May’s Flower Moon Ritual!

Hello dear readers! As I am unable to host a ritual at Witch in the World’s Cottage for May’s full moon, I thought I would give you this ritual that you can perform in your own groups or even as a solitary practitioner. Feel free to use all or any of the components given here. Change it up! Make it your own! And Enjoy! Happy Manifesting!

The Flower Moon is about expansion, blooming, bursting forth with life and color and beauty. It is a time of awakening, turning outward, expanding energies.

In preparation for this ritual, set yourself an intention which will be the focal point for the magickal working of this ritual. This should be some area of your life where you want grand, quick, explosive, expansive growth. Do you want your business to boom? Or your love life to be suddenly action packed? Would you like to have sudden prolific creativity for your art or work? Think it over a bit and discover what specific are of your life needs expansion.

Now you will prepare a talisman to be used in ritual. I used rocks on which I painted flowers, but be creative! Think of a talisman that is representative of the energies of blooming flowers and have it (or them) ready before your ritual. As you choose and create the talisman, think about your specific intention.

Make your altar and ritual space flowery and colorful. If you include worship of god and goddess in your rituals, choose representations of them for your altar, like candles or statues or images.

Create Sacred Space!

There are many ways to do this. Without going into excruciating detail, I’ll share my usual process.
1. Cleansing and clearing the space: I will typically smudge and use consecrated water and salt mixture to sprinkle around the space, as well as incense and a candle representing the light of spirit.  This consecrates the space with the elemental energies.

2. Cast a circle.  There innumerable incantations which can be used to do this.  Visualize a space around you and your company that is intended to protect, and shield as well as to contain the energies and powers raised during the working.

3. Call quarters.  I tend to call guardians from the four cardinal directions, invoking the elementals that correspond.

4. Invoke Deity.  Bring in the generic god and goddess or the god and goddess of your choosing.  Always invoke with respect and gratitude.  I usually light a candle for each to represent their presence in circle.

5.  The working!  I designed this particular working specifically for May’s Flower Moon.  Place your talisman or group of talismans in a bowl on the altar.  At the right moment you are going to direct the energy that you’ve raised into the talismans.

And you will be raising that energy by Blooming!

Here’s how?  If you are in a group, form a spiral in the center of the circle.  This should be a very tight spiral, like a bud, everyone’s head is bowed.  Link your arms together, close in shoulder to shoulder, as close as you can get.

The acting high priestess  should be on the outside end and will read the following visualization.  But this is not a calm, serene, meditative  visualization.  This should generate energy, beginning with a certain amount of tension between the participants as they stand shoulder to shoulder.  I chose to set this to a karaoke version of “Right Now” by Van Halen.  It had the right tempo and the right rise of the energy of the song. It also begins with a piano that sounds a bit like rain.  But choose whatever music works for you.

During the “blooming” think about flowers bursting into bloom – high speed, one after the other – every beat of the music will be another bloom – until – when the high priestess says “Right NOW! BLOOM!”   everyone takes a step back, opening the spiral and raising arms to the sky, placing all the energy into the cone that forms at the top of the circle.  As the priestess is reading this, her voice is rising in excitement and volume until it is practically a scream by the end.

The high priestess will then use a sword, athame, wand or her fingers to collect that energy and direct it into the bowl of talismans.

If you are performing this ritual as a sole practitioner, you’ll have to read through the visualization several times before the ritual and practice running through the scenario in your mind’s eye, until you feel confident that you can raise energy with it.  You would simply crouch down and make yourself small, arms folded, head down, until the right cue in the music comes and then you stand and bloom as above.

The Music Starts..
“ It’s raining. You’re in a field of green. Vast, endless green, leaves, stems and buds, ready to bloom. You actually feel the pressure of growth around you. You become aware that you are one of them, one of these wildflowers. Your roots, delicate but strong, stretch and intertwine into the ground.

You can feel the nutrients drawn up from the earth to your stem, to your bud. The tension and energy is building. The rain has stopped and the clouds are clearing now. The warmth of the sun beats down on you… enticing your bud to open.

You are at the ready – with an urgent need to burst forth in color, in brilliance. You notice some of the green field in the distance changing.

