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The Summer Solstice: A Day of Awakening!

The Great Wheel has turned once again and the longest day, the Summer Solstice, offers opportunity to stand in the heat of Solar Flame, cast the strength of our Inner Sun into the spotlight and bask in the expansive culmination of the prior months’ hard work and efforts. 

This is the time in the Great Year that I call on the Fires of the Goddess in all of her power and strength. She is raw and visceral. Palpable and the shadows that she casts are far reaching and soothing in their transformative directive. She is the ebb and the flow. The expander and the contractor of what I allow to flow from her bounty.
 

We can use this dynamic of energy to call forth our Inner Sun and the energetic changes that have occurred in concert with the increasing of the outer sun’s strength and have brought us to this midpoint of peak. To consciously engage the energy of the Solstice as a tool for enlivening our inner light is similar to the pulling back and tautness of the slingshot band forming its own state of temporary imbalance in order to send the stone straight, steady and fully propelled on its intended course. It is the tipping of the scales towards one extreme of expansion before the necessary contraction that draws all into a state of equilibrium and (temporary) balance at the equinox. This cycle of expansion and contraction- balance and purposeful imbalance- occur in a pattern of alternating the center of focus and the point of expression. 

We find ourselves drawn to the longer days that have been gradually moving towards the apex of this day of the longest hours of light. We feel ourselves emerging into the fullness of this Light filled with the realized potential and life sustaining energy of the sun. We are infused with its power and take pleasure in opening our senses to the full experience of being lit from within and shining that magick on all we encounter. This is the center of our focus and we cling to the last vestiges of daylight before the cycle moves towards the waning time.

And, it is from this place of extreme that we drink in all of the light we able to hold to carry us forward in the days and months ahead, knowing they will bring increasingly shorter hours of daylight and longer times of nightscape. This absorption of the catalytic fires will be the fuel that will burn throughout the months ahead as we move into the space of darkness, cold and introspection and become the lantern of that light.

I usually craft a personal working for the solstices and the equinoxes using the solar energies as the continuous energetic thread. Below is a simple ritual that you may use to celebrate the Solstice as an awakening to and reaffirming of the solar energies that are part of our inherent make-up. Each of the workings I do serves to enliven and increasingly strengthen the solar current. It is this current that I use for energetic protocol and workings. And, it is this current that supports the lunar work that I do. In this way, I maintain the tools that are needed so that I may remain in sync with the energetic tides that flow around me and have as my foundation the Inner Sun that will Light the way. 

A Ritual of Awakening

For the working: 

1/Gold or Yellow Pillar Candle
1/White Pillar Candle
1/Black or Dark Pillar Candle
Candle snuffer (optional) 

Place the candles in a triangular shape on a small altar table. The White Pillar would be the point of the triangle with the Gold on the Left base and the Black on the Right base. A white or gold altar cloth would be suggested. Something plain is preferable rather than a patterned cloth. Everything should be very simple, uncluttered and clean with the candles as the central focus. 

Sacred space is prepared is whatever way is compatible with your path. Invoke those Patrons, Guides or Deity that you work with and wish to have witness and support this rite. For my ritual I would use the gold candle, as the sustaining light and the black as holder of the dark and the midnight Sun. The white candle serves as the inner anchor for the energy. 

Make statement of your intent to enliven and awaken your Inner Sun that its flame may burn brightly in the months ahead. You want to speak this aloud, so that all of your subtle bodies may respond to the physical vibration of the words you are setting forth. 

Begin by lighting the Gold candle. Declare this candle as the energy of the Sun held in its peak of potency and life sustaining properties. It is the catalyst that bursts forth at the dawn of each day. It is the strength and fullness of light as the midday sun. And, it is the drawing of the solar energies into the belly of night; still burning brightly as its mysteries are held in the Midnight Sun. Take some time to connect with these energies and envision this solar cycle in whatever way presents and feels natural to you. Breathe in deeply, feeling the expansion of your lungs and imagining this expansion as the heat and warmth of the growing sun.

