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Archive for February, 2012

I have often said that I think I could be quite content to live in a hobbit hole. When thinking about the topic of this blog post, I decided to go back to Tolkien’s  book and reread his description of the Baggins’ abode:

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

“It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats–the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill–The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it–and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the lefthand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.”

Hobbits are such nesters, and I consider myself to be a kindred spirit in that respect. I think I am a little more adventurous that most hobbits, but my home has always been my spiritual refuge just as the hobbit hole is to a hobbit.

Right now I am reading a book by Arin Murphy-Hiscock called The Way of the Hedge Witch: Rituals and Spells for Hearth and Home. This is one of those books that I occasionally find that has something on every page that resonates with my own beliefs. I love it when that happens. I am finding that so many things I have done instinctually are in alignment with the ways of the author’s definition of a hedge witch. I have always set up little altars in different rooms and recognized the sacredness of the heart of the home. What has struck me as enlightening about this book is that Arin brings up the fact that we don’t really need to make our homes sacred because they already are sacred. What we need to do is recognize them as being sacred spaces where we can go to recharge our spiritual batteries. And, indeed, the home has a kind of energy that we can draw upon to help us in all of our undertakings. There is a lot more to this book than just recognizing the sacredness of the hearth. I hope you will read the book, especially if you are a nester like me.

What I am in the process of doing right now is setting up an organized plan for my daily devotions. I have so many good intentions, but my days get overcrowded with things that come up to distract me from doing what I feel to be most important. I have a healing altar, a kitchen altar, an ancestor altar, a garden altar, a meditation altar….so many altars! But do I use them consistently? I would love to adhere to a pattern of using my altars even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. I think the secret may lie in establishing more of a flow to my home life. I need to stay in the moment and regard all of my so called chores as magickal actions that continue to recognize and reinforce the sacredness of the hearth.

My ancestor altar is located in my bedroom. I have set up a table where I sit and do divination such as tarot and scrying. Often I will sit and talk to those in spirit while I do this. In the kitchen I light a candle on my kitchen altar before cleaning or cooking (both magickal acts). I am getting better at going to my healing altar and lighting a candle before sending Reiki to those in need, and I even spend a few minutes most days sending healing energy to the planet.  Sabbats and full moons I love to spend outdoors in my garden. I feel like the whole yard just glows at times. The garden is an extension of the sacred space that is my home. My most recent altar I set up around my bathtub. The tub may seem like an unlikely place for an altar, but with candles lit all around and essential oils in the water it is a perfect spot for meditating and unwinding. I collect mermaids so they decorate my tub area and acknowledge the ocean goddess.

Little by little I am making progress on cleaning up the small piles of clutter here and there. How does it happen? I clean up one pile just to have another one grow someplace else! I truly believe in the precepts of Feng Shuy and struggle to clean up sources of negative energy (clutter!). I guess my house is just trying to keep me on my toes! It wants me to continue to monitor its energy on a regular basis. Just yesterday our water heater broke. This morning the filthy garage floor got a good washing with my sweeping away the water. We will also need to clear away some of the “stuff” in the garage for a new pipe to be installed. Just another way for the house to say, “hey, pay attention here!”.

Do you dislike your home? Maybe you just need to recognize its sacredness. The hearth and home has always been a special place to connect with the divine. I think the cliché, “your home is where your heart is”, could be reversed in this instance to, “your heart is where your home is.” Go to the different areas of your home and listen to the energy there. What does it say to you? “Fix me?, clean me?, use me?, recognize me?” By listening to your home you will discover secrets you perhaps never knew existed. May you be blessed to discover the sacredness of your hearth and home!

 

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Powerful beings of the astral realm, dragons occupy a soft spot in my heart. I don’t regard them as fearsome creatures spewing fire and wreaking havoc as they are often portrayed doing in popular fiction. They are quite powerful and are capable of destruction if they feel it necessary, but there is so much more to dragons than most people know.

Call me odd, but each night I visualize a huge dragon perched atop my house, guarding my property and all the inhabitants sleeping there (or prowling around, in the case of the cats). Yes, I call in angels and guides and Spirit as well, but there is something very comforting about that mellow dragon stationed confidently on the roof. That particular dragon is a golden color and seems very grounded: a house guardian dragon.

