The Tools Of Ritual Magick

The Tools Of Ritual Magick

Formal ritual magick requires its own special tools. These may be real or symbolic.
The list I give here is intended only as a guide: some of these may not be relevant to your own way of working. I have listed the areas of the circle in which each tool is traditionally placed. There are many sources of magical tools and, as I mentioned in the section on spells, you may already have a number in your home. You do not need to spend a great deal of money unless you wish, but I would suggest that you take time in finding the right items. Even if you work in a group, you may like to build up a set for your own personal work.
Some people prefer to make their own magical tools and this certainly does endow them with energies. I have suggested books that tell you how to make your own candles for special ceremonies and even your own knife. Woodcarvers are an excellent source for small staves suitable as wands and will often make items to order. In time, you will build up a collection of items and by personalising and charging them, you make them not only powerful, but also your own.
Keep your magical tools in a special place, separate from your everyday household items, wrapped in a natural fabric. You can buy excellent hessian bags and may wish to keep fragile or items that will scratch in separate ones. You can also use silk. Secure your bags with three protective knots.
You may have heard various warnings about needing to destroy charged tools on the demise of the owner, and the dire consequences of their being touched by any outsider. This is real late-night-cinema stuff. But common sense dictates that you should not leave knives, sharp wands, etc. where children might harm themselves and on the whole it is better to keep magical items away from the curious and the sceptical.
There is really no reason why you should not use your kitchen knife for cutting vegetables and then, after a quick purification in water or incense, chop herbs in an impromptu spell, or open your circle with it. But on the whole it is better to keep a separate knife for your special ceremonies.
I believe that even formal tools are like electrical devices that are lying unplugged and unused: they contain the potential to help or harm only if misused. What is more, without your personal vibes, which act as your password, the power cannot flow; you have not created an independent life form.
The following tools are commonly used in formal magick.
The Athame
An athame is, quite simply, a ceremonial knife. It is one of the ritual tools that entered the tradition through the influence of magicians and witches who set out the wisdom, mainly at the beginning of the twentieth century and in the upsurge of covens during the 1950s. Gerald Gardener, one of the founding fathers of Wicca, considered ritual knives and swords of prime importance in modern formal witchcraft.
You can obtain an athame from a specialist magical shop, but as I said before, any knife – even a letter opener – will do, although it should preferably have a silver-coloured blade. Athames are traditionally double-edged and black-handled, but a single-edged blade is better if you are new to magick, to avoid unintentional cuts.
There is a vast array of scouting and craft knives available, with black wooden handles on which you can engrave magical symbols such as your zodiacal and planetary glyphs with a pyrographic set obtained from an art shop. You can also paint moons, stars, spirals, suns, or crosses with silver paint. I use a curved-bladed knife with a silver engraved scabbard, which I bought from a souvenir shop in Spain.
The athame is set in the East of the altar and represents the element of Air. Like the sword, it is traditionally used for drawing magical circles on the ground and directing magical Air energies into a symbol. When you are casting a circle, you can point your athame diagonally towards the ground, so that you do not need to stoop to draw (which is not very elegant and bad for the back). With practice, the movement becomes as graceful as with a sword.
The athame can also be used as a conductor of energy, especially in solitary rituals, being held above the head with both hands to draw down light and energy into the body. This uses the same principle as that of arching your arms over your head to create a light body as described on page 124. One method of releasing the power is then to bring the athame down with a swift, cutting movement, horizontally at waist level, then thrust it away from the body and upwards once more to release this power. If others are present, direct the athame towards the centre of the circle. After the ritual you can drain excess energies by pointing the athame to the ground.
An athame may be used to invoke the elemental Guardian Spirits by drawing a pentagram in the air and for closing down the elemental energies after the ritual. With its cutting steel of Mars, it is effective in power, matters of the mind, change, action, justice, banishing magick, protection and for cutting through inertia and stagnation. The athame is sometimes also associated with the Fire element.
If you don’t like the idea of a full-sized athame, there are some lovely paper knives in the shape of swords or with animal or birds’ heads.
Some covens give each of their members a tiny athame, to be used for drawing down energies during ceremonies. The main athame is used by the person leading the ritual who may draw the circle, open all four quarters and close them after the ritual.
An athame with a white handle is used for cutting wands, harvesting herbs for magick or healing, carving the traditional Samhain jack-o’-lantern, and etching runes and other magical or astrological symbols on candles and talismans. Some practitioners believe that you should never use metal for cutting herbs but instead pull them up, shred them and pound them in a mortar and pestle, kept for the purpose. Pearl-handled athames are considered to be especially magical.
The Sword
Like the athame, the sword stands in the East of the circle as a tool of the Air element. Swords are the suit symbol of Air in the Tarot and are also one of the Christian as well as the Celtic Grail treasures.
