Winter Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere

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.

Sources: Sydney Observatory

Why Samhain is not the “New Year”

The following is adapted from Dancing the Sacred Wheel where I brought to the reader’s attention that the assumption that Samhain was the Celtic “new year” and therefore has been adapted as such into modern paganism.

The “new year” assumption is believed to have originated from an interpretation made by 19th century antiquarian, Sir John Rhys, in his “Hibbert Lectures” presented in 1886. In these lecture, Sir John interpreted comments made by Julius Caesar on Gaulish Druidic timekeeping as Samhain being perceived as the Celtic New Year due to “the Celts reckoned Dis the father of all and regarded darkness and death as taking precedence over light and life.  So in their computation of time, they began with night and winter and not with daylight and summer.  This is probably the key to reckoning years as winter.”

Being the first scholar of Celtic studies at Oxford University, Sir John’s interpretation does not appear to have been questioned, despite P.W. Joyce commenting in A Social History of Ancient Ireland (1903) that “O’Donovan stated in 1847 (Book of Rights 1ii) that the season with which the Pagan Irish began their year could not be (then) determined”.

Sir John’s incorrect interpretation was never challenged resulting it appearing in what today are now considered to be “classical” works, including The Golden Bough where Sir James Frazer recorded that “… the Celts would seem to have dated the beginning of the year from [Samhain] rather than Bealtane.”  Sir James also concluded that “ … we may with some probability infer that [the Celts] reckoned their year from Hallowe’en rather than Beltane.”

By the 1950s, this inaccuracy was considered fact, as pointed out in T.G.E. Powell’s The Celts (1958). 

Jon Bonsing of Caer Australis however has not only queried Sir John’s assertion but also attempts to correct it by pointing out that was no indication whatsoever of Caesar stating that the Celts considered “that winter, death and darkness took any precedence over summer, life or light” as Sir John talked about in his “Hibbert Lectures”.

Caer Australis further indicate that there is a considerable amount of evidence to suggest that Bealtaine was actually considered to be the start of the Celtic year, at least within the Irish tradition.  It was on the eve of Bealtaine that the Tuatha de Danaan arrived on Irish shores, as well as being the time when the great gathering of chiefs occurred at Uisneach, Co. Westmeath.  In 405 CE, during the reign of Dathi, conflict arose between the Pagan Irish and the Christians, resulting in St Patrick lighting his famous Paschal fire at Slane just prior to the lighting of the sacred Bealtaine fires.

Various Celtic heroes were believed to have been born around Bealtaine, providing further evidence of the importance of this festival, and in particular that of the “divine son”.  For example, within the Mabinogian, an entire episode is devoted to the birth of Gwri Golden Hair at Calan Mai (the first day of summer).  Caer Australis indicate that this epithet for Pwyll was given “ … because ‘what hair was on his head was as yellow as gold’.  No wonder his hair is ‘golden’, for no other imagery would be appropriate for the symbolic birth of the sun.”

If that is not evidence enough to at least query the assumption of any historical evidence of Samhain being the Celtic New Year, within the mythos contained within contemporary witchcraft relating to the sabbats do not allow for this. The sabbats, as I explained in Dancing the Sacred Wheel, follow the journey of the God. It is at Samhain when the God descends into the Underworld take up his guise as the Dreaded Lord of the Shadows at Samhain. As his rebirth occurs at the winter solstice coinciding with the renewal of the solar cycle, it makes more sense for the winter solstice to be considered the “new year”.

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.

Southern Samhain and the Halloween Witch

As the Wheel of the Year turns, 30 April marks the time of Samhain here in the Southern Hemisphere, the time of the year when we gather together to remember our ancestors of both kith and kin. What is probably the most sombre of all the seasonal observances, the Southern Samhain falls just after ANZAC Day, the day on which Australia and New Zealand pause to remember those who have given their lives in the many global conflicts.

A number of years ago, the Broadway musical, “Wicked” is in town around the Southern Samhain, complete with all the stereotypes of what witches are often depicted as looking like. As such I thought it might be timing to share a poem that I initially came across about 10 years ago, The Halloween Witch by “Angel”.

Each year they parade her about,
the traditional Halloween Witch.
Misshapen green face, stringy scraps of hair,
a toothless mouth beneath her deformed nose.
Gnarled knobby fingers twisted into a claw’
protracting from a bent and twisted torso
that lurches about on wobbly legs.

