Travel Blessing

Lady Brigid bless this place,
Bless it with your strength and grace
Bless it now from stem to stern,
Keep it safe till I return.
By this charm cast three times three,
As I will so must it be.

Advertisements

Experiments with the Sun Mirror

18208165226_463cd981d4_zWow, what a change I’ve noticed in my energy levels when I’ve been able to do even a few moments with my Sun Mirror in the morning.  The mirror work in and of itself was inspired by Levannah Morgan’s lecture on DruidCast episode 98, which is worth multiple listens if you’re interested in this kind of magical/energetic practice.

The first energy system I ever worked with was qigong’s Three Dantian, and that’s pretty much what I still stick with today (although Kristoffer Hughes has a fascinating Welsh energetic system which I’d eventually like to explore further).

I’ve been invoking Beli Mawr since we’re passed May Day. It’s likely that I will invoke Sunna in the winter months. I’ll likely do a formal dedication/consecration of the mirror as a working tool on Solstice, but even without the formalities, it’s been extremely effective for getting the nwyfre flowing in the mornings.

Stand or sit with the sun at your back. Use the mirror to focus a beam of light first on your Lower Dantian (roughly where the uterus is located), then on your Middle Dantian (heart), then on your Upper Dantian (third eye).*  At each cauldron, say:

Beli Mawr, ignite my passion.
Beli Mawr, inflame my heart.
Beli Mawr, illuminate my mind.

I haven’t really found a satisfactory way to perform this exercise when it’s overcast, unfortunately. However, it’s quickly becoming a foundational element of my practice, and I imagine it will prove invaluable when the winter doldrums strike in early March.

*PLEASE DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY INTO THE REFLECTION OF THE SUN. THIS IS WHY PIRATES WEAR EYE-PATCHES.

Creeping Tendrils in the Mind

15901326063_22481140d5It’s that time of year.  The time when the fog of depression begins to creep out of the snow and wrap itself around the winter-weary.  Things will be better by May Day, but purgatorial Equinox still looms distantly.  Despite being magically inclined, it’s not a tool that I’ve ever wielded against depression until a few weeks ago.  I don’t know why it’s taken me so long.  Maybe pride, maybe denial, that false optimism of I-can-beat-this-on-my-own.  I’m “fortunate” in the sense that my melancholy comes and goes, but getting it to disperse in the winter can be a monumental effort.  Of course the little spell pouch helped–not a panacea by any means, but it did make a difference.

I tossed this spell together with minimal fuss and little regard for astrological timing–probably it would be best done on a new moon or failing that on a Sunday in the Hour of the Sun or Moon.  There was no formal incantation, but I performed extemporaneous prayer to Brigantia as I assembled the components.  The pouch was nearly worn through in places, but it released the scent of the herbs nicely, serving as a tangible reminder to be kind to myself and breathe deeply.

Pouch to Ease a Melancholy Mind

Lavender–calming
Tansy–against depression
Agrimony–brightening
Lepidolite–balance, calm
Quartz–clarity, power boost
Rose quartz–self love
Pentacle charm–protection
Sigil (this one is personalized for me, you should probably make your own)
Pouch colored lavender or white

Please note that the following accompanying behavioral changes will enhance the effectiveness of this working: getting my ass outside for exercise (yes, even in winter), more leafy greens and fruit, journaling, and seeking out neighbors and friends for social stimulation.

Charm for an Anxious Child

15844867185_9693521703_zWhen I came home on Sunday, Hufflespawn’s room was an absolute mess. Not a surprise, I mean the kid’s four, it happens.  But when I told him it was time to clean up, he was adamant that we couldn’t because all the stuff on the floor was a booby trap for monsters, and if we cleaned then the monster could get in.

I now had some choices:

a) Tell him there’s no such thing as monsters and leave the room a mess.
b) Tell him there’s no such thing as monsters and force him to clean his room.
c) Provide another solution to the monster problem, which removed the barrier to cleaning the room.

I went with option c), and said, “Well, the problem is that while this is great for catching monsters, it’ll also catch mom and dad if we need to come in here and that wouldn’t be cool. So, I’ll tell you what. Let’s make something to keep the monsters out that we can hang on your door. Then you’ll know if one is trying to get in, but we can still keep the floor clean. Deal?”

15657509200_57f67b1203_z“We get to make a REAL booby trap? Okay!”

Now, I’m sure people will read this and say to themselves, “There’s no such thing as monsters.  Why encourage fantastical thinking when it’s something that he’s going to need to outgrow?” In my mind, it’s not a matter of real vs. imaginary.  It’s a matter of trust–I remember what it was like as a kid to have a fear of something monstrous and have an adult brush it off as imaginary.  Telling a kid not to worry because something isn’t “real” rarely works.  Their fear is very real to them–denying the validity of that fear just makes the child distrust you.  Now, this isn’t to say that you need to feed into the fear or exacerbate it, but you can respect your kid’s fear and work with them.  In this case, I hear my son telling me that he doesn’t feel safe, so my job as a parent is to empower him to feel secure in his surroundings.

