The Witch’s Athame

Hectate Athame
Hectate’s Winged Athame from Eclectic Artisans Pagan Marketplace

An athame is one of the “working tools” used in rituals. This is a ritual knife which tends to be double-edged with a dark handle. Even though athames are traditionally double-edged with dark handles, it is important for you to find one that speaks to you. Try not to pick the most ornate or the most expensive, because if you do not see it as an extension of yourself then it never will be.

Cedar Athame
Etsy.com The Spelling Bee

This brings us to the main purpose of the athame, to direct one’s energy. The other uses witches tend to ascribe to the athame, making symbolic cuts and casting a circle, are both related to directing one’s energy. A circle is cast by directing one’s protective energy down to the physical plane. A symbolic cut is done the same way, by directing one’s energy through two physical or symbolic mediums. This means that the athame itself does not wield power, instead YOU are the one that ascribes power to it. This is another reason why you should pick one that really resonates with you, because it is an extension of your energy. Due to the general purpose of the athame, it is reasonable to interchange the wand and athame or even get rid of them altogether and use one’s hand to direct energy.

The athame (just like anything else) absorbs the energy around it. This is why it is important for your athame not to be used to actually cut anything. It is made for ritual purposes, and ritual is where it should remain. It is also a good idea to carry your athame with you and let it get to know your energy. However, it is wise to carry your athame with you when in the comfort of your own home, because unless you have a concealed weapons permit, it is illegal to carry it out in public.

Obsidian Knife
Etsy.com Witchery Way

The athame (like the wand) is of masculine nature due to the phallic symbol it embodies. It is important to remember this when consecrating and naming your tool. (Yes you may name your athame and tell it it’s purpose). When consecrating your athame you may invite the male counterpart (or specific male deity) to empower your tool.

In Wicca some have their ideas of what is right or wrong, but this circle believes that what is right is what YOU hold to be true. If you use an athame, wand, or finger as long as you do it with good intention then you are doing it right.

What type of athame do you have? How did you consecrate it? If you do not have one, why?

Blessed be, Luna

Seedlings from Imbolc Part 2

This is a continuation of the ritual from Imbolc and the first update. I will jump right in and discuss some of the magickal properties of the plants that have sprouted.

2015-03-05_11.22.17Parsley, as is often the case with green herbs, can be used to increase prosperity. Further, parsley can be used to purify oneself or end misfortune when added to a bath. For the home, parsley can calm and protect as well as create a general sense of well being. When used in spell work, strength and vitality are increased after an illness. However, some sources consider parsley to be an evil herb and cutting the plant may be also cutting back your luck and/or love! Parsley is masculine, is under the rule of Mercury and the element of air.

Parsley must go to the devil and back nine times before sprouting

– Folk saying (concerning the time it takes to sprout)

serrano_peppers_bg
Photo: http://www.turnernewzealand.com

Two types of peppers were planted (Serrano Chili and Jalapeno). Not much about the magickal properties of these specific peppers could be found, however there is some information concerning chili peppers in general. Chili peppers can be used to break a hex as well as in fidelity and love spell work. Dried peppers or seeds can be added to love spells to increase passion in a relationship. Peppers are masculine, ruled by Mars, and (not surprisingly) under the element of fire.

It is better to eat pepper and be happy, than eat honey and be sad – African Proverb

marigold
Photo: Karen Juliano http://www.flickr.com/photos/31068810@N02/6147508777/

Marigold is mainly used for love and attraction spell work. It can be used to attract respect, admiration, new love or add life to a current relationship. Marigold can be placed above the bed to cause prophetic dreams, or under the bed for protection. One of the major magickal properties of marigold is related to psychic energies as it can help with prophesy and clairvoyance.

Calendula (marigold) strengthens the heart exceedingly – Culpepper

Hopefully this inspires some to plant some of these magickal herbs for your own spell work.

Blessed be, Luna

Matronalia 2015

March 1st marked the day of Matronalia. Matronalia was an annual festival of women originally held in ancient Rome. The Goddess Juno Luciana was worshiped to watch over married women and those in the throws of pregnancy. Women would often pray at Juno’s altar for a safe delivery and healthy child, for the gift to bear a child, and couples would pray to be blessed with a happy marriage. Throughout the day women, including slaves, were treated especially well. Husbands would give their wives gifts, and the women of the household would give the female slaves the day off and were allowed to participate in the feast that evening.

