The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Ancient Magickal Properties of Numbers

Greetings My Witchy Reader,

Many people have heard of numerology, and the use of numbers and their association with one's name and birth date to find their power number (s) and using their numbers magickally.  Yet many people do not know that numbers have been used magickally for thousands of years and are one of, if not the oldest, sophisticated magickal system known to humankind.

Whereas an entire book or more could be written on this subject, there is literally, as I just mentioned, thousands of years and hundreds of cultures and religious traditions and magickal, superstitious and folk magick beliefs regarding numbers, some very complex like magic squares that even our founding fathers, like Benjamin Franklin took pleasure in creating.

For our discussion here, I will stick with the simple basic numbers 1-10 and a few additional, special ones.  I will in addition to discussing the ancient magickal/religious/spiritual/superstitious beliefs in the powers of numbers, also mention ways you can use "numbers" in magickal spell casting, ritual ways to affect your life today.

Archaeologists have found bones dating as old as 30,000 years or older with hash marks, which are believed to mark the cycles of the moon, thus keeping a type of calendar, and these marks being groups becoming a numerical grouping allowing humans to count the cycles, we know ancient humans have been counting since they noticed their very own fingers and toes.

We do know the very first "organized" numerical system was devised by the ancient Babylonians,  ahhh, the Babylonians one of my favorite ancient cultures, often over looked yet still, so many of their inventions or innovations remain with us to this day!!  For this discussion we will stick to their contribution of giving the world a comprehensive numerical system that they developed from their regions ancestors the Sumerians, who first came up with a counting system based on 60.  The Babylonians are the inventors of the abacus which is still available to this day, but used more as a curiosity than an actual manual calculator.

Since the beginning of time, many practical things have been mixed and mingled with the magickal. from foods, for the ancients saw things that you ingested that would keep you alive as magickal and in some ways it is! To drinks, especially those with fermented qualities, it can be magickal if you don't over do!  Herbs, well .  .  .  giggle, now, now, of course I mean, herbs that could make one feel better and get over an illness,  to giving one a ritual spiritual experience during an ancient ceremony maybe while even wearing animal hides and masks all to create a magickal effect. Candles and fire light that could stave off the darkness could be considered magickal as it kept away the evil that may be hidden in the dark.

But numbers? Something as simple as the gathering of a number of the same objects? How could that be considered magickal, or even special? Well, it comes down to how you "see" things, how you perceive. It is no coincidence that numbers have been considered special and mystical in just about every culture and religious belief tradition on earth for thousands of years, since the very first, our friends the Babylonians. So let us discuss and see a few examples for our most common and easily understood numbers:


For many cultures, especially monotheistic, those ruled by a one God religious structure, it typically stands for unity, the oneness with God and mankind. In Judaism the practice of gematria is actually the spiritual interpretation of numbers, and is one technique for interpreting sacred texts.

The was an ancient cult in Greece called the Pythagoreans who had a great magickal belief in numbers and attributed the number one as a non number, believing it to be singular, and that the word number means plural. But aside from that they felt that odd numbers were male in nature and even numbers were female and that by adding one number it changes.

One, magickally can in many ways be the most poswerful number to use, when many feel three is the most magickal or other numbers like nine (which is 3X3) I have found one to have the most intensity when used with focus. For a spell for yourself and a spell you want to have manifest, strongly, with purpose, place on your altar, along with your other spell items and candles a large white pillar candle. One which is much large, taller, wider and over powers the rest. This is designed to help you focus and connect your magickal goal as an unbroken conduit with the Divine.

To control and direct the energy of "the one" take a wand and touch your forehead and visual the end result of your desires, your spells outcome and then draw an imaginary line from your forehead to the candle and touch the edge of the candle. It is not necessary to touch the flame of the candle. If you have a full altar set up, then add a step, by taking your wand, touch it to the altar pentacle, then to your forehead, then to the candle edge.


The number two represents balance, and the duality found in nature and in human nature. We see this in the Hermetic Principle of Polarity, male/female, sun/moon, night/day, God/Goddess, good/evil, God/Satan, invoke/banish. I could write volumes on the number two and the concept of duality, as the world is made up of the principle of polarity.  But whereas some see balance, and the calm, tranquility and zen-like quality that they feel is achieved with gaining balance and steady emotions, some in the past as now who see the number two as the challenges of the temptation between two strong pulling forces, perhaps the eternal struggle between good and bad within each of us.

You can harness the energy of the two by placing two candles on your altar, they can be God/Goddess candles, a Black candle for the Goddess, black as She is of the night and the moon and a white candle for the God as He is of the day and of the sun. Now, it is important that any candles on the altar are lit and burned. That is crucial. Then your normal spell candles and any other candles, are also lit and burning. You may light the candles, the black and the white candles, about a foot apart if you have the space and then move them closer every 5-10 minutes.  When they are touching, allow them to burn down. During this time, you can take a few moments, as many as you desire and press your hands together as if in prayer, and open them but keep them attached as if hinged. Palms facing the flames on the altar and direct your energy towards them. See the end result you desire.

Hold them out to the candles flames and imagine the energy of the two, increasing and getting stronger and flowing into you doubling your strength, your energy, your power and your spells final result.

So many people, even those who have never considered themselves magickal or even taken the magickal seriously have at the very least heard of the phenomenon of the power of three!! Come on! It gets kind of ridiculous if you think about it. From bad things that come in threes, to deaths that come in threes, to sneezes coming in threes, to things grouped in threes such as 'body, mind & spirit',  'life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness', The Three witches in Macbeth,  breakfast,lunch & dinner!! Think about it, who decided three times a day was the right number of times to eat?  Well you get my point, threes are found in every area of life and have been for ever.

The Ancient Druids had a great influence with their perception of the three world concept. For centuries civilized societies such as the Greeks believed in the three world concept, Heaven, The Physical world and The Underworld. It has had a mystical power for so many people ever since. Historically three colored cats were protective pets to have in the house.

In the Jewish tradition three signifies stability and completeness, as demonstrated by the three Pilgrimage festivals, Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot, and the three Patriarchs.

In witchcraft we will use the three finger point to represent the witch, and the symbol of the witch when in the magick circle doing various things. It looks like this:

Many people today use the three dimensional pyramid shape on their altar to bring in empowered energies. Pyramid shaped boxes can be used to place small items within to charge them and empower them by placing them inside for a short period of time. Solid stone and crystal pyramid shapes can be placed on the altar to bring additional energy and empowerment to the altar and the work being done there. And this shape also brings the stability that is known to be found int he number of four.

Using three candles, which is my traditional practice and has been for over 30 years, of using a candle for each the maiden (a white), the mother (a red), and the crone (a black) on the altar representing the triple Goddess by which the three represent the Goddess as a whole entity.  Another way of focusing the energy when doing a candle spell, make a triangle with your forefingers and thumbs and gaze at the candle flame through the window and allow your vision to blur and visualize the end result.


The number four has long represented firm foundation, think of a table, bed or a chair. Four legs or corner stones securely settled on the ground.  Also like the pyramid we discussed earlier, whereas a pyramid has three edges when looked at, it has four sides and a base with four edges so it has a combination of three and four and many choose one or the other and the shape works very well for millions of people.