Once when a friend needed protection from some people who were tormenting her, a blue dragon appeared as I asked for help. I know, the fiercer protection dragons are red or even black (chaos), but this one was blue.  I think it would take a lot for me to call in one of the fierce kind. All I wanted was for the trouble makers to leave my friend alone. I was willing to be quite peaceful about the whole thing, as long as they left. My friend reported afterwards that her tormenters immediately left her alone and she didn’t even see them for a very long time afterward. When she did see them, they had changed their whole attitude, and even regarded her with a certain amount of respect. That blue dragon occasionally comes back for a visit just to say hello.

Being a practitioner who works with angels, I hate it that Archangel Michael is often depicted slaying a dragon.  The poor dragon has been demonized over the ages in western society to represent evil. Far from being evil, dragons can be wonderful guardians who will protect fearlessly when treated with respect and generosity. They can also be playful and even teasing, and will teach you valuable lessons by showing you how to laugh at yourself.

In my bedroom I have a sitting area with my modest, yet ever growing, collection of dragons in the form of figurines and stuffed animals. One way to coax dragons to hang out with you is to collect dragon items. They view such collections as a welcome mat stating they will be accepted in the household. I also have a large, stuffed, blue (of course!) chinese dragon on my bed. What better place to have a guardian dragon than in a place where you spend 1/3 of your life?

I read something fascinating that I had not heard about before (or I heard it and I forgot it-that happens with me a lot!). The time of a woman’s PMS and also during her menses was called her “dragontime”. The following is taken from the website moondragon.org:

A woman’s menstrual period is often referred to as her “Dragontime”. It is often associated with many of the pre-menstrual symptoms women experience just prior to her menses as well as the menses itself. Menstrual blood has been seen as powerful but feared (by men throughout history of humankind). Dragontime – This comes from “Dragontime: Magic and Mystery of Menstruation,” a book by Luisa Francia. Witching Time: Many witches believe very strongly in the power of menstrual blood and use it for their magical workings. Moon cycle: This term gives acknowledgement to the similarity of the lunar cycle to a woman’s menstrual cycle.”

The author, MoonDragon goes on to say:

Even the name of this website – MoonDragon – refers to the cyclic feminine creative forces of the Moon controlling a woman’s “Dragontime” (referring to her menses) and her powers of procreation, literally by having her children and also creatively, in thought, ideas, and her deeds. Since I have gone through menopause and have reached the crone phase of my human life, I am now holding all my dragon-energy within me as I also hold onto my blood. This phase of a woman’s life is a very powerful time for women and has been honored as a very spiritual phase of our lives. We become elders in our community and teachers of younger women and girls.

I like that, especially since I, too, am well into my cronehood!

If you would like to read more about dragons and how to call upon them in magick you might like to read Dancing With Dragons by DJ Conway.

I have enjoyed exploring the webpage: http://www.moondragon.org/pagan/animalguides/animalguidedragon.html

If you have other sites, books, or dragon knowledge to share, please feel free to do so.

Dragon Blessings,

Sarina

   

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Have you ever had two friends who you couldn’t wait to have meet each other? You just knew that they would hit it off and have a lot in common?  On the other hand, have you introduced two friends to each other and realized that there was either no chemistry or some very bad vibes between the two of them? It’s almost like you could feel the energy change all around you and there was a sense of uneasiness when the two of them were together with you in the same room.

The elements all possess a certain energy. By discovering the nature of that energy and calling upon the energy to work with your own energy in spellwork, you are using the magickal correspondence of that element.  The wrong elements are not going to achieve the results you want, which is why it’s important to do your homework and check those correspondences.

I think of magickal correspondences working in the same way as those two friends of yours. When you invite all the right people (or elements) to the party, everybody hits it off and some really great energy is sent out into the atmosphere and beyond. Are you working some love magic? Find all the correspondences that relate to love. Whatever type of work you are planning to do, don’t forget to enlist other energies to help you out. Plants, colors, oils, tones, planets, astrological signs, moon phases, angels and elementals, deities and spirits; the list goes on and on. Incorporating the right ingredients with the most beneficial correspondences will lend some real punch to your magickal work. You can keep it simple with just some candle magick in the right color for your magickal goal, or get elaborate with herbs, candles, crystals, oils, sigils, etc. that have the correct correspondences and will work together harmoniously (remember those two friends?)