Each of the Tarot suits and the main elemental ritual items in magick, represented by these four suits, is associated with one of the treasures of the Celts. The treasures belonged to the Celtic Father God, Dagda, and are said to be guarded in the Otherworld by Merlin. There were 13 treasures in total, but four have come into pre-eminence in magick and Tarot reading.
These four main sacred artefacts – swords, pentacles, wands and cups, or chalices – have parallels in Christianity and were associated with the legendary quest of the knights of King Arthur, who attempted to find them. The Grail Cup was the most famous of these. The Christian sword of King David, identified in legend with Arthur’s sword Excalibur, appears in Celtic tradition as the sword of Nuada whose hand was cut off in battle.
With a new hand fashioned from silver, he went on to lead his people to victory. According to one account, the Christian treasures were brought in AD 64 to Glastonbury in England by Joseph of Arimathea, the rich merchant who caught Christ’s blood in the chalice as He was on the cross and took care of His burial after the crucifixion.
Some present-day, peace-loving witches, myself included, do not really like the concept of using swords, even though they are pretty spectacular for drawing out a circle on a forest floor, and swords are rarely used in home ritual magick. If you do want to use one, however, you can obtain reproduction ceremonial swords.
The sword is the male symbol to the female symbol of the cauldron, and plunging the swords into the waters of the cauldron can be used in love rituals and for the union of male and female, god and goddess energies as the culmination of any rite. However, the chalice and the athame, or wand, tend to be used for the same purpose, unless it is a very grand ceremony.
The Bell
The bell stands in the North of the circle and is an Earth symbol. It is an optional tool and can be made from either crystal or protective brass. Best for magick is the kind that you strike.
The bell is traditionally rung nine times at the beginning and close of each ritual; the person ringing the bell should stand in the South of the circle, facing North. (Nine is the magical number of completion and perfection.) It is also rung to invoke the protection of angels or the power of a deity and in ceremonies to welcome departed members to the circle. You can also sound the bell in each of the four elemental quadrants, before creating the invoking pentagram, to request the presence of each elemental guardian. It can also be sounded as you pass your chosen symbol around each quadrant of the circle. However, you should not use the bell to excess – it is better under-utilised.
The Broom
The broom, or besom, was originally – and still is – a domestic artefact. It represents magically the union of male and female in the handle and the bristles and so is a tool of balance. Brooms have several uses in magick. A broom is sometimes rested horizontal to the altar to add protection, and couples jump over one in their handfasting ceremony. Most important, you should use your broom to cleanse the ritual area before every ritual.
Brooms are easily obtainable from any garden centre (you want one in the traditional ‘witches’ broomstick’ shape, not an ordinary brush). Brooms made with an ash handle and birch twigs bound with willow are traditionally recognised as being especially potent, being endowed with protective and healing energies. Some practitioners carve or paint a crescent moon at the top of the handle, others decorate theirs with their personal ruling planetary and birth sign glyphs entwined.
When cleansing the area for rituals, you might like to scatter dried lavender or pot pourri and sweep it in circles widdershins, saying:
Out with sorrow, out with pain,
Joyous things alone remain.
You can also sweep areas of your home such as uncarpeted floors, patio paths and yards to cleanse the home of negativity. Remember to sweep out of the front door, away from the house and eventually into the gutter, or if in you live in a flat, you can collect the lavender and dust in a pan and send it down the waste disposal unit.
You may also wish to cleanse the area further by sprinkling salt and pepper dissolved in water after sweeping. If you are working on carpet, you can use a very soft broom (some modern witches even hoover in circles widdershins and sprinkle the area with water in which a few drops of a cleansing flower essence, such as Glastonbury Thorn, has been added).
The broom is an Earth artefact.
The Cauldron
The cauldron is the one ritual tool that is positively charged by being the centre of domestic life and can replace the altar as a focus for less formal magick spells. If you can obtain a flameproof cauldron with a tripod, you can, on special occasions such as Hallowe’en, light a fire out of doors and heat up a brew of herbs and spices in the cauldron. When not in use, you can keep your cauldron filled with flowers or pot pourri.
If your circle is large enough, you can place your cauldron in the centre. Then, if you are working in a group, form your circle of power around it, so that the altar is within the outer consecrated circle and you make a human inner circle with the cauldron as the hub. If you are working alone, you can have your altar in the centre with the cauldron in front of it. Alternatively, you can have a small pot or cauldron in the centre of the altar.
Experiment with the different positions both for group and solitary work and walk or dance your way around to work out the logistics. Some practitioners do not use a cauldron at all.
In your rituals, you can light a candle in front of the cauldron, fill it with sand in which to stand candles, or surround it with a circle of red candles to represent Fire. Wishes written on paper can be burned in the candles. Water darkened with mugwort may be placed in the cauldron, especially on seasonal festivals such as Hallowe’en and May Eve, and white candle wax dripped on the surface to create divinatory images that offer insights into potential paths.
You can cast flower petals into the cauldron water to get energies flowing. For banishing, add dead leaves and tip the cauldron water into a flowing source of water. You can also burn incense in the cauldron if this is the focus of a ritual.
The cauldron is a tool of Spirit or Akasha, the fifth element.
The Chalice
