I am feeling a bit under the weather today. Allergies are kicking my butt and I feel as if my head is in a vise. So, instead of trying to fight through all of the crap in my head, I thought I would re-share an old post, Darkest Night. I wrote this several years ago as an offering to Hekate at our groups Hekate’s Feast night. However, its content is just as relevant today as it was then.
Once again we enter the season of contemplation and quiet as the wheel of the year turns to Mabon. This turn ushers in the beginning of the darkest time of the year. And in this dark, we call upon the Goddesses whose realms reside in the shadows. We turn to them in the darkest hours of the night, during the darkest times of our souls. It seems fitting that this small offering be shared once again,
Darkest Night – A Poem for Hekate
By Terry Lynn Pellegrini – (Copyright 2016)
In the darkest of nights, She lights my way. Phosphorous, illuminating, brilliant one. Torches held high, I follow. Through my despair, through my apprehension, She leads me to knowledge. She leads me to joy. And through my joy, She shows me life and what lies beyond.
Her torches burn through the forgotten fields of my soul. Scorching that which has died, lain fallow, neglected. Blackened earth and ash nourish the slumbering seeds of inspiration, Pushing visions through the parched earth towards the moonlit sky. I feel Her pull, Her presence quenching my thirst, slaking my hunger.
With Her keys, She unlocks for me the mysteries, Invites me through the door and into the welcoming darkness I have forgotten. Her hounds, black, menacing, ever at my side. Guarding my steps, teeth bared, haunches taut. Ever ready to protect as well as devour. And they watch, as fears are defeated and yearnings are satiated.
And when I stand at the crossroads of my life, She comes. Lighting the path of my existence, showing me the path to my destiny, Gifting me with the secrets of life, death, and beyond. And I rejoice in the knowing of Her. Giving freely of my heart, my devotion, my pain, and my joy.
Hekate Soteria. Hekate Phosphorous. She of the three faces. Guardian of the Crossroads. She who stands as my Mother, my sister, my Goddess. My teacher, my mentor and my muse. Hekate. May I live a thousand years in your service. May you be forever in my heart, my mind and my soul. Hail Hekate!
During the last week I have been in a creative groove. Writing, crocheting, and then, painting. Now I’m not what any one could conceive of as a true “artist” but then again, I don’t really care. I don’t create for anyone else but me. And when I do create it is with but one purpose. I use my art as magick.
I can hear the skeptics already. “I’m not artistic.” “But I can’t even draw a straight line let alone paint.” I have no talent at all.” No worries and no excuses. Neither am I. But art as magick isn’t all about talent and how fabulous it is going to look when you are done. It is about connection with spirit, connecting with the forces all around you. It is about fun and letting our visions find form. Magickal art is, well, magick first and foremost. Aesthetics are secondary.
The most significant difference between art for art’s sake and art as magick is the intention, the focus behind it. Before I begin a project I make a conscious decision on the subject of my creation. Will I be using the object in ritual? As a focal point for contemplation and meditation? Perhaps I am creating something that will make my home more attractive while infusing it with peace and love. Take my latest two projects for example. I painted four separate pieces for my book on the Elements. The other is several crochet pillow covers for my home. Each of these has a different feel, and are for a very different purpose. Yet each is filled with intention and magick.
Art as Magick – Making Intuitive Choices
Once I’ve decided on how my art shall be used, I gather my supplies. No matter the medium, be it needlework, sculpting, drawing, or painting, as you choose your supplies focus on your goal. You may even wish to infuse your paints, clay, or yarn with the energy you wish to create, making magick even before you even begin your work. Place your hands over your supplies and envision them filling with the energies required for the task at hand. Blowing on them with your breathe- giving them your energy – also connects you with your chosen medium. Then, each brush stroke, each stitch, each line drawn is infused with focus, with purpose, with energy and magick.
Using your intuition, choose the colors, the style, the shape of your creation. Focus on your magickal end result. What colors feel right for a painting to be used in meditation? Blue? Green? Your favorite aunt has requested your assistance in healing her thyroid issues. Knitting a scarf by choosing a soft yarn in a healing color would be perfect for that goal. Allow you goal to shape itself in your mind then, reach for that paint brush, those knitting needles, that clay, and begin.