Following are some links to some tables of correspondences. I like to consult tables quite often. In fact I own an excellent book called The Magician’s Tables, A Complete Books of Correspondences by Alan Richardson. It gives detailed correspondences for just about any need.

Links for correspondences:

http://www.witchipedia.com/correspondence-by-intent

http://magic-spells-and-potions.com/magical_correspondences_chart.htm

http://www.witchs-brew.org/shadows/correspondences/index.html

And here is my favorite link for finding the current moon phase and sign:

http://www.zodiacarts.com/whatsup/Calendars/ct/Calendar.shtml

I find that knowing the correspondences and the energies that surround me daily helps me to understand what is going on in my life a little better. Some days I know I need to be on the defensive, and incorporating energies to protect and defend are the ones I need to call on. Other days I can relax and have fun, so using some love and happiness energies will be right. When I am in my business mode I utilize energies for abundance and financial prosperity.  In this way I can enjoy my experience here in this plane and better find my way along the path.

If you know of other links or books dealing with correspondences please feel free to share them!

Blessings,

Sarina

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Angels, elementals, guides, gods and goddesses…in recent years there has been a lot of discussion about our helpers in the spirit dimension. Often we get confused over their definitions and roles in the universe and I, for one, sometimes question the source of some of the definitions. There are ancient texts that mention these beings, and to me ancient texts seem to have passed the test of time, so to speak. There is a lot of channeled information floating around these days, especially in cyber space, and some of it seems to ring true. I guess when it comes to channeled info you have to trust your intuition and the advice of your own guides.

Recently I read an article which contained channeled information about the roles of humans, elementals and angels that made a lot of sense. It also got me thinking about some other possibilities that might be true about the outcomes of our interactions with angels and elementals.

The first thing that the article covered was the actual roles that the three groups of beings play.  We humans were put here on Earth by the Divine Spirit to bring Paradise to this planet. Yeah, I know, we messed up somewhere along the line!  But that is our role. We are the ones that think up ideas. We are the creators and someday future gods and goddesses, because creating is one of the things that deities do so well. One might even argue that we already are gods and goddesses and we’re just here to practice our creating skills. So bringing Heaven to Earth is our job.

Elementals are our partners in the creation process. We think it up and they supply the energy to bring it into 3-D. All things on Earth, and in fact in this dimension, have an elemental assigned to take care of them. Flowers, fish, oceans, rocks, you and me….yes!….each of us is assigned an elemental to care for and supply energy to our physical bodies when living in this plane. The person that channeled this information pointed out that our personal elemental is ours for keeps whenever we are in a physical body. Between lifetimes they get to take a vacation…or a coffee break…depending on how long we are in spirit. SO…we as the creators can think thoughts that cause good health, and our elemental can make it so. Your elemental is like a battery source for your ideas. Pretty cool. This seems to explain a lot about the whole manifesting deal. Your thoughts really ARE things! Take a moment to thank your loyal elemental friend for the eons of service they have provided you!

The author of the article acknowledged how we are definitely NOT creating a paradise here on Earth. Tornados, earthquakes, famines, not to mention disease and all kinds of nastiness just happen. Well, we caused the whole mess with our thoughts. And we are also starting to straighten out some of the not so paradise-like conditions with more enlightenment and a little help from our friends. You see, the elementals are also meant to support and nurture…think of flower fairies. They are doing all they can to hold things together so we don’t blow ourselves into oblivion in the mean time. It wasn’t quite clear how we began to start with the negative thoughts that caused all the chaos in the first place. The author didn’t mention that in the article just that, after the fact, the Earth’s energy got so dense and heavy that we were no longer able to communicate so well with the angels and elementals. You might say it’s a good argument for the whole Adam and Eve story.

So where do angels fit in?  Angels are aspects of the Divine Spirit. They are Spirit’s way of bringing us and the elementals what we need in the way of peace, love, protection and whatever other aspect of Spirit we may be in need of. Angels are Spirit and yet they are separate aspects of Spirit. For one thing, angels can evolve. They evolve by serving, but they can’t get involved to serve unless asked to do so by humans or elementals. Elementals seem to have enough sense to know when to ask for help, but many humans don’t. The Earth’s  heavy atmosphere seems to make commnunication bewtween us and our spirit friends very difficult. Another thing the author mentioned was how angels seek out peaceful places with great energy to hang out when things start to get too “dark”. So if you want to have lots of angels around, make your home or garden a peaceful and beautiful place! And think as many beautiful and loving thoughts as you can, and angels will be your best buds.