We have so many associations with the number four in nature from the four phases of the moon: full, waning, new, waxing, to the four seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall, to the four stages of life for human kind: infant, youth, adult, elderly and in medieval times physicians felt the human body had the four "humors" with which they used to diagnose and treat people with illnesses, and they practiced an outdated practice of "bleeding" a patient to keep their humors in balance!!

The Passover Seder honors the significance of the number four with it's four questions, the four cups of wine, the four Matriarchs, and the four cardinal directions. Four also has importance in the Jewish esoteric interpretations, e.g. the four Rabbis who entered the Orchard (Paradise), and four angels who surround the throne of glory just to name a couple.

We see the four come into great significance in the Pagan belief system and in modern day Wicca with the four elements, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, we have four witches tools, wand, blade, cup and pentacle.  The witches pyramid which is a name only for a philosophical concept those of us who have studied more old school have practiced: To Know, To Will, To Dare, To Keep Silent has been a rule for many years for the witch for protection, anonymity and safety.

I have only heard of the number four having a reputation for bad luck for the Chinese, simply because in one of the Chinese dialects, the word for four sounds very similar to the word for death, so they try never to say the word. But other than that the number four is considered a good luck, positive number in every other culture on the earth and can be used in many ways.

The pyramid will also work here, an altar placed on 4 small legs or elevated feet in each corner. It does not have to be very high even a few millimeters up from the table top will also help lift the energy/ the vibrational level of the spell you are casting. This type of spell is wonderful to cast to perform a new house, new home, new relationship, new job blessing after you have already settled into that new position, to give stability and security.

Place a stone, it need not be big or heavy, in each corner of the elevated altar. A quartz crystal is typical, but a stone of the earth like Tigers Eye for a new home, or a stone of the hearth like a Carnelian for a new home, a stone of wealth, like Malachite for a new job and a stone of love like Rhodochrosite or Rose Quartz for love.

After you have burned the candles, you can take the stones and place them in corners of your home or in your room, on your desk at work, where ever you can see them and touch them daily to feel their security and strength.  Even having a small bowl with four pretty stones or crystals set near by, is strong and will help make you feel stronger and more self assured.


For the number five I will end this article, and continue with more numbers with my next article. There is so much that can be talked about this tends to be one of my longest discussions, and I am only just touching on a tiny bit of each number, but remember number magick and belief in the power of numbers goes back well over 5,000 years ago. Well five is also a number of strength, even more secure than four. Think of a tent. Not only do you have the four corner poles but the center post, which even boy scouts know provides one of the strongest designs to keep the elements at bay when out in harsh conditions.

We also see five as highly protective since the earliest of ancient times. There are five books of Moses for the ancient Hebrews, and the Psalms are divided into five sections,  and the Hamsa, a talismanic hand of protection is divided into five fingers.

One of the more famous/infamous symbolic uses of the number five is the pentagram/pentacle.  Firstly to help define clearly, a pentagram is a geometric shape also called a 5 pointed star and it looks like this:

A pentacle, is also a five pointed star with a circle around it. The apex, or top point for both are always pointed up, for Wiccans, witches and magickal people who truly know what they are doing and are working positive magick and not simply playing child's games. Yes. for some of you out there, I did say that. Frankly if you want to corrupt a symbol, why don't you go out an get one of your own and leave the positive, beautiful symbols of others alone, but that's another discussion!

Anyways!! Back to stirring my cauldron!! Okay The pentagram/pentacle is used for protection and the lower four points reference the physical world, earth, air, fire and water and all things physical. The top point, the apex, references the spiritual. We use it as protection and to keep on mind we keep the spiritual above the physical at all times. Ah well, .  .  .  like all well meaning people, we try.

Now the number five was of great significance to the ancient Greek Pythagoreans we spoke of earlier, as the number two stood for the female and the number three was male so it was a great number for marriage and romantic union.

Even the Meso American culture the Mayas believed the number five to be very special and magickal. They saw the human body, had five fingers and toes on a hand or foot, the body has five limbs, two arms, two legs and a head, and following the ancient belief that hearkens back to the number two belief that every person has both good and bad inside, that there is both good and evil, the Maya felt that their was inside each person both five virtues and five vices.

To use the number five we, witches use a pentacle as a central altar piece always, when we set up an altar and whether we are casting a spell or simple lighting candles, we always have that pentacle. For me it is the one of two ways I use the aspect of the five in ritual. But you can have it in any manner you wish.

Another way I use it is in the traditional Goddess pose during ritual. In the sketch below it is depicted in the center drawing.

So with candles, rocks, body positioning, visualization, these are just a few of the ways we can bring the magick of numbers and their power into our magickal workings.  I will demonstrate more techniques in my next article touching on the next five numbers and some other magickal numbers. It is seeing their placement and feeling their power which gives you a connection and helps manifest your power and magick.

I hope as you read this it causes you to think about the numbers and how they manifest in your life!

Live, Laugh and Always Love,   Ms. Faith

© 2010-2018 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 

 If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to receive the link to the most current weekly blog post send me an e mail with your email address. You will receive a new blog post weekly. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Magickal Ointment with Ancient Roots

Greetings My Witchy Readers,

I came across an ancient poem, called the Song of Songs found in the Tanakh the Hebrew Bible which, these verses are attributed to King Solomon and are romantic poems back and forth, from a woman to her lover and a lover to his woman. Not what one would typically expect to find in a religious text, but they are beautiful and sacred in their beauty and sensuality.

It is many, many verses and chapters long. A long, beautiful story of lovers meeting, courting, marrying and loving together their lives. But I read the following few verses and I saw within them, an ancient recipe for an ointment, as during this time, ointments, oils, salves were very popular and used for anointing people as sacred perfumes, to ritual tools and candles and was a way of connecting the human energy with the Divine.

These few verses are thus:

"Your limbs are an orchard of pomegranates
and of all luscious fruits,
Of Henna and of Nard,
Nard and Saffron
fragrant reed and cinnamon,
with all aromatics woods,
Myrrh and aloes --
All the choice perfumes
You are a garden spring
A well of fresh water
a rill of Lebanon"

This is just one of the many beautiful verses that make up Solomon's Song of Songs and as I read this verse I could see the ointment being made and being used as an anointing perfume to be applied before ritual or before any sacred activity.  So I started to research the various ingredients and to find substitutions if necessary.

The white flowered "henna" plant (lawsonia enermis ) does not grow in this part of the world, it is native to Iran and Pakistan, and as such is very difficult to find, or to substitute, but the rest we can work with. Nard was called Spikenard in biblical times and was highly prized for its heady aroma and today we can get the oil of Spikenard, or if not available to you, you can easily use Valerian.  Many people have used the extract of Valerian often in holistic preparations and teas but the essential oil is quite pleasant and pretty smelling. Even using a few drops of both Spikenard if available and Valerian would be appropriate.

Then Saffron, only a small amount is needed and can be found in all food markets and specialty spice shops, only about 6 strands are needed. The fragrant reed mentioned in the verse is debated by scholars to this day and was also referred to as sweet cane, and most have come to understand it to be calamus also known as sweet flag. Please take special note if you choose to use Calamus, it is highly toxic and should never be ingested and if used as an ingredient in your perfume oil, only a small drop for authenticity's sake perhaps, but I choose to use a few drops of sweet orange oil as it does the same thing fragrance wise and I do not have to worry about any side effects from toxicity.   You may also substitute it by using a small bit of amber resin or oil, which is found in the Middle East and throughout the Mediterranean.

