Finally, 2020 has been put to rest and what a year it has been – filled with challenges and moments of release as well as inward explorations into a whole new potential. As the new Gregorian year dawns, many of us are approaching it with a degree of hesitancy as the chaos that we became so intimately aware of during this last year, seems to be with us for a while yet.
However, there is much hope on the horizon – after 2021 equates to the number 5 which represents personal freedom (and the responsibility that comes with freedom) as well as change. Unexpected things may tend happen where the change is more acceptable and tolerated (especially compared to what we have more recently experienced). These changes will open up a greater sense of freedom that could be brought about through trying, learning about or adopting different approaches, new ways of doing things, as well as adopting new interests and learnings. We have already seen some of these things happen during 2020 with more people working from home, more on-line video conferencing platforms were established to continue teachings, which in itself enable more people to gain access to this information.
Within Chinese astrology, 2021 is the year of the White Metal Ox (beginning from the second full moon of the year, on 12 February). The ox is very hardworking and methodical and as such, 2021 is the year where work will get rewarded. The yin energy is rather poignant and the full weight of responsibilities will be felt, especially when it comes to accomplishing goals. As such, it will be necessary to really double your efforts in order to achieve things.
In summary, the White Metal Ox will be a year to focus on career, finances, love, education, travel and health.
The construction of a vision or goal board for 2021 seems to be more appropriate than ever in order if we are to remain focused on achieving our goals. As such, I will be holding my Manifesting Your Dreams workshop on Saturday, 16 January 2021.
When you make a “vision board”, you get clear on what you want to create in your life. Once you get clarity, you capture them in a series of images and words that are pasted to a piece of cardboard. Through the simple act of seeing your own “vision board” each day aligns your brain with the outcomes you desire for your life.
As there are limited places available for this workshop (especially at the price that I am offering), bookings are essential so make sure you register for Manifesting Your Dreams workshop as soon as you are able to.
If you are seeking a new start at a deeper, soul level, then my latest offering, Journey into Freedom with Kali, may be what you are looking for. This 21 day on-line sadhana (spiritual practice) invites you to enter into the sacred temple of the Hindu Dark Mother. Here you will explore the sacred myths and practices to aid your on your exploration with the goddess. The sacred devotional practices that will be offered will enable you to connect with this powerful goddess on a deep soul level in order to bring about ultimate change.
Every day you will receive an email that will contain information of this powerful goddess. Some may contain mythology and personal connections, others suggested prayers and ritualistic practices for you to undertake. You will also receive a guided meditation for you to undertake as frequently as you wish to further enhance your connection and relationship with Kali. How deep you go is entirely up to you. More information about Journey into Freedom with Kali can be found here.
Whatever this new year brings, I wish you all the best for it.
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. However, as I write this, rain is starting to fall – but that is okay, the garden is grateful in receiving whatever rain is about at this time of the year.
For the Ngarrindjeri people of the lower Murray River and Coorong in South Australia, the warmth associated with Luwadang continues. As the sun increases in strength, it dries the land, allowing it to be haunted by the call of ravens, the bird that is often associated with death in many cultures around the world.
Within contemporary witchcraft, the God, in his guise as the Sun or Solar God, is now at the height of his power. Ever increasingly, he has been letting us know of his strength. This show comes at a cost and while it will be some time before we actually notice, from the summer solstice onwards, the power of the Sun God slowly begins to wane. This darkness, however, is not perceived in a negative sense, because it is needed to ensure the fertility of the land. Still, in doing so, the Sun God sows the seeds of his own death.
The Goddess is depicted as either showing the early signs of pregnancy from her union at Bealtaine with the God (the fertility cycle of the divine does not necessarily follow the same allotted time of humans), glowing as many expectant mothers do, or her pregnancy is well advanced (as depicted by the Empress found within many tarot decks). All around us the earth shows its magnificent bounty, full of life and busy with activity. Flowers are in full bloom, bees buzz around the garden busily collecting pollen for the production of honey. It is said a sign of a healthy garden is the number of bees that it attracts.
