Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Winner of the Holiday Oracle Reading!

I wanted to let everyone know that the winner of my Holiday Giveaway Oracle reading was Sarah from N Style Designs. Congrats to Sarah..:)
Sarah creates lovely pieces of handcrafted jewelry. If you would like to check out her enchanting wares please visit her shop by following the link below:

A little about Sarah:
I am a jewelry artist from the midwest. I have a wonderful husband and 2 children. I work mainly with gemstones and crystals. Some wonderful energy drew me toward them and now I feel the need to share that wonderful relationship with everyone else as well. I love creating things and I hope that my pieces can provide some people with as much happiness as I had when I created them.



I will be posting a new giveaway for the New Year shortly, so stay tuned.
Brightest Blessings,
The Celtic Witch

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Stress Relief

As we approach Christmas I thought I would post some stress relieving magickal ideas.
This is the most joyous time of year, I know, however it is also a stressful time for us as well. We have about 10 days left to finish up the last of our shopping as well as plan and purchase our holiday meal. And lets not forget about getting our houses in order before company arrives.
I figured we could all use some easy stress relieving ideas for this time so here they are:
Crystals are wonderful treasures for so many things and there are a few that can come in handy when dealing with stress and anxiety.

Banded Agate:
Energy type: Projective. Associated element: Fire.
Used for protection, to restore energy within the body and relieve stress.

Blue Agate:
Energy type: Receptive. Associated element: Water.
Used as an amulet to promote peace and happiness. Can be used to de-stress yourself by holding in your hand.

Red Agate (Blood agate):
Energy type: Projective. Associated element: Fire.
Used to promote calm and inner peace, it can also be used to heal the blood and guard against insect bites.

Powers & Magical uses: Dreams, Overcoming Alcoholism, Healing, Psychism, Peace, Love, Protection against theft, Courage, Happiness.
Energy type: Receptive. Associated element: Water.
Use to prevent insomnia and nightmares by sleeping with a piece of amethyst under your pillow. It is a reducer of stress, so it can be used to great effect in today's pressured lifestyle. Use amethyst to calm fears, raise hopes, and enhance spirituality. Amethyst can also be used to enhance psychic abilities, and aid meditation.
An all round gemstone that you should not be without.

Powers & Magickal uses: Peace, Wisdom, Love.
Energy type: Receptive. Associated element: Water.
Used to sooth the emotions, and promote loving relationships.

Blue Quartz:
Energy type: Receptive. Associated element: Water.
Used to promote peace and tranquillity.

Rose Quartz:
Energy type: Receptive. Associated element: Water.
Used to open the heart chakra, and to promote peace and harmony.

Powers & Magickal uses: Healing, Peace, Meditation, Wisdom.
Energy type: Receptive. Associated element: Water.
Used to reduce stress levels and lower blood pressure.

That is a decent selection of crystals that you can use to relieve stress. Make sure to cleanse them first of course and then carry them as close to your skin as possible.
Crystal information found on

Here are some simple spells. I love bath spells as a simple bath is relaxing on its own, adding magick to it can only make it better.

Draw a bath for yourself. Pour a tablespoon or so of milk into a large bowl of water and say:
'Water ripples on the breeze...'
Add several rose petals (fresh or dried) to the bowl of water and milk.
Say: 'Thistledown flies through the air...'
Stir the water, milk, and rose petals with the index finger of your right hand. Say:
'Silent as the mighty seas...'
Gently pour the mixture that you have created into the bath. Say:
'Peaceful here without a care.'
Step in. Bathe for as long as you wish.
Let the water absorb negative thoughts and worries. Allow yourself a few moments of healing.

You need: White candle Jasmine or Pine incense Sprig of sage
This is best performed at night, but it can be done any time of day.
Light the white candle and the incense stick.
Close your eyes and hold the sage close to your nose, and breathe in its calming scent.
Keep holding it as say:
"Calming powers of sage and pine, Add order to this life of mine. (name)
By the four corners, elements, God and Goddess too, If this gift seems fit to you,
Then please grant calmness unto him/me. So mote it be, So mote it be."
Repeat as necessary. 3x3 times. It always works within a day or two.

I really liked the idea of this one....
Everyone knows someone who is or has been depressed or really stressed out so
make time in your magical + social life for them. Give them a helping hand by writing
this on paper and then burning it to release the magic:
Magic moon burning bright,
Let mine will be done this night.
Answer now my Pagan Spell,
Let all with ______ now be well. is where I came across these spells. This site has a nice selection of free spells and chants.

I hope you all enjoyed this post and found some things you can utilize to reduce any holiday stress you may be experiencing.
Brightest Blessings,
The Celtic Witch

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pagan Yule Songs, chants and more!

Twas the eve of midwinter, and all through the coven
The Witches were cooking strange things in the oven.
There were mugwort frittatas, and dragon's-blood stew
And mescaline eggnog and mandrake fondue.
There were hot mountain oysters and road-kill paté
And spotted-owl kidneys, and wombat flambé.

The circle was cast and the herbs had been smoked
In hopes that the Goddess would soon be invoked.
When out by the hot tub arose such a clatter
I jumped on my broom to see what was the matter.

And what should I see in the blackberry thorns
But a soaking wet Goddess and eight unicorns!
"I was just sitting down with my vibrating phallus
And a good book," she muttered, "You bitches are callous.
I came when you called, over all my objections,
And got lost in the woods -- you give lousy directions.
You turkeys invoked me, now look at my dress
My period's late and I've got PMS."
She cursed as she muttered; she looked like a wreck
The unicorns whimpered and sat on the deck.

We gave her some weed and we got her some grub
We bought her clean towels and she soaked in the tub.
Then she rose, hot and dripping, and gave us her blessing
And jumped in her chariot, without even dressing!

"On Isis! On Eris! Oya and Astarte!
On Ishtar! Inanna! Kali and Hecate!"
We heard her exclaim as she climbed through the air
"Thank Goddess there's only eight sabbats a year!"

by Aurora Borealis Medicine Turkey

This was in my 2006 Grimoire and I always get a kick out of reading it!

Here are some other tidbits for your reading pleasure..

This is a chant that is spoken before casting a circle, usually repeated three times. It is very powerful - often spoken before spells invoving the release of negativity, anger, and inner struggles:

The troubles that haunt me, that burn me inside,
Move out from my body and into the sky.
Into my body flows purity and peace,
I am cleansed by the Goddess, my struggles released.

To get rid of your anger:
In your right hand, hold some sandy dirt. Poor all your anger into it and then say:

Anger I bind within my hand,
Now I toss it to the land
With harm to none, and for the good of all, so shall it be!
Now throw the dirt over your shoulder and walk away without looking back.

Hark the Neo-Pagans Sing
by Sunblade
(Tune: Hark the Herald Angels Sing)
Hark the Neo Pagans sing,
Glory to the Holly King!
Peace on Earth and mercy mild,
God and Goddess reconciled,
Hear us now as we proclaim,
We have risen from the flames,
Our ancient Craft now we reclaim,
In the God and Goddess' names
Hark the Neo-Pagans sing,
Glory to the Holly King!

Herne by highest love adored,
Herne the ever-reborn Lord,
At all times behold Him come,
Offspring of the Holy One,
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,
Hail incarnate Deity!
Our ancient Craft we now reclaim,
In the God and Goddess' names
Hark the neo-Pagans sing,
Glory to the Holly King!

Silent Night
by Ellen Reed
Silent night, Solstice Night
All is calm, all is bright
Nature slumbers in forest and glen
Till the Springtime She wakens again
Sleeping spirits grow strong!
Sleeping spirits grow strong!

Silent Night, Solstice Night
Silver moon shine bright
Snowflakes blanket the slumbering earth
Yule fires welcome the Sun's rebirth
Hark, the Light is reborn!
Hark, the Light is reborn!<.p>

Silent Night, Solstice Night
Quiet rest till the Light
Turning every the rolling wheel
Brings the Winter to comfort and heal
Rest your spirit in peace!
Rest your spirit in peace!

Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland!
by Alexander and Aarcher
Pagans sing, are you listenin'
Alters set, candles glisten,
Its a magical night, we're having tonight
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland

Blades held high, censor smoking,
God and Goddess, we're invoking,
Through Elements Five, we celebrate life,
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland,

Queen of Heaven, is in her place,
Triple Goddess, now the Crone face
Above and below, She's the Goddess we know,
Dancing in a Wiccan wonderland.

Now the God, is the provider
Supplying game for our fire,
Above and below, He's the Horned one we know,
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland

In a circle we can burn a Yule fire,
And await the rising of the Sun,
It's the great wheel turning for the new year,
Loaded with abundance and great fun

Later on, by the fire,
Cone of Power, gettin' higher
Its a Magickal Night, we're having tonight,
Dancing in a Wiccan Wonderland!

