Daily Om ~ A Magical Potion

untitledOur very own lives can be magical like the fleeting morning dew on a flower tip.
The world awakens each day from its nightly slumber, transformed by a sparkling layer of morning dew on the grass, on flower petals and leaves, on cars and car windows. These glistening droplets last only a little while, an integral part of what imbues the early morning with its aura of magic. If we sleep too late, we miss the magnificent display of sunlight playing upon an infinite amount of tiny crystal balls. To step onto the dew-covered grass is to anoint our feet with a form of water that comes only once a day for a short time, a rarefied gift of the night air that will soon evaporate in the full light of the sun. If we inhale slowly and consciously enough, it is almost as if we are drinking in this magical elixir formed in the boundary between darkness and light.

In one myth, morning dew is believed to be tears from heaven, and in another, the droplets are poured from the vessel of the goddess of dawn. When we see the earth draped with these shimmering drops, it is easy to imagine fairies bathing in the water, or a sky god weeping from a longing to be closer to his beloved earth goddess. Seeing the sparkling beauty of the earth emerging from darkness, we may understand this longing in terms of our own gratitude; how blessed we are to be here.

Perhaps heaven really does long to be here on earth, and perhaps that is why we are here—as conduits between the divine and the earthbound. As we drink the morning dew in with our eyes, our skin, our breath, it is easy to imagine that it really is a magical potion, a gift from heaven, a reminder of our true purpose, and a daily opportunity to be transformed.

Source: Daily Om

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So what is a Witch bottle anyway?

witch bottle2Contrary to popular belief, a witch bottle was something people used to ‘protect themselves’ from witch’s curses. It was a container (usually made of pottery or later glass) filled with all manner of things, mainly sharp, and certain bodily fluids, and poisonous herbs and enchanted in rhyme form to protect the user or holder from witchcraft. The first documented use of a witch bottle dates back to the 17th Century, and they’ve been in use ever since. In addition, ‘witch bottles’ were also used for general protection, safe-guarding the home from fire, flood or thieves. The bottles are buried in the earth by the threshold, or under the floor boards and quietly go about their work, protecting all of the inhabitants inside against negativity and dark magics.

What actually went in a witch bottle? Well, the mainstay of these bottles were generally sharp objects such as nails, broken pieces of flint and glass. However, as mentioned above bodily fluids such as urine and blood were also included, as well as protective and/or baneful herbs (such as henbane, wolfsbane, nightshade etc). Witches bottles actually work with sympathetic magic, in that you use objects that have an association with the intended ‘victim’ or purpose. So, for example, to deter thieves you might add sharp objects ‘to prick and cut’ thieving fingers, to protect you would use protective herbs such as rowan or blackthorn.

Witch bottles can be created specifically to curse or hex but also for thwarting general negativity. Traditional English cunning-craft isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, neither is Witchcraft, it’s good to be reminded of that sometimes (this article is NOT written from a Wiccan perspective).

witch bottle1

If you want to create a witch bottle you first need to decide its purpose. The following is taken from an article written by Jason Mankey in Patheos:

To make a witch bottle you’ll need either a jar or a bottle. Mason jars work well, but you can use a spaghetti sauce jar or a wine bottle; whatever you want. Word of warning though, the narrower the opening the more difficult making your bottle might be (especially towards the end). We created our bottles in four easy steps, though if you want to repeat our version of the spell you can add or subtract a few depending on your circumstances.

Step One: Items to pierce and cut. Materials you can use: nails, screws, pins, razor blades, bottle-caps (the rustier the better for all of these)

When I was creating my bottle I envisioned all of these nasty little things cutting and slicing up any negative that tried to make its way through my front doors. Often times people will use a specific number of pins, nails, etc., because it has a magical meaning for them. (In the 19th Century the number nine comes up a lot, but don’t let tradition dictate what you do, do what makes sense to you!) I simply trusted my hands to pick the right number of nails and razor blades, putting only those that “felt right” into my jar. Once the coven had picked out all of their pointy objects and deposited them into jars we held our bottles and recited the following chant:

Sharp and pointy Metal and mighty No one shall hex or curse So says this witches verse

We repeated this chant six times because I like to do things in increments of three while picturing bad things stepping on bottle-caps and getting pricked by needles.

Step Two: Edibles to cause thirst, burning, and blistering. (Yeah, I took a long shower after this ritual, and I wrote it.) Materials you can use: Spicy food (hot peppers, ginger), salt, vinegar, spoiled wine, stuff you personally don’t like.

Let’s say that cutting out darkness isn’t quite enough, maybe you want to burn it out? Since it would be hard to stuff an ever-burning flame into a bottle hot peppers are an easy alternative. For our ritual we used red pepper. In order to be a little more aggressive we also added some salt, making anyone who would wish us harm eternally thirsty, or at least thirsty once they dared to cross over our witch bottles! To that end we also added vinegar. Once all of the materials we wanted were in our jars we chanted once again, focusing on the intent of the new ingredients added to our jars.