The next part of this recipe we add a few drops of cinnamon oil.  We must use caution with cinnamon oil. Cinnamon or cassia oil, which is a common substitution for cinnamon oil, can be caustic to the skin and cause minor burns so a drop maybe two is all that is needed in any potion or balm it is included in. Plus cinnamon oil has such a strong scent little is more than enough.

The myrrh oil is easy, and for the aromatic woods and aloes we will use sandalwood oil and grate some powdered Palo Santos wood also known as Holy wood which has a beautiful, sweet scent. Sandalwood is native to the Middle East and Palo Santos, though from South America, has direct cousins from the Mediterranean, North Africa region that is quite similar in resinous structure to the aromatic woods that would have been included in a recipe such as we are making. 

An interesting side note, when working with ingredients thousands of years old as mentioned in this biblical verse, something like aloes also known as wood aloes or agar wood, is almost impossible to obtain today. If one can find it it would be so cost prohibited as to not be worth buying. What wood aloe is, is a rare, almost extinct tree called aquilaria which becomes infected by a mold caused by a beetle infestation. This dark brown, almost black infection in the wood smells so sweet and beautiful it became a wildly popular resinous base for ancient perfumes for centuries. Scientists have tried to re-create this phenomenon artificially but find it cannot be done. The tree must be naturally infected, so considering the trees are going extinct and the rarity of this beetle infecting the tree just right and causing this infection, and once the infection takes hold in the tree, the tree must die, so it cannot be sustained. Now you can start to appreciate why when ancient recipes both biblical and magickal call for wood aloes,  but we find they are no longer available to the scholar or the alchemist or the witch, so we substitute the best we can. 

The last part and a very important part is the base itself. Now, during biblical days, the base oils used were always olive oil, or what was written as pure oil, and this needed to be made by man and pressed and that was typically done from the olives. I have used vegetable shortening, as our olive oil is lovely but will not solidify and I like the solid form, which stays nicely in a small tin and can be brought with you and then rubbed or massaged into the skin. You can also use the olive oil if you would like, but it is a greasier version, but try what appeals to you.

So, if you are interested in making this beautiful, rich, ancient, seductive, sacred perfume ointment, this is the recipe I have come up with from translating the original verse to what we can obtain and work with today:

1/4 cup vegetable shortening
Spikenard Oil  7-10 drops
Valerian oil  3 drops
Saffron, appx 6 strands of the red saffron - ground up in a mortar & pestle
Sweet Orange oil  6 drops
Amber resin or oil  3 drops
Cinnamon oil 1 drop
Myrrh oil  3 drops
Sandalwood oil  6 drops
Powdered Palo Santos - this comes in wooden sticks. Take an emery board and rub over the stick allowing the fine powder to fall into the mixture.

Then get an oil diffuser and place a lit tea light underneath and place about 3 tablespoons (appx 1/4 c) of vegetable shortening in the diffuser. Then Take a Palo Santos stick of wood and an emery board and rub the wood against the emery board and powder the wood into the diffuser. Appx a 1/4 teaspoon would be about right. Then grind up the saffron in a mortar and pestle into as fine a powder as possible and place that in the shortening. Allowing the powdered wood and saffron to start to melt and blend into the oil.

Then add the oils AFTER the shortening has melted, that is very important. After the shortening has melted, add the oils and stir them clockwise into the mixture, using a silver or glass utensil, never plastic or other item. A wooden item will absorb a lot of your essential oils so a nice glass stirrer is best. Or a silver spoon.

As soon as you have mixed the oils into the mixture and everything has been mixed well, then pour the mixture into small ointment tins, available at a craft store.

Pour or even transfer the liquid ointment by way of small funnel and then let each tin of ointment sit and solidify which should only take about 20 minutes or so. As soon as they cool down. Do not use a heat source hotter than a tea light candle or the heat will cause the essential oils to burn away and the most important part of the entire recipe will "go up in smoke" so to speak!

You will see the "spices" the saffron and the powdered Palo Santos in the ointment and the richness of the scent will release when it comes in contact with warm skin, and will continue to be released as it is worn. Also by wearing this scent in a ointment rather than an oil it will last on the skin longer and won't evaporate as quickly. This scent should remain on the body or even in the hair, if you wish to use it as a hair dressing for the entire day.

This is my personal interpretation of this ancient Biblical poem's verse made into a perfume ointment, and I hope you enjoy it. Blessings and Peace, Ms. Faith

Live, Laugh and Always Love

© 2010-2018 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 

 If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to receive the link to the most current weekly blog post send me an e mail with your email address. You will receive a new blog post weekly. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Following Our Ancestors Path to Us

Greetings My Witchy Readers,

I find the longer I practice magick, witchcraft, an ancient Goddess based nature spirituality, the farther back I am drawn into the past. I find the bloodline of my ancestors, the lineage of the pagans of the path I follow, all go back into the ancient mists of time and the magicks are simple and sympathetic in nature as the ancients magickal practices were thought to be.

I had my DNA tested by one company that in addition to the basic info: which countries does your DNA hail from, it also followed my maternal haplogroup, which is a fancy word basically saying it traced my mothers bloodline back through her mother, and her mother, and her mother's mother's mother's back to 9,000 years to the same region in Eastern Europe. I found I was 99.5 % European and almost 50% Eastern European and when I saw it in black and white that the female line in my family, from my mother stretching back went back over 9,000 years .  .  .  to the same area, of Eastern Europe it made me stop and sit and go into deep thought.

 So I sat thinking, just imagining going back, from mother, to grandmother, to great grandmother, and to the next mother and to her mother and her mother and then seeing this line of women standing, just standing and this line stretching back so far I couldn't, even in my mind's eye, see the end and knowing that I am part of that continuous line is just awe inspiring to me.

There is no specific magick that is more right or wrong for any one person, you can do what you feel is right for you. When I think back that my mothers mothers stretch back over 9,000 years and the continuity, how every one gave birth, how every one needed to nurture their children, how everyone worried about their families and cared about their loved ones and the differences how each knew different men and melded into different families expanding their families, bringing in new blood.

Recent research shows we have Jewish lineage, Russian and my father's parents were born and raised in Austria and he did not even know this, having believed they came from Poland originally. When I see these cultures listed and I think of the cultures, possible religions, the traditions, that my family may have believed, practiced I think of how many people today so quickly state "organized religion" is ____________, fill in the blank, and it usually is derogatory, rude and disrespectful, because organized religion has in some chapters in history had some pretty awful pages. Especially in regards to those who were labelled witches. Many have totally disregarded organized religion today because it does not work for them, but that is not to say it does not work for everyone. It does and has worked for millions for centuries and still does. It is not for everyone, and not every religious path is meant for everyone.

I look at it like this. If you see a bicycle on the ground, lying on its side and you pick it up and try to ride it and keep falling over because you do not know how to ride a bike, is that bicycle bad or useless or no longer useful? No. If you hurt yourself, the many times you keep falling over, is it the bicycles fault? Of course not, it is an inanimate object. So, is it the bicycle that does not work, or is it you that is not able to work that bike, at that time? Yes, maybe a skateboard is more your speed, or maybe simply walking. Or a car or maybe another mode of vehicle?