- words by Pashta MaryMoon






6 REALMS OF BEING (Tibetan B of D)








Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pagan Parenting

I came across a great page in the latest issue of Circle Magazine that I wanted to share with you.
It's about raising a child Pagan and I found it very enlightening and I hope you do as well.
To Raise a child Pagan is... teach the ways of the past through ritual. build confidence slowly and surely. reveal the sacred through out the day. expand the notion of extended family. allow wisdom to be gained through failure. be assured infinite opportunities to talk and teach, listen and learn. embrace the power of youth. lead by example. invite exuberant imagination. foster self-love. gain knowledge through fresh young eyes. have the help and guidance of a tribe. embrace the full range of emotion and show how to channel it. instill a feeling of being connected to a whole. behold the human potential realized. run barefoot and wild, surrounded by laughter. create a world of possibility and wonder. encourage personal responsibility. demonstrate respect for nature. wish you were raised pagan yourself.
...a gift to the universe and an incredible honor.
By Peggy Burke
Madison, Wisconsin

As a Pagan parent there is always the search for quality and substantive materials and organizations that will contribute to your children's intellectual and spiritual growth.
The internet now provides an easier access to sites on Pagan Family practice, activities, and networking.
Here are some sites I am sure you will enjoy visiting.

Here are some pagan oriented books:

"Family Wicca" by Ashleen O'Gaea
"Raising Witches, Teaching the Wiccan Faith to Children" by Ashleen O'Gaea
"Celebrating the Great Mother: A handbook of Earth Honoring activities for parents and children" by Cait Johnson and Maura D. Shaw
"My First Little Book of Wicca" by Rev. Velvet Rieth
"Raising Pagans, When daddy is catholic and Mommy is a Witch: What's a couple to teach their children?" by Kathleen Richard

Enjoy all!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Twas the Night Before Yule..."

'Twas that night before Yule, when all 'cross the heath,
Not a being was stirring; Pagan, Faerie, nor Beast,
Wassail was left out and the altar adorned,
To rejoice that the Sun King would soon be reborn.
The children lay sleeping by the warmth of the hearth,
Their dreams filled with visions of beloved Mother Earth,
M'lady and I beneath blankets piled deep, had just settled
down to our Solstice sleep.
Then a noise in the night that would leave us no peace,
Awakened us both to the honking of geese.
Eager to see such a boisterous flock,
When we raced to the window, our mouths dropped in shock!
On the West Wind flew a gaggle of geese, white and gray,
With Frau Holda behind them in Her gift-laiden dray.
The figure on Her broomstick to the North sky made it clear,
La Befana was approaching to bestow Yuletide cheer.
From the South came a comet more bright than the Moon,
And we knew Lucia would be with us soon.
As these Spirits sailed Earthward o'er hilltops and trees,
Frau Holda serenaded Her feathery steeds:
"Fly Isolde! Fly Tristan! Fly Odin and Freya! Fly Morgaine!
Fly Merlin! Fly Uranus and Gaea!
May the God and Goddess inside you soar,
From the clouds in the heavens to your cottage door."
As soft and silent as snowflakes they fell;
Their arrival announced by a faint chiming bell.
They landed like angels, their bodies aglow,
Their feet left no marks in the new fallen snow,
Before we could ponder what next lay in store,
There came a slow creeking from our threshold door.
We crept from our bedroom and were spellbound to see...
There in our parlor stood the Yule Trinity!
Lucia the Maiden, with Her head wreathed in flame,
Shown with the radiance for which she She was named,
The Lightbringers eyes held the joy of a child,
And she spoke with a voice that was gentle, yet wild:
"May the warmth of this household ne'er fade away."
Then she lit our Yule log which still burns to this day.
Frau Holda in Her down cloak stood regal and tall,
The Matron of Solstice, the Mother of all,
Under Her gaze we felt safe and secure.
Her voice was commanding, yet almost demure:
"May the love in this family enrich young and old."
And from the folds of Her cloak showered coins of pure gold,
LaBefana wore a kerchief on Her silvery hair;
The veil of the Crone who has secrets to share,
In Her eyes gleamed a wisdom only gained by spent youth.
Her voice was whisper, but Her words rung the truth:
"May health, glad tidings, and peace fill these rooms."
And she banished misfortune with a sweep of Her broom,
They then left a gift by each sleeping childs head,
Took a drink of our wassail, and away they all sped.
While we watched them fly off through the night sky we laughed,
At the wonderous magick we had found in the Craft.
As they departed, the Spirits decreed...

"Merry Yule To You All, And May All Blessed Be!"

Yule Legends, chants, stories and family crafts.

According to legend, the snowflake was formed from the tears that Demeter cried after Persephone’s descent into the Underworld. The microscopic flakes have six sides, and since six is the numerological digit associated with affection, the snowflake was used by Pagans as a winter symbol of love
Christmas Trees and Plants
The tree was an important symbol to every Pagan culture. The oak in particular was venerated by the Druids. Evergreens, which in ancient Rome were thought to have special powers and were used for decoration, symbolized the promised return of life in the spring and came to symbolize eternal life for Christians. The Vikings hung fir and ash trees with war trophies for good luck.
Holly, ivy, and mistletoe were all important plants to the Druids. It was believed that good spirits lived in the branches of holly. Christians believed that the berries had been white before they were turned red by Christ's blood when he was made to wear the crown of thorns. Ivy was associated with the Roman god Bacchus and was not allowed by the Church as decoration until later in the middle ages, when a superstition that it could help recognize witches and protect against plague arose.

Yule Log Hike

Materials: Warm Clothes, Sense of Adventure.

This is an activity that can be done the weekend before Yule. On a bright crisp morning, dress the family warmly and head for the park, mountains, or beach. As you hike along, looking for that special Yule log to place in your hearth, also be looking for decorations to make it personalized by each member of the family. Select a proportionally sized log that will fit easily into your fire place. Ash, oak, or cedar make great Yule logs. Try to find one that has already fallen and is on the ground. On the beach, driftwood can be found and obtained for your log. As you are looking, or on your way back home look for natural decorations to adorn your Yule log with. Traditional adornments are, pine cones, leaves, holly sprigs, mistletoe sprigs, rosebuds, winter flowers, wheat stalks, and corn husks. If you must cut anything from a living plant, remember to ask and thank the plant for its gift. If you don't have a fire place, select a smaller log, slightly flat on one side so that it doesn't roll. Adorning the logs will appear farther along in the activities. (Explain how the Yule log was set ablaze on Solstice night to help vanquish the dark and add strength to the returning sun.)

Welcome Sunshine Bells

Thin Cardboard, Pencil and Scissors, One Light yellow and One Bright Yellow Felt Square (10"x10"), 7 Small Jingle Bells, 12" Gold String or Cord, White Glue, Buttons, Glitter, Sequins.

Help child to draw a circle 7" in diameter, and another circle 7" in diameter with eight 1" triangle rays on the cardboard. Cut out for patterns. Place circle on the light yellow felt square, trace and cut out. Do the same with the "rayed" circle on the bright yellow felt. Using a drinking glass as a guide, trace a circle in the center, on the back side of both felt cut-outs. Carefully fold each circle in half, and make a cut from one side of center circle to the other. Repeat 3 times for a total of 4 cuts per piece. This is how you will get the decoration over the doorknob. Next, line up the circles and the cuts so that the rays extend 1" from behind the light yellow felt circle. Glue together. Allow the child to draw designs on the front of the ornament with glue. Sprinkle with glitter and glue on some sequins and buttons. Cut gold string or cord into three 4" strands. Tie jingle bells (spaced) onto the gold string or cord. Glue string/cord to the bottom of the Sun decoration on the back side. Allow to dry. Place on a doorknob that the bells will jingle as the door is opened and closed. ( Tell children that more than just the sun brightens our lives everyday. Explain the way to welcome the Yule sun back into their lives is to keep the brightness in their hearts all year long. Jingle bells make a warm and inviting sound, and therefore should jingle each time someone enters or leaves a room.)

Cup O' Sunshine

Terra-Cotta Pot, Paints and Paintbrushes, Styrofoam Block, String, Scissors, 1 yd 2" wide Green Ribbon, Yellow, Red, and Orange Lollipops and Sugar Sticks, Jelly Beans.

Clean terra-cotta pot if necessary. Allow to dry. Paint outside and down to first lip of inside with a bright solid color. After this base coat dries, decorate with other colors. When completely dry, place a block of styrofoam in the bottom of the pot. Cut green leaves out of the ribbon and tie to lollipops with string. Push the lollipop sticks into the styrofoam block to anchor them. Add the sugar sticks and fill rest of pot with loose jellybeans. (Explain to children that during the dark part of the year, sometimes we need to make our own sunshine. Let them know that bright colored gardens and flowers will be back in the spring, and this little pot of sunshine will cheer up a sick friend or relative.)

Adorning the Yule Log

Holly, Mistletoe, Rosebuds, Pine Cones, Evergreen Sprigs, Gold String/Cord, Gold Bows, Apple Cider, Flour.