Sudden color begins to transform the field. One flower after another explodes open with it’s beautiful petals encouraging the bloom next to it. The full spectrum of colors is represented here… the rainbow, the bursting open spreads towards you.

Each bloom more vivid than the one before… closer to you. Continue seeing the flowers bloom!

Every beat of the music is another bursting forth of color! And another …. And another!! … they keep coming. You look to the other side of the field and see the color and blooming spreading there as well.

The power of the sun and the earth and the energy of this full moon are coursing through you… stronger and stronger. It’s so hard to contain!

Another bloom and another … nearer they come….

All you need is the energy of a close-by bloom to fulfill your purpose… they keep blooming … closer and closer, a red, a yellow one – a brilliant blue, a purple so bright it hurts your eyes… one bloom another!
Another Closer to you and Closer . . . see each one in your mind’s eye – how beautiful… how much you long to become – to open – to LIVE in the Sunshine! …
until finally…. RIGHT NOW! BLOOM!

The priestess now gathers the energy raised and directs it into the talismans.  When she gives the sign that this is done, each practitioner is invited to take their talisman.

6.  After the working, in my tradition, is the celebration of the Great Rite.  But this can be a celebration of any kind you like.  This is a time for joy and confidence in the work that you’ve done.  You must contain within yourself a solid belief that your magick is powerful and is successful.  This is also a time for some form of exaltation of the god and goddess.

7.  Cakes & Ale.  At this time I usually pass around cakes and ale (or cookies and wine or fruits and champagne, whatever you like and think is appropriate).  These are shared among all the practitioners as a final celebration.

8.  Bidding farewell to the god and goddess and the elemental energies that were invoked.  They are usually dismissed in the opposite order in which they were invoked.  Last in, first out, etc.

9. Opening circle.  Again, this can be done in many different ways.  The idea is that the sacred space that you have built should be taken up again, as though cleaning up after yourself.

 

And there you have it.  The Flower Moon!  Use it as you like and may your magick be powerful!

Please feel free to put questions in the comments at the bottom of this post if you have any!

Blessed Be!

 

 

Note: all sources for pictures are linked to the images except for the author’s original photography.

13 Weird Tips to Improve your Spellcraft (Part 1)

The title for this article was the suggestion of a good friend of mine, who also happens to be a badass witchy wise woman.

maria-bird Maria Bird is a Strategic Motivator and Coach who can help you address many issues, no matter what your current situation. She has helped women recovering from abusive relationships to gain their confidence back and assisted top-level executives in upping their game. She teaches simple techniques using NeuroLinguistic Programming, Ericksonian Methods, mindfulness and voice to challenge and motivate her clients to reach their highest potential. Thank you for this great idea, Maria!

Part 1 – Maintaining your Magickal Prowess:

The first five tips here are related to making sure you are fit and ready to do spell work when you need it. These five practices help to keep your mind and consciousness in tip-top shape as a magickal practitioner.
If you’re not practicing these things on a regular basis, just don’t do magick. It won’t work the way you want it to.

I work closely with my coaching clients on cultivating all of these practices, so if you want some help in any of these areas, contact me. For the sake of keeping this article from becoming novel-length, I’ll boil it down to the bare minimum of basics.

meditation-techniques-bodhi-tree
1. Meditate.

A regular practice of meditation is the single most important tool in my magickal arsenal.

It’s really difficult to narrow down the benefits a meditation practice affords to a witch in her craft, but I’ll just give you a short list of the things you NEED to cultivate, that meditation can give you: improved physical health, clearer focus, visualization skills, stress reduction, anxiety relief, detachment, self-possession and composure, connection to source/deity, etc., etc., ad infinitum!

If you think you can’t meditate, find a way. I promise you that unless you cultivate this practice, your magick will never gain the power, accuracy and effectiveness that you desire.

2. Dream Journal.

Your dreams are a portal to your inner life. Ever notice, if you become lucid in a dream, how easy it is to manifest in that dream world? Wouldn’t it be great if you could translate that power to your waking existence?

Well, you can – with lots of practice, insight and work. Pay attention to your night-time dreams. Write them down. Some will be meaningless but some may give you profound insights about what spells to cast and how to carry them out.