No, there is not one path to God or heaven and No, there is not one chosen people. At least I do not believe so. I truly believe on the other side, there is no religion, there is no chosen or special people, and everyone .  .  .  everyone gets in. Every race, creed, culture, belief, even those who do not believe. Criminals, sinners, those that break every commandment, all are allowed in because there are no walls in Heaven. Ahhh, isn't that a lovely thought, especially in this day and age.

There does not have to be, because after we die, in my experience, and understanding, we "burn off" who were were in this lifetime, the physicality of this lifetime, the color of our skin, our culture, our religion if we have one, we even burn away our gender, our prejudices, our limiting beliefs, and all that holds us back in our physical realm today. This takes time on the other side and happens after the period of time we are "ghosts" or "spirit" and may be communicating with loved ones, but eventually an aspect of who we "are" moves on and transforms to become one again with the one soul that makes up everything. The Divine Cosmic energy that consists of All. All of Us.

Another issue I often run into is people who become disenchanted with their religion of choice because of the person they "chose" to be their spiritual or religious leader. Truly, no one, no person in the position of teaching or guiding others along their path ever sets themselves up to be a spiritual "leader". Not if they are sincere and not on a "power trip". Yet, people will blame those that are in the position of teaching or guiding when the students own down falls catch them up, because many people on their path, are unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their own failings and their own mistakes and blunders. So it is so very common to cast blame.  We all know this. You are meant to have challenges on your spiritual path, that is why it is a path, and not a destination like a room where there is a party going on. 

Now look at religion, any kind of religion. It is not religion that does not work, but if it does not work for you, it really is not fair to lambaste religion and blame it for the shortfalls you encounter. Indeed, it may not be the religion for you. Or maybe religion is not for you. Maybe the person teaching you is simply not the best fit for you, nothing to take personally, oh but they always take it personally!! That's perfectly fine, because remember one important thing. religion is a man created concept. .  .  .  yes.  .  .  man created it. All of it. But, the real thing to learn is it is up to you what to do with it.

So when you can get away from focusing on what does not work for you, then and only then can you get started with what does work for you. Why not take the best of the different spiritual beliefs that touch you, that feed your soul? Does the sight and beauty of a Christmas tree bring you peace and happiness at the holiday times? Then have a Christmas tree. That alone does not make you Christian  If you wish to celebrate the Wheel of the Year Sabbats, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltaine, Litha, Lughnasadh, Mabon and Samhain and that feeds something inside then that is wonderful too. It does not necessarily make you a pagan. What if you light candles during the eight days of Hannukah and play the Dreidel game does that make you Jewish? Of course not. But it may give you a feel of kinship with ancestors who have gone before you. A connection that fills a place inside of you and gives comfort.

This is a very special time in our world's history. It is a time where you, and only you, primarily, can determine, what your religion is, what your spiritual path, should you wish to follow one, will be. If you are an adult, you make this decision on what is best for you. Regardless of what spiritual path, if any, you may have been brought up in, you, as an adult can choose.

You can celebrate any holiday, any religion, study any spiritual path, go to any church, temple, synagogue or mosque in this day and age. You may need to follow the rules and regulations of said religious establishment, but you have the choice. So rather than spending time focusing on what does not work for you, what has not worked for you and where you have been in the past, focusing  on where you wish to go and what you wish to experience and what you find works for you is the best energy.  Find the area of learning, whether it be a class, a teacher, an author, religious classes, on line study (beware of on line study as so much false information is perpetrated. Be sure to back up your on line learning with solid additional credible training.)

I started the idea of this blog post because I did a DNA test which was very interesting as I mentioned above, and it led, with long discussions with my mother, whom I am so lucky at my age, to still have my mother at the age of 78 and father at 83, with me.  Well, one day, I was visiting my mother. This was last year, and we were looking through old family photos and her baptism records, marriage certificates and remarking on the Polish names and out of the blue she looks at me and says, "You know, I never told you, but we have Jewish blood in our family".  I was surprised! I had never heard this but I had had suspicions because the family's last name was a strong Jewish name, the great grandfather's first name was Jacob (Joseph) but called Jacob in the family and that is Jewish for Joseph.

My mother told me that when she was born, in 1939 the start of WWII, by the time the war was over, it was many years before things were back to normal, were they ever? She said one day her mother, my grandmother told her (my mother is the oldest of 8 children) to never ever repeat this, that their grandfather was Jewish and to never, ever say anything or she would be punished. My Grandmother did not want her children treated differently, or poorly, or how she might have thought it would affect them. The community we all lived in was predominantly a Jewish farming community, but there was fear, a great fear. My mother remembers my grandmother hiding sugar, flour, and other staples in the linen closet under towels and sheets for fear that "they" would come and take these things.

These stories made me wonder, who was my grandmother afraid would come into her home and search? Who would come in and take her sugar, her flour? My grandmother had many children and like so many had to rely on ration tickets but she also had a farm and they had eggs, chickens, milk and butter to barter.

So many of us truly take the world we live in these days for granted, because we do not have the memories of having to hide our food, to have to be rationed to only so many of anything, even if we have the money to purchase more, not in a time of bulk food warehouses.

My research has also opened up that we have Russian, as well as Austrian heritage. We had believed we were 100% Polish but we are more a mixture of many eastern European cultures, a colorful, beautiful, cultural family of so much history. Sadly so much was hidden, and secreted away out of fear.  So that decades and generations later we, the younger generation have a lot less information and are now trying to put back what was a rich, cultural heritage.

I understand why people felt as they did and they did what they felt was important, and what they felt was necessary. So now every night, in addition to my red candle for love, I light a blue candle for the ancestors.

A glass encased blue candle to represent the ancestors and their line that stretches back thousands of years, in one fashion a tree as we are familiar, the family tree with mother and father and the branches of each as they stem out in many different directions.  Yet, in another fashion, when we follow our maternal, or paternal line exclusively, as I did my maternal line it does not form a tree, but it goes back, from mother, to mother, to mother, to mother, a direct, unbroken, undiluted, pure line that in my case reaches back 9,000 years. 

There is a magick inherent in the lineage of your ancestors, of your people, your family. It matters not that you didn't know them. Even if you are adopted, your bloodline still stretches back. There is some very credible work written by scholar, witch and author Raven Grimassi regarding the magickal, mystical lineage of our ancestors and I strongly recommend you read his books. His most recent "Communing With The Ancestors" is really outstanding work, and it is preceded by the "Cauldron of Memory".

 Love Ancestral Altar 

My thoughts, impressions and magickal concepts  I discuss here,  do not come from Raven's books but are my own magickal experiences and observations, but I do recommend his written works for those who wish to delve deeper into this subject as he goes much, much further into this topic.

For myself and to share with you, magickally I have set up my love/ancestral altar pictured above. I shuffle and cut the tarot deck daily to see what the ancestors wish to tell me. This is one way I choose to use the tarot, for this altar. I light the love candle first always. The I light the blue ancestor candle. Sometimes, in the center I burn a small gold and silver candle for the God and Goddess, and will ask for specific blessings, such as healing for a family member, protection or for the God and Goddess to look over a loved one who may be in a dangerous situation say serving in the Armed Forces, anything specific I desire. So as an altar, I use it for the Love and energy the God/Goddess primarily and the centuries of ancestral energy from so many matriarchs and patriarchs who can aid me in sending love and healing, protection and comfort for those living today.

