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.
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.
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.
The theme of this Sabbat can be summed up with the following universal law: “The Law of Compensation.”
To many of us, this Law of Compensation can also be described as the Tenet of Reincarnation or simply the Law of Cause and Effect. Ye reap that which you sowis a theme that I think we can all understand. Even if you don’t know what to think just yet about the subject Reincarnation or ideas of Karma in your current magical development and philosophy, if you can get a basic understanding of cause and effect you are on the right track.
During the Candlemas Sabbat, we had sown our wishes into soil for all sorts of things. A bulb was then planted in that soil to draw forth the seed-thoughts of our desires as part of its spiritual nourishment. You could even sum this idea up with a little incantation if you need some ideas of what to think on:
“As this flower grows higher and higher, so too does our seed-thoughts grow and blossom in Summer and turn to ripened fruit in the Autumn…….”
I believe the way Wicca fully teaches its mysteries is by the practice of group ritual, in small covens sharing in those practices. These mysteries can’t be understand or grasped by independent and private thought alone, though that is one important part of it – they are not fully grasped until they are experienced in the physical world with the coven, on the astral plane with elementals, fairies and spiritual intelligences and on the mental plane with the higher beings.
This means that the full understanding of the mysteries must be practiced in order to be fully understood and carried out in the real world. Initiation is only a beginning – it is the group practice in the real world that makes an adept in the art. Also, I believe that each Sabbat has an important theme or message(s) to teach us. Here is just but a quick glance at what this Sabbat has taught me and some interesting lore to go along with it….
At the time of the Autumnal Equinox, we should see the end results of the seed-thoughts planted at Candlemas, which will either have come into complete fruition by this time, have been weeded out of our “gardens” or maybe even have not come into fruition. For we all must eventually accept the fruits of our labours, whether for good or for ill, which is an accurate statement to describe what the Law of Compensation is.
Another theme at this Sabbat is on attending to the basic affairs of the coven. If the coven collects monetary donations that go into the coven piggy bank to buy disposable items needed by the coven, this is the time these donations would be offered up for the betterment of the coven. We are a simple and natural religion that has very few expenses, but we know at the same time that everything in life does cost a little something. Most of the time, the cost of coven operation is just the time it takes to set up for the ceremony. Though the costs are in making the tools of the Craft or for incense, candles and a bottle of wine which are the practical items used within a circle. Some coves may have dues to cover these kinds of costs. Some covens also provide space such as buildings to house circles or provide training in and those coven dues or donations help to keep the space going. Even in instances where a coven meets at a particular property or home, repairs and wear and tear occurs because of its use and must be mended.
At this Sabbat, we enjoy a feast within the circle. Food is carried into circle and we eat in the circle at this Sabbat. It is a time of accepting our just rewards for the work we’ve done – some might even call this a “Thanksgiving” if you like.
Another curious custom of the coven is the creation of the artifact known as the “Autumn Hen” which represents the Old Hag of Winter. After the ceremony, it is hidden away over Winter and later used by the ladies of the coven after Candlemas and before the Vernal Equinox Sabbat to awaken Spring during the Rites of Cybele as part of the women’s mysteries.
So what are the external lessons-learned from this Sabbat? Since Wicca’s lessons are learned by experiencing ritual, what are some of my own personal take aways that I have discovered with this Sabbat?
Thought-forms that we nurture have a better chance for growth and survival.
We aspire upward and forward on the path of progressive reincarnation.
To not waste the gifts we have either earned or have been given.
Everything has its opposite – light and dark, hot and cold, etc.
The acceptance of the mortality of all things on this earthly plane.
The Tenet of a Balanced Life
To take stock of what we have gathered in this year.
The acceptance of the successes and failures of the thought-forms and seed-thoughts we have invoked for the year.
That a coven, much like in old agricultural communities of times past, strives to take care of each other as a familial community unit.
We must tend to the space where the coven meets and be willing to collectively invest in it.
We hope that many Autumnal Blessings come to all our Brothers and Sisters of the Wicca this season!
If you wish to know more about a full Sabbat cycle, more info can be found in The Sacred Pentagraph. Click on the book photo to learn more.
This Sabbat is all about Power & Strength. It is a perfect celebration of the official initiation of the Summer season when the Sun enters the Sign of Cancer, which will lead to the Earth’s Response at the Lammas Harvest Sabbat when the season of Summer will be at its height. Red flowers are usually placed on the altar and about the magical circle – along with red flowers tied into the cingulum.