The chalice, or ritual cup, used for rituals is traditionally made of silver, but you can also use crystal, glass, stainless steel or pewter. The chalice represents the Water element and is placed in the West of the altar. Like the sword, it is a sacred Grail treasure and is a source of spiritual inspiration.
The Grail cup is most usually represented as the chalice that Christ used at the Last Supper, in which His blood was collected after the crucifixion. As such, it signifies not only a source of healing and spiritual sustenance, but also offers direct access to the godhead through the sacred blood it once contained. Tradition says that the original Grail cup was incorporated by Roman craftsmen into a gold and jewelled chalice called the Marian Chalice after Mary Magdalene. In Celtic tradition, it became the Cauldron of Dagda.
In rituals, the chalice can be filled with pure or scented water with rose petals floating on top. I have also mentioned its ritual use with the athame in male/female sacred rites, as the symbolic union of god and goddess that has in many modern covens replaced an actual sexual union (that now tends to occur in privacy between established couples only).
The chalice is also central to the sacred rite of cakes and ale that occurs at the end of formal ceremonies – the pagan and much older equivalent of the Christian holy communion. The offering of the body of the Corn God is made in the honey cakes on the pentacle, or sacred dish, and the beer or wine in the chalice is fermented from the sacrificed barley wine. In primaeval times, actual blood was used to symbolise the sacrifice of the Sacred King at Lughnassadh, the festival of the first corn harvest. The rite goes back thousands of years.
The cakes and ale are consumed by the people acting as High Priestess and Priest in a dual energy rite or by those initiated in those roles. Crumbs and wine are first offered to the Earth Mother or poured into a libation dish (a small dish for offerings). Then the priestess offers the priest a tiny cake and then takes one herself and he offers her the wine before drinking himself. The dual roles work just as well in a single-sex coven. The cakes and ale are then passed round the circle and each person partakes of the body and blood of the Earth, offering a few words of thanks for blessings received.
In some groups each person has an individual chalice set before them, but everyone still drinks one after the other, offering thanks, unless there is a communal chant of blessing before drinking.
The chalice can be filled with wine or fruit juice or water, depending on the needs and preferences of the group.
The cakes and ale ceremony and the male/female chalice rite can both be easily incorporated into a solitary ritual.
The Pentacle
The pentacle is a symbol of the Earth and is familiar to users of Tarot packs. It is placed in the North of the altar.
It consists of a flat, round dish or disc, engraved with a pentagram within a circle. The pentacle has been a magical sign for thousands of years. The five-pointed star of the pentagram within it is a sacred symbol of Isis and the single top point is considered by many to represent the Triple Goddess.
You can place crystals or a symbol of the focus of the ritual or charged herbs on the pentacle to endow it with Earth energies. It can then be passed through the other elements or empowered by passing over the pentacle incense for Air, a candle for Fire and burning oils or water itself for the Water element.
The pentacle can be moved to the centre of the altar once the symbol on it has been fully charged. It is very easy to make a pentacle of clay, wood, wax or metal, and on it mark a pentagram with the single point extending upwards. This is what you might call the all-purpose pentagram – drawn this way it always has a positive influence.
You might also like to make a larger pentacle for holding the tiny cakes for the cakes and ale ceremony. You can find special recipes for these cakes in books but any tiny honey cakes will serve well.
The Wand
The wand is a symbol of Fire and should be placed in the South of the altar.
The wand is sometimes represented by a spear. Both the wand and spear, like the athame and sword, are male symbols. The spear, another Fire symbol, is not used in magick, except occasionally in the form of a sharpened stick in sacred sex rites, when it is plunged into the cauldron or the chalice as a symbol of the sacred union of Earth and Sky, Water and Fire.
The wand is traditionally a thin piece of wood about 50 centimetres (21 inches) long, preferably cut from a living tree (some conservationists disagree unless the tree is being pruned). After a strong wind or in a forest where trees are being constantly felled, it is often possible to find a suitable branch from which the wand can be cut. It should be narrowed to a point at one end and rubbed smooth.
You can make a series of wands from different woods for your ceremonies.
Ash is a magical wood, associated with healing and positive energies.
Elder wands are symbols of faerie magick and so are good for any visualisation work.
Hazel comes from the tree of wisdom and justice and is linked with the magick of the Sun. The wand should be cut from a tree that has not yet borne fruit.
Rowan is a protective wood and so is good for defensive and banishing magick.
Willow is the tree of intuition and is said to be endowed with the blessing of the Moon.
You can also use a long, clear quartz crystal, pointed at one end and rounded at the other, as a wand. In its crystalline form, especially, the wand is used for directing healing energies from the circle to wherever they are needed.
The wand is used for directing energies and for making circles of power in the air – hence the image of the faerie godmother waving her wand – deosil for energies to attract energies and widdershins for banishing. It can be used to draw pentagrams in the air at the four quarters and it can also be used for drawing an invisible circle when you are working on carpet or another fabric that cannot be physically marked.
In some traditions, the wand is a tool of Air and so this and the athame, or the sword, are fairly interchangeable. However, the wand seems more effective for casting and uncasting circles, invoking quarters and closing power. It is also particularly good for directing energies in rites of love, healing, fertility, prosperity and abundance.
 
