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The Opening of the Gates

This is how the solar eclipse looked from my hometown in Mexico. Notice the two pillars of light at each end. The moon is right in the middle Blessings to all of you!
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A Day of Eclipses, Elixirs, and Other Brews...


Good morning to all. I wanted to take this little opportunity first and foremost to thank you for following this well-intended blog. Secondly, I wanted to say how sorry I am that I have not been able to keep it as up-to-date as I want to, but I am taking control of my life once more, getting back on that ridding horse and moving on after the whirlpool of events that almost drowned my soul. Yet, there is light after all, and once you achieve it, there is no stopping you from returning from that land of lost souls to help others.

Today marks a very special occasion, as a Solar Eclipse is upon us. If you wish more information about the whens and wheres, here is a link to the Huffington Post website that tells you all about it (HERE). As for me? I plan to enjoy one of the most magnificent things this universe has to offer. During this event, all those energies we have been gathering around (good and bad) can be renewed, as the energies of the sun combine with those of Earth and the moon. 


Check out this post at Gypsy Magic about the 2012 Solar Eclipse.

Happy magic, everyone! 
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13 Goals of a Witch

By Lady Abigail
from Ravensgrove Coven
(https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ravensgrove-Coven)

 

The Thirteen Goals of a Witch


These goals were written by Scott Cunningham. I find them very important and significant. What I love about them is that they are not a bunch of lofty, unattainable goals. They are a way of life, and realistic things that can be achieved through work and dedication. I think that we should remind ourselves of them daily. Have them written somewhere in your home. Know them by heart and say them out loud to yourself every day.

Know yourself
Who are you? Do you really know all there is to know about yourself? Getting to know who we are is a life time journey. We are always growing and changing. The exploration of the soul is the most important journey you will ever make...and the longest one too :)

Know your Craft
The Craft. So many different ways of worship. So many traditions! Knowing your chosen Craft path doesn't end when you have read all the 'right' books or after initiation. That is, in a sense the beginning of knowing your Craft.

Learn
To achieve any of these goals, you must be on a constant quest to learn more. More about yourself, your Craft and the world around you.

Apply knowledge with wisdom
Some people seem to think that these 2 words are interchangeable. They are not. Knowledge is what you know. You gain knowledge through various forms of study. Wisdom is something else entirely. It is something that can not be taught. It is that which you gain through experience and intuition.
Combine your knowledge with your wisdom.

Achieve balance
This seems to be something of a challenge as many of us have busy lives. We have many responsibilities and it can be difficult at times to just stop..take a deep breath , and put your personal priorities into perspective. This means creating balance in your life. Spiritual, emotional and physical. If you don't have balance, you're unbalanced. It's as simple as that. Make time to achieve balance...you won't regret it.

Keep your thoughts in good order
Self explanatory.

Keep your words in good order
Self explanatory but the quotes "Speak little, listen much" come to mind, along with "Think before you speak".

Celebrate life

Enjoy your life! Celebrate it and all of the wonders it brings you. There is cause for celebration every day. From the simple things like waking up, enjoying a nice cup of tea or a warm bath to the more obvious ones. In Pagan books of days, you see that everyday is cause for celebration.

Attune with the cycles of the Earth
This can be a tough thing to do if your schedule seems destined to keep you indoors. Working long hours in a concrete building with no window, driving in grid lock traffic and then rushing to take care of your house hold tasks. Our ways worship the Earth and there are ways (no matter how busy you are) to attune with the cycles of the Earth.. It just takes some creativity and imagination.

Breathe and eat correctly
The importance of eating correctly is fairly obvious. You are what you eat. Unfortunately, since healthy living has come in to major focus, many have become confused about just what is and is not good for you. There are, however some foods that never come into question. Fresh fruits/ vegetables and grains. A balanced diet that includes these every day is essential. Breathing is something that is not discussed very much. There are yoga and meditation books and web pages that do discuss the importance of adopting a calm, slow and deep breathing pattern.

Exercise the body

Self explanatory.

Meditate
Meditation is (in my opinion) as important to your health as a proper diet and regular exercise. It is also imperative, along with visualization for successful rituals, spells and divination.

Honor the Goddess and God
Self explanatory.
2

The Rose

 (From "Sticks, Stones, Roots, and Bones" by Stephanie Rose Bird)


No other plant is as intimately linked to love as the rose (Rosa spp.). When working with roses, seek out the old-fashioned scented types, such as those listed below, rather than the more neutral tea roses. Roses are beautiful, and like the lotus, they suggest female genitalia in the height of passion. The blush of the rose is often linked to the blush of a bride or a sexual partner during orgasm. In parts of Africa and the Middle East, holy temples are spiritually cleansed entirely with highly potent Bulgarian rose water. Rose water enhances the sacred environment.

A little-known fact is that roses are a systemic nervine (translation: they calm and soothe your nerves). Only your imagination sets the limits when it comes to using roses in love-drawing potions and tricks.

