Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tarot Gifting Myth



Have you ever heard that you can’t buy a tarot deck; that you can only come by one as a gift?  I have no idea where this myth started but it is just that.  There is absolutely no reason why you must receive a deck as a gift.  Tarot cards like so many other things are merely tools, the real magick and mysticism lies in the Witch.

Around the age of 16 my parents gave me their deck as my first deck.  I couldn't read them to save my life when I first got them and believed that I was just crap at Tarot.  Around 17 or 18 though I learned about cleansing energies and after cleansing the deck my readings came to life.  I may have gotten the deck as a gift but it didn't work for me at first.  It was like giving a kid a toy with bad batteries in it.  This taught me an important lesson, always cleanse your deck no matter where it comes from.  You need to turn it into a bank slate that you can imbue with your own energy and magick.

If you have a local shop that sells Tarot decks then check it out, but remember if they let you handle the deck to see if you want it, they've let others do the same.  I don’t recommend handling different decks and trying to sense an energy that suits you.  Chances are what you’re really picking up on is someone else’s energy that suits you.  Whether buying in person or online I recommend that you make your decision on what feelings the art invokes in you.  Tarot is essentially nothing more than a trigger for your own intuition and psychic abilities, if the artwork evokes emotions in you then it has the ability to serve as a trigger.

Once you've purchased your tarot deck the first thing you want to do is to cleanse the deck.  You’ll want to do this even if you were given the deck.  There are an endless number of ways to do this but here are two that I use.  The first is to pass the deck through the smoke of white sage and the second is to lay smoky quartz and obsidian on them.

After you've cleansed your deck you’ll want to charge it, imbue it with your energy and magick.  I start by leaving my deck out under the full moon.  Then I spend time handling the deck; shuffling it over and over, holding the cards while I examine the artwork, and holding the deck between the palms of my hands while sending my energy through them.

It’s wonderful if you receive a Tarot deck as a gift but whether you get them as a gift or buy them remember that to have them work for you there are two steps to follow.  Always cleanse and charge your deck.


)O(Blessings Witches)O(
©2014 Raven Rin’s Pagan Nest all rights reserved

What is Wish Night?



Wish Night is not an official Pagan holiday; it’s sort of a grass roots tradition that has spread by word of mouth.  The first time I saw anything about it was posted on one of the Pagan social network sites I belong to and the practice spoke to me so I adopted it.  The fact that its practice isn’t wide spread doesn’t mean it isn’t valid.  Anyone who follows my writing knows that I say time and time again, your magickal practice is defined by what is meaningful to you.  You can go through the motions of a ritual in absolute perfection but if it doesn’t have meaning for you then it doesn’t mean a Witch’s besom and it isn’t going to work for you.  The flip side of that is, if standing on your head to call the quarters has meaning for you then it’s going to be extremely effective for you.  (I don’t know anyone who does this but if you do let me know.)  In summation while not a standard recognized tradition on the Pagan path if Wish Night has meaning for you then it’s going to be effective for you.



Wish Night is the first new moon occurring after a solstice or equinox.  Those who observe this practice consider this night to be an opportune time to perform a ritual to manifest something they are wishing for.  I haven’t found any suitable explanation as to why the first new moon after an equinox or solstice is significant, but I take the attitude “if you believe it is, then it is.”  I find it to be an exercise that enriches my practice by adding a bit of whimsy and hope.  There are no hard and fast rules as to how your Wish Night ritual should be designed, let your creativity flow.  Most rituals I’ve seen or discussed with others involve releasing the wish to the universe by fire.  While you are not bound by this, it does seem to be the predominant method used.  The other method I’ve seen is to place your wish under a candle, which you let burn completely, wax covering your wish.  I, personally, release mine to the universe by placing them in a cauldron-contained fire.



