Tag Archives: Wicca

Drawing Down the Moon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessed Be!

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

The Sacred Pentagraph – Five Books in One


Sabbat of Yule

Originally written 2016, updated: Dec. 5, 2021

It was difficult for me to write about the Yule Sabbat for two reasons:  The first is because there is so much out there already on the magic and folklore of Yule and I didn’t want to be repetitive. Secondly, there is not much growing outside in nature – making it less inspiring for me to write about. 

In Witchcraft, many of our rituals are focused around the seasonal changes in nature. When it comes to winter, we instinctively don’t want winter to necessarily happen. So as part of our own methods of achieving harmony and balance with our environment we shift a focus more towards magical things that can be done indoors: such as the magic of the hearth, the using of dried herbal preparations and herbal infusions… crafting, cleaning and preparing items. It gives us a little break to focus on the inside environment of our home and esoteric lives.

A golden candle above painted with red and green spirals representing the renewed light of the world. Increasing light and warmth before it was lit by coveners in the temple.
It rarely snows before the Winter Solstice in these amounts. Usually by the time of Candlemas we will get a pretty nice snow like above. The snow always looks pretty on my pine tree!

So what are some of the magical activities and rituals that we might do for Yule?

One of the first things we do at this particular celestial Sabbat is perform what is called the “Entering in of Death.”  This is a barren time of all of Nature (at least here in the Northeast) and we honor that time of death that occurs between Hallowmas and Yule with a somber ritual at least three days before the actual celebration of this Sabbat.  As we need sleep when the night comes, so too does Mother Nature. A few somber words are spoken quietly in the temple and then the temple is sealed off so that as Nature rests, so does the coven temple.  If any candles or spells are in progress at this time, they are taken out of the temple so that the temple can mark a somber period of magical silence.

Our magical weapons/tools are also cleansed during this time to remove from them any stale vibrations they may have picked up, making them clean and refreshed before “Calling Forth the Child of Promiseat the Sabbat ritual proper.

After the Sabbat Ritual proper, a Yule log will typically be decorated to make a centerpiece for the middle of the Sabbat Feast Table with at least three candles included… sometimes red candles and sometimes green. The High Priestess of the coven performs an invocation over the dinner and the guests at the head of the table for this Yuletide Feast. This is typically one of the three formal dinners the High Priestess will preside over during the year. There are recommended foods to be made in our tradition for the Sabbat, though, in the spirit of “Witches make do” sometimes what is prepared is changed depending on desire and dietary needs.

The Yule Log is later burned in the hearth if possible.  If not, a decorative Yule log will be flanked with red candles that are ceremonially lit before partaking of the Sabbat feast following the ceremony.

A decorative Yule Log made of white birch on the coffee table.
In this photo above, a decorative Yule Log made of white birch on the coffee table. Witches sharing Wassail while enjoying the soft glow of candle light from 2014. A purple candle burned nearby: a purple candle is lit by a teacher in the coven and kept nearby the teacher to represent the sharing of spiritual wisdom – as light radiates out from the center, so does an Occult Teacher’s spiritual wisdom. It is lit while the Occult Teacher shares knowledge and extinguished when they are finished sharing and dispersing that occult knowledge with the folks they are mentoring – it is known as the “Lamp of Art” and it is an important symbol in Sacred Pentagraph. 

We will decorate the magical circle with evergreens.  This is easy to do by going outdoors and cutting some pine and holly and bringing them indoors.  If you are lucky, the nature spirits may feel welcome to follow you –for bringing these evergreens indoors for decoration, you are letting the nature spirits know they are welcome to come in out of the cold and be warmed inside during this time.  The same theme is invoked when we decorate and trim the Yule tree.

Then, when the day of the Sabbat roles around, the ceremony typically starts off in the somber attitude, and then with the summoning forth the Child of Promise, the attitude becomes one of thankfulness, gratitude and thoughts of goodwill to man, animals and nature.  A re-dedication is made to the works of white witchcraft and the Craft as a whole.  Prayers are made to bring back the blessings of earth’s renewed light, which is also symbolic of our own inner light. Also, an asking and prayer of Supreme Being to kindle light and love within us.