After cleaning off the Yule log, let the children decorate it how ever they chose. Glue, wire, or small holes in the log will help to adhere the decorations. Once the log is decorated, "wassail" (toast and douse) it with a libation of apple cider. Finally, dust the log with white flour, set in grate in fireplace, and (parents only) set ablaze. (Explain to children how Yule logs used to smolder for 12 days before there was another ceremony to put the log out. Then apart of the log was strapped to the plow the next spring to spread the blessings over the land, and another piece was saved to light the next Yule's log, the next year.)

Yule Chant Solstice Blessing
Brightly burns the Yule log tonight
Magic dances in firelight
Hold my hand and join the song
Raise the Sun King bright and strong
Dark is giving way to light
As brightly burns the Yule log tonight!

Twas the night before Yuletide and all through the glen
Not a creature was stirring, not a fox, not a hen.
A mantle of snow shone brightly that night
As it lay on the ground, reflecting moonlight.

The faeries were nestled all snug in their trees,
Unmindful of flurries and a chilly north breeze.
The elves and the gnomes were down in their burrows,
Sleeping like babes in their soft earthen furrows.

When low! the earth moved with a thunderous quake,
Causing chairs to fall over and dishes to break.
The Little Folk scrambled to get on their feet
Then raced to the river where they usually meet.

“What happened?” they wondered, they questioned, they probed,
As they shivered in night clothes, some bare-armed, some robed.
“What caused the earth's shudder? What caused her to shiver?”
They all spoke at once as they stood by the river.

Then what to their wondering eyes should appear
But a shining gold light in the shape of a sphere.
It blinked and it twinkled, it winked like an eye,
Then it flew straight up and was lost in the sky.

Before they could murmur, before they could bustle,
There emerged from the crowd, with a swish and a rustle,
A stately old crone with her hand on a cane,
Resplendent in green with a flowing white mane.

As she passed by them the old crone's perfume,
Smelling of meadows and flowers abloom,
Made each of the fey folk think of the spring
When the earth wakes from slumber and the birds start to sing.

“My name is Gaia,” the old crone proclaimed
in a voice that at once was both wild and tamed,
“I've come to remind you, for you seem to forget,
that Yule is the time of re-birth, and yet…”
“I see no hearth fires, hear no music, no bells,
The air isn't filled with fragrant smells
Of baking and roasting, and simmering stews,
Of cider that's mulled or other hot brews.”

“There aren't any children at play in the snow,
Or houses lit up by candles’ glow.
Have you forgotten, my children, the fun
Of celebrating the rebirth of the sun?”

She looked at the fey folk, her eyes going round,
As they shuffled their feet and stared at the ground.
Then she smiled the smile that brings light to the day,
“Come, my children,” she said, “Let's play.”

They gathered the mistletoe, gathered the holly,
Threw off the drab and drew on the jolly.
They lit a big bonfire, and they danced and they sang.
They brought out the bells and clapped when they rang.

They strung lights on the trees, and bows, oh so merry,
In colors of cranberry, bayberry, cherry.
They built giant snowmen and adorned them with hats,
Then surrounded them with snow birds, and snow cats and bats.

Then just before dawn, at the end of their fest,
Before they went homeward to seek out their rest,
The fey folk they gathered ‘round their favorite oak tree
And welcomed the sun ‘neath the tree's finery.

They were just reaching home when suddenly it came,
The gold light returned like an arrow-shot flame.
It lit on the tree top where they could see from afar
The golden-like sphere turned into a star.

The old crone just smiled at the beautiful sight,
"Happy Yuletide, my children," she whispered. "Good night."

Sunday, November 2, 2008


As we begin the Pagan New Year I thought I would write some blogs on Yule. The lore and mythology behind it as well as adding some recipes and spellcrafting ideas for you all.
Yule is a time of the Goddess of the Cold Darkness and the birth of the Divine Child, the reborn Sun God. It is a time of renewal and rebirth during Winter, and the turning of the Earth force tides. A time when the waxing Sun overcomes the waning Sun. In some traditions, this is symbolized by the struggle between the Oak King and the Holly King.
The Holly King, represents the Death aspect of the God at this time of year; and the Oak King, represents the opposite aspect of Rebirth (these roles are reversed at Midsummer).
The myth of the Holly King/Oak King probably originated from the Druids to whom these two trees were highly sacred. The Oak King (God of the Waxing Year) kills the Holly King (God of the Waning Year) at Yule (the Winter Solstice). The Oak King then reigns supreme until Litha (the Summer Solstice) when the two battle again, this time with the Holly King victorious.
Examples of the Holly King's image can be seen in our modern Santa Claus. He dons a sprig of holly in his hat, wears red clothing, and drives a team of eight (total number of Solar Sabbats) reindeer, an animal sacred to the Celtic Gods (deer). Mistletoe and holly came into modern Christmas celebrations through the memorializing of this battle. The holly with berries are hung in honor of the Holly King and mistletoe in honor of the Oak King. Although the Holly King and Oak King are mortal enemies at the two Solstices - Yule and Litha - it should be remembered that they are actually two sides of one whole, and neither would exist without the other.
Deities to honor at this time of year include all Newborn Gods and Sun Gods, and all Mother Goddesses and Triple Goddesses. Appropriate Yule Gods include Apollo (Greek), Ra, Osiris, Horus, (all three are Egyptian), Lugh (Irish-Celtic), Odin (Norse), Father Sun (Native American), and Jesus (Christian-Gnostic), to name a few. Goddesses might include the Morrigan, Brigit (both Celtic), Isis (Egyptian), Demeter, Gaea, Pandora, Selene, and Artemis (all five are Greek), Juno and Diana (both Roman), Astarte (Middle Eastern), Spinning Woman (Native American) and the Virgin Mary (Christian-Gnostic).

Spellwork for balance, beauty, peace, and harmony are great to perform at this time of the Pagan year. Love spells and spells to increase happiness are also appropriate. Key actions to remember for Yule are introspection and meditation.

The most common colors used at this Sabbat are red and green, but gold and white are also quite appropriate.
Stones to be used at this celebration include bloodstones, rubies, and garnets. Animals associated with the Yule Sabbat are stags, squirrels, wrens and robins. Mythical creatures associated with Yule are the Phoenix, and trolls.
Herbs and plants that can be used include holly, mistletoe, evergreens, poinsettias, bay, pine, ginger, valerian, and myrrh.

Yule Incense
Recipe by Scott Cunningham

2 parts Frankincense
2 parts Pine needles or resin
1 part Cedar
1 part Juniper berries

Mix and smolder at Wiccan rites on Yule (on or around December 21st), or during the winter months to cleanse the home and to attune with the forces of nature amid the cold days and nights.
(The above recipe for "Yule Incense" is directly quoted from Scott Cunningham's book: "The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews", page 100, Llewellyn Publications, 1992.)

Winter Solstice Ritual Potpourri
Recipe by Gerina Dunwich

20 drops musk oil
25 drops pine oil
1 cup oak moss
2 cups dried mistletoe
1 cup dried poinsettia flowers
1 cup dried bayberries
1/2 cup dried rosemary
1/2 cup dried holly leaves and berries
3 crushed pinecones

Mix the musk and pine oils with the oak moss, and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir the potpourri well and store in a tightly covered ceramic or glass container.

(The above recipe for "Winter Solstice Ritual Potpourri" is quoted directly from Gerina Dunwich's book "The Wicca Spellbook: A Witch's Collection of Wiccan Spells, Potions and Recipes", page 164, A Citadel Press Book, Carol Publishing Group, 1994/1995)

Invoking the Holly King
by Ginger Strivelli

Today we do bid Hail to our beloved Holly King
With these ancient carols, we do again sing
He who is called Father Christmas is returning yet again
As the Solstice's longest night has finally begun
We await you, Santa Claus, Lord of Winter
To honor you on this day that you always were
Saint Nicholas, patron of children on Gaia's sphere
This invocation, we pray you do hear
Come bless us, upon this season of the Yuletide
Great Holly King as you fly upon your sleigh ride
Whether your gifts to us be physical or spiritual
We know that they will always be most magical
Grateful, because we know your blessings' great worth
We offer a blessing of our own --- Peace on Earth!


Oak was revered widely. The oak groves were home of the Druid's God and represented power. The oak also stood for Diana and her successive lovers.

The use of bay descends from the Roman's use of this plant and its association with the Roman Sun God Apollo. Bay was adopted by the Celts for use in blessings of strength and health in the New Year.

The oak and holly are sacred to the druids. They represent the myth of the battle of the Oak and Holly Kings. The Oak King, representing rebirth, fights with the Holly King, representing death, and defeats him. The sun begins to get stronger. The Oak Kings rules till the Summer Solstice when the fight begins again, this time the Holly King wins. The sun gets weaker. We may find remnants of the Holly King in the character of Santa Clause. The sprig of holly in his cap and his red clothes are a dead giveaway.

The evergreen nature and red berries of holly are a symbol of enduring life. The red berries also are a symbol of the blood of the Goddess. In spells and rituals holly is used for attaining magickal goals, divination, spells for boosting male sexual prowess. Holly is cut in mid summer and is considered especially strong if found growing on the sacred oak.

Both holly and ivy are considered symbols of eternal life.

