The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Author Ms.Faith

Friday, December 31, 2010

Ouija Boards/ Oracle Boards/ Speaking boards

 Good Evening,

I was watching a documentary the other night concerning the Catholic Church and their history and perceptions in regards to exorcisms.  I found it interesting that they teach that you should not use Ouija boards and other oracle or speaking boards. They warn against them as if press board and paint can be inherently evil.

Actually, it surprises me how many magickally inclined people are unsure or afraid of using oracle boards.  These boards are flat, painted with letters and or symbols and use a 'planchette' or movable indicator which points to the word or letter. The first recorded history of using a planchette to allow spirits to write messages dates to 12th century China. Also called mediumistic spirit writing, a planchette was used with a pencil or lead attached and the user would hold his hands on the planchette and questions were asked. The planchette would move, seemingly of its own accord and write out messages. There have been examples of such spirit writing from ancient India, Greece, Rome and medieval Europe.

The placement of the planchette on a board with letters and numerals for the spirits to spell out answers, rather than a lead attached actually writing the answers,  was first invented by E.J. Bond who applied for and received a patent from the United States patent office on February 10, 1891 Patent number 446,054.  As he was the one who received the patent, regardless of claims made by others, this author regards Mr. Bond as the inventor and first person to commercially introduce this parlor game.   The talking board of Mr. Bond was considered harmless and simple entertainment when it was patented as a 'toy or game' as designated by the U.S. patent office, and wasn't considered for its occult properties until World War I.

Today the patent and all rights are owned by Parker Brothers,  a board game manufacturer, who interestingly enough, sell the board with no information included on its use.  Now that you have a bit of the background lets talk of the reputation this game has received over the years.

Many people it seems have scary, incredible and fantastic examples of the power of the Ouija board. Yes, I do believe it can be a medium's tool for communication with those who have passed over but I do not believe it can be evil, or a portal or in anyway allow evil entities to come in and take possession of a person, etc. etc. I know, I know!! And you might rightfully say, "Well, that doesn't make for a good Hollywood movie"!!  No, it doesn't.

Well, the Ouija board's reputation started when teenagers started to use this game to communicate with spirits, and the Catholic church along with other Christian organizations, fearing that young people might continue on a path of self discovery and knowledge, proclaimed the board to be evil. Much as the church has dealt with all in its path, that it is not able to control with typical bible verses and parables, it in turn gives such things great power by declaring them capable of all sorts of evil and dark abilities.

If one can communicate with spirits on the other side, why could we not learn to communicate directly with God/Goddess. Well, that is the greatest fear of the church, in this authors humble opinion. I mean really, if we can communicate directly with God, why would we need the priests, rabbi's and ministers except for their real role in offering human comfort and aid?  They would no longer be considered a conduit to the divine. No everyone would be able to access it. That is what the witch knows. We not only can touch the divine, we are 'of the divine'.

But nonetheless the talking boards have received incredible negative publicity.  I've met magickal people who have used the example of Edgar Cayce, a noted channeller and medium of the last century, who spoke out publicly against using the Ouija board saying it would bring evil spirits and harm to those who used it.  What most people, even in the magickal world, don't realize is Edgar Cayce was a devout Christian and prided himself on having read the bible, cover to cover, once for every year he had been alive. Without question he was a medium and had very enhanced psychic abilities but he was also completely Christian and believed all the teachings of the church. I'm sorry dear, but I have a hard time using as evidence the beliefs of someone whose basic fundamental understanding is very different from mine and the world as it really is, not as the church wants us to believe it is.

Most people I have spoken with who feel spirit boards are dangerous or can possibly bring harm to you, are also people who believe in spirit guides, angels and other positive, protective spirits which are always around us. Think about this logically. If we have protective, loving spirits surrounding us, like a dear departed grandmother or parent why would the use of a simple piece of press board, mass produced in a factory be able to wreak such havoc in someones life?

I personally have used oracle boards for years and nothing terrible or evil has emanated from such use. Nor am I foolish enough to attribute the next thing that goes awry in my life to having just used some form of divination. Oh my goodness! Doing readings with tarot cards, crystal balls and runes, and occasionally using the oracle board one would think my life would be in utter shambles!! It's not. When things happen I also don't blame them on something as innocuous as a form of divination. Remember, there are no victims in the world of the witch. 

The talking/ oracle boards whether Ouija or any of the others available today are fun to use and help you become better aware of the energies around you.  When working with any divination system that utilizes the spirit energies around us, be sure to follow a few simple rules.  Before you start, light a candle. A white candle is appropriate. Ask, aloud, for any spirits of the highest, most loving energies to come and work with you. If you have a loved one that has passed on, ask that individual to come and sit with you for a while and speak to you through the board.  Be aware of asking questions that you know the answers to. Spirits do not like to play games. Don't test your spirit either. Asking if your a girl, or other question when you obviously know the answer will cause the planchette to either not move or to give a confusing answer. Spirits can become unwilling to work with you if you treat them with suspicion and doubt.

Also, and I found this out during a seance we conducted one Samhain at Enchantments, if working with others in the same room, ask one question and have everyone be quiet while the board answers.  A quietly voiced question, or comment from other conversations in the room will be heard and answered making the answer confusing to the person who asked the original question.

Of course, if you really do have a fear inside of using this device, then don't. But realize its only because of your own fears and please don't fall into the group mentality that has perpetrated over the years. Trust me, the weirdness and unusual things that happen day to day would happen regardless of the use of a spirit board. By the way the legend that the Ouija board was involved with the Exorcist story and the Hollywood version has been dis-proven as false. But, it makes for a great story and the movie was pretty cool, actually one of my favorites!

In the Life and Times of this New England Witch I find the gentle and wondrous magicks of this life so much more gratifying and fulfilling and you will too if you stop looking for the unbelievable and fantastical  and really see the magickal in the world and universe around us.

Have a blessed, safe and healthy New Year's Eve,

Peace and Happiness

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Using your personal energy every day with psychometry!

 Good evening,

Psychometry? Yes! This is the ability to divine or 'know' about people and events associated with an object simply by touching the object and 'reading' its information.  It is the belief that, as we go through life our energies, our feelings and emotions are deposited into the things around us. Recorded so that we can play back the record at a later date.  The jewelry we wear, shoes, keys anything we handle and clean seldom. Car keys are a good item to practice on as we seldom wash our keys! As long as one person is the primary user of the keys, always keeping them on their person or purse, using them 90 % of the time, then that person's energy is what can be picked up and read back.

I had a teacher in one of my first metaphysical classes almost 30 years ago,  Yikes!  teach me the art of psychometry. She held a watch that belonged to my husband at the time and she described him and told me things about him, there was no way she could have known.  I was immediately intrigued with psychometry and as with most things in the field each person seems drawn to the areas they have the most ability or natural synchronicity with.  For me divination in general and psychometry are strong abilities of mine.

Whereas most people who use psychometry seem to prefer reading items as we already mentioned, with jewelry being a big favorite as the metals and stones in jewelry seem to hold the record of events clearly, I prefer buildings and old ruins and such. I was working with the jewelry and small objects one summer and was getting quite good when an unusual event occurred. I was volunteering at the time at a local museum and my job was to number and record all of the copies of old, ancient newspapers from the locality. Over 150 years of newspapers. A messy job, but for a Virgo, organizing and recording was just the type of job I liked at the time.  I worked in the attic of the museum which was a two room schoolhouse over 100 years old. 

I always had a strange phenomenon occur when I went up the stairs to the attic. I would place my hand on the rail and proceed up the stairs, a terribly steep staircase with almost twenty stairs and I would smell vanilla cake baking. Each and every time. It got so strong I would ask others if they could smell it. No one ever did. Funny though, I never smelled the aroma of the vanilla and warm cake unless I was going up the stairs! It never happened on the trip down, even if I immediately turned and started down again.

One day while tending to the museum, I had the opportunity to meet an elderly woman who had gone to the school when it was a two room school house many years prior and I asked her if they ever had a reason to use the attic. She smiled and said "only when it was rainy or too cold to go out. Then we would all troop upstairs into the attic and sit on the floor and have a picnic lunch, as everyone brought their lunches with them".  I can only imagine that the smell of vanilla cake was in some little child's lunch or perhaps a favorite of the children when cupcakes for a birthday were sent to school. They do that today, I can't imagine that they didn't do that years ago.  Whatever the reason for the delicious smell I really do think it has to do with the children using the attic for lunch many, many years ago.

I found that when I was around an old structure I could place my hands on a wall or banister, wood or stone and images would come to me. Sometimes smells and at times sounds. Years ago, up in Vermont where my parents resided my mother showed me an old stone wall on the property they had just purchased. It was covered with vines off a dirt road and not much to look at. Their house overlooked this stone wall and partial stone foundation and as they had just moved there they didn't know anything about the area or its history.

I didn't know what I could tell about a forgotten portion of Vermont stonewall but I told her I'd give it a try. I walked down to the foundation corner and walked along the wall. I sat down and put my hands on the stone wall and closed my eyes. Almost immediately I could smell horse manure. Having grown up on a farm I knew the smell and I felt that maybe there had been a barn on this site, when suddenly I could see images in my minds eye and hear sounds. I heard the stamping of many horses feet, the jangling of their harnesses and as these sounds and smells faded away stronger sounds and smells took over. The smells of cooking food and the sounds of many people, talking, laughing and I got the sense that this place had at one time been an inn or a place travelers would stop on their way to where ever to get some food and sleep the night. What might have been a tavern of sorts.