When I stand before this altar, I take the time to think and close my eyes I see back, the line of both mothers and fathers flowing back into time so far the ends can't be seen, and the hundreds, thousands? of people who culminate in who we are today.  So for Hannukah I will have some blue and white decorations,  and maybe have some brightly colored dreidels. I like the idea of a Menorah. simply because the lighting of candles is so very much a part of what I do in my spiritual practice, and for Yule I will light the candles on a Yule log,  and then we will have a lovely dinner at a friends home for Christmas.  It is important, for me, to remember that my spiritual practice is done for myself and only myself. I do not do anything in this realm for anyone else. It is between myself and my God/dess.

In conclusion, I recall my maternal grandmother, when she passed away a number of years ago. Someone had the most lovely of ideas, to have all of my grandmothers children (she had 8 that survived) all of their children, the great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, her legacy it was referred to.  They had all of us, my grandmother's legacy, gathered in the front of the small pretty Methodist church in the tiny town in rural southern New England, and it was so impressive as I heard someone had taken a quick head count and there was 101 people in the group. The line will continue, perhaps for another 9,000 years. How remarkable. I'd like to think while we all stood there honoring my grandmother, all 101 of her legacy, and everyone else in that small church that day, that the spirits of all of those women somehow were present and if so I believe they would have been proud.

Thank you for reading my musings today, Ms. Faith

Live, Laugh and Always Love

© 2010-2018 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 

 If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to receive the link to the most current weekly blog post send me an e mail with your email address. You will receive a new blog post weekly. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Magick For The First New Moon of The New Year

New Year, New Moon Greetings My Witchy Readers,

Ah, can you feel that sense of relief, the sense of the weight being lifted? The burdens of the past year being removed from your shoulders? The astrological shift has occurred and the heavy, difficult hard changes that came crashing down during the last part of last year for so many has finally lifted and the changes have done their work and darkness has been moved out and now all that remains is space for light and love.

Let us look back for just a moment. For so many who has come to me, from students, to clients and customers, to people I know personally, the past several months from about the beginning of August, due to many factors, many of them astrological and the planetary shifts and changes do affect humans, whether we follow astrology or not. Just look at how the moon affects people when it is full.

 We've all heard the stories of the full moon making people more "crazy" in one way or another. Simply put the moon affects the water on the earth, it affects the oceans and causes the tides to ebb and flow, without the moon we would have no waves. Well, humans are over 70 percent water so why would it not affect us? Of course it would and it does. So .  .   . if the moon can affect us, other planets and astrological phenomenon can and does, I believe also has an affect on us. Knowing such only helps us understand it is not us losing our minds, but helps us get a grip and work with whatever may be going on.

Having said that a lot happened since August 1, 2017 astrologically, that affected people.  We had of course, new and full moons, but we also had eclipses, and Mercury retrograde combined with all of the above and then a Super Moon in December affecting that water I mentioned making us soooo emotional, and interestingly the planets Venus and Jupiter came closest in our night skies in November of 2017, which is astronomical but looking at it in a astrological way it could affect us, considering Venus is the Goddess of Love and passion and romance and joy, happiness, fun and all things sexy!! Oooh la la, and Jupiter the God of wealth, health, the physical but in the aspect of stability, work, work, work, and where these two aspects are so close in a relationship it could cause some issues where one wants to play and have romantic fun while the other is always saying "sorry love, have to work, I'm soooo busy, busy, busy!!" which could have caused all sorts of issues during that time.

I am just throwing out these scenarios, as other scenarios taking these concepts into consideration could have come up for you in your life. But issues did abound indeed. Then to finish off the year, as if it was not difficult enough, we ended the year with Mercury in retrograde yet again. The shadow phase of Mercury retrograde ended on December 31st, so even I took some time to shake off the shadow and rest, renew and get strength back and review and then look forward to the new year.

A short period of time to reflect is always healthy and helpful. Then set it all aside. Take from the past the lessons you needed to learn and then .  .  .  take the rest out to the trash, and get rid of it. Whether you lost opportunities, a job, friendships or acquaintances, whatever you feel you may have lost, look back and take from them the lessons learned, the experiences and the knowledge of what you went through, no matter how difficult or painful. Those are yours. That knowledge is priceless and can never be taken from you. You are now smarter, sharper, have a keener sense of (in my case Bull s#*t) perhaps your boundaries have been more clearly defined, your sense of integrity and truth more finely established, and remember the most important thing, YOU are stronger, you made it through and that which is left in the past? HA! It's gone and simply trash! Useless and not worth a moment of your precious time.

So, onward to the upcoming year and YES this year 2018 will be an amazing year, because you will make it so. YOU create your reality and you will create all the wonderful, exciting, amazing things you will soon experience.  For instance, I'll share about my life. I started singing lessons last year and after well over a year, I am starting to sound respectable in recordings where I don't cringe! haha I am proud of my performances in recitals, and I plan on doing some stand up comedy!! I have never ever thought of stand up comedy, but then again I never thought of jumping out of a plane at 15,000 feet back when I was 38 years old either, until someone suggested we all go as a group, "It will be fun they said!" The only reason I did it, was I was so terrified of heights, I couldn't live with the thought that one day I would be 80 years old and look back and know I was too scared to have done it and to live with that regret. So I did it.

That is the attitude to have this year. Is there something you want to do? Do it. Is there something that scares the hell out of you? Then absolutely do it! At least just once. To say you conquered it, not the other way around. So looking at the new moon that is coming in two days, and right now we are in the 7 day phase with which we can successfully cast new moon magick, we can do a number of easy things to start our year off right to send the right energy to start off our year.

The new moon is on January 18, 2018. From three days before, the day of, to three days after you can do new moon magick. New moon magick in the tradition I work and teach is to bring in new, fresh, starting energies. Whereas in my tradition full moon magick is to eliminate and banish, to get rid of the old, unwanted energies we have become done with, that no longer serve us.

So to look at bringing in, anytime in the next 6 days, you can do any or all of the following. A full cast circle is not necessary to cast. Many of these fall under "folk magick" beliefs like a groom picking up and carrying his new bride over the threshold of their new home to make for a long, happy marriage. It is called sympathetic magick but it does have an energy that is sent out to return to the sender.

Cleaning out the house of any old, unwanted items, clothing, clutter, things that you don't use or need. Putting them in the trash, recycle or goodwill brings new fresh energy into the home,

Once the home has been cleaned and de-cluttered, smudging the home and any people living in the home is a wonderful way to cleanse any stagnant, old energy clinging to the home, especially a new home. You must use desert sage. Common garden sage grown in New England, that has a broad, fuzzy grey leaf will not work. That is used in Native American ceremonies and is sold in many stores but will not cleanse the area of the old stagnant energies. Desert sage is grown in the Southwest of the United States, and stores that are reputable like Enchantments carry it and will be honest about its use with you.

On the New Moon have a big feast. Eat whatever you would like to, the menu is up to you. But to have a big, fulfilling, satisfying meal, with delicious good food that makes you feel full and good. This is sympathetic magick also, which represents if you are full at the beginning of the year, you will stay full throughout the year and never go hungry.

Be sure at this meal you have a good drink, sparkling juice, cider, spring water, plenty of refreshing drink so you never thirst throughout the year.