The candles are anointed with Bayberry oil and if we are fortunate, we might even find candles made of Bayberry to burn during the night of the Winter Solstice. We like, when we can; to burn the bayberry candles from tip to the socket – for magical lore states that when burned “from tip to the socket; prosperity and peace to the home and money to the pockets!

So above you learned about what some covens will do for Yule…. but what about if your coven doesn’t celebrate Yule? Or what do you do if you can’t be with the coven, or you prefer to practice Wicca solitary? Here is an example of something you can do:

Because Yule is symbolic of the light or spark being alive and bright inside the womb or the tomb of the Great Mother Earth, so we symbolize this with a candle inside a cauldron.

Candles inside the cauldron – this is symbolic of the light growing inside the Womb or Tomb of the Great Mother Earth. The light will once again grow and warm the Earth, as it also warms our creative thought so that we can grow, create and inspire others.

Take a large or medium sized cauldron and put sand inside it to protect it. Place a candleholder inside the cauldron and place a candle inside it. Place holly and pine, or whatever type of evergreens that grow in your area, around the outside of the cauldron, decoratively.

Write for yourself an invocation to the Great Mother Goddess and the Great Father Horned God, about life being renewed once again while you light the candle. The prime symbolism of the God-power is great celestial Solar-Fire. The symbolism is clear, that the Solar Rays of Spring and Summer will once again grow and return and the Earth will respond by being warmed by the increasing solar fire.

Also, because our thoughts are turned to a more reflective nature, it is a great time to work healing prayers and incantations for family and friends in need of healing. It is a way of giving back, magically, to our friends and loved ones.

Healing of all sorts is a focus of our coven. A 7-Knob Candle was burned, one knob each day, to work for an individual at a distance with the thought of healing directed to the individual. A red candle was used for this since red represents vitality. Blessed Be!

However that you choose to celebrate this celestial Sabbat, we hope that the renewed and increasing light of the sun grows and glows within you. Blessed Be!


If you wish to know more about a full Sabbat cycle, more info can be found in The Sacred Pentagraph by Tarostar. Click on the book photo to learn more.

Hallowmas, the High Ceremonial Dumb Supper

Updated: October 8, 2021

Because of the intensity and amount of sheer preparation for this ritual, we do not conduct the high ceremonial Dumb Supper each year, but this year, we will be conducting it once again with many folks highly looking forward to it! This is part of the Book of the High Priestess, as she serves as the lead Medium in this ritual. 

spirit-board The Spirit Board of the High Priestess – occasionally used this time of year by three women of the coven when performing divination of the Watchword for the coming year. 

There are multiple parts to the High Ceremonial Dumb Supper. They typically are: 

  1. The Gathering 
  2. High Ceremonial Dumb Supper 
  3. Divination of the Yearly Watchword 
  4. Divination Party & Feasting 

The gathering part is easy – all gather at the appointed time and place for ritual. This is a formal occasion, and the High Priestess will either be in black or purple formal wear, robes and capes. The other coveners participating will typically be wearing black robes and capes as well. 

The Dumb Supper itself is pretty formal – with most members sitting in the appointed seating area with the triangle in the center and the plates of food for the ancestors in front of them in the inner circle and the members of the coven and their plates of food in the outer circle. Typically the only ones standing at this point or moving around the circle would be the High Priestess and her assistants who are performing the high arts of necromancy. 


The High Priestess with her Coven Broom, which is the symbol of her IV* Degree, will cast the magical circle into a tomb for the dearly departed to enter. The motions of her broom direct the rites themselves – including telling our loved ones where to sit and gather. Depending on whether the bristles of her Coven Broom are upright or down will direct the spirits on when and where they are welcomed. 

The third part of the ceremony itself is the Divination of the Yearly Watchword. This ritual is conducted by the High Priestess and two female assistants, each representing the Great Mother Goddess and using their combined collective wills to give prophesy. The yearly Watchword serves as a Coven Password to gain entrance into the coven’s rituals for the year. The Watchword, along with the Grade Signs that a witch will give before the Summoner of the coven will let him know whether this person was invited or not to the ceremony. 

