I found these beautiful stones in the middle of the Australian bush, some of them were laying in the dirt but most of them were being pounded by the cool waters of the river. Collecting these stones were fun – something I don’t allow myself to experience often.
I have a plans for a few of these gifts from nature but I won’t divulge too much yet. Surprises are fun!
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.
This weekend was the Dark of the Moon and lucky for me I got the weekend off work. My fiance and I went camping in the middle of the Australian bush next to a beautiful river that flowed down from the mountains. I saw this as the opposite of the first full moon of 2013 as it marks the end or beginning of the first moon cycle of the year (depending on how you look at it I guess).
Not much conscious decision making or planning went into this trip. I’d only gotten the weekend off maybe two days beforehand, we started packing at 10.30pm the night before which led to us forgetting a bunch of stuff and we hadn’t even really decided where we were going until we started unpacking the car. I must say though, it was one of the best holidays I’ve had.
The purpose of the get away, for me, was to celebrate the new moon but I didn’t take any of my ritual items a part from my diary and some herbs. In hindsight though everything I needed was there – Brian and I, nature, a fire, some paper and a pen. This year is a big one for us as individuals and us as a couple. Big changes are coming, our personalities will be tested and we’ll be pushed to our limits. Lots of decisions need to be made, responsibilities need fulfilling and experiencing life needs to be made a priority. We talked, contemplated, laughed, made love, feared and comforted each other. We learnt about each other as we always do whilst camping – it always leaves us closer together than when we start unpacking the tent on the first day (a clear sign is how much we fight when we’re putting it up vs. taking it down).
Before we were about to leave we washed ourselves in the river and both wrote down our wishes and hopes for the coming year. We read them to each other and they both contained the same basic elements – then we sent them down the river.
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.
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.
*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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It rained all day – literally I was woken up just before dawn and it was already raining. It wasn’t a drizzle or downpour but it was raining steadily. Generally this is an unusual thing for the 27th of January – my sisters birthday is on the 25th and we pretty much always had a pool party because it was so hot. It’s been a nice change though since Sydney has had the most days over 40C in 100 years this summer.
Haven’t heard much from any birds or other animals today. The corn is about ready to harvest, the peas are dead from heat and the beetroot has big leaves but not so big roots.
The last week or so has been hot and humid. We’ve had very gusty winds and a light sprinkle of rain on and off for the last couple of days. There was also fog the other morning – could we be heading into autumn already?
The corn we’re growing is about ready to harvest and all the other plants we’re growing have been absolutely loving the change in weather. My lemon balm died in the heat and the bean plant seems to have a disease brought on by the hot weather (we’ll need to plant it earlier in the season I think).
There’s this one bird in the tree outside our bedroom window and it’s been quite active lately – I have no idea what it’s name is though. I found two of it’s feathers yesterday while I was weeding (it seems to be following me). Another sunny morning – before the rains were blown in again – we woke up to the sound of what sounded like 5 kookaburra’s laughing right outside our window! When it was a reasonable hour I went out to find them all mucking around in the gum tree next to the jetty (the same one I sat under the other day). There are still baby magpie’s following their parents making a racket – admittedly not as much as when they were younger but I honestly think they’re getting too old to still be trying to scab food off their parents (it’s been months since they hatched). Have seen them further down the road though so they’re getting themselves out there. They still come around looking for food here but I’ve decided to stop feeding them because we’re moving soon and I don’t want them freaking out the new people or the new people doing something stupid.
I don’t remember what dream came first – if I don’t know any better I’d say they were happening simultaneously.
I was in the past with my ex-boyfriend. It seemed I was reliving our relationship, there was this part where he really upset me. We were in the backyard of my Nan and Pop’s old place and we were children – there was a cave of some sort? I remember it being dark but not night time. I remember getting upset and being really scared of him. I ran away and found mum inside the house and I sat between her and my nan (my aunty was there too). I kind of hid behind her when my ex came in looking for me. He saw me and mum said something to him then he left.
It then cut to my fiance and I’s wedding. I don’t really remember anything a part from how happy I felt.
Note: My dreams seem to be happening right in the middle of the night because I wake up whilst it’s still dark after them. I should write them down as soon as I wake up so I remember them better but I don’t really want to have to get out of bed just to write down a dream. Will think of something.