Mistletoe is the golden bough of classic legend. It is Viscum album of Europe, with leaves in pairs like wings and white berries. Because of their color, these berries were associated with the semen of the gods and so the plant was given phallic associations. It was (and is) sacred to the Druids. Mostly cut in mid summer for the summer Solstice, it was also used for the Winter Solstice. A golden sickle did the deed, symbolizing for the Druids castration of the god.(The reason for castrating the god was not found during this research.) A white cloth was used to catch the mistletoe before it hit the ground.

The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is said to derive from the ancient idea that all legal matters were to be settled once and for all under a bough of mistletoe. Kissing under the mistletoe was also considered important for hand fasting. It was an announcement of future intentions, and was repeated after the ceremony.

As mistletoe ages and whithers it turns a golden color. This may connect it to the golden bough legends. This plants was also thought to have the ability to find buried treasure because of an association with the underworld.

In Norse legend mistletoe is a symbol of death and resurrection. The God Baldur was slain with spear made of mistletoe by the blind god Hodur. All things on earth and in heaven had sworn not to harm Baldur because of the petitioning of his mother. It is told that mistletoe had been forgotten by Odhinn in her petitions. All the gods were having fun throwing things at Baldur and watching the projectiles swerving to miss him. Loki grabbed a stick of mistletoe and helped the blind Hodur throw it at Baldur, killing him. Another version says mistletoe was forgotten because it roots in trees not in the ground, being between and not part of the earth or the heavens.

Because of its many, strong, pagan associations mistletoe was banned from the churches.

Candles and fire were used as sympathetic magick to lure the sun back. Candles were left burning on Christmas Eve to guide the Christ child through the darkness. They were lit by the oldest member or head of the house, who would also extinguish them in the morning. It was a bad omen if one was accidentally blown out, and unlucky to touch one after lighting.

Christmas tree
This tradition comes straight from pagan worship of trees and the spirits they contain. Common stories tell of christmas trees being unknown in English speaking countries till the German Prince Albert brought the traditions with him when he married Queen Victoria in 1840. The German name used for these trees is tannenbaum, said to be related to tinne or glastin, the sacred trees of the ancient Celts.

European priests, dendrophori, traveled to a sacred grove and selected a pine tree. They brought the tree back to the town, set it up and decorated it. One type of decoration was an effigy of the gods. This may be the origin of the gingerbread men hung on trees to this day.

According to Christian legend, the German Protestant leader Martin Luther was walking in the woods. He came upon a tree with ice covered branches. The beauty of the sun shining through the branches inspired him. Luther brought the tree back and lit candles behind the tree to show others the beauty.

Trees, Evergreens
Evergreens were considered a manifestation of diety and so, sacred. They remained green did not die each year. A representation of the goddess, the Druids decorated trees each Yule with images of wishes for next year. Fruits were used to symbolize harvest, nuts for fertility, candles, and love charms.

In ancient Greece the fir tree was considered sacred to Artemis, the moon goddess who presided over childbirth.

Being the symbol of renewed life and the return of crops and harvest, evergreen decorations were to be removed by the 12th night after the Solstice. If they were taken away too soon it would mean the loss of prosperity in the coming year, but had to be taken down by Candalmas. Depending on tradition, the greens were either left to whither or were burnt in ceremony. To burn while still green, however, would put household protection in jeopardy.

Yule log
To the Celts, the Yule log was a phallic symbol. The log representing the god, three holes representing the goddess were drilled on top. Three candles, one red, one white, one black, symbolizing the impregnation of the goddess were placed in these holes. To symbolize the intertwining of goddess and god, holly and mistletoe were added. Different contries had different traditions, for example, the Slavs used one candle in orange or gold, colors of the god.

Men and boys, followed by the women, would enter their orchards at dusk on the 12th night. With them they brought trays, pans, kettles and cider. One tree was chosen to represent the orchard. Everyone drank a toast to the chosen tree and poured cider on its roots. Toasted bread soaked in cider was left in a fork of it's branches. Sometimes a branch was pulled down and dipped in a kettle of cider. Some of the men may have bowed down as if carrying heavy sacks of fruit. Women and children danced and shouted. All this to ensure a plentiful crop the next year.

Virgin birth
The original meaning of virgin has been almost lost. It has nothing to do with a breaking of the hymen of a woman. The word was first used to describe priestesses in Mediterranean temples in Roman Pagan times. It meant an independent woman not bound by local law. She had no husband and took as many lovers as she wanted.
In creation myth, the Virgin Goddess gives birth to her son on the Winter Solstice. The Virgin Mary, gives birth to her son, but being virgin in a very different way.

Wreaths use the symbolism of the circle, no beginning and no end. The circle has been used as such a symbol for 4,000 years or more. Scandinavian peasants used wreaths as decoration for Yule, using pine cones and fruits.

Other symbols
Symbols representing Yule include an eight-spoked wheel and bells from the Norse which were used to celebrate dawn after longest night and to frighten powers of darkness highest this night. Other symbols are bayberry, holly, mistletoe, Yule Trees or a small potted tree. Sun or God symbols, such as acorns, pine cones etc.

To insure growth and prosperity, burn a pair of bayberry candles.
If you see the sun shining through the branches of an apple tree on Christmas day, next season's crop will be good.

Gold, White, Green, Red

Mistletoe, Balsam, Fir, Pine cones and needles, Chamomile, Comfrey, Sunflower, Apple, and any dried summer herbs.

Clear quartz, citrine

It is a good time for goal setting magick, new ideas and projects.
Thank you for stopping by Magickal Enchantments Blog, I hope you enjoyed your Yule Reading.
Brightest Blessings,
The Celtic Witch

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

'Twas the Evening of Samhain

'Twas the evening of Samhain, and all through the place

were pagans preparing the ritual space.

The candles were set in the corners with care,

in hopes that the Watchtowers soon would be there.

We all had our robes on (as is habitual)

and had just settled down and were starting our ritual

when out on the porch there arose such a chorus

that we went to the door, and waiting there for us

were children in costumes of various kinds

with visions of chocolate bright in their minds.

In all of our workings, we'd almost forgot,

but we had purchased candy (we'd purchased a LOT),

And so, as they flocked from all over the street,

they all got some chocolate or something else sweet.

We didn't think twice of delaying our rite,

Kids just don't have this much fun every night.

For hours they came, with the time-honored schtick

of giving a choice: a treat or a trick.

As is proper, the parents were there for the games,

Watching the children and calling their names.

"On Vader, On Leia,

On Dexter and DeeDee,

On Xena, on Buffy,

Casper and Tweety!

To the block of apartments

on the neighboring road;

You'll get so much candy,

you'll have to be TOWED!"

The volume of children eventually dropped,

and as it grew darker, it finally stopped.

But as we prepared to return to our rite,

One child more stepped out of the night.

She couldn't have been more than twelve or thirteen.

Her hair was deep red, and her robe, forest green

with a simple gold cord tying off at the waist.

She'd a staff in her hand and a smile on her face.

No make-up, nor mask, or accompanying kitsch,

so we asked who she was; she replied "I'm a witch.

And no, I don't fly through the sky on my broom;

I only use that thing for cleaning my room.

My magical powers aren't really that neat,

but I won't threaten tricks; I'll just ask for a treat."

We found it refreshing, so we gave incense cones,

A candle, a crystal, a few other stones,

And the rest of the candy (which might fill a van).

She turned to her father (a man dressed as Pan)

and laughed, "Yes, I know, Dad, it's past time for bed,"

and started to leave, but she first turned and said

"I'm sorry for further delaying your rite.

Blessed Samhain to all, and a magical night."

Copyright (c) 1999 by Cather Steincamp

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Samhain Faery Myth and Magic

Possessing the power to bewitch or bedevil humans with their illusions, known as glamours, fairies gradually found their way into the myth and folklore of many European cultures.
The inhabitants of pre-Christian Ireland also believed that Samhain was a time when a strange dark-skinned race of goblin like creatures with occult powers emerged from their secret hiding places. Resentful of the human race for taking over the land that was once theirs, they delighted in creating as much mischief as possible. Some were merely pranksters, while others were more evil natured and regarded as dangerous. According to legend, every seven years these creatures would steal human infants or small children and then sacrifice them to their god.
Because Samhain was a night on which the fairy mounds stood wide open, all manners of fairies, mostly baneful, were free to walk the earth. Also, any person careless or unfortunate enough to step upon an open mound would fall victim to permanent enchantment by a fairy spell and either succumb to madness or waste away from a mysterious and incurable illness. However, according to Celtic folklore, on Samhain night, when neither human nor fairy needed any magickal password to enter, an open fairy mound could, like quicksand, pull an unsuspecting mortal into the world of fairies, where he or she would be doomed to remain forever.
Samhain was more than a night when spirits walked the earth. Like the other great festivals dominating the old Celtic calendar, Samhain was also connected with fertility of the earth and its animals. It was a time when the final harvest was celebrated and when farmers throughout the land brought their livestock down from the pastures and made preparations for the coming of winter.
In Ireland, the Tuatha de Danann are active just before Samhain and will bless your home for a small portion of your harvest. But any crop left unharvested after sundown on October 31st is taken by the Phookas, baneful faeries who render the crop unfit to eat. Spelled Pwca in Wales, these baneful faeries remain active until spring.
Just before Samhain the final harvest had to be gathered in. Whatever was left in the fields after this time would be taken by malevolent faeries. But just in case some of these creatures wished to jump in early, bells were often tolled all during the day of October 30th, the last day of the harvest, to ward off encroaching faeries as the work was being done. An old Mother Goose rhyme reflects this ancient custom with the words, "The boughs they do shake and the bells they do ring, so merrily comes our harvest in..."
In general, baneful faeries are more active during the last quarter of the waning moon, and helpful faeries are more active at the waxing. Inland water faeries are generally friendly, while sea faeries are more malevolent, a concept which no doubt grew out of the dangers of sea travel. Good faeries are commonly more active from Beltane to Samhain, and the more mischievous ones from Samhain to Beltane.
To protect yourself from baneful faeries at Samhain, hang dried apples or dried heather over your doors.

