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.

In the Company of Yin

cover yin yang

There was a time in my life (in that maiden to mother phase) when I naturally fell into a routine of caring for my mate and child, spending more of my time on them than on anything else.  It’s easy to do and I think many American women can identify.

Your girlfriends are in the same stage and it’s easy to let those friendships fall by the wayside.  It’s easy to allow yourself the joys of family and immerse yourself in your relationship with a significant other.  With the exception of lesbian couples, this is almost always a male dominated time in one’s life.

Family

And there’s nothing wrong with that.  I know, for me, it was a time to explore the Animus side of my own psyche.  I spent a tremendous amount of time trying to put myself in my husband’s shoes, in order to better understand him.  It was part of my endeavor to be a good wife/partner in our relationship.  And much of this time in my life was worthwhile and valuable and enjoyable.

But something was still missing.  I realized, one day, that so much of my life revolved around Husband and Family that I no longer had strong bonds with women.  In fact, I wasn’t sure I ever had.  I seemed to hold a belief in the back of my mind that I’d always identified more with men anyway.  In hindsight, this might have been a “sour grapes” sort of attitude.  I felt obligated to that life… even though, when I got honest with myself, I had to admit that I chose it.  But there was, at that time, a bit of a feeling of being trapped in that.

In my marriage, our friends were HIS friends.  My women friends were the wives of his friends.  So I thought I’d try to cultivate some real bonds in that pool of choices.  I decided to have a party just for the women in our social group.

High Tea

I devised a beautiful, pampering “High Tea” sort of soiree.  I called it my Sereni-Tea Party, during which each woman would receive massages, manicures, a soak in the Hot-Tub and all sorts of pampering.  I also devised a small ritual, where each woman was crowned as a Goddess.

The idea was to remind each of us that we are sovereign in our lives, that we may choose, daily, how (and for whom) to live.  It was a big hit.  Everyone loved it.  No one loved it more than I did.  It sparked some changes in my life that are still in the works, I think.

aphrodite

I’m not sure if anyone else at that party “got” what I was trying to convey… but I did.  I claimed myself that day, and again and again on many days that followed it, I claimed my own sovereignty.

The experience sparked a new way of thinking for me.  I had one close female friend and I forged deeper into that bond.  She supported me and cared about my outcomes.  It was a really good start.

friends

I began to embody the Queen archetype.  And that sovereign queen of her own life was not the woman my husband married.  So in some ways, I could call that the beginning of the end of my marriage.  It’s okay.  It was a marriage that needed to end. And when it did, those women (the wives of his friends) shunned me like an Amish photographer. And that’s okay too. They were not “my tribe” anyway.

After the divorce I began to create more and more relationships with women.  I came honestly and openly into groups of females sharing my experiences and my ideas, and offering my empathy for the things that they may have experienced as well.  And that’s when the magick started to happen in my life.

I joined a witch’s grove of learning.  We met each week to discuss books, teach and learn and challenge each other toward excellence.  In the process we also loved, nurtured, supported and cheered each other on.  The grove developed into a coven.  I served as one of the leaders of that coven for quite a few years.

circle of women

I learned and grew more in those years than any other time in my life that I can recall.  I increased my personal power exponentially during that time, because of the company of other powerful women, all striving for their own excellence and the collective excellence of the group.  It created such momentum.  We were all swept along in it.

My leadership role in that group led me to more leadership.  I formed a non-profit spiritual center in my own home.  We offered worship services of an inclusive nature. We provided workshops, support groups, had festivals.  And I gained all of the experiences of facilitating that. And I could not have done it without the blessing of a number of breath-taking feminine souls who were regular members at the center.  They enriched me and the others in our group tremendously.

Life changed, as it does, and eventually I closed the center and moved clear across the country.  In my new home town, I volunteer and teach at a non-profit which supports women in ALL their endeavors to improve their own lives. It’s called Fresh Start Women’s Foundation.

And now, I also facilitate women’s spiritual retreats.  The latest installment of that happened in Sedona, AZ last month.

