Altars

Altars

Introduction

Altars are an integral part of my practice. I use them as a spiritual connection – somewhere I can pray, meditate and send offerings. I also use them in my craft as a witch – for spells and as a place to focus my energy.
I think altars are important for everyone and not just as a spiritual tool. It’s your space and it’s something that you have complete control over. To tend to it daily also sets up a healthy ritual for your mind; to help focus and calm.

How to Create an Altar

An altar can be literally anything. There really are no rules to how you set it up, what it contains or what you use it for. As long as it’s somewhere you walk past or interact with everyday then it’s classed as an altar. It can be a bookshelf full of your favourite books or a kitchen cupboard full of your favourite teapots and cups or even your garden!

Creating an altar is really about intuition. I use things which I have around the house – I very rarely buy anything new for my altar (but you can totally deck out your space with brand new things if you wish).

Follow this link to my Spellwork and Ritual Category where you can check out some altars I’ve done in the past.

The first thing you need to do is figure out why you’re setting up an altar. If it’s to help you reduce fear or pain in labour for example you would need to put objects on the altar that you associate with these things. An image of a powerful looking pregnant woman, an animal who you find inspiring in birth (elephants help their sisters in labour for example) some stones or oil that is said to aid in childbirth, etc etc.

Secondly, you will need to find things that you associate with your intention. The possibilities are literally endless – the most important thing here is to use whatever it is that you associate with the intention or end result. Something that seems powerful and appropriate for you. The more you do this, the easier it will be.
Also, it’s important that you don’t worry about getting it “wrong”, you don’t want that kind of energy coming through! (plus, it’s yours so you can’t get it wrong).

Finally, I like to have some sort of candle, incense or another kind of object that I need to interact with. I like the idea of having something that goes out into the air around me because I feel like it sends off my intentions into the universe (that will come back to me eventually). You can use this idea, or something else that you associate with the idea of sending out your intention or that you touch/use everyday. Your daily cup of tea is a great example. You could set up a little altar next to the jug with your favourite cup, favourite tea, a stone or some other object on top of a doily or cute placemat. Then when the jug boils you could meditate over your intentions, visualise what you want to happen or inhale the steam ritually. Use your imagination and come up with something that really resonates with you.

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Our Wedding – 23/7/13

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Last week I got married.
Where do I even go from there? Nothing I say here will even come close to explaining just how magical the ceremony was nor how amazing my now husband and I felt on that day. But alas, I promised a post about the ceremony so here it is!

What is Marriage?

To me and my husband, marriage is a stepping stone to raising a family (that doesn’t mean we believe it’s necessary for others but for us it’s important) and having a family has been one of my lifetime goals since I was a little girl. In fact, Brian and I have very similar life time goals, including raising a family, and this was the reason we decided to get married. Sure, we love each other and that’s a lot of the reason why we’re still together but it’s not the reason why we got married.

Marriage is how you say to the world “we’re a team and we will deal with everything together”. It’s a guarantee to our future children that there will always be someone there who will love and take care of them because we are bound not only by law to each other but also by our souls; in both inner and outer worlds so to speak.

We chose to hold the ceremony on the full moon as this is when I believe my power is at it’s greatest (plus it’s pretty).

The Spiral Aisle

Our aisle was created by our guests into the shape of a spiral. To me, walking into the center of the spiral signified entering into the inner world. Before we walked down the aisle we stood at the entry accompanied by our wedding party, while our celebrant explained the extent of the commitment Brian and I were about to make to us and our guests. He then asked us both separately if we were here of our own free will and accord. Our bridal party then walked down the aisle, alternating boys/girls, followed by me and Brian walking together hand-in-hand. We then conducted the spiritual ceremony in the center of the spiral.