A dream, well examined, may even give you inspiration for healing that will make the spell you were thinking of casting unnecessary.

These are important clues to your own psyche. And the one thing that I always teach my students before they begin any kind of spellcraft is, “Know Thyself!”

3. Make Regular Offerings.

offering-altar

Many spells involve calling on deities or spirits for assistance. Cultivating a relationship with those beings is essential to your success.

It’s like building credit. If you’ve never had a checking account or a loan of any kind and you want to buy a house and obtain a mortgage loan, you will have difficulty. Yes, there are lenders who will work with you, but what kind of deal will you get and what kind of sacrifices must you make in order to get it?

It’s the same with spirits and deities. If you are a stranger to them, where is their motivation to help you? But, if you make small, but meaningful, sincere and grateful offerings every day (such as incense or lighting a candle, bits of food or fresh water) to the local spirits where you live, to the deities of your choice (preferably ones that align with your purpose), then you are a known entity.

You have forged a relationship and have shown that you can be thankful, loyal and helpful to them, making them more willing to bestow blessings upon you in your endeavors.

4. Shadow Integration.

Further to the idea that every magickal practitioner should “Know Herself” before endeavoring in spellwork is the practice of Shadow Integration.

The desires of our conscious mind are quite frequently at odds with the desires of our unconscious. I believe that we create our own lives. And when we create hardship, difficulty, even tragedy, there must be a part of ourselves that truly desires to experience that.

Unless we uncover, understand and give permission to that part of ourselves, then we are divided. And a house divided cannot stand. Your magick will not have much power without the cooperation and support of your unconscious will.

So you must integrate. Now, there are many methods and many paths to doing this kind of work. Find one that works for you. And if you want to know more, consider working with me toward that end with one of my coaching packages.

5. Use Your Words!

“In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God. And the Word was God.”
I know, I know! I’m writing for witches and I’m quoting the bible. But many different scriptures point to this idea. Words are profoundly important.

And this goes really deep for a witch working magick. Words used in witchcraft and spellwork are absolutely vital. We craft incantations to bring about very specific desires.

But your word, in general, should also be impeccable (as in Don Miguel Ruiz’ book The Four Agreements). Every word has meaning and power in it.

If you are casting spells to improve your life i.e., to bring you prosperity or that new job you want or the love of your life, but you post a “FML” status on Facebook, you are working against yourself.

EVERYTHING COUNTS. And the words you use regularly, habitually, continually can easily gain more power than that beautiful incantation you wrote for a spell you’re performing on the full moon.

Think about it. You utter it once – or perhaps chant it a few times during your ritual, but the other 30 days of the month you are speaking about your lack.

You must become hyper-vigilant about keeping your everyday discussion and use of words, in print or in voice, in alignment with the things that you work on in your magickal life.

Speak in such a way that every word can cast a spell for your good and the good of others. It’s not easy and it cannot be accomplished to perfection, but become aware and make changes where you can. This will give you so much more power than you can imagine.

veronica-lake-i-married-a-witch

 

Ok, Witches, those are your first 5 tips, so before you start casting, look for 8 more tips in tomorrow’s blog, where we get to the nitty gritty of crafting great and effective spells!

And here’s Veronica Lake at her sexy, witchy best!

 

 

 

 

*** Image Sources (if necessary) are embedded in the pictures. 

City Witch? 7 Ways to Connect to Mother Earth

Update to this post!  This blog post was inspired by my Facebook friend Cinnamon Carriere.  She is an awesome Shamanic Witch and I suggest you check out her website!  Parts of it are available now and parts are under construction, so I encourage you to check back frequently and see what she is up to!  Thanks Cinnamon!

And now, my dear City Witch, Read on, for your 7 tips!

 

For 10 years I lived here.

odyssey-view

I had three dedicated ritual circles on the property.

faerie-circle

This one is the Faerie Circle.