Most think this abject image
to be the creation of a prejudiced mind
or merely a Halloween caricature.
I disagree,
I believe this to be how Witches were really seen.

Consider that most Witches:
were women,
were abducted in the night,
and smuggled into dungeons or prisons under the
secrecy of darkness
to be presented by light of day
as a confessed Witch.

Few if any saw a frightened normal looking woman
being dragged into a secret room filled with
instruments of torture,
to be questioned until she confessed to anything
suggested to her
and to give names or what ever would stop the
questions.
Crowds saw the aberration denounced to the world
as a self-proclaimed Witch.
As the Witch was paraded through town
en route to be burned, hanged, drowned, stoned
or disposed of in various other forms of Christian love
all created to free and save her soul from her depraved body

the jeering crowds viewed the results of hours of torture.
The face bruised and broken by countless blows
bore a hue of sickly green.
The once warm and loving smile gone
replaced by a grimace of broken teeth and torn gums
that leers beneath a battered disfigured nose.
The disheveled hair conceals
bleeding gaps of torn scalp from whence
cruel hands had torn away the lovely tresses.
Broken twisted hands clutched the wagon for support,
fractured fingers with nails torn away
locked like groping claws to steady her broken body.
All semblance of humanity gone
this was truly a demon,
a bride of Satan,
a Witch.

I revere this Halloween Crone
and hold her sacred above all.
I honor her courage and listen to her warnings of the
dark side of man.
Each year I shed tears of respect
when the mundane exhibit their symbol of Christian
love.

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.

ANZAC Day – A National Day of Honouring Ancestors

The 25th April is a special day for Australia and New Zealand for this is ANZAC Day (an acronym standing to “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), the day which marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by these two countries during the First World War.

When the First World War broke out in 1914, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula (Turkey), under a plan by British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill in order to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies.

They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”
        (“For the Fallen” by  Laurence Binyon )

The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Turkish Army commanded by Mustafa Kernal (later known as Atatürk).  What had been planned as a bold strike to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties – some 21,255 British, soldiers, 10,000 French, 8,709 Australian, 2,721 New Zealanders, and 1,358 from India (which was under British rule at the time).
The date, 25th of April, was officially named ANZAC Day in 1916; in that year it was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies and services in Australia and New Zealand, a march through London, and a sports day for the Australian and New Zealand soldiers in Egypt.  The small New Zealand community of Tinui, near Masterton in the Wairarapa, North Island, was apparently the first place in New Zealand to have an ANZAC Day service, when the then vicar led an expedition to place a large wooden cross on the Tinui Taipos (370 metre high large hill/mountain, behind the village) in April 1916 to commemorate the dead. A service was held on 25 April of that year.

With the coming of the Second World War, ANZAC Day became a day on which to commemorate the lives of Australians and New Zealanders lost in that war as well and in subsequent years. The meaning of the day has been further broadened to include those killed in all the military operations in which the countries have been involved.

Erroneously perceived by some as a day that “glorifies” war, ANZAC Day actually represents the opposite – it is a time of remembrance and reflection that, like our ancestors, without the sacrifice of those men and women, our life today could very well be extremely different.  As with the commemorations that are held at Gallipoli are also marked by the Turkish people, ANZAC Day also offers an opportunity to extend the hand of friendship in due respect to those who once were our enemies in an attempt that the lessons from the past are finally learnt.

My great uncle Manuel Vieira, WW1 NZ Rifleman died at Ypres, Belgium in 1971, aged 22 years

For the contemporary witch, it is interesting to note that ANZAC Day falls just prior to the timing of Samhain here in the Southern Hemisphere that marks the gateway to winter and the darker months. Observance of this sabbat, especially within my own teachings and practice, focuses on our ancestors whether they be of direct lineage, magical and/or spiritual lineage, or who have simply influenced us along our journey.

It is a time of showing respect to those who have gone before for it is their influence (both negative and positive) that has shaped us into the person we are today. As we step into the space of inner contemplation, it is our responsibility as to how we will utilise that influence.

For the Fallen
(A poem by the English poet and writer Laurence Binyon and was published in London in the Winnowing Fan; Poems of the Great War in 1914. The verse, which became the League Ode was already used in association with commemoration services in Australia in 1921)

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children
England mourns for her dead across the sea,
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow,
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again,
They sit no more at familiar tables of home,
They have no lot in our labour of the daytime,
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires and hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the night.