Old-Fashioned Shrub Roses for the Hoodoo's Garden

1. Apothecary's Rose -- This is a richly fragance, medicinal rose with a spicy scent.

2. Belle de Crecy -- This is considered the purest rose scent.

3. Bulgarian Rose and Damask -- The sweet, fragant roses from which quality rose water and attar of roses is made.

4. Celestial -- Contains the aroma of clean skin.

5. Madam Isaac Pereire, Guinee, and Souvenir de la Malmaison -- These are stunning and fragant.

6. Maiden's Blush -- This is considered to be refined.


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The Origins of Brighid


by Paula Jean West
(Fragg)
CIRCLE Magazine On Line
Brighid, the Goddess to whom I had dedicated myself, is the Celtic Goddess of inspiration, healing, and smithcraft. She is one of the best examples of the survival of a Pagan Goddess into Christian times. She was canonized as St. Brigit by the Roman Catholic Church and various stories are given of Her origins and Her life. She was a Druid's daughter, described in the Carmina Gadelica as the "daughter of Dugall the brown." She is reported to have predicted the coming of Christianity and to have been baptized by St. Patrick. Popular folk tales describe Her as the midwife to the Virgin Mary, and She is thus always called upon by women in labor. The Christian St. Brigit was a nun, and later an Abbess, who founded an Abbey at Kildare in Ireland. She was said to have had the power to appoint the bishops of Her area, an unlikely role for an Abbess, made stranger by Her unusual requirement that these bishops also be practicing goldsmiths.



In ancient times, the Goddess Brighid had a shrine at Kildare, with a perpetual flame tended by nineteen virgin priestesses called Daughters of the Flame. No man was permitted to come near Brighid's shrine and neither did Her priestesses consort with men. Even food and supplies were brought to the priestesses by women from the nearby village. When Catholicism overtook Ireland, Brighid's Fire Temple became a convent and the priestesses became nuns, but the same traditions were upheld and the eternal flame kept burning. Each day a different priestess/nun was in charge of the sacred fire and on the 20th day of each cycle, the fire was miraculously tended by the Goddess/Saint Herself.



For more than a thousand years thereafter, the sacred flame was tended by nuns. In 1220 CE, though, the Bishop became angered by the no-males policy of the Abbey of St. Brigid of Kildare. He insisted that nuns were subordinate to priests and must open their abbey and submit to inspection by a priest. When the Brigidine nuns refused and asked for another Abbess or other female official to perform the inspections, the Bishop was furious. He decreed that the keeping of the eternal flame was a Pagan custom, and ordered the sacred flame to be extinguished. Despite this persecution, St. Brigit remains to this day the most popular saint in Ireland, along with St. Patrick. In the1960s, though, Vatican II declared there was insufficient proof of St. Brigit's sanctity, or even of Her historical existence, and She was decanonized, so that the Roman Church's campaign against Her became successful. Recently, however, despite the initial protests of the Roman Catholic church, two nuns, by the name of Sister Mary and Sister Phil, have reestablished the worship of St. Brigit at Kildare and have relit Her sacred flame, which burns once more. The first modern Candlemas/Imbolc celebration at the ancient site of Brighid's sacred well in 1997 drew hundreds of people and grows every year in popularity. The flame of Brighid's love burns brightly once more.
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Blessed Imbolc!



Imbolc (Gaelic for "in the belly"), is also known as Candlemas, the Festival of Lights, or the Feast of St. Brigid. At this cross-quarter or midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, we begin to see the first signs of life and the promise of Spring! We celebrate the triple Goddess Brigid (Ireland), also interpreted as Bride (Scotland) and Brigantia (England). She is the ultimate domestic Goddess, keeper of the sacred hearth flame and the patroness of poets, healers, and craft workers. Inspiration is the spark of her passion and we drink at her sacred spring of knowledge!

"May Brigid bless the house wherein you dwell.
Bless every fireside, every wall and door.
Bless every heart that beats beneath its roof.
Bless every hand that toils to bring it joy.
Bless every foot that walks its portals through.
May Brigid bless the house that shelters you.”

- Brigid’s Blessing



RITUALS

Kindle Your Inner Flame: Light a fire in your hearth or make/decorate and bless a special candle for your altar. Take some time to purify your mind, body, and soul. Then invite Brigid to spark your creativity and fan the embers of inspiration! Be sure to rake the ashes in your fireplace smooth before you go to bed so you can see Her footprints in them, in case she passes that way during the night.

Wear Brigid’s Mantle: Leave a shawl, scarf, handkerchief, scraps of fabric, or string in a tree or bush outside your door on Imbolc Eve. Brigid’s blessing will transform them into “Brat Bhride” (Brigid’s mantle or cloak) for personal protection and health throughout the year.

Weave Brigid’s Wheel: These charms can be made from rushes, palms, wheat, willow or even colorful pipe cleaners and can be hung above your hearth or door to protect your home throughout the year
Make Butter: Imbolc is closely associated with mother’s milk (ewe or sheep’s milk in particular), and the act of making butter is nothing short of magical! You could simply beat heavy whipping cream in a mixer until it “breaks,” but nothing compares to hand shaking real butter in a glass jar—it’s much easier and more fun that you might think. Be sure to support your local, organic dairy!