The Watchword itself is a bit prophetic as well – for within those short, small words contains a great deal of insight and knowledge that members of the coven should pay attention to during the upcoming yearly seasonal cycle. You will find, time and time again, that just a single word represents a coven theme for the entire year. 

The High Priestess will perform this act of prophesy after the requisite ritual incantations so that it is revealed to all coveners present. 

Lastly, the divination party and the feast can commence. After the atmosphere is cleared some then acts of divination for each other can begin – using whatever method or tools each witch dictates. This is the formal part of the feast or gathering. 

Now that we briefly covered the themes that occur for the Hallowmas in our coven, let’s dive a little more into some additional details on this, shall we? 


The ritual of the Dumb Supper itself is a form of necromancy. At one time in our history, it was mainly used as an All Hallows observance by young women in order to be told the name or names of their future husbands or what their occupation was. Back in those dark days where your fate depended on the industry of your husband, these types of rituals were used by ladies wanting to know this information. Fortunately today, the Dumb Supper itself is rarely or ever used for foretelling who your future mate is…. it’s not that it can’t be done, it totally can, but this isn’t as relevant in our society today thankfully. Today, hundreds of years later from those Victorian era times, we can perform this in order to receive meaningful information or just simply commune with our departed loved ones. 

Today, this is a high rite of necromancy that takes a few weeks of coven preparation. With Witchcraft able to be practiced more fully without as much fear of persecution as we have had in the past, we have been able to restore some of these rituals with more pomp, circumstance and flair that they deserve – especially for such grand occasions! 


When we perform this ritual, the dearly departed that are selected to sup with us on the night of Hallows are summoned each night, at the same time, for 13 nights leading up to the night of All Hallows Eve. Each spiritual guest must have time to gather enough strength in order to be present, and the High Priestess works to ensure their presence at this ritual for 13 nights in all. 

Even though the meal itself is eaten in silence, appropriate music might also be played in the background. Music not only creates the right atmosphere, but certain types of music may help to draw in the appropriate spirits to the ritual. It is not for haphazard reasons why many spiritualist circles play old church hymnal music. The reason for this type of music being played is because it is something that the spirits may recognize. It is not uncommon for many Spiritualist mediums to bust out an old southern “Amazing Grace” hymn at a Spiritualist meeting. The medium singing this has nothing to do with their religious beliefs, and doesn’t have anything to do with being Christian or not, but it is in setting up the right frequency and current in which the place it is performed gives the correct atmosphere where spiritual energy can gather. 

It is not uncommon as well for traditional witches to take the meter, rhythm and tone of a hymn and alter the words a bit as well. This is not done as an act of disrespect to our many Christian friends, and in many ways is because of the beauty and excellent quality of the writers of these hymns have used in their composition because the tonal quality of the hymn may reverberate through what is called the law of vibration and also what may be termed the theory of morphic-resonance, which was coined by a researcher into parapsychology named Rupert Sheldrake.

In Sheldrake’s theory, he poised the theory that nature itself has an inherent memory. That if one thing existed at one time, it will be retained within “Nature’s memory” and be able to be tapped into at a future time – in some ways, connected to the law of frequency.

WP_20141025_020This can be felt in old traditional covens. I can’t tell you how many times that new coven members have experienced our rituals after initiation into the Craft and have said, “Wow! For some reason, I feel connected way back to something very, very old!” This is not to say that our coven is an ancient coven by any means, unchanged back into dark ages, but our coven itself practices handed down ritual techniques and tradition that have not changed much. While the meat of some rituals have evolved over the years at times, the pattern of setting up our cyclotron of power has not, and can pull into it great power over repeated performance.  This feeling of not only deja vu but also of propelling a new initiate into new experiences and memories, many coven members have expressed memories and deja vu of being located in the Middle East somewhere – and this psychic experience is how this is validated in their minds. This all coming from witches who have been around the block and have been to hundreds of other rituals – they still attest to the beauty and majesty of our old rites with fondness and love and the feelings they evoke.

This morphic-resonance theory may also help to explain why other accounts of psychic phenomenon such as when you hold an object in your hand and are transported back in time and can see the pattern of events and read the thought-form impressions in rooms, walls and buildings. The divinatory acts of psychometry can fall into this category and helps to give an occult explanation for the energies and emotions felt around particular statues or saints that cause a release in certain emotions. 

