The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Now is the Time for the First Harvest!


 Good Afternoon,

We have celebrated the Summer Solstice also known as Litha to witches and pagans. This is the time for the first harvest from the gardens and waysides. No, not the first food harvest, but the first harvest of medicinal and magickal herbs and plants.

The sun is at it's zenith, with it being mid-summer. I know, I know, many in this country feel that June 21st signifies the first day of summer, but for plant life and pagans it is truly mid-summer. You see we celebrate the first day of summer on May 1st, the first day of winter on November 1st. Many of us follow the old Celtic calendar known as the Wheel of the Year, and it is split into two halves, a light half of the year, summer and the dark half of the year, winter.

But, back to the harvesting of the herbs. Litha is a time when the herbs have been growing for several months. You can see that lavender, roses and herbs such as St John's Wort are all in full bloom.  Now is the time to harvest them and by doing so, trap their potency and magickal power within them.  When harvesting an herb or plant there are a few simple rules to follow. First, a witch usually uses his or her Boline. A Boline is an herb knife and one is pictured here. But any knife, that you dedicate to the job as herb knife will work. Just keep it for this use only.
When harvesting, cut the plant an inch or so above the ground. Never harvest the entire plant, but leave some for the spirits of the garden or forests.  Place the cut herbs on a clean sheet or towel and place in a space with good air circulation and no sun. You can also tie elastic bands to the ends and hang up to dry. Elastic bands are best as the plant stalks might shrink as the water evaporates out of them, making them smaller. The elastic bands shrink with the stalks and keep your plants from falling all over the ground.

Once your plants and herbs are thoroughly dried, store them in a glass container and label them clearly so you know what you have. Also date them. Herbs over a year old, unless they are roots or stalks, will lose their potency and need to be used or replaced. I keep the rule of thumb, that if Nature renews her herbs every year, then so should I!

Research your herbs and know how they work and how to use them. Be very careful of using herbs in a medicinal way, especially if you're not trained in herbal medicine. Just because something is natural, does NOT make it safe. Keep in mind poison ivy is also natural! To learn about medicinal uses for herbs I highly recommend you stay off the Internet, as it's loaded with fools that know it all, without knowing it all! Buy a couple of good, reputable books and read. Also asking questions at a reputable health food store can also give you knowledge. I will also tell you to not ask me or any of the Witches of Enchantments for medicinal herbal knowledge as none of us are trained in the medical field and we refrain from giving any medical advice.

I do use herbs for magickal purposes though. I will mix up a few herbs and carry them in a small pouch for their magickal properties to be drawn to me. I also use them in spell mixes and as components for spells that I cast. There are many magickal uses for herbs but first you must harvest them. Do that in the next week or so, so you can have the herbs at their peak of magickal power and we'll discuss other ways to use them as the summer goes on. Now go out and happy harvesting!


Peace and Happiness

 © 2010-2015 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 


 If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to 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, June 17, 2015

Happy Summer Solstice!






Good Afternoon,

This weekend we celebrate the Summer Solstice, also known to Pagans as Litha, or mid-summer. Whereas most of the country is celebrating the beginning of Summer, Pagans have been celebrating Summer since May 1st. In ancient times this time of the year has been known as mid summer, and the photograph of Stonehenge, in England,  above shows the phenomenon of the sun rising and the first shafts of sunlight piercing the henge right at a particular place, and this happens every year and has for centuries.

Litha, a name given to this Sabbat, is an ancient Germanic Goddess of Summer. The ancient Celts most likely brought this name with them as they migrated from the lands of Eastern Europe across the European continent until they finally settled in Great Britain.

This is our only Summer Sabbat and it is often recognized with a bonfire and feasting. The Sabbats are solar celebrations, honoring the Sun and the God. The full and new moon celebrations are lunar and celebrate the moon and the Goddess. Modern Pagans honor both aspects of the divine spark of life, both female and male. Or I should say most seem to. There are groups that exclusively honor and worship the Goddess, but I've always felt extremes leave out a lot of good stuff. I like the balance of the Goddess and the God, but you must worship as you feel works best for you.

At Enchantments, this Saturday, June 20th at 10 am, we will be holding a Summer Solstice celebration in the front gardens of Enchantments. You are invited. If you come, please be present by 10 am as we will not hold up the casting of the circle for latecomers, and please brng a dish to share with the group for our pot luck feast.

Feasting has always been a big part of the Pagan celebrations and gatherings. We eat to celebrate life and the nourishment and sustenance the Goddess and God provide. The feasting is filled with socializing, sharing and bonding in a fellowship of like minded Pagans. For our outdoor celebrations, all are welcome. There is no charge for this event. 