Visit Sacred Springs: If you are lucky enough to have a natural spring or seasonal stream near your home, now is a great time to consecrate your body and respectfully collect Her sacred waters for magical workings. Be sure to leave an offering in reverent gratitude, such as a colorful ribbon or yarn of natural material tied to a nearby branch.

Create a Vision Board: Grab a stack of magazines, some poster board, and start placing words and images together into a collage that represents what you’d like to attract and manifest this year. This is a great activity to help kids visualize their intentions and indentify common goals for your family. Put them in a spot where everyone can see and encourage one another!

Start Your Spring Cleaning: Clean out your hearth, cut through the clutter, and use your besom to clear out any stagnant energy. Smudge each room, your ritual tools/altar, and open the windows to let in some healthy, fresh air!



BRIGID'S FEAST

This is the feast of hearth and home, so it’s a perfect time to conjure a hearty winter stew or comforting cottage pie. To top it off, why not showcase the element of fire with a decadent Crème Brulée or a dramatic flambé such as Cherries Jubilee, Bananas Foster, or Crepes Suzette? As always, fresh and local foods are the best for seasonal feasts. There are many late winter options to choose from, including a variety of root vegetables, but you can also supplement with foods you have canned or frozen throughout the course of the year.

• Vegetables: Onions, leeks, potatoes, carrots, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage

• Grains: Gingerbread, carrot bread/cake, honey cakes, oat cakes, porridge

• Dairy: Milk and cheese (especially Greek Feta and Pecorino Romano), fresh butter

• Fruits: Dried fruits and raisins, pomegranates, oranges/clementines, lemons, pears, cranberries

• Nuts and seeds: Sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds

• Beverages: Mead, blackberry wine, pear cider



FLOWERS & HERBS

There may be snow on the ground in many places, but signs of new life are all around--if you are looking. The first cold-hearty buds and blooms of spring are filled with vibrant color, fragrance, and quickening magic!

• Camelias: Luxury/riches, admiration, memory

• Snowdrops: death/cleansing, passing of sorrow [should not be picked]

• Narcissus (Daffodils, Paperwhite): Respect, harmony, tranquility, fertility, abundance

• Crocus: New love, intuition, vision/divination

• Fruit tree blossoms: Immortality, fertility, friendship, love, luck

• Maple buds: Balance, healing, knowledge/intellect, communication

• Pine Cones: Fertility, hope, longevity, purification, protection

• Frankincense (resin): Calming/focus energy, cleansing/healing, protection

• Myrrh (resin): Spirituality/communion with Goddess, cleansing/healing, protection


FRom
Witches Rising
www.facebook.com/WitchesRising

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Demons of Habit: An Approach to Self-Iniciation

Ray Sherwin

Practitioners of magick, whether or not they admit the activity to themselves, can be roughly divided into two groups - the devotional and the power-seeking - although the boundary between then may not be distinct; indeed both can be seen to fulfil the same need. There is a human drive to validate the existence of the individual and where there is difficulty in fulfilling this need existential neurosis is the result. The devotionalist fills this vacuum in a number of ways - through faith in god or gods, through nature or the past and to this extent he may see himself as a religionist, a scientist, a historian, a pagan, a magician or a combination of these.


The power-seeker, although he may allow for the possibility of a macrocosmic force, seeks to discover and make use of the god-like powers within himself, not usually to acquire mundane riches or power but to satisfy himself that he is more than he appears to be and to improve his condition.

Both groups are aiming to bring their lives into completion, the completeness which confers a tranquillity not possible in the vacuum of mundane self. The High Magician, the ley hunter, the church goer and the naked pagan all seek in different ways to add something to their lives, something which can only be described poetically. The devotionalist (this category includes scientists) does it by considering himself to be part of something greater than himself. The power-seeker does it by attempting to prove to himself that he is more than the shell which other people, and some times he himself, see.

I have no inclination towards the devotional except when the spirit moves me. At times I can, like the poet, admire the sea or the skies and wonder at the oneness of it all. In this mode I am a child who feels this or that for the first time and gasps in astonishment. If I could maintain the sense of wonder no doubt I would be a devotionalist for there is nothing to surpass that sense of awe.

Instead I am a sceptic, a seeker who believes in nothing, preferring to rely on the power of self and on the observations made by self to fill the space which the devotionalist fills with god or some cognate notion.

This course, taken out of proclivity rather than choice, places a great strain on the psyche. During times of stress the devotionalist can turn to something outside of himself which he genuinely believes to be real but the celebrant in the cult of self is unable to do this. He must either turn in or turn off. To turn in he must be strong and, above all, he must love himself, a singularly difficult task in times of stress, yet it is usually stress in some form which urges him along his path. A content individual is a dead individual and change is the nursery of every advance in every field including that of personal evolution. A content individual seeks to change nothing. Realising this the magician intentionally puts himself into stress situations in an effort to find new aspects of himself and solutions to the problems which those newly discovered aspects pose. The discovery and synthesis of these vital signs is the purpose of the system outlined below.