Blister, thirst, and burn To this spell we turn Taste failure taste despair So says this witches prayer

Step Three: Silver dimes for deflection Materials: dime coins (10 cent pieces for those of you outside of the US and Canada)

Silver dime protect me from harm Be a part of this witches charm

Step Four: A piece of yourself Materials: hair, nail clipping, blood, urine, spit

Before the spell is complete the owner of the bottle has to mark their property. Urine was very common a few centuries ago, with toenails and fingernails coming in a close second. (In my bottle I used a finger nail, a few strands of hair, toenails, and some urine.) The important thing is to make sure the bottle and its contents know who to keep safe from harm, and the easiest way to do that is with something directly from the body. If the idea of nails, spit, and blood is too much, you could always simply write your name on a piece of paper and add it to the jar, but since names have power, you might be taking an unnecessary risk. Just spit into it when no one’s looking. Before finishing up this step be sure to top of your witch bottle if it needs a little extra liquid. In addition to vinegar or wine here, you can also used salted water, nothing drives away negativity better. During our ritual we ended with this bit of magic and the following chant:

I give this bottle a bit of me From evil and darkness free Witch bottle I have conjured thee The spell is now cast so mote it be!

Step Five: Sealing the bottle Materials: Wax, ribbon, tape

Due to time and space constraints we skipped this part in our ritual, but sealing up a witch bottle is a nice little extra step. The easiest “seal” is to simply tie a ribbon around the bottle somewhere. A bit more involved would be to make a wax seal. If you’re out of ribbons or wax duct tape would work here too. The whole point of a witch bottle is that it can be made out of easily available ingredients in the home. Nothing is right or wrong. Had we used this step during our ritual we would have chanted the following:

I seal this bottle whole and well Now I finish this witch’s spell!

Step Six: Bury the witch bottle Materials: Shovel

When your witch bottle is ready for use all you have to do is bury it. It’s best to bury it near the entrance to the home, or if you are really ambitious, under your fireplace. Mine ended up right in front of my back door, the door that leads to my office.. My chants are never very good, but they do always rhyme. As I was tossing dirt over my jelly-jar witch bottle I recited the following words several times:

I bury this bottle deep in the ground Now this witch shall sleep safe and sound!

Remember folks that you don’t have to use the same ingredients as suggested above. Use your imagination in keeping with your intent. Witch Bottles can be adapted for Wiccan use and don’t have to incorporate sharp nasties 🙂

Daily Om ~ Two Sides of the Same Moon

blood moonAs our ancestors once did we can honor the cycles of the moon with rituals that help connect us to a more natural life. The moon waxes and wanes in the night sky, always following the same cyclical pattern, lighting the darkness with its luminous glow. It has been this way as long as the earth has been here. The same moon grew from dark to full and back again, catching the eyes of our grandparents, our great grandparents, and those at the beginning of humanity. The moon guided our ancestors in the planting, sowing, and reaping of their crops, and we can be inspired to observe and honor these same cycles today with simple rituals that help connect us to the natural ebb and flow of life energy.

Dark moons and new moons represent polar moments of beginning and realization in the arc of the moon’s phases. When the moon is dark, we might take time to meditate on emptiness, the fertile ground in which seeds take root. A simple ritual for acknowledging this potent phase of the moon would be to write down new plans and ideas that present themselves and keep them in a moon journal. Looking back over a year of dark moons, you may be amazed to see which seeds have blossomed. Full moons symbolize completion and fulfillment, the realization of the seed, and they are times of celebration. They are a great time to gather friends and family to partake in a communal feast acknowledging the apex of another monthly cycle. Your full moon journal might track the full moons of an entire year with a recounting of the gathering—the menu, the guest list, and any other observations you feel inspired to make.

Honouring the dark and full moons with these simple rituals brings our year into a new kind of focus. As we acknowledge the flow of the moon’s cycles, we become more comfortable with the changing nature of our earthly lives, making our peace with each phase, and with the shifting from emptiness to fullness and back again. We strengthen our connection to the universe in which we live and find peace in both emptiness and fullness, each of which are natural and necessary—two sides of the same moon.

Source: Daily Om

Daily Om ~ Objects of Power

talisman mandalaHaving a talisman imbued with your intention is yet another tool you can use to assist you in your journey. For millennia, mankind has found peace and solace in objects of significance. When cleansed and consecrated through ritual, such objects – be they gems, amulets, herbs, or written words – become talismans. A talisman is any item imbued with a specific power by its bearer to serve a specific intention. Ancient Egyptians used massive stone tablets as healing talismans while the Greeks and Romans used lead talismans to communicate with the spirit realm. Traditionally, a talisman acts to anchor energy in the physical plane. That energy may be protective in nature or may be intended to draw abundance, wealth, or a wide variety of blessings to its user. Today, a talisman may be made of wood, metal, paper, stone, or natural elements such as plants. Often, talismans are small enough to be easily worn or carried, and they may be marked with words or symbols that the talisman’s owner deems meaningful.

