The Most Powerful Spell (Phoenix LeFae)

Be mindful of what you think because your thoughts become your words. Be mindful of what you say because your words become your actions. Words have power, we Witches and Pagans know that. So I want to share with you the most powerful spell that I have learned. It is simple, but kicks quite a punch. This spells contains just one word. The spell is: No.

Take a moment to practice that one, it can be tricky. Go on, I’ll wait…..no.

How was that? Try it again, let the letters roll around on your tongue. What does it feel like to say that magick word? Is this an easy spell for you or do you find yourself struggling to get it out?

Yes, this post is totally about my stuff, but I’m not alone in my challenge to not do all the things. I love teaching and ritual. I thoroughly enjoy all of my side projects. My work is fulfilling. It is lovely to be invited to go out to an event. Of course, I want to say yes to all that is asked of me. FOMO (fear of missing out) is totally a thing. And it’s so easy to just say yes to all the opportunities that cross my path. It feels good to say yes.

But it’s not healthy.

We might feel called to help out a loved one. You might find yourself giving more than you’re getting. You could even discover that you keep saying yes, when you really want to say no. Perhaps you keep saying yes because you are worried if you say no the opportunities will stop? Saying no can be really hard. It’s a word that holds a lot of power and that power can be a little intimidating, especially if we don’t have practice with it.

You don’t want to disappoint anyone. You don’t want to come across as selfish. Maybe you really really want to do it, but it conflicts with a prior commitment. All of these things are and have been true for me. No can feel like you are burning a bridge or shutting a door forever, but the good news is that’s just not true.

Discernment is our most powerful tool. Combine that tool with the power of the spell of no and you become and unstoppable force!

Saying no is about self care. This is a spell of putting your needs first. When you use this simple magickal spell you empower yourself and take control. I’ve been working on this practice for years. I’m far from perfect, but I’m getting better at it every day.

via The Most Powerful Spell | Phoenix LeFae

The Cleansing Power of Salt Bowls: Removing Negative Energy from the Home (Astrea)

salt bowl plate remove negativity negative energy pagan witchcraft
A salt bowl, with sea salt, juniper berries, sprigs of juniper, peppercorns, and powdered clove. Photo copyrighted by Astrea.

For millennia, all over the world, salt has been considered a protective and cleansing agent, both physically and metaphysically.  A salt bowl in your home can absorb water, emit ions, and kill bacteria.  Some people like to buy fancy salt lamps for this purpose, but a simple bowl filled with salt can do the trick, too.

1. Choose a Bowl

Choose a bowl to use for your salt bowl.  You can go for something plain or fancy — whatever you prefer.  I like to use a black soup bowl for the black-and-white contrast.  You could use a smaller bowl if you’d like to take up less space.

If you’re going to leave the bowl out for more than a couple of days, I recommend using a non-porous bowl (i.e. not wood).  However, if you’re okay with salt penetrating the porous material, and possibly ruining whatever protective cover it has, you can use whatever you wish.

2.  Choose a Salt

I like to use natural sun-evaporated sea salt for my salt bowls.  If you’re feeling fancy, you can buy some black sea salt, pink Himalayan sea salt, kosher diamond crystal salt, Japanese big-flake salt, or any other kind.  If you don’t want to set out a whole dish of that kind of salt, mix the fancy salt with some good old regular sea salt.

juniper berries protective magic herb plant pagan witch salt bowl

3. Add Herbs and Oils, If Desired

Open your cupboards and peruse your spice rack and tea tins.  You can add anything to the salt.  It will add another aspect of cleansing to the dish.

I like to add juniper berries to my salt bowl because juniper is a protective herb.  Add cloves and peppercorns as they are also protective and are known to banish negative energy.  I also like to add a few drops of essential oils, like tea tree, lavender, or thieves blend.

Some people like to add garlic, rosemary, rue, bay leaves, and many other protective herbs.  Other cultures have been known to cut lemons or limes and set them in the salt.