The Goddess, in her aspect as the Mother, Gaia, is on the verge of sharing her bounty with us. However, there is also a death in life aspect at this time of the year that is often overlooked. We humans, regardless of our spiritual beliefs in the afterlife, still tend to fear the process of death, the transition from one plane to another.
Within the bountiful produce are the seeds that will sustain life, feeding us throughout the colder months as well as being available for planting in the Spring to repeat the cycle. After the pollination and fertilization of the beautiful flowers we so admire, they will die. But this is the natural cycle of things, of life. In their death, the flowers release their previous seeds that fall to earth in order to create new life. It can be difficult to connect to the fact that the time of waxing is coming to an end and the waning time is almost upon us when we are surrounded by so much bounty and life seems to be at its fullest.
Summer is a time of beauty and love, energy and strength, and rejoicing in the warmth of the sun. Daylight saving time encourages us to spend longer hours outdoors, often socialising with family and friends. As we enjoy this carefree time, celebrating life and the triumph of light, we do not want to think about the rest of the cycle, that of death, as we will be reminded of that only too readily when the temperatures continue to climb skyward.
The summer solstice is a time to reflect on the growth of the season – not only the seeds that have been planted within the earth but also those planted within our own souls. It is also a time of cleansing and renewal, a time of celebrating creativity in all its many expressions, as well as joyous love and growth that surrounds us.
Summer Solstice (by Cheryl Ban, 1998) Brown earth lay blanketed beneath the weight of white snow People hold within their heart the promise of light Light that overcomes the night Igniting fire That burns a hole all the way to the hot dry summer fields The hope that the light holds in winter becomes in summer the knowing of the sun’s pathway back again We poise on the edge of these great turnings Balanced night and day Ah for a moment …
According to local stargazer, Paul ‘Starman’ Curnow (lecturer at the Adelaide Planetarium), the red planet Mars will be putting on a bit of a show over coming weeks. At least for those of you that have access to a telescope. The best time to view Mars will be from around 9:30pm (ACST) onwards (towards the east) in order to give it time to rise above the hills, trees, or any buildings that may obscure your view to the horizon.
On Tuesday, 6 October 2020, Mars will be at its closest point to the earth at 14.10 GMT. It will come within about 62-million kilometres of the earth and therefore it will be a great opportunity to have a closer view of the planet. This distance may sound a lot, but this is quite close in planetary terms. The Earth and Mars only make close approaches about every two years, which is why a flotilla of spacecraft are being sent off during these times.
If you do not have a telescope, you can still venture outside and do a bit of star gazing as Mars will be able to be seen from with the naked eye, especially when combined with the dark skies of Australia.
The ancient Egyptians referred to Mars as Her Descher, which basically means ‘very red’. Mars is the same planet named by the Romans after their god of war, as well as an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was the son of Jupiter and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army.
Based on an ancient prayer to Mars, the above is one that I have written for use when calling upon Mars to lead you his strength and courage.
As the seasonal Wheel of the Year turns, it is not too long away before spring arrives. Even before Mid Winter my garden had been preparing itself with a display of early spring flowers.
This time of the year however there can appear to be a degree of false hope as the worse of the winter weather is often still to come. One thing that we do know for certain however is that life is starting to stir again.
Within contemporary witchcraft the first of the two spring festivals is Imbolc (Im-bulk), derived from the Irish Gaelic that means “in the belly” referring to the potential of all life that is in the belly of the Great Mother (Mother Earth), but also the pregnancy of other animals, particularly cattle and sheep, who give birth to their young around this time. An alternative word is Oimelc, meaning “ewe’s milk”. Although here in South Australia the lambs are often born around the autumn equinox to ensure that there is enough Winter grass for them to eat, in other parts of the country, and particularly in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, Imbolc heralds the birthing season for lambs.
Within contemporary witchcraft, the Goddess is often considered to be in her Maiden, or youthful aspect, while the God is in his Young Stag aspect. Their innocent reflects the lightness of the energies around them at this time of the year.