Using Your Magickal Art
Once you’ve finished your creation, it’s time to put it to good use. Hang your new painting in your meditation space where you will be able to see it often. Place a warm, peace infused afghan over your husband’s chair providing him with that energy each time he drapes it over his lap. Your new sculpture (however lop-sided or squishy – you should see mine!) will look perfect on the mantle, especially since it was created to act as a guardian for your home.
As you place each piece in its new location, speak to it, remind it of what it was designed for. Touch it, then the wall, the mantle or shelf it is being placed on and let it know that this is now “home”. By doing so you are creating an additional magickal bond with the item, guiding it towards its purpose. Magick is alive people, and the things we create with it are our responsibility. Make sure each item knows what it was designed for and what your expectations are.
All that is left to do is enjoy your art! Share your creations with friends and family. Show them off, no matter the level of artistic talent you may have. Share the joy of making magick, of creating art, and changing the world for the better one “masterpiece” at a time. May you find joy in those things your heart, mind, and hands fashion.
When we are fledgling witches and magicians we tend to start out on our path trying everything. Kitchen Witchery, Spellcasting, Elemental work, Alchemy, Herbalism. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Some of these paths never resonate and others make our soul sing. In time we may decide that we want to specialize, gain mastery (comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or accomplishment), or become an adept (skilled, expert, highly proficient), at one facet of our magickal repertoire. You feel you have grown as far as you can with your old approach to magick. Now you are being called towards discovering your magickal niche.
Before we move on, let me say that not everyone wants or needs to find a magickal niche, a magickal specialty. You may not want to become an adept or master just one style, and that’s okay. We all need to do what works best for us. I love being an Eclectic Witch, but I am also adept at Energy work and Spellcasting. Do you have to be to be an Adept or Master to feel validated as a Witch or magickal practitioner? Hell no! In witchcraft we do what feels right to us – period. There is no need for fancy titles or labels. However, some of us yearn to push ourselves further, hone and mold our craft to a fine point. This is the call to mastery, to adeptness. But first, we need to decide what part of our craft we wish to focus our time and work on.
The Search for Your Magickal Niche
Let’s face it, discovering your magickal niche, your specialty, isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. There are so many fascinating practices out there to delve into. So how do we look for “the one”, the practice that calls us to go deeper, further into its core? Where do we begin our search for our magickal niche?
For me it started with a tingle, a knowing. Many, many, moons ago when I began my Craft, I was like the majority of you. I read, researched, and experimented with many different forms. Yet two things kept pulling me deeper in. Two things which felt good, right, and dang it, I was good at them. Energy work – directing, molding and transforming it in ritual, spells and healing work- and Spellcasting. No matter what other type of magick or work I went on to learn, they kept calling me back.
How about you? Do you have a part of your practice or Craft that keeps calling to you? Perhaps it is stones and crystals that you are consistently working with. Or perhaps herbs and plants tend to have your focus. Are you always casting spells with kitchen tools and stirring your food with specific intentions in mind? Then perhaps Kitchen Witchery is your niche.
Take a few moments, right now, to write down what you mostly work on and with when you are doing magick. What is always on your mind when you begin to formulate a ritual, a spell, or casting? Allow your hand to just write. Let the words flow. Then look at what you’ve written. Was it one thing? Two or more? If more than one, meditate on them for a few moments. Which dominates your thoughts? This path, this thought, is your niche, your focus, your one “thing”.
Working With Your Niche
Now comes the fun part, working with your new-found niche. Okay, it is also the hard part. Mastery and adeptness is work – lots of it. It is study, research, and practice, practice, practice. You will find yourself learning and re-learning your Craft, adding and subtracting techniques and changing how you’ve always done things. In a sense, mastery and adeptness is about reinventing yourself, your Craft, and your life. You will be seeing everything with a new set of eyes, the eyes of the knowing, of the Master.
Each and every day you will be doing something to strengthen your skills, even if it is just a few minutes at a time. You will flex your magickal muscles, grab your notebooks and the latest volume filled with words of wisdom, and break out the magickal tools. Spells, castings, and rituals- oh, my. Your life becomes magick, YOU become the magick.
Then comes the day when you feel that you’ve finally reached “it”. Mastery of your given path. But no resting on your laurels when there is Adepthood waiting in the wings. So you work some more, maybe for years until not only you, but your peers, realize that you have indeed become adept at your magick, your work. Pop the cork, get out the balloons and celebrate your accomplishments.
