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Creating Your Crystal Conjuring Shrine

Put your shrine together on a low table covered with a white scarf. Set rainbow candles in an arc and then add black and white candles. Prepare a heatproof bowl containing amber incense (good for creativity and healing), and place it in the center of the rainbow, surrounded by quartz.

Prosperity stones should be placed to the far left on the altar, in the money corner. Romance crystals should sit to the far right on the altar.

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Modeling Ancient Religion: The Kamilari Finds

How do we know what Minoan religion was like? By looking... literally... at the artifacts they left behind.

We can't read what the Minoans wrote in their own language using the Linear A script. And the early form of Greek that the Mycenaeans wrote using the Linear B script amounts to little more than bookkeeping records from the Mycenaean occupation of Crete in the century or two before the Minoan cities were finally destroyed.

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Tarot: A Perfect, Portable Intention Tool

Why do Tarot cards make the perfect intention tool? Tune in to the latest episode of my Say It With Tarot podcast:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Crystal Cleansing

Over time, you will doubtless adorn your sacred altar space with many beautiful crystals. Whenever you acquire a new crystal, you need to cleanse it. A new or waning moon is the optimal time to perform this cleansing. Gather these elemental energies:

  • A candle for fire
  • A cup of water
  • Incense for air
  • A bowl of salt

Pass your crystal through the scented smoke of the incense and say:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 The Táin. Bull of Cuailnge - Louis le Brocquy - IMMA

I can't remember what year it was that the Druids brought cattle-raiding to Pagan Spirit Gathering. I know for sure that it was when we were still down in Big Valley.

(Big Valley was a self-contained dell among the hollow hills of Southwestern Witchconsin that became, for one sweet and all-too-brief week each year, the New Pagan Republic. Delightful.)

Certainly, they introduced the phenomenon memorably. During Morning Meeting one day, the main spokesman for the PSG Druids stood up and announced that they were, as of today, reinstituting the ancient Celtic practice of the Táin (cattle raid).

Just then, a big, beefy guy, stark naked and painted woad-blue all over, came screaming into the meeting, circled us all, and ran screeching out again, his shoulder-length blonde hair streaming out behind him.

As I say, memorable.

The PSG Druids were an unruly lot, known for their raucous, late-night parties, and their alcohol-fueled public singing.

(If you're thinking Scots ballads or Auld Irish ditties the now, be disabused of the notion. As a song that made the rounds at the time put it,

The Druids are drinking again;

they've opened a bottle or ten.

They're raising their voices in song:

it's “Gilligan's Isle” all night long...


Cringe. One bean-Draoí, I remember, was in the habit, while walking down Merchants' Row, of suddenly—for no apparent reason—bursting into earnest performances of songs from, of all things, Jesus Christ Superstar. What, if anything, the Man from Galilee, or seven stranded castaways, had to do with Druidism—or anything else for that matter—this fearless blogger, for one, is clearly insufficiently evolved to fully grok.)

Here's how it worked. The Druids—usually at night—would steal something large and noticeable from someone else's campsite, and relocate it to their own. The original owners would then miss the item, and eventually steal it back.

Can you say, “escalation”?

Quickly the custom spread beyond the Druids. The teenaged boys of the festival, I recall, took up the practice with great gusto.

(Interesting, isn't it, how ancestral patterns tend, spontaneously, to reassert themselves.)

Eventually, things like picnic tables went missing. Soon there began to be hard feelings. Just like in the old days, things began to spin out of control.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Altar Herbs

Refer to this list whenever you are setting up your altar and setting your intention for ritual work. It is a concise guide to the enchanted realm of herbs, essences, plants, and plant properties.

Benzoin can be used for purification, prosperity, work success, mental acuity, and memory.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Reconstituting an Ancient Celtic Tribe

We're not reconstructing the past; we're reconstucting the future.”



The original Celtic Tribe of Witches, a people known as the Dobunni, spoke a language known to linguists as Common Brittonic: a language which, in time, morphed (inter alia) into Welsh.

(The Dobunni themselves eventually morphed into an Anglo-Saxon-speaking people named, eponymously, the Hwicce. Peoples morph, languages morph: history is the story of change.)

So how do you say Dobunni in Welsh?

Some of my own family once hailed from the old Dobunni hunting-runs, but though Welsh is one of my ancestral languages, I'm not a Welsh-speaker, and I do not know whether or not memory of the tribe survived long enough to have undergone the sound changes that would have made a Brittonic word into a Welsh one.

(My guess would be, probably not. Being a people of the Cotswolds and the Severn valley—i.e. Southern Britain—the Dobunni were Romanized early, though their tribal self-awareness survived at least to the time of Boudicca's 62 CE “rebellion”, during which they sided with the Romans because their hereditary enemies, the Catuvellauni [“War-Cats”] fought with Boudicca's coalition.)

Nonetheless, we know enough about the processes by which the old language changed into the new that we can make an educated guess.

(As an amateur linguist myself, I find the process of updating old, disused words to what their contemporary forms would have become if they'd actually survived, to be a fascinating exercise in reconstitutive culture. If you think that there's an analogy here with the Pagan Revival, I think you're probably right.)

Boudicca's name, for example (if this actually was her name, rather than just an epithet meaning “victorious”) became Buddug (that's BIH-thig, with the TH of with), as the northern Celtic tribe known as the Votadini (who would have pronounced that V as W) became the Gododdin (gaw-DOE-th'n, with the TH of that).

So, mutatis mutandis, what name would the People Formerly Known As the Dobunni go by now?

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