— Practical Guide to Witchcraft and Magic Spells By Cassandra Eason

The Symbols & Substance of Magick

Symbols Of Magick

Although you can carry out rituals using absolutely anything, you may like to create a special set of
symbols for a variety of rituals. These you can keep in a separate box within your main store of magick
artefacts so they do not get scattered or broken.

You may include a thimble to symbolise domestic affairs, a tiny padlock for security at home, a
wooden toy boat for travel, a silver locket for fidelity, a key charm for a house, tiny painted wooden
eggs for fertility in any venture – just to suggest a few. You can also use small fabric dolls to represent
people, for example in a love spell.

Tarot cards also provide excellent symbols for magick: the Emperor for power, the Empress for
fertility, the Ten of Pentacles for prosperity, the Lovers for romance, the World or the Eight of Wands
for travel, Temperance for harmony, Justice for matters of law, etc. Even if you do not use Tarot cards
for divination, a brilliantly illustrated pack, such as the Rider Waite or the Morgan Greer, will by their
pictures suggest all kinds of images for your work. My book Tarot Talks to the Woman Within
(Quantum, 2000) contains many examples of Tarot spells and in spite of its title, the book is very male-
friendly. The Tarot is also very portable.

You may also find a supply of white clay useful for creating impromptu symbols and if the clay is soft
you can empower it with written words or symbols. I am not suggesting you create waxen images of
the kind you see in B-movies, and I certainly don’t want you to collect nail clippings or hair in an
attempt to harm anyone in any way; this is merely a representation of a person or desired object. It may
be possible to find a natural source of clay.

A beach near my home provides me with an abundant supply. You can also buy the natural, untreated
potters’ material. After using the clay in a ritual, you can return it to the soil. Clay is especially good in
binding spells or banishing spells when the actions to be bound or the destructive habit are to be reabsorbed by the Earth. It is also excellent in group rituals as a number of people can mould into it their collective energies.

The Substances Of Magick

The substances of magick for formal rituals are the same as those used in informal magick. I have
already described their magical associations in informal spells and in ritual magick the correspondences in colour and fragrance are exactly the same. Each is set in its own quarter of the circle and used to charge the focus of the ritual with power. They can also be used for empowering and cleansing your ritual tools.

If you make your own candles or incense for your rituals, you can endow energies by chanting the
purpose for which they are being made. Some practitioners prepare their ritual substances the day or
the evening before the ceremony, at the right planetary or angelic hour for its purpose. But you do not
need to do this – the days of apprentices and long hours devoted to a single ritual are gone and even the
most complex ceremony need take no more than an hour, many much less.

Salt
Salt rituals are among the oldest forms of magick and salt can form the focus of magick for health and
prosperity ceremonies as well as for psychic protection. The kind used is most usually sea salt and
represents the Earth element. It should be kept covered and separate from domestic salt and it must be
empowered before use.

The salt should be placed on the altar to the left of your Earth ritual tools, in a small ceramic dish with
a silver spoon. Use new salt for each ritual and tip any remaining into flowing water, watching it
carrying away your wishes to fruition.

A very simple crescent moon ritual for attracting money involves piling magically charged salt in a
central cone, surrounding this with coins and filling them all with power. Then take the empowered
coins and leave them in an open jar in the moonlight until the full moon. On the day after the full
moon, spend them on giving happiness to others.

After the ritual, dissolve the salt in sacred water and tip it into a flowing source of water to get the
money energies moving.

In a formal ritual for the same purpose, focus the energies by casting a formal circle, inviting the
guardians of the elements (see page 200) to lend their power to the endeavour. Pass the elemental
tools, incense, candles and water over the salt and money, thus concentrating the energies. Dissolve
and tip the salt away in a tub of water that has been swirled nine times to get the power flowing as the
climax of the ritual. The difference is one of degree of intensity.

Incense
Incense is placed in the East of the altar to the left of the ritual tools.

Incense is, as well as an elemental substance, an easy but powerful way of marking the boundaries
between the everyday world and the magick. Frankincense, myrrh or sandalwood is sometimes burned
on the altar before a ceremony to purify the area, especially if the room is used for other purposes, and
to raise the vibrations from the mundane to the more spiritual. If you are using the granular kind you
burn on charcoal, you will need a censer, but a bowl containing sand will serve for incense sticks or
cones.