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Blessings, Cleansing and Drawing Down of the God and Goddess

The inner circle of the spiral aisle consists of the Bridal Party, our family and then our friends around the outside. Once we have settled into the center of the aisle our celebrant asks our guests if we have their blessings. There’s a number of ways to do this but we chose to get our guests to yell it out all at once. It took about 3 goes to get a good loud response from everyone but it made everyone relax – with such an out of the ordinary wedding I feel this really loosened up the atmosphere a bit (and stopped me from shaking with nerves haha).

We were then cleansed and told to leave our worldly worries behind us so as we may focus on our wedding ceremony. We chose to use salt water but you could use anything really as long as you feel new and free afterwards. After the cleansing we called down the God and Goddess into Brian and I respectively. Our celebrant placed a crystal wand on one of our shoulders then starting with Brian said:

“Brian, I ask you to call upon all that is divine within you, let it come forth and shine. In you lives the essence of the Gods, the active force that has sparked and powered all life.You are he who has been worshiped and adored throughout the ages. You are husband, father, lover, protector, visionary, friend and confidant. In you is everything that anyone could ever aspire to be and more. In you is strength and wisdom, perfection and peace. Shine mighty one and show to all the God within.”

“Amanda, I ask you to call upon all that is divine within you, let it come forth and shine. In you dwells the essence of the Great Mother and the divine feminine principle of the Universe. You are she who has been worshiped and adored throughout the ages. You are wife, mother, healer, friend, prophet, and confidant. In you is everything that any one could ever aspire to be and more. In you is strength and wisdom, perfection and peace. Shine dear one and show your true nature as Goddess.”

This felt right for us as Brian and I identify with the qualities of the God and Goddess however it could be the other way around. It doesn’t have to be God=the man and Goddess=the woman. Nor does it even have to be a God/Goddess at all, it could be anything as long as it makes you feel strong and like your true, inner self.

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Exchanging Rings, Handfasting Ritual and the Vows

We then cleansed our wedding rings in water from the place we got engaged, again this can be done in any way. Wedding rings are still an important wedding tradition in modern times (if I could do it again though I would try harder to find Brian an engagement ring and plan a proposal for him). Our rings are in the shape of a circle which has no beginning and no end, a circle symbolises a continuing bond and the equality of the wearers. We chose rings that had a similar theme (mine is in the shape of leaves and his is inlaid with wood) which we believe links us and our common goals. Once they were cleansed we handed them to our parents to ‘warm’ – they infused good thoughts, feelings, advice, etc into them.

We were then given our rings to hand to the other if we chose to be wed. First Brian, then me. We put the rings on each other then said some standard vows.

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Our celebrant then called upon our mothers who were minding each of our handfasting cords (which we made ourselves). Our celebrant twisted them together and then tied them around our clasped hands.

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Whilst our hands were clasped we stated our personal vows. As a general thing I said what I believe our marriage will be about and promises that I intend to keep. I also spoke about what I wish for our future.

Removal of Handfasting and Blessing of the Hands

At this point we let our hands go, leaving the handfasting cord tied. A red sash was then draped over our holding hands again and a blessing was said over them.

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today tomorrow and for the rest of your lives.These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow and tears of joy.These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. And lastly, these ARE the hands that, even in the twilight of your years, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

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After the blessing of the hands, we sealed our vows with a kiss then exited the spiral and went to do all the legal stuff. At this point we then walked back down the aisle to be presented as Mr. and Mrs. where our friends and family congratulated us on our way back out and rained rose petals over us.

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Conclusion

I think if I could do it over again, there would be a few things I would change. In saying that though I’m extremely happy with how things went on the day and it’s only in hindsight I have those thoughts.

Brian and I wanted to create a ceremony which reflects us as people and clearly represents the people who we aim to become. We want future generations to not be restrained to having traditional beliefs, ceremonies, rituals, etc just because that’s what’s expected. It was a hard journey as most of our family were very skeptical of what we had planned, but in the end it turned out beautiful and everyone was pleased and moved by how emotional it was.

Rituals are important to me, you just have to look back through my posts to see that. This one was one of the most important ones that I will ever have to attend and I’m glad we chose to personalise it as much as we did.