It was the second largest at about 35 feet in diameter. The main circle, was about 70 feet. And there was another one, deep in the woods behind the house, with a natural stone altar and thousands of ferns surrounding it.
I made a Labyrinth that was 100 feet by 120 feet.

odyssey-labyrinth

I held festivals on this property.

odyssey-solstice

(BTW – The above photo links to the Facebook page photo album for the Summer Solstice Festival of 2012. Check it out)

There was a Hiking Path, called the Long Path. Here’s what the New York and New Jersey Trail Conference’s website has to say about it:

Extending 358 miles from the 175th Street Subway Station in New York City to John Boyd Thacher State Park near Albany in New York, the Long Path is a thread connecting many of New York’s parks, preserves, and state forest lands.”

I had access to this path about a third of a mile from my doorstep via a trail I bushwhacked myself through the woods at the back of my property. Here’s one of the many views along that trail.

long-path-view

 

Yes, I lived in a Witch’s paradise. My house was basically made of windows and Mother Earth had no trouble reaching in. The mountain I lived on was made mostly of quartz and the connection I felt was constant and deep.
After 10 years of this idyllic life, due to financial (and other) reasons, I packed up, gave away most of my things and moved with my love and our dog to a 600 square foot apartment in the city of Phoenix, AZ. I was worried.
How would I find my communion with Nature? How was connection to the Mother going to feel in the desert, in a city, in an apartment which looked out on a parking lot? Would I even be able to feel Her?

 

I’m happy to tell you that I did. And I do, very well and in an extremely fulfilling way. She is everywhere. I just had to look with new eyes.
So, dear city witch, fear not. Here are some of the tips I learned along my journey.
#1.            Look up.

The sky is the one thing in nature that you can always see just by going outdoors and raising your gaze. In a city setting, you have to open your awareness of nature to a wider degree.

You have to consciously try to notice the colors of the sky, the way the clouds move and the play of sunlight or moonlight. And realize that, although you may be looking at something that appears to be distant, it is right there, touching you.

Think about it. Where does the sky end? Only where the earth begins. So you are in it. If you ponder on that notion, you can feel it. Air is part of nature. The Goddess provides us with this breath of life that is so vast, that we can only really look at it from a great distance.

But it is right there, touching your skin, filling your lungs, oxygenating your blood. Take the time to feel your own merging with sky, day and night, every chance you get. And thank Her for it.

 

#2.         Become as a child.

Expand your sense of wonder.

If you make a conscious decision to have a child-like awareness, wide-eyed and accepting, you will see more. More beauty, more newness, more everything.

As my beau and I traveled across the country from our former home in the woods, we would stop whenever the truck needed gas. Somewhere around Oklahoma, I began to notice a type of bird that I’d never seen before. At the gas station stops, there would always be a group of them near a landscaped corner or in a nearby tree.

I could tell they were urban birds, scavengers of sandwich crusts and cold French fries. They were all black with yellow eyes and a tail shaped like a ship’s rudder when they flew. And they had amazing calls, many different tones and pitches and rhythms. I absolutely LOVED them and began to wonder what they were.

Within seconds of my wondering something in my head said, “Maybe they’re Grackles”. Now, I’m no ornithologist. I wasn’t sure that I’d ever even heard of a Grackle before! They were certainly not present in my former town. But for some reason, that popped into my head.

I wondered why that would have occurred to me, assumed I was wrong or just making things up and sort of dismissed it. But once we arrived in our new home and I  unpacked my books I came across a field guide to birds and decided to check it out. Sure enough, Grackles! They are city birds. And they are every bit as fascinating and fun to watch and listen to as the red tailed hawks and great horned owls that occupied my former property.

When you look at the world with wonder, the magic follows you. That is all.

And since we’re on the subject…

 

#3.             Urban Animals.

 

I’ve always loved wildlife. I used to get such a charge out of seeing a bear on my property or finding bobcat tracks in the snow.

But we tend to dismiss things like squirrels, pigeons and raccoons, because they seem common in an urban or suburban setting. But I encourage you to take a closer look. The Mother made them and sustains them just as she does a wolf in the wilderness.

I’ve forged a bit of a relationship with one of the aforementioned Grackles who visits my backyard each day at a certain time. I always talk to him and he delights me with his varied calls.

Now, grackles are categorized by city dwellers as nuisance birds, just like pigeons in New York City.  But I saw beauty, fun and value in them and I wanted to learn more about these charming birds, so I did some reading. In Chinese folklore it is said that the Grackle has 7 calls, representing the 7 human emotions; Joy, Anger, Anxiety, Pensiveness, Grief, Fear and Fright. So I listened, and I think I can identify most of them!