As the incense is burned, so the energies are released.

Candles
All rituals and spells use a number of candles but they are particularly significant in formal magick. I
will repeat very briefly the basic information you need for a formal ritual, but you might like to read
through again Chapter 5, as candles are such an important part of magic.

You will need one or two altar candles in white, cream or natural beeswax. From the altar candle(s),
you will light all the other candles used in your rituals. If you have only one, it will stand in the centre.
If two, they are usually placed symmetrically to the right and left of the altar, the god candle on the left
and the goddess candle on the right.

You will also need four elemental candles, to represent Fire, Air, Water and Earth, in appropriate
colours, though if you are carrying out a ceremony in which the power of one element predominates,
you could use four candles of this same element. If you are working entirely on the altar, these can be
small candles, placed in a line nearer to the perimeter. More usually, however, the candles mark the
outer perimeter of the circle at the four compass points. You can, place these on small tables or plinths,
or have floor-standing candle-holders.

Green is for Earth, midnight, winter and the North. Place the candle at the 12 o’clock position on a
clock, aligned with magnetic North (use a compass if necessary).

Yellow is for Air, dawn, spring and the East. Place the candle at the three o’clock position.

Red, orange or gold is for Fire, noon, summer and the South. Place the candle in the six o’clock
position.

Blue is for Water, dusk, autumn and the West. Place the candle in the nine o’clock position.

Light elemental candles after the altar candles if they are within the circle, but before any wish or
astrological candles, and begin in the North. If you wish, you can light each candle as its Guardian of
the Quarter is invoked (see page 200) and thus called in the ascending flame.

You may also use a candle to represent the petitioner in the ritual. This may be yourself or the person
for whom you are performing a ritual. The candle should be in the appropriate zodiacal colour
according to the petitioner’s birth date and one the colour of the need.

In love rituals, light two candles, one for each lover, and place them slightly in front of the altar
candle(s): the male lover’s candle should be placed next to the goddess candle and the female’s by the
god candle, if applicable.

If you have a central cauldron, you can stand any candles of need or petitioners’ candles in it.

Empowering Candles
Usually candles are so powerful that they are already full of magical energies, However, in more
formal and elaborate magical ceremonies, you may wish to inscribe or anoint those candles
representing a need or person with either olive oil or a ready-prepared, fragrant, anointing.

Inscribing Candles
Carving your wishes and intentions into a candle endows the candle with your special energies and as
you etch each letter or symbol, these energies become concentrated.

If you anoint a candle, you should engrave it afterwards, although you may feel that inscribing it is
sufficient. Engraving candles is not difficult, but you must use a very light touch and choose good quality candles. Beeswax is not so easy to inscribe, but because it is very malleable, you can push tiny
symbols, such as coins, etc., into the wax or you can buy sheets of beeswax and even if you do not
fashion your own candles, you can add tiny beeswax symbols. You can also buy beeswax candles – and
some ordinary ones – in different shapes, for example entwined lovers for a love ritual, or a beehive for
abundance.

Anointing Candles With Oil
You can anoint, or dress, candles with scented oil or use candles that have fragrance already added.
When you anoint candles with oils, they become more flammable, so you need to be extra cautious
about sparks. For safety, stand your candlesticks on a fireproof tray.

Generally, the anointing is performed in silence. You can use virgin olive oil for dressing candles for
any need. Some people add a pinch of salt for purification and life-giving properties.

Before beginning, pour a small quantity of the oil into a clear glass or ceramic dish and gently swirl it
nine times deosil with a ceramic or glass spoon, visualising light pouring into it and endowing it with
healing and magical energies. You need use only a small quantity as the anointing action is symbolic.

Rub the oil into the candle in an upward motion, starting in the middle of your candle. Use a
previously unlit candle as this will not have absorbed any energies apart from those with which you
endow it. Rub in only one direction, concentrating on the purpose of your ritual. See the qualities of
your oil and your need entering the candle.

Then, starting in the middle again, rub the candle downwards, again concentrating on your goal. A few
practitioners will rub from base to top for attracting magick and from top to bottom for banishing
magick; it is also usual to use a white candle for attracting energies and a black for banishing.

By physically touching the candle with the oil, it is said that you are charging the candle with your
personal vibrations so that when it is lit, it becomes an extension of your mental power and life energy.

If the candle represents another person and they are present, ask them to anoint their own candle.
If you light a candle for a formal ritual on successive days, you should re-anoint the candle each time,
visualising the partial completion of the goal.

Water
Water represents its own element and stands in the West in a dish to the left of the chalice. See page
163 for instructions on how to make and empower sacred water. You can also use water to which rose
petals have been added or you can float lavender or rose essential oil on top (this water should not be
consumed internally).