(There’s a new one coming up in November – Click here for more info!)

Six women from different backgrounds, understandings, beliefs and challenges came together.  We discussed and explored our hopes and fears. We worked towards our dreams.  We shared laughter and shed tears.  We moved forward in our lives, powerfully and magickally.

Above is photographic evidence of the goddess power we generated around us.  (Watch the orb at the foot of each goddess.  This showed up on 3 different cameras!)

owl yin yang

Yin in Taoism is the Feminine Principle.  The feminine aspect of this dualistic reality in which we live occupies the “dark side” of the yin yang symbol.

In Wiccan circles the Goddess is represented by the Moon, the night, while the God is represented by the Sun and the day.

This, in no way should be interpreted as meaning that the feminine principle is “bad” or “wrong”, although that is the way that much of our patriarchal society defines it.

But the divine feminine is a mystery.  The High Priestess card in Tarot holds a scroll, which is half hidden and sits before a curtain, beyond which are mysteries and wisdom untold.  There are even popular jokes about how women are complete mysteries to men.

High Priestess

There’s a reason for that.  And I think it’s our power.  This kind of power cannot simply be offered to everyone.  The power of the Feminine Divine is hidden for a reason.  The right to exist in its web must be earned.

And the women whose power is blatant and obvious to the world have been called everything under the sun, from demon, harlot, bitch to witch, activist, boss and Goddess.

The fact is that all women possess this power.  The degrees may vary or the power may be more or less suppressed by this patriarchal jailhouse, but, make no mistake, it is there.  It is present and can be awakened to greater strengths to greater missions and to the greatness of all things touched by such power.

I’ve found that when women come together in any kind of group, there is a magickal phenomenon that takes place.  There is a heightened power, an increase in intensity, like a spiritual battery being turned on.

A woman is powerful.

A couple of women, or a group, aligned in their Will, connected at their hearts and clear in their intentions, are UNSTOPPABLE, and deeply magickal.

Goddess Group

I’m not talking about excluding men from your life, by any means!  Today, I am in a committed and happy relationship with a loving, wonderful man. In fact, I believe that the time I’ve spent loving and nurturing other women (and myself) is a direct contributor to my finding him and to my being worthy of him.  Our relationship is very strong.  We believe in each other. We encourage each other. We acknowledge each other’s sovereignty.  And I adore spending time with him.

But these days, as the sovereign queen/goddess that I am, I choose to also spend a lot of quality time in the company of Yin.

Goddess Divine Empowerment!

How I went from Playing Way Too Small to Being an Empowered Goddess and So Can You!

oppressed-women  My last blog post ended with me in the depths of addiction and and suffering the pain and humiliation of a terrible marriage.  So, how did all of this turn around?  I’ll tell you!

A few years into that marriage I finally decided to get a handle on my addictive, self-destructive practices. That makes it sound like it was easy, like I made a decision one day and then got clean. That’s not what happened. There was a LOT of “Facing my Shadow”, and “embracing my darkness” at that time. I was introduced to the concepts put forth by the noted psychologist, Carl Jung and began to study the practice of uncovering and accepting our “Shadow” aspects, those parts of ourselves that we would rather deny. I had a lot of that. Also, during that journey, in my twenties, I was introduced to the concept of spirituality as opposed to religion. Cultivating a connection with some “unknowable force” helped me greatly in my recovery from alcohol and drug abuse, and I became a seeker. Learning about spiritual practice became my new drug of choice, I believe, because it touched on that true nature and those gifts I was denying. Some part of me recognized that something here might actually have an effect on the root cause of my destructive behavior. I wasn’t consciously aware of this, of course, but I believe it was there.

So I read everything I could. I spent many years investigating different spiritual practices. I studied, and continue to study, world religions, and philosophies like Catholicism and Christianity in general, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, and so on. And while I can’t say that I felt a deep connection to any one religious view, what I did find was the practice of meditation. Meditation was the single most important component in my recovery and my journey to here. And it remains the staple of my current practice. I cannot over-state its importance in my evolution from frightened little girl to empowered Goddess. It saved my life.