I told my mother of what I experienced and I also had very little hope of ever verifying it. I actually thought I was being a bit fanciful as this place today is so far off the beaten track in the wilds of Northern Vermont, yes there are still wilds in VT!, that even 200 years ago I couldn't imagine anyone voluntarily coming so far north that an established inn or tavern was needed.

About three years later I received a call from my mother. The original owners of her new house had come by to say hi and see if they liked the house and in the ensuing conversation she was able to ask about the stone wall and old foundation below them in the field next to the road. She was so excited to tell me that apparently it was a tavern and had been well over 100 years before the modern highways made it obsolete in its location and it was finally abandoned and left to waste.

I hadn't ever expected to receive such feedback but its gratifying when it happens. You see, as humans, when we do things like tarot readings, psychometry as we are learning it is vital to get positive feedback. Our critical mind makes it difficult for us to really 'believe' we are getting it, and that its not our imagination, coincidence or a hallucination!!

What has taken me several years, if not decades to learn, I now want to save you time and teach you a way to get this feedback quickly and in a way that will reinforce your belief in your abilities.

You can work on developing your psychometric skills simply by going to the supermarket. Go to the produce section and look at the fruits and vegetables. I like to work with fruit. Choose a melon or pineapple or some fruit you enjoy. Pick it up and hold it. Close your eyes if you wish and 'feel' the energy of the fruit. Does it feel good. Do you feel like you want to put it back down? The fruit you hold and have a hard time putting back, is the fruit for you. The fruit that just feels right, even if you can't say why.

Bring it home and see how tasty it is. I do this to pick out melons and other fruits that if not perfectly ripe are just a waste of money.  We are so used to using our eyes and nose to determine things like this, but we have stronger sense of 'knowing' than we realize. If you choose a fruit that isn't what you wanted using this method, don't stress, just pay attention to that energy so you can recognize it again. If you keep at it, you will always be able to pick out the best tasting fruits and vegetables. Also, when first doing a drill like this it won't always work as you wish. That's why what I do is a skill, but a skill you can learn just as I did.

Of course, you can also play with your friends and hold pieces of their jewelry, but one word of caution. If you know the person super well, its not a good drill. We need the confirmation of what we didn't know before we held the piece of jewelry, watch or car keys. Have your friend bring something from someone you don't know, or don't know well.  Rub your hands together and close your eyes. Hold the object and see what pops into your mind. Don't analyze it, worry whether its true or not, just say what you feel.

Your friend can help by giving you an affirmative answer every time something you say is true or close to being accurate. Have your friend say nothing at all if your not right about something.  We need to hear the affirmative to continue to gently open our minds to the possibility that we can do this. However hearing "no", or "your wrong" only reinforces what we already believe, that we can't do this, or worse, we are giving the incorrect answer and we worry how the other person will respond.  Many times you working with the fruit is a safer, more positive experience that you don't have to share with anyone but yourself.

Then people will wonder what magick you possess that you always serve the best fruits and vegetables!! Really people will start to talk. Ha!  I hope you enjoy your evening or day. 

Peace and Happiness

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Some holiday updates

 Good Evening,

Have you noticed? It's staying lighter just a smidgen longer everyday.  Finally the holiday songs are put away until next year. I love the Christmas carols and other songs we here around Yuleltide every year but after a solid month or so, I'm good!

Remember the Christmas pudding we made the Sunday after Thanksgiving? Refer to our discussion "Christmas Pudding and Divination for the Upcoming Year" November 29, 2010.  Well, it came out just lovely!  I've included a photo at the right.

Well, if I remember correctly we last left the pudding tightly wrapped up and getting tipsy as it mellowed in brandy for a month. On Christmas day I put it back on the stove and steamed it for another two hours. This heated it through while eliminating any alcohol.  Then I turned it upside down and un-panned it.  Rather than dousing it again with brandy and alighting it, as is the traditional serving method, I opted to serve it hot with plenty of whipped creme.  It was well received and everyone, except one person,  finished theirs.  It's an unusual dish to be sure.

Finely diced fruits and nuts, lots of citrus flavor and served hot.  It didn't have much flour added to it, so it did not hold a shape as would a cake or pie. It reminded me more of a cobbler without the crust. I can definitely see myself making it again. Besides I already have the Christmas pudding pan, so I'll want to use it again. 

I understand why it was such a specialty for so many years. Especially through the industrial revolution in England, where the legend of the pudding originated.  This was a time where much of society was forced to live such meager lives, so meager a pudding this rich, this full of flavor, would have been a shock of intense flavor. Much like a chocolate bar is so rich and flavorful to our modern palates.

As far as the divination portion of the pudding, I had included three coins and two silver rings. Everyone at the dinner received a trinket, thanks to the clever dishing up of the dessert by their witchy hostess!  Some people received a coin indicating a year of prosperity and financial abundance.  I found a silver ring in my portion which indicates I will have an upcoming  year of love and happiness. Oh goodie!!  Love and happiness really are my favorites!

My tree out front held up during the storm and the little birds are using it for cover from the larger predator birds. Unfortunately my bird feeding station is still being boycotted by the birds and squirrels.  It may be a bit close to the house, but its also a new location and might take them a few more days. I'm putting out some stale bread tomorrow to entice my feathered friends.  As I was discarding some old bread today  I saved the stale and threw away the moldy. Its not healthy for the birds to give them moldy bread. They will eat it, but it may make them sick. Stick with the stale bread, broken into small pieces and you'll have healthy and happy birds. 

Finally, did you get something nice for Yule? I did. A friend gifted me with a beautiful chakra stone bracelet. It's beautiful and I admired it when I put it on before I noticed that there were seven semi precious stones, and each syncs up with a chakra center in the body. I've included a photo at right, though it may be hard to see.

I've always loved the magick inherent in stones, crystals and minerals. Ever since I was a little girl, growing up on a farm, I had stones and pretty rocks in my pockets. I put them in my change purse, have them on my bedside table and the huge tumbled stone display at Enchantments really is the best part of my shop. At least for me.

Once,  a few years ago, I  had a jacket that was misplaced at a tournament wind up at the officials table where a friend of mine was working. He thought it looked like my jacket from earlier in the day, but he wasn't sure. He then put his hand in a pocket looking for something to identify the owner and when he pulled out a couple pieces of rose quartz and yellow calcite he knew immediately it was mine.Stones have always been a favorite of mine.

My new bracelet has seven stones which I recognize as carnelian for energy, unikite for balance, tiger's eye for courage and strength, rose quartz for love, green agate for physical health, lapis lazuli for mental clarity and emotional healing and black onyx which protects one from negative energy.  All desirable energies to surround myself with.

. The gold and the stones again also strengthen the chakra points on the body and each stone is engraved with the Egyptian sacred scarab beetle. The scarab to the ancient Egyptians signified 'coming into being', 'to become', 'to transform'.  I find this energy very appropriate for me and while I find this bracelet beautiful I find it also gives me a sense of calm and peace.  Really like my chakras are balancing out.

If you are sensitive to the energies of stones and precious metals pay attention to the jewelry you wear.  It may be pretty, but does it feel good to wear it? Do you feel anything at all? When you start choosing what pieces to wear because of how they make you feel first, before how they may look on you, you'll start wearing jewelry as a witch.

Witches are, by profession, very sensitive to energies around us and within us.  This is a side effect of the magick we do. You really need to be able to feel energy to work with it successfully. When you've developed your personal energy and are familiar with working with it, you'll notice the energies in many natural things.

Many people have expressed their 'like' for the new look of this discussion page.  I admit I enjoy the look and it feels easier somehow to look at.  Thank you for sending in your choice.

This has been a wonderful holiday season and I'm glad we were able to share it together.

Peace and Happiness 

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Magickal Library

 Good Evening,

Perhaps you've noticed I've changed the look of the 'blog post', as I do believe its called.  I do need to get my computer lingo up to speed!  I've received some really nice, very complimentary emails and correspondence that are sent directly and so can't be posted as comments and this change in appearance is in response to just such an email.  

The reader suggested that the black background with white letters was difficult to read.  I tend to look at the aesthetic and hadn't considered the ease or difficulty of the reading of the post. I also create the post on a template with black letters on white, so I am viewing it a bit differently from you.

I chose black letters to make it easier to read and instead of a white background, so typical and I'm not your typical witch!,  I placed it against a soft gray background. Please let me know if you like it or dislike it.  I really do write and tend this website for you, the reader.  Your input is seriously respected and will be considered.  Now, onto tonight's discussion.

I briefly mentioned my magickal library in last night's discussion and I have been asked to elaborate on what I have on my personal bookshelf.  Really? Hmmm. Actually, I get this, I really do. I've often found the most interesting thing you can first tell about a person is the reading material they have on their shelves.  What do other people like to read, and is it like what I like?  For me specifically, do they have something on their shelves I haven't read before and now I must get a copy of that book so I can?!  I don't know how interesting my choice of reading material will be to you, but since you asked so nicely here it is. These are some of the books I have in my personal bookshelf at home:

* The following titles are listed as they are found on the shelves of my bookcase, not in any particular order.