I hope to see you there! Summer Blessings Ms. Faith


Peace and Happiness









© 2010-2015 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 

 If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to 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, June 8, 2015

Some Simple Tips for Reading Tarot Cards




 Good Afternoon,

Today we'll be having a discussion on some handy tips for reading the tarot. I have been reading for over 30 years and I teach students how to read the tarot during classes at Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts.

Firstly, let's dispel some common rumors and superstitions about the tarot. I have heard nonsense that one needs to be given a deck by someone else, or even must steal a deck! This is absolutely not true! Keep your karma clean and buy your own deck. A deck needs to speak to you, and no one can choose a deck for you better than you can yourself.


Then I tell my students to set aside the book and learn from the deck itself. Look at the cards, see what story they each tell. One way of learning the cards quicker is to do tarot spells with them. Take the pentacles for instance. They stand for wealth, abundance and physical healing. A note here is important, you need to learn the various characteristics of the suits. Knowing what the pentacles stand for. Take all of them out of the deck and spread them out. Look at them closely. Now you will do a tarot spell with three cards. Look at the cards and choose one that seems to tell the tale of your finances in the recent past. Maybe a two of pentacles. Not having a lot of money, trying to balance the money so you can pay all the bills, and so on. Place this card, right side up on the table. Next to it, on it's right side, pick the Queen of pentacles if you're a woman, the King of pentacles if you're a man. Now, on this card's right side place a pentacle card that tells what you want the financial future to be! Maybe an Ace of pentacles, or the 10 of pentacles, showing great abundance. You see this way you have to read the story each card is telling you. To finish off the spell, take a green candle, place it on a plate and place this over the three cards as they lay on the table. Burn the candle and leave the cards there for a few days so the spells starts to manifest. What you deliberately chose will start to manifest. And it helps you read the cards quicker and easier for others.

Another tip, do NOT try to read your future in the cards. It's akin to doing your own psychotherapy. Very difficult. Not that it can't be done, but you are so close to .  .  .  You! That a clear, concise reading is difficult to pull off.  

Another tip for reading the cards. When you read for others, especially if you start to charge money for readings be aware of a few things. Firstly, no one wants to know the history of the tarot or how and why a Celtic cross spread works. They are not there to learn how to read the cards they are there for you to wow them!  They want you to tell them something you could not possibly know. Don't waste their time or money with unnecessary teaching. This just showcases your newness to the game.

You'll be uncertain and perhaps a bit nervous reading the cards. But refrain from asking questions. This shows your inexperience and nervousness. You might ask during the reading "does this make sense?" But only ask this once or twice. Not with every card.

Also, modern readers refrain from reading reverse readings. When a card is placed upside down.  When you place the card upside down, just turn it right side up. We don't read the cards because that is looking for challenges and difficulties. The little books that come with the cards always have the reverse meanings, but they are all basing their material on the original Rider Waite deck which was the first published deck and had reverse meanings. You don't need to look for the negative in a reading. You have the swords which stand for challenges and difficulties.

These are some of the bad habits I have seen new and experienced readers make. I have been reading for over 30 years.  Get a deck of cards, or even more than one, that attracts you with the pictures the cards have. Start reading for friends and people who won't give you a hard time, but will encourage you as you begin this path.

To help you start on your path to reading the tarot here are some magickal propertiies you need to know as they are associated with the suits of the cards:

Cups, cauldrons, chalices: These are associated with water and govern the emotions. Love, happiness, sadness, grief, are all found in the realm of the water cards.  You'll have to see what your deck uses, cups are most common, but there are many that use cauldrons or chalices. Or maybe even some other symbol, but it will be able to hold water, whatever the tarot artist uses.

Swords, knives, athames, or some other metal pointy thing. Here these symbols govern challenges, difficulties and stressful times. The swords are governed by fire. Yes, yes, I know everyone will say air but that is incorrect. The first deck published had a typo of sorts. They placed swords under air and wands under fire. No where in the magickal world will you see this correlation, no where except for the tarot.  I use the sword for the story each card tells, and I attribute the swords to difficulties and challenges and it has always come out as accurate and precise readings.

Then we have wands, staves, rods or other long, pointy wooden things. These are, as I said, governed by air and discuss communication, change, and relationships such as family and friends. But of course, the pictures each card has tells a story. Look for the story in the cards.

Finally you have the pentacles, coins, discs, or other flat, round objects. These stand for material wealth, abundance, money, as well as physical health and healing  and are governed by earth.

There is a lot to learn about reading the cards, but start simply with a deck of cards and a simple three card spread. Work with friends and write down what you see in the cards and then go back and ask your friends if the things you saw came to pass. Over time you will be reading the cards like a pro. And, it's an important note that anyone can learn to read the cards. You are not specially gifted or chosen or any such nonsense. It's a skill anyone can develop if they so choose. So get a deck and start reading!



© 2010-2015 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited.

 If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to 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.