, Harvest and Winter Solstice.

This novel, at over 700 pages, is quite a read!  It is one I also would recommend for those interested in historical novels, witchcraft and pagan ritual.

Blessed Be!

Bibliography:

  1. Mitchison, Naomi. The Corn King and the Spring Queen. J. and J. Gray, Edinburgh. 1931. Print.

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… a coven of British Traditional Witches practicing in the Horsa Tradition