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Conjuring Clairvoyance: Open Your Third Eye

Saffron water is made by boiling one teaspoon of saffron in two cups of distilled water. Dip your hands in the water, touch your “third eye” at the center of your forehead and speak aloud:

Ishtar, Athena, Diana, Astarte – fill me with your presence.

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Back in the early days of Paganistan, word went around that Circle Sanctuary's Selena Fox was going to be interviewed on a local TV talk show.

Not only that, but—hoping, no doubt, to generate friction—they had invited some fundie to "debate" her.

Yes, folks, from the city of St. Paul, it's the Pagans v. the Nazzes*, Live on 5.

Virtually the entire pagan population of the Twin Cities converged on the studio that morning. When, priming the audience before the cameras started rolling, the host asked if he had any pagans there that day—expecting, no doubt, a resounding silence in response—the eruption from the bleachers nearly knocked him off his feet.

The nazz—I can't remember his name or what charnel** he was from—looked equally gob-smacked. Whatever he'd expected, it certainly wasn't a vociferously partisan audience for the Opposition.

Cameras rolled. I can't remember anything that the nazz said; I can't remember anything that Selena said. That wasn't really, after all, what this was all about. What I can tell you is that Selena landed the winning punch: towards the end of the debate, to emphasize a point, she whipped out a maquette of the Statue of Liberty—our Lady of Freedom—and gleefully waved it in the air like a torch.

I'll bet they heard the cheers across the River in Minneapolis.

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This beautiful Common Carder bumblebee on a 'Scarlet Runner' bean flower,  Central Scotland : bees


To be quite honest, I was really worried about us when this pandemic began.

Compared with other religions, contemporary pagans just don't have the resources to draw on to get us through times of crisis. We don't have the institutions, we don't have the time-depth of lore and precedent to draw on, we don't have it all in one nice, handy little book that you can take with you anywhere. Stories aside, we're a family of new religions with not a whole lot of collective experience of trauma.

Are we going to make it through? I wondered. Do we really have the depth and resilience to keep us going through the dark? Tribal religion being premised on—well, the tribe—will it keep us going when the tribe cannot gather?

I'll admit that I'm luckier than many. My coven of 40-some years has been a source of strength and inspiration to me all along. May Thunder strike me if ever again I take our meetings for granted. Throughout the pandemic, we have continued to meet, and we've done it safely. Sometimes we had to get creative, but we've kept the Wheel turning, and we've all managed to make it through.

Are you a better pagan now that you were a year ago?

Well, if crisis doesn't destroy you, it makes you stronger. When I ask myself this question, I have to answer: My paganism is the deeper and the wiser for it. The past year has taught me many things, foremost among them the eternal wellsprings from which my paganism, like all genuine paganisms, arises, and always will arise.

The Sun coming up right there on the horizon.

The bees droning in the scarlet runner-bean flowers.

Those two squirrels, mating there, on that particular branch.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sylvan Spell: Planting Magic

This is a lovely spell to do if you are given a small tree as a gift, to wish for strength and good health for you and your love. Before you plant the sapling, tie a bow in some colored ribbon, and plant the bow with a small heart symbol in the soil under the roots of the tree. After you have planted the tree, water it well—especially with one or two tears of love, if possible! Make a wish that both you and your love will grow strong and enduring as the tree takes root and begins to flourish. When the tree bears its first leaf, press it in a book associated with the one you love. As long as you tend your tree with love, you will both enjoy blooming health and vitality.

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Put a Cork In It - Charmed Life Charm

The next time you enjoy a beverage sealed with a cork, keep the cork. This does not have to be a champagne cork—they are all lucky. When a bottle is shared and the occasion is a happy event or joyous moment, secret away the cork from the bottle, making a wish for repetition of the pleasure as you do so, and placing a coin in a slit in the top of the cork.

Now you must sleep on the cork every night (under your pillow) and keep it in your pocket all the next day. Rub the cork any day thereafter when you wish to hear from the other person or people who shared the bottle with you; do not wish for love but rather for continuing happiness. The cork symbolizes buoyancy, not love.

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Make a Wish Upon the Wind: A Happiness Ritual

Bluebirds are so famous they have given their name to the bluebird of happiness. The robin has been associated with the same signs of cheerfulness and joy. Seeing a bluebird or robin, you should immediately make a wish: it must be something unselfish, and not dependent on anyone else. As the bird flies off, set your wish ascending. Wish hard for steadily increasing happiness and release from strains. Whether a bluebird or a robin, if you see the bird again with a few days in exactly the same place, your wish will certainly be granted.

Here are some more magical wings and prayers:

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Feeling the Rhythm of May

I Fell in Love With the Djembe

There's nothing quite like the sound or the feel of slapping a djembe for the first time. The smooth, organic touch of the taught drumhead can produce the cleanest, crispiest tones. There's variety too: the higher pitched sounds will snap through the air, while striking the middle with an open palm, fingers curled upward, will reward you with a resonant, booming bass. Shaped like a chalice and used in many a drum circle, djembes can be as small and portable as a mason jar and large enough to require straps and a carrying case if you want to stand and play it to your heart's content. The djembe also has a deeply spiritual and communal history.

I'd always loved the sound of drums, from enjoying a band to anticipating a parade. It was when an old friend of mine in Chicago formed an all-female drumming troupe and they began to host public drum circles that I developed a serious interest in learning to play.

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