There are no new methods in magick - merely refinements and rearrangements of old ones. The self-integration process of driving out neuroses through meditation and abreaction is the same method in essence as would be used to drive the self on to greater things. The word 'evolution’ has been worked to death in this context but it is as near a word as we can have. Traditional and modern magical methods have failed to initiate it because by and large it is their nature to confuse the mind except for the part which is presumed to be the seat of intention or will. Gnosis is the word that we have given to this technique of confusion and undoubtedly it has its effects but no one yet seems to have tried the way of clarity except in the most desultory fashion.

Man is a lazy creature of habit. Laziness may indeed have been one of the reasons for his evolution so far, encouraging him, as it must have done, to find easier ways to survive than the conditions in which he found himself permitted. Habit, even in complex activities, reduces the amount of concentration required for the execution of a task. The simple expedient of the grasping thumb would have necessitated a great deal of concentration at the time when the faculty began to develop as would the development of three-dimensional vision and the beginnings of coherent thought and language. In ancient times it would have been the individuals capable of using these newly developed faculties who would be looked upon as magicians -the ones who could run quickly, produce tools with greater precision or bring together their observation and skill to produce ideographs - yet they would be quickly emulated by those whose faculties were only slightly less developed. The ones who were not physically or mentally capable did not survive.

On the grand scale activities like grasping with the thumb and seeing three-dimensionally became habitual. We do not need to think about them and in the latter case it is supremely difficult to reverse the process and see everything on a flat plane.

Habit reduces the degree of concentration necessary for the performance of any task and, in so doing, application in other areas and brain, unused because it is no longer called upon for the maintenance of the organisni, which provides a key to a new system of magick. Here we have a large reservoir of potential concentration which is not being used.

Because he is a lazy creature of habit man prefers comfort to adventure and stasis to motion in both the physical and mental sense. Only the greatest minds break out of this stasis to produce something n vital and essential. For the vast majority who can only see their capabilities during rare periods of unusual lucidity life goes on as normal, the supreme being rejected in favour of the habitual/comfortable.

Traditionally the magician forced himself to do those things which his personality decreed would wait until tomorrow. This method failed because it relied on the imposition of new habits, albeit self-imposed rather than arbitrary ones, without stating its aims.

That man is incapable of performing those tasks which at certain times he sees as being essential is bad enough, but that to a large extent he is incapable of thinking the thoughts he knows to be essential is insufferable. Various concentration exercises have been devised and used in the past and of those some have, in part, been successful , but never yet to the extent that a single man has been able to tap his own hidden resources in the fields of E.S.P. or magick. Whenever he has the inclination to do anything new laziness or gross appetite intervene. In the case of thought concentration his body, current problems or more appealing thoughts interfere, tantalising hini away from his purpose.

This is perhaps an over statement for, to be sure, the average man can concentrate sufficiently to solve chess problems or fill in his income tax returns but not enough to move objects by the power of his mind alone or to communicate without the use of speech. Nor can he sustain the control of his mind functions long enough to explore the unmapped territory of his mind, which process is the magician's priority.

It is as though there is a censorship mechanism in the brain or in the mind which prevents us from doing these things and whether it is seen as a function of the Holy Guardian Angel, as a natural and necessary barrier or, as some have seen it, as the work of demons or aliens resident in the mind, it is clearly an objective of the magician to bypass or destroy it. 'Man know thyself' is inadequate instruction. The magician must map his consciousness from within, wearing down the censorship niechanism until it no longer interferes with his overall strategy.

The first tactic to this end is a catalogue of daily activities. There are many reasons why we do things - indeed we sometimes find it amusing to do something for no apparent reason. The magician must analyse every action he makes and satisfactorily explain the reason for each until his mind begins to clear through the increase in 'licit' actions and the dropping out of ‘illicit’ actions. At this point he would be performing willed and necessary actions and not bending to habit or appetite. The possible reasons for the performance (or omission) of any action are manifold.

1.Necessity: health, welfare, income, evolution/development. The last sub-category can be misleading. Activities such as reading or making whatever could be classified under the heading of development. The magician must be ruthless in analysing their function.


2.Habit: smoking is an obvious example. Leaving aside the question of health which does not apply to all habitual actions it is only necessary to identify habitual activities. These might further be subdivided into habits which interfere with Category 1 functions and those which do not. In either case the magician should aim to desist from their performance.

3.Appetite: this includes eating, drinking, sex, drug-abuse and any activity whose only result is to stimulate the organism in some way spurious to the needs of necessity or nature.

4.Fear: that is, fear of the consequences should certain actions not be performed.

5.Laziness: Any of the activities listed above could also belong to this category, even income. The man who uses his mundane work as an excuse not to do those things he really needs to do is a clerk who will never become Einstein.

6.Unselfassuredness: "I will not prepare a meal because I am not a good cook". Forced into the situation any man can become Robinson Crusoe. "I am not a good telepath" is insufficient reason not to try - and perhaps succeed.

7.Time-measuring: activities which serve only to amuse until a time when more important activities can be performed - a walk in the woods or an hour watching the video.

Further reasons might be listed as


a) Bravado

b) pride

c) anxiety to please

d) ambition - usually a conditioned or self-conditioned reflex which serves no other purpose than the fulfilment of b or c.

e) the herd complex - doing as others do

f) stimulus response

The observation and critical analysis of one’s actions is of paramount importance but this cannot be done in a vacuum. To begin with, at least, the process should be performed as part of a routine of supplementary disciplines in order to achieve maximum effect.