My wish night ritual goes something like this…
˜Cleanse the area
˜Ground and center
˜Cast the circle
˜Call the Goddess
˜Tell the Goddess all I am grateful for in my life
˜Ask the Goddess to answer my wish
˜Release the wish to the universe by writing it on paper and burning it in a cauldron-contained fire.
˜Thank and release the Goddess
˜Open the circle



This is not a long elaborate ritual; it’s simple easy and to the point.  My personal choice is not to incorporate the typical cakes and ale portion of a ritual; you can do as you please.  However you chose to observe wish night I hope that it is a rewarding experience for you.



)O( Blessings Witches )O(
©2012 Raven Rin’s Pagan Nest all rights reserved

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Earthing


Earthing, as I practice it, is having your feet barefoot on the ground exchanging energy with the Great Mother Earth.  Many, myself included, use this practice to improve our health.  Those of you who have followed my blog know that my posts have been very sparse since April of 2013 as I have battled serious and sometimes life-threatening health problems.  I have periods where I do better than other but just a couple of weeks ago I was back in the hospital with pancreatitis again.  About a week after being home the weather was finally warm enough for the hubby, Witchlings, and my self to go to the lake for a swim.  

Swimming helps immensely with my pain but this summer has been so chilly here in northwestern PA that we'd only gone once or twice, the lake water was too cold even for me.  This particular day though was the hottest of the summer and we ventured out to the lake for a dip.  While floating in the water I had an idea, "What if I mixed earthing with the power of water?"  I found myself a spot where my feet could touch the floor of the lake and half stood, half floated there.  I closed my eyes and focused on grounding (earthing).  I asked the Great Mother to take my sick energy into her and transform it into something positive.  Then I focused on the water flowing over me and I asked it to wash away my afflictions.  Lastly I focused on both thoughts together using all kinds of mental imagery so that I could "see" it happening.  I wasn't timing myself but I'd ballpark my time at between 20 and 30 minutes.

Normally, after a swim I'm exhausted but this time I felt refreshed and recharged.  I was actually able to go fishing with Odin and the Witchlings.  For nearly two hours I was able to help our oldest Witchling who is learning to fish.  I felt like me again and I firmly believe that it was because of my experience in the lake.

)O( Blessings Witches )O(
©2014 Raven Rin’s Pagan Nest all rights reserved

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The "Three-Fold Law" and "Harm None"


The “Three-Fold Law” and “Harm None”

I’ve seen many a cruel, twisted and venomous debate between various Pagans and Witches over the so call “Three-Fold Law” and the tenant of “harm none” in my many years of practicing the Craft. Be warned I’m going there and a few minor curse words are coming with me. You’re entitled to your opinion and welcome to comment as long as it is kept civil.

Rather inevitably in the “Three-Fold Law” conversations I see words like White Witch and Gray Witch tossed about, causing my right eye to twitch.  No, I’m not being sarcastic in this one instance my right eye does have a tendency to twitch when I see those labels.

I’m not Wiccan, though my practice involves many Wiccan overtones.
I’m not a Traditional Witch, though my faith is based on pre-Christian Pagan faiths. 
I’m not a White Witch, or a Gray Witch, nor do I practice black magick, though I do practice magick. 

You can, I’m sure, guess where this is going…I don’t believe in or abide by the “Three-Fold Law.”  Gasp, the horror, hide your children, lock your doors and pour your salt. 

The “Three-Fold Law,” for anyone who’s been on a walkabout for the past several years, is a Wicca specific thing and not all Pagans acknowledge it.  White/Gray/Black/Dark, all these terms are pure b.s., magick and Witchcraft are natural and while I know it’s been said before apparently it needs said again, nature is neither good nor bad.  The Concepts of good/bad or in this case white/gray/black/dark are all human constructs that we impose upon nature, which is all of these things.  It is good and bad and there is no separating the two; well at least without complete world ending disaster.  Balance people, it’s about balance.  Back to the main topic, just because we don’t follow this Wiccan creed doesn’t make us less or bad Pagans.  What’s so great about this “Three-Fold Law” anyway?