Note: Please don’t steal any of these photos. They are images of a very important and vulnerable time for Brian and I. We would appreciate your respect and understanding in making sure that if you want to share them, to keep the corresponding information with them. Thank you.

Protection Ritual

Goal

My fiancé and I love helping people but sometimes we become too generous with our time and energy.

We’ve finally moved into our new house (still don’t have internet!) and it’s just him and I again. Now that we’re settled in, I want to create a protective barrier or ward around our property to:

1. Protect us from unwanted guests.

2. Make any invited guests feel safe.

3. Create a space that we can use to safely express ourselves.

4. Our energies are focussed on each other and our relationship (not exclusively but more so than usual).

Introduction

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Draft Diagram I’ve drawn in my journal – when I’m happy with the finished product I’ll copy this into Nwyfre Raven-seer.

Part One

The first part of this ritual began on the day we moved in. I smoke cleansed the property using sage and other incense (Jasmine and another one I’m not sure of).

I’m not sure if you can see it but in this picture you can tell that there is one side of the property that isn’t physically protected. Will probably put a sigil there in the form of a painting at some point.

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The Central Piece – containing a wish bone and a piece of Tourmaline.

Part Two

The second part involves this central piece that I’m going to use to concentrate the protective energy over the centre of the house.

I’m not sure of the wood I used but it’s flexible and easily manoeuvred into a circular shape without snapping. I also included a chickens wish bone (unbroken) and a piece of tourmaline.

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Anchor Side

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The Echidna side

Part Three

The third part consists of 5 Australian 5c pieces. I’ve drawn a picture of an anchor on each of them using white out. The reason I chose the 5c piece is because the Echidna appears on them. Echidnas are covered in quills and, when threatened, bury themselves so only their quills are visible. This strong and passive self defence seems to be relevant for what I have in mind.

Ritual

I buried the 5c pieces (anchor side down) into the ground at each corner of the property along with a couple of pieces of frankincense resin. I then walked the perimeter with the resin and sprinkled extra pieces all along the fences and outside doors.

I then meditated and visualised myself erecting strong and high walls all around and then I concentrated that energy into the centre piece.

Results

The rest of the day I danced in the backyard and in the afternoon I had a friend visit. Later into the night when my fiancè got home it begun to storm.

My friend ended up staying the night and we stayed up late talking.

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Something tried to bury in under the front gate.

A day or two later I opened the front gates to find that something either attempted to get onto the property or actually got in. I think I will strengthen the physical entry ways such as the gate and front and back doors.

Edit 11/5/13: On closer inspection of the hole I noticed that there was a mound of dirt on our side of the fence – meaning it would of had to of been digging it’s way out of the property. I still plan on strengthening the physical entry/exits.

A Dedication to the Goddess’ in my Life

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If anyone follows me on my tumblr or my facebook you might have already heard me talk of VDay or 1 Billion Rising. It’s a movement against violence; specifically against violence towards women. The website for 1 Billion Rising inspired me to create my own event where the people I know and love can come together and communicate.

My goal for this is to see the elephant in the room and get women and men talking about the issues of marital rape, casual sexism, spousal abuse, etc which are more common in our society. Other issues such as forced female circumcision, rape and other horrible things experienced more overseas will also be on our minds and tongues.
After creating this event I got quite a positive reaction from those closest to me which then inspired me to create this altar. The jewellery box was given to me by my great grandmother, the incense holder by my mother-in-law, the oil burner is from my mum, the necklace is from my sister and mum (I wear it during my period), the jar is filled with coins and draped with fabric from my mother-in-law, a silver bangle from my nan surrounds the goddess statue I made from clay, the daffodil pin is from my other great grandmother, there are gold earrings worn by my aunty at my parents wedding, a book mark from one of my sister-in-laws and a key ring from my other aunty. Basically I made it as a dedication to the women in my life.