Angels, elementals and humans, we are all aspects of the Divine Spirit. Everything is connected. Everything!

If you would like to read the article I read by Iasos, go to this page:

http://www.rainbowcrystal.com/news/iasos.html

Enjoy!

Sarina

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Casting a Circle

Last night my friend and I got together to celebrate Imbolc. We were planning to perform a ritual, and after we centered ourselves, I cast a circle. It had been some time since I had cast a circle, and I realized soon after I began how much I had missed creating sacred space.
Casting a circle is creating a sacred protective space to perform ritual, meditate, craft, perform a magickal work or just commune with Spirit. For awhile I had questioned when it was necessary to cast a circle or even if it was necessary at all. After having created a sacred space, however, I understood that just being in that wonderful space was a valuable experience in itself. Not only are unwanted energies kept out of the space but some really amazingly beneficial energies are invited in. Not only are you protected, but the energies, entities, gods/goddesses and spirits that show up for the party are ready to join right in with whatever you have planned!
As soon as I start tracing the circle and saying the chant, I start to feel the excitement well up inside of me. When I declare, “The circle is cast!” I feel the wall of energy rise up to surround me and my companions. As I call the quarters, I feel the guardians and elemental spirits file in through the portals as we light the quarter candles. When it is time to release the circle and I have declared, “the cirlce is released!”, I feel an immeditate falling of the wall of energy that had surrounded us, and all seems very still.
Last night in our circle my friend and I just felt like giving thanks and praise to the Lord and Lady and thanking Spirit for all we had. We also rededicated ourselves and our healing practices to Brigid. At that point we both felt a very peaceful presence standing behind us.
There are various ways to cast a circle, some more formal than others. I decided to write my own words and procedures based on others that I had read about. The ceremony reflects who I am since I think your rituals and ceremonies should reflect you as an individual. Respect should be shown and a certain amount of decorum should be followed, but the circle of this little hedgewitch does not need to reflect the intricate protocol of the ceremonial magicians.
Below is a standard procedure for casting a circle. It is not the one I follow and the words are not my own. If you don’t regularly create sacred space I suggest you give it a try. Take the following procedure and decide what you wish to include in your circle casting ceremony. May you find peace, inspiration and wonder in your sacred space!

“Here’s How:
Start by determining how big your space needs to be. A ceremonial circle is a place in which positive energy and power are kept in, and negative energy kept out. The size of your circle will depend on how many people need to be inside it, and what the circle’s purpose is. If you’re hosting a small coven meeting for a few people, a nine-foot-diameter circle is sufficient. On the other hand, if it’s Beltane and you’ve got four dozen Pagans preparing to do a Spiral Dance, you’ll need a space significantly larger. A solitary practitioner can work easily in a three- to five-foot circle.

Figure out where your Circle should be cast. In some traditions, a Circle is physically marked on the ground, while in others it is merely visualized by each member of the group. If you have an indoor ritual space, you can mark the Circle on the carpet. Do whichever your tradition calls for. Once the Circle is designated, it is usually navigated by the High Priest or High Priestess, holding an athame, a candle, or a censer.

Which direction will your circle face? The circle is almost always oriented to the four cardinal points, with a candle or other marker placed at the north, east, south and west and the altar in the center with all the necessary tools for the ritual. Before entering the circle, participants are purified as well.

How do you actually cast the circle? Methods of casting the circle vary from one tradition to another. In some forms of Wicca, the God and Goddess are called upon to share the ritual. In others, the Hight Priest (HP) or High Priestess (HPs) will begin at the north and call upon the deities of the tradition from each direction. Usually this invocation includes a mention of the aspects associated with that direction – emotion, intellect, strength, etc. A sample ritual for casting a circle might take place like this:

Mark the circle upon the floor or the ground. Place a candle in each of the four quarters – green to the North to represent Earth, yellow in the East to represent Air, red or orange symbolizing Fire in the South, and blue to the West in association with Water. All necessary magical tools should already be in place upon the altar in the center. Let’s assume that the group, called Three Circles Coven, is led by a High Priestess.