This Sabbat ritual takes a bit of additional planning and preparation ….
This is a Celestial Sabbat where we celebrate the Power and Strength of this time of the year and many will typically perform a ritual act known as “Drawing Down the Sun.” For us, this is a ceremonial lighting of the Sabbat fires by channeling the rays of the Sun outdoors to light the flame. Even if the Sabbat is performed indoors, we will use the sun’s rays outdoors in order to light a taper candle and carry it indoors to light the candles, etc.
Within the coven niche, the new Sacred Flame, or Perpetual Flame, will be lit from this Solar Invocation of the Sun. This is typically done on a day of Sol (Sunday), usually the Sunday before the Summer Solstice Sabbat is held. It is also used in a ritual to purify the temple of Wicca at this time. At the Winter Solstice, the Coven Temple is purified by the Silence of the Grave. During the Summer Solstice, it is purified by Celestial Fire.
The path of the sun – deosil circumambulation, is tred for the purpose of banishing impurity, malignity and hostility and filling ourselves with energies corresponding to the celebration of life and of connecting with our higher emotions during the initial rituals the Day of Sol before the actual Sabbat ritual is conducted. Because a Deosil movement sends out and banishes what is there, it is an appropriate time to do this when purifying a temple space. Whereas, during the Sabbat Ritual itself, a Widdershins movement for ritual will occur to call down and pull in power.
The ceremonial dance performed as this time is sometimes known as the “March of Steel”. This is a march-type of dance, emphasizing the power and strength of the Good God and the vital power bestowed upon the coven. The Sabbat ritual itself is a bit more ceremonial and High Druidical in nature with a color scheme of red and white. This is quite a contrast with the Sabbat of May Eve or Beltane, which is very oriented towards the Gracious Goddess and more carefree and flowing.
We also will typically present written petitions as well at a separate table that is typically called the “Credence table.” These paper petitions are carefully written out by all coveners before the Sabbat Ceremonial has begun and carefully laid out. The candles are then carved, anointed and blessed by the coven and are burned with the brazier. The light, heat and warmth are believed to carry these seed-thoughts on a journey to the Ancient Ones and Watchers. We wrote out petitions to be buried in the earth to the Gracious Goddess at Candlemas Sabbat, but at the Midsummer Sabbat, petitions are presented to fire to be consumed in the light and heat. These are prayers to the Ancient and Mighty Ones for the needs of the coven and those they care about.
The Love Feast will typically consist of bread and wine during this Sabbat and has it’s own special blessing over it, and also as it is presented to the coveners:
Herbal Charms & Spells ….
There are many special herbs that can be collected on the Eve of the Summer Solstice, or Midsummer, if you like to be used in spell-making and charm-making. One of the most traditional of herbs to gather is St. John’s Wort – which is a legendary herb used in folklore.
Another legendary herb collected this time of year is the magical fern leaf. This leaf has many great sorceries within it as well and is used for very specific forms of magical operations.
Many enjoy gathering a bit of the yellow-blooming Cinquefoil, also known as the five finger grass wish is used for granting special favors.
Any magical herb used in love charms is said to be most potent when gathered this time of year. The most popular form of spell-making to be performed this time of year is Love Magic. Love charms made from herbs collected on the Eve of the Summer Solstice are said to be the most potent in love charms. A yearly supply to last the year would be gathered and safeguarded in case they are called for and fresh ones selected the following Midsummer Eve.
However you celebrate this time of year, we hope that your celebrations are joyous, merry and fun. After all, the Sabbat is a celebration of life – so have fun with it too!
*If you wish to learn how to conduct a Midsummer Sabbat ritual, we recommend you read the book, “The Sacred Pentagraph” for further details and instructions.
The May Eve or Beltane Sabbat is focused on banishing the last and final dregs of winter in order to celebrate and invoke luck, love, pleasure and joy. This Sabbat is directly opposite to the Hallowmas Sabbat that is held October 31st which has a focus on reflection, release, endings, and communication with those who have departed. Beltane is the Earthly Response to the balance of light and the continued increase of light acknowledged at the Vernal Equinox, and the later is the Earthly Result of the balance of light and its following decrease of light acknowledged at the Autumnal Equinox.
We look forward to what we dub as the “Season of Wine and Roses” each year. Because of it’s themes, it is my personal favorite Sabbat to celebrate.