Next, stand before the White Candle. Make declaration that this candle represents the pure illumined energy of your Higher Self and the power and strength that is held within. This candle represents your Spirit and the true nature of your being, that flows with the cycles of nature, the seasons, the Universal and Cosmic laws. Feel its resonance within you as you speak each work of description. You may also wish to say your mundane and magickal names, affirming your identify in Spirit and Matter.

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No, Christianity Didn't Steal Ash Wednesday from Heathens

No, Ash Wednesday is not a heathen or pagan holiday. Yes, Wednesday is named after Odin (Woden.) Yes, other cultures besides Christianity used ritual fire and some even used ritual ash. Some Hindus in India receive a blessing from ash from a sacred fire. Fire as a source of cleansing, heat, and light is pretty basic and obvious, and the fact that x culture used it does not mean y culture stole the idea from x culture.

The internet meme making the rounds that claims that fire and ash is an exclusively heathen or pagan symbol is ridiculous on its face; all cultures used fire. The internet meme claims the ashes from heathen festivals were protective in heathen culture. While it is possible that some heathens in the past did use ash for some magical or religious purpose, but if so the person who created the meme really ought to cite the source.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Elements

 

The Elements

The five elements are very important within Witchcraft.  Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit make up the elements.  Each one has its own unique energy and characteristics.

Earth

When I think of Earth I think about soil.  Soil contains and keeps all the minerals and moisture that all the plants on the planet need to live.  Earth is everything we are and everything we have comes from the element of Earth.  We are born of it and we return to it at the end of our lives.  Earth is the foundation so it is no wonder that the element of Earth is associated with abundance and prosperity.  Earth also stabilises and grounds us, think of the grounding exercise mentioned earlier – it involves not only trees that grow but the earth, soil and rock of the planet.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Do You Extinguish a Sacred Fire?

The gathering of the Tribe is over.

The sacred Fire of Gathering, which was lighted when the Tribe first gathered, must now be extinguished.

But how do you extinguish a sacred Fire?

Well, here's how the Tribe of Witches does it.

On the final morning of our Grand Sabbat witch-moot, we gather around the Fire, and make the same offerings and prayers to It that we've made on every morning of our gathering.

Then we quench the Fire with offerings. At the Grand Sabbat, for reasons that I won't go into here, we use red wine to do this.

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The Care and Feeding of Sacred Fires

When the tribe foregathers, the sacred Fire of Gathering is lighted.

It burns through the duration of the gathering. The priesthood make offerings to It daily and pray for the well-being of the People.

At the end of the gathering-time, the Fire is bid farewell, and ritually extinguished.

There are, of course, innumerable laws governing the treatment of sacred fires. The single most important is this: Treat the Fire as you would an honored guest.

Three in-the-nutshell guidelines to bear in mind:

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Step into the Fire

Step into the Fire

 

I got called out by my kid. And it was gut-wrenching. 

 

They’d embarked on an exploration of “family stories” they wanted to rewrite, the unspoken assumptions and unwritten rules of their upbringing. When they shared this their words were calm but direct. The unquestioning child was gone. A fully observant adult stood in their place.

 

Seeing myself and our family life through their eyes was….bracing. Scary. I had to face some uncomfortable truths, and found myself filled with a sense of loss and regret. I hadn’t been a perfect parent, and I wasn’t a perfect person. 

 

But this was a perfect chance to step into the fire.

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Taking Possession: Home-Buying and Moving-In Traditions

The Jesse Pickens Pugh House via Wikimedia Commons

My husband and I recently bought a home in the Blue Ridge mountains – a dream we’ve held since we married eight years ago. It’s an old house with history, an acre and a half of land, and beautiful views of the mountains. I fell in love with the house and surrounding land almost immediately. As we look forward to moving in, I’ve been thinking about traditions to perform as we get established there – traditions that will familiarize and unite us with the spirit(s) of the house and ensure a long-lasting, productive relationship for years to come.

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