Archive for December, 2018

Whenever I draw this card, it gives me goosebumps. It remind me a bit of a fortune teller over a crystal ball, while it’s also an intense dragon handing you the gift of remembering your own gifts. With eyes that say, “Use them or else!” The “or else,” of course, being losing a bit of yourself every time you ignore your soul’s call to create. Paint, build, write, garden, nurture, or whatever is your form of creation and creativity.

Blessings!

You Were Born to Create

You were blessed with the ability to create with thought, intention, action, and emotion. Be conscious of your power and aware of what your actions and reactions create within and around you. Cherish this gift and use it in both a wise and productive manner. Create beauty, and inspire a desire within others to do the same. Create a future that both fulfills and delights. Do what you were born to do.

Messenger Oracle by Ravynne Phelan

 

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Lately it seems that many people I know have been lacking in energy, struggling to sleep, and so forth. It’s a draining time of year, so I think the Fire Dragon is here to remind us to do what it takes to maintain our energy. Maybe get back to a short daily walk or yoga session, avoid the crappy food that is so abundant at this time, or whatever helps you.

Blessings!

Fire Dragon – Transmutation, Mastery, Energy

This card shows the flaming Dragon of King Uther’s vision. In the distance we see Glastonbury Tor. Legend tells of a secret cave with in the Tor, used perhaps for initiation. Flaming Dragons often guard such caverns to prevent their desecration by the greedy and to offer their treasure to those who are worthy. In the foreground, laying on the rock, is a golden torc – Celtic neck ring indicating high status, rulership, and mastery.

Meaning: Fire dragon brings vitality, enthusiasm, encourage, and an increased ability to overcome obstacles and to find the energy needed to cope with life‘s problems. Having the powerful fire dragon as an ally will align you with the qualities of leadership and mastery. With care, he will fuel your inner fire which can be directed and channeled with laser-like precision to help you accomplish tasks and achieve objectives.

This card can also mean that you may be repressing a good deal of anger. This may make you feel that you are not in control of your life energy. Either you experience energy as out of control – erupting without warning or constantly bubbling near the surface – or you may sense it has scattered or dissipated. Are you often lacking in energy and vitality? Do you find it hard to get excited or motivated? Or do you find you have too much nervous energy, making you over excited, unable to sleep, concentrate, or relax?

Whether you have too much or too little energy, developing a harmonious relationship with the fire dragon will help you. If you were lacking in energy, you may need to ask the dragon to give you a little more of the treasure he is guarding. If you find your energy level is too high, you may need to do the reverse – to ask the dragon to take charge of some of your energy, guarding it fiercely, sure in the knowledge that you will be given access when you really need it.

Druid Animal Oracle by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, art by Will Worthington

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All things are a balance, so be sure your diplomacy and reaching to the middle doesn’t become dishonest. Blessings!

FOX (Sionnach) – Diplomacy, Cunning, and Wildness

Fox is a fine, graceful creature who typifies the beauty and harmony of the natural world. Working with the power of the fox, you will know when it is time to come out into the open and be counted, but you will also know when it is time to remain silent, to keep your own counsel. With others, you will be able to be diplomatic, and one of the attributes of the fox is being “strong in counsel.” One of the hardest things, if you are a person working with “fox-powers,” is to ensure that your skill and diplomacy do not become dishonesty or slyness. Remaining silent, or becoming invisible to watch the unfolding drama, is an asset that can bring with it its own special culpability if it is not tempered with wisdom.

On the flip side, Fox may also be a warning to be careful not to use your cleverness dishonestly. The knowing or kenning of the fox can easily become cunning which turns into conning. This card could mean that you are coming into contact with that part of you which feels a victim. In the past, the fox was hunted for its beautiful fur, but the hunt was considered sacred. From the moment weapons were forged, the hunt was dedicated to the Goddess, and her permission was sought before the hunter would date take the life of an animal. More recently, the fox has become a symbol of the innocence and beauty of the natural world being destroyed by man’s cruelty. If you feel you are at the mercy of circumstances, or are being unfairly or cruelly treated, take a lesson from the fox and “lie low” for a while. Concern yourself with family and home, and develop your skills of mediation and diplomacy.

Most of the animal names used contemptuously come from a patriarchal culture and hence are applied to women (bitch, cat, cow, and shrew for example) but the insult of “vixen” includes an erotic connotation – accusing a woman of being a vixen suggests she is cunning and ill-tempered, but also sexy. The term “foxy lady” conveys this idea, but in a more positive light. It may be that you need to discover how you can show the wild and erotic side of your charater – the Wildman or Wildwoman in you – in the most creative way.

The Druid Animal Oracle by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, art by Will Worthington

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We are fast approaching Yule, and most witches and pagans that I know will undoubtedly appreciate one type of gift: a book. For those seeking some focused on hands-on magic, I’ve recently combed through a couple books on this subject.