In the couple of days following the ritual I saw more people getting involved – even my grandmothers friends were excited and shared with me their stories. My relationships with women seem to be blossoming into something beautiful. I’ve always felt uncomfortable with other women for reasons I can’t quite pin point and I’m starting to believe that being comfortable with my sex is probably a step in the right direction to true equality.

Pagan Blog Project #1 – “C” is for Cannabis

Yep, I don’t do things half-assed – my first topic for the Pagan Blog Project will be about one of the most controversial substances of our time.

Introduction

Out of curiosity I did a bit of my own research on Cannabis and it was extremely hard to find any unbiased information on the plant – on one hand there are people saying it should be legal and other people who think it should stay illegal. Both parties had their extremists and, as a studying herbalist who has been taught to do research upon more research, nothing I’ve been able to find has really convinced me that either side is right or wrong.
Again, as a studying herbalist, I disagree with the amount of control the government holds over us – it seems a little bit hypocritical when I see doctors handing out prescription only medication like they’re lollies. But I know it’s not every doctor and I understand the reasons behind the scheduling of a wide majority of substances, not just cannabis. In my personal opinion I think cannabis should be offered as medication and treated like any other medication, but I also believe that more power should be given to qualified herbalists. We should be able to prescribe cannabis to people who would most benefit from it eg. cancer patients going through chemotherapy.3
Personally, I use it in spiritual ceremonies, recreationally and for anxiety – particularly social anxiety. I use it to allow an opening of my mind whilst also allowing inner dialogue to come through without over thinking it (which I have a habit of doing if you haven’t already noticed). A lot of my close friends and family use cannabis – a few of them being highly addicted. But I also have friends and family who are extremely against it and just from talking to them I know that they’re uneducated about the whole situation.

I don’t see it as a drug – I see it as another herb that allows me to change the body, mind, emotion and spirit of an individual. Just like any other medicinal herb. Of course if you abuse it you can get into a lot of trouble, but you can abuse anything. This is why I think it’s important that a qualified practitioner such as a Herbalist or Naturopath be given more power.

General Information

*Botanical Name: Cannabis sativa & Cannabis indica. Subspecies sativa is used for it’s fibre and seed oil (among other things) whilst subspecies indica is used for medicinal and recreational purposes.1
*Medicinal Properties: Intoxicant, sedative, analgesic, anti-emetic. Traditional uses include the treatment of pain, rheumatism and asthma. The herb has been used medicinally in Ayurvedic medicine and TCM since ancient times. In the 19th century, marijuana was popularly used as a pain killer especially for menstrual cramps. Nowadays it is used for nausea caused by chemotherapy, depression and lack of appetite in AIDS patients and to lower intra-ocular pressure in cases of glaucoma. Seeds are still used in Chinese medicine as a mild treatment of constipation in elderly people and as a superfood for a nutritional boost.1 4
*Parts Used: The female flowers, associated leaves and the resin which contain the highest amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC has been the only chemical found in the plant to cause the hallucinogenic effects on the central nervous system. However, in my research I have come across the drug Marinol which contains the synthesized version of THC and has had many side effects including death.1 2

Ritual

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As stated previously I use cannabis as a way to open my mind – this can be extremely useful when I’m meditating for a particular purpose that I don’t think I can accomplish on my own. On numerous occasions I’ve heard cannabis being referred to as a ‘teacher plant’ – one of the many actually (Ayahuasca being another).
This I completely agree with because when I first started smoking, one of my friends from high school died in a car crash. It felt like after that that someone had shaken up my brain and all the information that was stored in there was out of place. The reason why I liked it was because it taught me how to get past the grief and sort everything else in my life out at the same time. It’s also taught me things about other plants and many other things besides.
I started using it in ritual about a year and a half ago after I meditated a few times high and learnt some amazing things about myself and the people around me that I would never had if I was sober – things that I use in everyday life now.

