Super New Moon Gathering

The new moon marks the beginning of a new lunar cycle is often considered to be the time for the manifestation of wishes and desires that you would like to bring into you life. At 6.01am on the morning of Saturday, 17 October 2020, the moon will be transitioning from dark into new moon in the astrological sign of Libra. It will also be a “super” new moon, meaning that during the moon’s rotation around the earth, it will be moving into its new moon phase at it’s perigee, the closest point to the earth.

Libra offers the opportunity to bring things in your life into balance and creating the much desired sense of harmony. Maybe you are being pulled to keep things “nice” rather than venturing into fundamental questions in order not to disturb the peace. The lesson here is learning to share your good and bad feelings. Step into your own power and do not be afraid to be who you really are, despite what is expected of you.

On the evening of Friday, 16 October 2020 I will be opening the covenstead to a selected few who are interested in making the most of this transitioning energy through crafting our new moon wishes and empowering them through sacred chants and ritual.

A light supper will be undertaken afterwards.

If you would like to be included then email me for more details.

The Magic of Cloth

The tradition of making offerings at wishing trees and wells dates back hundreds of years, and can be found all over the world in different forms. In Scotland, Ireland and England, it is common to see pieces of cloth or rag tied to branches of a tree that is often growing besides a well. These are known as “Clootie Wells” and the cloth tied to its branches are done so in the hope of having an illness cured.

“Clootie” comes from the Scots meaning “cloth”. It refers to pieces of cloth (a cloot) that is generally dipped in the water of the holy well and then tied to a branch while a prayer of supplication is said to the spirit of the well. As the rag disintegrates over time, the ailment is supposed to fade away as well.

This tradition dates far back into pre-Christian times, when it was believed a goddess or local nature spirit inhabited the well, with special powers of healing. With the arrival of Christianity, local churches began to associate themselves with the holy wells, and the ceremonies began to be overseen by the local priests or saints.

At one point in 1581, during the Protestant Reformation, making pilgrimage to holy wells was made illegal, but the practice has not stopped. The problem today is that many of the offerings being left by people are actually made from modern synthetic materials that will never rot away, and in turn impacts upon the environment.

Similar practices are found all around the world, such as the Buddhist tradition of prayer flags. Specific prayers and mantras are printed onto these colourful pieces of cloth which are then hung. Just like the Scottish clootie, the Buddhist prayer flags are left exposed to the elements (usually in a windy place), it is believed that the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space.

Combining the beliefs behind both the clootie and Buddhist prayer flags, together with an assortment of esoteric, magical and even metaphysical techniques, I will be hosting a workshop on The Magick of Cloth Offerings on Sunday, 22 November 2020 where we will be making our own set of cloth offerings.

Bookings are essential and can be made here.

Ebbing and Flowing with COVID-19

Only last week I was delighted to announce a couple of forthcoming events that I would be running at the Riverdell Spiritual Centre – one to celebrate the gateway of spring, Imbolc, on 1 August 2020, and the second was to celebrate and honour the Goddess of the Crossroads, Hekate, on 15 August 2020. Due the recent resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the border in Victoria, and the increasing risk of a potential resurgence here in South Australia, I have now decided to:

Cancel the Imbolc event at Riverdell Spiritual Centre altogether with much regret. If you have already booked through Riverdell, please contact them for a full refund.

The A Day with Hekate event will still remain at the Riverdell Spiritual Centre. Bookings are essential as there will be a strictly limited number of places available. Details of how you book your place can be found here.

At this stage, the August Gathering Around the Cauldron will also still be going ahead on Thursday, 6 August 2020. Booking are essential as due to social distancing observances, there are only a limited number of places being made available. You can book you place here.

Preparing for Spring

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.

Tickets are only $50 (plus Eventbrite fees) and are available through this link.

All attendees go in the draw to win a copy of my book In Her Sacred Name: Writings on the Divine Feminine.

Saturday, 1 August 2020 from 11am to 3pm
Location: Riverdell Spiritual Centre, 51 Clifford Road, Hillier SA 5116

A Witch’s Familiar

In European folklore and folk-belief from the Medieval and Early Modern periods, witches and cunning folk were believed to assisted by certain supernatural entities that were known as “familiars”. These spirits would appear in numerous guises, including as in a humanoid figure, but more commonly as an animal. When they served cunning folk, familiars were often thought to be somewhat benevolent, however when they were in the service of witches, familiars were considered to be rather malevolent.

The role of the familiar is the topic that will be discussed during the July Gathering Around the Cauldron which will be taking place in the format of a Zoom call on Thursday, 2 July 2020 at 7pm ACST.

If you would like to participate, you will need to register through Paypal in order to receive the Zoom meeting code. The meeting cost is $10 AUD.