Some years, but by no means all years, our coven will dance the Maypole before the formal Sabbat begins. It is not a tradition that is a formal part of the Sabbat festival, but a fun custom that many of us enjoy. Typically, folks of one gender-identity will weave and dance the ribbons counter-clockwise and an equal number of folks of another gender-identity will dance the maypole and weave the ribbons clockwise. This creates a beautiful pattern of ribbons that will weave down the May Pole.
I’m occasionally asked by other witches what type of ribbons I like to use for our Maypoles. Here is what I typically look for:
Ahead of time, you will want to procure a selection of ribbons to use. Many craft stores will carry quite a selection of ribbons you can pick from. You will need long spools of ribbons in order to make this happen. I prefer to buy the ones that are at least an inch across so that you have a substantial ribbon. We like to select ribbons of many colors, but other witches I have known like to choose ribbons in white and red. Follow your own customs that you have learned for this.
As a last resort, if you can’t find ribbons like this in your location, a deceased High Priestess of the coven occasionally recommended crepe paper streamers as a substitute. These are more eco-friendly, though you will need to be sure not to get them damp or wet or yank too hard on them so they don’t rip – but it will do in a pinch.
Something I like to do is fashion a natural wreath out of grapevine, young forsythia branches, willow fronds or other young bendable wood if I can. You will notice in the photos here that the wreath will typically be near the very top of the Maypole. To do this, I tie the each of the ribbons to the wreath and leave at least a foot length left on the other end of it so those ends can be fastened tightly to the top of the Maypole itself. This helps in some ways to keep the ribbons from totally tangling up and just generally looks pleasing and beautiful. (If you have this set up for any period of time before the dance begins, you’ll want to secure the dangling ribbons because if the wind blows a bit, the ribbons can get all jumbled beforehand and you’ll have to spend some time untangling them before the dance begins!)
The sapling that I select to cut when I do this is typically one that I would have cut because it had volunteered itself in a location that is less than convenient. I don’t want to randomly cut from any tree – but instead, I will select from particularly prolific trees so that if I take this sapling, it is not going to cause much harm to my environment. For example, Mulberry trees seem to come up like “weeds” in my part of Pennsylvania mainly from the birds who eat the berries and they always seem to drop the seeds in the most inconvenient places possible. These saplings are super fast growing too. In year’s past, I seemed to always select Mulberry because of this.
Some folks have very specific traditions and ideas of what to do with the Maypole itself after Beltane is over. Some like to store these and dry them out and burn them either at Midsummer, the Hallowmas fire or even turn a section of the sapling into a Yule Log – but to make a nice Yule Log, you would almost need to have a more substantial branch than the saplings we use when we do this.
Safety is always a prime thought. This means we try to make a space free of debris and tripping, but also …. If you have any member of your coven with disabilities or if they are not as mobile, you should think ahead of time of something they can do to contribute to the revelry so they can be involved. Dancing the Maypole definitely takes effort – and we do not exclude anyone from the merriment who is unable to do this. Some other options for those not able to perform the dance because of safety concerns, for example, could be drumming and/or singing and chanting during the dance. These roles can be very instrumental and important and are always appreciated. This adds something special and personal to the experience. If I thought about this long enough, I could probably imagine other possible roles as well for folks to help with such as blessing the Maypole by writing an invocation for the occasion…. or even tying off the finished ribbons with a particular incantation.
If at all possible, we try to be outdoors whenever we can. We will also typically light a baalfire during the festival so that those of the coven who wish to may safely “jump the fire” for luck in love and for the granting of wishes.
We also will burn off all of the left-over corn husks and sheaves of wheat from the previous Autumn Equinox Sabbat because they represent the previous cycle we have left and we want to transmute the old so we can make way for the new and we do this symbolically in this ritual. I like to add to this theme as well by collecting as much of the debris from trees and bushes that have fallen over the winter months and burn them in this Sabbat’s baalfire that we enjoy after ritual. This not only provides great kindling to start the fire with, but also provides a warm fire for the initiates to enjoy while we partake of the Sabbat feast, but also serves an important purpose symbolically also of clearing away more of the old debris that no longer has a use, converting it into light, heat and ash to be given back to the Great Mother Goddess.