I set up the ritual as usual then roll a joint (1 part mugwort, 1 part damiana, 1 part lions tail, 1 part cannabis). Ideally I would have it sitting on my altar for a couple of days before I smoke and keep a majority of my herbs on or next to my altar. Whilst doing this I think about the purpose of the ritual and what it is I want to learn during the meditation. Of course, you still want some sort of intuitive flow so it’s important you don’t become too rigid with the question or intent. It’s also equally important to have a bullshit filter to avoid your mind going in circles or latching on to every tiny thought (meditating for 15 minutes before smoking or my Meditation flower essences can assist with that).
Next Cannabis will usually take me to the place I need to go this can be in the form of an overwhelming desire to walk down to the park or art gallery or to simply sit on the balcony. When I’m in the right space physically and mentally, I will meditate. Guided meditations are extremely helpful for me, however I’ve only come across a couple that I like it’s important that you look around a bit (music, movies or being in nature can also assist).
Next I will usually draw, paint or write what it is I see, hear or experience. Once I have what I need I usually have something high in protein to ground me again (plus some flower essences and water). Having a shower or bath or simply taking a nap can also be effective – this is why it’s important I have an entire day or night to conduct such a ritual.

Note

In my experience Cannabis needs to be smoked with respect and reverence – even if it’s just recreationally. Being educated on the herb itself and being aware of where it’s come from (hydro or bush) is also important so that you can gauge how much you will need. Of course everyone is different so it’s essential for your first time smoking to be with someone you can 100% trust, in a place that you know and that you know how to meditate effectively. Generally, it’s extremely harmful to smoke cannabis with tobacco – this is usually how people develop an addiction to cannabis. Do yourself a favour and chop up with some other herbs that can enhance the effects or offset the potential side effects.

Conclusion

It’s a bit of a riskay post but I use it a lot in my practice and I thought it was appropriate to document on my spiritual blog. Of course there is a lot more to a ritual or ceremony than meets the eye or that can be recorded in words. If anyone has any questions or comments I encourage you to come straight to me with it and I will answer or listen to the best of my ability.

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Welcome Nwyfre Raven-seer

Welcome Nwyfre Raven-seer

Firstly I’d like to say a big thank you to Moira from Ariom Designs for creating such a beautiful piece of work and allowing me to set up a payment plan.

Purpose and Goals

I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with stationery and I’ve always had diaries and journals that I keep my thoughts and feelings in. When I decided that I was going to be more serious about making my dreams of creating a culture a reality I thought it was only right that I obtain a journal that will reflect the important work I was doing – I also wanted it to last long enough to pass down to my children and maybe even my children’s children.

Welcoming Nwyfre Raven-Seer

I wanted to choose a name – I don’t like any of the words for books such as ‘Book of Shadow’ or ‘Grimoire’. I was adament on finding a name that perfectly describes the use of the book to me – I hope that when it’s passed on that it be given a new name and purpose.

*Nwyfre: (pronounced NOO-ev-ruh) is the Druidic concept of the ‘life force’ (or ‘neart’ in Scots Gaelic). The word nwyfre is a Middle Welsh word meaning ‘sky’ or ‘vigor.’ It was usually used to refer to a windy sky.
*Raven-Seer: I’ve seen the same pair of Ravens around a lot recently and Ravens have always been thought of messengers between the realms.

I wanted something full of power that was also humble – I wanted it to be truthful to me and to my roots. I looked up Indigenous Aboriginal names for things but I was never sure of the authenticity of the source and, quite obviously, don’t speak any of the languages of the First Australians (I don’t speak Welsh either but ya know). I feel this name gives a respectful nod to my ancestors whilst also being a true and modern representation of the work I’m doing.

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“No challenge given is more than we can handle… Some things we just have never done before!” xoxo Moi

The Ritual

The beginning of the ritual began during the day. When night time came I relit the incense and candles then set out my newly welcomed Raven to create an introductory page. I rolled a smoke consisting of cannabis, mugwort, lion’s tail and damiana to make the creative process flow more easily then I watched Judith Lucy’s documentary about her spiritual journey and also read a comic by Carl Sagan on ZenPencils.com. Both these pieces inspired me to use my idea for a tattoo as my front title page.  I listened to my Australia Day playlist which my fiance created for our Australia Day party that we had yesterday – it consists of only Australian artists (and I must admit that it’s gotten a lot better over the last 5 or so years). I got in touch with my breathing and floated down into the music – I let it carry me until the process became easy and gentle.