A Fairy Spell

A spell to enable a person to perceive fairy rings and to hear the sound of fairy music calls for the following herbs to be gathered, diced, and then baked into a tiny oaten cake:
bay, mistletoe, rue, thyme, vervain, and yarrow.
Anoint the cake with a bit of honey and three drops of rose oil.
On Halloween night, as the moon of enchantment is rising in the sky above, place the sweetened cake under a tree or a bush in your garden as an offering to the fairy-folk. According to witches lore, if your magick is true and your heart filled only with sincerity, the fairies will open their secret and wondrous world to you right before your very eyes.
The other times of the year when such a spell is said to be effective are: at moonrise on Lady Day (March 25th), Easter, the first day of May (known as May Day, Beltane, and Walpurgis), the Summer Solstice (June 21st), Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

There were hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of different types of faeries who inhabited the ancient Celtic lands, but in Ireland (where it was once believed that all cats were actually fairies in disguise) it was the Phooka (pooka) that was particularly feared on Samhain, when it took great pleasure in tormenting humans. The supernatural’s of the night possessed the power to shape shift, and they were known to often take on the disguise of a black horse with hideous features.
The Celts devised numerous charms to protect themselves against the Little People. The ringing of bells (especially church bells) and the hanging of iron horseshoes above doorways were two methods believed to be effective in keeping spiteful fairies at bay. Many people in various parts of the world still believe that iron is a metal that repels and protects against all manners of fairies. It is commonly used in the making of magickal amulets and talismans for protection.

I hope you enjoyed the latest Samhain post.
Brightest Blessings,
The Celtic Witch

Friday, October 17, 2008

Samhain Ancestor Meditation and more...

Samhain is known as the night when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest. It's a time to sit back and honor the spirit world, and call upon those ancestors who came before us. After all, if not for them, we wouldn't be here. We owe them something, some gratitude for their ability to survive, their strength, their spirit. Many Wiccans and Pagans choose Samhain as a time to honor their ancestors. If this is something you'd like to do, you can celebrate with a ritual or by hosting a seance or dumb supper in their honor.
In addition to these more formal rituals, you may also want to take some time alone for a quiet meditation. This is a point in the Wheel of the Year when the spirit world is a bit closer than normal, and if you've never tried to contact your ancestors before, now is a good time to do it.

When performing an ancestor meditation, people experience different things. You may find yourself meeting a specific person that you are aware of in your family history, maybe you've heard the stories about great-uncle Joe who went out west after the Civil War, and now you have the privilege of chatting with him, or perhaps you'll meet the grandmother who passed away when you were a child. Some people, however, meet their ancestors as archetypes. In other words, it may not be a specific individual you meet, but rather a symbol -- instead of adventurous great-uncle Joe, it may be a non-specific Civil War soldier or frontiersman. Either way, understand that meeting these individuals is a gift. Pay attention to what they say and do -- it may be that they're trying to give you a message.

Setting the Mood

Before you perform this meditation, it's not a bad idea to spend some time with the tangible, physical aspects of your family. Bring out the old photo albums, read through wild Aunt Tillie's diary from the Great Depression, get out your grandfather's old pocket watch that almost sank with the Titanic. These are the material things that connect us to our family. They link us, magically and spiritually. Spend time with them, absorbing their energies and thinking of the things they've seen, the places they've been.

You can perform this ritual anywhere, but if you can do it outside at night it's even more powerful. Decorate your altar (or if you're outside, use a flat stone or tree stump) with the symbols of your ancestors -- the photos, journals, war medals, watches, jewelry, etc. No candles are necessary for this meditation, but if you'd like to light one, do so. You may also want to burn some Samhain spirit incense, which of course I will happily provide you with at (sorry, had to get in a little shameless promotion)

Claiming Your Birthright
Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Think about who you are, and what you are made of, and know that everything within you is the sum of all your ancestors. From thousands of years ago, generations of people have come together over the centuries to create the person you are now. Think about your own strengths, weaknesses and remember that they came from somewhere. This is a time to honor the ancestors who formed you.

Recite your genealogy, aloud if you like, as far back as you can go. As you say each name, describe the person and their life. An example might go something like this:

I am the daughter of James, who fought in Vietnam
and returned to tell the tale.
James was the son of Eldon and Maggie,
who met on the battlefields of France,
as she nursed him back to health.
Eldon was the son of Alice, who sailed
aboard Titanic and survived.
Alice was the daughter of Patrick and Molly,
who farmed the soil of Ireland, who
raised horses and tatted lace to feed the children...

and so forth. Go back as far as you like, elaborating in as much detail as you choose. Once you can go back no further, end with "those whose blood runs in me, whose names I do not yet know".

If you happened to meet a certain ancestor, or their archetype, during your meditation, take a moment to thank them for stopping by. Take note of any information they may have given you, even if it doesn't make sense just now, it may later on when you give it some more thought. Think about all the people you come from, whose genes are part of you. Some were great people some, not so much, but the point is, they all belong to you. They all have helped shape and create you. Appreciate them for what they were, with no expecations or apologies, and know that they are watching over you.

Samhain was a significant time for divination, perhaps even more so than May or Midsummer’s Eve, because this was the chief of the three Spirit Nights. Divination customs and games frequently featured apples and nuts from the recent harvest, and candles played an important part in adding atmosphere to the mysteries. In Scotland, a child born at Samhain was said to be gifted with an dà shealladh, “The Two Sights” commonly known as “second sight,” or clairvoyance.

Apple Magic
At the heart of the Celtic Otherworld grows an apple tree whose fruit has magical properties. Old sagas tell of heroes crossing the western sea to find this wondrous country, known in Ireland as Emhain Abhlach, (Evan Avlach) and in Britain, Avalon. At Samhain, the apple harvest is in, and old hearthside games, such as apple-bobbing, called apple-dookin’ in Scotland, reflect the journey across water to obtain the magic apple.

Dookin' for Apples
Place a large tub, preferably wooden, on the floor, and half fill it with water. Tumble in plenty of apples, and have one person stir them around vigorously with a long wooden spoon or rod of hazel, ash or any other sacred tree.

Each player takes their turn kneeling on the floor, trying to capture the apples with their teeth as they go bobbing around.Each gets three tries before the next person has a go. Best to wear old clothes for this one, and have a roaring fire nearby so you can dry off while eating your prize!
If you do manage to capture an apple, you might want to keep it for a divination ritual, such as this one:

The Apple and the Mirror
Before the stroke of midnight, sit in front of a mirror in a room lit only by one candle or the moon. Go into the silence, and ask a question. Cut the apple into nine pieces. With your back to the mirror, eat eight of the pieces, then throw the ninth over your left shoulder. Turn your head to look over the same shoulder, and you will see and in image or symbol in the mirror that will tell you your answer.

(When you look in the mirror, let your focus go "soft," and allow the patterns made by the moon or candlelight and shadows to suggest forms, symbols and other dreamlike images that speak to your intuition.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I was browsing through my collections trying to decide what to share with you on my blog and decided on Celtic Women’s Spirituality by Edain McCoy.
This is without a doubt one of my favorites books.
So grab yourself a cup of tea and sit for a spell.
Here is a small copy of her writings on Samhain, the italicized parts are me.:)

So much has been written about this popular festival that it seems redundant, as well as daunting, to try to compress it all into a brief description emphasizing the women's aspect. This is primarily the celebration of the new year and a feast of the harvest ending, and a reaffirmation in our beliefs in the eternal cycles of death and rebirth. On Samhain we celebrate the spirit world and honor our ancestors. This festival may even have roots far back into pre-history, to a time when unity through mother blood bound tribes together, and worship of female ancestors formed the basis of their spiritual orientation.
The crone, as Goddess and ancestor, is the supreme deity of this festival. Samhain is the night when the old God, her son and lover, dies, and she goes into mourning for him until she can transform herself into the virgin who gives him rebirth. The images of her as the Halloween hag stirring her bubbling cauldron comes from the Celtic belief that all the dead souls return, like the God, to her cauldron of life, death and rebirth to await reincarnation.
To celebrate this Sabbat you can follow an old Irish custom and place candles in your windows to illuminate the spirits travels. "This is one of the traditions that I also incorporate into my own celebrations as well"
Because the doors to the other times and places are wide open on this night, it is a goot time to try some past-life work. This can be done alone or with a group. If you are not familiar with any of the methods for doing this, now is the season for discovery.
You could also mourn the dead God with the traditional women's keening wail, and offer comfort to the grieving Goddess.
"Now this last suggestion really called out to me, give comfort to the grieving Goddess? I could actually offer her something beneficial? Something other then worship? It made me realize that I pray to the Goddess, I show her love and praise. I trust in her and I request aid from her as well. However I had never thought to offer my comfort to her! So, this Samhain I will incorporate this into my ritual in my own way. Just some food for thought ya all...:)"

I also thought you would enoy these poems...
(poem by: Elspeth Sapphire)

It is the time of burning leaves,
The crispness of the air has awakened
Memories both dark and hidden,
Memories of past feasts partaken.