Practical Guide to Witchcraft and Magic Spells By Cassandra Eason

Beltane Sunset to Sunset. April 30th – May 1st

Beltane honours Life. It represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Earth energies are at their strongest and most active. All of life is bursting with potent fertility and at this point in the Wheel of the Year, the potential becomes conception. On May Eve the sexuality of life and the earth is at its peak. Abundant fertility, on all levels, is the central theme. The Maiden goddess has reached her fullness. She is the manifestation of growth and renewal, Flora, the Goddess of Spring, the May Queen, the May Bride. The Young Oak King, as Jack-In-The-Green, as the Green Man, falls in love with her and wins her hand. The union is consummated and the May Queen becomes pregnant. Together the May Queen and the May King are symbols of the Sacred Marriage (or Heiros Gamos), the union of Earth and Sky, and this union has merrily been re-enacted by humans throughout the centuries. For this is the night of the Greenwood Marriage. It is about sexuality and sensuality, passion, vitality and joy. And about conception. A brilliant moment in the Wheel of the Year to bring ideas, hopes and dreams into action. And have some fun…..

Traditions of Beltane

Beltane is a Fire Festival. The word ‘Beltane’ originates from the Celtic God ‘Bel’, meaning ‘the bright one’ and the Gaelic word ‘teine’ meaning fire. Together they make ‘Bright Fire’, or ‘Goodly Fire’ and traditionally bonfires were lit to honour the Sun and encourage the support of Bel and the Sun’s light to nurture the emerging future harvest and protect the community. Bel had to be won over through human effort. Traditionally all fires in the community were put out and a special fire was kindled for Beltane. “This was the Tein-eigen, the need fire. People jumped the fire to purify, cleanse and to bring fertility. Couples jumped the fire together to pledge themselves to each other. Cattle and other animals were driven through the smoke as a protection from disease and to bring fertility. At the end of the evening, the villagers would take some of the Teineigen to start their fires anew.” (From Sacred Celebrations by Glennie Kindred) Green Man – Beltane

To read more interesting things about Northern Hemisphere Beltane click here

Category Samhain/Deep Autumn

WE ARE THE ANCESTORS: MAY WE BE INTERESTING FOOD

May 9, 2020 · by Glenys D. Livingstone · in Samhain/Deep Autumn · Leave a comment Our present lives are formed by all who came before us. We are in-formed by them, whether conscious or not. In PaGaian Samhain ceremony as it has been done traditionally, participants are invited to remember the ancestors in this way: Let us remember our ancestors, those who have gone before, whose lives have been harvested, […]

THREADS OF GOLD IN THE COMPOST

April 20, 2020 · by Glenys D. Livingstone · in Samhain/Deep Autumn · 2 Comments There are threads of gold in the compost, if one has the vision for it. And we may take the golden thread, exclaim the strongest natural fibre known – our creative selves, our imaginations – for the building of a new world made sacred, of our conceiving: yet beyond our knowings, across the vast Darkness between […] For more interesting article about Southern Hemisphere Samhain click here  

MOTHER EARTH/GAIA/ALL EARTH GODDESS’ EARTH DAY April 22, 2021

ALWAYS TRY TO LEAVE THE PLACES YOU TRAVEL CLEANER THAN WHEN YOU GOT THERE!

10 WAYS TO CELEBRATE EARTH DAY FROM HOME

By The EditorsApril 21, 2021

Every April 22, we celebrate Earth Day! Whether it’s a walk through the woods, picking up litter (while walking!), or buying more Earth-friendly products, here are 10 ways that you can help to care for your planet—plus some absolutely beautiful poetic verse to inspire you!

The “green things growing” whisper me
Of many an earth-old mystery
.
–Eben Eugene Rexford (1848–1916)

THE 51ST ANNIVERSARY OF EARTH DAY

Here at The Old Farmer’s Almanac, we believe that nature, plants, and the land are integral to our own health and that individual responsibility lies with each of us.

Earth Day 2021 will mark the 51st anniversary of this holiday. Typically, Earth Day is assigned a different theme or area of focus each year; this year’s theme is “Restore Our Earth.”

Most years, Earth Day events range from river cleanups to removals of invasive plants. With social distancing still in place for many of us this April, Earth Day has gone digital. Virtual events, such as environmental lectures and films, will take place on Earth Day (Thursday, April 22). To see a catalog of official events, visit earthday.org.

Of course, social distancing doesn’t mean that you can’t go outside and enjoy nature, as long as you do so responsibly! Nature is not canceled! 

WHAT IS EARTH DAY?

Ever wonder how Earth Day began? The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, when San Francisco activist John McConnell and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson separately asked Americans to join in a grassroots demonstration. Dealing with dangerously serious issues concerning toxic drinking water, air pollution, and the effects of pesticides, an impressive 20 million Americans—10% of the population—ventured outdoors and protested together.