Matronalia may have eventually led to the celebration of Mother’s Day in Europe which spread globally, though Matronalia seems to have more of a focus on all women, or the Matriarchs of a household, instead of specifically mothers. In the United States, however, Mother’s Day is held in May and is celebrated in honor of the humanitarian work carried out by women during the Civil War.

In honor of Matronalia some of the members of the Circle dedicated altars to the 2015-03-01_14.19.33important women in their lives and Juno herself. Following are pictures from Luna’s altar. Six candles were placed to represent Juno and Jupiter and four important and influential women in Luna’s life. Yellow roses were placed on the altar because they are Luna’s mother’s favorite flower. The roses will later be turned into rose water for anointing purposes as they were asked to be blessed by Juno and Luna’s mother.

Each candle had the name of the person or deity represented carved into it using the Theban alphabet. Though this took some time, it seemed important for the candle to know who it was representing and to absorb the energy of the user. In the evening the candles were lit, and some meditation took place where the women were thanked.

Have you ever celebrated Matronalia? What was your experience?

Blessed be, Luna

http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/ostarathespringequinox/p/Matronalia.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matronalia

Seedlings from Imbolc Part 1

Hello all!

This is an update on how my little seedlings from Imbolc are doing. To give newcomers a little bit of background, these seeds were planted in the days leading 2015-02-14_15.53.49 up to Imbolc. They were then dedicated and blessed in a ritual that was performed on Imbolc. For the full reference there are links to the preparation before and after Imbolc. So far only the sage, thyme, basil, and oregano have sprouted. Since these were the first to sprout and announce to the world that they are here, I will write about each of their magickal properties and when the others sprout I will write about them as well.Sage

Why should a man die who has sage in his garden? – proverb

Sage is masculine in nature and associated with the element of air and the planet Jupiter. Sage is commonly used to smudge and purify the body as well as the home. It is also used in magical workings for immortality, longevity, wisdom, protection and the granting of wishes.

Often thyme can be used to promote restful sleep or in healing rituals. Burning thyme in your bowl or cauldron may help give you courage to face a confrontation, as the ancient Romans were known to bathe in thyme before combat to increase courage and strength. Further, carrying around sprigs of thyme in your pocket can aid in developing psychic powers. Thyme is associated with the feminine, the element of water, and is ruled by Venus.

Never enough thyme – proverb

Basil has a long history, but is commonly used to focus the mind and attract peace2015-02-14_15.51.14 and harmony. You may place basil in different places within your house for protection. Basil is also used in peacemaking rituals after a quarrel. Basil is associated with the masculine, fire, and the planet Mars.

Magic originating from the Mediterranean area consider oregano a protection herb. Planting oregano around your home helps ward off negative energy. It is associated with the feminine, Aphrodite, and the element air.

This just goes to show that white and green magick really go hand in hand. If it were not for the plants, we would have little power. This is true of all life, we cease to exist without the earth and all that flows from it.

A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them. – Liberty Hyde Bailey

2015-02-14_15.52.31Blessed be, Luna

Altar and Ritual for Imbolc

Merry Imbolc!

Imbolc is a time for the waning of winter and the impending arrival of spring. A typical altar around this time will carry symbols of both. However, it is important to note that there is no hard and fast line as to what exactly your symbols have to be, nor is there any rule as to what ritual you choose to perform (though there should be some reference to the upcoming warmth and new growth of spring).

I will share with everyone how I chose to set up my altar for Imbolc and the ritual I chose to perform. Feel free to replicate mine, but it is always better to add something personal to make it your own.

2015-02-03_20.08.46I chose to have four white candles (two small pillars and two tapered). The white of the candle was to symbolize the snow of winter and the flame symbolized the warmth of the sun. I also added my daffodil plant and some of the dried flowers from the plant in a separate silver container. Daffodils are one of the traditional flowers of Imbolc (including snowdrops, crocus, any white or yellow flowers, or first flowers of the year) because it is one of the first flowers to bloom after winter. Also their yellow hue alludes to the sun and its warmth. 2015-02-03_20.07.08

After I set up my altar, but before I lit the candles, I told the candles what their purpose was. I told them that they were to symbolize the sun, whose warmth and light helps life grow. I called upon the God to bless and empower my candles.

After all my candles were lit, I called upon the Goddess to bless and nurture my seeds so that they may begin a life of their own.