When the Witch becomes the Adept
Once the party is over, guess what? The learning and re-learning begins. Yep, Adepthood comes with a “forever” stamp. You buy it at one price but the actual cost keeps going up over the years. The price of being an adept (or a Master on the way to Adepthood) is that the worth, the end point of your goal keeps changing. New discoveries, new mysteries appear that want to charge us more in time and knowledge. Your goalpost keeps moving, shifting with the times. The work never ends. But do we really want it to?
As I noted earlier, this wasn’t going to be easy. Nor is it a “one and done” operation. Adepthood is a life of purpose, of constant revelations, and a call to duty. Like the college student who has finally received their PhD, there are certain obligations that the Adept must fulfill. The Adept is often called to write, to teach, to share what they have learned with future generations of practitioners. Whether one-on-one or when leading a public ritual, the Adept shares their knowledge willingly, leads by example and helps pave the way for the next new Master or Adept.
The true Adept has wisdom, not just knowledge, for they know they will always have more to learn. They have learned that “truths” are fluid. They understand that what is unseen and unknowable teaches us more than any book can. An Adept wears their new mantle with confidence while striving to not be boastful or act like a “know-it-all.” But, we are all human so don’t expect perfection from them. Just because they’ve reached a level of knowledge that you do not currently possess does not mean they are infallible. Learn from them, grow with them, but always trust your inner light to guide you.
Becoming a Master or an Adept is not for everyone, but as a magickal practitioner it is a goal worth pursuing. With time, perseverance, practice and knowledge, you too can gain Mastery in your Craft, become the next generation of Adepts. May your quest towards Adepthood be fulfilling and brimming with purpose and joy!
Not long ago I had a new student ask me if witchcraft and magick were “safe”. My first impulse was to launch into a long diatribe regarding intent, precautions, yada yada. Instead, I giggled, or maybe more accurately cackled, (not entirely certain if it was out loud or in my head). After I’d composed myself, I sat her down, took her hand, and proceeded to explain that there is no such thing as “safe” witchcraft. Ever.
Merely by using the words witchcraft, witch and magick, you’ve launched yourself completely out of any and all “safe” zones. These words are loaded with mystery, superstition and fear. Hell, just giving yourself the moniker “witch” is dangerous enough. But telling someone you are a witch or studying the Craft? Danger, danger, Will Robinson! Be prepared to answer questions, defend yourself, or beat feet out of a sticky, and perhaps volatile, situation.
As for the practice itself – safe has never been a word I’ve used for it. Face it. We didn’t start practicing Witchcraft to be safe. It called to us, grabbed us and held on. That in itself was a scary prospect, answering a call into the unknown, into the mysteries that are the Craft. Do you recall your first ritual? Your first spell? Can you still feel the apprehension, the suspense, the fear and the anticipation? I recall the chills that ran down my spine, the sweat on my brow and the utter joy to finally connect with the magick, the whole, everything. Cue the goosebumps. No, safe has never been a part of the Craft and it never will be.
Magick Isn’t “Safe”
Then there is the magick itself. Magick isn’t safe. It is messy, explosive, emotional, powerful, and many times, freaking scary. To be a witch is to push and break boundaries – not at all a safe prospect. We work with the dead, the Gods, and the “Others” of this dimension and the next, and the next. By its very nature, magick is dangerous. So many things can go wrong if our hearts, mind, and intentions are not in sync. Even when everything is aligned and our spells manifest exactly the way we desired them to, there is always a cost. Magick costs us personal energy, time and often, a piece of ourselves. Nothing is free so we must always cast wisely.
Should we be scared of doing magick? No, but we do need to give it the respect and caution it deserves. Magick is not for the faint of heart, the dabbler, the skeptic, the weak of mind and spirit. Well-trained practitioners understand this and treat magick and its energies with reverence, and act in consideration for all of its actions. They are mindful in their castings, always heeding the laws of magick and that of their guides and chosen deities. In contrast, those that do the most harm, who are the most dangerous, are those that treat magick as a “thing”. They treat it as a toy, a plaything, abusing its energy without understanding it. When there is no consideration of possible harm, no cognizance of where magick comes from, how to channel it, then magickal backlash and chaos can, and does, occur.