As the stars shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are stary in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

The Time of John Barleycorn and Reaping the Harvest

Lughnasadh is traditionally the time marking the first harvest, that of grain and corn. The traditional English folksong about the Killing of John Barleycorn is often recited reflecting this time of the year.

There was three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.

John Barleycorn is a personification of the barley crop and this multi-versed song tells his journey from planting to the harvest and from harvest to being “reborn” a the alcoholic beverages which are made from the crop, beer and whisky.

The Bannatyne Manuscript (1568) contained a Scottish poem with a similar theme, Quhy Sowld Nocht Allane Honorit Be, which is often considered to be the oldest version of the poem. Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns published his own version in 1782, with the 1970s English rock band Traffic naming their fourth album after the ballard as well as recording it.

They laid him down upon his back,
And cudgell’d him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm,
And turn’d him o’er and o’er.
They laid him out upon the floor,
To work him further woe;
And still, as signs of life appear’d,
They toss’d him to and fro.
They wasted, o’er a scorching flame,
The marrow of his bones;
But a miller us’d him worst of all,
For he crush’d him between two stones. 

However here in southern Australia, the grain harvest has already been completed (this often occurs around Mid Summer) but there is still harvest to gather in – providing the intense Southern sun has not scorched everything.

Now is the time that we reap what we have sown, receiving back what we have put out. Now is the time when our deeds and actions over the solar cycle are presented to us. It is almost as if we find ourselves being weighed upon the Scales of Ma’at (excuse the Egyptian metaphore) – from which nothing can escape for the actual truth (and not the truth we may perceive through rose-tinted glasses) is exposed to us.   Now is the time we need to ask ourselves:

How well have we sown?
How well have we tendered our crops?

Lughnasadh provides a timely reminder that should our harvest not be what we expected, there is time ahead over the coming winter months, for introspection as what to do in order to achieve a more fruitful harvest next time.

What you sow comes back to thee
Flower and grain, fruit and tree.
What you reap be thankful for,
Return a piece and reap some more.  

The complete version of Robert Burn’s “John Barleycorn” can be found here.

Visions mark a New Way Forward

As this current calendar year draws to a close, to brings to an end a rather “interesting” (to say the least) year for the Temple of the Dark Moon.

This year saw the first Outer Court training circle in five years commence that delivered more challenges than the initial desired result. As such, the Temple will be taking all of the Southern summer off, instead of commencing at Lughnasadh, as what has been the norm. This will mean that no teaching on the Craft will be offered until April, the end of Autumn, when Gathering Around the Cauldron will commence on Thursday, 2 April 2020 and continue throughout the year on a monthly basis.

Between now and April, there will still be a number of events being offered, including the annual Yemaya: Blessing of the Waters that is held at Grange beach, Adelaide, as well as new practical crafting workshops on Spells, Amulets and Talismans held on Saturday, 15 February 2020 that will provide in-depth information on various highly effective techniques of spell casting as well as the purposes of using an amulet or talisman. Then on Sunday, 2 February 2020, the ever popular Making a Protection Bottle will be held.

April will also see the commencement of a six part exploration of the Tree of Life glyph that is found within ceremonial magick in the Climbing the Tree of Life series from Thursday, 16 April 2020, which will be nicely complimented with a ten part mediation series of corresponding Qabalistic archangels on Thursday evenings from 7 April 2020.

As with all events offered by the Temple of the Dark Moon, save for the Yemaya: Blessing of the Waters, it is essential to book as there are limited places available.

At this current time, there is no desire to recommence the Outer Court training circle. Those attendees who participated in the 2019 Outer Circle are fully aware of what is required of them should they wish to complete this training. My own personal commitments and focus for the new year will initially be on finalising the manuscripts of two books (including the long awaited Encountering the Dark Goddess) ready for publication.

Making the most of Mid Summer

With the South Pole of the Earth now tilted towards the sun, those of us residing south of the equator are approaching Mid Summer, the Summer Solstice, the time of when the hours of light are greatest.  However as I write, this, I am listening to the rain on my roof and thunder rolling across the sky.  But that is okay, the garden is greatful in receiving whatever rain is about at this time of the year as fruit and vegetables approach being ready to harvest.  I have also checked the long range forecast which assures me that the storms will have passed and it will in fact be a pleasant evening for when we celebrate the Summer Solstice in our sacred circle.