The High Ceremonial Dumb Supper is also known as the Rites of Hecate.” The goddess known as Hecate is well-known as a goddess of the crossroads and of the dead and night in mythology and history. How did this goddess and the practice enter the religion of Witchcraft? While we may never know, there are certainly older texts using rituals in the name of Hecate. One example of this is the old grimoire, which is a compilation of many grimoires, by A.E. Waite known as “The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts” which was a highly influential. This grimoire also contains a section on the forbidden arts of Necromancy and some of the incantations and conjurations bear a striking resemblance to our practice today, though in a safe and secure environment. This book also mentions the goddess Hecate in those rites as well – which is surprising for many grimoires of that time period to mention an Ancient Goddess.

The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts, by A.E. Waite. An old grimoire that was influential in witchcraft in the past, and even referenced by many Wiccans today!

After the spirits of our ancestors have been duly conjured by the High Priestess, she is able to direct them where to sit.

One thing different from mediumship circles is that since no talking is permitted during the partaking of this very sparse meal, no acting out or spiritual possession is permitted to overtake the guests. To allow the ceremony to descend into such character of moaning, wailing and the clanking of chains could overshadow any actual manifestations or whispers from the departed from occurring, or be simply missed…. So order and decorum must be kept by all participants in the ceremony.

After the ceremony has ended, the High Priestess will gather up all deceased ancestors and allow them to be peacefully released back to their places of beauty.

We typically bury in the ground the food that was offered to the ancestors at this solemn rite.

Following the High Ceremonial Dumb Supper, various types of divination may be performed by the coveners. One of the first tasks is to divine the secret “watchword” of the coven to carry us through the new year. This is a ritual act by three women of the coven who will choose which form of divination to use in uncovering this top secret watchward which will serve as the password for the new year to gain entrance to private coven rituals

May your Hallows ceremony be special this year – no matter how you and your coven celebrates!

Blessed Be,

Thorn Nightwind

If you wish to know more about a full Sabbat cycle, more info can be found in The Sacred Pentagraph by Tarostar. Click on the book photo to learn more.

Autumnal Equinox Sabbat

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 EffectYe reap that which you sow is 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.

AE 2014 12
A simple altar for the Autumnal Equinox Sabbat…

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.

A meditation symbol of balanced scales gracing a table in which food will be set out to be partaken of by the coven.
A meditation symbol of balanced scales gracing a table in which food will be set out to be partaken of by the coven.

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.

The Autumn Hen being hidden away all through Winter.....
The Autumn Hen being hidden away all through Winter…..

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?

  1. Thought-forms that we nurture have a better chance for growth and survival.
  2. We aspire upward and forward on the path of progressive reincarnation.
  3. To not waste the gifts we have either earned or have been given.
  4. Everything has its opposite – light and dark, hot and cold, etc.
  5. The acceptance of the mortality of all things on this earthly plane.
  6. The Tenet of a Balanced Life
  7. To take stock of what we have gathered in this year.
  8. The acceptance of the successes and failures of the thought-forms and seed-thoughts we have invoked for the year.
  9. That a coven, much like in old agricultural communities of times past, strives to take care of each other as a familial community unit.
  10. 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!

Blessed Be!

IWP_20160102_002f 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.

Sabbat of Lammas

The mid-way point, calculated between the Celestial Sabbats of the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox tells us when the first Harvest Sabbat begins. This Sabbat is known to some as “Lammas” and to others as “Lugnasad.”

The Lammas Sabbat is considered a “Terrestrial Sabbat” and led by the High Priestess.  At this Sabbat, we celebrate the first big harvest festival of the season and the Great Mother’s rich bounty. These are but symbols which symbolize to us that we are not only thankful for the first fruits of the “seed-thoughts” that we planted at the Candlemas Sabbat, but also that we are just beginning to reap the harvest of those “seed-thoughts” with full recognition and acceptance of our “harvest” when the Fall Equinox comes which gives unto us the final outcome of the symbolic garden we have planted – the full manifestation of the thought-forms set into motion at the earlier seasonal ceremonials.