An ABC of Witchcraft - by Doreen Valiente
What Witches Do - Stewart Farrar
A Witches Bible - Janet & Stewart Farrar
Wicca - Vivian Crowley
Power of the Witch - Laurie Cabot
Modern Sex Magick - Kraig
Advanced Celtic Shamanism - Conway
Witchcraft Today - Gerald Gardner
Coversations with God - Neale Donald Walsh
A Gift of Fear - Gavin De Becker
The Cauldron of Memory - Raven Grimassi
The Witches Goddess - Janet & Stewart Farrar
Natural Magic - Valiente
Progressive Witchcraft - Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone
Love Signs - Linda Goodman
Culpepper's Complete Herbal & English Physician c 1814
Gray's School and Field Botany c 1887
Magic and Medicine of Plants - Reader's Digest
Life in a Medieval Castle - Gies
Life in a Medieval City - Gies
Life in a Medieval Village - Gies
10,000 Garden Questions answered by experts - F.F. Rockwell edition
Indian New England before the Mayflower - Howard S. Russell
Communicating with the Archangel St. Michael - Richard Webster
The Code of 1650 a compilation of some of the first laws in America
Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland
Buckland's Book of Spirit Communication - Buckland
Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft by Raven Grimassi
Moon Tides, Soul Passages by Maria Kay Simms
Glastonbury Avalon of the Heart by Dion Fortune
Oxford Dictionary of Superstitions - Opie & Tatum
Medicine Cards - Sams & Carson
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Scottish Witchcraft and Magick - Raymond Buckland
The Family Herbal - Theiss
The Path to Love - Dr. Deepak Chopra
The Book of Secrets - Dr Deepak Chopra
 Weaponry - An Illustrated history - Wills
Ladies Retold Tales of Goddesses and Heroines by Boris and Doris Vallejo
Norman Knight 950 - 1204 a.d. - Gravett & Hook
Women Warriors - Mayer & Heller
A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve
Sexy Witch - LaSara Firefox
The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley
Lady of Avalon - Zimmer Bradley
The Forest House - Zimmer Bradley
Priestess of Avalon - Zimmer Bradley & Paxson
Food For the Dead On the trail of New England's Vampires - Michael E. Bell

These are just some of the books I have at my fingertips when I need to research or just refresh my memory on a point. Many of these authors I consider to be magickal masters and they have influenced me greatly and taught me a lot. It is possible that many of these titles are out of print today, but with the modern magick of the computer age I believe copies or reprints, if not originals can be found for resale via the Internet.

Peace and Happiness

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The magick to be found in simple herbs and spices

 Evening Greetings,

I hope you were able to enjoy your holiday and are resting up and ready to tackle the new year! Regardless if we're ready, its right around the corner so I'm spending the enforced snow day consulting my herbs. That's right, consulting and seeing which are getting a bit on in age and need to be processed further.

Herbs I've gathered and dried in the summer, or purchased for magickal use I need to check to make sure they are still dried and have not attracted any mold or moisture.  Being stuck indoors, which I really don't mind as I'm not much for snow activities, makes a lovely opportunity to create some powdered incense to burn in ritual and for spell casting.  You see, for simple banishing or drawing magickal purposes, burning dried herbs is a simple way to do this. Most especially when you can't or don't have the opportunity to cast a complete magick circle.

All natural products are created by nature and have magickal properties inherent in them. Some plants draw energies to us and some repel certain energies. For instance, we know from legend and lore that roses have loving energies. That's why they're considered the flower of love when giving the gift of flowers. Lavender has for years been used to calm and soothe.  The magickal properties in the herb, plant, root, seed, grass, stem, bark, every part of a plant, goes dormant when its dried and can be released by you,  the magickal practitioner.

First things first. You need a mortar and pestle. To do any real herbal magick it's necessary.  A mortar is a round bowl that  materials are placed inside of,  for the purpose of pulverizing them with its pounding tool, the pestle.  I've included a nice photo in the header of this discussion of a mortar and pestle.  It really is the most ancient of tools and can be found today being used in aboriginal tribes that have stayed virtually the same for thousands of years.

When you shop for a mortar and pestle though be careful of what you choose. There are mortars and pestles that one can find for sale that are primarily decorative and have little functionality. A proper mortar and pestle has on the inside of the bowl or mortar, a roughened surface, what is called tooth. Many times the outer surface is glazed or polished, but the inside should not be.  As well, the blunt or rounded end of the pestle should be rough and not polished or glazed.  My favorite mortar and pestle is larger than most and can hold appx. 4 cups of liquid and is made out of smoothed granite. Though smooth, the granite still has the tooth to properly pulverize whatever I wish to use. Just make sure the inner working surfaces are not glazed or shiny smooth.

Therefore glass or metal mortars and pestles are usually not useful and these are sold for pharmaceutical or decorative purposes.  For our purposes though, to make fine incense powder to be burned as a powder or to be converted into cones and sticks, you will need a mortar and pestle as I've described.  Simple white ceramic ones sold in herbal stores or witch shoppes are inexpensive and a nice way to start.  A word of warning though, one cannot pound as if using a hammer in the mortar with the pestle. It will break unless made of a very thick stone.The object is not to pound or hammer the herbs, but to grind them, press them against the sides which breaks the cellulose shell releasing the essential oils and essences from within.

Now to get to work, first gather some dried ingredients.  I've listed some common herbs and spices typically used in magick and their properties below. then one ingredient at a time, put small amounts into the mortar and start to grind with the pestle. Go in a clockwise motion, this should always be the case when pulverizing herbs as you wish to awaken them and their magick. Grinding and rubbing the herbs with the pestle inside the mortar will help accomplish this. 

Start with a small amount at a time as some herbs like calendula, or Roman marigold, is tricky as the more you add the harder it becomes to crush. You need to work small amounts at a time. Experiment with each herb and decide how much you can work with at a time. Powder the herb and put into a bowl, then powder the next herb and so on until all you're working with has been processed. Then mix all together.  You may then choose whether you wish to add a few drops of essential oil to the mix or not. To decide, burn a small inch of the incense on a charcoal briquette first. Then if you wish you can add complementing oils. 

Here are some of the common ingredients most used by witches in our spell casting and herbal spell mixes.

Herbs to attract love to your life:

  • balm, lemon, basil, catnip, chamomile, cinnamon, cohosh, black, copal, damiana, dragon's blood, geranium, ginger, hemp, juniper, maple, lemon, peppermint, strawberry, tonka, thyme, valerian, vanilla.
For protection the following herbs are very helpful:

  • Ash, birch, blueberry, broom, burdock, cedar, cinquefoil, cumin, curry, cypress, fennel, frankincense, garlic, juniper, lime, mint, myrrh, parsley, pepper, rose, rosemary, vervain, willow, wolf's bane, woodruff, yerba santa.  This is a small list of natural ingredients which contain banishing and protection qualities. 

Its important to note that many herbs used for protection tend to smell less than nice when burned. Expect that and choose your ingredients wisely.

To bring in financial energies that will increase your money and wealth the following herbs have been used:

  • allspice, almond, basil, blackberry, bergamot orange, comfrey, calamus, clove, clover, dill, dock, fern, flax, galangal, goldenrod, golden seal, gorse, grape, heliotrope, High John the Conqueror, honeysuckle,  jasmine, lucky hand root, mint, moss, nutmeg, oats, orange, pomegranate, pineapple, poppy, rice, sesame, tea, tonka, wheat, woodruff.  

Remember these lists are just sample lists and many, many other herbs in all categories can be used.   An excellent book to determine the best herbs and their magickal properties are those encyclopedias written by the late Mr. Scott Cunningham.

His works, still in publication by Llewellyn Worldwide Publications include, "Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs" and "The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews" by Scott Cunningham.   These books and more are available at Enchantments and they are just a couple of the books that have made up my personal magickal library for over twenty years.  I personally think they are vital resources for the herbal green witch.

For bringing in energies of tranquility these herbs are nice to burn in an incense mixture:

  • cinquefoil, lavender, elder, hops, rosemary,thyme, valerian and vervain.  

To make an incense to help manifest wishes mix together a few of these choices:

  • beech, dandelion, dogwood, ginseng, hazel, amber, sage, sandalwood, violet and walnut.  

To make a spell mix, which I also burn like powdered incense on a charcoal briquette, I mix small amounts of the dried herbs I choose and rather than pulverize with the mortar and pestle I just crush them up with my fingers and they are small enough to burn and while burning you can detect the individual ingredients which make a nice aromatic experience.

Most importantly, for incenses or spell mixes before using you need to wake them up a bit.  Wake them and give them a job to do. Just don't throw them on a fire, put some thought into it.  Hold a small amount of the herbs in one hand and with the fingers of your other hand stir them and pick them up and lightly drop them back into your palm. While dong this imagine the end result, see the loving energies falling around you like the small dried herbs falling back into your palm. this visual will help the herbs sync up with your focus an vision.

This is how herbs can magickally work for you. 

Peace and Happiness

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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.

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Blessed Be

Season's Greetings,

Tonight I  wave my wand and sprinkle you with my magickal wishes for you. I wish for you to have love, happiness and the spirit of this special season with you and yours.  Thank you for honoring me by reading my work.  Writing for you has become a very rewarding and special joy for me and I hope we can continue our friendship during the upcoming year.