Wear clothes that make you feel special on this day, this day you will set the tone for how you feel and look for the upcoming year.  No worries for some people I know who are going into the hospital on this day, because even though you will be wearing a hospital johnny the health care you are surrounding yourself with will spread through the year and good health will be yours!!

Do you know your car needs an oil change or a little bit of work? Take care of it, don't wait. Clean the litter and mess out of your car. I just did this and cleaned out the trash bin in the garage that has been getting full over the past several months. I just love seeing the full trash bags knowing all of that unwanted trash is going away.

Sweep the front of your home, or business. The sidewalk or the steps, or even the curb if the street is that close. BUT it is important NOT to sweep out into the street or towards the street, but sweep side to side, as you do not want to sweep good things away from your home or business.

Having a witch, a Priestess or a spiritual clergy person come in to bless your home is always a good thing to do in the beginning of the year. Many will do this for a donation to their church or temple. You can also do this yourself, but it depends on how you feel about it. Some people are comfortable doing this themselves and others prefer a professional to come in and do it. Go with what you feel best with.

Using a liquid called Florida water, a liquid we sell at Enchantments, and many witch shops carry it, is excellent to use to cleanse surfaces, desk tops and hard items at work where often people cannot smudge. It does the same thing. It is often added to floor wash water, to help eliminate negative energies that walk in on our shoes. Florida water is very complex and difficult to make, taking many ingredients and over a month to make properly, so purchasing a bottle is much more cost effective than trying to make your own. It can also be put in a spray bottle and used that way, and can be used as a body spray. But it does have an alcohol base like a cologne for those who are not sensitive to alcohol.

Placing  a green candle in the north quarter of your home, a yellow in the east, a red in the south and a blue in the west surrounding your home, will create a circle of the elements surrounding your home. These candles can be inside, or if it is not too windy or if you have a candle container that will protect the flame you can place them outside.

To complete the circle without all of the ceremony that a Wiccan would do,  you can connect the candles by pouring salt from each of the candles making a continuous circle of protection. Leave the salt where it is for 3 days. Then it can be vacuumed up and the protection circle will remain, as the energy of the salt will stay in essence.  The same can be done outside the home and if so, simply leave the salt. it will disappear back into the ground. It does not need to be put in a heavy circle. It does not need to be seen, you know it is there.

These are a few of the things you can do to start your new year off right and as you think about things, and start to practice some of these concepts I am sure other ideas will come to you. When they do, if they make sense to you, then do them. As long as they are eliminating the old, the "trash" whether actual or metaphorical and bringing in the new and the wonderful to fulfill your life. Now that is real magick!!

Live, Laugh and Always Love

Ms. Faith

© 2010-2018 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 

 If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to receive the link to the most current weekly blog post send me an e mail with your email address. You will receive a new blog post weekly. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Ending 2017 With Love and Light - It Is The Only Way!

Greetings My Witchy Readers,

As so often happens, I plan to write about one thing and something so much more important pushes its way into my thoughts, and tonight I want to end this year, with the lessons I have learned and how they have impacted my magickal and spiritual life.

Yes, the lessons I have learned. I spend so much of my time teaching and guiding others on their magickal path, answering questions and helping students, customers and clients find their way with challenges and various problems as they deal with the magickal, the spiritual and life's day to day issues, while trying to keep a steady foothold. I find myself, especially as this year comes to a close, looking back and finding I have experienced so many lessons myself, and as a teacher, and a teacher who is truly worth their salt, never, ever stops learning and growing. A teacher never stops receiving lessons from others, and from the universe. Myself, this year, the lessons were many, hard and fast, fierce and cold, harsh and in some cases, life changing.

As I grow older, I can see and appreciate how older people can get bitter, and cold. How they can get sarcastic and seemingly unfeeling, uncaring and how some seem to cut themselves off from the world. I think they may have had enough pain, and heartache, enough disappointment and betrayal, definitely enough let downs and broken promises. All of these, after a long enough life, without contrary perspective to offset them can make a person harder and allow their own personal darkness to seep in and to set up residence and it then becomes a constant companion. By the time that happens they have forgotten that they once had a light shining bright within.

I can see and appreciate how this can happen to some people, but I can also see how some choose to fight against that from happening. Yes, we have our dark moments, and our regrets at how we act at times, the hurtful words we might say or the things we may or may not do, but we all make mistakes and those that truly love us will understand and give us a second chance. If they loved us from the start. If not, then they never did and that is a good thing to know also.

So, as I make plans to say farewell to this past year, the year of 2017, there are some thoughts I wish to send out to the universe. For those who are meant to read these words they will, somehow see them. If they do not, then they were not meant to. It is as simple as that.

I suppose the following is a sort of amends, in a way both for myself to others and for others to me:

" To those I have interacted with this year. If we have come together with love and have ended the year with love, I have been so happy and grateful, so blessed to have had you in my life this past year. You have made my life better in many ways, some I can never put into words, but the feelings are in my heart, and I will love you for that, for making my life happier and more fulfilled. I will feel blessed if you continue to grace my life with your presence for as long as you are able.

For those who have left my life this year. If on your part there was betrayal, lies, deception and cruelty, if you sought to hurt and cause pain, if you went out of your way to forget the friendship we once had, understand that I forgive you and have no animosity towards you.  I might not understand why you did what you did, and for some, I may indeed know, exactly why you did as you did, and that's okay. You had your reasons and I do not need to know or understand any further, I only send you love and light and I pray that the darkness you find yourself surrounded by, the pain you find yourself in, for I see that it simply mirrors what you tried to send out towards me and others. I hope that one day you find the light again, and are able to surround yourself with those who truly love you as you deserve.

For those I have interacted with this year, If there are any that I have said any harsh words to out of my own pain, or sadness, grief and anger for any reason, I do send my love and light and only ask that perhaps one day, you will choose to remember that I am also human, and should be allowed to make mistakes too. That when you say, or in some cases think, as some have kept so very silent, that I have changed or that you never really knew me, that you only knew parts of me, but never took the time to really know all of me, and simply assumed, that the face and persona you knew was all of me.

You see, there is a failing amongst humans. We simply desire to label and to box up people into neat, little packages. This way we think we know what we are dealing with. Yet, we inevitably find ourselves disappointed when we find the person we thought we knew, no longer fitting into the box we stuffed them into. The same goes for me and those I tried to put into boxes who in turn showed me, sometimes harshly and coldy who they really were and not who I thought they were.

 So for those who believe me to be 100% liberal, you'll be surprised to find I have some strong conservative ideals, and for those who think I am just a heathen pagan you may be surprised to know I study both the Christian Bible and the Jewish Tanakh as well as other religious texts, and for those who know me, and that I try as often as possible to be a polite respectful lady, well they may be a bit surprised to find I fight like a vicious, foul mouthed demon when someone I care about is threatened or their existence in my life is put to an unwarranted death. But then their life should have been fought for and their death should have been screamed for in grief as if from a Banshee, and in one instance, this past year, it was. I was and am proud of that. I would never allow a friendship to leave my life quietly as if it did not matter to me. It mattered.

But I do not apologize for who I am, what I am, or how I feel. Whether I stumble one day or walk tall the next, I will never apologize for trying my best on any given day, with what is presented to me.