So in a faith that promotes taking responsibilities for ones own actions I’m supposed to sit by and do nothing while someone pokes me with hot irons (metaphorically) and wait patiently for some imaginary shit train called Karma to come by and give them their load?  First of all has anyone wondered why Wicca, which is supposed to be based on pre-Christian Pagans in the British isles and parts of western/northern Europe, holds tighter to a Hindu belief than I hold a steering wheel in a snow storm?  I realize that England had tons of contact of course with India by the time Gerald and his peeps were doing their thing but in all the eclectic vs pure tradition arguments how can any claim to be pure?  I digress again.  

I believe in taking control of my life, it’s one of the reasons I came to Paganism.   Christians have two contradictory sayings, “it’s in god’s hands” and “god helps those who help themselves.”  To me the “Three-Fold Law” can be equated to the first, that’s just not me.  I believe the gods help those who take their own initiative.  I don’t believe that because you’re such a good person you can just sit back and have the gods hand everything to you, there is effort required on your part.  I also don’t believe that if you do something “bad” that the gods are going to smite you with lightning.  Whatever we do to others we also do to ourselves for we are all connected, we are all the children of the Divine.  This is my personal belief.  There are consequences to every action you choose; those consequences could be pleasant or painful.  Let’s talk about pain shall we?  One of my biggest gripes about the whole “harm none” thought.

How exactly do you intend to get through life without harming anyone?  Do you believe criminals should serve jail time and pay restitution?  Yes, well then you are part of a system that harms criminals everyday.  Those people in those cells are treated to a great deal of harm but our society says it’s an okay harm because it’s for the greater good. 

So do you side with “Harm None” or is it okay to harm some?  Right out of the gate the ambiguity of the tenant causes philosophical conundrums.  What is harm?  Is any level of harm okay?  What is the acceptable level of harm? Is harm to preserve the greater good okay?  Does it apply to animals as well?  What about cockroaches?  If I forget to water my forget-me-nots and they die did I break the tenant?  I had to kill the black widow that could have killed my child, didn’t I? Wow for a religion that is supposed to be without the guilt of Catholicism I’m sure having a lot of guilty feelings. 

If a boss wrongfully fires an employee and the court system can’t help the injured party; why would it have been okay for a court to order him harmed through financial means but it not be okay to put a hex on him to reveal his unfair business practices.  I could make an argument that the hex would actually be getting off light.

You have a friend at school whose parents don’t allow her to wear shorts but her gym teacher will fail her if she doesn’t wear them to class.  You give her a pair of shorts to wear but her father finds out and beats the tar out of her.  I could keep going with these examples but to make my point you can’t go through life without harming anyone. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do our best to try and limit the amount of harm we do, it just means that we’re setting ourselves up for failure if we think that we can really get through life “harming none.” 

Here’s the real kicker the Wiccan who says, “I harm none,” but sits back and laughs with glee at the thought of Karma harming said person.  I’m just not even going to touch the hypocrisy here.

Let’s go back to the boss referenced above and the concept that we are all connected and everything we do to others we also do to ourselves.  Let’s look at this story from the boss’s side, he harmed the employee thereby harming himself.  Who’s to say the divine beings that are don’t want me to be the one to restore the balance by casting the hex on him?  If we are all the children of the Divine then why can we not also be instruments of the Divine?  Again nature and the Divine are not inherently good or evil they all have both to some extent. 

In summation, if you choose to live a life by the “Three-Fold Law” and “Harm None” philosophy that is certainly your choice and I will fight to the death to defend it.  Please though try to understand that it is all philosophy and subjective, put on your clothes Godiva, get off your high horse and quit harming the rest of us when you put us down or say we’re bad Pagans because we don’t follow your impossible and ambiguous moral code.  That’s all we want, honestly, just stop chastising us and we’ll leave you to do your thing.
©2014 Raven Rin’s Pagan Nest all rights reserved

Monday, May 6, 2013

Moss Agate Crystal Elixir for Gardening





My resurgence in working with crystals is not limited to just healing the body.  Crystal elixirs are a powerful resource; some applied to the body, some added to a bath, and some are ingested.  This particular case; however, is an elixir for the plants in your garden.  While, if you search hard enough, you can find lists of specific crystals for specific plants I went with an all-purpose or more accurately all plant moss agate elixir.  Moss agate is great for enhancing plant growth, which makes it great for a garden!  One tip: get out all of the weeds first or this beautiful green stone will have them growing strong and healthy too. 