Creating and owning a talisman can reassure you and also serve to aide you in attracting what you want in life. You may use your talisman to help you attain health, security, or good luck. Or you may simply want to carry an object with you that will remind you of your search for soulful tranquility. In order to create a talisman, you must first determine its physical properties. This can be as innocuous as a strip of paper bearing the word “Love” and carried in a wooden box or cloth sack. You may prefer a more visible talisman, such as a metal amulet or a gemstone worn as jewelry. Before your object becomes a talisman, however, it must be charged. This can be done by cleansing the object – with water or with incense – and holding a ritual of your own making. Or, you can leave the object in moonlight or sunlight or bury it in the earth for a time. To preserve its effectiveness, talismans should be reconsecrated regularly.

Almost any object can be transformed into a talisman of protection, good fortune, health, love, or serenity. It may be strung on a cord and hung around the neck, worn on a belt, or carried in a purse or pocket. But the physical properties of the talisman are not as important as the intention of its bearer. If you are grounded in your desires, your talisman will give you a focal point that you can concentrate on to affirm your intention and help you achieve your goals.

Source: Daily Om

Finding time by Karina Blackheart

sunlight treesHere, the weekend is jam packed with a long list of chores, household tasks, community volunteering, gardening and on and on.  It’s back to back to back busy-ness and might make a Witch look on with horror, thinking, “Where’s my time off?  Where’s my time for magic?”

The magic is right now.  Right here.  In this very moment.  Sometimes, all it takes is a shift in perspective, a slight variation in the lens through which we view things.

When we shift the lens, it doesn’t make our lists any shorter.  Nor does it make our twenty-four hour days stretch to thirty-six or forty-eight hours.  Rather, it helps us stay present in the moment–extracting every dram of joy out of those moments that we can.

The housekeeping tasks, when done from a magical perspective become way to ground, center and create beauty while cleansing and protecting the space.  Community volunteering becomes a way to connect with the larger Group Mind of the area we live in while adding a helping of our magic to that community.  Gardening connects us with earth, sun, water, air, the power of the season and the cycles of life-death-sex-rebirth.

So, this morning, as you sip your coffee or tea, commit to spending the next few moments adjusting your perspective. Repeat throughout the day–bringing yourself back to the truth that each activity holds joy, magic and teaching for us if we sink down and in–and allow for it.

Written by Karina Blackheart

Eclipses by Karina BlackHeart

sunlight treesOn April 25 2013, there will be a partial Lunar Eclipse.  Always, on the dark moon following a lunar eclipse, there is a Solar Eclipse.  That one is scheduled for the full moon on May 10. The Lunar Eclipse will be visible in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.  The Solar Eclipse will be visible in Australia, New Zealand and the Central Pacific.

During a Lunar Eclipse, the Moon passes through the shadow of the Earth.  In other words, the Earth passes between Sun and Moon, casting a shadow on the moon.

During a Solar Eclipse, the Moon passes between Sun and Earth blocking the light of the Sun.

Astrologers describe eclipses as times when either something which has been hidden will suddenly be revealed and/or something we perceive as stable will be eclipsed out of our lives.

Both Dark and Full Moon phases are powerful in their own right, but an eclipse tends to amp up and intensify that energy.  The energy of an eclipse can last up to a full lunar cycle (28 days), so even if you don’t feel the effects immediately, keep alert!

Eclipse energy is intense.  Rarely, do we find ourselves unaffected. It’s a good idea to consult an astrologer who’ll provide more information as to the aspects surrounding an eclipse (or any Full or Dark Moon, for that matter).  This information will help prepare you for what might be manifesting as a result of the eclipse.

That said, as Witches we want to be the actors rather than being acted upon.  In other words, astrological events are but one of an infinite number of energies flowing through, in and around us at any given moment.  Eclipse energy is big.  Burying our head in the sand won’t keep us from being impacted but, we can be prepared and we can decide how best to flow with and utilize the energy.

A Witch bows before no one–not even the stars and heavenly bodies!  In other words, we needn’t be enslaved by astrology or any other system.  Do as you Will!

As you research and think about the upcoming eclipses, it might be useful to think about and work magic toward the following ends:

Lunar Eclipse:  What is currently in shadow which could use a little more light shining on it?  What needs to be revealed so it can be dealt with and resolved?

Solar Eclipse:  What needs to be “eclipsed” out of your life?  In other words, what are you ready to release and be done with once and for all?

I’m discussing this now so you have a little time to approach these questions and prepare your magic.  Yes, the eclipses will impact us irregardless of our magical intent.  Yet, we can (and should) also align our intention with their energies to bring about the effects we desire in our lives.

Written by Karina BlackHeart