Late this summer I picked up two titles from publisher Moon Books, Pagan Portals: Candle Magic and Pagan Portals: Poppets and Magical Dolls, both by author Lucya Starza. Both provide introductions to their respective subject, which was perfect for my purpose. As a priestess novitiate of the Daughters of the Sacred Grail, I lead a monthly group study of practical magic. Several of the ladies in our local hearth are fairly new to hands-on magical practice, so I was looking for a couple books to serve as touchstones for the study.

These books fit the bill almost perfectly.

First, Starza’s tone was approachable and unpretentious – I felt as if, if I met her, I could sit down with tea and cookies and have a chat and not be uncomfortable. She is from the UK, so some of her spelling and an occasional reference might be different than what American readers are accustomed to. None of the women in the study group seemed to mind it.

The author finds everyday things or customs that are magical in nature as ways to start each book. She helps you see the magic you’ve already done with candles and dolls before delving further into the subject – I’ll never look at birthday candles or teddy bears the same.

Now, let’s take a peek at each book.

Candle Magic: A witch’s guide to spells and rituals

Candle magic is probably the first magic I was drawn to do, but most of my learning has been intuitive with a few tips from others along the way. This little volume (just over 100 pages) is a solid introduction that looks at the different types of candles, safety, and more.

The Daytime Wishing Spell worked like a charm!

Starza take a good look at using different colors for particular seasons, elements, and so forth, however, she encourages the reader to use his or her own intuition and feelings about the colors and, later, other additions like scent. As a group, we tried her suggestion for creating colored candles from plain candles using melted crayons. It was a fun exercise (and worked well as long as you kept the wax hot) and a nice way to encourage people to be resourceful with what they have at home. Adding oils, herbs, and other embellishments are sections that have more fun ideas for those who like something other than plain ol’ candles.

This first part concludes with a grimoire of spells to try out. Some are pretty simple, but you should not overlook the simple spells here. I tried two myself, and one of the simplest, the Daytime Wishing Spell, worked quicker than I’ve ever had a spell work! I wished that a publisher and an editor for two freelance projects I was working on would email me back. After performing the spell, I left home for several hours. That afternoon I returned home to success – they had BOTH emailed me back.

In the second part, Starza focuses on ritual basics and how to use candles in rituals and celebrations. She also discusses the historic and modern use of sacred and eternal flames, which I thought was an unusual and thoughtful addition. Rounding out the text are ways to use candles for meditation and divination, how to make candles, safety, and a brief history of candle making.

Poppets and Magical Dolls: Dolls for spell work, witchcraft, and seasonal celebrations

Most of us grew up seeing or hearing the stereotypical view of a voodoo doll used to harm people. It was six or seven years ago at a Gaea Goddess Gathering workshop when I learned that these dolls are more often used as a tool of healing.

Starza whisks away the stereotypes of magical dolls, like these in the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum.

Starza educates against this stereotype too. Her first order of business is to explore the history of this type of sympathetic magic, also called image magic, to show that many cultures have used dolls for a variety of purposes. This volume focuses primarily on using dolls to affect healing, luck, and moods, and even as guardians.

One of my favorite parts of the book is where she explores the many different materials used to make the poppets. We so often are stuck in the idea of cloth dolls, but there is also clay, wax, natural materials, pipe cleaners, and even cookies. Yes, I said cookies. There are a couple witches I know that would be inclined to use modern craft clays.

The author does eventually address the elephant in the poppet room: using pins. She explains that doing so is focusing energy where the pin is inserted, but this can be used for many purposes including healing! She follows up by touching on ethics and cursing before heading into ways to enchant, maintain, and use your created poppet. Decommissioning the poppet is also covered  – something I’ve often seen left out of information about spell work.

Wrapping things up is a section I found fun and fascinating that covers dolls and spirits, seasonal dolls of the British Isles, and doll magic around the world. Like most Pagan Portals, this is a slim volume but it’s packed with good stuff.

Final Thoughts

As noted, these are short introductions that are great for beginners. They are friendly in tone and succinct and yet are creative and interesting to read. While some may not like their brevity, I rather like them and the Pagan Portals series overall because they are short – kind of like the first couple dates with a subject to find out if you like it or not. I’ve long thought the Pagan community needed a new series of books like this to be a more modern take on the old “Elements of” series. And when you want to go deeper on a subject, a good starting point is the bibliography of these volumes.

My only real complaint about either book is that they could benefit from a couple well-placed illustrations or photos showing how to make some things. I worked as a technical writer for 10 years and have learned the hard way that sometimes no matter how hard you try, people will not visualize what you are saying as you intend it. Sometimes a photo can clear up confusion better than a couple hundred more words. I haven’t noticed illustrations in any Pagan Portal so far (though I haven’t read them all), so perhaps this is the publisher’s call instead of the author’s.

