Experiencing the Power of Ritual and Magick

Every couple of years the Temple of the Dark Moon runs a training circle (in various forms) and commencing on 21 February 2019, The Wytch’s Circle will be held over six Thursday evenings.   The focus of The Wytch’s Circle is on learning and developing the art of ritual and magick as well as providing insight into the workings of the Craft in the modern age.   While designed for those who have had some ritual experience (either solitary or within a group), The Wytch’s Circle can also cater for the practitioner who is seeking more advance and indepth instruction in order to further their own practice.   Beginners to ritual magick are welcome to attend however the design of this course is that it is not a 101 course. Beginners are encouraged to thoroughly read the weekly notes as well as raise queries.

Through the exposure of various magickal and esoteric techniques, the emphasis will be on working ritual and magick within a group format in order to create a magickal egregore that will enable each participant to tap into the true concept of “walking between the worlds”.  

Lughnasadh – The Festival of the First Harvest

As the Wheel of the Year turns, for those of us residing south of the equator, the festival of Lughnasadh is almost upon us. A Celtic word believed to mean “the commemoration of Lugh”, the Irish God associated with the Sun and agriculture, the festival of Lughnasadh marked the funeral games that Lugh held in honour of his foster mother, Tailte, who died while clearing the Forest of Breg and making it a plain for cultivation. The modern day Telltown (Tailtean) in County Meath, Eire, is believed to have been named after Tailte.

us the Celts were believed to commence the celebrations of their festivals at dusk the previous day and continue through the night until the dawn, in the Southern Hemisphere Lughnasadh is usually celebrated aroond 31 January through until 2 February. With February being associated with some of our hottest weather, the power of the Sun King might seem to be a long way off, however to the more observant, the dwindling hours of light are starting to be noticed.


The first of the three harvest festivals that make up the Wheel of the Year, Lughnasadh is the festival of first fruits, where a blessing of the crop would take place around this time of the year as now was the time that apples were beginning to ripen on the trees, Summer vegetables being picked from the gardens, and the corn, tall and green, awaiting to be harvested. It is the time that we can start gathering in the first harvests of grain, wheat and barley.

To the Anglo-Saxons, this was the festival of Lammas (meaning “loaf-mas day”), marking the harvesting of the grain. The first sheaf of wheat was said to have been ceremonially reaped, threshed, milled and baked into a loaf which is then eaten, providing life. The Christian sacrament of Communion, where the bread is blessed, becomes the body of God and is then eaten to nourish the faithful, echoes the Pagan Mystery of the Grain God.

Grain has always been associated with Gods who are killed and dismembered and then resurrected from the Underworld, such as Tammuz, Osiris and Adonis. The Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone is a story about the cycle of death and rebirth associated with grain. Demeter, the fertility Goddess, will not allow anything to grow until she finds her daughter who has been carried off to the Underworld. The ancient Eleusinian Mysteries, believed to have been celebrated around the Autumn Equinox, culminated in the revelation of a single ear of corn, a symbol to the initiate of the cyclical nature of life, for the corn is both seed and fruit, promise and fulfilment.

Within many traditions of Wicca, the God has moved from His guise as the Solar King to that of the Shadow One. Just like the Sun, His power and energy is waning as He freely gives it to the crops in order to ensure life. The Goddess is also changing, slowly moving from Her guise as the bountiful mother to that of the wise old Crone. While it is the God who figures prominently at this Sabbat, without the Goddess, there would be no crops, no harvest to be thankful for.

Juliet Batten indicates that in the old Maori calendar the eight month was when kua makura te kai; ka kai te tangata i nga kai hou o te tau (“fruits have now set and people eat the first fruits of the year”). Young gourds might now be ready to eat, but the kumara still had much growing to do. Rehua (Antares) was the Summer star, personifying heat and the power to ripen all fruits, the star that governed the migration of whitebait, with many proverbs indicating its importance, or that of his wife, Ruhia.

