Healing Ritual from The Welcoming Circle

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Here is the ritual we used last night at The Welcoming Circle. The table was set with a clear bowl of water to which was added three pinches of salt. The candle set in the middle of the bowl and healing stones were placed in all four directions: Celestite to the East, Apatite to the South, Blue Kyanite to the West, and Black Kyanite to the North.

HEALING RITUAL

ANOINTING—David Taliesin

May your magical intentions be strong and true
To bring healing to yourself
And the world around you.

HEALING OIL—David Taliesin
4 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops rosemary essential oil
1 drop lemon essential oil
1/4 cup olive oi

A simple, basic healing oil.

CASTING THE CIRCLE—David Taliesin

Guardians and Elemental Spirits of the East,
place of air, the breath of life,
that which we cannot see,
but which fills us with inspiration,
be with us now.
Hail and welcome!

Guardians and Elemental Spirits of the South,
place of fire, heat of heart’s blood,
that which courses through us,
filling us with passion
and infusing us with life-giving heat,
be with us now.
Hail and welcome!

Guardians and Elemental Spirits of the West,
place of water, shape-shifting,
that which constantly moves and transforms,
nurturing creativity,
and gifting us with fresh vision,
be with us now.
Hail and welcome!

Guardians and Elemental Spirits of the North,
place of grounding, place of birth,
fierce winter land of ice and cold,
endings and beginnings,
always calling us home,
be with us now.
Hail and Welcome!

Ancient Mother of Midwinter,
Watcher over life and death,
The one who rebirths the world,
Be with us on this night!
See us through the dark hours
And stand with us
As dawn births the promise of new life.
Hail and welcome!

HEALING RITUAL—David Taliesin

Close your eyes. Visualize pulling the energy from the earth up though the souls of your feet and into your body until the souls of your feet tingle. Go with whatever color comes to mind.

Then pull the energy of the moon and stars down from the sky and into your body and let these two energies intertwine. Again, go with whatever color comes to mind. Let them grow and expand until they fill your body with energetic light which you may picture as a sphere or a double helix or any other image that comes to mind.

Energize the sacred sphere so perfect love casts out all fear.

We are just vessels. Let your power flow through us.

When you’re ready, open your eyes and reach our your hands toward the water and candle. Let that healing energy flow into them and radiate outward to fill the sacred circle.

In order to help this energy flow more freely, join me in the Nn-ah tone chant. The Nn sound lets the energy resonate in your body. The “ah” sounds releases it into the circle.

Then, on the court of three, ask everyone to draw the healing energy we raised and take it into their bodies.

As we near the conclusion of this ritual, we will make a circle with this blue string. It reminds us that we are connected together, not only in this circle, but in the mundane world as well.

In a moment we will each take a piece of this string home with us. Tie it to your wrist, place it on your home altar or some other location that will serve as a visual reminder of your need for self care. May it remind you of what you’ve learned and experienced tonight. May it challenge to to make self care an important goal in your life.

DISMISSING THE CIRCLE—David Taliesin

Guardians and Elemental Spirits of the North, Powers of Earth, Stone and Oak, thank you for your presence and grounding energy in our circle tonight. Stay if you will. Go if you must. We bid you farewell!

Guardians and Elemental Spirits of the West, Powers of Water, Snow and Ice, thank you for your presence and healing energy in our circle tonight. Stay if you will. Go if you must. We bid you farewell!

Guardians and Elemental Spirits of the South, Powers of Fire, Lightning, and Sun thank you for your presence and courageous energy in our circle tonight. Stay if you will. Go if you must. We bid you farewell!

Guardians and Elemental Spirits of the East, powers of Air, Smoke, and Moon, thank you for your presence and inspirational energy in our circle tonight. Stay if you will. Go if you must. We bid you farewell!

Ancient Mother of Midwinter,
You bless us with your presence in our circle tonight.
Keep our intentions as strong as the ice.
May your winds of inspiration blow mightily through our lives,
And help our magic to blanket the world
Like snow upon the ground.
Stay if you will, go if you must. We bid you farewell!