 

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Moon Cycle for Raven

I still need to fix up the background a little more and the sizes of the different moons are a little out of proportion but I thought I’d share with you anyway.

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Happy New Year – The First Full Moon of 2013

Full Moon Ritual Jan 2013

Full Moon Ritual Jan 2013

Even though I still celebrate New Years on the 31st of December like all the other people I’ve grown up with, the first full moon in January is where I really get down to business. Thankfully it also fell on the long weekend – so I actually got time to plan and conduct a decent ritual (and document it!).

Introduction

Even since this post I’ve been feeling pretty good about the things I’ve accomplished over the last few months. At the risk of sounding completely cliche I felt like it was the beginning of the rest of my life. I’ve been really getting my butt into gear with documenting this stuff – even finally going so far as to buy a decent journal to write it in so I may pass it on. This ritual was basically about saying thanks and a celebration of allowing these things to happen – I also cleansed and blessed a few of my new tools and projects for the near future.

The Ritual

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The besom

I had the house to myself today so I got to use the living room – I felt like I needed a bigger table and a more communal place to work from as this is magic that will potentially effect all areas of my life; not just my spiritual side. I set up the space as I usually would (click here to view a basic structure of a ritual) and then used my besom to sweep around the outside to banish any negative energy that may effect the outcome of the spell/ritual. I then spoke to the God and Goddess and thanked them for giving me the opportunity to be creative again (I cast a spell a little while back asking for them to ‘Reawaken the passion, reawaken the creativity”). I then cleansed and blessed all the objects I have recently collected to turn into ritual and divination tools. I also cleansed and dedicated my new tools to the God and Goddess. I named my new Journal – Nwyfre Raven-seer  (click here to view the rest of the ritual for Raven).
After this was done I had something to eat, put some music on and celebrated the new year. I remembered where I’ve been over the last year and reflected on my accomplishments – I thought about what I wanted to achieve this year and beyond.

Structure of a Basic Ritual and Spell

Introduction

The most important thing for me when I’m performing a ritual is keeping an open mind and heart. I try to allow fluid communication between me and the universe, which means that I don’t usually follow a set ritual layout. I don’t have a series of step by step instructions complete with a rhyme that I repeat whilst I light certain candles in a certain order, etc etc. I try to feel what’s right for the purpose of the ritual because, of course, each ritual has a different goal. I don’t believe in deities or I don’t believe in human representatives of immortals – maybe there are groups of energy out there that can help in a certain task but I’ve never really bonded with any of them. I also find it hard to believe that they have a likeness of us – this is what I mean when I say on my ‘About’ page that I manifest my worship into a God and Goddess model for familiarity. I don’t think they would actually be a Male and a Female human looking creature of some sort – more of just opposite energies (similar to the Yin and Yang concept).
So this layout is extremely basic. Hopefully I can get into the habit of actually documenting more of my specific rituals and spells.
NOTE: I use the words ‘ritual’ ‘spell’ and ‘praying’ interchangeably. I can do a ritual without doing a spell but I can’t do a spell without doing a ritual or praying and usually a ritual always includes praying of some kind.

Beginning

I get together all the things I’ll need for the ritual or spell – usually this includes my god and goddess statues, candles/incense, lighter/matches and something to help me focus on the purpose of the ritual. This could include stones, sticks, feathers, tarot/oracle cards, flowers, personal items, paper, etc.
I also usually have some water, some food and my Meditation flower essences (White Chestnut, Wild Oat, Clematis, Cerato and Heather) close at hand. I have these things close by because I’m a dreamer and if I don’t ground myself well after the practice I can start feeling quite out of sorts – it’s a blessing as well as a curse. It makes it easy for me to slip into ritual and spellwork but not so easy for me to come back out again or to even be that productive in my day to day life.