I sit comfortly in this silent room
Computer keyboard beneath my fingers mind is never frozen here
In times past it wants to linger.

I 'see' a bonfire raging on a hilltop
With my people all gathered around
Our prayers to the Gods I shout,
Yet, in my dreams I hear not a sound.

The drums beat, the people dance
Wildness fills the autumn night.

The Other Side is so very close--
The Veil just beyond the fire light.

I reach, I feel, I almost touch...
Spirit fingers entwine with mortal
Then dawn's first light appears
And seals again the fragile portal.

I turn away from the cold ashes
Let the wildness leave my aching soul.

Another year til another Samhain...
On that night again I'll be whole.

(poem by: R. A. Melos )

A Witch's Words To Her Familiar On Samhain

Still your mind,
and still your soul,
heed the words that make you grow,
listen to the winds of the sages,
learn the wisdom of the mages,
handed down to us from the ages.

Time is ours,
but only fleeting,
hear the wings of eternity beating,
soon enough we'll all be meeting,
and each of us merrily greeting.

The moon will be full,
and round,
and bright.
And we'll be wisked away,
in the dead of night.
To the place we are meant to be,
to learn and grow,
and maybe see,
a spectre of what we should be.

Time is ours,
frozen, but brief,
allowing us to release our grief,
to open our hearts and minds once more,
and step through the sacred door,
of time and space, and futures past,
to teach us the spells to cast.
So we may once again be free,
to live and love and blessed be.

So still your mind,
and still your soul,
and open your heart,
and set yourself free,
on this Samhain, I challenge thee.
Learn the truth from mages old,
the truth which was foretold.
The time is right, the night is new,
we can learn what not to do.

Warnings from the great beyond,
we'll heed them or all cry,
for lies can no longer be told,
when you look me in the eye.
I've learned a lesson, bold and true,
and now there are but a few,
who understand the depth of change,
and how we all must rearrange,
our thinking and goals,
for times anew,
if the world is to survive,
for me and you.

We've got our work cut out for us,
my friend.
And we must not fail,
before the end,
or all will be lost,
and fate will be no more,
and finally the great beyond,
will close the door.

Time and space will exist no more,
my friend,
my familiar,
we must work to prevent war.
Peace must prevail for ten thousand years,
and we must make sure it does.
Our souls eternal bond will hold,
as our bodies grow old.
Fear not the great beyond,
my friend,
for it is a beginning,
not an end.

Our work will continue for eternity,
until everlasting peace shall set us free.

(poem by: unknown )

Dear Ancestor

Your tombstone stands among the rest;
neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
on polished, marbled stone
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn
You did not know that I’d exist
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
in flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
one hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
and come to visit you.
So that was the latest edition of the Samhain blogs.
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed your read.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

~A Witches Halloween~ Samhain

On the last day of October, when the darkness of night drapes the sky like a shroud and the crisp air grows sweet with the aroma of fallen autumn leaves, magick and mystery abound. This is the night when the shadow realm beckons and the veil that seperates the world of the living from the world of the dead grows most thin. The great wheel of the year has once again completed its cycle, and the time of endings and beginnings has arrived.
This is Halloween.
Known by many names~Samhain, Shadowfest, Old Hallowmas, All Hallows Eve, Festival of the Dead~ this special night of the year is the most important of the eight annual Sabbats. It is a time when the spirits of deceased loved ones and friends are honored, as well as a time to gaze into the world of things yet to come.
For Pagans around the world, Halloween is, among other things, a night of ancestors, a harvest festival, a time of magick and mirth, and a New Years Eve celebration.
Halloweens roots are undeniably pagan however Halloween and its celebrations should not be restricted to witches and others who identify themselves as neo-pagans.
As a new era begins, the pagan path is shining its light on more and more people who are experiencing a growing spiritual need to reconnect with Mother Nature and the ancient ways.
So, in honor of my favorite holiday, all of the new blogs will be devoted to Samhain. They will be filled with history, lore, poems and spells all based on Samhain, so sit back and enjoy for Samhain is near....

Superstitions and Omens:

Unwise is the person who sits or sleeps beneath a hawthorn tree on Halloween, for on this day of the year, when malevolent spirits roam the Earth, fairies are said to hide within hawthorns and cast their strange enchantments upon the mortals who unknowingly rest beneath these trees.

If a cat of the most sinister shade of black should cross your path on Halloween, this is said to be one of the unluckiest omens you could ever receive. This superstitious belief, which is widespread thoughout the United States, Spain, Belgium, is less common on the British Isles, where black cats have long been regarded as the harbingers of good luck.


Rowan Tree Protection Spell
To keep yourself safe on Halloween from bewitchment, ill wishes, or the evil doings of supernatural beings, cut a branch of a rowan tree that is covered with red berries. With a red thread, attach it to your clothing or hair as you thrice recite the following magickal verse:

"Rowan Tree and red thread,
Gar the Witches dance their dead."

The rowan tree has long been regarded as the most magickal of all trees, and its protective powers are legendary. However, if you are unable to find a rowan tree to complete this spell, you can still protect yourself on Halloween simply by wearing something that is red. According to occult folklore, the color red works exceptionally well in keeping sorcerers and supernaturals at bay. And that is the reason why I use red thread in my protective witchballs...:)


Samhain Cider
2 quarts apple cider
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup apricot brandy

In a large pot, combine the apple cider, confectioners sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. Simmer slowly on low heat for about 15 minutes. Take care that the cider does not boil. Add the apricot brandi and then serve the cider while it is still warm.
Refrigerate any leftover cider.
Serves 8

That was the first edition to the Samhain blogs and I hope you enjoyed your read.
Brightest Blessings,
The Celtic Witch )0(

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fall Flower Magick

As fall rushes in and I finish the last of my harvesting from my summer garden I look for things that are growing this time of year. Fall brings us an abundance of magickal items to collect, many found at your local gardening store or right in your own neighborhood.
I thought I would share some of these items with you and their magickal uses.

Chrysanthemums~ In flower magick this flower invokes protection. At this time of year as we come closer to Samhain when the veil between the world is thin this is a handy flower. This flower is available in many colors and each color carries its own magickal meaning.

Red~ love
Yellow~ joy and cheer
Purple~ power and passion
White~ invokes truth
Bronze~encourages a happy and peaceful home

Think about setting some of this flower out in pots around your home to invoke their own powers and here is a charm you can use while performing this:

"The chrysanthemum is a magickal flower indeed,
It brings love, joy, and protection with all possible speed.
In this season of Autumn, I spin this fall flower spell,
Believe in this natural magick and all will be well."

The Chinese brew a tea from the flowers to reduce fevers.
You could separate the petals of this flower and sprinkle them to stop an argument and to calm fiery tempers.
Sprinkle the flower heads into a warm bath to get rid of a bad mood.
Mums are also the flower of choice for decorating your altar for autumn rituals.

What is fall without pumpkins? The original idea behind jack-o-lanterns was to frighten evil spirits away. Its a good idea to incorporate a pumpkin into a spell to remove or block any negativity or bad luck that may be surrounding you or your home. Carve your pumpkin into any witchy design that you like, place a black candle inside and as you light the candle repeat this charm three times:

"Bright pumpkin that glows and candle of black,
Send bad luck away, turn negativity back.
By all the enchantment of three times three,
Lady hear my spell, Blessed Be."

Here are some other late summer and fall blooming flowers to keep your eye out for to use in your Flower Magick...

~ Morning Glory (Ipomoea) - The morning glory is an old-fashioned, fall-blooming annual vine.
I have this flower surrounding my home, it grows on my lamppost, my stair railings, my fence and on my garden trellis. It is one of my favorites and the colors are vibrant and beautiful.
It is available in a wide range of colors from white, pastel shades of pink, and blue to true blue and deep purple. In the language of flowers, the morning glory “greets the new day.” Also any truly blue flowers are sacred to the goddess Aphrodite. For flower fascinations, use the blue blossoms for love, peace, and for promoting mental health. The morning glory is associated with the planet Saturn, which means that foliage, vines, and blossoms can and be incorporated into protection spells. Try the deeper blue and purple colored varieties to safeguard your home or property. Morning glories grow well in full to part sun. Be sure to keep them well watered during the hot, dog days of late summer.