Peace and Happiness

 Ms. Faith McCann

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Hundredth Monkey Principle

 Evening Greetings,

I'll be posting another discussion tomorrow evening, and then my next post will be Monday evening, December 26th, 2010. Due to the hustle and bustle of the holidays it will give myself a bit of extra time and yourself of course, to catch up with reading the discussions!

In our discussion yesterday, "Some Magick for the New Year" I touched upon a concept called the "Hundredth Monkey Principle".  Let me first start by filling you in on some of the background.  About 60 years ago, or so, there were some scientists studying Macaques monkeys on the Japanese island of Koshima.

The story goes that the scientists introduced sweet potatoes to the monkey population. Never having eaten sweet potatoes before,  the monkeys loved them. But when they were dropped into sand, the monkeys had a difficult time enjoying them. Imagine, sand all over your dinner! Not very tasty.

A scientist showed a monkey how to wash the sweet potato in the ocean water thus making it easier and more desirable to eat. The scientists then observed the other younger monkeys watching and imitating the first monkey. Soon the younger monkeys all, were eating clean sweet potatoes and enjoying them very much.  Interestingly though, the scientists observed that the older monkeys, older and more set in their ways did not learn the new behavior, and steadfastly continued to eat sandy potatoes or didn't eat the potatoes at all.

After a time the scientists noticed what they believed to be a rare phenomenon. After a large number of monkeys, some legendarily say a hundred monkeys, learned the new behavior,  monkeys on other islands started to pick up the behavior.  Today this phenomena is what we call the tipping point.  The term tipping point comes from a book by this name by Malcolm Gladwell in which he uses this term to explain epidemics.

.  The hundredth monkey principle is spoken about in the new age field and self help gurus and motivational speakers all tout it as fact. The concept is when enough people,  or monkeys in this case, learn the new behavior they become the critical mass of knowledge and 'spontaneously' everyone learns to do it.  What they don't know or won't tell you is that one monkey from the original island swam to another and stayed on that island visiting for over four years. He assuredly taught the other monkeys. Yet several islands around the original one had monkeys learning the new behavior. Perhaps he swum to all of them? Kind of like an ambassador monkey? We'll never know for sure but the principle was developed and put out there. I can tell you from a magickal perspective it does have merit.

But whether or not  you believe in spontaneous original thought amongst unrelated or unassociated entities, the United States Patent Office has seen this phenomenon before, and they call it independent creation. Independent creation is when two separate people both create the same work, or works that are substantially similar, on their own and independent of each other. I kind of believe if the U.S. Patent office says its so, then it must be!
In the magickal world we understand that we create our reality.  Our belief is what manifests. Think about that for a moment. What thoughts occupy your mind daily? How much energy do you put into negative thoughts? Thoughts of  how much work stresses you out?, that someone will be unfaithful?, on Monday that your week will be difficult?,  or perhaps you really love weekends.  Is it because of the good thoughts and energies you direct towards your weekends starting sometime around Wednesday? It most likely is.  Think about the majority of your thoughts daily.  

I had a student once who was always looking for the negative. Her life was 'cursed' according to her. She would never find anyone to love her and her life was just horrible. Working with her it became apparent her life was quite ordinary and a lot like everyone else's. The only major issue was her terrible attitude about everything.  She was the consummate victim, everything bad happened to her, and everyone else was to blame. When suggestions and possible solutions were offered for the various issues in her life, they were rejected and she became defensive, as if someone would take away her misery. She was unable to continue on this path for very long as it just doesn't support victims and those unwilling to accept responsibility for there creation.

We understand in the magickal world that we create the good as well as the bad, which makes it hard to be a victim on this path. Yet the group dynamic as described above does apply and we see it in various ways around us.  When enough people feel the same energy that energy seems to build and magnify.  That's why like minded groups can be so very effective or so very harmful dependent on the group's focus and energy.

Some positive groups or groups of people that have accomplished wonderful and amazing things such as the Rotary Club International has been able to say it has almost eradicated polio in the world. That is their major focus and they are very, very close. Also all the people who came together to help and contribute to the disasters of 9-11, Hurricane Katrina and Haiti all sending love, compassion and supplies and money to help. A major difference was made in each of these disasters because of a global out pouring of care. The Red Cross is another organization that has done so much just by the single minded focus they have to help people in times of disaster, no matter how small.

We can also name groups that are harmful and seek to perpetrate their negative viewpoints. The KKK is a good example of hatred and intolerance on a large scale. We saw an extreme case during the Holocaust in Western Europe, and gangs and similar type groups that seek to intimidate and cause fear we know can paralyze a community.

The witch knows that evil does not exist in nature. There are no evil elements any more than there are evil stones or trees! But evil does exist, in the hearts of men and women. By naming it for what it is, and putting it in perspective makes it easier to conceptualize, at least for me. I try to stay away from those who are always negative and always looking for the worst in a situation.

I try not to focus on the negative. The state of the nations economy, the hassle of the Christmas season, the stress, stress, stress!!! Only I can control how I respond to those stimuli, and at the end of the day its up to me how you feel.  I personally like to feel happiness if I have a choice in the matter, and many times I do.  Recently I was waiting in line, well . . . who hasn't?

Rather than worrying about being late, rushing to get somewhere else, I started focusing on standing in line, and started to read the headlines of the brochures and magazines and took a little 5 minute break. I went over my list in my head and reviewed somethings I might have forgotten by the time I got home.  That five minute wait in line actually saved me time in the end. It wouldn't have been able to do that if I had been stressing about the lady in front of me paying with a check, not having I.D. or something of the sort. I wasn't really paying attention as I was reading about holiday decorating and getting some fun ideas.  Besides stressing as I stood there wouldn't have done a thing to make her go any faster, it would have just made my day less bright. 

 Like the 'hundredth monkey' principle we can affect change in our family, our community and even a larger global community if enough people put their thoughts and feelings towards positive and helpful outcome.  Two additional examples that have lots of historical evidence to back them up are the breaking of the four minute mile and the HIV/Aids virus.

The former one was considered truth for hundreds of years. That a human could not break the four minute mile. This was an understood fact, verified by many experts and no one questioned it, let alone sought to try to break the record. Until it was broken by  a man from England and then it was broken several times by others after that. Another example came to my attention a few years ago when I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Deepak Chopra speak. 

His talk regarding body-mind medicine was very interesting and it speaks to our discussion tonight when he related that when Aids and HIV were first diagnosed,  when a diagnosis of Aids was given, it was a virtual death sentence. Everyone believed if you had Aids you would die from it. And everyone did,  initially.   He went on to say that it was only when people developed a belief and hope that they could possibly survive that they started to live longer.  He also says this evidence is evident before the medication that has since been developed for the treatment of this horrible disease.

 Whether we believe the monkeys learned telepathically how to wash their sweet potatoes or if they learned in a more direct manner, its an example that what we do, what we say and how we interact with our world impacts us and everyone around us. We, as much as some might wish, are not separate, responsible for none but ourselves. Instead we all share the same space, the same life, the same opportunities to experience life as everyone and as such we have a responsibility to the energy we put out around us.  Are you a young monkey that can adapt to change and see the world as a place of opportunity and potential. Or are you an old monkey, resistant to change and eating sandy potatoes?   What have you put out there today? I hope it was magickal, and brought you happiness.

Peace and Happiness

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Some magick for the New Year

 Evening Greetings,

With the New Year just around the corner I thought I'd share some magicks especially for this time of the year.  To start let me make a distinction. As many who have followed my discussions or are familiar with the practice of the witch already know, we view the turning of the year on November 1st, our official first day of winter.  Yet, that doesn't preclude the celebrations for the New Year that is observed all over the world.

In fact, a celebration, observance or tradition that is engaged in by the majority, in this case, the global majority, can be rife with much magick and energy.  Anything that the majority puts energy into becomes in effect a thought form.  We'll talk about this more in my discussion titled "the 100th monkey" principle. But for now we can see how a day like Christmas or New Year's, whether we personally observe the day or not, is changed and affected just by those who do believe in the day as special and observe it to be. 

So, next week everyone will observe the turning of the year. By the way, it doesn't matter whether Wiccan, witch or mortal ( ha!) we all observe the 'official' New Year's simply because of the date. We, as witches who observe our first of the new year a few months earlier, can't get away with writing the date with the next year's date any earlier than anyone else! Imagine the mayhem, the chaos, if people randomly chose to do that! 

New Year's Day lends itself as a day with many cultural and folk magicks all designed to ensure a prosperous, healthy, safe, happy New Year. It is the one day, that is believed, should various things be done and certain things avoided,  will set-up the entire upcoming year favorably for you!

So the following are some magickal concepts you might wish to employ to work New Year's magick for your very own.

Much notice is taken of sympathetic magick on New Year's day. For instance when you awake that day you should already have in your home plenty of food.  This is easy to accomplish due to Christmas dinner just a week prior and many extras not normally found in the house other times of the year. Sweets, presents, candies, breads, many luxury items only indulged in this time of year. This promises abundance and plenty for you and your family for the coming year.