I have no animosity towards any other human, I only wish for people to find the happiness they seek. I do not apologize to those who I no longer allow in my life, for I won't have those in my life who will not treat me with the respect, the honesty, the integrity or the decency I deserve. If you are not able to keep your promises, if you cannot untangled the web of lies because they have become too numerous, if all you have in your interpersonal bag of skills is smooth talking, empty, hollow, transparent shiny words that have no meaning?  Then I wish you well and good luck selling your goods elsewhere, as I only buy items of substance and integrity. I do not hold it against you, as I have learned, like in the ancient fable of the frog and the scorpion, I knew the scorpion was a scorpion all along. It was my fault if I allowed myself to be bit. I do not hold it against another, as it is only your nature. Nothing more.

I will not go into this next year with any hard feelings, nor with any grudges, nor with any dark energy or any sadness or grief. No animosity, or blame or finger pointing, or regrets. I am leaving it all behind, a bag of refuse to be taken out to the trash. Unneeded, unwanted and unnecessary. I only carry forth happiness, love and light, the good memories and a joyous heart. Forgiveness for what may have been done to me, and forgiveness for myself what I may have done in response. I do have a part in all that happens in my life, oh yes, I know that. I accept that, and I forgive myself more than anyone else, and you need to forgive yourself. That is the most important thing to move forward.

The lessons I have learned, are, I can look back on the happier times, the moments of learning, laughter, joy and fun, the times spent with people who may no longer be in my life, whether they were in my life for a mere year, or two, or four or nine and only remember the good times. The unhappy times? I have squeezed all of the life lessons from them and have discarded the rest. They no longer reside within me.

I do not have any misconceptions, or as one may say beliefs or ideas that any of those who have left my life will return one day. I do not believe this nor do I waste time or energy waiting for something that will not happen, nor should they. We are each moving on, and we should.

I truly believe and I have said this so many times. We each come into another's life for a time. Each relationship has a birth, life and a death, and whether that is the five minutes you spend talking to the clerk at a market while making your purchases or a life time with a family member, all relationships have a finite life span. When that life span comes to an end, it is over. So Mote it be. May the relationship that existed before the end be blessed.

Just as the life span of a year comes to an end. We, none of us can stop the year from ending, nor should we. Any more than we should try to stop a relationship from ending. So, even though you may think of that other person, remember the happy times. And if something like a weird computer glitch causes you to think that person has in some way tried to reach out to you, realize it most likely isn't true and let it go, let her go, or him go and above all else, allow the animosity and anger and sadness and grief to go. Simply delete and move on. Hopefully, for you, there is something better around the next corner. I know, there is something glorious around the corner for me!

 Live in Light and Love, it is the only way.

May you have a Safe and Happy, Healthy New Year  and remember to give thanks for the past year and all of it, the good, the bad and what you learned from it. Give gratitude and then leave it behind and move forward. In peace and in love.

Bright Blessings, Ms. Faith

Ms. Faith M. McCann  2017

© 2010-2017 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 

 If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to receive the link to the most current weekly blog post send me an e mail with your email address. You will receive a new blog post weekly. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

An Original Poem by Ms. Faith

Greetings My Witchy Readers, 

Tonight, for a bit of a change of pace I have composed a poem, which compiles my feelings about this time of the year and that which I find the most important. I hope you like it. Warm Winter Blessings to you and yours, Ms. Faith 

Winter Shadows

Winter shadows stretch
Across the frosty expanse
An’ chill touches the skin
Ev’n seen from inside with a glance
Makes one happy to be within

This time o’ year
With every turn of the wheel
Comes ‘round yet again
As if caused to reveal  
As if it .  .  . suspends

To look around
We create our hive
An eternal summer
That surrounds our life
Our personal transformer

Crystalline silence, nary a noise
The warmth of family, people an’ friends
Much more than things, gold or toys
These are what we’ve come to depend
These that bring us heartfelt joys
Without our hive, our eternal summer
Our lives would be barren,
A lone, lonely mummer
A winter landscape
A life without summer
A life to forsake
A forsaken mourner

Winter shadows stretch
Their length shortens daily
The light starts to return
Our bargain with the earth grows faintly
The Wheel continues to turn
We live our eternal summer gently

F.M.McCann  12-28-2017

Live, Laugh and Always Love

© 2010-2017 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 

 If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to receive the link to the most current weekly blog post send me an e mail with your email address. You will receive a new blog post weekly. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

More Ancient Yule Tide Magick!

English Christmas Plum Pudding  recipe c. 1600's

Yuletide Greetings My Witchy Readers,

A very traditional, ancient treat, at Christmas or Yuletide is the English Plum pudding.  There is a belief that plums have never been used in plum pudding, as many dried fruits, especially raisins were at one time called plums, or plumbs, yet I hold off making such an absolute statement simply as there are precious few surviving written recipes from the time the first plum puddings were reputed to have been made in the 16th century or there abouts, and also, plums are native to Great Britain and are easily dried as are many fruits, such as cherries or figs, and could have easily, at one time lost in the mists of unwritten history have been used. They would certainly have fit the dessert recipe, with no issue.  At a time when food was much more scarce than it is in modern times, every edible fruit, vegetable, herb, plant and root would have been consumed. If it was palatable, then even more readily.

In the very earliest days, the harbingers of the Christmas Plum pudding was a soupy gravy or thickened bread based soup/stew first known in the 14th century and called frumenty. It did have the same base ingredients of broth,liquid, beer with stale bread crumbs, dried fruits, at times, bits of meat which eventually found its way into the historically traditional mince meat, which at one time contained meat. well, this thick soup, eventually became the steamed cake, and it was first made, from folk lore, at a time when plums were one of the few plentiful fruits that were harvested in the late fall and would have been sweet and available for easy picking for the poor and wealthy.  I find it, even without historical empirical evidence, very likely that the origins of today's Classic Christmas Plum pudding did indeed contain plums. Why wouldn't it? It was far more likely a fruit, than dates, or apricots, or even raisins in the 16th century.

This column is dedicated to magick and one will find, magick peppered in all food activities in early days, especially in the medieval days when people were very superstitious and based both good and bad events on the magickal and miraculous. So the preparation of food, the cooking of food, the serving of food, at times even how it is eaten or stored afterwards contained magickal, mostly folk magick tradition and belief.

Over 400 years ago, in England, magic was very highly regarded. Everyone believed in it, everyone knew it existed and everyone used it in one way or another, regardless of whether they were good Christians or not. Yes, at this time innocents, accused of the blackest of crimes, the darkest of witchcrafts and convening with Satan were being put to death after much torture and interrogations, in  many areas of Europe. Yet at the same time, the belief in folk magic, of doing a little here and there to ensure a safe trip, a healthy winter, a prosperous year, were all understandably harmless and everyone could use a little bit of good magic.

We see that in the traditional Christmas pudding that became a staple at Christmas dinners all around England, from the lowest household to the King's banquet hall. Even today, one can find hundreds, really no two alike, recipes for this wonderful, steamed cake that is called a pudding. It seems, even today, any sort of dessert, served after dinner in England is called a pudding.  Why this is so?  I do not know the answer to that, but it does make any sort of dessert sound tasty!

Christmas plum pudding is a steamed cake, that is labor intensive and I just finished making one myself, for New Year's Day, and it is loaded with magickal bits and pieces, that are as traditional as the cake itself. Even the preparation has magick infused in it. I will tell you about the magick and give you my personal recipe I created, that you may wish to try, if not this year, then next.

