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

An Offerenda

On the last Full Moon, I performed an *offerenda*. This is something used by
Peruvian and South American shamans to give thanks to the plant spirits that
help them to heal others. Of course it is also performed on The Day of The Dead,
to thank the ancestors. In essence it is a rite of thanksgiving and
gratitude.

So, despite all the ups and downs I’ve been having I really
felt it necessary to perform an offerenda, and what better time to do it than on
the Full Moon and the one nearest to Lughnassadh, a time of thanksgiving
also.

In the first picture you can see some of the offerings I gave,
which have to be formally arranged in layers. You can’t see all of them but it
consisted of grains, chocolate, frankincense, herbs and flowers as well as oak
bark. In the picture you can also see my letter of thanksgiving to the
spirits.

Offerenda 22July13FullMoon pic1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now here is my offerenda all wrapped up and placed on my
outside altar, covered with a sprinkling of calendula and rose petals.

Offerenda 22July13FullMoon pic2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The time of burning. Whilst it was burning I gave thanks
to the Three Kindreds – the green clan, the ancestors and the shining
ones.

Offerenda 22July13FullMoon pic4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It took a while to burn but while it was burning the
smoke smelled delicious – all that frankincense I’d given. When the flames had
completely died down and it had finished smoking I doused the whole thing with
water as it has been extremely hot here in England and we’ve had a lot of grass
fires and I didn’t want to start one in my own back yard!

Offerenda 22July13FullMoon pic7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This offerenda gave me the opportunity to really thank
those who have helped and supported me and continue to do so, whether they are
humans or spirits. It gave me a chance to thank the Universe for all the
wonderful things I am given on a daily basis. And while I was physically alone
while doing this rite, I was definitely not spiritually alone because while I
might not have seen the spirits and some of my loved ones, I definitely sensed
them. It was a really special time and one I shall definitely be repeating in
the future.

 

Despacho Ritual ~ New Moon 8th July 2013

Last night I did my first despacho ritual to give thanks for my many blessings, to release what isn’t serving me anymore, and to renew myself. I filled my paper with 3 sigils representing what I was releasing, garlic, rue, red sandalwood, peony petals, frankincense, copal benzoin and mandrake. I also added slips of paper with my thanks for my blessings on one, and what I was releasing on the other. A feather from my kitties toy to represent them, and some good dark chocolate to represent the good things given to me by the Universe. I then blew my thanks into one bay leaf, my releases into another, and my affirmations into a third.

After meditating for a while I waited until exactly midnight and went outside to burn my despacho, which I laid on a bed of peony leaves. Set fire to it and watched it burn, with the scent of the various herbs and resins filling the air. Sitting outside, with the scented night air, the sounds of foxes surrounding me, the twinkling stars above, and the power of the new moon was a cleansing and invigorating experience, in which I feel renewed and filled with joy.

burning well

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

G is for Green Witchcraft

5446_576954122314584_224581038_nThis week’s post for The Pagan Blog Project is about Green Witchcraft, or what I see it as. Green Witchcraft is actually many things to many people but there are some things in common – a deep love of nature and in particular plants and trees, a deep interest in the old ways (i.e. the myths and legends pre-christianity), and a yearning to live ones life in synchrony with the seasons and the cycles of the moon. Of course many would also add the environmentalist and eco-witch aspect in there too.

Much has been written about Green Witchcraft, there are many really lovely authors out there who have written some very informative books on this aspect of witchcraft. One in particular is Ann Moura whose many books on the subject are well worth reading.  Some people see green witchcraft as synonymous with hedge witchery or being a kitchen witch and I guess this is true, at least for the hedge witch. For me green witchcraft is everything I’ve mentioned in the first paragraph but I don’t think there are really any hard and fast definitions with this, like life itself, the Craft evolves and definitions have to be fluid rather than rigid.

My life as a Green Witch largely revolves around what used to be called wort cunning; the knowledge and use of plants for healing and magical purposes – I guess I’m a 21st Century cunning woman! Although I live on the edge of a small town in Kent, England, I immerse myself as much as possible in nature. Even nature can be found in back gardens and suburban places. However, I’m lucky in that I don’t live too far from the country and indeed my back garden backs on to a small woodland area and beyond that fields. Environmentalism and concern for the ecosystems of the world do concern me but I wouldn’t call myself an activist by any means. I just go about my business fairly quietly with not too much obviousness. I leave the activism for others and I’m sure they do a very good job of it too but that’s not to say I don’t care. I just do my part in other quieter ways.

For me, Green Witchcraft touches my soul and it feels like finally coming home to the place I’m meant to be. It’s different for everyone though – we each find this ‘coming come’ in different aspects of the Craft, or for many too even in different religions, although the Craft isn’t a religion. I don’t think it really matters what religion one is, or what aspect of the Craft one follows as long as it truly speaks to your soul and you are balanced. As long as balance and harmony is there then it is the true path for you; fundamentalism in any form is just not good for the spirit and is a sign of ego thinking, which doesn’t come from spirit but from the human mind.