Also, and this will be tough for those who clean, clean, clean!! try not to throw out anything but simple garbage the week before New Year's. Throwing out of large items, that were costly when purchased and intense house cleaning before the New Year, will promise that your life will be emptier and you will have less than the year before. But no worries, the day after New Year's, this year its a Sunday,  you can clean out and throw out to your heart's content!

Having a good sized container of salt in the house will also help ensure prosperity and wealth for the upcoming year. Now, mind you, you don't need to drag a 20 lb salt lick into your home!  Just a full container of salt, a box or round that you purchase in the supermarket to fill salt shakers is excellent.  Oh, for those worried about sodium, well .  .  . salt substitutes doesn't quite cut it.  So, if you do purchase a box of salt to have in your home on New Year's day, remember you can use it to add to any sand you normally put on icy walks and steps, which brings into effect its other well known magickal property of protection.   Salt has for centuries been symbolic of wealth, abundance, prosperity and protection.

Having fresh fruit in the house, perhaps building a fruit pyramid which is something that was always done in the house from the time I was a small child is also sympathetic magick bringing in good health and it helps eliminate illness.  A fruit pyramid can be created with fresh fruit, but first you need to build the base.

I start with a glass pedestal cake stand.  Then I place on top of that a glass compote or wide mouthed vase. The heavier the glass the better as it needs to be the weight for the fruit pyramid. Once, you've stacked your glass base, and make sure its heavy, chunky glass, then I start to pile up the fresh fruit.  I use clear so it doesn't take away from the colors of the fruit.

Then using the counter or table it's set upon, as the bottom layer you start by arranging fruit all around the pedestal of the cake stand. If worried about the fruit harming the surface it's lying on, you can add to the design by placing a large round glass platter under the cake stand. Pile fruit on each layer.

I use oranges for love, luck and money,  apples for love and healing, lemons for purification, love and friendship and limes for healing, love and protection. I slip in a banana or three for prosperity, and I drape grapes of all colors to hang gently over the edge to bring in mental clarity and money.

Some additional fruits you may wish to use because of their magickal properties are:

  • Pears for love and lust! Hey now!! Don't we love pears? 
  • Peaches for love, fertility and wishes
  • Plums for protection and love
  • Strawberries bring in love and luck
  • Apricots bring in love
  • Cherry brings in love and aides in divination
I try to build up the fruit as high as I can. Throw a few figs in to increase your powers of divination, increase fertility and bring in love.  I will even stick an avocado or two in, as I love the color contrast and they're very tasty,  to bring in beauty, love and lust yet again! I usually put a nice big pineapple on the very top for luck, money and hospitality and sometimes decorate that with a red bow.   Then I sprinkle nuts, still in their shells, for further abundance. Each type of nut has its own magickal properties,  for instance:
  • Almond brings in prosperity and success in business ventures.
  • Brazil nuts for love
  • Cashew for prosperity and money
  • Chestnut (popular around this time for year) for love
  • Pecans money and employment 
  • mixed nuts in general bring in prosperity, love, luck

 Other magickal properties of the season in foods or drink you may consume at home or at parties:

  • Beer  - hops bring in healing and a restful sleep. Beware too much can cause a disruptive sleep. 
  • Horseradish is found in many dishes this time of year and it brings in purification and helps banish negativity
  • Pomegranate brings in divination, luck, wealth, wishes and fertility
  • Celery brings in lust, psychic powers, mental clarity and concentration
  • Citron (for those fond of modern fruit cake!) brings in healing and psychic powers. 
  • Garlic has its reputation for protection against evil, but it also brings in lust, health and healing
  • Dates aide in male potency and fertility

Some spices that are used this time of year can also bring in needed magickal energies, such as:
  • Allspice brings in money, luck and healing
  • Ginger brings in love, money, success and power 
  • Anise brings in sleep, protection, it repels evil and calls in good spirits
  • Cloves bring in love, money, mental clarity and protection 
  • Dill has protection as well as money, love and lust
  •  Mace brings in psychic powers and mental clarity
  • Nutmeg brings about protection, money, health, luck, fidelity and it's reputed to be able to break hexes!
  • Cinnamon has many uses and is a popular one with witches as it brings in prosperity, success, passion, healing, lust, love, protection to name but a few of its properties!
Some non food items from nature that we use this time of the year and their magickal properties:

  • Cedar brings about healing, purification, money and protection
  • Frankincense brings about purification, protection and spirituality
  • Holly brings protection, luck and aides in dream magicks 
  • Juniper brings protection, love and health
  • Mistletoe brings healing, protection, love, fertility and health
  • Myrrh brings spirituality, purification, protection and healing
Notice the frankincense and myrrh, both reputed to be gifted to the baby Jesus along with gold during the story of the Nativity do not contain the magickal properties of prosperity or wealth. Many modern interpretations of these gifts were that they were so rare and the best of any gift because of their value is not necessarily true. I believe these items along with the gold were legendarily gifted to him because of their protective properties. Gold also has the magickal properties of protection and strength. 

Finally one last item with strong magickal properties, especially for those who have family members of the feline persuasion. Catnip or cat mint brings love to a household and when you hold it in your hand, letting it get warm then crushing it into a box where they can get at it, play in it and eat it, helps strengthen the psychic bond between people and their cats. Just makes sure its not old. Supermarket catnip is reputed to be up to six months old or older. Try to purchase catnip like we sell at Enchantments, or at find establishments that cater to kitties. Fresher dried catnip is better for your cat.  Yes, it's fine to let them eat it, as it aides in their digestion and overall good health. 

Now as  you get ready for the holiday festivities I hope the food table and the subsequent munchies you enjoy take on a new 'flavor' now that you know some of their secret magicks.

Peace and Happiness

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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.
If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Winter Solstice, Full Moon & A Lunar Eclipse Oh My!

 Happy Yule, most especially to you!,

Well, in the world of astronomy an awful lot has occurred just recently.  This morning, in the wee hours of morning, for New England, a lunar eclipse occurred. According to written history this has not happened since 1632, a lunar eclipse falling on a winter solstice that is.  We also have a full moon today, and according to Llewellyn's Witches Calendar, this is the last wishing moon of 2010. 

Now, many have asked regarding the hidden mysteries and magicks to be found in the lunar eclipse. The eclipses may have significance today for those who wish to create something magickal around it, but for ancient man, although observed for millennium, the eclipses, both solar and lunar had little spiritual significance, except for the fear, awe and terror it would inflict on the common man. 

The majority of the civilized ancient worlds of Greece, Rome, Egypt  and the Celtic nations, was separated into two distinct classes of 'knowledge'.   You had the common man, who believed in the world around him, depended upon the consistency of the natural world and who applied superstition, legend and mythology to that which he could not explain.

Then you had the 'educated class'. This was made up of the scholars, the alchemists, learned men who discussed science and mathematics, Druid's who were both Priests and scientists, philosophers, statesmen of various educations.  The educated class knew of the sciences and astronomy that explained and gave rationale to eclipses and astronomical phenomena.

 It is interesting that in all the cultures, the Druid's included, there was a stark separation of who had the knowledge and how they used it.  The common man was made reliant on the learned men to have their fears alleviated and there is much historical record pointing to the fact that the uneducated and superstitious were kept that way deliberately. Deliberately so that the prestige and power that went automatically with the stations of the learned men would continue, and the knowledge they had would continue to be valued. 

A concept called 'lack of enculturation' is considered the prevailing reason for this theory.  Enculturation is the knowledge and understanding that comes from experiencing and living amongst a culture usually from birth. Imagine waking up tomorrow in a country where you do not speak the language and have no knowledge of what is going on, what is expected of you or anything that is happening. Imagine how confused and out of place you would feel.  Well, for ancient man a similar aspect happened in regards to scientific knowledge and understanding.

While a few went on become educated and gain knowledge and understanding of higher principles the common man was left with his superstitions and beliefs. Men of higher learning would predict eclipses, and other natural phenomenon but in all the cases of ancient cultures I've studied I can find none where there was any significant attempt to educate the common man and thus alleviating his fears,  but rather the opportunity was used to keep a separation between the classes and thus keep the economic, social and political status quo.

Aristotle was the first to record that 'wisdom is the measure of one's knowledge of the natural causes of things" from Aristotle's Metaphysics and over 100 years later Seneca recorded  "Since the cause of being afraid is not to know, isn't it very worthwhile to know, so we can be unafraid?" in his Natural Questions Book 6 34-5.Yet even these great men kept their leanings and distribution of knowledge amongst their contemporaries.

So what this means is the average ancient person,  when the eclipses would occur,  would be terrified, and in fear of the earth coming to an end.  Then when the early Christian church started to discuss things of this nature they were against the learned class as they spoke of natural law outside of what the church taught about God's law and well, the scientists, alchemists and philosophers had to disguise themselves for the next few hundreds of years, or risk being burnt alive, beheaded or other tortures. Many of the educated men hid away while the wise women, who appeared uneducated to the higher class were considered by the church as having dangerous knowledge and targeted for several hundreds of years.

In many ancient cultures around the world, when an eclipse would happen all sorts of legends were built up around it, primarily that the moon or sun were fighting against an opponent and the earth's people would yell, shoot arrows at the sun or moon, clang loudly anything that would make a noise, all in the hopes of scaring the threat away and bringing back their moon or sun.  This was successful, to the ancients. It had to be, the moon or sun always came back, and after just a short while.  