A photograph showing but a simple altar for the Lammas Sabbat. Flowers of the season grown in the garden, a three-branched candlestick of the Goddess, the Broom of the High Priestess, plate for bread and wine surrounded by the four elements. 

Each Sabbat we perform is part of a complete cycle of action and re-action, or initiation and response: the Celestial initiating the change on the Terrestrial. To understand the changing of seasons that occur above and below us is to work on our continued harmony within – to strive always to find a harmonious existence all around us, harmony with the natural world and harmony with our fellow man.

Along with the normal bread and wine partaken of at the “Love Feast,” fruits and cheeses are also shared at this time as well in circle.

This ritual is a three-part feast:  the first part is the feast of bread and wine in the magical circle, the second part is the offering of bread and wine to the Mother Earth and then the third part is the Feast enjoyed with much celebration after the ceremonial is complete.

Burying the Offerings of fruit, bread and wine to the Great Mother Goddess. As we give her our best, so may we be given the best. 

The warm summer nights found at this time with the Summer season at it’s height is great for spending time outdoors – especially when the moon is shining above:

The beauty of Summer Full Moon Nights…… 

To understand what has been described in our modern times as the three harvest festivals in Witchcraft today, I will give you a brief summary so you can familiarize yourself with these terms:

The Lammas Festival for us is the start of Harvest Season when the first big harvests of the summer growing season are coming in. During this time, the focus is on that of thanking the Deity, in which the incantations will be of gratitude.

The Autumnal Equinox Sabbat is where we receive what is due to us – both what we have succeed with and what we have failed at. Sometimes, this Sabbat is the one focused around the Thanksgiving feast. At this time, we balance the books and also the scales – hence, why the imagery of the apothecary scales or scales of justice tends to be the meditational symbol of this particular ritual.

The Hallowmas Festival is complex, and such a grand occasion that multiple things will occur. Divination to reveal the watchword for the coming year is done, occasionally we may hold the High Ceremonial Dumb Supper in order to sup with our beloved dead & Hidden Company, or we may perform incantations to be sustained through the winter months and to release all things that hold us back. It is a time of release and honor of those that have come before – and looking ahead to next year.

I think sometimes many of us can easily take for granted the fact that so many people do live in climates where the seasonal changes are not as pronounced. Seasonal patterns and change are never a one-sized fits all and each coven must adjust some of the symbolism to reflect this from their natural environment.

In my personal climate, it is the hottest at this time usually and we can see the full effect of Summer. Our group works with witches all over the place – so Lammas here might look different from what some of our witch-kin experiences in Canada, and also different from what our witch-kin experiences in Texas or even Arizona! Each of us makes those adjustments in our symbolism accordingly.

For those of us who wear the old ‘Talking Stone‘ of the Old Religion and even those friends who don’t, we do hope that you reap the necessary harvest and give back in thanksgiving and gratitude (Lammas), that you are able to receive all blessings you are due (the balancing act of Autumnal Equinox) and that you have all your needs met throughout the Hallows season and able to spend time reflecting on the year forward. (Hallowmas)

If you wish to write and participate in your own Lammas Sabbat, an excellent book I recommend is “The Sacred Pentagraph” that was published by a mentor of mine: Tarostar.  Also, on page 46 you will see a photo inside our Wolfa Coven temple space performing the ritual, “Centering of the Cone.”

Blessed Be!


Wolfa Coven ready for Lammas Sabbat at the Covenstead! 

Summer Solstice Sabbat

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 ….

In this photo, the Chalice sets upon a stone from the earth. The Chalice is filled with rich red wine and bedecked with flowers of that special time of the year. This photo from Midsummer 2018. Substitutions for Red Wine can and should be made for those who cannot partake of alcohol for purposes of their sobriety.

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 altar at the Summer Solstice (Midsummer) Sabbat holding the instruments of the art. Book of Lights to the lower left hand of the altar, items representing the four elements, red roses and a chalice of wine and the graal that held the bread. White and Black Candles flank the altar – representing the twin pillars. This photo from Midsummer 2014. Red flowers are traditional to bedeck the magical circle and the altar.