Kaore ana a Rehua i tatu ki raro (“Rehua has not yet alighted”) referred to the stage before fruit has formed on the trees. On a hot day people would say Kua tahu a Rehau (“Rehua has burnt/kindled”). Other proverbs refer to te paki o Rhuia (“the fine weather of Ruhia”) and the heat that she brings. Another saying was Rehua kai tangata (“people become food for Rehua”), for now that the planting season was over, men were again free for raiding expeditions. Food was scarce now.

Lughnasadh is the festival that reminds us to refresh and vitalise the body and spirit for the important harvesting work that lies ahead. It is also the time of giving thanks for the bountiful harvest that can be seen and felt all around. You should be seeing the efforts of your labour beginning to manifest. Look at your life and see where you have aimed. What have you accomplished that you set out to do? What still needs to be done? Now is the time to stop and look at the big picture – are you still on track? Are you where you want to be? Are you who you want to be? If you are unhappy, not satisfied, are you able to see what needs to be changed? Are you prepared to make that change?

The Goddess provides but only what we are willing to work for and harvest by our own efforts. All that she provides will rot on the vine and grow wild if we do not add our own labour of love and care to her efforts.

Hoof and horn, hoof and horn
All that dies shall be reborn
Corn and grain, corn and grain
All that falls shall rise again.

References:
Billinghurst, Frances, Dancing the Sacred Wheel (TDM Publishing, 2014)
Moorey, Teresa and Brideson, Jane, Wheel of the Year: Myth and Magic through the Seasons (Hodder & Stoughton, 1997)
Rainbird, Ariadne, and Rankine, David, Magick without Peers (Capall Bann Publishing, 2001)
Batten, Juliet, Celebrating the Southern Seasons: Rituals for Aotearoa (Tandem Press, 1995)
Nichols, Mike, The Witches’ Sabbats (Acorn Guild Press, 2005)

Yemaya Blessing of the Waters

Yemaya Blessing of the Waters, Grange Beach, Adelaide

For over ten years, around the first full moon of the year, I have lead a special beach side rite that honours the Yorùbá Orisha or Goddess of the living ocean, Yemaya (also spelt Yemoja and Iemoja). This is year is no different, with the Yemaya Blessing of the Waters rite being held this evening at Grange Beach.

Originally from West Africa where her name means “Mother whose children are like fish”, Yemaya is the owner of the Ogun River and a lake named for her.  As the African diaspora occurred, Yemaya traveled with her children to the Americas and Caribbean, where the Mother of Waters became known as Mother of Oceans.

The Wonders of Frankincense

When the three Magi from the east arrived in Bethlenhem bearing gifts for the new messiah, one of these gifts was the resin frankincense.  As recorded in Matthew 2:11:

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”


Frankincense is a milky white resin extracted from species of the genus Boswellia, which found in the Arabian Peninsula, eastern Africa and India. The finest and most aromatic of this species is a small tree, the Boswellia sacra, found growing in Somalia, Oman and Yemen.

The Time of Janus is Upon Us

New yeare forth looking out of Janus gate,
Doth seeme to promise hope of new delight:
And bidding th’old Adieu, his pass’d date
Bids all old thoughts to die in dumpish spright
And calling forth out of sad Winters night,
Fresh love, that long hath slept in cheerlesse bower:
Wils him awake, and soone about him dight
His wanton wings and darts of deadly power.

To the ancient Romans, the dual faced God, Janus, was the God of beginnings and transitions, and as such, he was also perceived to be the God who ruled over gates and doors, doorways and passages, as well as also endings.  With one face looking back into the past, and the other into the future, it is little wonder that as we approach New Year’s Eve, Janus can easily come to mind. 

Dark Moons and New Moons

dark_moon

There is often confusion between “Dark Moon” and “New Moon”, with the phrases often being used interchangeably, even on calendars. Yet, as each moon has its own unique energies, understanding the lunar cycle properly can be crucial to the timing of ritual work that focuses on drawing upon those energetic qualities.