Here's an example of a structure of a ritual - this one isn't my usual but it's got all the basic elements.

Here’s an example of a structure of a ritual – this one isn’t my usual but it’s got all the basic elements.

Usually I’ll have the God on the left, Goddess on the right and the incense/candle in the middle with the point of focus around the center. Where I put the point of focus object usually changes depending on if I’m using other things for the ritual (such as a wand, pentacle, cauldron, herbs, burning of paper, etc). I tend to make it look balanced and pretty – that’s the Libran coming out in me.

Body

Once I’m set up I meditate – I pay attention to my breathing and strengthen my personal boundaries. Usually this involves visualisation techniques which for me include roots extending from my tail bone/spine into the Earth, which I then use to neutralise my thoughts and feelings (negative into the Earth and positive into me). I also use this connection to strengthen my boundaries – this is called by a few different names and everyone sees (or imagines) it differently. I refer to it as my aura but it’s also my ‘bubble’ and it’s where my presence is outside of my body in space – my ‘personal space’. I do this so that I know where to come back to and to know that while I’m off having a journey my body is safe inside a strong barrier.
Whilst I do this I’m simultaneously sending out a ‘Hello? I’m here’ signal to anything that would like to communicate.
NOTE: I think it’s important to establish a boundary before talking to anything so make sure your boundary is bright and strong enough for things to come in only if you invite them.

Once I am happy with the state of my boundaries I will carry out the spell or ritual (Here is some examples of spells and rituals that I do) and here is where it varies. Sometimes I will light incense and carry out the spell imagining that the smoke is sending off my wishes to the universe, sometimes I will only imagine that once I’ve blown out a candle with the smoke off the wick – this depends on the purpose of the spell/ritual. Sometimes I will wear certain clothes or other objects to enhance communication with particular animal totems or other beings or sometimes I will just use a feather, a photo, an oracle card, etc as the focus object. Sometimes I will write what it was I want to achieve down but only if the words come to me easily. Again, hopefully I can try to document more of my rituals and spellwork.
Another great example of ritual would be my yoga practice. Some of the time it’s just exercise but a majority of the time it’s a spiritual event for me and I begin the same way I would any other ritual or spell.

End

The end is usually marked by a feeling of completion or the incense running out (but I have been known to light another incense stick or cone). At this point I blow out the candle and meditate again – strengthening my boundaries and so forth. I drink some water, have a little to eat and move around. I also find it useful to consciously identify objects (that’s a blue towel, I can hear a piano playing, etc). It’s also good habit to say thank you to whoever or whatever you were dealing with – I must admit I haven’t been all that good with offerings because I even forget to eat myself (see what I mean about being a dreamer!). I do try to leave some food out for the local birds because they usually accompany me but I don’t too often because I don’t want them depending on it. If I haven’t done the ritual or spell away from an altar space, I will leave the altar set up usually this includes spells or rituals to attract wealth, if it’s a ritual for the turning of the wheel or if I’ve done a spell for someone.

Goals for the Future
+ Try to hash out a basic structure to write in my journal.
+ Have two way communication with my animal totem eg. meditate with it specifically in mind and ask if it wants/needs anything, make some offerings to it specifically.
+ Come up with a more solid way to honor the God and Goddess. A short invocation at the beginning or end? Or maybe try to incorporate them into celebrations more. Leave offerings regularly.
+ Research some Aboriginal deities and see if any resonate with me.

My Animal Totem

Yesterday I watched Lupa’s video on Animal Totemism (you can watch it here) and whilst I kind of already knew a lot of the ‘basics’ already through my own practice with animals I found there were still little bits and pieces that I found very useful – it’s now conscious.