Witches and Wiccans and Wizards, Oh My
Another seemingly harmless yet inherently dangerous part of our craft is what the “muggles”, the “regulars”, think of it all. Others may perceive our Craft, our magick, our work, even ourselves, as frightening, creepy, otherworldly, and “evil”. A lack of understanding about what we do can lead to threats, animosity and, at times, violence. Our neighbors hear us chanting in the back yard, talking to plants and animals, and drumming in the Full Moon. They see our pentacles, brooms, and protection sigils and become alarmed. Out of fear they label us “weirdos”,# scary” and “delusional”. Perhaps they hang an extra crucifix or two around their property, cross themselves when they see us or just shake their heads as if we were wayward children. If we are lucky, that’s as far as it goes. It’s when they decide to “cleanse” or “protect” the neighborhood that things get scary and dicey.
Opening dialogues with the neighbors can ease some of this tension, but don’t count on it. I’m lucky that one of my neighbors is cool with it, may not fully understand, but remains open to what I may share with her. The others? They are more of the “cross themselves” variety. But it’s all good. Just keep doing what you’re doing, bang that drum, stir that cauldron, and cackle maniacally any chance you get. A tiny bit of fear will keep them from asking you to their next boring Tupperware party.
“Safe” is a Four-Letter Word
Is Witchcraft Safe? No. Is it scary? Yep. But it is worth every shiver, every goosebump, every daunting and disquieting moment. “Safe” is a four-letter word, an expletive, one to be uttered only in company of the “regulars”. Leave the magickless, the “muggles” and the uninspired to the likes of “safe”. Remember, we ARE the magick and we will not hesitate to cast, stir, and conjure, safe or not. Because it is who we are. It is our life, our blood, bones, and being. We will not be quieted. We will not be stopped and we will not be frightened back into a “normal” life. Safe is for the uninspired, the non-magickal, the muggle. Practice your magick with prudence coupled with fearlessness, knowledge mingled with power, and strength joined with daring. Together, we are the Witches, the Wiccans, the Wizards, Sorcerers, and Magicians, the future, the magick and the danger.
I am in a constant love/hate relationship with change. On one hand, change is good. It gives us new challenges, new hopes and a much needed change of direction. On the other hand, change is bad. It’s scary, messy and never seems to do what you want. Yet change is inevitable. Without change your life becomes stagnant, boring and well, not much of a life. So what’s a witch to do? How can you cope with change? Can you embrace change without fighting it? Can you use change to your advantage in both your mundane and magickal lives? How do you go about making change your bitch?
We tame change by tackling it piece by piece, starting with its inevitability. Let’s start by taking a moment to think about the statement “The only constant in life is change.” This tells us that nothing stands still. Not time, not the Universe, not you. And because we are always in a state of movement (even when we relax, we move) we are constantly changing. Changing ourselves and the environment around us without consciously knowing we are doing so. A shift on the couch cushions changes the shape of the area. A new puppy changes the dynamic in your home. That new job you’ve worked so hard to get. It is changing entire portions of your life. When you look at change as natural, normal, the scariness goes away.
Making Change Work For You
Change is messy. It always seems to muck up your day or throw you a curve ball at the wrong time. So, how can we make change work for us, make it our bitch? I’ve talked about how change is a constant. However, the way a change occurs can be manipulated, made to work for us. As an example: There is a new manager at work. The change has been hard for everyone because the new manager is shaking things up, letting people go and causing disharmony. You need to keep your job and learn to get along with this individual but you don’t care for them at all. How can you make this change work for you?
Since this is a blog primarily about witchcraft, I would cast to “sweeten” the change. Send a bit of sugar to the new manager by baking a batch of magick filled cookies. Or better yet, cupcakes with sigils drawn in lemon juice on the paper wrappers, designed to sweeten and aid the manager to play well with others. Not a witch or magickal practitioner? The sweets will still work – just add extra love or prayers into the batter with the same intentions.
You get the idea. Work with the change, not against it. Stand up to change and show it who’s boss. Mold it, bend it into the change you desire – not just an arbitrary happening. Yes, change is inevitable but it doesn’t have to work against you. Change can be your friend, your ally. But when it is misbehaving – conquer it.
Embracing Your Bitch
We now come to the truly difficult part, embracing change in all her glory. We’ve learned that change is constant and doesn’t need to be scary. We’ve talked about how to manipulate and mold change. The next step, embracing change, is ultimately the most difficult. Why? Because we have been trained to fight change and not to really look at and understand it. As mentioned before, change is scary. We try running from it to only find that it is running with you. Stop running. Stand firm, breathe, and open your arms wide to change. Yes, it may knock you over a time or two, but you’ll bounce back up. Change is like that.