~Aster (aster hybrids.) - The flower of the Goddess. Also known as Michaelmas daisies, asters come in gorgeous shades of blue, white, pink, and purple. The aster is sacred to most of the Greek pantheon, and attracts butterflies to your yard. I have the purple variety in my yard and they are still blooming now. According to flower folklore the aster conveys the message of variety, delicacy, and patience. Incorporate asters into spells and charms to enhance loving vibrations and healthy emotions. Adding these beautiful flowers to your garden brings love and contentment to your entire household. The aster prefers a sunny location and likes moist, well-drained soil. USA cold hardiness zones 4-9

~ Black-eyed-Susans (Rudbeckia) - These drought-tolerant perennials thrive in sunny spots and are a wonderful addition to any garden by providing bold splashes of golden color from summer through fall. I have a few of these still blooming but not for much longer however they did bloom just about all summer and they are a joy to look at.
In the language of flowers they symbolize “justice.” So they would be ideal to add to any spells where this was an issue. The seed heads of the black-eyed-Susan's are attractive to songbirds, so don’t cut these back in the late fall, let the birds have them. USA cold hardiness zones 4-9

~Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata) - In the language of flowers, the clematis stands for the beauty of the mind and ingenuity. Work a tiny blooming cluster or two this fall into enchantments that call for a little cleverness and resourcefulness. This free-flowering vine blooms in tiny snow-white clusters of fragrant blossoms in the autumn months. The 15-25 foot vines are aggressive and grow quickly, so keep it trained on an arbor or fence. If it starts to get away from you, it can be clipped back to a manageable size in the spring. This plant blooms on new growth, in the fall. USA cold hardiness zones 4-8

~Pansies (Viola) - These cool-temperature-loving flowers are sacred to Eros/Cupid. Pansies have many folk names including, kiss-me-at-the-garden-gate, love-in-idleness, Johnny jump-ups, and heart’s ease. According to legend, the god Eros accidentally shot one of his love-inducing arrows into the pansy, causing it to smile. The happy face of the pansy has been grinning ever since. These sassy, multi-colored flowers are incorporated into garden witchery spells and charms for easing a broken heart and for spreading cheer. Pansies are wonderful in the garden or tucked into pots and containers for seasonal color. If planted in the ground in the fall and then mulched with leaves in early winter, pansies will bloom again the following spring. Here’s a fun Garden Witch tip; during the fall months look for the “Trick or Treat” variety. These pansies are a mixture of orange, black and purple colors, and absolutely enchanting to add to your garden just in time for Halloween/ Samhain.
My next blog will of course be devoted to Samhain as it if my favorite holiday. I will also be running a Samhain contest for a free Oracle Reading. Details coming soon...
Until then brightest blessings and I wish you all well,
The Celtic Witch

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Arianrhod is the Celtic Moon-Mother Goddess who was known throughout the land for her stunning beauty.
She was the daughter of the Mother Goddess Don and her consort Beli.
She is ruler of Caer Sidi, a magical realm in the north. She was worshiped as priestess of the moon. The benevolent silver sky-lady came down from her pale white chariot in the heavens to watch more closely over the tides she ruled. Her Festival is on 2nd December, she is also honoured at the Full Moon.

A star and moon Goddess, Arianrhod was also called the Silver Wheel because the dead were carried on her Oar Wheel to Emania (the Moon-land or land of death), which belonged to her as a deity of reincarnation and karma. Her consort Nwyvre 'Sky, Space, Firmament' has survived in name only. Caer Arianrhod is the circumpolar stars, to which souls withdraw between incarnations, thus she is identified as a Goddess of reincarnation. The Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess in Wales, her palace was Caer Arianrhod (Aurora Borealis), or the secret center of each initiate's spiritual being.

And here is her story....

Arianrhod is the daughter of the Welsh Goddess Don and the sister of Gwydion. Gwydion was counselor to King Math who could only remain alive if his feet lay in the lap of a virgin at all times except when he led his armies into battle. During one such battle the virgin who had held King Math's feet was raped, and so there was need for a replacement. Gwydion recommended his sister, Arianrhod. King Math put her virginity to the test by asking her to step over his magic wand. As she stepped over the wand she gave birth to a boy child with yellow hair. The child cried loudly, and Arianrhod, humiliated, ran for the door, dropping yet another small object on the ground in the process. Before anyone could catch a glance at the object, Gwydion wrapped it and hid it inside a chest. King Math then performed rites for the yellow haired boy child, naming him Dylan. Dylan immediately ran for the sea and received the sea's nature and was never seen again.
A time later Gwydion presented Arianrhod with the object that he had hidden in the chest - a second boy child. Arianrhod was outraged at the "evidence" of her humiliation at the hands of King Math and rejected the child.
She laid on him three curses:
He shall have no name except one she gives him.
He shall bear no arms except ones she gives him.
He shall have no wife of the race that is now on the earth.
Gwydion was outraged by these curses and worked to break them. He disguised himself and the boy child as shoemakers and traveled to Caer Arianrhod. When Arianrhod went to have shoes fitted, the boy child threw a stone at a bird and deftly hit it. Arianrhod commented on the child's skillful hand. At that Gwydion revealed himself and the child and stated that she had just named him - Llew Llaw Gyffes, the Shining Skillful Hand. This threw Arianrhod into a firey rage and she stormed back to Caer Arianrhod swearing that the boy would never bear arms or have a human wife.
Again Gwydion tricked Arianrhod into breaking her own curse. He disguised himself and Llew as travelers and sought refuge in Caer Arianrhod. While they were there Gwydion caused an illusion showing a powerful armada of ships advancing on Caer Arianrhod. Making ready for battle Arianrhod threw open her armory and armed her retainers. Gwydion suggested to Arianrhod that she give arms to him and Llew (still in disguise) and they would fight at the defense of the castle. She readily agreed and thereby, unwittingly, granted arms to her son, breaking the second curse. Gwydion then revealed themselves to Arianrhod and told her that she may as well take the arms back from her son, as there really was no battle to be fought.
Enraged at being tricked a second time, Arianrhod took comfort in her third curse - that Llew would have no human wife. Gwydion, upset at the cruelty Arianrhod was showing her son, vowed to break this curse also. Gwydion went to King Math and explained Llew's plight. Combining their magic they created a woman made of flowers, Blodeuwedd, to be wife to Llew, and broke Arianrhod's third curse.
Humiliated by King Math, thwarted by her son, forsaken by her brother, Arianrhod retreated to her castle Caer Arianrhod. Here she later drowned when the sea reclaimed the land.

The poem is taken from the book "Ceridwen's Cauldron" by Gwdihw.
Lady Arianrhod
Arianrhod, Lady Fair
Fly over your caer, in the air
Served by the moth and the wren
The bat, bee and hidden men
Mother of Dylan, you did reign
You did not give his twin a name.
Your brother Gwydion sold you shoes
Your curse he made you quickly lose.
With a sling you saw your son
Lleu Llaw Gyffes, the fair one.
Arianrhod, Queen of the night
Refused arms for Lleu to fight.
When Math made ships out of mist
Lleu found a spear within his fist,
Her final curse forbade a bride
He found a flower maid by his side.
Gronw speared Lleu in the bowel,
Blodeuwedd changed from bride to owl
Arianrhod watched, high above
Giving Lleu both grief and love.
Binding him by silver thread
Thinking that he lay there dead.
Transformations took place
Feather grew from Lleu's face.
Gwydion changed him back to man
Healing him as magic can.
Arianrhod, Lady of the Wheel,
Reincarnator, help us heal.

Celtic Mythology

Adventure, heroism, romance, and magic are a few of the elements that make Celtic mythology one of the most entrancing mythologies of Europe. Once a powerful people who dominated much of Europe, the Celts were reduced to a few small groups after the Roman invasions. However, their mythology survived, thanks largely to the efforts of medieval Irish and Welsh monks who wrote down the stories.

The Celts were a group of people who began to spread throughout Europe in the 1000s B.C. At the peak of their power, they inhabited an area extending from the British Isles in the west to what is now Turkey in the east. They conquered northern Italy and Macedonia, plundering both Rome and Delphi in the process. They had a reputation as fierce and courageous warriors and were viewed with respect by the Romans.
Celtic expansion reached its limit around 225 B.C., when the Celts suffered the first in a series of defeats by the armies of the Roman empire. Gradually, the Romans subdued the Celts, and by A.D. 84, most of Britain was under Roman rule. At the same time, Germanic peoples conquered the Celts living in central Europe.
Just a few areas, notably Ireland and northern Britain, managed to remain free and to continue and pass on the Celtic traditions. Six groups of Celts have survived to modern times: the peoples of Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, and Brittany.
The ancient Celts were neither a race nor a nation. They were a varied people bound together by language, customs, and religion rather than by any centralized government. They lived off the land, farming and raising stock. No towns existed apart from impressive hill forts. However, by about 100 B.C., large groups of Celts had begun to gather at certain settlements to trade with one another.
Celtic society had a clearly defined structure. Highest in rank was the king, who ruled a particular tribe, or group of people. Each tribe was divided into three classes: the noble knights and warriors, the Druids (religious leaders), and the farmers and commoners. The Druids, who came from noble families, were respected and influential figures. They served not only as priests but also as judges, teachers, and advisers. In addition, it was widely believed that the Druids had magical powers.