4. Spell Out Your Intentions

I like to mix everything together with my fingers and speak my intention out loud.   I say something like, “May this salt cleanse the energy of my home and protect me from negativity.”  If you can go into an altered state at this point, do so.  Feel yourself become more cleansed, and align your energy with the purpose of the salt bowl.

salt bowl absorb negativity negative energy pagan witch spiritual home

5. Set It Out

Place your beautiful salt bowl somewhere in your home.  Be conscious of the salt bowl.  When you pass by it, use it as a cleanser of your energy.  You can push negative energy into the salt bowl, or touch the salt with your hands to ground any errant energy.

Other people like to place salt bowls in the corners of a room.  You can also sprinkle salt on your windowsills, as long as a pet won’t jump up there, and as long as the windowsills are not metal, which is susceptible to rusting in salty conditions.

To read this article in full, visit here.

Gathering around the Cauldron Meetups

Gathering around the Cauldron meetups are specifically designed for novices to explore the practices and philosophies of magic, ritual and contemporary wytchcraft, as well as providing those who may have read a few books to gain experience by putting this knowledge into practical application.

The underlying emphasis of what will be shared during the Gathering around the Cauldron meetups will be placed on the Southern Hemisphere.

During the meetups, participants will:
:: Gain personal experience in creating a sacred space.
:: Be guided through magickal pathworkings and visualisations.
:: Work in accordance with the seasonal Southern Wheel of the Year.
:: Raise and work with energy.
:: Connect with Deity.
and much more.

Gathering around the Cauldron will be held on Thursday, 8 and 22 August, 12 September, and 14 and 28 November 2019 (7.30pm to 9.30pm).

Bookings are essential as there are limited places available.  Reserve your place free through Eventbrite.

If you have booked a place then for whatever reason cannot attend, it is considered polite to let us know.

Venue: Temple of the Dark Moon covenstead, Parafield Gardens
Cost: $20 per fortnight (payable on the night)

Herodias and the Queen of Witches (Coby Michael Ward)

Aradia, the Gospel of the Witches. Charles Leland. Ilustrator unknown. Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
Aradia, the Gospel of the Witches. Charles Leland. Ilustrator unknown. Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

The Witch Queen in Traditional Witchcraft

The concept of a Queen of Witches is not new to modern traditional witchcraft.  When investigating this concept from a historical perspective many common themes begin to arise, and we see the fluid stream of polytheistic syncretism.  Certain names and themes circulate around this concept, shedding light on the transformative nature of pagan deities.  They are not fixed in concrete and steel like the gods of modern society, but ever changing and growing like the roots of a tree, branching out above and below.  For me, the Queen of the Witches is the chthonic aspect of the mother goddess embodied in the fertile earth.  She draws her fertility from the dark rich soil, feeding the lifeforms of the surface.  She is one of the elder gods.  A nameless primal archetype of early humanity who has overtime assumed multiple forms, names and identities based on the people perceiving her.

Within the school of Traditional Witchcraft there are a handful of recurring deities that are linked in the historical procession of the primordial witch goddess; such recurring names as: Diana, Herodias, Habondia, Frau Holda and others help us piece together the etymology of the original goddess.  I am generally focused on those figures found within the folklore of the British Isles and Germany via the Holy Roman Empire.  Within this spectrum the earliest sources are traced back to Greece and Rome from which these themes disseminated originally.  Witchcraft scholars seem particularly interested in the goddess Diana.  Historical sources show that her veneration continued well into the Christian era.  Her origins, like many others begin in ancient Greece before making their way to the Roman pantheon.  It was a Roman custom to create composite deity names for various situations for example the Roman Juno-Lucina began as Hera-Diana in Greece.  It is here that historian Carlo Ginzburg, in his famous Ecstacies, points out that the original nomenclature was written and transcribed as Hera-Diana. The Church seeking to associate goddess worship with diabolism used this as an opportunity to distort the original theme.  Hera-Diana was transcribed as Hero-Diana to associate her with the biblical figure Herodias.  This was reinforced at the ironically named Council of Truer in 1310, which set Herodiana next to Diana to perpetuate this distortion.

