invocation Tag - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! Mon, 22 May 2017 16:41:59 -0700 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb In Which the Minstrel Roastbeef Invokes the Devil

Around 1261, the troubadour Rutebeuf (“Roast Beef”) published an early French miracle play, Le Miracle de Théophile.

Little did he know that he was about to make Wiccan history.

Based on 11th century Christian legend, the play tells the story of Theophilus (“god-lover”) of Adana, who sells his soul to the Devil. The Devil is called up, by a sorcerer named Salatin, with a mysterious chant:

Read more]]> (Steven Posch) Culture Blogs Sat, 16 Jul 2016 06:21:26 -0700
Cannabis Craft | The Witchcraft of the Green Goddess


Entheogens, psychedelics, hallucinogens, and other intoxicants are connected with witchcraft because they help us to escape the trappings of the mind and aide in spirit flight. Witches have been working with herbs to alter consciousness for thousands of years and the story is no different today. What is different however is the availability of these substances. The legal drinking age in the United States is twenty-one, younger in most others. Medical marijuana is currently legal in several states and without question will become legal recreationally soon. Herbs like Salvia are also available in the large majority of locations as well as Ayahuasca in South America and abroad. Even mugwort and Mexican tarragon when prepared the right way can induce intense dream states. Modern witches have all of these herbs at our disposal with just a few clicks on the Internet so I thought I would share with you some safe and effective ways to work with the most popular of psychoactive herbs available, Cannabis.

I started working with Cannabis to alleviate IBS symptoms that began some years back. Growing up in a place where it was available recreationally through unmentionable channels, I did have some exposure to it prior to my diagnosis but was largely unfamiliar with the plant as a spiritual ally. Once it became somewhat of a staple for alleviating the often-debilitating symptoms of IBS, I realized that I had a job to do as an animist; I had to familiarize myself with the plant spirit to continue to work with it responsibly.

I was never much of a user prior to getting sick and to be honest, I was not immediately into sharing my experiences with others, mostly because I didn’t want to be labeled as a ‘stoner’ in the eyes of other witches. That fear would melt away in my close circles and give rise to discussions and new experiences that would better my understanding of what having a spiritual relationship with this plant can offer.

Lets get one thing straight: You don’t have to work with Cannabis if you don’t want to, it doesn’t make or break you as a witch. It is a relationship that I developed as an adult with legal access to it. If you can’t enjoy it legally it isn’t really worth the penalties that can often come with possession of such a plant.

There are several ways to partake of Cannabis, the most popular being the smoking of the sticky cone like flower. Other products such as oils and tinctures are easily made or obtained through extracting the whole plant essence, not just the flowering bud. The psychoactive chemical of the plant known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) produces an immediate shift in the mind and is generally responsible for the euphoric feeling associated with consuming the plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) on the other hand is responsible for the medicinal effects of pain relief, nausea reduction, to reduce seizures, and in strong enough doses can actually stop the growth of and even shrink the size of tumors. For the majority of medical Cannabis users strains of the plant containing higher volumes of CBD are desired. When working with the plant spiritually to alter consciousness and raise vibration, we want to work with strains with higher amounts of THC and minimal amounts of CBD. Too much CBD can make the body feel heavy after sometime and will either put you to sleep for a few hours, or will make it difficult to maintain focus during spiritual exploration.

Cannabis strains I can recommend for spirit flight:

Sour Diesel: Has a very nice calming ability on the body, releasing anxiety and tension while sharpening the mind. The high lasts a moderate amount of time and is an easy transition back to sobriety without any crashing effects. Very stimulating and makes for an excellent soul flight experience. Probably my most preferred.

3D: A hybrid strain that combines three euphoric varieties which in small amounts will make you feel creative and social. In larger quantities has been said to bring deep states of shamanic awareness.

Voodoo: A strain that comes from Thailand, known for its long lasting euphoric effects and mind altering anti-depressive properties. This strain is excellent for long durations of soul flight and can be used in smaller increments over a longer period of time to maintain shamanic conscious states.

Blue Dream: Balancing full-body relaxation and gentle mental invigoration this strain hails from California and is a favorite among practitioners. A nice subtle shift in the mind, a euphoric body high and an almost immediate loss of anxiety makes this strain a go to.

White Widow: Another hybrid which boasts impressive effects for spiritually minded users, this strain comes from the Netherlands and is a cross between plants from both India and Brazil. It gets its name from the white crystals that coat the flower, this stain is perfect for deep emotional healing and all night spirit communion. Very strong, this variety should be used with caution for new users.