Nothing is so beautiful as spring – When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush; Thrush’s eggs look like low heavens, and thrush Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring The ear, it strikes lightning to hear him sing; The glassy pear tree leaves and blooms, they brush The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling. George Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
In the Northern Hemisphere, Imbolc falls around 1st February and is often connected with the Goddess Brighid, or Brid (pronounced “Bree” or “Breeid”), who later become known as Saint Brigit. Spanning both paganism and Christianity, Brighid/Brigit is renown for her healing, and protection, with her sacred shrine still be utilised today in Kildare, County Meath in Ireland.
As a way of marking and honouring Imbolc, I will be holding a special Celebrate Imbolc – The Celtic Festival of Spring at the Riverdell Spiritual Centre on Saturday, 1 August 2020, where participants will not only learn about the historical origins of this Celtic festival, but they will connect with the Maiden Goddess through empowering meditations.
We will also be making our own protective Cros Bride (Brigit’s Cross) that will be empowered through sacred ceremony, and discover how to connect with the healing energies of St Brigit through candles that have been lit from her sacred flame at Kildare.
The timing of the winter solstice is marked when the sun reaches its furthest north position in the sky and starts to move back towards the south. As it does, it marks one of the main turning points in the year, the others being the equinoxes as well as the summer solstice (that occurs in December). The timing for the winter solstice this year is today, Sunday, 21 June at 7:13 am (ACST time). From this moment onwards, days start becoming longer and night times shorter. However with the worse of the winter weather yet to arrive, this thought is not often the first that comes to mind.
In ancient Europe the winter solstice (the timing of which in the Northern Hemisphere takes place in December) was seen as a time of celebration. The Romans had a week-long celebration called Saturnalia during which all wars had to stop and courts did not try criminals. Later this festival became Dies Natalis of Sol Invicti, or the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun, celebrated on 25 December each year.
Within the mythos contained within contemporary witchcraft, this is the time when the God is reborn and emerges from the Underworld, where he passed into at Samhain. His rebirth will bring warmth and fertility back to the land.
The eve of the winter solstice, however, belongs to the Goddess who is likened to a hibernating animal, residing deep within the Underworld as she readies herself for the pending birth of her son. The child conceived at the festival of Bealtaine, which marks the commencement of summer, is about to be born. This birth is also the sign that life is about the return to the earth once again after many bleak months of winter. Just as she labours to bring forth her son, the “Child of Promise”, the young hero, we also wait with much anticipation for the sun to appear. The rebirth of the sun confirms that darkness will be overcome by light and we step into the waxing half of the year. We are reborn. The year is new.
The following “Solstice Prayer” by Thorn Coyle reflects the anticipation of waiting for the first rays of the sun to appear over the horizon:
We wait in the dark for the light to appear, Mother, give birth to our brother the Sun. We wait in the dark for the light to appear, Mother, give birth to our brother the Sun! We wait. We watch. Out of the cold comes the promise of newness. We wait. We watch. Out of the cold comes the promise of day!
The Child of Promise is the new sun, which is small and weak at this time of the year, but will grow stronger as the sacred Wheel of the Year turns. As such, the winter solstice is a time for celebrating new beginnings and to focus on what you wish to bring into your life.
According to Debbie Ford (best-selling author of The Dark Side of the Light Chasers and The Secret of the Shadow), the shadow contains all the parts of ourselves that we try to hide, deny or suppress. It is the keeper of all the aspects of ourselves that we dislike and the qualities that we judge as unacceptable. The shadow wears many faces: angry, critical, fearful, lazy, controlling, selfish, weak, pathetic. These are the faces we do not want to show the world and the faces we do not want to show ourselves.
Most of us expend huge amounts of energy trying to get rid of or control these unwanted aspects of ourselves. We hope that by hiding or fixing our “bad qualities” we will have the peace, success and happiness we desire. Most of us are convinced that we are flawed and inadequate so we become masters of disguise, and go to great lengths to hide our bad qualities from those around us – even from ourselves.
The result of turning our backs on our dark side? A life that slips by only half lived. Dreams that are never realized, or worse, that lay buried under years of resignation and shame.