I’m going to repeat that here because it’s REALLY IMPORTANT!

Meditation was the single most important component in my recovery and my journey to here. And it remains the staple of my current practice. I cannot over-state its importance in my evolution from frightened little girl to empowered Goddess. It saved my life.

empowered goddess   My studies continued and began to include more philosophy, psychology and mythology. I read some classics by great scholars such as Marcus Aurelius, Socrates, Plato and added in some more modern works by the likes of Eckhart Tolle and Joseph Campbell. My views continued to expand as I continued to grow in every way that I could manage. During all of this, I became the mother to a beautiful old soul, a daughter. Witnessing the miracles of her birth and growth and my regular meditation practice were putting me in connection with the divine on a daily basis. Everything changes then. You see, when you meditate it puts you in touch with that ineffable ground of spirit that permeates all that there is. It verifies the unbreakable connection between these bodies we are currently inhabiting and that limitless “other” which we discover is not “other” at all. It’s like plugging in to a vast switchboard where everything is accessible. The miraculous is occurring all around us at every moment in time. I began to notice, is all.

All the while, I was still married to that overbearing, narcissistic man. And during most of our marriage, because there was still that part of me aiming to please and eager to be seen as “the good wife”, we got along fine. But then I began to grow a spine. I began to understand that I had to set an example for my daughter. And I began to disagree with some of the decisions he was making for us and for me. And that was when it got bumpy. I won’t go into the details here of the ultimate awakening that brought me out of that marriage, but know that I did break free and I did so in a meaningful and mindful way, understanding my part in all of it and understanding what I would no longer accept for myself or for my child.

In the following years I was inspired to study the many connections between science and spirituality and became very interested in (um, ok, obsessed with) quantum physics and the philosophies of mind over matter, what some call the Law of Attraction (what I call witchcraft). There was a wonderful feeling of being carried along on a wave of new information and discovery. One insight led to another. One book led to a dozen more. With a broader understanding of myself and the concepts of energy, I renewed my interest in divination and I studied the Tarot, with all of its wonderful Archetypes and insight into the human journey. I also began again to experiment with Skrying. All of this brought me to the study of Nature-based religions like Wicca and Heathenry and paganism in general. And a new wave of discovery launched me into practice with others and the structure and benefits of ritual, shared energy and sisterhood. I delved deeply into the study of mythology, especially the Goddesses which re-energized my desire to facilitate women’s empowerment. I was given the opportunity to expand my leadership skills as a founding member of a coven, often presiding over Ritual as Priestess. And, finally I put that into practice in my own spiritual Meetup Group and opened an inclusive spiritual center from my own home where I hosted many, many workshops, ceremonies, rituals and festivals before moving to Phoenix, AZ.

Aphrodite2   So here I am today, wanting to share some of this learning and insight with you, the seeker with the Goddess hidden inside. I can help you find your inner Goddess because I worked so hard to find my own. And I’ve distilled all of the seeking and struggles and mistakes and successes into some very essential lessons to set you on your personal journey to Goddesshood. Join me and a number of your sisters on this amazing, life-changing adventure. Simply email me at AffordableSedonaRetreat@gmail.com for all the details.  There is absolutely NO obligation, NO spam, NO sharing of your email address and a free gift!  This retreat will fill up, so don’t hesitate!  

With Love and Sisterhood,

Renée

Blessed Be

The Magick of Variety

So here’s an update on my progress toward the Spartan Race. spartan – Woo-Hoo!

I’m getting stronger and healthier by the minute.  And I’m learning all kinds of new things along the way.

I’ve been doing a lot of cooking on the weekends to have easy, ready-made meals for the week.  I’m finding new recipes and basing my choices, mostly on whatever I find at the farmer’s market and the organic section of Sprouts.

Farmer's Market< Look at all that gorgeous food!