Making change your bitch isn’t easy. But it can and must be done in order to lessen our anxieties about the processes of change. By opening your arms wide and embracing change instead of fleeing from it, change loses its death grip on your psyche. The fear and anxious feelings have no place to fester and grow when you accept change and the possibilities it brings. Think about how much better you will feel by letting change happen or by knowing that you can make change work for you. Realize the freedom in change, the infinite potential change holds. Who’s your bitch now?
The next time change knocks on your door, open it and give that change a big hug. Or maybe give it a make-over so the change looks and fits better into your life. Change is constant, inevitable, and it will always be there. Why not learn to love that bitch and make her your best pal. Imagine the possibilities then.
I’ve been on a bit of a break lately, trying to regroup and reexamine quite a few things. One of these was to look at what I feel is my purpose, my life goal at this very moment in time. Hard as I tried I couldn’t distinguish a singular purpose. My interests are varied. I have a great deal of experience in many areas but with the exception of Reiki, I couldn’t say that I have the title of “master” of any of them. My mind bounced ideas back and forth, trying to make sense of it all. Then it struck me as I was cutting some flowers from the garden. My purpose wasn’t singular – and it didn’t need to be. Like the zinnia in my hand, it had layers, was multi-faceted and winding. I was holding the guide to my goals. I was finding my petals of purpose.
Examining the petals of the zinnia, I started comparing each one to the things I love to do, the things I want to do, and those things that I can teach others. Standing there with the flower in my grasp, I began to touch each petal. This single petal with the wavy edge became my love of research. The one partially eaten by insects was my kitchen witchery. I continued to touch the velvety petals, ticking off a list in my head of who I am, what I aspire to, and what I wish to do for others. The list kept growing and growing, winding around with the petals.
Naming My Petals of Purpose
In finding my petals of purpose it became obvious that there was much that I am already doing that was both purposeful and fulfilling. I am an herbalist, healer, writer, blogger, and Reiki Master. I am a teacher of Witchcraft, tarot reader, psychic, grandma, gardener, kitchen witch, wife, priestess of Hekate, mother. These are all amazing things in their own right. Each one can hold a lifetime of purpose and joy. And if these things weren’t enough I began counting off those things I wish to learn, to do, and become.
In the next year I aspire to take the Master Gardener’s course, teach myself to knit socks, become an adept at herbal magicks and finish my book on the four elements. I am exploring shamanism, both the ancient beginnings and its modern meanings. I will be teaching new classes and creating and facilitating workshops. In 2020 I will be visiting new places – places I’ve always wanted to visit and places I’d never imagined I’d get to. My flower keeps blooming with new challenges, new ideas, and an endless thirst for knowledge.
Allowing our Purpose to Grow
And now, at the end of this examination, with each petal named and honored, I realize that purpose changes. We may think we came into this world with a set “thing” we have to do or accomplish but I now disagree. Our purpose, like our lives and the world we live in, are in a constant state of flux. Like our zinnia, it grows, buds, flowers and then fades. This is the nature of all things, to live, grow, evolve and to die. Ideas, purpose, knowledge, they come in subtly, then bloom vibrant. Over time, as we change, they fade and wither. Yet they leave seeds behind so we can replant and watch new ones grow again.
The next time you or I worry about our “true purpose” in life, meditate on the zinnia. See the possibilities and the many and varied purposes each of us can realize. Give yourself a break – know that purpose can be found in the smallest of flowers as well as the largest. Allow your life to freely flower, bloom and grow. Soon you will be recognizing your own petals of purpose.
February’s New Moon brought our first Healing Ritual of the year. I had a few relative new-comers present so I began running through the ritual. While reviewing the Goddesses we were calling one of the women present asked a couple of very astute questions. “How do we know when deity answers our call? How do we know when Goddess has arrived?” Good questions my friend, good questions.
Our time for the ritual was limited, (it was set to start at a specific time so those in cyberspace could “tune in”) so I made my answer brief. Yet, I continued to ponder these questions. The more I did, the more I realized that my previous answer wasn’t complete. Many practitioners have these same questions, so how was I going to answer them in a way that made sense to them? Also, can I really answer for them? In order to give the most informed answer we all need to know the basics. I’ll begin with explaining what a call to deity is and why we do it. Next, I will discuss what is experienced when deity answers your call.