Until we make peace with our shadow we will continue to be at war with ourselves and our outer world will mirror our inner struggle. What we resist persists – and we will create and attract from others that which we most dislike in ourselves. Until we feel authentic compassion for each and every aspect of ourselves, we will continue to draw forth people and events that will mirror the negative feelings we have about ourselves. Until we take back our power and forgive ourselves for being human we will attract people who push our buttons and reactivate our emotional wounds. And until we find the courage to love ourselves completely, we will never truly be able to experience the love from those around us.
We do not need to guess how we really feel about ourselves at the deepest level, all we have to do is look at how the outer world treats us.
If we are not getting the respect, love and appreciation we desire from the outer world, it is more than likely we are not giving these things to ourselves. This is the benevolence of the universe in action. The whole world is a mirror of our own consciousness, and when we make peace with the disowned aspects of ourselves, we make peace with the world.
Registrations are currently open for the online month long sadhana (spiritual journey) that I will be hosting that incorporates exploring the shadow under the guidance of the Dark Goddess. Starting on Saturday, 6 June 2020 (just after the full moon) and concluding just before the following full moon on 4 July 2020 the Encountering the Dark Goddess sadhana journey is specifically designed to take participants into the realm of a chosen “darker” aspect of the divine feminine to explore the various aspects of their own shadow self in order to commence positive change at the deepest level.
Throughout the month long journey you will be provided with detailed information about the various Dark Goddesses, instructions as to how to set up altars and undertake daily devotional work, suitable prayers and a list of offerings for your chosen goddess, weekly emails containing metaphysical and psychoanalytic concepts regarding working with the Dark Goddess and the “Shadow Self”, group rituals and much more.
Whether you seek healing from past trauma, release from fears or acceptance of the “unacceptable” aspects of your self through the power of meditation, ritual or inner journeying, Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realms offers itself up as a guide to assist you to embrace the ever changing aspects of life.
From my own personal experience (of which I share in this book) I am of the belief that when we connect the Dark Goddess, we are able to find the light within the darkness and our lives are enriched through the integration of all aspects of our soul as a perfect whole.
The June Gathering Around the Cauldron will once again take place in the form of a discussion that will be live streamed on the Temple of the Dark Moon‘s Facebook page. This month we will be looking at the concept of deity as it appears within contemporary witchcraft, and in respect to the perception held by the Temple.
In my forthcoming book, Contemporary Witchcraft: Foundational Practices for a Magical Life, I explain how the belief in deity is central to contemporary witchcraft. is the belief in deity.
What sets contemporary witchcraft apart from some other forms of witchcraft is that we believe our gods to be real. They go beyond the concept of “archetypes” and often manifest as entities in their own right. It is believed that all historical deities are facets of the divine in that they each represent someone’s understanding of divinity, and all are valid in their own way.
The June Gathering Around the Cauldron will be taking place from 7pm ACST on Thursday, 4 June 2020. If you have any specific questions that you would like be to discuss, these can be left on the Facebook events page.
Last week I received the email from my publisher that all authors hang out to receive, the one that contained details as to when their book will actually be published and available. The date scheduled for the release of Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realms is 26 March 2021. While this date seems to be half a lifetime away (some 11 months) apparently that is normal within the publishing world as it gives a lot of the behind the scenes things to be put into process, ie having the book listed in various trade magazines, in order to maximize long-term success of the book.
“The author presents the reader with a dark gift – a treasure in a sense – but one not to be accepted lightly. My sense is that once opened, it will never go back into the box.” (Jimahl diFiosa, author of A Voice in the Forest, All the King’s Children and A Coin for the Ferryman)
Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realm
The Dark Goddess is often associated with the Underworld where she leads the uninitiated through a transformative journey of self-discovery, change and soul renewal. She is connected with the unwanted, the forgotten, the ignored or even ashamed parts of our psyche. However there is more to her than that.
Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realms guides you through what this challenging facet of the Divine Feminine, the Dark Goddess, is truly about, and encourages you to step through the veils into her hidden realm to explore 13 aspects of herself.
Whether you seek healing from past trauma, release from fears or acceptance of the “unacceptable” aspects of your self, Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realms offers ways for you to transform and heal your life through the power of meditation, ritual and inner journeying with the Dark Goddess into her shadowy realms. Use the 13 goddess myths as a guide to discover how to remove the stagnant and unwanted and embrace the ever changing aspects of life that can drag us into the pits of despair.