Making crystal elixirs is extremely easy, but if you’re making an elixir for your health make sure your chosen crystals aren’t on the toxic to ingest list.  Visit Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy, http://hibiscusmooncrystalacademy.com/resources/toxic-crystals-stones/, for the best online list I’ve found. 

In my Garden Elixir I used moss agate and clear quartz crystal.  Here’s how you can make your own…

You’ll Need
1 moss agate
1 clear quartz crystal
1 empty and sterilized glass jar
Enough spring water to fill the jar

Start by placing your crystals in the glass jar, I used a jar left over from some local honey I had purchased.  Do not just drop them down in or you risk breaking your crystals or the jar, place them in gently.  The moss agate is to enhance plant growth and the clear quartz is to amplify the properties of the moss agate.  Pour in enough spring water to fill the jar and fasten the lid.  Next I charged the elixir by chanting the following charm.  The original I found on the Llewellyn website as a snippet from some larger work.  I’ve played around with adapting it a few times resulting in this chant.

Blessed Anu, Mother of us all,
Through this elixir make my garden grow strong and tall.
A bountiful harvest is in sight
With flowers sweet and bright,
Blessed by the sun and pale moonlight.

While chanting I began by visualizing the elixir being filled with green growing energy and then visualizing my garden flourishing, blooming, and fruiting.  The amount of time you spend visualizing and chanting depends on you.  There’s no right or wrong here, when you feel the elixir is charged…it is.  Place the jar out to receive a day’s worth of sun’s rays to finish making the elixir.  Typically I put my elixirs under the moon, but for this specific elixir I felt the sun was a better choice.

To use the elixir just put a few drops or a “splash” into your watering can.  A little goes a long way with elixirs.  I made this for my outside plants but feel free to use it on your indoor plants as well.

)O( Garden Blessings Witches )O(
©2014 Raven Rin’s Pagan Nest all rights reserved


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Recent Healing Work









Those of you who know me through various Pagan social networking sites and Facebook know that I have some chronic problems with my health.  Over the last ten months things have been pretty rough health wise, hence why my number of blogs and Youtube posts have been very sparse during this period of time.  I’ve been trying out different healing spells, trying to find something that works but it seems my conditions are as resistant to magickal treatment as they are to medical treatment.  Recently I found a new charm, I honestly don’t have a clue where I found it and it had no instructions with it.  I’ve been charming any beverage I drink with it and found that I was feeling slightly better whenever I drank a beverage I had worked this particular charm on. 

Here is the particular charm, if anyone knows who authored it please let me know so I can give them credit.

Spell for Good Health

Waters of Life, Waters of Love
Both on surface and above
I stir you up as a remedy
To keep my good health problem – free
Grow in power and in strength
So as you travel your course’s length
You’ll wash out all impurity
As I will, so shall it be!

Next I started charming beverages my husband and Witchlings were drinking, I’m happy to report that the results where quite positive with them.  My husband has been plagued by headaches lately, and he had a particularly nasty one that crystal therapy just wasn’t touching.   I circled my right hand over a cup of hot tea as I repeated the above charm three times.  While doing so I visualized the tea being filled with a healing blue-white light.  Within an hour his headache started to ease and within a couple of hours it was all but gone.  Our oldest Witchling had a cold around the same time so I completed the above procedure over his milk on about three occasions and his symptoms where greatly reduced.