The first important question in setting up such a routine is that of time.

Magicians, whatever their aims and methods, have always acknowledged that certain times are better than others for their workings. In traditional magick the correct time for an operation was calculated by painfully complicated and arbitrary methods involving irrational planetary significances. The modern school did not specify particular times as being desirable for its workings but since its method was to confuse ratiocinity in order to liberate the will it was only natural that its works be conducted during the hours of darkness. For works of initiation and other such theatrical occasions this was, and still is, the most sensible approach. This assertion comes not only as a result of the inherent fear of that which cannot be seen or that which lurks in the shadows but also the feeling of solitude experienced during the hours of silence when most people are asleep.

The nightside is the time for inspiration. During the restless period before sleep or between bouts of sleep it seems that there is no limit to one’s capabilities or powers. Belief in the whole gamut of extra-sensorial abilities is at its height at these times but this belief pales with the cold light of dawn when the mentative processes become more lucid. When a person has been awake long after his normal sleep threshold has been passed his clarity of thought must be called into question but convictions of belief, although they originate liminally, must be more fantasy since, in the case of sigils and so on, they have been seen to have an effect on both the waking perspective and the willed organisation of coincidence.

There is no question of duality here. Only of the practicalities of different qualities of thought process. During the hours of daylight the bustle of daily business is the only barrier to lucid thinking. Magick performed on the dayside may not be romantic, dramatic or mysterious but if clarity of thought is the object it is obviously preferable since it is only during periods of clarity that an analysis of one’s actions can be made and appropriate remedial actions be devised.


The magical activities of day and night are not opposites, merely different techniques which may be used to achieve different objectives. It is when the nightside consciousness creeps into the day, when there is an inability to distinguish between the two, that problems arise, the sufferer believing himself capable of anything and yet unable to demonstrate his belief. This disparity between belief and ability ultimately leads to madness. This is why, when the magician finds it necessary to use gnostic, nightside techniques he should make the usual safeguards in addition to emphasizing in his record that he is to perform such a working.


For the magician, skilled as he is in the methods of conjuration and sigilisation, the easiest way to become acquainted with (and to eliminate) the tricks of the mind which prevent him working to capacity is to personify them as demons each with its own name and sigil.

To be charitable to the practitioner of traditional magick it may be that when he invoked Behemoth, demon of the delights of the belly and then banished him he was attempting to understand his own gross appetites and ultimately to rid himself of them. But even if this were the case an operation of such an isolated nature would have had little or no permanent effect on him. Anyway, there is little benefit in identifying with a demon of someone else's creation since the notion exemplified by it will manifest in many different ways for different individuals or in some cases it might not manifest at all.

A number of morning meditations produces a list of categories of action as shown before. Licit activities, those listed under 1. need not be personified but all the others should be named and provided with a sigil or even a portrait. The names and pictographs may be totally arbitrary or could be arrived at through word association or similar methods.

Having identified hts demons the magician must then settle down to observing their action which, in itself, may negate the effects of some of them. In order to destroy the more irrepressible of them, however, he needs adopt a daily regime, a cycle of action which not only aids his analysis of them but also provides supplementary activities to reinforce his original strategy. That strategy should never be far from his mind.


At this stage the benefits of observing one's actions so closely may not be apparent. That doing so will inevitably encourage the magician to do something he has been intending to do for years is merely a by-product except inasmuch as that something may be a category 1. function. That, in theory, observing one's actions and recording them causes the magician to devote a much larger proportion of his time to them is more important. The vital part of the system is that illicit actions be realised for what they are and not be allowed to interfere with category 1: functions present or proposed

A typical category 1. function is eating. if, because I am too lazy to buy food, I die of starvation it is as a result of the intervention of Zalin. In fact my instinct would always prove much stronger than him in such cases because the survival mechanism, an integral category I. function, is such as to be unaffected by demonic onslaughts of this kind. Should I become fat and unhealthy as the result of a combined attack by Zalin and Aheb, however, the case is not so clear. Category 1. functions badly affected can only defend themselves through the observation of potential disaster and the application of will . These are types of problem that everyone occasionally has to deal with but confronted by the problem 'Why can't I perform telekinesis?' another category I. function (leaving aside for the moment the question of concentration) the solution must be one, or a combination of, the following:

a) I do not believe it possible.
b) I have not spent enough time in attempting it.
c) I do not believe it to be necessary.
d) I have better things to do.
e) I don't know where to begin.
f) I don't want to fail so I haven’t attempted it.
g) I know I can do it but I have better things to do.

In the event that I do not believe it possible I succumb to my present level of performance denying myself the option of greater capacity by not recognising that the belief is arbitrary or prejudiced. In all other cases I am being assailed by the demons who are expelled through observation and confrontation. The more victorious I am over them in the mundane areas of category 1 the better I am fitted to repel those of their seductions which deny my magick success.

 As a result of his training the magician is superbly capable of disengaging his disbelief; he does this every time he enters his temple and every time he makes an invocation.