The HPs enters the circle from the east and announces, “Let it be known that the circle is about to be cast. All who enter the Circle may do so in perfect love and perfect trust.” Other members of the group may wait outside the circle until the casting is complete. The HPs moves clockwise around the circle, carrying a lit candle (if it’s more practical, use a lighter instead). At each of the four cardinal points, she calls upon the Deities of her tradition (some may refer to these as Watchtowers, or Guardians).

As she lights the candle in the East from the one she carries, the HPs says:

Guardians of the East, I call upon you
to watch over the rites of Three Circles Coven.
Powers of knowledge and wisdom, guided by Air,
we ask that you keep watch over us
tonight within this circle.
Let all who enter the circle under your guidance
do so in perfect love and perfect trust.
The HPs moves to the South, and lights the red or orange candle, saying:

Guardians of the South, I call upon you
to watch over the rites of Three Circles Coven.
Powers of energy and will, guided by Fire,
we ask that you keep watch over us
tonight within this circle.
Let all who enter the circle under your guidance
do so in perfect love and perfect trust.
Next, she circles around to the West, where she lights the blue candle and says:

Guardians of the West, I call upon you
to watch over the rites of Three Circles Coven.
Powers of passion and emotion, guided by Water,
we ask that you keep watch over us
tonight within this circle.
Let all who enter the circle under your guidance
do so in perfect love and perfect trust.
Finally, the HPs goes to the last candle in the North. When lighting it, she says:

Guardians of the North, I call upon you
to watch over the rites of Three Circles Coven.
Powers of endurance and strength, guided by Earth,
we ask that you keep watch over us
tonight within this circle.
Let all who enter the circle under your guidance
do so in perfect love and perfect trust.
At this point, the HPs will announce that the circle is cast, and other members of the group can ritually enter the circle. Each person approaches the HPs, who will ask:

How do you enter the circle?

Each individual will respond:

In perfect love and perfect trust or In the light and love of the Goddess or whatever response is appropriate to your tradition.

Once all members are present within the circle, the circle is closed. At no time during ritual should anyone exit the circle without performing a ceremonial “cutting.” To do this, hold your athame in your hand and make a cutting motion across the line of the circle, first to your right and then to your left. You are essentially creating a “door” in the circle, which you may now walk through. When you return to the circle, enter it in the same place you exited, and “close” the doorway by reconnecting the line of the circle with the athame.

When the ceremony or rite has ended, the circle is usually cleared in the same manner in which it was cast, only in this case the HPs will dismiss the deities or Guardians and thank them for watching over the coven. In some traditions, the temple is cleared simply by having all members raise their athames in salute, thanking the God or Goddess, and kissing the blades of the athame.

If the above method of casting a circle seems boring or dull to you, that’s okay. It’s a basic framework for ritual, and you can make yours as elaborate as you like. If you’re a very poetic person who likes lots of ceremony, feel free to use creative license – call upon “the weavers of the wind, the breezes that blow from the East, blessing us with wisdom and knowledge, so mote it be,” etc, etc. If your tradition associates various deities with the directions, call upon those Gods or Goddesses in the ways that they expect you to do so.

Just make sure that you don’t spend so much time casting the Circle that you don’t have any time left for the rest of your ceremony!

Tips:
Have all your tools ready ahead of time — this will save you from scrambling around during the middle of the ritual looking for things!

If you forget what you mean to say when casting the circle, improvise. Talking to your deities should come from the heart.

If you make a mistake, don’t sweat it. The universe has a pretty good sense of humor, and we mortals are fallible.

What You Need:
Athame
Candles
Censer
Other tools of your tradition

Invoke the Elements

This can be used and repeated during circle casting to invoke the
elements, or simply as a way to meditate on their properties. Although this begins
with east, it can be changed since some traditions prefer to begin with
north.

I greet the East,
the Sun will rise,
the power of air,
the breath of skies;

I greet the South,
warm and bright,
the power of fire,
to pierce the night;

I greet the West,
rain and sea,
the power of water,
to comfort me;

I greet the North,
tree and stone,
the power of earth,
I’m not alone. ”

by Ember -posted on About.com

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