My youngest Witchling and I had some different/interesting results.  My youngest Witchling has been battling “ear infections” pretty much nonstop since February.  I’ve tried charming his drinks but his symptoms have not abated.  I think I understand the reason for this.  We took him to an ENT and discovered he probably didn’t have a single ear infection, his ear canals aren’t developed enough to drain the fluid built up in his ears and he’s in need of tubes not antibiotics as there is no actual infection present.  So how does this pertain to the spell?  Though the spell isn’t specific to ear infections my thoughts and intentions were focused on giving him relief from ear infections, since he didn’t actually have them I was misguiding the spell.   Lesson to me; don’t try to guide the spell to where I think the problem is, let it be guided by the recipient’s body and the Goddess.

My experience thus far with the charm has been interesting.  The line “So as you travel your course’s length,” makes me visualize the magick traveling through the digestive track, then being distributed through the body like the energy of our food is, and ultimately all of our “impurities” being voided in the bathroom.  Unbeknownst to me, at the time I began working this spell I had developed a massive kidney stone in my right kidney.  The first couple of days I’d feel better after having a charmed drink.  In my body’s attempt to flush out all impurities, my impurity (a kidney stone too large to be passed naturally by any human) became lodged in my right ureter.  My body was still trying to flush out impurities but because of the blockage there was nowhere for them to go except to backup into my kidney.  Fortunately the Goddess gave me the good intuition to know that it was time to go to the emergency room, NOW.  My ureter and kidney were swollen and backed up with waste, but I had made it to the hospital just in time to have emergency surgery and avoid what could have been a quite horrific outcome.

I’m now recovering from my surgery and have a ureter stent in for two weeks, which is extremely painful.  Right now I’m still using the above charm, as I know that I don’t have any other kidney stones at the moment.  I’m also doing crystal therapy on myself and the combination of the two is really helping with the pain, it’s not gone but it is tolerable now without pain medication as long as I keep my activity very limited.

We learn by doing, and I’m learning a lot every time I work healing magick on others and myself.  During the middle of the month I’ll be attending a local Intuitive Workshop, the guest will be a folk healer and I’m hoping that I’ll learn a lot from her and all of the other healers there.  No matter how long we walk the path of the Craft there is always something new we can learn. 

)O( Blessings Witches )O(

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pagans' Need for Wilderness Survival Skills






As practioners of a nature based faith most of us enjoy spending our time in the great outdoors and will take the opportunity to practice our rites in the wilderness.  Despite our love of the forest I never hear Pagans talk about how to properly prepare for these treks nor do I hear them talk about survival skills.  Perhaps it’s because I grew up with a father in search and rescue that I think this is such an important and under stressed topic.  Every year in our country over 1,000 hikers go missing in just our national parks alone.  The total number of hikers that go missing over the entire nation each year is hard to pinpoint, but it’s safe to say it’s in the low thousands.  Where most lost hikers get into trouble is that they weren’t prepared and didn’t know the first thing about what to do once they became lost or injured. 


Warmer weather is slowly coming to the northeast and as we Pagans begin to stir with the budding of the trees it is an apt time for us to discuss this topic.  While this blog post can by no means be considered a comprehensive guide on the topic it is a starting point with basic tips and information.  Keep in mind that the information I’m giving applies to wooded areas such as can be found in northwestern Pennsylvania and while some survival tips are good anywhere others are specific to this kind of habitat. 

Here’s the survival scenario for this blog post, you decided that you wanted to go into the woods to perform a ritual to the Goddess.  You’re not hiking far or into a particularly dangerous area.  We’ll say you arrive at the forest at four and you plan to be home by nine.  Let’s say you hike in for about an hour and a half, give yourself an hour for the ritual, and then have an hour and a half walk back.  That leaves you an hour buffer, in case you see something amazing you want to check out, before you have to report in.