The traditional magician used an arbitrary tool - the grimoire of demons. The present proposal is that in observing and identifying his demons the magician writes his own grimoire, a text which explores the every trick of each demon in an effort to thwart it. He can contemplate his actions as much as he likes but he will find it much easier to rid himself of personality accretions of this nature when he has suspended his disbelief sufficiently to see illicit actions as being the machinations of something outside himself with its own will and personality. It is easier by far to destroy a demon than to nullify the effects of a function which the ego is anxious to maintain.

The record is the magician's mirror. In it he sees himself not as others see him but as he is. In it his qualities and faults are exposed and available for scrutiny; in it his successes and his failures are meticulously recorded. It is his glory and his shame but that glory is not in success, that shame not in his failure. The glory is in his works attempted, the shame in th~ unrecorded day. It is a permanent book written carefully and clearly, illustrated where necessary in order that others may learn from his successes and failures.

The basis of the record is the oath which is no more and no less than a statement. It is not a promise to or a pact with any exterior power or energy no matter how real such a force may be to the magician. It is a statement of the magician's needs and motives tempered by the strategy on which he has decided but it is not static and may be changed or amended in accordance with his development. Delineating his position thus clearly is great value when he faces difficulty in deciding a particular course of action even when he decides that the oath itself must be changed. In such event his explanation of the change results in a clear restatement.

This matter is not a task which can be completed quickly. For an oath to be useful it must be uncompromising and encouraging, confining the magician to licit activity in whichever way he has defined it yet permitting the broadening of his self awareness, pointing him constantly in the direction he has chosen.

Having written his oath and meditated upon it to confirm its suitability the magician copies it into his grimoire. He may choose to supplement it with a pantacle, a design which incorporates the function and intention of the oath.

Given that the magician must order his life in terms of income and, to a certain extent, sociability, the inaugural phase of his writing of the grimoire must necessarily be a full magical retirement to ease in the establishment of the new order. The identification of demons and the formulation of the oath are proemial to this so that the magician has a workable basis from within which to begin. The retirement must be of at least twenty-eight days this being the minimum period necessary for the integration of a system within which each of the daily activities has an effect on all other activities. Although the regime should be flexible the retirement should begin with a fixed programme so that not even one day is wasted and so that the magician can begin immediately with the reintegration of himself as exemplified by his oath.
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Many blessings to everyone...

May your heart, mind, and soul be filled with peace and compassion for yourself and others. May your light be illuminated and radiate heavenly lifeforce to everyone with whom you come into contact. May you have the strength to lift yourself above all earthly troubles, and see everything from a perspective of divine timing and divine order. May you have a sense of purpose and the motivation, time, and support to devote to your purpose, passion, and priorities. And so it is!




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The Magical use of Voice

Speech is the main form of communication used in our culture - we are all capable of making a wide range of noises with our mouths, and as the word "en-chant-ment" suggests, the voice has played a powerful role in magick, in all ages and cultures. The aim of this essay is to examine the ways in which the voice can be used in magick, and suggest exercises which will help the reader to develop the range of vocal techniques.


In all cultures, the voice has been an important carrier of power, and most mystery traditions and religions make use of songs, chants, and prose to worship or bring about gnosis. From dramatic choruses to hymn and prayer, from working songs such as sea shanties and battle songs to children's skipping rhymes and folk spells; the power of voice is amazing. Orators, both political and religious, have used the power of their voices to project their charisma and enthuse mass audiences - look at the crowds that Billy Graham attracts for example. The sound of a spoken phrase can go far beyond its meaning to speak directly to the Deep Mind. An extreme example of this is described by Nandor Fodor, a Jewish psychoanalyst who notes the effects of listening to Adolf Hitler's "rabble-rousing" speeches. He had heard these speeches on two occasions on the radio, and recalls that although due to its raucous harshness, Hitler's German was totally incomprehensible to Fodor (who was a native Hungarian),he felt that:

"ever so slowly, my blood began to boil, and I wanted to shout and scream. It was not a rage against him. It was with him, like a flow of lava is with the volcano."

Modern politicians very often resort to a speech pattern known as "pathic", which combines tone and the pacing of words to project an underlying message that no matter what they are talking about, they are "in control", and "everything is fine - don't get alarmed". The waking mind can be easily bypassed, so that meaning is carried directly to the Deep Mind, stirring the appropriate emotions which the speaker wishes to stir.

We can use our voices to convey and project emotional messages very effectively, and tone often betrays our true feelings on a subject, despite what we actually say. Young children are often confused by a verbal threat delivered in a light tone of voice. Therapists and healers can pick up a great deal of information from a client's manner of speaking. The huge differences in accents in a country allows us to identify a persons origin, even though they have been resident in another region for years. Using soothing tones can lull people into relaxive trance states, while shouting and hyperventilating can propel us into excitatory states - as demonstrated by cults such as the Shakers. Elsewhere we find that the voice can be an aid to martial prowess - ranging from war cries and battle songs, to the articulation of short syllables during martial arts duels, which are designed to act as carriers for chin (jin) or to distract an opponent.