President Richard Nixon led the nation in creating the Environmental Protection Agency, which followed with successful laws including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

McConnell originally had chosen the spring equinox (March 20, 1970), but Nelson chose April 22, which ended up becoming the official celebration date. (Given that the date of the spring equinox changes over time, it may have made things more complicated to go with the astronomical event rather than just a calendar date.)

Today, not only is Earth Day a day meant to increase awareness of environmental problems, but it is also becoming a popular time for many communities to gather together to clean up litter, plant trees, or simply reflect on the beauty of nature. Further down the page, we’ve provided a list of activities and projects that you can do to improve your local environment!

WHEN IS EARTH DAY?

Earth Day is always celebrated on April 22. It’s followed closely by Arbor Day, which falls on the last Friday in April.

YearEarth Day
2021Thursday, April 22
2022Friday, April 22
2023Saturday, April 22

10 EARTH DAY ACTIVITIES AND IDEAS

Celebrate Earth Day by appreciating and respecting the natural world. Here are some ideas to inspire you this year. 

1. SUPPORT OUR POLLINATORS! 

Bring native bees and other pollinating creatures to your garden. One way to do this is by selecting the right plants. Need ideas?

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2. CLEAN UP PLASTIC IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD OR LOCAL PARK

One of the best ways to connect with the Earth is through cleanups! Go on a walk with a trash bag and help to clean up any plastic that you find. Perhaps you know of a nearby ditch that is polluted with trash that needs a spring cleaning! You’ll start to realize that plastic permeates every aspect of our lives. But as the world wakes up to its addiction, just how easy is it to ditch plastic while growing and storing more of our own food? Don’t forget to recycle what plastic you can. See a Plastics Recycling Chart

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3. SWAP OUT YOUR KITCHEN AND HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS!

Let’s talk about the cooking and cleaning products that touch the food we eat as well as our skin. This year, we’ve discovered a line of kitchen and household products called If You Care.” Everything’s biodegradable and does not use chemicals or plastic. Think 100% recycled aluminum foil, chemical-free parchment paper for baking, compostable bags made with potato starch, and even vegetable-based inks for their packaging. We love company’s motto: “We care simply because it’s the right thing to do!” You can find If You Care products online and in stores. See the store locator.

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4. PLANT A TREE!

We love our trees! They capture carbon, cool overheated places, benefit agriculture, support pollinators, reduce the risk of disease transmission, and boost local economies. Did you know that planting one oak tree brings in more insect and bird species than an entire yard of plants? Talk to your local government about planting more trees and native garden beds in public spaces or consider planting your own on your property! See advice on how to plant a tree.

Another way to make a difference is to ditch printed seed or plant catalogs. When you receive an unwanted catalog in the mail (especially those huge ones!), contact the company and ask to be removed from their print list. 

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5. USE WILDFLOWERS AND NATIVE PLANTS

Wildflowers and indigenous species are not only beautiful but also attract native and beneficial insects that improve both pest control and pollination—meaning bigger flowers and bigger harvests. Try to simply add a couple of native plants to your garden each year, and you’ll be amazed at the difference—they’ll bring in pollinators as well as birds!

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6. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE IN THE GARDEN

Caring about yourself and nature means being less wasteful and saving money, too. Who could argue with this? If you are a gardener, here are just a few ideas:

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7. STOP PESTICIDES AND CHEMICALS IN THE GARDEN

Most of the beginner gardeners whom we meet want to start growing without chemicals or pesticides—in a way that works and even saves money. Much of this is simply about focusing less on the plant and more on the health of the soil that supports the plant. If it’s nutrient-rich with organic matter, plants thrive. 

  • See how to use organic soil amendments to turn your poor garden soil into a nutrient-rich paradise in which plants will thrive.
  • You don’t need chemicals to get rid of pesky garden pests: Companion planting, natural remedies, and attracting predators to your garden can save you money and also save your plants. See how to control pests in the organic garden.
  • Some bugs are good for the garden! Here’s a list of some of the best beneficial insects to have in your gardening space, with pictures and tips for attracting them.
  • It’s easy to use an organic plant fertilizer—made from just weeds and water. Does it sound strange to make plant fertilizer by using other plants? Thia is how nature works! Here’s a simple recipe for DIY organic fertilizer—without using chemicals or animal waste—right from your garden!
  • Gardening and farming methods such as not tilling the soil, growing cover crops during the off-season, and rotating crops (and grazing) help to retain organic materials in the soil.
  • Here are tips on organic seed-starting and our Beginner’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening to get you started.

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Image Credit: TravnikovStudio/Shutterstock

8. CONSERVE WATER!

We waste a lot of water. Avoid overwatering your plants and improve their health by knowing how much your garden really needs. Avoid watering your garden vegetables and plants from overhead, which invites fungal disease. Water at the soil level.  

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9. THINK ABOUT YOUR DIET!