There was one week where I planned to have a green smoothie every day for breakfast and a salad every day for lunch.  That got old fast!  By Thursday I was so bored with the food that it was REALLY difficult not to grab something off-plan.  I managed, but I was miserable.  And this journey that I’m on (as I’ve said before) is not punishment or deprivation.  This journey is about feeding my body lovely, delicious, vibrant, healthy food, and giving my body solid and fun exercise that strengthens and empowers me.  It’s self-love, NOT self-loathing.

So this week, I have variety!  I’m very excited about it.  I have choices for breakfasts ranging from smoothies, to fruit to eggs and even egg sandwiches with avocado – YUM!- using a recipe I found for paleo, wheatless sandwich rounds made with plantains and coconut flour! Who knew such things even existed!  For lunches I have Spaghetti squash crust pizza, eggplant rollatini, a wonderful medley of beans with spices, mini meatloaves and the most delicious butternut squash soup you’ve ever tasted and yes… salad too.  I actually love salad since it can come in so many varieties… but the same salad every day for five days is a recipe for disaster.  I won’t make that mistake again.

Also, I’m really enjoying being in the kitchen again.  And I’ve noticed that, even though I’m not cooking the traditional foods that I was taught as a child in an Italian household, I can still feel the spirits of my Mom and my Nana with me while I cook.  Mom < This is my Mom.

They are peering over my shoulder at the stove as I add spices, they are lifting their chins as they smell the aroma of the beautifully fresh vegetables and they are smiling approvingly as I dish these masterpieces up for my family.   This is ancestor magic.  The line of my people going back to the beginning is with me as I improve my life.  I feel their presence as I haven’t in quite some time.  I am putting my magic in all the food.  I’m pouring my love (and the love of those who have loved me my whole life) into every meal that I make and this is producing amazing results for my body, mind and soul.

I’m also varying my workouts.  The same workout every day can get just as boring as a salad every day, so I’m doing different things and incorporating magic into all of it.  When I swim, I pronounce incantations in my head.  As I scoop the life-giving force of the water with my hands on every stroke, I’m visualizing the waves of it sculpting and strengthening my core.  When I do water calisthenics, or weight training, my trainers, Odin and Athena, are there to help me keep count, improve my form and keep pushing until the final set.  When I run on a treadmill or elliptical, I listen to empowering music and visualize my muscles working at peak performance.   On hikes, I am rallying the forces of nature to join my quest.   This week I’m adding burpees to the routine.  In case you don’t know, a burpee is a grueling combination of a squat, plank, push-up, squat and jumping jack.  Yes, all of that is ONE burpee.  And if you fail an obstacle in the Spartan Race, you have to do THIRTY of them to get to the next obstacle.  So, I’m starting now.  And no, that doesn’t sound like a tremendous amount of fun. And I’m going to have to find a way to put magic into those! But it will be fun when I start to see my numbers increase and when I start to feel like I can handle it.  And I will.  Because, As I Will It, So Mote It BE!

winning

Blessings, dearest readers!  Love yourselves today!

Blue Moon!

blue-m1So tomorrow is Blue Moon in Aquarius.  Uranus (Aquarius’ planet) is in retrograde.  Venus is in retrograde.  All of these combined energies are supposed to mean something.  Venus is about love, but most of the articles I’ve read talk about romantic love.  For me, a triple Aquarian, I think it’s a little different.  Perhaps it’s because of Uranus being retrograde at the same time.  This planet’s energies are generally revolutionary, (Aquarians always want to change the world) but in retrograde that would be turned inward.  So to me the whole thing is about self-love and personal revolution.  Maybe the planetary energies have something to do with my recent changes to my health and fitness routine.  If so, I thank them!  I ran again this morning, with less pain than the first time and I sweated out a rather intense (for me) workout.  I’ve made healthy and delicious meal choices for the day and I’m looking forward to farmer’s market on Saturday morning.

I will be celebrating the Blue Moon tomorrow night.  I’ll go out into my meditation garden and make contact with my personal trainers, Athena and Odin.  They make a pretty awesome combination, in that regard.  I’ll toast them with a draught of fresh clear nourishing spring water and request their help and strength through this journey to a more fit and badass me.  The timing is perfect.

Healthful and loving blessings to all of you!