We typically save the ashes from the spent fire, long after it has cool and no longer warm with any chance of burning, so that the witches can take home the ashes to fertilize their garden with. These ashes represent all that was burnt off from last year – burning off dreams that have been released, wishes that have been fulfilled, and old magical charms: burnt and then transformed to serve as fertilizer. These can be sprinkled in the gardens with a simple invocation to the Great Mother Goddess to bless crops and animals of your location.
You’ll notice a continuing theme here of joy, happiness, luck and love in our Beltane Sabbat, along with a theme of burning away the last dregs of the following year. If you haven’t caught the “tidying” bug yet, this Sabbat will surely bring it to you. Traditions of spring cleaning are either already under way, or you may be feeling this following the Sabbat. It is an un-written belief or practice that we learn from this ritual that we must clear away the last dregs of the old year to invoke the joy, blessings, luck and love in the new year. Fire is important in nature because it is a great purifier and vivifier. I find myself doing this in my own home as I prepare for the Fire Sabbat of Beltane and finding things I must pass on to others, dispose or recycle. This not only frees-up space, but I find it removes old emotional-investments/thought-forms of things that impede your progress, but might add joy to others around you if you pass it on. Being a religion centered around the cycles of nature, and acknowledging these changing tides, I find this a personal theme that I take much comfort in – moving with the seasonal tides, and not trying to swim upstream against them.
A simple altar for the Beltane Sabbat – typically, the Coven May Eve/Beltane altar will hold the three-branched candlestick of the High Priestess:
At the Sabbat of Candlemass, (February 2015) the witches of our coven and companionship met around the altar in the temple here for the purposes of honoring the feast of waxing light and to celebrate the purification of the Earth-Mother so she could conceive of the birth of Spring.
The Ancient One and Watchers of times of old, time outside of time, were called to be present and draw in the power as we stirred the Astral Light that night.
The Sabbat that came before last Candlemass, Yule (December 2014), initiated the new season to come.
Yule was ruled by the God because Yule is one of the four Quarter Days of the year that marks the seasonal and Celestial Changes. (both solstices and equinoxes) Ancient monuments and stone megaliths from many thousands of years ago were aligned to mark these “Times” that initiate change here on earth: Such as Stonehenge and other round houses and stone circles of Britain and even the ancient monuments of the Mayans! Many ancient civilizations placed such great emphasis on these particular times of the year.
Yule represented the Celestial “Action”: the Initiator. Candlemass is now the Terrestrial “Response.” The time of daylight continue to increase since Yule from the heavenly Sun and now the Earth, our Great Mother, fashions the life by preparing the Earth with purification to wash away all the dross and the cobwebs from the doors. Soon, spring cleaning will be in the air.
Our Father God represents the Action, our Mother Goddess represents the Response. The God initiates, and the Goddess orders and manifests. One cannot exist without the other: Which is why we of the Wicca look to the Lord and Lady as halves of the same whole, and acknowledge the great “Oneness” as the Supreme Being from which all life unfolded and came to be fashioned: divine sparks dividing and indwelling and eventually through the process and progression of reincarnation, will all return to.
At this Sabbat, we wrote petitions for both spiritual and material growth. The Earth Mother is clearing a way for the opening of the tomb and life since the Celestial and Heavenly realms initiated it, so we too respond to Her changes by writing of the petitions and make room for what is to be.
The petitions were placed into the soil and watered blessed through practices of concentration, prayer and incantations. A circle dance to awaken the seeds of Spring performed around this “awakened tomb” was had to celebrate the increasing light and to send power up to our gods so they too will give response.
Once again, the awakening of the tomb and the feast of purification and waxing light is coming soon. Many mythologies represent this celestial ordering and earthly response in various myths and ritual: Such as the Descent and Release of Persephone.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to look back on the Sabbats with great fondness, sometimes even with a tear in my eye at their beauty. Sabbats are the memorable parts of our religion. We don’t always remember what happened at Initiations and Esbats because of the nature of their workings and their veil of mystery – but Sabbats always stick out in the memory for me – not easily forgotten! That is probably how it should be.
The rites have been kept and honor given to the Ancient One.
The purpose of a House Blessing in Wicca is designed to bring the spirit of the Gracious Goddess and the Good God into the new home that you move into. Whether you move into this space as a couple, or by yourself, it is part of our religion to welcome Deity into the new home to dwell with us.
This ritual is best performed at the time of the New Moon.
If you view the photos, you can see the simple items that are used in this ritual: Incense of Frankincense, a magnetized candle, bread and salt. All of these things can be said to symbolize the good things in life. Salt sustains and purifies, bread nourishes, incense heightens us and the candle warms us.