The ancient Celts had a vibrant mythology made up of hundreds of tales. They did not, however, record their myths in writing but passed them on orally. Our knowledge of the gods, heroes, and villains of Celtic mythology comes from other sources—mainly Roman. Yet the Romans sometimes referred to Celtic gods by Roman names, so their accounts were not always reliable. Moreover, because the Romans and Celts were battlefield enemies, Roman descriptions of Celtic beliefs were often unfavorable.

Major Gods. The Celts worshiped a variety of gods who appeared in their tales. Most were all-powerful local deities rather than gods with specialized roles. Each tribe had its own god, who protected and provided for the welfare of that tribe. Some of them had similar characteristics. For example, Dagda, the god of life and death in Ireland—known as the good god—resembled Esus, the "master" god of Gaul.
Some deities had more clearly defined roles. Among these were Lug, or Lugus, a sun god associated with arts and skills, war and healing, and the horned god Cernunnos, who was god of animals and fertility. The Celts also had a large number of important female deities. These included Morrigan, the "Great Queen"—actually three war goddesses, Morrigan, Badb, and Nemain, who appeared as ravens during battle. Another important deity was Brigit, goddess of learning, healing, and metalworking. Epona, the horse goddess, was associated with fertility, water, and death.

Major Themes. Magic, magicians, and the supernatural played a significant role in Celtic mythology. A common theme was the magic cauldron. The cauldron of plenty was never empty and supplied great quantities of food. The cauldron of rebirth brought slain warriors to life again. Myrddin, a magician in the Welsh tales, later became Merlin in the Arthurian legends.

Other important themes in the myths were voyages to mysterious and dangerous lands and larger-than-life heroes. The heroes experienced all kinds of adventures and often had to perform impossible tasks before marrying their loved one. Love, romance, and mischief also figured prominently. The gods played tricks on humans and on one another. Animals changed shape at will.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

No Place for Satan

The favorite, and crudest, Fundamentalist accusation against Pagans (and against Witches in particular) is that they worship Satin. It is quite simply not true, and it is astonishing how widely and unthinkingly this blatant lie has been believed.
Worship of the devil would be totally incompatible with the principles of Pagans. Pagans regard evil as an imbalance to be corrected, not as an independant force or entity.
Satan is a creation of Judeo-Christian Dualism, which has replaced the concept of creative polarity with that of good and evil as two independently existing forces at war with each other, instead of regarding evil as a state of imbalance requiring healing action. Dualism has also tended to identify good with the masculine and spirit, and evil with the feminie and with matter.
Jung made a substantial contribution to clear thinking on the levels of the psyche with his definitions of the conscious ego and the personal and collective unconscious, which should be in healthy interaction with each other. Official Christianity, with its fear of the feminie aspect, has always distorted this interaction into a Dualist confrontation between good and evil.
Paganism accepts the jungian view and is grateful to him for providing definitions which make the healthy interaction easier to understand and describe.
Pagans worship the same Ultimate as anyone else, however they may symbolize it. Monotheists, paradoxically, believe in two Ultimates, existing independently and at constant war with each other.
Satanism as a cult is alien to Paganism, which totally rejects it, whatever Fundamentalists and the gutter press claim. It is a negative image of Christianity, and its followers are often merely rejecting their upbringing by a wholesale inversion of parental beliefs, saying "up yours!" to Mom and Dad.
The notorious Black Mass is not a Pagan ritual, it is a Christian heretical blasphemy, a calculated mockery of the Mass by renegade Christians.
We do know of at least one group in Britian which calls itself Satanist, doubtless for initially rebellious reasons, but whose actual practises are above reproach; it will not allow anyone to be harmed, and we find its choice of name unfortunate and misleading. There are also groups which investigate the dark side, with the firm intention of getting natural light and dark in balance, and the names some of them choose may result in their being mistakenly regarded as Satanist.
The Christian image of Satan is a post biblical invention. In the old testament, Satan is a servant of God; his task is to test people's genuineness and ability to resist temptation (the book of Job gives a vivid account of this), and to report back to God accordingly. Not an endearing function, perhaps, but certainly not an evil one. Nor was Satan made into a fallen angel rebelling against his master, until much later.
Horns, throughout the old testament, are not a devilish symbol, but a sign of God given power. This symbol is recalled by the well known Michelangelo statue of Moses in the Vatican, which is equipped with horns.
But during the medieval persecution centuries, the image changed. The church inquistitors knew that Pagans and Witches worshipped a Horned God of Nature, which prompted them to equip Satan with horns so they they could say:
"Witches worship the devil, look, he has the horns to prove it!"
In Christian imagery, Satan is horned to this day, and most people believe mistakenly that he always has been.
Pagans do not believe that Satin exists, so how then can we worship him?
As with Paganism, there are many different forms of Satanism. It is generally accepted that it is divided into two seperate types, Traditional Satanism and Modern Satanism.
The first of these is the traditional anti-Christian Satanist, so loved by Hollywood horror film producers. It is the antithesis of Christianity; holding the notorious Black Mass, profaning all the Christian rites, defiling purity and reading the Lord's Prayer in reverse.
Traditional Satanism was originally a fantasy created by the church to instill fear into the population; later some elements of society adopted it as a rebellion against the Church's harsh laws.
If genuine traditional Satanists do exist, they are very secretive and remain rare.
Another type known as secular humanistic Satanism, is probably the most common, there
most well known orginazation of this category being Anton La Vey's Church of Satan. They do not believe in a personal devil nor in a personal God, but are egocentric in attitude. Their philosophy is devoted to opposing the restrictions and inhibitions forced upon man by the Christian Church.
They hold the Seven Deadly Sins to be virtues rather than vices, and this is echoed in La Vey's Nine Satanic Statements:

1. Satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence!
2. Satan represents vital existence, instead of sprititual pipe dreams!
3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self-deceit!
4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates!
5. Satan represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek!
6. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires.
7. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those who walk on all fours, who, because of his divine spiritual and intellectual development, has become the most vicious animal of all!
8. Satan represents all of those so called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification!
9. Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years!

We can agree with the ninth statement only; the other eight, apart from being cynical, are all philosophically and theologically flawed.
This form of Satanism remains a rebellion against the church, and only attracts those who are dissatisfied with it. It therefore cannot be considered a true spiritual path.
Recently, Satanic groups like the Church of Satan have been making overtures towards the Pagan movement to support them against Fundamentalist opposition, arguing that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"
We are glad to say that the Pagan movement has rejected this call for alliance; first of all Satanism, whether it likes it or not, has the same theology as Christianity and is not Pagan. It also has a philosophy which is totally alien to Pagan principles, disobeying the Wiccan eithic of "an it harm none".

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Lady of Shalott

On either side the river lie Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the world and meet the sky; And thro' the field the road runs by
To many-towered Camelot;

And up and down the people go, Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott

Willows whiten, aspens quiver, Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro' the wave that runs forever By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.

Four grey walls, and four grey towers, Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow-veiled, Slide the heavy barges trailed
By slow horses; and unhailed The shallop flitteth silken-sailed
Skimming down to Camelot:

But who hath seen her wave her hand? Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early In among the summer barley,
Hear a tune that echoes cheerly From the river winding clearly
Down to towered Camelot:

And by the moon the reaper weary, Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers ''Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott.'

There she weaves by night and day A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.

She knows not what the curse may be, And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro' a mirror clear That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear. There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:

There the river eddy whirls, And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad, An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd lad, Or long-haired page in crimson clad,
Goes by to towered Camelot:

And sometimes thro' the mirror blue The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights A funeral, with plumes and lights,
And music, went to Camelot:

Or when the moon was overhead, Came two young lovers lately wed:
'I am half sick of shadows,' said
The Lady of Shalott.

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves, He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves, And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.

A red-cross knight for ever kneeled To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glittered free, Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy. The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot.

And from his blazoned baldric slung A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather Thick-jewelled shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather Burned like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.

As often thro' the purple night, Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glowed; On burnished hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flowed His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.

From the bank and from the river He flashed into the crystal mirror,
'Tirra lirra,' by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the room, She made three paces thro' the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume,
She looked down to Camelot.

Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror cracked from side to side;
'The curse is come upon me,' cried
The Lady of Shalott

The Lady of Shalott is one of my favorite poems and I hope you all enjoyed it as well. I never tire of reading it.
Brightest Blessings~!