Whereas today there is much magick that can happen at the moons, both full and new, and of course the celebration of the Solstice is long and rich in tradition, but the eclipse doesn't add anything extra or special historically speaking, so its up to you to determine it to be so.  Astrologically there's all sorts of information and beliefs surrounding an eclipse, but for me, a simple witch from New England I find it a curious phenomenon, decidedly interesting but I do not plan any magick for such an occasion.  It really is too rare an event to build up any serious magickal manifestation for me.

Just as a Sabbat supersedes an esbat so that the Sabbat celebration sets aside any magickal workings I might have done during the moon, so it also to me, supersedes an eclipse. Having said that its important to know that many witches choose to conduct magick on Sabbats, eclipses or anytime for that matter. If they do, it must be right for them.

For me, I'm celebrating the Winter Solstice, my Yule tonight.  Since we have three days after a full moon to conduct magick, I may return tomorrow to do a spell utilizing the aspect of the wishing moon.  This last full moon of 2010 is a wishing moon. Hmmm, I like that better than a star somehow. 

So, what will I wish on the moon tomorrow?   

Peace and Happiness

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A personal question . . . How happy are your feathered friends?

 Evening Greetings,

Today I had a lovely time. I went out to lunch with a friend and then tended to a project I really enjoyed. Setting up new bird feeders and a feeding station for the birds.  I've included a photo of the finished project over in the right hand column.

I had been unsatisfied with the status of my bird feeders the last few years. Because in truth, if you're to really appreciate your feeders they need to be in a place you can .  .  .  well .  .  .  appreciate them! And a good vantage point is considered not just for visual enjoyment but for ease of tending the feeders.

I had my feeders near the tree line and along a walk way in the back yard but what made for good summertime viewing as I walked along in the yard,  I found were too far from the house to be viewed properly in the winter. Then add a few feet of snow and trudging out back became a chore and even worse, was not seeing the birds at the feeders, and becoming busy with so many other things to do, I would forget to refill the seed regularly.  So for the birds benefit and my peace of mind, I re-thought my feeding station location for my birds.

What I've determined was the way we live in our house and yard throughout the year, that a summer feeding station in one location and a winter station in another is really the best choice.  My winter station, is the one I just set up today and its pictured at the right.  I have a seed house-platform feeder, that is secured to the balcony railing. The roof of the seed container lifts off so I was able to screw the base down tightly and not have to worry about removing it every time.  I like this little wooden house as it has holders on each end for suet cakes.

The suet is important because it contains fats and nutrients that will stay with the small critters longer and thereby keep them warm longer. I'm excited also! I found that my local Agway, a farm supply store, is having a sale on suet. A case of 12 suet cakes for 9.99! That's a terrific deal, so I got my case. It will last most of the winter.

The wooden platform in the center of the feeding station is what I call a simple platform feeder. Its a piece of 1/4 " plywood I commandeered from the garage and screwed into the balcony railing. I then took two 3" finish nails and nailed them through the plywood into the railing, but only put them in about an inch or so, leaving the majority of the nail exposed.

Finishing nails have almost no head so they are perfect for impaling citrus segments or sections of stale bread.  You can put on the plywood platform anything birds would typically eat. Popcorn, seed, breadcrumbs, stale rolls, etc. This feeder is important because not all birds will eat from a stand up feeder like my little house-platform one. Some birds are ground feeders and can be convinced to eat from a raised platform, but they like 'the bigger the better'. Birds that are ground feeders are cardinals, love birds or morning doves, and crows. Ground feeders, like chickens who are also ground feeders, all peck along the ground rather than flying up to and perching on a feeder  to eat.

 Let us now discuss the squirrels. I'm not pro-bird, anti-squirrels or other animals. I'm pro-wildlife. If you are then they all are worthy of a our care throughout the winter.  So, instead of fighting against nature, which by the way you'll always lose. It may take a while, but eventually nature wins out. So, as a witch, instead of fighting the greatest Mother of them all, I seek instead, to learn from her and then incorporate ways to allow us all to live in harmony, in my small world.  

In this matter, my new bird feeding station is situated on a balcony that is several feet off the ground and I've seldom ever seen a squirrel on the balcony. That's not to say they won't come here because of the new feeding station. Come on, its like a new supermarket opening up with all the free food and amazing sales! Of course they'll come.  But to make the bird station less attractive to the squirrels, I installed a suet feeder on a railing 20 - 30 feet away just for them. And I installed the suet cake holder only a comfortable 8 inches or so above the railing. That makes it easier for the squirrels to get at what they want.  Squirrels love the suet cakes!! Especially  ones filled with peanut butter flavored suet.

Now the occasional ambitious, ninja wanna-be squirrels will find themselves over at the birds feeding station, but they won't do much harm. As long as I keep their feeder full.  By the way, if you use suet cakes and get frustrated by the squirrels eating through the cake in a day or so, as that can get expensive, find a cake feeder that has small wire mesh enclosed around the cake. The squirrels will still be able to eat it (make sure they can) you just want to slow them down.  If you make it too difficult, which is not the point, they will eat through the holder, causing yet more issues.  Make it ambitious, yet doable and easier still than going to where the birds will be and it will be a happy winter for everyone.

Many of the wild animals we see in the winter in my part of New England are squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, foxes, possum, woodchucks, coyotes and we once had a quail fly into our house. Poor thing! Snapped its neck, as it was towards evening and it mistook our big, glass block window for air space.

Of course we felt terrible, much as Dorothy must have felt when her house fell on the Witch of the East! 'So sorry, our house was in the way'! So, to prevent it from happening again I used silicone and affixed brightly colored glass medallions on the glass blocks, so we see the pretty colors during the day and hopefully the birds see them also. We haven't had any such tragedies since then.  That was also the only time that had ever happened and if it hadn't, I don't think I would have ever thought of such a large bird living in our vicinity.  It was easily 6-10 lbs.

Believe it or not, animals have as much right to be here as we do. They won't go away unless we cause them, as we have several times in the past, to go extinct

Imagine that we lived in a world without wildlife. That any non-domesticated animals we saw, we either saw in a zoo, or in a photograph. To see something for real would be amazing, if we lived in a world with no wildlife.

I see it as amazing today and don't think we need to go there,   .   .   .   just because we can.

So the next time you see the squirrels eating from your bird feeders, or deer nibbling in your yard, make a note to buy a little extra for them and design a way to make your small private eco-system live in harmony with all of nature.

  Peace and Happiness

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Holly King and the Oak King - an ancient tale

 Season's Greetings,

Tonight we'll discuss an ancient Celtic mythology. For the record, Celtic is pronounced with a K sounds. As in keltic. The only known pronunciation with the Sssss sound is the professional basketball team.

Like our discussion last night of Ceres and Proserpina, the Greco/Roman mythology explaining summer and winter to ancient man, This ancient mythology I will tell you about is the often referred to as the battle of the trees. The battle between summer and winter, between  the Oak king and the Holly king. This is a story that is fabled to come from the ancient Druids and their teachings.

The tale goes,  every mid-winter and again mid-summer, the Oak king and Holly king, rivals, battle for supremacy in the forest, in nature.  Back during mid-summer, which occurs around June 21, our festival of Litha, the Oak king battles the Holly king and in the struggle the Holly King wins. It's hard to see the winner of the battle as it is overshadowed by the great leafy Oak, but the sun starts to diminish and even though the Oak was in full strength, the Holly took over and by the fall and then winter the green and red of the holly shines and comes to stand out amongst the startling white of the winter landscape.

Now that we come to mid-winter, our winter solstice of Yule, the battle rages forth again.  The Oak king now stripped of its leaves and appearing weak and defenseless nonetheless overtakes the Holly king and after the solstice the sun starts to return, growing slowly but steadily stronger and brighter until next mid-summer.  The Oak king defeats the Holly king next Tuesday and slowly regains its full, majestic splendor by the time mid-summer is here again. 

This ancient tale of summer battling winter was thought to be the lessons, the stories told by the Druids to help the people understand what was going on around them in nature. That battles are waged, and fought and won. Yet, for a time, an equal time, each side wins and is recognized the victor.  For each side has much to offer and contribute.

There are stories suggesting that Santa Claus is a modern adaptation of the ancient Holly King, wearing his red and greens of the Holly bush. The Holly and the Oak were both sacred to the Druids as well as the mistletoe which grew upon the Oak, also a symbol of this season. The Druids drew heavily on the lessons of the natural world to explain the mysteries found in the world of man. This myth is thought to be an attempt to explain the two halves of the year. The light half and the dark half of the year, they only considered two seasons. Summer and Winter. 

The Oak relies on the Holly to nurture its roots and create the underbrush that sustains the life and heart of the forest. The Holly relies on the Oak to shade it and make the undergrowth cool and fertile, without which the Holly could not sustain.  Like all life on this planet we live in relationship to all other life, not in spite of it.

If only humans could learn a lesson from the trees. Then maybe there really could be peace on earth, for everyone. 

Peace and Happiness

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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.

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Friday, December 17, 2010

To judge or not to judge . . . hmmmmm

 Season's Greetings,

'Tis the season, to judge others?  Oooh, perhaps a touchy subject, but let's go there anyways!