When working with this plant as a spiritual ally it can open doors to parts of the mind which beg for healing, speed the vibrational astral process, and enhance shamanic reality. The trick to this practice however is to not use so much that you lose the ability to actually do the work at hand. I worked with a group for years who would use cannabis to aid in spirit flight and by far the biggest challenge was in keeping everyone at a level of consumption that would allow us to remain task oriented. If you’re smoking then one or two puffs should do it, or a dose of THC that is somewhere around the 20-milligram mark.

I prefer to do this kind of work with a group where drumming, chanting, and singing can be done to raise the special vibration and provide a psychic stream of energy to slip into. If you’re doing this alone be sure to make music or have some playing that is faster than 100 beats per minute. The other reason to work this magic with others is that I like to have at least one sane, sober, and magical person around. This person acts as a “temple ward” and will help keep everyone safe and the experience directed if needed. For the most part the temple ward only needs to keep the space sacred and keep the people flying out of harms way. They are the designated fliers, who may enter a light trance state but should remain sober.

Cleanse yourself and your space beforehand and prepare an incense using three parts cannabis (leaves will work well for this), two parts myrrh, and one part honey amber. Blend well together and burn 2/3 of the mixture over charcoal while you prepare your mind by grounding and centering your energy. Load a bowl of your favorite green stuff or prepare your herbal remedy according to usage instructions. Using your dominant hand draw a pentacle of green fire over the herb and with a deep breath visualize the pentacle descending into the plant matter then say, “ Cannabidia! Cannabidia! Cannabidia! I call forth the green goddess from the eatheric realms! I summon her from the plane of spirits! Blessed is this herb which bares your name, holy is its power! Cannabidia, you who parts the veils, who flourishes on the mountain side, you who breaks the chains that bind and redeemer of the mind! Cannabidia as I inhale I take in your essence. As I partake I breathe in your spirit medicine! Be here now! Be here now! Cannabidia - Be here now!”

Take the recommended amount of herb and then immediately begin drumming, chanting, and singing, or playing your music.

Over the next thirty to forty minutes continue to do this and allow your mind to remain open but keep a conscious composure. During this time allow any visions or messages to come through and merely be present in the moment. Just allow for what comes to come, don’t over analyze it, don’t try to make immediate sense of it, just be present. After your work is done stop the music and burn the remaining third of the incense and as it burns simply breathe and focus on bringing your consciousness completely back into your body. Take a few moments to feel your bones and muscles, your skin and your hair as you slowly breathe and appreciate the silence.

Once you feel you are once again grounded spend the next few minutes writing down any messages you received and to the best of your ability, try to write down your overall experience.

To develop a continued relationship with the plant spirit use the herb sparingly and with intention. Lets face it, getting high off of cannabis is fun and far less calories than drinking, but any substance used without moderation can become a problem and in this case is abusive to the plant spirit. You also don’t want to grow the habit of relying on these methods solely because too much exposure to these substances will weaken the mind and your ability to protect yourself. Remember, 98% of magic is about being clear-minded and grounded. The 2% of the craft that isn’t really should only remain the 2% for the majority of us.

In addition to not overdoing it, you can also make the container in which you store your herb a shrine for the plant spirit. Be creative and make it beautiful! Cannabidia, the goddess I spoke of earlier is a deity that came to me during one of my own spirit flights and has been a constant ally. Her symbol is a burgundy seven-pointed star contained within a bright green triangle.

I hope you make the most of your experiences and that you take the time to consider the spiritual side of working with cannabis if you are already a user or are about to embark upon that journey. In my case, my IBS symptoms have almost completely disappeared and I no longer need to use this herbal ally as much as I once did. I credit the dramatic change for the better in my health to establishing a relationship with this plant and the spirit that resides within it. I also credit that relationship with intense breakthroughs regarding my own spiritual and emotional health. Sometimes being able to find relief from suffering is all you need in order to find an end to it.

Read more]]> (Devin Hunter) Culture Blogs Fri, 01 Apr 2016 13:18:51 -0700
How process and creativity work together in magical work

One of the reasons I apply process to my magical work is because with good processes in place, it makes easier to innovate and experiment with magic. I learned that in the business world and I've applied to my spiritual practices over the years to great success. You can actually learn a lot by taking the practice of one discipline and applying it to another discipline. In business, processes are used to solve problems, design and implement solutions, and to encourage creativity. Process encourages creativity by cutting out extraneous busy work, to focus on what really works, but in order to discover what works you necessarily need to work the process.