Alternatively, you can email our High Priestess for the appropriate bank account details. Your payment must be received by 1 July 2020.

All participants will be receive a detailed fact sheet about the topic as well as go into the draw to win a prize.

Imbolc – Return of the Maiden

The earth is in the slow process of returning back to life after the long winter’s sleep with the first tendrils cautiously making their appearance.  There is the likelihood of frosts, but despite this, early flowers are pushing their way to the surface – snowdrops, dwarf hyacinths, jonquils, early irises and even daffodils are appearing, making the statement that spring is on its way.  A fragile warming of the air can be felt as winter, usually the season of rest and withdrawal, comes to an end.  This is the time of uncertainty as the spirit reawakens, welcoming back the Maiden of Spring.

Imbolc (also spelt Imbolg) is the first festival of Spring, and is usually celebrated around 31st July or 1st August in the Southern Hemisphere, when the sun moves 15 degrees into Leo.  It is Irish-Gaelic and translated to mean “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 for Imbolc 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.

The Crios Bridghid (Brighid’s Cross) is believed to have originated in the Connemara, located on the western side of Ireland and were traditionally made from reeds, rushes or straw.  The reeds were braided into a rope and formed into a circle, which was believed to hold protective powers.  Those who jumped through. Over time the circle became likened to a swastika cross, and it was believed to be a representation of the sun or even a fire wheel.  Once made, the cross would be placed over the doorways of houses, stables and barns, for protection and prosperity for the coming year.

You are invited to celebrate Imbolc – The Celtic Festival of Spring at the Riverdell Spiritual Centre (Hillier) on Saturday, 1 August 2020.
:: Connect with the Maiden Goddess through empowering meditations
:: Explore the journey of Brigid from Goddess to Saint
:: Make your own Crios Bridghid (Brighid’s Cross) that will be empowered through sacred ceremony
:: Discover how to connect with the healing energies of St Brigit through making your own healing candle.

All attendees go in the draw to win a copy of
In Her Sacred Name: Writings on the Divine Feminine.

Date: Saturday, 1 August 2020
Time: 11am to 3pm
Investment: $50.00
Venue: Riverdell Spiritual Centre, 51 Clifford Rd, Hillier SA 5116

Payment must be received by 20 July 2020 as there are limited places available.

Direct payment via Bank Transfer to:
Account Name: Frances Billinghurst
BSB: 325185
Account Number: 03146790
Please put your name for reference.

What is the Shadow? (Debbie Ford)

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.

If the Encountering the Dark Goddess sadhana journey is something that calls to you, ensure that your register prior to Saturday, 6 June 2020. Details as to how you can do that are found here.

In my forthcoming book, Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realms, I share how to utilise the mythologies of specific Goddess whose very nature is about change, destruction, mask removal and much more, in ways designed to accept our own shadow.

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.

Encountering the Dark Goddess: A Journey into the Shadow Realms is being published by John Hunt Publishing and should be available for pre-order from mid-June 2020 through Amazon US, Amazon UK, Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and the like, with ebook pre-orders appearing a month or so before its physical release in 26 March 2021.

Exploring the Concept of Deity

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.

Samhain – Online Ritual

With social distancing still occurring, the May Gathering Around the Cauldron, scheduled to take place on Thursday, 7 May 2020, will be adapted into an online format and will involve the livestreaming of a Samhain ritual (being the recent sabbat here in South Australia).

This online live streaming will be offered free on the Temple of the Dark Moon’s Facebook page from 7pm ACST (Australian Central Standard Time). For anyone wishing to be more actively involved in the Samhain ritual from their own sacred space, a 11 paged colour A4 fact sheet about Samhain is now available to purchase securely through Paypal for the sum of only $7 AUD.

The fact sheet provides information about the sabbat from a historical perspective, include a sabbat related craft to make, correspondences, and the meaning of the sabbat on a more deeper psychological level, as well as a copy of the ritual that will be used on the night. It should pointed out, however, that as the ritual contained within the fact sheet is based on the one that the Temple of the Dark Moon actually uses, there are certain parts we are not able to make public in the ritual context. This does not take away from the purpose of the ritual being made available. For those attending on Thursday night, the ritual will be live streamed in its entirety.

To receive your copy of the Temple of the Dark Moon’s Samhain Fact Sheet in readiness of next Thursday’s ritual, orders must be received before 5.30pm ACST on 7 May 2020. Names will also go into a draw for a prize that will be announced after the ritual.

Any orders received after that time will be sent out after the ritual has concluded.

The Dark Goddess is Coming

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.

From the end of June, Encountering the Dark Goddess should appear on the John Hunt Publishing webpage as well as appearing for pre-order through Amazon US, Amazon UK, Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and the like, with ebook pre-orders appearing a month or so before publication (ie, early in the new year).

“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.