This time of year we hear so much about the spirit of Christmas, i.e love unto others, peace on earth, goodwill towards ones fellow man.  In theory lovely sentiments. But do we really? Can we?  Love our fellow man without condition? Most of it comes down to the concept of not passing judgment on others. Accepting others for who they are.  I think many people feel they should not pass judgment on others, but that actually goes against our primitive nature. We have to.pass judgment on others. This comes from the primitive part of our mind's need to survive.

We pass judgment on others and about others constantly and we do so from a primitive basis. When we meet strangers we give them an assessment of sorts. Do they appear safe, friendly, nice?  Are they fun, interesting exciting? Are they scary, potentially dangerous, suspicious? As they 'familiar' to us i.e. same race, economic status, do they speak the same language, look like us? These are all almost instant judgments made by us everyday of our lives.

From a witches point of view, at least my point of view, we use our energy, our aura to sense these things about others. Everyone does this to some degree, use their personal energy to 'sense' things about people they have just met, but many are not even aware of it.  They may just leave the encounter feeling 'not right about that person', or not liking them, feeling creeped out or the opposite may be true. Have you ever met someone and almost from the very start you knew that person was special and would remain so in your life? 

As my training and practice as a witch has taught me, I understand that everything has a vibrational energy,  the most easy for us to sense is living energy from animals and other people.  Some can sense energy in living things such as plants and trees and some still  non living objects and  materials. A quantum physicist will tell you even a rock has a vibrational energy to it. A slow, imperceptible one perhaps, but its vibrating nonetheless.

We all exist on a vibrational energy level and all humans for instance fall within a fixed portion of the spectrum, whereas animals and trees exist on other vibrational levels.  The reason we have 'best' friends, lovers, soul mates, enemies, people you can't stand to be around, and people who drive you crazy, is because we sync up with those on the same level as us.  Have you heard that phrasing before? We're on the 'same page', 'same level', 'in sync' etc. 

And we also are repelled by those whose vibrational rate is not in accord with ours.  I bet you've heard phrases like 'He rubs me the wrong way', indicating the people are not on the 'same level'.  Well we come about this information by allowing ourselves to first assess the person in question and then secondly to pass judgment on whether or not we will have that person in our lives. 

Yet it seems that many people chastise themselves on not being more trusting, berate themselves for passing judgment on others, when in fact that is exactly what we're hardwired from a primitive level to do.Seriously, if we not learned to pass judgment on others, and had been more trusting from the very beginning of our existence, we wouldn't have made it out of the caves.  

I see around me, and hear from those I speak with a lot of frustration around the holidays and much of the troubles seem to be caused by others. Just recently on the news was a story about a street in a local town that decorated with lights the entire neighborhood. They put out boxes for charitable contributions of canned food items for the needy.  They have done this for a several years, even though it was the first time I had heard the story, and were upset because they were getting so few donations. One man even threatened to turn the lights off! He was upset, frustrated and disappointed.  On one hand I understand his frustration, on another I wonder how many people, who typically drive around to look at lights for the holiday season, even knew about the canned food drive?

That man passed judgment on others, and he's entitled to. I wonder if he realizes that it was his earlier prior judgment and because that one proved to be false, that people would know and then be motivated to bring canned foods for this drive, that he was disappointed and frustrated because he set himself up to be.

I've done charitable work for many different groups and organizations over the years and I learned that most importantly it is the judgments that I have that make the contribution worthwhile for me.  I make the choice that when I contribute something it is the contribution itself that fulfills me. For instance, like the cookies I bake and deliver to the first responders in my town on Christmas Eve.  Are they eaten? I don't know. Further more, I can't care about that. Even though I try to make them as delicious as possible, I also know they may be thrown away or set aside and forgotten about.  That doesn't matter, its my way of saying thank you from me to that part of the universal energy that looks out for us, and takes shape in the bodies of the men and women who are manning the 911 lines and the stations on Christmas Eve, Day, at midnight, everyday.  

We pass judgment all the time, on how we perceive people, how we wish to be perceived and the circumstances we find ourselves in. I find the sadness and frustration we experience comes from prior judgment we pass on others. We expect them to, want them to, don't want them to etc.  The most we can do is state clearly what you want, what you expect before hand.

We normally create our closest friend base by those who live up to our expectations and our prior judgments. For those who are not in your close circle of friends, expect less.  Not to be flip, not at all. Expect less.   Realize that even if that person is a member of your family, that you may not be on the same vibrational level. That's O.K. It has to be.

This is a fun experiment I have my students work with at Enchantments. This one requires another person. The two people stand facing one another a few feet apart. One person is the 'sender' the other the 'receiver'. The sender starts by clapping hands together a few sharp times, to get their energy up and awake. The receiver stands with hands relaxed, by the sides and closes their eyes.  The sender after clapping hands a few times, then takes a moment and raises hands, palms away from sender, and slowly moves hands towards the receiver. Start by mentally thinking the energy from the palms towards the face. Our entire bodies are sensitive to energy we receive, but most especially our faces.

The receiver stands and when they 'feel' something different, they open eyes or raise a hand. I use the word feel loosely as it's more of a sense. Some feel a tingling, a heat, a coolness. Many have said working with me they feel a push of the air, along with tingles and heat. When they feel a difference in the air around them they let the sender know. Then they can switch roles to experience both parts. 

Those that practice this can become adept at not only sensing the 'attack' but also know what side its coming from.  This is a drill I learned from my years of training in the martial arts. It has validity in the world of the magickal arts for me today.  Its also fun, give it a try. But a word of caution, go slowly.  Coming too fast at the other person does not give them time to sense the energy change. 

So if you are feeling frustration this holiday season, go easy on yourself. We will always pass judgment on others, that is understood. Now to understand how this affects us, and how to work it in our favor, is the work of those seeking magickal understanding.  It all comes from within, no matter how those on the outside drive us crazy!! 

I wish you a peaceful, blessed holiday season 

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ceres and Proserpina

 Evening Greetings,

Tonight we're discussing the ancient Greco/Roman Mythology of  'Springtime'. The Greek version has Demeter and Persephone.  The Roman version Ceres and Proserpina.  Though referred to as the Myth of Springtime, I think you'll agree that this story is quite appropriate at this cold and frigid time of year also.

I know the Greek version with Demeter, Persephone, Eros, and Hades tends to be a more popular version of this story, so tonight I will share with you the Roman version.  As these myths have been handed down for over a thousand years I'll tell you this story in my own words as I understand it.  It's always been a favorite of mine.

Once upon a time, a time so long ago as to be shrouded in mist and mystery,  the people believed in a three world concept. The upper world where gods and goddesses reigned, the middle world where mankind existed and the underworld where gods and demons resided as well as those who had died and waited to be reborn.

In the upper world gods and goddesses lived, frolicked and played on Mt. Olympus.  This realm was ruled by Jupiter, God of thunder and of the sky.  His brother Pluto ruled the underworld, a land of shadow and death.  Venus, Goddess of love was Pluto's mother and she wanted her son to know love and happiness with someone who would make him truly happy.

The middle world was the realm of the Goddess Ceres, a goddess of the grain, agriculture and the fruit of the orchards. She was a goddess of abundance, life, the Mother Goddess, ripe with fertility and plenty. Ceres had a beautiful daughter, Proserpina.  Ceres loved her daughter very much.  Proserpina loved the forests, the flowers and played and frolicked in the sun dappled meadows and around her feet blossoms sprang forth from the earth and small creatures scampered and played.

These were the times when the people of the earth only knew of the summer.  The air was always warm, the rain always sweet and nourishing,  and it was always a time of the golden bough,  with blossoms on the same branches as the ripened fruit.

Venus worried that her son, so intent and serious about his job of Lord of the Underworld, would never find a lover. Well, as Lord of the underworld  he took his job quite seriously, mind you. A hard worker, he was.  Well, he worked so intently, she didn't know how he would find a girl to love him.  She sent her other son Amor (Cupid) to visit his brother Pluto in the underworld to convince him to seek a mate.  As Pluto was not a man of many words and had little time to spare his foolish, love happy brother, he gave Cupid a short audience and then turned to leave to return to his work. Cupid decided to 'make his point' and shot Pluto with one of his love dipped arrows.

Pluto then became overwhelmed with a sense of loneliness he had failed to notice before. He found himself wanting to spend time with someone other than demons and the dead.  He found himself wanting beauty, happiness, laughter and joy. Perhaps someone who could make him laugh, and see the world without shadows and death.   The drive to find that right someone drove him to finally step onto the earth above.

One day Pluto found himself standing at the edge of the forest below the great Mt. Etna and he found himself captivated by the beauty of a young woman dancing and playing in the meadow.  She was beauty and joy and he found himself smiling as he heard her giggle. He knew he wanted to hear that sound again and again.

Proserpina saw the tall, dark haired and handsome god standing in the shadow of the trees watching her. She stopped dancing and found herself drawn to him. She went to meet him and they talked and shared. Pluto fell in love with her and in turn Proserpina found herself madly in love with her Lord of the Underworld. She took his hand and together they went to rule the world of shadows and death together.

When Ceres could not find her daughter she grieved and wailed. She missed her so much, she started to wander the earth dressed in mourning clothes, looking like an old, wizened crone. The earth grew colder, the leaves fell from the trees, the rain turned to snow and ice and everything died.  The sun could not warm the earth and soon the people started to die.