A lot of times creativity is treated as a chaotic experience, which occurs when a person is inspired. But in my experience, creativity is quite structured. Process provides the necessary structure for creativity to flourish in. Whether I'm writing, painting, or practicing magic, having a process in place allows me to work with my creativity as a resource. I'm not just waiting for inspiration to hit me...I'm actively cultivating it as part of my process.

When you think of process, you might think of it as a linear series of steps, but process is much more than just that. Process is a non-linear way of thinking. Process examines the variables in a given situation and looks at what is needed to bring everything together in order to do whatever you are going to do. It doesn't always move in one direction or lead to one result.

When I experiment with magic, I use process to provide a baseline I can work with. I know that there are fundamental principles of magic and I account for those in my process. Anything else can be applied as part of the process that works with those principles to achieve specific outcomes. Let's take the act of invocation as an example.

The process of invocation works with the principle of connection. You are invoking an entity for the purposes of communion, connection, communication, possession, etc., and all of it boils down to connection. Now what you'll do as a result of the invocation may differ from person to person, but the principle is the same regardless of what technique you are using. That's where process comes into play and along with it creativity.

Your technique needs to employ the principle of connection, but other than that, its up to you. You can go with something classic and true for your invocation, or you can get creative, based on whatever will help you employ that principle most effectively. If, for example, you are invoking a deity, you might try to create a specific costume that embodies that deity. You might also research the culture and then use culture specific items, food, etc., as part of the process of invoking the deity. If you are invoking a person, you might draw on what you know about the person, pictures, style, favorite food etc. The point here is that this process of invocation is customizable based on what you are invoking, and whatever you want to bring to the process. What stays the same is the principle being drawn upon, but beyond keeping that principle in mind, the process you work with can be as creative as needed. The reason is because the principle provides the foundation for the process to occur. What fleshes out the process is your creative approach to manifesting that process as a reality. 

I recommend getting creative in your magical work because it will help you learn magic in a way that goes beyond anything you read or learn from anyone else. When you get creative with your magical work, you make it your own, and you understand how it works in a much more intimate way than you'd ever encounter otherwise. To really know your spiritual practice is to make it your own, to learn the fundamentals and then get creative and personalize what you do.

Read more]]> (Taylor Ellwood) Studies Blogs Wed, 25 Mar 2015 19:31:26 -0700
Tarot Invocation and Divination for Brigid

Invocation can be a magickal act unto itself, meant to bring strength, healing and attunement. Invocation can also be an important part of a ceremony.

 Tarot cards can strengthen the magick of your invocation.

If you are celebrating the approaching turn of the Wheel, on your own or with a group, here is a way to use tarot in your invocation and ritual.

Whether you call it Imbolg, Imbolc, Brigid, Candlemas or Groundhog’s Day, this cross-quarter day between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox marks the very first signs of spring. The four tarot Aces, indicating new beginnings as the seed, source and essence of each element, are appropriate tools for invocation.

Hold each Ace to your heart, breathing in its energy, and welcoming a new beginning as spring emerges. Then, place it on the altar as you move to the next element.

Let the Ace of Swords, and the element of Air, bring new ability to communicate, to discern truth and to maintain clarity.

Let the Ace of Wands, and the element of Fire, bring new energy, new passion and new inspiration.

Let the Ace of Cups, and the element of Water, bring fresh healing and hope to your heart.

Let the Ace of Pentacles, and the element of Earth, bring a new opportunity for prosperity and wellness in the coming spring.

You may use the Queen of Wands to invoke Brigid. Again, hold the card to your heart as you say your invocation, and then place the card on your altar.

Here is an invocation that uses the Queen of Wands as Brigid for personal transformation.

Hail, Brigid, Queen of Fire!
As I await the coming spring, accept me at your forge.
Give me your gift of transformation.
Transform my sorrow to joy, my weakness to strength, and my grief to inspiration.
Let your hammer strike me, and transform my fear to faith.

If you wish, you may continue your ritual with a divination, using just the five cards used for invocation, the four Aces and the Queen of Wands.

The question for the divination is this.

Which energy should I strive to work with most closely over the next six weeks?

If you get the Queen of Wands, Brigid herself has called you to work with her.

If you get an Ace, make it’s element a priority in your meditation and study until the next turn of the Wheel.