Herodias, Erodiade, and Aradia

According to the research of Raven Grimassi; “the appearance of Herodias, as a biblical figure, in connection with a goddess of witchcraft is an intentional displacement of deity figures.” (Herodias in Witchcraft)  Initially it seems as though the close spelling between these two different names is what resulted in the distortion, however it played into the goal of the Church to dismiss the validity and reality of Dianic worship.  This allowed church officials to connect the pagan figure Hera-Diana with the Biblical figure Herodiana or Herodias, and the Italian translation of Erodiade into one cohesive idea.  The story of Herodias begins in the New Testament, much like the Old Testament’s Jezebel another wicked woman of the Bible.  Herodias is known for her role in having John the Baptist beheaded for criticizing her marriage.  She is depicted as one of the Bible’s many wicked women, in association with witches.

This depiction of Hera with a Hind is titled Diana of Versailles and is an example of the composite deity Hera-Diana. Louvre. Wikimedia Commons.
This depiction of Hera with a Hind is titled Diana of Versailles and is an example of the composite deity Hera-Diana. Louvre. Wikimedia Commons.

Erodiade (Herodias) remained part of Italian folklore prior to Charles Godfrey Leland and his popularization of the name Aradia.  According to folklorist Sabina Magliocco, Aradia was a supernatural figure of Italian folklore that was widely known prior to the publication of the Gospel of the Witches, which wasn’t published until 1899.  It seems that it is a common trend for the early Church to graft itself onto local folklore by creating Biblical connections with the intention of converting pagans, however in retrospect it seems that this only insured the survival of these entities by facilitating their transition into the new religious paradigm.  Papal proclamations and decisions made in councils would determine the Church’s official stance on these issues.

Diana, as the Queen of Witches

There are a handful of female deities that most fully embody the power of the mother goddess and the craft of the witch.  Diana, and her many counterparts and consorts are known for leading her followers on the winding path of spiritual discovery and personal power.  The Church also recognized this powerful embodiment in the form of Diana, attesting to her connection to the Unseen.  Their goal, after hundreds of years of polytheistic goddess veneration, was to convince people that Diana was an illusion created by the Devil to lead the unsuspecting away from God.  By introducing the concept of deception, Church officials attempt to dismiss the validity of Dianic worship.  They condemn those who believe in such illusions, however those who believe witchcraft itself is an illusion are even more deceived according to the Church.  Church doctrine at the time explicitly warns of women who follow Satan, fly at night and worship Diana as found in the Canon Episcopi.

The four main points of the Canon Episcopi are outlined in the infamous Witch hunter’s manual, the Malleus Maleficarum. The first and most important of these main points is that there is only one true God and no other should be worshipped except for him.  The second point mentions Diana specifically as the goddess of the pagans; it points out that she is actually the devil in disguise using glamour to deceive people.  The third point continues to discuss the devil’s power of illusion, by making followers think that are flying long distances, it is actually another glamour used by the Devil.  The fourth and final point again mentions Diana by name.  It states that real witches make a pact with the Devil and must obey him in word and deed.  The canon also encompasses all and every act of witchcraft which are many and diverse.  It also states that real witches are doing much more than worshipping Diana and flying at night.  It is suggested that the Canon should be extended because, “witches do much more than these women, and are of a very different kind.”  I believe this quote from the Malleus Maleficarum is an example of the distinction between pagan folk practices and actual witchcraft, which was a common nuance at the time.