The people then pleaded with their gods and goddesses for the earth to become warm again, for the foods from the earth to become plentiful again.  The gods and goddesses went to Jupiter, the chief God of all the gods and asked him to beseech Ceres to once again warm the earth and bring it to fruition.

Jupiter sent Mercury, the messenger god to speak with Pluto on behalf of all the gods and goddesses and their people.  Proserpina, who missed her mother and at times missed the flowers as she really loved flowers, especially roses and the sun, nonetheless loved her Pluto even more and didn't wish to leave him. Yet she didn't wish the world to end, as the more bodies that came to the underworld the harder her man had to work!  Yet she was afraid. Afraid that if she went back, the stronger gods and goddesses, her mother being one of the strongest, would prevent her from returning to her love. Her mate.

She went to Pluto with her fears and together they decided to have Proserpina eat six pomegranate seeds. These seeds were considered food of the dead. It kept mankind living, dying, being reborn and living again. An endless cycle that allowed the mortals into the realm of the Underworld, so that they may be rejuvenated, renewed and then reincarnated back upon the earth.  As she was a goddess, she was not allowed access as humans were with their mortality, and the other gods could keep her from returning.

She swallowed the six seeds, and kissing her lover goodbye, knowing it would seem like forever before they touched again, she went back with Mercury and reunited with her mother.  Ceres, was so joyed she threw off the weeds of the ancient crone and became the strong, vital, fertile mother again. Proserpina's return to the earth caused the ice to melt, the grass to green and the trees to bud.  The snows went away and the air warmed. Spring flowers bloomed and the people started to thrive and flourish again.  Spring had arrived.

Today we can see Proserpina in our springtime and early summer, while her mother Ceres takes control from her daughter during the late summer and autumn months as the earth is harvested of her fruits and grains. Then the time she has waited for comes again and Proserpina kisses her mother goodbye and descends back to the world of her lover, Pluto in the underworld.Her mother puts on the clothes of the ancient crone as she walks the earth waiting for her daughter to return.

Then the earth cools, the leaves turn and fall, greens turn to browns and the snow starts to fly. I'm not a fan of winter, but somehow it warms my heart to know that while it may be cold and frigid where we are, Proserpina and Pluto are happy in each others arms and I personally wish them well.

I hope you liked my version of this ancient myth.  I will note that the earliest versions passed down through history regard Proserpina as an abducted victim, held against her will in the underworld and are rather dark and bleak, with flavors of kidnapping, blackmail and rape.  I prefer to imagine this myth as having been terribly distorted throughout the centuries and as  I know women and I know goddesses, I assure you if Proserpina didn't want to be with Pluto for six months of the year, she wouldn't be. She was a goddess after all.  Goddesses are never victims.

© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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.

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Winter Solstice

 Evening Greetings,

It occurred to me last night that we have danced around the winter solstice subject in relation to Christmas, Yule and many seasonal decorations, traditions and treats.  Yet, I don't believe we've talked in depth about the solstice itself. Have I? Maybe a bit, but let's talk about it a little bit more.

The winter solstice as I mentioned briefly in last night's discussion about the ritual for the winter solstice, is the day with the shortest daylight hours and the most hours of dark all year.  Naturally a cold time, but over millennium mankind has attributed many legends, lore and beliefs to this time.

Ancient man would notice the Sun growing dimmer and farther away. The earth grew colder until even though you could still see the Sun itself,  it did nothing to alleviate the bitter cold.  It seemed as if it had abandoned mankind and the earth, and many ancient legends speak of this struggle between the light of summer and the dark of winter. Such as the legend of the Holly and Oak kings, the legend of Persephone and Demeter to name but a couple.  We'll discuss these legends in detail during the next few discussions. 

This was a time long past, where mankind followed the Wheel of the Year.  We spoke about the Wheel of the Year earlier this fall. Please refer to my discussion dated October 21, 2010 titled "Predicting winter, Halloween and the Celtic Wheel of the Year".  The Wheel of the Year was an agricultural calendar the ancients followed to follow the course of the Sun as it makes it's way across the sky and metaphorically across the lives of the people. 

The winter solstice was celebrated it seems, more to appease the nature gods and spirits, so that the winter would release its cold grip on the earth allowing the sun and warmth to return.  The winter solstice more so than any of the other holidays seems more of a forced celebration to placate the gods and ensure survival rather than the jubilant celebrations of spring and summer where it is warmer and easier to believe life will go on.

So mankind built great blazing bon-fires, a sympathetic magick where as high and huge as the flames can be made, so will the Sun be attracted back to such a spectacle of light and heat, a flavor of the ancient occult saying 'like attracts like'.  Many fire rituals surround the winter solstice, a strong show that the ancients knew how absolutely vital fire and the benefits of fire meant to their survival.

Many of the foods would also be heavily laden with alcoholic spirits during these ancient times, as much for the preservation aspect of the alcohol mixed in with the foodstuffs, but also for the warmth and fire the spirits would put in the blood.  There are still recipes for the Yuletide Christmas season today that employ this most ancient of flavorings. From the rum spiked egg nogs, to the plum Christmas puddings soaked in brandy, the hot toddies and Christmas punches, to many sweets, desserts and chocolates being filled with sweet liquors. Magickally today alcohol retains its attributes from the element of fire, to bring about change, heat, passion, courage and strength.

It is also from the winter months the ancients developed a strong belief in reincarnation.  For did they not see everything die, all around them every fall and winter,  only for everything to be re-born,  brought back to life the next spring?  This likens to their understanding that the creator was a female. A Goddess, simply because the female of all species gives birth. They understood the world and their purpose in it, by what they saw in the world around them.

A Mother Goddess as well as reincarnation were not stretches of the intellectual mind-set of ancient man, but in truth are extremes for our modern mind-set, given our understanding of the world around us. These beliefs are not learned from our experiences in the world around us, but taught to us as a theology from birth. We are raised in a society that is predominantly patriarchal, with the belief that God is a he, and that reincarnation, although believed in by many, is still an edge concept for the mainstream.

As a witch I personally find comfort in what I learn from Mother Nature or Goddess if you will. What I see perpetuated in the world around me, every year, every season in New England, I know to be my truth.  Yes, we have our winters only to be reborn in the spring.  Sometimes it feels like that, doesn't it?

Because it is so cold, I thought I'd throw a fun historical story your way, one that I personally found delightful! Well, while researching those crafty Victorians whom we can credit with just about all of our typical Christmas decorations and customs nowadays, I came across the Victorian era New England concept of 'bundling'.

But first let me say that in the United States, technically our era was the 'Gilded Age', which coincided with the British 'Victorian Era', but I use the term Victorian because it really has influenced how we refer to a certain time, as well as fashion, culture and practices, which most people recognize.  So ardent students of history, please forgive my choice of artistic license.

Back to bundling! What fun!!  Well, in the 1800's it was customary for a boy or young man to court the young lady he was interested in by coming to visit on Saturday nights. He would be invited to dinner and with the entire family in residence be seated as far away from his intended as possible. They were allowed in the same room together though, although heavily supervised.  If they were close enough to speak it was common for other conversation to quiet so all could hear what the young couple was saying to one another. Not a lot of privacy eh?

 A 'speaking tube' was employed at times where the couple could communicate with each other in a crowded room more privately. Speaking tubes, a forerunner of the telephone and phonograph had been used primarily on ships for intra-ship communication and were becoming quite popular  in fine homes and offices throughout the 19th century. They were a long tube or hose in some cases, with a whistle at one end. One person would blow and the whistle would ring, then the other person (on the whistle side) would put the tube to their ear and the 'blower' would speak. The conversation could occur on both sides of the tube and was one of  the only means of privacy available, well until we come to bundling.  That adds an entirely new element to the story.

Then later in the evening the young man was expected to make his way home, and many times the young man could live a few farms away which could in reality, be several miles away! This was acceptable in the spring, summer and fall months, but in the winter the people of this time looked at things more practically than morally it seems.  The practice of bundling was introduced where the young man would sleep over in the young lady's bed! 

In the same bed you say? Yes! They would accomplish this by the girls parents 'bundling quilts and blankets around the girl and even tying rope around her legs. Some ingenious parents would place sleigh bells on the bed, or construct boards to separate the couple,  well .  .  . you can imagine why!     Yep, I'm having a hard time believing it worked, but apparently it was a common occurrence.  I bet early spring weddings were popular also!

I know, my eyebrow raised also when I first read this!  The parents knew the reality of a person, regardless of how fit, freezing to death walking home several miles during a winter night in New England. Seriously, today we bundle up, move briskly from heated conveyances, to heated homes to heated stores, restaurants, shoppes and workplaces.   Even those who play outdoor winter sports are bundled up and working aerobically for shorter periods of time than walking home over the course of hours.  Freezing to death was a reality and the young women's parents, hoping to marry off their daughters, found it more prudent for the young man to stay the night. 

Yes, the winter solstice with its shorter days and longer, colder nights have affected us for centuries and will continue to do so.  So bundle up tight, grab a hot cup of coffee, grab a candy cane to stir it with and enjoy the rest of your evening.

Peace and Happiness

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© 2010 Enchantments, LLC 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. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.