Read more]]> (Christiana Gaudet) Culture Blogs Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:39:08 -0800
PantheaCon Book Purchases

Although I’ve been trying to lighten up the bookshelves in my home by donating some books to Pagan libraries, loaning out many (which seldom seem to return home), and simply putting some books I’ve read “in circulation,” such as leaving them at my gym or giving them to someone else to read with no expectation of getting them back.  However, that doesn’t mean a bibliophile such as me has ceased buying books altogether.  In spite of limited funds for non-essentials, I do consider books to be essential to my life, so I still buy them, albeit much more selectively than I’ve done in the past.  I especially tend to purchase books of poetry, even more especially if I know the poet, and/or anthologies in which their work is published.  I feel strongly about supporting the arts as much as we can; this is one of my ways of supporting the arts.

I returned home from PantheaCon with only two new books; I restrained myself. 

One is Gus diZerega’s Fault Lines: The Sixties, the Culture Wars, and the Return of the Divine Feminine.  I’ve been reading parts of earlier iterations of this work, and, having lived a life that fits into the title, I’m eager to read it when I don’t have plenty of reading piled up that pertains to projects I’m working on.  The cover is jarring, perhaps as it should be considering the subject matter, but it’s not appealing to me.  As they say, “you can’t tell a book by its cover.”

The other book features the work of a poet I’ve only been aware of for the past two years or so but whose work touches my soul.  From the Prow of Myth, by Michael Routery, contains many praises and invocatory poems inspired by Greek and Irish myth, as well as others appealing to those with Pagan sensibilities.

I facilitate the Wiccan circle[1] at San Quentin State Prison.  Since I’m personally very goddess-oriented, and the inmates are all male, I’m always on the lookout for ‘good god stuff.’  I’ve found several pieces in Michael’s book that I intend to incorporate into the liturgy I’m using with the inmates.  So thanks, Michael, and good luck with the book!  Good luck to Gus with his new book, too!


[1]   “Wiccan circle” is the name either chosen by the inmates or assigned by prison authorities.  This circle, which its members consider to be something of a coven, has a name of its own as well.  By the nature of its membership and the disparity of their experiences, their educational backgrounds, and their individual and collective interests, this circle is more accurately broadly Pagan.  

Read more]]> (Aline "Macha" O'Brien) Studies Blogs Thu, 27 Feb 2014 17:06:38 -0800
The Risk of Invocation

Invoke (v.): To petition for support; to cite as authority; to conjure.

What does it mean to invoke?

The word "invoke" derives from the old Latin word vocare, meaning "to call" and is related to the word vox, meaning voice. 

All three of the meanings included above are related and involve a form of identity. Essentially, we are calling upon a person or entity with some measure of power/authority to act in our behalf or through us. It is a means of identifying with or even as something/someone that is normally outside of ourselves.

Patti Wigington defines invocation as "a form of voluntary possession. When you invoke a deity being, ... you're inviting it into yourself, and that god or goddess will manifest through a human host."

I've long been convinced that the Hebrew commandment not to take the name of YHWH in vain relates, not to four-letter words, but to the practice of invoking the god's name frivolously. This is serious stuff; even more so because it applies not just to deities, but to things in the mundane world we often overlook or even ignore.

Whenever we identify with something, we are invoking the power of its nature and its definition, applying that definition to ourselves.

It might be a spiritual label; a political party; a product; a sports team or whatever. Identifying with any of these things is a form of invocation. Something as simple as declaring you're a fan of "The Walking Dead" both claims and invokes the power of those words to communicate something about yourself.

Why do successful sports teams have more fans than those that more often post losing records? Because more people are attracted to their power/success and, therefore, identify with them.

Why are celebrities more powerful, in some senses, than lesser-known individuals? In part, it may be because of their personal charisma, talent or skill. But in part, it is because of a bandwagon effect: Others gravitate toward the popular and successful and seek to identify with it in order to share that popularity or success. This then snowballs until the celebrity's status is often (though certainly not always) out of proportion to his/her skill or talent.

Deities are prone to the same phenomenon. The more we invoke/identify with them, the greater their status becomes. Shifting statuses within pantheons offer one example: Zeus may well have supplanted Chronos at the head of the Greek pantheon because more people came to identify with him: More worshipers invoked his name and attributes. Another example is the rise of the Christian god, whose cult overwhelmed older spiritual traditions as it spread. This is, admittedly, a sensitive area. Gods, whether you think of them as literal or archetypal, have their own charisma, talents and skills that attract adherents in the first place, just as celebrities do. But the snowball effect works with deities in just the same way: The more people gravitate toward them, the faster their worship will spread.