Calling to Deity
A call to Deity is an invitation. Your call is a request for your chosen God or Goddess to be a part of your working, whether it is a ritual or spell. We call to them to lend us their support, their energy, and knowledge. Sometimes, we request them to be there as witness for rites of passage. Notice the terminology here – Call. We do not demand, we do not summon, we call.
Our calls can be simple. A few words or phrases asking them for their presence in our circles. Calls to deity can be elaborate – think of the times Goddess has been called by reading the entire “Charge of the Goddess.*” No matter the form of your call, it must be heartfelt, sincere, reverent (mostly, but that’s for another blog). If you go at this half-assed, deity hears you and will place your request on “hold” or not honor the request at all.
The same may be said of calling a Deity that you are not familiar with. If you haven’t taken the time to learn about who you are calling, to sit and commune with them, why would they take the time to answer you? Some of the most uncomfortable rituals I have attended were facilitated by those who neglected to understand this fundamental rule of respect.
Please don’t forget to learn the Gods proper names and how to say them (to the best of your ability). If you call in a Sumerian God you’d better pronounce his name properly if you expect him to answer. Google translator has been a huge help to me in this respect. While it may not translate Sumerian, it can help you with Greek, Irish and Latin. If their name has several possible pronunciations (like Hekate), use the one that resonates with you.
Knowing When Deity Answers
You’ve begun your work, perhaps created sacred space and called your corners. Confidently, you stride to towards your altar, raise your hands towards the heavens (or down towards earth for the Chthonic) and call unto deity. The words you speak are joyful, yet reverent. Completing your call you wait for their response. What, wait? For what?
This is where it gets tricky. Why? Because we are all different. We all process sensory and emotional stimuli in different ways. Each of us experiences Deity and their presence from our own levels of understanding and perception. Knowing when deity answers your call is extremely personal. What I feel when Hekate is present may be may the complete opposite of what you are feeling. You may hear a “pop” when deity arrives whereas the person standing next to you gets goose bumps. When I work with Sekhmet I know she is present because I smell lotus blossoms but Brighid’s presence brings a not so subtle heat. These are my experiences and I don’t expect you to have the same.
Remember that all of these feelings are completely valid because they are yours. When deity answers your call, you will know, just know. Whether you see, hear, smell or feel, you will know when deity answers your call. I can’t be any clearer than that.
When Deity Doesn’t Answer
But what if deity doesn’t answer? What then? Deity can’t always be at our beck and call and sometimes they just don’t wish to answer. If this happens, especially if it occurs during a public ritual, acknowledge the fact they are not present. Be honest and don’t try to fake it (I’ve seen this happen). You can say to yourself -or the room full of people standing there, waiting – that although Deity has not answered, is not present, the rite can still move forward with the energy of all present and the Universe. Just because Deity didn’t show up when we first called, doesn’t discount them from popping in later on in the ritual. Trust me, it’s happened.
Even if deity never joins your circle, your working can still be a success. After all it is your work, not theirs. You alone make or break your rituals and spells. We call in Deity for assistance, for the additional energies they bring to us, to commune with and have them protect our rites. Their presence is not mandatory for success. I know witches that do not work with deities at all and they do some fairly spectacular work. Yes, I wish to have my deities acknowledge and be present with me as I work, but I understand when they do not join me. They are deities and perhaps they know that they are not needed at that particular time. Who am I to question the Gods? – Okay I do question but again, another time, another post.
As with all Witchcraft, what we do, think and feel is very personal. Knowing when deity answers your call is no different. Next time you step into circle, whether it is your own or at a public ritual, breathe, relax and allow the connection to happen. It is only when we experience things for ourselves, and not as we are “supposed” to , that we allow the magick to truly happen.
Lunar knot magick, like traditional knot, or cord magick is a simple, yet extremely effective magickal practice. It requires little in the ways of tools, just a simple piece of rope, string or cord, usually made of natural materials. In this article I will show how to gather and capture the moon’s energies using lunar knot magick.
You may already be familiar with knot/cord magick. If so, you will notice that what we are going to be doing here today is a bit different than what you may have been shown before. Usually the knots are created to hold the magick until a spell has manifested. We are instead using a technique whereby the power of the moon is pulled into and held by each knot placed in your cord. As the particular lunar phase energies are required, you release a knot to let loose the energies stored within.