I then thanked the Lord and Lady and continued to let the candles burn. Once they had burned down a little, I took toothpicks and dipped them into the hot wax and placed the toothpicks into each pot. I believe this symbolizes the warming of the earth and will help spark new life into these little seeds. 2015-02-03_20.05.31

Many of you may have noticed that I posted this on the 3rd of February, and Imbolc is traditionally reserved for the 2nd of February. I purposely chose not to hold my ritual on the 2nd because there is a full moon on the 3rd. I believe this phase of the moon added some rejuvenating energy to my ritual. I also do not follow the aligning of the Pagan calendar to the Christian one because us Pagans have practiced magick for many many years without it. I think that it is not as important to follow the “day of the Sabbat” as it is to follow what your heart says and what you believe to be true.

I hope this has inspired you to make your own rituals for Imbolc (if you have not already), or to do a ritual now and not worry that you missed the holiday because some calendar says so.

Blessed be, Luna

2015-02-03_20.08.02

Gardening for the White Witch

Witch Garden
Image via TheGingerbreadShoppe on Etsy.com

Merry (almost) Imbolc!

I wanted to share how someone who does not consider herself/himself a green witch can still connect to the earth especially before a Sabbat.

As spring is coming (maybe not quick enough for some) it is important to connect to the earth in the way our ancestors used to, by planting! The types of seed used is completely up to the witch and the climate. I chose some standard herbs and some peppers that grow really well in my climate (Florida).

Also, it is important to note that beginners and witches like myself should choose seeds that are not difficult to grow. You wouldn’t want to rob the plant’s chance at life because it landed in your less capable hands would you? The reason I included myself in that last statement is because plants have the tendency of not thriving when in my care. If you are in that same category you should stay away from any plants that may not grow well in your zone. For example, growing bulbs is difficult for me because it rarely gets cold enough for them to take root. But aside from planting your own tree, it should be doable.

2015-01-31_14.17.55The rest is rather self explanatory (plus there are instructions on the back of the seed packets!). Fill the pots with some potting soil, add seeds, lightly water, place in the sun and viola!

Many may not consider merely planting some seeds a ritual, but as with any magick the power is within the intention. Planting during the beginning of planting season connects us to our many ancestors from long ago. Man would not have survived without simple mastery of horticulture, and sowing the land was highly revered in ancient times (and this was the work of the women!). One can almost feel the pride of years of ancestors smiling down upon oneself when connecting to the roots, and the laughter of one’s future children enjoying the seeds we have planted and the earth we have helped create.

In everything natural, there is something marvelous

– Aristotle

So even if you live in an apartment, have little money (seeds and soil are free if you collect them outside), or have little time, I urge you to plant something. For when you plant something you become more than just a casual observer of the cycle, you are a part of the cycle.

2015-01-31_14.15.04Blessed be, Luna

Circle Overview

The founders of Circle of the PussyWillows currently do not live in the same place geographically (spiritually they are exactly in the same place), and therefore cannot hold regular meetings. However, there has been a general consensus to practice magick at least once every Monday (or moon’s day).

We accept both the god and goddess, and there is not an emphasis on one more than the other as they are both halves of a whole. Our approach on which god or goddess that a member can worship is an eclectic one. The member has the option to choose which deity suits a specific situation.

The Circle of the PussyWillows does not follow any hierarchical order and there is no “leader,” however the founders do outline the general parameters of the circle, and encourage a collaborative structure.

We are currently only accepting one new member per year. The reasoning behind this is that the circle is a very tight knit group and everyone is a part of the welcoming of a new member. Since there is no central location for the circle, this process of building trust and establishing relationships is slowed. Thus, it takes approximately one year for this relationship to be built among all members before the process can begin again with a new member.

Current Status: Closed

There is a minimum age of 18 for any member who wishes to join the circle.

New Moon Ritual January

January 20th marked the first new moon of 2015. Each month the new moon marks a chance to banish the negative from one’s life and invite the positive. Thus, banishing rituals are welcomed during this time.

The ritual performed on this particular new moon included some candle and cauldron magic. First, the circle was cast and cleansed using sage. Then in utter darkness there was a meditation to connect to the god and goddess. Once the meditation was complete, the words “out of darkness comes light” were spoken and the white candle was lit and the room was illuminated.