The absolute first thing anyone should do before leaving their home is tell someone where you will be going and what time you expect to be back.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in the broom closest or out, the person you choose to tell doesn’t need to know what you’re going into the woods for but they do need to know where you’re going and at what time they should expect you back.  Why is this so important?  Cell phones don’t work everywhere and chances are if you are in a heavily wooded area you’re not going to have service.  Furthermore even if the area does have service that doesn’t mean your phone won’t get wet or damaged in a fall etc. leaving you without communication.  When you are lost or injured in the woods time is of the essence.  Telling Endora that you will be back by nine helps you and them.  This way it’s not ten with Endora wondering if you’re okay and you’re not laying in the woods wondering if and when anyone will send help for you, as soon as it’s past nine Endora knows it’s time to start looking for you.  Why you tell Endora where you’re going is pretty self-evident, the first place friends and rescuers will look for you is the last place they knew you to be.

You’re still not ready to head out.  Obviously your going to take whatever tools you need for your ritual but what else should you pack up before you go?  Dress in layers, especially here in Pa the weather can start out hot during the day and then drop in the evening, even more so when you’re under the canopy of the forest.  If it’s too hot to wear extra layers make sure to take at least a long sleeve shirt with you if not also a pair of pants if you are wearing shorts. As an aside, shorts in the woods, not always the best of ideas.  Dress APPROPRIATELY for the area you will be hiking into, flip-flops are not appropriate hiking footwear, unless you’re Cody Lundin and then barefoot is always appropriate.  In addition to the right clothing you want to take at least a small first aid kit.  This can be bought premade or you can throw some bandages, disinfectant, an ace bandage, something to treat insect bites, and at least three days worth of any medications you are on into your bag.  This will at least treat the most basic problems.  Some of you are thinking, “Is she crazy?  I’m not carrying all this junk on top of my ritual supplies around with me.”  No, I’m not crazy, I’m prepared and if you ever get lost or hurt in the woods you’ll thank me for having this stuff on hand.  For those of you who are serious about being prepared I recommend you watch this video by Dave Canterbury.  If any of you are into survival skills you’ll know there’s a little bit of controversy surrounding him but the advice he gives in this video is still great info.  I’ll actually bring up some of this info later in this post.

 
Whatever the reason, you’re lost now in the woods, in this particular situation it’s best to stay put.  You’ve only hiked an hour and a half in so the best thing to do is stay put, because at nine someone is going to start looking for you.  Still you’ve got to keep yourself safe and warm until they get to you, which might not be until the next day because night is setting in.  Time to take stock of what you have on hand, that means your ritual tools now become survival tools.  Let’s see what’s in your bag and what we can use it for…

Athame ~ while not sharp it can still be used as a digging tool

Bowls for holding representations of the four elements ~ as long as they’re not plastic you can use them for gathering natural water and purifying it, remember to boil the water*

Cauldron ~ you can use this to contain a small fire to keep you warm

Incense ~ generally speaking bugs don’t like smoke so a few sticks of incense will keep some of them at bay

Candles ~ light source

Chalice ~ again to hold and purify water

Plate ~ as a plate or even a digging tool

Some left over muffin ~ food for yourself

Large altar clothe ~ can be used to wrap around yourself or to make a shelter

Lighter ~ while not the preferred tool for starting fires in a survival situation you use what you have on hand

*Experts do not agree on how long water must boil before it is purified, some say as soon as it comes to a rolling boil, others one minute, others three minutes, others five minutes, and still others ten minutes.  Some say it takes longer at higher altitudes than it does at lower altitudes.  Do some research and act as you deem fit.

If you’ve followed all of my advice here you should be in pretty good shape.  There are of course always other things to consider but I can’t cover them all here, such as what to do if you’re in an area that’s heavily traveled by bear.  To learn more about survival skills I recommend that you check out Les Stroud (Surviorman), watch his show and/or read his book.  Les happens to be my favorite survivalist.  Also look for classes near you, while learning from a book is all well and good hands on is generally better.  There are also plenty of survival and primitive skill blogs and Youtube pages out there.  Do some research and practice what you learn.

)O( Blessings Survival Witches )O(


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