This is where magick can be a wonderful tool.

I grabbed some bells and some red worsted cotton yarn and measured three lengths that were as long as Hufflespawn is tall.  We knotted them together and I had him hold the tail as I began to braid them together. We would braid for the length of his palm from wrist to middle finger, then thread a bell onto the center strand and continue braiding. At each bell, we said a little rhyme:

Ring-a-ding-dong,
No monster likes this song!
Ring-a-ding-dell,
Bells make monsters yell!
Ring-a-ding-dee,
Monsters run from me!

When we finished, we tied it to his door. As promised, it makes a jangling noise when people go in or out, and Hufflespawn is quite proud of his monster trap.

Oh, yeah, and the floor is clear, too.

Songs for the Sun’s Day: Witch’s Reel

Witch’s Reel (Scottish Traditional)

Cummer go ye before, Cummer go ye
If ye willna go before, Cummer let me
Ring-a-ring-a-widdershins
Linkin lithley widdershins,
Cummer Carlin Crone and Queyn
Roun gae we

Cummer go ye before, Cummer go ye
If ye willna go before, Cummer let me
Ring-a-ring-a-widdershins
Loupin’ lightly widdershins
Kilted coats and fleein’ hair
Three times three

Cummer go ye before, cummer go ye
If ye willna go before, cummer let me
Ring-a-ring-a-widdershins
Whirlin’ skirlin’ widdershins
De’il tak the hindmost
Wha’er she be

Kitchen Witchery: Fire Cider

15519346657_fb0b2bdf5e_z

The same day that Sarah F. and I were making hag tapers, we were also cooking up a batch of fire cider.  Actually, it was the fire cider that was the impetus for the get-together, as apparently someone, not the person who originally wrote down the recipe,* has decided to sue anyone marketing a similar product under the name “fire cider.”

15519344247_f2f1652951_z

So in the good ol’ Druidic spirit of “up yours!” Sarah suggested we brew our own. Here’s the original recipe:

15706120322_ed6594ced0_z

Make Your Own Fire Cider
It’s fun, simple, and easy to make. There are hundreds of variations on this recipe. Here’s the original.

½ cup grated fresh horseradish root
½ cup or more fresh chopped onions
¼ cup or more chopped garlic
¼ cup or more grated ginger
Chopped fresh or dried cayenne pepper, whole or powdered, to taste.*

Optional ingredients: turmeric, echinacea, cinnamon, etc.

* To taste means should be hot, but not so hot you can’t tolerate it. Better to make it a little milder than too hot; you can always add more pepper later if necessary.

Place herbs in a half-gallon canning jar and cover with enough raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs by at least three to four inches. Cover with a tight fitting lid. Place jar in a warm place and let set for three to four weeks. Best to shake every day to help in the maceration process. After three to four weeks, strain out the herbs and reserve the liquid. Add honey to taste. Warm the honey first so it mixes in well. “A little bit of honey helps the medicine go down…” Your Fire Cider should taste hot, spicy, and sweet. Rebottle and enjoy! Fire Cider will keep for several months unrefrigerated if stored in a cool pantry, but it’s better to store in the refrigerator if you’ve room. A small shot glass daily serves as an excellent tonic or take teaspoons if you feel a cold coming on. Take it more frequently if necessary to help your immune system do battle.

15706122792_cb866cddc2_z

We also added golden seal to the mix, since Sarah had some in her amazing and impressive herbal stash.  We decided to leave out the cinnamon, since it didn’t quite seem to blend well with the prodigious amount of horseradish we ended up adding to the brew.  The kitchen smelled nothing short of spicy and wonderful.

15704541255_e511ab1e81_z

I’ve always loved making potions. Happily, my mother and father indulged my early attempts at chemistry and herbalism, though they sometimes despaired that I had yet again ruined or made unusable some container with my concoctions.  Probably the most successful creation of my youthful dabbling was a weedkiller made by soaking black walnuts in water for a couple of weeks.

The fire cider promises to be much tastier.  I’ve been faithfully shaking my jar, so it should be ready the day I’m scheduled to close on my new home.  I love it when things come together!

*Rosemary Gladstar is the creatrix of the recipe. She also has a video describing how to make her original version of fire cider.

Hag Taper

15702633721_dc47d8eeeb_z

Mullein is one of my favorite plants. First, it’s great for the garden since it breaks up compacted soil and brings all sorts of yummy nutrients to the surface. Second, it’s a wonderful herbal remedy. Third, you can make candles with it! Which is exactly what Sarah F. over at Starflower Alchemy and I did before Samhain (though I’m just getting around to posting about it now).  We melted up some beeswax on her stove, wrapped a wick around the dried mullein stalk, and then began the delightfully messy process of soaking the taper.

15518669639_241aa4ec73_z

These are smokey, but make great torches. Definitely something to be used outside!  If you want to know more, Sarah Lawless has a great post about mullein and its various magical uses, as well as a reference list. It can be found here.

15084584184_7c78f1e28b_z