First, you need to acquire small silver or gold trinkets. I like coins and silver bells, and this year I also added a small, delicate necklace with a miniature Faberge' egg. They all have a special meaning.

Then the ingredients for the cake, and brandy. The original recipe, made for the lower classes, originally the thick soup version, used stout, a stale, old, smelly beer of sorts. Very low class. Then wine was a next generation addition, then rum became popular for the higher classes, and when the recipe morphed into the steamed cake version which has now upgraded into using brandy, and today the very fancy (thank you very much!) may choose to use Cognac. The steamed cake version of course thickened the original frumenty into a cake by the additions of eggs, flour, spices, and beef suet, much more fancy dried and exotic fruits, from figs and apricots, to dates and added zests of lemons, oranges and other citrus fruits which were the luxury of the wealthy for centuries.

I chose brandy, and for my recipe you will need 3 cups, or just slightly less. No worries though, if you have non drinkers or children who wish to try some of this delicious ancient dessert, the recipe comes out alcohol free in the end. That's because you steam it until it is practically a ghost of Christmas past!!

These are the ingredients you can assemble once you have your silver and gold trinkets assembled and cleaned and sanitized. I put my trinkets in a mesh bag and put them through a cycle in the dishwasher where they are washed, sanitized and dried before wrapping in buttered parchment paper:

Christmas Plum Pudding: 

Brandy/ Rum or Cognac  (3 cups)

Part 1 :  1-1 1/2 lb  dried fruits e.g. prunes, dates, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, apricots, golden raisins and currants
a cup and a half of roughly chopped almonds, pecans mixed
1 medium fresh apple chopped in small pieces
1 T freshly zested orange peel
1 T freshly zested lemon peel

Mix together in a bowl and then mix well with 1 cup of the brandy or alcohol of choice. Allow to sit in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, overnight.

The next day mix the dry ingredients together in another bowl:

6 oz flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 oz dark brown sugar
3/4 c white sugar
6 oz fine fresh bread crumbs
6 oz vegetable shortening (instead of beef suet)

Chop this finely together until the shortening is well incorporated into the dry ingredients. Then add to the fruited mixture. Chop it all together until well mixed. Then add 1 additional cup of brandy, and 4 eggs. Mix well, until the entire mixture resembles a chunky batter.

 Then get a plum pudding pan, you can buy these on line and before putting batter into the pan, have everyone who is in the house at this exact time, stir, using a wooden spoon the batter in the bowl, going in a clockwise direction and make a wish at that time.

Then take the pudding pan, mine looks a lot like a bundt cake pan, and butter the inside very generously. Start to layer the batter into the pan. Take a moment and get another pot on the stove, with a few inches of water in it and start it on a simmer.  When the cake is layered in the pan you will be steaming the pudding.

After you have put a good two to three inches of batter in the pan, take the trinkets, which you have wrapped in buttered parchment, like little packages, and lay them in the batter, maybe half of them in the first layer. Then cover with more batter. Then more trinkets, then more batter. You should not be able to see the paper from the trinkets.

Pick up the pan and gently drop it on the counter a couple of times, gently. This will tap out the air bubbles. Then place in the simmering water and cover with its lid or cover with aluminum foil. Then you wait. This will steam for 7 hours. Yes, 7 hours. Keep topping off the water so it does not run dry, as it steams. After the 7 hours, remove from the heat and take carefully out of the water.

Allow it to rest on the counter for a bit, maybe 20-30 minutes. No longer. Then take a skewer and make holes, gently, remember the parchment wrapped trinkets throughout the batter. Carefully make holes throughout. Pour the last cup or so of brandy over the whole pudding and give it some time, move it back and forth and tap it a few times and the brandy will absorb into the pudding. It is now going to cure, for a month or more, until the day you serve it. It can be served on Christmas Day, or New Year's Day.

It is usually started the day after Thanksgiving, or 6 weeks before Christmas. Some recipes are known to actually be started an entire year ahead of time. BUT nowadays, please always store the curing pudding in the refrigerator. Traditionally the curing pudding/cake was stored in a 'cool dark' place and that was because they did not have refrigerators in the 17th century. But this also allows for mold, or other nasties to grow and no one wants to get sick after Christmas dinner. So keeping it in the refrigerator is just lovely and assures you of a safe and fresh pudding.

The trick now is to steam it for yes, another 2 hours before serving on the special day!!  So on the day you wish to serve it, take it out of the refrigerator, allow to sit on the counter for an hour or so, steam again for 2 hours and then serve it or bring it at this time to your party. It can be served warm or cold. At this point, it can be un-molded, and served with a hard sauce, which is not appropriate for children or those who do not consume alcohol as it is a thin sweet dessert sauce with more brandy in it, but it can also be served with whipped cream or even ice cream, which is not traditional but it is your dessert.

Hard Sauce:

Cream, (beat with a mixer) confectioner's sugar with butter and then add brandy until loose and runny. This is not a warm sauce but many times, traditionally it is poured over the plum pudding and then set on fire with a match and the flaming dessert is brought to the table in a flaming presentation.

Now the trinkets you ask? I have not forgotten.

The the "tokens or favors" all have a meaning and traditionally in ancient times the trinkets may have had a less than desirable fortune for the upcoming year!

Traditionally, as early as the 1300's a simple dried pea or bean would be cooked into the cake and whomever would get this dried legume in their serving would be King or Queen for the day and be deserving of the nicest treatment with others serving them, and treating them as royalty for an entire day and night.

Then silver rings, or silver tiny crowns were added. These also would give the lucky person who received it in their portion the same day of pampered treatment.

Then coins were added, and whomever got a coin was assured of a year of prosperity or general luck.

If a bachelor's button was found by a single man he would stay single for the coming year.

If a thimble was found by a single woman she would be unattached for the coming year.

A ring, if a single person found the ring it meant they would get married in the coming year, if a married person found it it meant they would receive riches!

Nowadays you can choose whatever token or favor you wish and attribute to it the special magickal attribute you wish it to have. It is that easy. For example, for my English Plum Pudding this year I have placed in it the following:

A tiny Faberee' egg necklace the lucky recipient becomes the King or Queen for the Day at the New Year's Dinner and then the King or Queen for the Year at their home!!

Gold Coins -  anyone who receives a gold coin will have prosperity for the coming year

A love token -  will have love for the coming year

A Happiness token - happiness for the coming year

Silver bells with hearts - love, and happiness in the home for the coming year

Silver bells with Fleur De Lis -  originally in France stood for purity and Christianity can now be used for tranquility, peace and serenity.

Silver bells with Celtic love knot work design -  unending, unbreakable love, enduring forever

Beware there are, I have found, recipes out there that are called English Plum pudding recipes that have you make the batter, steam it and serve it.  These are not real plum puddings, in my estimation. They must, must be cured or allowed to set for at least 3 to 4 weeks minimum, and some recipes up to a year. This rest period "marries" and mellows the flavors giving this complex, ancient recipe once served to the poorest classes to the richest of royals, it's distinctive, classic, special rich taste once synonymous with Christmas itself.

I hope you enjoy it, and may you have a Blessed Yuletide, a Merry Christmas, A Happy Hanukkah, and a joyous winter Solstice Season however you may choose to celebrate!!

Magickally Yours,  Ms. Faith

© 2010-2017 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 

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