Middle Earth Magic: Inspired Ideas and Seasonal Spells for Your Enchanted Life

I grew up on a farm in West Virginia and learned much about herbs, trees, animals, gardening, foraging  and so much about nature. I incorporate this wisdom I learned from elders in my family into my spellwork. When I finally left the farm, I majored in Medieval Studies, my attempt to emulate my idol, J.R.R. Tolkien. All these influences led me to my own blended brew which I call "middle earth magic," containing a mix of the modern and the time-tested "old ways." 

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Baby Naming Ceremony

Often, there is a name given at birth based on that of an ancestor or family member. Later, when a child has come of age, another name is given to acknowledge maturation. This tradition needs to be revived, and I believe it is a wonderful rite of passage to institute in the lives of young people today, who are so desperately in need of community support and inclusion. Of all the wonderful customs of the world, my favorite baby naming custom comes from joining the names of the parents. For example, if the father’s name is Robert and the mother is named Carolyn, you could name the baby Roblyn. Christina and Toby’s child could be Christoby, or if you needed a more conventional version, Cristobel. Anna and Justin’s child could be named Justina. The possibilities are endless, as you can see. They don’t always work well, however, so Filipino families sometimes end up using the names of grandparents, godparents, and the revered “aunties,” women who are not actually related but are very special friends of the family. Sometimes they choose to overlook the custom entirely and opt for outside names, but naming is alive and well in this modern age.

Here is a ceremony for a baby naming as performed by the wonderful Viray family, a joyous and generous “tribe” of Filipinos that stretches from Indiana to California to many of the Philippine Islands.

Ritual for the Naming

An essential element for this ceremony is holy water.

Select a day when as many family members and friends as possible can attend, ideally a fair Sunday at the parents’ or grandparents’ house. Ask the guests to bring their very best and most dazzling dish to share— your prizewinning pie, or a casserole that always gets second and third helpings—and to write down their favorite lullabies and sleepy-time stories to share.

Begin the ceremony with a family blessing for the new parents and the baby. Grandparents and other family elders should take turns holding the baby and touching a drop or two of holy water to the baby’s forehead. This common blessing of water is similar to baptism. A grandmother or other elder should lead the group in a song, but if that is not possible, common and well-known lullabies should be sung.

Now the parents present the infant with his or her new name and tell the story behind the naming. After the name is given, every guest and family member should come up to the baby and welcome the new baby by name. It is also the time to present the written stories and lullabies to the parents along with good wishes and other gifts. Ideally, this should not be an overly materialistic event, but I have observed that most people simply can’t resist giving presents to new babies and parents out of sheer happiness.

Finally, the food is shared, and the bonds of the family expand to include the new baby.

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    Cerridwen Greenleaf has worked with many of the leading lights of the spirituality world including Starhawk, Z Budapest, John Michael Greer, Christopher Penczak, Raymond Buckland, Luisah Teish, and many more. She gives herbal, crystal and candle magic workshops throughout North America. Greenleaf's graduate work in medieval studies has given her deep knowledge she utilizes in her work, making her work unique in the field. A bestselling author, her books include Moon Spell Magic, The Book of Kitchen Witchery, The Magic of Gems and Crystals and the Witch’s Spell Book series.  She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.  


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