When we connect the Dark Goddess, we are able to find the light within the darkness and our lives are enriched through the integration of all aspects of our soul as a perfect whole.
The parts of the construct we call the “self” in Norse traditions are actually very advanced and complex, difficult to translate into modern English . Our language is very cold and rigid, theirs was full of feeling and conviction, but also with an odd fluidity where words related to many other words and the collective concepts all had something to do with one another. This later facet is seen in what the Nords called “kennings” and is the basis of much rune lore and galdr magick, but that is a whole other subject. This article taken from Dr Hawk’s Conjure Kitchen explains some of the more advanced concepts behind the various parts of what makes us human from the Old Norse perspective.
The accepted parts of the human in Norse tradition are Líkamr and Hamr, Hugr and Munr, The Fylgja, and The Hamingja.
Ǫnd, óð, lá, læti and litr are all part of the likamr. These roughly translate to “breath”, “inspiration”, “form”, “movement” and “health” respectively and are listed as the gifts of Odin (and his brothers) when He (they) created the first humans out of an ash and an elm tree. Of course, these too are more complex concepts. Ond, for instance, is probably best described as equivalent to the Hindu concept of Prana. it is both the physical breath and the life-force of the universe as transmitted through breath while óð (also written odhr) is strangely translated as both “sense” and “madness” depending on context and is probably better described with the Welsh word awen or the Old Irish Imbas and refers to the Divine Will as transmitted from God through mankind.
Lá, læti and litr link the Likamr with the Hamr. Lá is the actual physical form or shape, læti is movement and force or energy as transferred via the body, and litr is the vital essence which gives the color and “spark” of life to living flesh. These combined manifest the Hamr which is the personal sphere of existence, the “analog” if you will between the self and the world around you. The interesting thing about Hamr is that while it is generally regarded as the physical body, it is very much a changeable thing. Hamr can be thought of as how others perceive you and, through certain spiritual and physical disciplines, can be altered so that one is perceived in different ways. The ancient notion of “shape-shifting” is rooted in this discipline. Modern witches may refer to it as “glamour” or a form of telepathic suggestion wherein another perceives what one wills them to perceive.
Hugr and Munr are best known through the names of Odin’s ravens “Hugn” and “Munin” or “thought” and “memory” which is satisfactory, but still falls short. Hugr is the analytical part of the brain, the rational, reasoning, logical form of thought. Munr is the artistic, emotional, and intuitive side of the mind, which is seen to be rooted in past experiences, but also in connection with Divine Will. As such, it is translated as “memory” but it is also the bridge which connects the mind and spirit by way of the óð, thus linking past, present and future through thoughts, memories and actions. The Fylgja and The Hamingja are the most esoteric.
The Fylgja is often modernized as “fetch” and is seen as a sort of “familiar” or “totem” when it is perhaps best described as the astral body… yet, still, this is not completely accurate. Fylgja is sometimes translated as “follower” though, more often than not, it precedes the physical body. I often think of the scene in “Donnie Darkko” when the eponymous character sees the odd orb of viscous, shimmery, substance which leads him through the house to his father’s gun. Fylgja is the outer manifestation of will before it comes into formation. It is the “quantum observer” if you will, that which influences the outcome as an extension of what is expected. There is another word, “Mægen” commonly translated as “might” but is really the active force or collective power of an individual and all their various parts as discussed herein. Mægen is that which connects the Fylgja and the Hamr. It is the collective energies of all the other parts of the self which the Fylgja then seeks out the best match for. Mægen is therefore translated into “might” because the more all of those energies are in alignment, the more focused and potent the Fylgja which, in turn, makes the will all the more difficult to overcome. A Fylgja with potent Mægen is practically an unstoppable force.