When I say that ‘it’s now conscious’ I’m referring to Jung’s concept of the shadow and the ego. I’ve not read this guy’s books but I have read a thing or two about his theories (more through other authors who expand on his ideas). Basically, I work in two ways – my subconcious and my conscious. My animal totems were more of a subconscious or ‘shadow’ part of my practice meaning that I’ve never really used them for any particular purpose, I mostly just felt comforted when I saw them. Sure I have ‘rituals’ dedicated to them but they’re mostly on the I’ll-wear-a-kookaburra-feather-in-my-hair side as opposed to the let’s-meditate-and-talk side. I’m aware that this is probably a really poor way of explaining it because some people would argue that meditation is a subconscious thing – but hey, that’s where I’m at right now and that’s what I’m doing here so for now that’s what I’m going with.

Anyway, Lupa’s video has inspired me to get more in touch with my Totem which is the Kookaburra. I’ve been observing Kookaburra’s since I was quite young and have always felt comforted and safe whenever they were around. I’ve never actually done any meditations to find out that they were my totem – one day in high school they started appearing during times of great stress and anxiety. I hated high school and I felt like they were always there protecting me because they would always turn up when I was making a big decision or thinking about something important.

Today, I started sketching a Kookaburra from a photo I took of one not that long ago – during that time I went into a bit of a meditation. Kookaburra’s have been seen as a symbol for healing and I’ve never really understood that until I was drawing this picture. The thing is, art used to be my life – I remember saying to a friend in high school that “I don’t know what I would do without art” but since graduating I’ve hardly even done a thing. I’ve attempted a few works but never finished. I was lazy with my photography and always thought too much about what it was I was doing. During this sketch I realised that the thing I loved most about art was that I could disappear into it – I meditated and my whole world was consumed with whatever it was I was painting/creating. It’s probably the first time I’ve done that (sober) since I graduated high school and I definitely think I’m on the right track.

Basically: Kookaburra = Healing Through Art

I’ll continue to blog about this part of my life – I need to paint, draw and create more.

Family Ties

Family Ties

Ok, so I’m sorry about the really crap (and old) picture but I always seem to forgot to document my spells. I guess it’s not all that important but one day I will show you how I do them. This photo I posted 2 years ago on my tumblr and it’s of one of my first spells. Here’s my description of it (and please excuse the magic with a ‘k’)

“Yesterday dad left for Perth. He’s moved over there for 6 months for a job. Before he left I made me, dad, my sister and mum little braids which I called “Family Ties”. They’re made of 4 pieces of fabric which have different colours and patterns woven together into one. I charmed them a little, nothing major. It was mostly just mental, picturing my family and each persons trait as I wove their piece in and what I wished for each of them and the family as a whole. The words I wrote felt magickal so hopefully if I believe in it then it will be true. So mote it be, as they say haha.
I also believe that because the fabric was sourced from the same piece of material that they’re all linked so I can cast a spell on mine and that will cast the same spell on the others.”

The significance of this (a part from the fact you can clearly see how much I’ve grown in my craft since then) is that when Dad moved over to Perth my parents marriage pretty much went to shit. Maybe that’s why I made these Family Ties in the first place; because I could feel it coming. Either way I recently decided that they weren’t helping any of us anymore and possibly even hindering each of us as individuals.

So today I undid the spell. It was a pretty hard decision to make but I think I made the right one – basically I feel like I’ve ‘given up’ on my family. I know that’s not true though because I’ve done it for the right reasons and to help each person individually instead of the family unit as a whole.
What I did was:
– I gathered my Family Tie and my little piece of paper that explain the reasons behind each piece of fabric.
– I lit a candle, had a shower then burnt the end of my Family Tie. I kept burning it until the knot had completely burnt off which allowed me to untie each piece individually.
– I then burnt the piece of paper and thought about each person and how this change could possibly help them.
– Then I buried the fabric pieces in the ground (or my version of the ground which is a potted plant outside lol).

I did feel a bit of a weight off my shoulders but I don’t think it’ll sink in for a while yet.