The group study has finished Candle Magic and will start the Poppets book in January. So far, the texts have given a good foundation for people to work from, and even those of us who have been practicing for many years found some new gems.

What I also like is that Starza’s books work well when you want to weave in other related information and activities. For example, the Candle Magic book touches on a way to create witch bottles that includes candles. Years ago, I lead an activity night on witch bottles and spell bottles, so this inclusion gave me an opening to pull in that information to the new ladies. Likewise, we plan to end the Poppets study with our group’s matriarch leading an activity on mawkins, a type of magical doll she is familiar with.

So, if you or someone you know wants to dip toes into either of these subjects, I’d recommend checking out these titles from Moon Books. Here’s a couple places you can find them:

Candle Magic on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Poppets and Magical Dolls on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Blessings!

– Thistle

 

 

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Two cards in a row from this deck telling us to consider our security and stability. Another strong masculine card. Perhaps now is the time to control our emotions and make sure to get things done.

Also, the two cards with this one were The Magician (will power, diplomacy, strategy, etc.) and The Chariot (conflict – possibly overcome, conflict and vengeance, fleeing from reality, etc.). I do use this deck more as an oracle – without the pips – so this stacked spread isn’t as unlikely as with a full tarot deck, but it is still eye opening.

Blessings!

The Emperor

Meaning: Self-control through intelligence. Worldly powers, accomplishment, confidence, wealth, stability, authority, indomitable spirit, conviction, strength, attainment of goals. On the flip side, it could mean immaturity, lack of strength, indecision, failure to control petty emotions.

Familiars Tarot by Lisa Parker

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It took a while to post today – all the cats (indoor and outdoor) were being so sweet and wanting extra love this morning. But here we are finally!

Our card today can be interpreted a few different ways. What does it say to you?

Blessings!

Knave of Pentacles

Meaning: Study, concentration and application, reflection, respect for science, philanthropy, bearer of news. On the flip side, this card could also indicate illogical thinking, rebelliousness, wastefulness, loss or unfavorable news.

PTM’s Interpretation: This is a very earthy card. Some also interpret this knave as it’s time to be productive and to think and act for your long-term security. This is the time to plan your success but also, more importantly, to act to make it happen.

Also consider WHAT appears on this card: three wolves howling at the Moon tighter. In spite of their dark reputation from fairy tales and misunderstanding the species, wolves are not the biggest and baddest predators out there – mountain lions, for example, are bigger and stronger. To take down big prey (read: long-term security), they work together. Don’t forget to work with your life partner to find the best way to secure your family life. Reach out to others in your family, friend group, professional circles, and community to make things happen.

Familiars Tarot by Lisa Parker

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This card is a strong indicator to dive deep into your intuition and/or yourself. The Moon illuminates our world, but it is an illumination void of color – it makes our familiar world unfamiliar and leaves us to color things with our own intuition and creativity. The Sun takes away the questions, which is why I feel the Moon is so closely drawn to intuition and looking deeper at what is around us and within us.

However, this is much more than a Moon card. The path of moonlight across the marsh waters speaks volumes to those with an Avalonian inclination. It is a time for reflection and inner journeying to the Isle. Also depicted is an auroch, an extinct kind of wild cattle and ancestor of modern cattle, which were known to stand as tall as elephants. This would have been a beast to be wary of, even for skilled hunters. Indeed, cave walls depict the auroch in a way that suggests respect.

When I look at this card, I feel both a bit of dread and excitement. But often great things start with those feelings. Blessings!

Moon on the Water

Meaning: In the image of the Moon on Water, there is no visible pathway for the traveler, and yet its reflective light illuminates the whole landscape. We stand at the edge of the watery marsh, reprinting the primordial emotional state that holds all potential a creative energy with the human psyche, and are drawn to the horizon where Moon meets Earth beyond the barren trees. Beyond the flight of the sacred heron lies the fusion of our ancestral should with the soul of the Earth.

Before us is the primal egg, submerged in the amniotic fluid of the world, waiting for the creative impulse that beings the process of life. The aurochs’ horns represents fertility as well as the horns of the waxing and awning moon. The shape of the horns and head resemble the womb and Fallopian tubes. In Mithraic and Druidic traditions, the bull or ox also had a sacrificial role at midwinter, presenting the coming of new life from the “death” of twitter. The heron is a sacred totem bird of fertility and is also known in Ireland as siothlagh a bhoga, meaning “sheelagh of the boglands,” a euphemism for a promiscuous woman, although in the form of a stork the bird takes over the mysteries or reincarnation, offering powerful insights into the mystery of life itself.

The Moon on Water signifies the first steps beyond earthy awareness across the primal emotional void of creation. She also encompasses the dark-moon aspects of fertility, sexuality, and initiation as well as the irrational fear of the creatures that are associated with the night such as faeries and demons and other hidden or unseen shapes of ancestral memory. 

The Wildwood Tarot by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, art by Will Worthington

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