Clearing a Space for Change

A new calendar year is almost upon us and as such I am currently putting together the finishing touches to my Manifest Your Dreams workshop that I will be hosting on Saturday, 19 January 2019. However I thought I would share the following article from Madisyn Taylor about removing clutter. The two themes are often considered to be connected because if our lives (and our environment) are cluttered then we often lose sight of our dreams and desires. Therefore once the clutter is removed, then we often find ourselves back on track to pursue the things that we truly want.

We hold onto material objects because we think they make us feel secure, when in reality they are cluttering our lives.

In life, we tend to have an easier time acquiring possessions than we do getting rid of them.  Just as we harbour emotional baggage that is difficult to let go of, our lives can tend to be filled with material objects that we may feel compelled to hold on to.  Most people are not conscious of how much they own and how many of their possessions are no longer adding value to their life. They fiercely hold on to material objects because this makes them feel secure or comfortable.  While it is true that the ownership of “stuff” can make you feel good for awhile, it seldom satisfies the deep inner longings that nearly everyone has for fulfilment and satisfaction.  It is only when we are ready to let go of our baggage and be vulnerable that it becomes possible to recognize the emotional hold that our possessions can have on us.

It is not uncommon to hold on to material objects because we are attached to them or fear the empty spaces that will remain if we get rid of them.  Giving away the souvenirs from a beloved voyage may feel like we are erasing the memory of that time in our life.  We may also worry that our loved ones will feel hurt if we do not keep the gifts they have given us.

It is easy to convince ourselves that unused possessions might come in handy someday or that parting with them will cause you emotional pain.  However, when your personal space is filled with objects, there is no room for anything new to enter and stay in your life.  Your collection of belongings may “protect” you from the uncertainties of an unknown future while keeping you stuck in the past.  Holding on to unnecessary possessions often goes hand in hand with holding on to pain, anger, and resentment, and letting go of your material possessions may help you release emotional baggage. 

When you make a conscious decision to fill your personal space with only the objects that you need or bring you joy, your energy level will soar.  Clearing your personal space can lead to mental clarity and an improved memory.  As you learn to have a more practical and temporary relationship to objects, positive changes will happen, and you will have space to create the life that you desire.

If manifesting your dreams and setting a vision for 2019 is something you would like to do then register for the Manifest Your Dreams workshop that will be taking place on Saturday, 19 January 2019.

Limited places are available so book early as this workshop will not be repeated this year.

The Magick of Mid Summer

For those of us residing in the Southern Hemisphere, mid Summer is upon us, marking the time of the year when the sun is allegedly in its glory, being the time of the longest day and the shortest night. 

While the term “Mid Summer” indicates the height of the Summer, there is still an undertone of darkness in the light.  This is because as the power of the sun is celebrated, from this point, it also commences its decline in power as the Southern Hemisphere begins to rotate away from the sun (as in the diagram below).

Continue reading “The Magick of Mid Summer”

The Summer Solstice: Time of Abundance

As the sun completes is southward journey, it rests briefly over the Tropic of Capricorn before moving northward again.  When it enters the astrological sign of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere, we know that the sun is at its highest and brightest, and that the time of the Summer Solstice has arrived.  For those of us residing in Adelaide in South Australia, this timing will be on Friday, 22 December 2017 around 2:58 am).

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Training in Contemporary Wytchcraft and the Magickal Arts

Often I am asked about the training structure within the Temple of the Dark Moon.  So, as applications are currently being considered for the 2019 Outer Court intake, it seems an appropriate time to briefly talk about this.

All training that occurs within the Temple of the Dark Moon is undertaken depending on time constraints and possible vacancies within the Temple’s two circles – these being the Inner Court (a closed circle consisting of dedicants and initiates only) as well as the Outer Court (consisting of students undertaking training with the overall view of gaining access into the Inner Court).

Continue reading “Training in Contemporary Wytchcraft and the Magickal Arts”