Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A point of time

Time is something we measure and certainly can be measured in effect. But, most of all it's felt. We try to use it wisely. Sometimes it gets away from us. Sometimes it seems endless. But, although you can't hold it in your hand, we spend a lot of effort to capture it.

Time can give you a magical boost. While many pagans are aware of timing their rituals according to the phases of the moon, spell working is also effected by the time of day it is performed. Magically, the day is divided into quarters: sunrise, noon, sunset and midnight.

Each has a set of attributes:

Sunrise: new beginnings or new projects. Sunrise rituals are best for a new job, home, romance, etc.

Noon: the solar hour is for health, energy and increase. Want to grow your business or add to your family? This is the time of day for it.

Sunset: Twilight spells cross the veil into the emotional and spiritual realm. It is a time of endings, like getting rid of bad habits, or sending away negativity. If you want to make contact with someone on the other side this is the time to do it.

Midnight: The witching hour. The perfect time to create rituals to increase your knowledge of the occult. If you study any of the divination methods, such as Tarot, this is a wonderful time to ritually increase your knowledge of the arcane. Secrets are revealed in the dark so they may come to light at the right time...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

To purify your home in winter

If you have pine boughs left over from your Yule decorations this is a wonderful way to use them before they dry up.

To purify your home in winter, mix a pinch of ginger and all spice with a drop of olive oil in a 1/4 cup of water. Anoint the tips of a small pine branch and sprinkle in the corners of your home. Begin in the north and work clockwise around your home. Give special attention to the windows, doors and fireplaces.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Labyrinth Meditation Solstice Ritual

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life's journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to "That Which Is Within."

This year we used the labyrinth to create our circle for Winter Solstice ritual. The labyrinth ended with our Yule tree in the center. Our ceremony included a blessing of the tree and decoration, giving thanks to all that has been sacrificed to sustain us.

The addition of a walking meditation was critical to developing a new level of magic for our coven. It created a sacred space for each individual and heightened the trance state of all who entered. It automatically cast the circle for us and held the energy invoked. Then, as we processed out, the labyrinth served as a division between the worlds that we could re-enter slowly in contemplation and at our own pace. For rituals centered on giving thanks, a labyrinth is a highly recommended addition.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Winter Wassail and a tribute to the trees

As a tribute to the apple trees that fed them year round, the Anglo-Saxons made a drink of mulled cider that they would bring to wassail the trees in the orchard.

The drink was simmered apple cider, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice, a slice of orange, a dash of ginger, and a finger full of honey. Since apples are the property of Bride, honey should be added from the mount of Bride (Venus) - having been tasted first, so the Goddess may trust the honey's source.

When the Wassail was ready it was custom to gather in the apple orchard and sing and toast with drink. Sing to the trees your thanks for all they give - asking nothing but good stewardship in return. Sacrifice some of the Wassail at the root of the trees with your blessing.

If you do not have apple trees, then choose what works for you. The winter is when nature takes her rest from all the work she does to provide us with sustenance the rest of the seasons. Any time around the solstice is a great time to appreciate her with this simple ritual.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sugar Body Scrub

This is a great spa treatment that you can make at home.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, this is a good choice for you.

1 cup sugar (preferably raw)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (olive or grape seed are good choices)
7 drops Lavender essential oil
4 drops geranium essential oil
2 drops sandalwood essential oil
2 drops ylang ylang essential oil
optional: 2 Tbs jojoba, avocado, or almond oils

Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl. Use a stainless steel spoon to combine the sugar and oil.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kitchen Witchen: Lavender Salt

Flavored salts are very easy make and give the heavier winter meats a nice lift.
For this recipe, you will need

1 Cup Celtic Sea Salt

1 Tbs. Lavender flowers
1 tsp. dried lemon peel
1/2 tsp rosemary

Place the dried lavender, lemon peel and rosemary in a dedicated coffee grinder. Pulse until powdered. In a glass bowl, combine Celtic Sea Salt
with powdered herb mix. Place mixture into airtight glass jar. This herbed salt mixture is great as a lamb rub, on fresh tomatoes or steamed veggies, like asparagus.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Evergreen Kissing Balls

Mistletoe, or the golden bough, is a parasitic plant that grows on a variety of host trees, including the mighty Oak. Mistletoe is a sacred plant to the Druids and is also featured in Greek, Norse and Roman mythology and lore. It is an evergreen that bears fruit at Winter Solstice and is thought to have been used in the Druid Solstice Rites as a symbol of immortality.

For this project, you will need:
  • A potato
  • evergreens like holly, ivy, pine, rosemary, and of course, mistletoe
  • ribbons & tiny ornaments to decorate
  • a sturdy wire to hang the ball

Many people make the kissing ball with foam balls or florists forms, but I think that using a round potato for the base is better for the Earth. The moisture in the potato will naturally help keep the cut greens fresh. Gather evergreens like holly, ivy, pine, rosemary, and of course, mistletoe (to be added as a trim at the end).
Soak greenery to be used in water overnight. You may need to poke starter holes in the potato with a skewer. Insert evenly sized sprigs of the evergreens into the potato until it is completely covered. You can make a wild, more organic shape, or carefully space the evergreen sprays to form an even, well-rounded ball. When the ball is shaped to your liking, trim it with ribbons, berries, mistletoe or tiny ornaments. In order to hang from a doorway, fasten a long piece of wire to the ball.