Invoking involves not only identity, but authority, as well. By invoking something or someone, one can call upon the authority of that entity to settle a dispute. No one offers a greater degree of authority than a deity, but other sources of authority can be invoked in the same way, whether they be political leaders, religious figures or scriptures. In debate, the strategy known as "appeal to authority" is a form of invocation. One identifies with the authority as a means of ending the debate. (Ken Hay used this strategy in his recent debate with Bill Nye about creationism when he appealed to the Bible as the ultimate authority in scientific matters.)

Appeals to authority don't further debate about an issue; on the contrary, they shut it down. Instead of focusing on the ideas, our attention is shifted to an authority figure who supposedly is the last word on the subject. Discussion ends, people stop listening and, often, one side feels as though it has not been heard. The result is often anger and frustration.

I recently decided to stop referring to political leaders and parties in my online posts, because doing so tended to shut down discussions. When I did so, people often became angry and responded with insults directed toward the leaders/parties in question, rather than listening to the ideas I wished to communicate (which were, ultimately, far more important to me than the individuals espousing them). Suddenly, no one was listening because of what was, on my part, a careless invocation.

The lesson I learned from this is that invocations, whether of deities or other sources of authority, should never be undertaken lightly and should be used sparingly. While the source of an idea can lend it credibility, truth will always be able to stand on its own, regardless of whether a deity, politician or celebrity endorses it.

Read more]]> (Stifyn Emrys) Studies Blogs Thu, 20 Feb 2014 11:25:46 -0800
Halloween Masks and Invocation Halloween is the first cosplay convention that ever was, and the longest running one, but Halloween is more than just that. It's a time for people to connect with the pop culture they love and embody that pop culture. For example, the recent Verizon commercial shows a family dressed up as characters (and more) from Star Wars. What strikes me about that commercial is that for that family Star Wars is real that night and in a way they get to become those characters while they trick and treat (though they do seem more obsessed with Candy than anything else).

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and it's also one of the inspirations for my approach to pop culture magic. This isn't surprising because its during Halloween that pop culture comes out in force. People dress up as the characters they love and for an evening embody those characters in one form or another. This occurs across ages, with little children dressing up to go trick and treat, while adults dress up to have fun at a costume party. Now not all of these people intentionally set out to work magic, but Halloween is a night of masks, and as such it can be useful for magical work to explore the idea of taking on a mask.

A mask allows a person to become something else, to invoke a different presence into his/her life. The mask isn't a permanent change in identity, but rather is a temporary change that allows the person to access what the mask represents. And what the mask represents is a chance to let go and allow yourself to connect with something that isn't you, that is different from your usual identity. Of course there are potential dangers when you do this without the right constraints, and I think that one of the constraints that is present in Halloween is the idea that it's all make believe. It's a useful constraint for people who aren't magicians, but for someone who practices magic, putting on the mask is never make believe. Putting on the mask is a connection with the character, entity, deity, etc that the mask represents.

To me, Halloween is a night of invocation. When you put on the mask, and put on the costume you are invoking the character and what the character represents. The moment you start to dress the part is the moment the ritual begins. Each article of clothing you put on and each stroke of paint and make up you apply puts you in touch with the character, allowing you to connect with the character and invoke him/her/it into you. When the costume is complete, at that moment you've fully opened the door to become the character for as long as you wear the costume. However the costume is only part of the invocation. The rest of the invocation occurs when you choose to behave like the character. By choosing to behave like the character, you allow yourself to become that character. The invocation ends when you take off the costume, allowing the connection to slip away and resuming your everyday identity.

Of course, you don't have to limit invocation along these lines to Halloween, but I think Halloween is the one day of the year where you can get away with it anywhere you go. In a sense Halloween becomes the one day that everyone takes on a different identity, a different mask, a different reality, if only for the time that they wear the costume. So why not become that character you identify with or even better a character that isn't anything like you and might challenge you to behave differently than you normally would. Put on a mask and let yourself temporarily be something or someone else. It's a kind of magic in its own right, and one that can be quite useful to explore, both on Halloween and at other times if you feel so inclined.

Read more]]> (Taylor Ellwood) Studies Blogs Tue, 29 Oct 2013 18:58:00 -0700