Speech also has a cosmological dimension. That, "in the beginning, was the Word" is a concept common to many cultures, as is the idea that the correct pronunciation of certain Divine names will bring about the end of the world. Also, there is the idea of the "Rule of Names", most eloquently expressed in Ursula Le Guin's "Earthsea" stories - that if you know the "True name" of an entity, then you can command it". William Burroughs, in "The Place of Dead Roads", puts it another way:

"As soon as you name something, you remove its power....If you could look Death in the face he would lose his power to kill you. When you ask Death for his credentials, his passport is indefinite".

This principle is well-known to all those who delve into the depths of the psyche - that vague, un-named fears can be "tamed", once they are recognised, and having been named, can be isolated and drained of their power to terrify. I will be looking in some detail at some of the magical vocal techniques based on this principle later.


Primal Poetry

Just for the purposes of discussion, I want to distinguish between 'ordinary' speaking and 'sacred' speech. Sacred speech, in this context, refers to those occasions when we are using speech (probably combined with other modes of display) to bring about a magical change - such as in inducing group trance, communing with spirits, being a horse, raising energy, and so on. At these times, the way in which we deliver speech is different from our usual habits of talking in that there may be an enhanced deliberateness in our enunciation, or greater care taken in projecting the subtle nuances of emotion - awe, ecstasy, gentleness or martial ardour. Whether our words well up, unbidden, from the Deep Mind, or have been carefully linked together in prolonged brainstorming sessions, it is highly likely that we will try and find a certain distinct rhythm around which to frame our words.


The Deep Mind often speaks to us in verse. Cross-cultural studies of the vocal patterns of people in the throes of possession show a striking similarity, that of a rising and falling intonation at the end of each phrase, with each phrase punctuated by a pause or groan. This pattern emerges regardless of native language and cultural background. The English version of this rhythm is known as Iambic Pentameter. You can hear it also in the frenzied oratorical deliveries of evangelical preachers and in the apparently meaningless gush of words and phrases from those who have been seized by the 'Holy Spirit'. It wells forth from the Deep Mind as unconscious or deity-inspired poetry & communications. People who are overshadowed by a deity during ritual often seem to stumble over their words, as though they are trying to fit their words around the rhythms of the trance. I would conjecture that the more complete the spirit-possession, the less laboured the sacred speech, as the persons self-awareness' will be all the more completely submerged by that of the entity.

As the Deep Mind calls to us with a particular rhythm and meter, so do we attempt to call into the depths of our being by rhythmically pulsing our speech. Sound, like light, sets up rhythms in our brains, as experiments with electro-encephalographs (EEGs) have shown. These internal rhythms reflect the sounds which propel us into varying degrees of trance, whether it is the gentle, watery lapping of the Moon or the thundering frenzy of Pan. If we are caught off-guard, and susceptible, their effect can be devastating. J.F. Hurley, in his book, "Sorcery", describes a trance condition known in the Philippines as Lata, which is brought on by a startling sound, after which susceptible people will imitate actions that they see or words that they hear. Philippino head-hunters took advantage of this susceptibility by paralysing their victims by using sharp, piercing cries.

This sort of talent appears in many cultures and settings. Pat Crowther, writing in her book "Lid Off The Cauldron", mentions 'calls' which, when used in open spaces, can draw the unwary to the caller. Forcefully projected, stattaco hissing noises, reinforced by jerking body movements, can also precipitate trance. Peter Redgrove, in his short novel, "The God of Glass", makes use of the syllable SATATATAT, which, when chanted, at the same time as whirling around, produces in its initiates a disassociation, which culminates in a bee-hum - the Om of ultimate being.


From
http://www.philhine.org.uk/writings/rit_voice.html#primal
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Princess Nakamaru of Japan

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3 Kings Day --- A very Mexican Tradition :)

 

After New Year's Day, Mexican families still have a very special date to commemorate and enjoy.  On January 6, most of the Hispanic world celebrates El Dia De Reyes, the Epiphany, remembering the day when the Three Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem, arrived bearing their treasured gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the Baby Jesus. 

 The Reyes Magos In La Alameda                                         

A couple of days earlier, the children write their letters to the Wise Men, or to their favorite Rey Mago: Melchor, Gaspar, or Baltasar, asking for the presents they would like to receive.

During the evenings before the great celebration on January 6, families go to the Alameda, in Mexico City, a beautiful park that dates back to the Colonial era. There, every year, hundreds of stands are placed with food, toys and best of all, there are sets, where the children can have their picture taken with the Three Kings of the Orient.

Hundreds of multicolored balloons, filled with helium, are sold during the season, so the little ones can attach their letters to them, and have them fly, up to the sky, carrying all their wishes with them.

 If they forgot their letters at home, there is no need to worry, there are also salesmen that offer writing paper and envelopes specially designed for the occasion and addressed to the Reyes Magos. This lovely tradition of going to the Alameda park is passed on from one generation to another.  I have a picture of my husband, when a small child, with the Reyes Magos, set on a photo-album alongside some photographs of my children with them.

January 6, Dia de Reyes                                                           

On the night, of January 5, the figurines of the Three Wise Men are added to the nativity scene. Before going to bed the children place their old shoes under their bed or in the living room, where the Wise Men will leave them their presents.  Some also place outside the house, some hay and a bucket with water for the animals, and even some cookies and milk for Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar.