About one-third of the food that we produce every year goes to waste annually! Usually, this happens after we buy the food. How do we avoid waste in our own lives (and save money)? Also, how can we improve our diet so that it’s healthier for ourselves (and the planet)? One way is to care about your “foodprint,” which is the result of everything that it takes to get your food from the farm to your plate. Take this fun 3-minute Foodprint Quiz to find out your foodprint.

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10. GET KIDS INVOLVED!

Pass down a love of nature and plants to kids. There are lots of opportunities for hands-on learning experiences outside. Here are some ideas for how to garden with kids, including fun activities like planting a sunflower house!

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Credit: Rawpixel.com

BONUS: ENJOY THE WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE… FROM EARTH!

In the early morning hours of April 22, the annual Lyrid meteor shower is expected to reach its peak, spitting out 10 to 20 meteors per hour between Moonset and dawn. One of the oldest known meteor showers, the first recorded sighting of the Lyrids dates back to 687 BC in China—more than 2,700 years ago! If you’re up for an extra-early start to your Earth Day, venture outdoors around 4AM and look skyward.

For more viewing tips, see our 2021 Meteor Shower Calendar.

EARTH DAY QUOTES AND POETRY

Wish a friend a Happy Earth Day with one of these beautiful quotes!

To read the rest of this article please us this link: https://www.almanac.com/content/earth-day-date-activities-history

5 Simple Rituals for Ostara

Spring Star Power Spell

Goth
Spring Star Power Spell

Celebrate the power of love and friendship with this power spell.

Take a spring picnic under the moon and stars. Gather together a great picnic dinner with plenty of finger foods and beverages. Share the picnic with the ones you love and find a safe and private place to dine after dark. Draw a magick circle around your picnic area, and call in the elements. Set up your picnic. Pour everyone something to drink and say this toast to those you love before you begin eating:

Here’s to you!
Thank you for your love and laughter
For your understanding and patience
For your caring and kindness
Here’s to you!
Blessed Be!

Identify star constellations with a glow-in-the-dark star chart or select a favorite star. Have fun and enjoy your adventure under the night sky. When you are finished picnicking, bid farewell to the elements, pull up the circle, and leave the area as undisturbed as possible.

A Winter to Spring Psychic Protection Spell

 

A Winter to Spring Psychic Protection Spell

This psychic protection spell requires some visualization on your part. To begin, I recommend working this spell in daylight hours. Bundle up as needed and stand outside in nature, with your feet securely on the ground. Tip your face up to the February sun… know that its strengthening rays are slowly bringing life back. Spring is coming, and winter will lose its grip on the land.

During this in-between time as winter fades and a new season of growth awaits is your best opportunity to clear out any old negativity, psychic goop, or unhappiness that you may be carrying around. It’s also an excellent time of the year to strengthen your personal psychic protection. So let’s get started!

As you repeat this spell verse, imagine that sunlight swirls around you in a colorful stream; it’s your call as to whether the energy streams clockwise or counterclockwise, so go with whatever seems correct to you. The light you are visualizing can be any color or a rainbow of colors, so feel that sunlight and get the circle of energy spinning around.

Hold your hands up and feel that energy circle and spin around you. Then repeat the following spell verse:

As the winter season fades and the spring begins
This psychic protection magick around me spins.
Light and warmth increase across the land
And strengthens this magick from where I stand.
As the snow and ice of Imbolc will surely melt away
I am refreshed and ready for whatever comes my way.
Protection rolls around me in an enchanted ring
Serenity, hope, health, and strength this magick does bring.

Allow your hands to come down to your sides, and let the energy follow the motion of your hands so it grounds itself back into the earth. Take a nice cleansing breath in, hold it for four counts, and then slowly blow it out.

Now open your eyes and close the spell with these lines:

By the power of the slowly strengthening sun
As I will, so mote it be, an’ let it harm none.

Blessed be.

Ellen Dugan, Seasons of Witchery: Celebrating the Sabbats with the Garden Witch

 

Witch Quickie Wednesday – Subconscious Affirmations – Part 3 of 3 By Lady Silver Sage, aka. The Silver Sage Witch of witchcraftandmore.com

Today I’ll be showing you the 3rd part of my 3 part Self Love Spell Series!
I will guide you on how to do ‘Subconscious Affirmations,’ which will assist you with overcoming your greatest challenges regarding self-love, and love in general.

~ SOMETHING NEW FOR YOU! ~
We are now taking applications for student enrollment at my Academy of International Witch-Crafting©. Classes begin on 22 April 2021.
To request information and your enrollment application, you can contact me at: aiwc@web.de OR go to my YouTube channel: (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUjo…​), and watch the 3-minute video regarding A.I.W.C.©

I truly look forward to assisting you in your studies and growth in the ways of witch-crafting.

Sincerely,
Lady Silver Sage, aka. The Silver Sage Witch
of Witchcraftandmore.com &
Proprietor & Head Mistress of
The Academy of International Witch-Crafting©