Now comes the banishing spell. On bay leaves whatever negative emotion or behavior that was to be banished was written on the bay leaves, one at a time. Once all of the things to be banished were written down, they were lit by the candle and placed in the cauldron.

The ritual was completed by a personal oracle card reading and pendulum dowsing, and of course ending the circle.

Blessed be, Luna

How to Know if You Are a Green Witch

Are you the type of person who stops to admire the red-breasted robin as he bathes in a puddle? Do you pause during walks to listen to the whispering leaves or laughing flowers? If you are fascinated by the natural world or even man-made gardens, you might be a Green Witch.

Green Magick is ultimately an earth-oriented type of witchcraft. In the wise words of Wendell Berry, “If a healthy soil is full of death, it is also full of life: worms, fungi, microorganisms of all kinds… Given only the health of the soil, nothing that dies is dead for very long.” The very essence of our humanity is connected directly to the earth. For millions of years, it has nourished and rejuvenated mankind. This relationship is sought after by many modern day Green Witches. Plagued by the hustle and bustle of urban living, the Green Witch seeks comfort in ancient rituals. The dirt, trees, herbs, plants, and flowers all have an energy.

Green practitioners consult these friends for their medicinal and magical value. They choose to grow their own herbs or gather them from the wild (also known as Wildcraft). With patience and time, Green Witches learn to make herbal remedies, craft teas, and maintenance gardens. That said, it is important to remember that the spirits of nature, the dead (of humans and animals), and the Fey play a significant role in the Green tradition.

Another point to address is the difference between a Hedge Witch and a Green Witch. Those who practice Hedge Craft walk a more shamanic path. Hedge Witches engage in spirit flight and can journey into the Other World, an amazing accomplishment for any witch. Thus, the term “hedge” signifies the boundary between this world and the spiritual realm. Similar to Green Witches, a Hedge Witch may also work as an herbal healer or even a midwife. While some differences seem drastic, it is NOT impossible for a Green Witch to become a Hedge Witch, or vice versa. A simple label cannot define you as a witch or restrict you to certain abilities. If you practice and stay true to the path, you can master any craft you want.

While many witches are born with a natural affinity, an individual has a choice in which craft they wish to pursue. Green, White, Traditional, Hedge, or Sea Witches are all welcome to our circle. Please understand though, Black Magick is NOT practiced by any member in the Circle of the PussyWillows.  Black magic is a dark art, because it is used to obtain something by means of controlling someone else. Our circle does not promote Magick for personal gain.

So, are you a Green Witch? Do you have any questions or experiences you want to share? Post them in the comments below.

Merry part,

Meadow

How to Know if You Are a White Witch

First things first anyone can be a witch, just as anyone can be a Christian. Wicca is first and foremost a religion, and as such once you “convert” into the religion you are a witch. This post is more for the Wiccan that is unsure whether they have more natural power as a white witch (as opposed to a green witch, black magick has no place in this circle and anyone can try to exert their will onto another, one does not need special powers for that).

White witches are mostly within the psychic realm. You may have very lucid dreams, maybe even premonitions. From a psychological standpoint, you may be someone that relies heavily on your intuition (you may be interested in taking the Myers Briggs personality assessment, this is a good indicator of whether you rely on your intuition to make decisions). One of the true tests of a white witch however, is divination. Almost anyone can practice the different forms of divination: oracle and tarot cards, runes, pendulums, skrying, tasseography, etc. the difference is whether you get results.

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When a white witch practices divination, the spirits and the divine take notice. If when you do readings, either for yourself or others, do you consistently get relevant results? You may not even know the reading was relevant until a couple of days have passed and your reading comes into fruition. You may not be proficient or show any natural talent for all of the divination mediums, but you should have some natural ability in at least one area.

White witches are also proficient healers. This can be spiritual or physical. Often white witches will make poppets to inspire healing in either oneself or another. Do you have the compulsion or need to help others? This may be an indicator of your natural healing powers attempting to manifest in some form. Do you tend to have a calming effect when others are upset? Maybe another indicator.

Whether your are a white witch, green witch, or still have no idea, the important thing to remember is that everyone has natural power and energy that can be used to help others and oneself, or can be destructive when one’s own selfish needs are imposed on another. Whichever path is chosen, the rule of three still applies.

I hope you found this post helpful! Do you feel like you are a white witch? Tell me about your experience in the comments!

Blessed be, Luna