This application had been used by sailors and sea faring peoples for generations. In times past the captains of the ships nay have gone to the local cunning woman or witch to have them create a knotted cord for to carry with them on their voyage. Each knot represents winds pulled in and captured within. This cord would remain on ship, waiting until such a time as the winds calmed, rendering the sailing ship immobile. It would then be produced and a knot would be released, allowing the wind to escape. They would continue releasing the knots until the winds would gain fill their sails.
Creating Knot Magick
To create your lunar knot magick you will only require two items:
Cord – a length long enough to hold your knots. I am using silver cording in the picture but you can use, cotton, hemp, silk or other natural fiber cording.
Cut your cord to a length appropriate for the number of knots you will be placing in your cord. Simple knots will take less cord than say an elaborate nautical knot. In the example shown I used a 27 inch cord to hold nine simple knots.
Take your cord out with you on the night of the full, dark, or new moon – depending on the energy attributes you wish to collect. You may cast circle of you’d like but it isn’t necessary for this endeavor.
Place your cord on a flat surface such as a table, bench or altar. If you are working with a full moon, try to place the cord in such a way that the light of the moon touches it. This adds an extra but of “oomph” to the working but even if it is cloudy the energy is still there.
Raise your hands towards the moon (in whatever phase it may be) and “gather” the energies. See the light (or darkness) of the moon filling your hands. When they begin to tingle and feel full, place your hands over the cord, filling it with the powers of the moon.
Tying the Knot
When I am doing lunar knot magick I like to make knots in multiples of 9. Nine has always resonated with me as the number of the moon and all lunar workings. You may have a different number in mind. As with all magick, use what resonates with you.
Taking your cord infused with lunar energy in hand, make your first knot. Tie the knots firmly, but not so tight that you will be unable to take them out later. As you make the knot, picture the energy being held tightly inside it. You may repeat a phrase or chant as you tie your knots. I have used the following with great success:
“Energies of the moon I hereby bind. Into this simple cord of mine. To stay until they are of need. To be released with focused speed.”
Repeat until you have made all of your knots. When completed, hold the now knotted cord up to the moon and say:
“This cord which I have fashioned this night, filled with magick, filled with might. May it ever serve me well until such time to break the spell.”
Place your cord in a small box or bag and place where it will not be disturbed until its energies required. Place a label on the inside or outside of the box or bag noting what type of lunar energies it holds. If you use different color cords for each type of knot magick, you may not need to so but I recommend it in order to save yourself the frustration of trying to recall what you created your cord for.
Releasing the Lunar Magick
When you are in need of additional lunar energies or when you have a spell that requires a specific moon phase that you are not currently in, grab your lunar knot magick cord. While performing your spell hold your cord over the working. As you untie the knot or knots, (use as many knots as you feel is required for the working), say:
“I release the energies of the full (dark, new) moon into my working. May the powers of this lunar phase mix and mingle with my energies to create the outcome I desire.”
When the cord has been spent, dispose of it by burning, burying or cutting into small pieces then throwing it away. I do not recommend re-using the cord.
As you gaze out at the Full Moon this night, give Lunar Knot Magick a try. I hope that you will find it a special and powerful magickal ally.
Meditation. You’d have to be living in a bubble somewhere not to have heard about the importance of meditation for your physical and mental well-being. Seriously, you can’t swing a dead rutabaga without bashing into a book on meditation, seeing a YouTube how-to video or a hearing about it on your favorite talk show or radio program. Meditation this and meditation that. So, why the constant media bombardment and why am I writing about it here? Because all of this hoopla is correct. Meditation is vastly important. Not only for your physical and mental health but for your magickal health as well.
Cultivating a meditation practice affects your magick in several ways. First, and foremost, it makes a healthier and happier witch. Meditation relaxes you, allows the cares and worries of the day to be carried away on your focused breath. Relaxation fights dis-ease, aids in the fight against depression and anxiety and brings you mental clarity. Mental clarity is essential in defining your Will, that which allows you to manifest the changes you wish to make in your world.
Secondly, it teaches focus and discipline, two vitally important skills to have as a magickal practitioner. Without proper focus your spells and workings can fall flat, lacking the steady influx of energy vital to take them to manifestation. A good meditation practice teaches you to quiet your mind and to focus singularly for long stretches at a time, a requirement for adept spell work.
By disciplining yourself to maintain a meditation practice you will find that the discipline you need to move forward in your Craft becomes more effortless. If you’ve already been maintaining a sitting practice of twenty minutes a day , adding 15 minutes or more of magickal activity – a must in my book for flexing your magickal muscles – seems like child’s play. Your newfound discipline can even be the catalyst you need to get off your now healthier butt and play in the moonlight more.