My advice is to use that child-like wonder that you’re cultivating and mix it with your own intuition to discover some urban animal in your area that fascinates you, and learn more about it.

And a last note, there is one particular animal of nature that you will encounter every single day in an urban setting. Humans. As pagans we are consciously aware that “Nature” is not separate from us. But our society operates in such a way as to make us forget this. So, when you look at other people, remember that they are every bit a part of nature as a beautiful mountain vista or the grandest tree.

Make your connection with that beating heart, that movement of breath, that symphony of senses and take it all in. The Great Mother created and sustains us all.

#4.        Appreciate the Landscaped Beauty
I was fortunate, when I began working in my new city, to be living less than a mile from my office. So I took to walking to work.
People expect “the desert” to be quite barren. But on my daily walks I discovered plants and trees and flowers that I’d never seen in the northeast. An abundance of flowers, in fact!

chihuly-flower

This picture links to the photo album “My Walk to Work” that I created on my Facebook page! Feel free to peruse the beautiful photos!  (And while you’re there, send me a friend request!)

On my walks, I took to greeting the trees and flowers along the way.  They were such bright spots in my day!  And I definitely felt the Mother walking right beside me with every step.

The more you give thanks for the beauty that you notice, the more you WILL notice. So, just look closely at what is around you and you will find it. I promise!

 

#5.              Seek Out the Nearby Wilderness

Most cities set apart “wild spaces” within their borders. Phoenix is a valley, which means that it’s surrounded by mountains. There are quite a few mountain areas preserved for hikers and explorers. They are not vast, like the actual wilderness, but in a good number of these preserves, you can hike to a spot where no sign of civilization can be seen.

Research the places that your city sets aside as “green spaces” and go exploring.

Very early one morning, well before dawn, I packed up my portable altar and went to the top of a beautiful nearby mountain preserve to perform a full moon ritual. As it turned out, I wasn’t as alone up there as I thought I would be and some very interesting shenanigans ensued.

That is perhaps fodder for another blog post, but I bring it up here because I found that whole experience, ultimately, very rewarding to explore new places and find new ways of doing my thing in the beautiful outdoors.

Go on an adventure and explore your area as much as you can. It’s worth it! You will find an oasis that is just right for your thing!

 

#6.           Farmers Markets and Kitchen Witchery

One of the great things about living in a city is convenience. There is everything you could want. And many cities have farmers markets. In the warmer climates they occur year-round.

I have found several markets with wonderful offerings from farmers who come from the more rural parts of the state to pedal their wares. And when I visit, it’s not just a grocery shopping trip.  It’s a treat!

All of the fresh produce and beautiful herbs and homemade goodies make the farmers market a destination in and of itself. While strolling in the sunlight and stopping from booth to booth I am taking in the aroma of the perfectly ripe strawberries, or marveling at the colors of the heirloom tomatoes and receiving samples of a giant and ridiculously sweet casaba melon.

Look around your local market and see what appeals to you. Talk to the farmers about their work and how they grow and how beautiful their fruits and vegetables are. It’s a wonderful place to commune with others who commune with nature.

And then, you get to bring some of those goodies home and prepare a nourishing and delicious meal to share with your family. Or perhaps you’ll just watch a movie and snack on fresh cherries until you’re stuffed!

As you are enjoying the bounty of the earth, realize that you are integrating that into your body, and may the Great Mother bless it into your body, “bestowing health, wealth, strength, joy and peace, and that fulfillment of love that is perpetual happiness.”

 

#7.              Get Outta Town!

 

Sometimes, there is just no substitute for real wilderness. Check out the area within driving distance of your city and plan some getaways.

I am very fortunate to live where I do because within a 90 minute drive, I can be HERE: Beautiful Sedona, AZ

sedona-tree

And a few hours of HERE: The Grand Canyon

edge-sitting
antelope-slot-canyon

 

 

 

 

…and HERE:  Antelope Slot Canyon

 

And there may be places like this within your reach as well. So get outta town and get into the earth.

Happy Naturing!