What is the purpose of a house blessing?
The primary purpose in my mind is first to let the Old Gods they are welcome into this space and into your life. This is a space where we make them feel welcome and invite them in with this ritual. It is not only a sanctuary for us to reside, but also a sanctuary for them to reside.
The second purpose is to erase any previous emanations from the previous owners or tenants so that any lingering presence will not be of an adverse affect to you.
The third purpose is to ask for the Old Gods blessing.
Likewise, if you move out of a home, there is also included in order to banish the emanations that could be remaining in the home – to free it for the next inhabitants who will live there. This simple ritual uses an egg for that banishing and can also be found in the book.
It is very important, especially in places where you have performed magic, to free the home as much as possible from the magnetism that you have left there if you leave it. I call this good psychic hygiene.
Water-Witchin’ was at one time a part of regular country life when other means of finding water underground in order to dig a well wasn’t available.
Many of us may have fond remembrances of watching someone perform this noble and ‘respectable‘ form of divination when we were young, or at least have heard an older relatives tell the tale. In most of the in-person stories I have been lucky enough to hear, it was typically a man who seemed to have been taught by another male relative. Typically, it seems to be something passed from father to son, and uncle to nephew. I am sure some women performed this too though.
Typically, oral traditions of water-witchin’ states that you must either have received a passed-down “Divining Rod” or you must go out and cut a fresh one, from preferably a fruit-producing tree. In my own area of Pennsylvania, the most common tree that I have personally heard referenced was a rod cut from a Peach Tree. Sometimes lore would say the branch must be from a virgin branch of the tree that has never produced fruit, and some do not specify.
Even though locally I had been told a virgin rod from a Peach tree, in other locations, you may also hear of using a Hazel rod. If you review this practice in the old school grimoires of occult magic from a few hundred years back, you’ll notice Hazel rods, or even ones from an Elder tree seems to be quite common!
The particular design and shape of it was told to be one that is shaped like a “Y” so that you can hold the “V” part of the stick in each hand with both thumbs pointing outward. This means, while holding, the left thumb is pointed to the left and the right thumb is pointed to the right.
You would proceed to walk with the divining rod, holding it parallel to the ground until either you felt the rod vibrate or that it would point up or down. (The “I” part of it may go down or up – or just vibrate….. It depends on how you were taught to do this or how your own special talents develop.)
T. F. Thistleton Dyer in his classical text “The Folklore of Plants” (my own 1894 copy of the book pictured here) has a curious little reference to this when they had written:
“Some sorcerers do boast they have a rod, Gather’d with vows and sacrifice, And, borne aloft, will strangely nod The hidden treasure where it lies.”
Diving Rods such as this have been used throughout history. In our modern times they have been used to find more than just an underground spring or water; they have been used to find things such as ‘ley lines‘ (that run North to South – lines of power and power flow of the earth’s magnetism), buried treasure or anything at all. I have even heard of a few folks say that you can use them to find graves of people long deceased!
Cutting wands or rods for a variety of purposes; whether for divinatory purposes or for commanding spiritual intelligences and elementals, seems to be a common theme throughout our known history and practice of magic.
A Photo of a “Blasting Rod & Cauldron Pot“…..
A number of the old-time grimoires (grammars, or ‘manuals of magic’) discuss cutting various types of trees to use in practices such as commanding, directing and controlling spirits through conjuration and exorcism.
One particular wand that is quite curious and has an awe-inspiring reputation is known as the “blasting rod”. This wand was cut from the Blackthorn tree was used in ritual magic and summoning of base spiritual-intelligences in order for them to obey the instructions of the exorcist or sorcerer who has summoned these beings to the edge of their protective magical circle in order to do their bidding. The blasting rod, in this particular instance, is used to give a sort of “magical threat” to the spirit to obey the requests and demands of the Exorcist.
Another type of rod that a few legendary grimoires, such as the famed “The Red Dragon” require is that the magician cut a virgin hazel wand on a particular day of the week for the purposes of chastising a thief that has stolen your property or an enemy so that they will feel the blows of the rod when you strike the altar in their name. This is a form of sympathetic magic.
It wasn’t just in grimoires such as The Red Dragon, I have also come across very similar practices in other grimoires or black books of magic, such as the ever amazing, The Black Books of Elverum.