Last, but not lacking in importance, meditation allows a deeper connection with all that is, the Universe, your deities, your spirit guides, all of it. Quieting your mind gives those that wish to impart their wisdom, give you much needed answers, or just chat, a chance to get through. Meditation clears your mind of extraneous thoughts and quiets both your conscious and subconscious mind. This quiet cultivates the proper reception in our minds for communicating with those on much higher frequencies as well as allowing us to feel the more subtle astral vibrations associated with those on a different plane. Meditation opens us, clears us of ego, then offers up our quieted minds to bring us closer to our Gods, aid us in finding out more about ourselves spiritually and magically, and connects us with the vastness of the Universe. When we are connected, all things are possible. Imagine what that can do for your magick!
The next time the “M” word comes up and the verbal debate on just what it is and how to do it ensues, just smile and nod. You now know how wonderful meditation is and the many benefits it can offer you. So what are you waiting for? Take a seat, put on your resting witch face, and prove to yourself and the masses that meditation can make you the person, the magickal practitioner, the witch, you always knew you could be.
Our coven had a beautiful Summer Solstice ritual this past week. Our theme for the ritual was “Becoming”. We asked each other how has what you planted at the Spring Equinox helped you to become who you are today? As things are want to happen, this planned ritual evolved into not only our becoming, but our ripening. How I love that word.
As witches we can’t stay green forever. We need to learn, grow, advance, ripen or we shall merely rot on the proverbial vine, But how can we gauge where we are in the process? How can we identify if we are green, ripe, or somewhere in between? I’d like to share my thoughts on this.
A green witch is a newbie, a beginner. This does not imply that the witch has just found the Craft, but may also designate one who may have been practicing for a few years but has never moved past the beginning phases.
The beginner, the green, unripe witch does only basic work. They feel uncomfortable delving into shadow work and the mysteries. Ritual work is minimal and why they may follow the cycles of the year they are doing so rote, without actually delving into why we do so, they neglect to learn about their meanings, their core. Spell work is their main focus, but the outcomes are hit and miss. They understand that they need to do more, may even want to do more, but lack the proper instruction and/or motivation. While many may feel the lack of instruction others are perfectly comfortable with the level they are at. This is not necessarily a bad thing. If you are comfortable at this level, then stick to it. But when has witchcraft ever been comfortable?
Next we find the burgeoning witch, the witch that is in the process of ripening but still has time on the vine. The majority of witches I know are in this stage. Here, we are constantly learning, taking in the nutrients of hard work, dedication and practice. We are delving into our shadows and dealing with the crap that is holding us back from reaching our potential. We are understanding that the mysteries take years, decades to understand, if we ever truly do. Spell work is done when there is a need, not just for the sake of performing a spell and when we do so it is with the knowledge that our skills, through years of hard work and trial and error, are such that our outcomes are 98% favorable (sometimes what we want the Gods know we don’t really need).
In this phase we may begin to share our knowledge with our covens, circles and groves. We may become teachers, priest/priestesses, and counselors. Still, we require the support of our sisters and brothers in the craft to aid us in moving into the more advanced aspects of our journey. Trance work, thought forms, advanced sigil magick and divination work all are made easier when the witch in this stage leans heavily on her/his guides and magickal families to aid them on their journeys into ripeness.
The ripe witch, the crone, the sage, the adept, is what we all aspire to be and desire to emulate. The ripe witch is the one we all seem to go to with our questions, our stumbling blocks, our magickal failures as well as successes. They have mastered themselves, have delved into their shadows and come out whole. They “know” without seeming a “know it all”. A ripe witch is one that has done the difficult inner work, has delved beyond the veil and back, has a deep relationship with their chosen deity(ies). He/she understands the web of life and how each and evert action we make affects us all. They are simply themselves, strong, capable, bad ass witches. They live their magick each and every day. They ARE magick.
Where am I on this journey? Somewhere between burgeoning and ripe, I think. I do know that there is so much I still need to learn and experience, so many of the mysteries I have yet to delve into. My inner work is on-going and my skills can always be improved. No matter where I may be on this adventure we call witchcraft, this is the path I wish to be on. But today I will just enjoy the summer sun and then, one day, I too shall ripen and become the adept witch I know I can become.
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