Her Majesty

The image of the Queen of Witches has taken many forms over the millennia.  The power to assume these cross-cultural forms is unique to the elder gods of our nameless tradition.  Sects of night flying witches were known to ride with various ancestral goddesses.  As the goddess of life, death, and rebirth; she presides over all aspects of our existence.  She is the primordial mother of the Underworld beckoning the souls of the dead back to her embrace.  According to many traditional witches, the Queen of Elfhame or goddess of witchcraft as she is known, is a counterpart to the Master of the Wild Hunt.(Craft of the Horned Piper, 17-20)  During the winter months from Samhain to Yule the Wild Hunt or Furious Horde led by the Horned One and his Queen, are known across Europe for guiding the souls of the dead across the sky.  Both assuming different aspects during the dark and light halves of the year.

Resources:

“Herodias in Witchcraft” by Raven Grimassi

The Goddess Aradia and other subjects

Wikipedia Entry: Herodias

Win a copy of Dancing the Sacred Wheel

I am delighted to announce that the third edition of Dancing the Sacred Wheel is nearing completed due to the need to change publishing platforms.

Dancing the Sacred Wheel is a journey through the traditional eight seasonal festivals (sabbats) and how they relate to the Southern Hemisphere. Incorporating history and traditional Pagan lore with personal experience and ritual insights, invaluable pointers are included as to how to incorporate the localised elements into something that also provides a “traditional” feel.

While the focus of Dancing the Sacred Wheel is for the Southern Hemispheric practitioner, a challenge is set to the reader, regardless of which hemisphere they reside, to draw inspiration from their local environment, and to create a “Wheel of the Year” that is completely unique for them.

To win your own copy of Dancing the Sacred Wheel (3rd edition) simply like and share the post found on the TDM Publishing Facebook pageh.

The winner will be announced at the end of April 2019.

Some of the Biggest Mistakes when Learning Magick

Magick is a strange interest to have and as such, people are often drawn to it for rather high brow reasons:
:: You want to understand the universe and your place in it.
:: You want answers to the questions of life, the universe and everything – not just second-hand faith in somebody else’s proclamations.
:: You want a heightened sense of personal dignity, integrity and power to achieve the goals that matter to you the most.
:: You want enchantment. You want to live an enchanted life – one in which you can immerse yourself in wonders and mysteries, and experience intensity that people who are checked out in front of their phones or TV screens never will.
:: You want a heightened reality, or even to quest for absolute reality itself.

St Patrick, the Snakes and Paschal Fire

The 17th of March each year is St Patrick’s Day, the so-called Irish saint who “banished” the land from snakes, and a time when people find that “mysterious” far-distant relative lurking on some forgotten branch of the family tree to justify why they’ve consumed far too many green dyed pints of beer and wearing some awful hat with a green clover (sorry, shamrock) on it.  I doubt that between swilling their Guiness, Beamish, Murphy’s, Harp, Kilkenny, that they have given much thought about the man whose day they are allegedly celebrating.

Experiencing the Power of Ritual and Magick

Commencing on Thursday, 23 May 2019, the latest version of The Wytch’s Circle, the initial training circle offered by the Temple of the Dark Moon, will be held over six 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.

It is the Autumn Equinox and NOT “Mabon”

It is that time of the year again that despite the ever lingering daylight savings, a definite change can be felt as the earth’s wobbling rotation pulls away from the sun here in the Southern Hemisphere.  The mornings are distinctively darker and the sun lingers longer below the horizon, and there is an ever slight chill in the air.  Yes, the time of the Autumn Equinox draws near (21st of March to be exact for this year).

As such, it appears time again to point out an erroneous association that first appeared in the 1970s and which, despite numerous attempts to rectify over the years, still perpetuates itself within modern Paganism – that being the usage of the term “Mabon” as an alleged alternative name for the Autumn Equinox.

Black Salt for Protection

Within some folk magick traditions, black salt is used as a protective element to drive away negative, or even evil, energies when scattered around your property. It can even be sprinkled into the footprints of people who are bothering you as a way of making them go away and leave you alone. It is said that the salt absorbs and contains negativity.