You can feel the excitement building up!  With twinkling eyes, the children eagerly, and constantly ask what time it is, wishing for time to fly so they could open their presents.

Reluctantly they go off to bed.As soon as they wake up, which is earlier than any other day,  they run to see the gifts that the  Three Magi left for them. Happiness overflows every Mexican home.
   
The children spend the day playing and admiring each other’s presents, sharing them with friends, talking about how they were able to hear or see the Reyes Magos when they arrived at their home, how one of them heard the camel’s footsteps, how the other saw a shining crown in the dark night! Meanwhile, adults prepare for the Merienda de Reyes, an early evening dinner that friends and families share to celebrate the Epiphany.

Rosca de  Reyes       
                                                      
People go to the markets and stores to get the needed ingredients to prepare the feast. All over the country, in every city  and in every little town,  bakeries offer the Rosca de Reyes, an oval sweetbread, decorated with candied fruit.  There are Roscas of all sizes, very small ones for two or three people and up to the ones that will delight more that twenty people.

The Merienda de Reyes is truly a multicultural event.   The Spaniards brought the tradition of celebrating the Epiphany and sharing the Rosca to the New World.  The Rosca is served along with Tamales, made of corn which was the pre-Hispanic food per excel lance, and hot chocolate.  Chocolate is also a gift from the native peoples of the New World.

Hidden inside this delicious Rosca, a plastic figurine of the Baby Jesus. The Baby is hidden because it symbolizes the need to find a secure place where Jesus could be born, a place where King Herod would not find Him.

Each person cuts a slice of the Rosca .  The knife symbolizes the danger in which the Baby Jesus  was in. One by one the guests carefully inspect their slice, hopping they didn't get the figurine. Whoever gets the baby figurine shall be the host, and invite everyone present to a new celebration on February 2, Candelaria  or Candle mass day, and he also shall get a new Ropón or dress for the Baby Jesus of the Nativity scene.

The Mexican Christmas season is joyously extended up to February 2 ! - when the nativity scene is put away, and another family dinner of delicious tamales and hot chocolate  is served with great love and happiness.

Rosca de Reyes --- Three Kings Bread


Total Time: 2 hr 15 min
Prep  35 min
Inactive 1 hr 0 min
Cook 40 min

Ingredients

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup dried figs, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup candied orange peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup candied lemon peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied cherries, plus more whole for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons light rum
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • Water

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water; stir to blend. Let stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes. 


Put all of the candied fruit in small bowl and drizzle the rum on top. Let stand for 15 minutes to 1 hour to infuse the flavor.


In a small pot, warm the milk over medium heat. Add the sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.


In a large bowl, mix 3 1/2 cups flour, 2 eggs, yeast mixture, milk mixture, and the rum soaked candied fruits, mixing very well until the dough gathers into a ball. If the dough is too wet, Add additional flour, a little at a time, if needed to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it's smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Put the ball of dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour.


Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface. Using your palms, roll the dough into a long rope. Shape the coil into a ring, sealing the ends together. Insert a little doll or coin into the bread from the bottom, if desired. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Carefully transfer the dough ring to the prepared baking pan.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush the top of the bread. Decoratively garnish the top of the bread with more candied fruit and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is golden.


Cool on a wire rack before slicing.


Cook's Note: Let your guests know there is a little doll or coin inserted inside.
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Book of Shadows Pages at DeviantART

I am here to gossip about these wonderful, lovely pages that artist Brightstone at DeviantART.com has created! Check out these examples... and then click on the link to see her entire set. I promise you won't be sorry! :)
Click on link to see the entire set





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Blessed Be. The New Year Notes Kalavan Made my Half-Sleepy Brain take...



Blessed be, my mother Moon --- Blessed be, my father Sun. May the year that has reached us brings us blessings to rejoice in. May it bring us lessons to lean and reflect upon. May it bring us love and light and that the tears and sorrow serve to teach us to get up, dust it off and keep on following the paths you have set for us.

2012 is a year of evolution. All the revolution and twists that 2011 brought to our lives are to take shape in 2012. A year of revelation -- a year of taking the blind fold from our eyes and face the music. How can we claim to help our world if we cannot see to the mirror and help ourselves become stronger? How can we mend our environment if we cannot nurture ourselves back to the energetic healing we need? Time to fix YOU. Time to heal YOU. Time to end the circles and the vices that are NOT WORKING for YOU.

2012 is not the end of the world, it's the ending of the cycle. Your world ends to begin a newer, more energetic one. Those who are resistant to the changes, those who do not wish to change their ways, those who do not wish to align themselves with the nurturing energy flowing around us are the ones who will find that the end of their world is chaotic and catastrophic. Those who are open to allow their wounds to be healed, those who are open to allow the universe's energy flow through them are those who will be ready for the new order. 

Pray. Chant. Meditate. Ask help from the angels and the spirits. Feel your mother's love run through your fingers. Feel your father's protection around you. Do not be afraid. Rejoice. Evolve. 

Welcome.



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