Photo of the grimoire known as “The Red Dragon” can be found here below. This is the Teitan Press edition:
In various forms of Necromancy, various wands of these sorts are used when summoning the spirits of the departed in order for their attention to be attracted. These rites typically seem to call for wood made of willow or any other wood that is of a more watery nature.
In our coven, when we perform the High Ceremonial Dumb Supper at the time of the Hallowmas Sabbat, which is a form of Necromancy, the High Priestess uses the willow wand of necromancy for 13 nights to summon our kith and kin that we wish to silently ‘sup with during this complex ceremony.
During the High Ceremonial Dumb Supper, this wand makes an appearance once again – being used in the evocations for the kith and kin to attend as the names of power are called and the gates opened for them to enter in. Certain incenses are also used so they may enter this world of form more easily.
Another form of wand is also used by the High Priestess in this Hallowmas Ceremonial – that is her Coven Broom. As she travels around the circle Widdershins in order to instruct the deceased kith and kin where to sit and enjoy their meal, she takes up her coven broom and as she speaks the name of the individuals, she raps the handle end on the floor as part of the instructions so the spirits know where the ‘sup their dinner with their living hosts.
Various types of wood have been used throughout history to make all sorts of magical wands. I personally own a small assortment of wands and rods: some were gifts, some were handmade by me for various purposes and magical reasons. They all have their own purpose to them.
Pictured here on a Wiccan altar at the Wolfa Coven, you can see a magical wand prominently displayed that is appropriate to use in Wiccan rites. This is a wand I had cut and did the work on to make:
For those that wish to cut their own wands and make one, I will give you a couple simple instructions… In regards to what you put on the wand or how you must prepare it, I can’t go into those details here. You should follow your own particular magical tradition’s directions for how to prepare the wand for magical operations.
Most Wiccan or magical traditions either ascribe wands to either being aligned with the element of fire or the element of air. If your tradition ascribes it to the element of fire, go out and search for a suitable tree branch on a Monday. If your tradition or teachings ascribe the wand to air, go out and search for the branch on a Tuesday.
After you have located the branch, remember where it is at, as you will not be cutting it that day. The following day, you will cut the branch on Tuesday (if your tradition ascribes it to fire, in a Mars hour) or on Wednesday. (if your tradition ascribes it to air, in a Mercury hour) Other days and planetary hours of the week might be important as well depending on the use of the wand and the tradition.
Why go to all that trouble to figure out the right time to cut it? Well, how important is your magic or witchcraft to you? As I have told my students throughout the years, it is not always “what” you do, but “how” you do it that makes all the difference. Little or lazy effort produces little to no results.
After the wand has been cut, it should lay out flat to dry for a while before you do any work on it… If you don’t lay it flat, as it dries it will begin to bow. If you work on it too soon and peel the bark off before it is dry, the wood will crack as it begins drying.
Your tradition will also most likely have specific sigils or symbols they may hold dear that you are to put on the wand. You should follow these directions too, if they exist in your tradition.
This particular magical wand pictured below is one that took quite a bit of work. It was made to certain specific exact measurements – every detail being carefully measured out. The wood was split in half for the entire length of it and an iron rod placed in the center of the wood with another metal rod connecting to the iron one and coming out and wrapped around the handle. This magical wand has a peculiar effect. Without any effort, it produces quite a “cool” breeze-feeling on the body of another person it is pointed at – being able to easily feel the magnetism coming out of it. It is certainly one of my absolute favorite wands to use:
Let’s now think about divining rods of today………
Many folks that have come into the spiritual consumerism of the modern day have many options of shiny tools and gadgets they can buy. This isn’t a bad thing at all – except when it comes to the folks who like to do bouts of “spiritual tourism” through every esoteric practice they can find, not caring what culture they are appropriating from, nor whom they hurt in the process.
One particular item that has come out of the metaphysical shops and still seem to be popular today has been metal “Dowsing Rods.” They are typically thicker pieces of metal bent into the shape of an “L” and sold as a pair. For an extra fee, I have also seen pairs of these rods that have wooden handles on the small part of the “L”, or some crystal-encrusted elaborate design.
One of these rods is held in each hand. As you slowly walk with them, when it senses what you are looking for, the rods will either open further or cross themselves. Let’s give some examples of their modern day uses.
Late into the night a number of year’s ago, a friend of mine had grabbed a pair of simple dowsing rods that she had made from two old metal clothing hangers and had bent them in the appropriate “L” shape.