The ironic thing is, I never expected to be a Green Witch, not at all, it just crept up on me slowly over the years although I’ve always had a love of nature and green things and have never been happier in green fields and woodlands. But I truly believe that if you just open your mind and heart, and are patient, your true path will appear. It might take many years, as it did for me, or might come in a few months. It doesn’t matter – when you’re on it you will know, not in your head but in your heart. That’s not to say you won’t have doubts because I certainly did. However, my true path kept pulling me back like a song you just cannot get out of your mind. Although I’m sure there are some who never have such doubts about their path.

I love this path – the greening of the land; the changing of the seasons; the waxing and waning of the moon and the effect this has on things; the plants and trees and the secrets they hold for the betterment of all. It’s not always an easy path but it’s the one my spirit has chosen for me at this time.

E is for Earth Ritual

5789710_origFor this posting for the Pagan Blog Project this week I’d like to share with you all my little Earth Ritual that I do in my back garden at least once a year, and normally at this time of year, and again in the summer. There are a couple of reasons why I do it, first because I wish to bless my garden, the soil to be productive, the grass, the plants that are growing in it, and to bless also all the little critters who live in my back yard, or who make use of it. Secondly, because it just makes me feel good.

The very first thing I do is prepare some incense. I make my own by grinding cinnamon with frankincense and mixing it together. The reason why I use these two is because cinnamon  has the powers of spirituality, success, healing, power and protection (among others) and is fire energy, which is transformative. Frankincense is also fire energy and transformative and has protective and spiritual qualities too, as well as being a resin that helps with removing unwanted negative energies. So these two prove a powerful mix. I grind them both into a fine powder that I will burn on a small charcoal disc in my earthenware bowl.

The second thing I do is make sure I have some Full Moon water with me. This is made on the full moon nearest to the time I wish to do my ritual and is created by leaving still spring water outside on the night of the full moon, in a glass bowl. It doesn’t matter if the night is overcast or raining because the moon’s powerful energy can still permeate the cloud cover. This water is then decanted into a glass bottle I keep on my altar (which also contains a Herkimer diamond that amplifies the energy). I then bless it simply in the names of my patron deities.

Other utensils I will need are my pheasant feather fan to waft the incense smoke about, and three small sprigs of rosemary to use as an asperge for the full moon water.

I spend some time sitting out in my garden meditating and grounding myself – usually do a bit of qi gong at this point. Then basically I go all around my garden in a sunwise fashion (clock wise) wafting incense over every part of it; grass, earth, plants, gate, fence – everything! Then I repeat with my full moon water, which I’ve poured into a little bowl. I use the rosemary sprigs to sprinkle this water over everything too. As I go I just say something very simple like By Earth, Sky and Sea and the Powers that Be – May the earth and everything that grows from it and lives within it be blessed – So mote it Be! To be honest I kind of make it up as I go along with whatever words move me at the time but it’s never complicated.

When I’ve finished I waft incense and sprinkle moon water over my outside altar and then just sit and relax in my garden for a bit – Simples!

Feel free to use this ritual for yourself or adapt it as you see fit.

 

Unseen Power ~ Dark Moon

CerridwenStatueBronze

The last 3 days of a lunar cycle is a time to let go and purge anything in your life that you want to change.

In ancient times, the moon was revered as a goddess, and each of her lunar phases – new moon, full moon, and dark moon – was said to correspond to the three phases of a woman’s life: maiden, mother, and crone. The moon has long been associated with our power within, and you do not have to be a woman to connect with the moon’s power. The dark moon, which is associated with the crone phase, appears in the sky during the last three days of every lunar cycle. It cannot be seen with the human eye, but it is the dark moon that presides over the sky until a new 28-day cycle begins and a new moon is ready to appear. Often referred to as the “dead moon,” the dark moon doesn’t necessarily represent death. It is, however, a time for life-enriching endings and a prelude to new beginnings.

When the dark moon appears, it becomes easier for us to shed unnecessary emotional baggage and free ourselves of people and ideas that no longer serve us or add value to our life. It is a time to cleanse ourselves and create space so that what is new can enter. For many people, the dark moon is a time to rest, be introspective, and replenish their energy. Powerful, healing dreams have been known to take place during the dark moon, and you may discover that it is during the dark moon that you are most driven to meditate, explore your intuitive abilities, retrieve past life memories, or delve more deeply into your psyche.

One way to harness the energy of the dark moon is to perform a ritual where you light a black candle. Call forth and visualize the different parts of your life that you are ready to let go of. Through visualization, bind these parts together with light and imagine this bundle moving toward the candle. Watch these old parts being devoured by the flames, and let the candle burn out. Trust that what you’ve released has left you. You are now ready to welcome the new into your life.