Then there is the Hamingja. It is commonly described as “luck” though, in reality, it is more likely that what we call “luck” is more a byproduct of the Hamingja and Fylgja. Hamingja is connected with the ancestors, their collective deeds, as well as your own. Hamingja can be made stronger or weaker by way of right or wrong actions and mindfulness. It is embodied in the rune “ēðel” or “othila” which is translated as “estate” which itself is the physical embodiment of the legacy of a family and its name. Hamingja, therefore, is sometimes regarded as a sort of guardian spirit which hovers over and guides the individual in life. Like the Fylgja, it could be regarded as having a mind of its own, but it is important to remember it is not exactly conscious. Like a computer program, its actions are determined by the energies or “code” put into it. If there is a lot of “bad juju” in your family history, it then falls to you to balance out and contribute good energy to your Hamingja and to overcome that which guides you down the same paths as your ancestors. In this way, Hamingja is somewhat linked with the concept of “karma” which the Norse also have some interesting concepts for.
Wyrd and Ørlög make up what we might call “karma” and, like everything else discussed here, are unique to Norse ontology. Both can be described as “fate” but Wyrd is the fate that you weave through words and deeds while Ørlög is the predetermined and inescapable product of natural law. To draw a parallel with Hinduism they would be like karma and dharma respectively, but, again, they are not exactly the same. Everything you do and say affects your Wyrd, which in turn affects your luck and the ongoing flow of your life. Ørlög is more primal, less defined, and less changeable. Ørlög extends quite a lot from your Hamingja while Wyrd can be seen more as an extension of Hamr. The relationship between the words “Hamingja” and “Hamr” is apparent and Wyrd and Ørlög are the bridges between them and between the energetic world of the Divine with the physical world of mundane life. If Hamr is the self in the current form and Hamingja the self, or selves, which manifest this current form, then wyrd is the fate shaped by this form and Ørlög the fate shaped by the other.
In later day traditions there is a sort of “demon” or spirit called “Loke” who can be appealed to in various ways to influence luck as evidenced by a variety of later day staves or sigils designed to bring luck in various ways such as at market or fishing. The spirit is associated in many ways with “shimmering” things, light, fire, etc. There is every likelihood that this spirit is Derrived from the “trickster” God, and Odin’s blood-brother, Loki. It is also interesting that the descriptions and etymologies of various words related to “Loke” bear a striking resemblance to those of the name “Lucifer” the fallen angel and erstwhile God of various denominations and lineages of traditional, old-world, witchcraft. It may be that when one must overcome their Hamingja, or perhaps attempt to influence their Ørlög, that this is the spirit to which one must appeal.
The current climate has seen a change in how things are done and for me, it is almost like a cosmic “hurry up” to finalise something that was initially drafted about six or seven years ago – producing online version of Encountering the Dark Goddess.
And finally it is here.
Commencing on 6 Juue 2020, the Encountering the Dark Goddess online version is a month long online sadhana (or spiritual exploration) into your deep shadow self through the connection with various “darker” aspects of the Divine Feminine in order to commence positive change at the deepest level.
The word sadhana is a yogic term referring to any spiritual exercise aimed at progressing the sādhaka (seeker) towards the very ultimate expression of their life in this reality. Therefore, as a “sadhana”, this online journey will present you with the unique opportunity to step through the veil and into the realm of the Inner Self, to meet and embrace your Shadow Self, to remove the unwanted and to reclaim what has been missing.
During the month online journey you will receive: :: Detailed information about the Dark Goddesses we will be exploring and working with over the month, :: Instructions regarding how to set up altars and undertake daily devotional work, :: Prayers, mantras, and offerings that relate to specific goddesses, :: Daily emails consisting on appropriate metaphysical and psychoanalytic concepts regarding working with the Dark Goddess and the “Shadow Self”, :: Meditations, :: A private Facebook group to connect with others who are undertaking this journey, :: Group ritual, and much more.
As the online journey lasts for a month, it is essential that you are able to commit yourself to the sadhana (spiritual) practice.
To take place over the Southern Samhain – from 6 June 2020 (ACST) to 4 July (ACST).
Investment: AUD$222 $150 (special introductory rate) Register online through Paypal**
Once registered, please email me with your preferred email address and Facebook profile so you can be invite to the secret Facebook group.
** Direct deposit is available for Australian participants only. Please email me for my bank account details.