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 Credence Table – a separate table in this ritual is set up with the carved and anointed 7 day candles in which the written petitions were burned and the words carried through the air by the heat, flame and smoke to the Ancient Ones. After Sabbat, the candles will be transferred to the Coven Niche in order to burn the rest of the way out.

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:

Before the Love Feast!

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.

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

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!

Blessed Be!

*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.

Sabbat of Beltane

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.

Beltane 2
The Maypole we had a few years back at the Wolfa Coven! While dancing of the May Pole is not a standard part of the Sabbat proper, it is a custom we do enjoy before the formal May Eve/Beltane Sabbat begins. 

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.

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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.

Blessed Be!

A simple altar for the Beltane Sabbat – typically, the Coven May Eve/Beltane altar will hold the three-branched candlestick of the High Priestess: 


An altar set-up for a solitary Beltane Sabbat – when an initiated witch can’t be with the coven, it is still vitally important that the spirit of the Sabbat be kept. If you need to do a solitary Beltane Sabbat this year, this blog post will give you some ideas by clicking here ….  


Sabbat of Spring Equinox

The Spring Equinox is the astrological New Year for us and is when Aries the Ram greets us again like a long lost friend. The tide of winter has finally beginning to pass and hopefully by this time, we will not receive any further snow in our own area and can look forward to longer, warmer days and digging around in the garden. (Though, only speaking for my own environment – weather may vary depending on your location.) 

Votive candles in glass holders along with Pussy Willow branches are on the altar to be used in this Sabbat. The white and black taper candles, representing the polarity of the dark and the light are also present on the altar.

I have fond memories of many past Spring Sabbats – probably because in our Pennsylvania climate, it is easier to celebrate this Sabbat outside if you choose. The nights are still cold, but we typically will be able to have a bonfire outdoors and a warm blanket on our laps to keep us warm if we spend it outside.

In my garden, I typically will rake out the last dregs of fall leaves that cover the garden beds and pick up small fallen branches and twigs: saving them for fires. Early spring flowers and bulbs are put in the ground and the daffodils begin their yearly bloom!

….. the beauty of spring flowers. Flowers, plants or a cut arrangement are usually present at all rituals. The Language of Flowers is something studied by many witches.
Flowers are sometimes looked at as the beautiful clothing of the Great Mother. Nature smiles at us through the beauty of its many flowers!

Because it is the astrological new year, we typically will perform ritual actions within this Sabbat for the purposes of re-dedicating ourselves to the coven. In this ritual we may recite the “Tenets of the Faith” together in order to refresh our understanding and contemplation of our religion and what we aspire to. As Spring lengthens and widens, and the sprouting plants aspire to bloom and flower; so should our dedication to the religion of the Wicca lengthen and widen so that we may express spiritually what we aspire to.

Also, since the astrological new year is initiated at this time and the new cycle beginning in Aires, that is why it is a perfect time for us to be initiated into Witchcraft.

A wonderful High Priestess of another Sacred Pentagraph coven kindly cross-stitched the Tenets of Faith and had these framed for me as a gift. They are lovely and helpful reminders about some of the beliefs that we hold dear in our coven.
Forsynthia blossoms beautifully represented on the altar. This is one of the earlier spring bushes to bloom near the Vernal Equinox in my area.

Because it is a time of “new beginnings,” it is also the traditional time of initiation of neophytes and probationers that have been studying to become initiated witches.

Candles in their blue-glass holders displayed after their use by the coveners during the Vernal Equinox Sabbat at the Wolfa Coven.
Probationers would prepare their four sacred elemental tools and consecrate them before initiation.

Blessed Be,
Thorn Nightwind

Sabbat of Candlemass

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 planting of seeds at Candlemas and nurturing them throughout the growing season.
The planting of seeds at Candlemas and nurturing them throughout the growing season.

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.

Blessed Be to the Wicca and to all who seek!

House Blessing Ritual

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.

On the altar you can see the items that are used in the house blessing. A candle, salt, bread, incense.

As part of the Sacred Pentagraph tradition, there is an extraordinarily effective house blessing that can be done that we love very much. A copy of this old ritual has been made available and can be found in “The Sacred Pentagraph – Books I – III.”

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.

Blessed Be!