The first experiment we did was that she went into the kitchen and she asked me to draw a small magical circle anywhere in the house and she will come find it with the rods.
So I picked out a particular spot, drew a magical circle with my hands and my iron-clad will. I then walked out of the circle and found a place to sit down.
I yelled over to let her know I was finished. She came out of the kitchen and walked slowly through the entire space. Literally, at the exact spot I drew that magical circle with nothing but my hand and my mind, the rods opened up in order to avoid penetrating the circle as if someone pushed them wide open in order to stop them. It was fascinating to see with clear eyes and mind how a magical operation performed in the mind and projected by your will through your own body can leave such an imprint on a particular area so as to alter the effects of another item as it enters the aura of that space – in this instance, the metal dowsing rods.
We repeated this exercise again. I drew another magical circle into the Astral Light of that space in a different spot of the room with the exact same results being produced: she being able to come in, and the rods opening, at the exact spot the circle was drawn.
So we concluded, beyond a shadow of a doubt in our own minds, and with another witch present to observe as a witness, that this spontaneous activity is legit, providing two things are available:
1. That the person doing the divining is patient and psychic enough to possibly pick up on small impressions left in the astral light, and/or…….
2. The person drawing the circle is able to physically manifest magical powers and impregnate an object or a defined space with it.
Now, the next experiment was shifted to another one of the Occult Sciences, that of telekinesis…..
One witch was to hold the rods while the other witch stood on the other side of the room and with nothing but the powers of your own mind’s will power, force the rods to move by will.
I was up first to do the moving…. She stood across the room and I stood on the opposite end.
This was the first time I had tried doing something like this, so I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect or how to proceed, but I didn’t need directions, just had to go with what I could figure out and see if it would work. So I decided that I would start by concentrating on just one of the rods, because I didn’t know if I could focus on them both at the same time.
I focused on the one that was on my right, but in her left hand, and sure enough, after about 10 seconds of focus, the rod began to bounce and opened up completely back on her arm.
Next I focused on the one on my left that was in her right hand. The same thing occurred.
We tried this again, same thing happened.
Now on this third attempt, I decided I would try this with both at the same time.
It took me a little extra time to get both rods firm in my mind, and I projected power from my body to the tips of the rods pointing toward me. Sure enough, both rods began to bounce and they proceeded to bounce their way back toward her arms. The experiments were a complete success!
A couple weeks later, it was a cold December night and I was sitting by candlelight at the table with various witches of mixed paths and focusing good intentions to other people in need of good thoughts, healing wishes and prayers.
The witch who owned the home had a set of small metal dowsing rods that she purchased from a metaphysical store and she handed them to another male witch who was also at the table to use in order to check the energy of the workings being done. (I don’t know why this was necessary, but whatever floats your boat!) I must admit that I found them a tempting distraction from what we were doing….. So I decided that I would “play around” with the rods and see if he could notice.
So I started moving the rods on purpose, in secret, with only my mind and without anyone’s knowledge around the table. Soon I heard, “Wow, there must have been a lot of energy moving at those few requests because these things have been going crazy!”
I chuckled and said, “Yes, indeed. I bet you on the next one they won’t move at all.”
“Why do you say that?” he said.
“I just have a feeling……”
So sure enough, didn’t move at all.
I did this a couple more times – moving to the left, then to right, etc., each time, ‘predicting’ what would happen beforehand.
After this, he had said he wanted to know why they were so erratic. I said I knew why but would tell him later so that we could finish the working. Well, that comment stopped us in our tracks because by now, everyone was getting so curious on what the heck was going on.
So I came clean and said I was moving them for fun. So we got a big chuckle, and then we decided we would put the dowsing rods down. Good thing indeed, because I was more interested in playing with them than the petitions I should have been focusing on for those in need!
That’s another reason why I think spending the time to collect a practical, working set of tools without all the other fancy-pants bobbles is much better than owning three of everything in terms of occult supplies. Too many shiny things can be a distraction from doing the real work. Just like those that do “spiritual tourism” through every form of magic-d’jour they find, always chasing the tail of the dragon, because they have went into every pursuit with a half-measure and no strong commitment.
Have any of you had any experience or stories about divining rods, magic wands or telekinesis? If so we would love to hear about it in the comments below!
… a coven of witches practicing in the Horsa Tradition & the Sacred Pentagraph Tradition