Now is the time to make the most of the strength of the sun’s power. The energy of the Summer Solstice can be harnessed for tackling seemingly insolvable problems, or bringing to light much needed answers that have been hidden in the darkness. 

As the sun is often considered to be a “male” symbol (whereas the moon is often perceived as female), the energy available can also be of benefit to address issues such as male potency.  Issues such as career, maximising opportunities as they present themselves, self-confidence and even inner power for anyone approaching middle age can also benefit from harnessing the power of the sun.

In the popular Rider Waite tarot deck, the 19th card is that of the Sun, depicting a naked child riding a white horse, holding a red standard, under an anthropomorphized sun, with sunflowers in the background.  The red of the standard is considered to represent the blood of renewal while the smiling sun represents accomplishment.  This is associated with attained knowledge.  the conscious mind prevails over the feares and illusions of the unconscious.  Innocence is renewed through discovery, bringing hope for the future.  It reflects happiness and contentment, vitality, self- confidence and success.

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 …

Summer Time House Protection Charm

Summer in Australia can be a rather difficult time of the year to get through, especially as the soaring temperatures often mean the threat of bush fires. Even the proposed respite of a cool change can often mean more danger as the approaching winds fan the flames. With the official summer season only having commenced just over two weeks ago, the Australian “purification season” has arrived early as parts of New South Wales and Queensland have been aflame since early September.

This ancient land upon which we live has long sought cleansing and the clearing out of the old in order to make way for the new through fire. In fact, many of our native plants only germinate through the scorching flames.  The Aboriginal people understood this and used to start small bushfires to clear the fallen bark, dried twigs and dead bushes. These fires were slow-burning and the native bush quickly regenerated after the heat of the fire. This practice also helped to prevent larger and more destructive fires, especially as the native eucalyptus gum trees contains an oil within their leaves that is susceptible to bushfires, making them burn faster and hotter.

When I read Starhawk’s book The Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Natural Rhythms of the Earth (HarperOne, 2005), what struck me were the similarities between where she lived in northern California, and where I live in Australia. As such, when I wrote Dancing the Sacred Wheel: A Journey through the Southern Sabbats, I sought permission to include an adaptation of a ritual that focused on protecting one’s home from bushfires. This ritual can be found on page 168 within the chapter dedicated to “Lughnasadh”, the Sabbat more often associated with bush fires – yet, as we have seen (and are seeing this year) there are always exceptions to the rules.

In light of what is currently occurring in various areas around Australia, I include the excerpt of this rite in the hope that even the visualisations may assist anyone who finds themselves in danger of purification through fire.

Visualise the boundary of the land that you wish to protect. Invoke the elements, reflecting on each in turn in their natural environment. Feel the air on your skin as a natural cool breeze; visualise the waters as the most immediate water source (this could be St Vincent Gulf or the Murray River, etc); try and understand the element of fire as an integral part of the landscape, regardless of the danger it brings in the middle of Summer. Feel the earth that is under your feet, that makes up the land upon which you reside.

In the centre of your circle, have a small earthenware bowl into which you pour some water (preferably from a local spring, although normal tap water is fine). Reflect on the water and the gratitude that comes with being provided with it. Add to the bowl a small handful of dirt from your own land. Again, when reflecting on the dirt, conjure up feelings of gratitude.

Make a fire charm that consists of the alchemical symbol for fire, an upright triangle within a circle, the latter representing containment. Starhawk uses bay laurel branches, a protection herb. However, native flora can also be used. If in a group collective, have each participant also ties onto the symbol either small branches from bushes and trees on their property and/or sprigs of herbs and plants from their gardens.

Alternatively, other protective charms can be made including Ojo de Dios (“God’s Eyes” from Central and South America) as well as pentagrams (star shaped).

Once completed, the charm is then passed around the circle whilst the participants recite a chant, such as the following which has been adapted from Starhawk:

Sacred fire that shapes this land
Summer teacher, Winter friend
Protect us as we learn anew
To work, to heal, to live with you.

When the charm has gone around the circle, all participants then hold it together and chant, raising a cone of power, a request of protection, as well as a request for knowledge. Prayers that homes and lands will be preserved can be said.

We need to learn how to integrate fire with this land, as well as how to restore the balance that has been lost. The charm can then be hung from a tall tree, preferably in an area where it can survey the land that it is to protect. It is to remain there until the rains come, where it will then be dismantled and sections of it burnt by each of the participants in their own homes as a further means of protection for the coming season.