And now the circle is open but never unbroken
Because it is a circle woven in love.
Whatever energy is left in this space
We return to the earth and to the animals around us
Who need its strength this winter.
Merry meet and merry part, and merry meet again.

Copyright ©2018 by David Taliesin, http://www.sabbatsandsabbaths.com

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Ancient Christian Magic

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Ancient Amulet: The Sacrifice of Isaac

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men (Gk. MAGOS, meaning “magicians”) from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.—Matthew 2:1-3, NRSV

And it happened, when the Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea at the time of King Herod, the magicians arrived from the East in Jerusalem, as Zoroaster had predicted. And they had offerings with them, gold, frankincense and myrrh, so they worshipped him and offered their offerings. —The Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Savior

Ever since Matthew told the story of the birth of Jesus, Christianity has been surrounded by magic…and we’ve been afraid to talk about it ever since! The magicians, who offered the tools of their trade to baby Jesus, became “kings” as their legend developed. No longer were they spell casters and dream interpreters! Eventually they had crowns and ruled kingdoms. But I believe both Matthew and the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy are very clear, magicians appeared at the birth of Jesus. Why they were drawn to visit Jesus will forever remain a mystery, but they were definitely there.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, most people will be surprised to know that magic has been practiced by Christians since the very beginning. The word itself, MAGEIA, was a foreign word to the Greek speakers who lived during the time of Jesus. (The English word Magi comes from the Greek word MAGOS which means “magician.”) Magic was a word that had lots of negative connotations attached to it, so early Christian practitioners called it “theurgy” or “divine work” instead. They used amulets and spells for protection, defense and healing, but they stopped short of calling it magic.

Hmmm, sounds like magic to me!  I read a fascinating book edited by Marvin W. Mayer and Richard Smith, entitled Ancient Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power. It contains exactly what you think it does: spells that were cast by Christians from the 1st through the 6th century. It even has a story of magical advice that was given by Christ himself.

Now, I know most Christians would flip over this info but for those of us who are interested in the ties between Pagan and Christian spirituality, it is most interesting indeed. While it’s clear that magic was not practiced by the majority of Christian believers there have always been some who integrated magic into their Christian beliefs and saw no contradiction with this whatsoever. Most of the spells in the book deal with things such as healing, love, prosperity, protection during pregnancy, and protection against evil spirits. This is definitely familiar territory for modern Wiccans!

The magical work the early Christians performed parallels the magical work that was also being done by Pagans of old. Not surprisingly, the Church outlawed these practices. Therefore, many “magicians” had to go into hiding for fear of being arrested and even killed. (Hmmm…now where have we heard THAT before?) Thankfully, some of these old writings were hidden and eventually discovered in places such as the Nag Hammadi Codexes.  Now they have been translated into English so that we can ponder a subject that has been virtually silent for two thousand years.

Copyright © 2018 by sabbatsandsabbaths.com

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The Magi’s Blessing: Chalking the Door

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I came across a wonderful tradition which I will have to research further to learn a little more about it’s origins. According to Pagan Christmas, “Even today, priests go from house to house in the Black Forest on January 6, smudging them for protection from evil influences. With chalk sanctified with blessed salt, they write the letters C, M, and B, plus the year, over house and stable doors.”

This ritual is called “chalking the door” and the markings for this year look like this:

20 + C + M + B +18

The C, M and B are the initials for the traditional names of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior, ad Balthazar), but they are also an abbreviation for the Latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, which means “May Christ bless this house.” You can find various liturgies on line for this ritual.

On January 6th my plan is to go outside, read the story of the Magi from the gospel of Mathew, smudge the entrance to my house and mark the lintel with chalk. One article I read suggested that this ritual could be used any time during the Christmas and Epiphany season with other suggested uses such as blessing a room in a nursing home or hospital (get permission first!) or to set aside a Bible study meeting place, choir practice room, nursery, or youth area at church. This would be a fun activity that even the youngest members of your household could participate in and enjoy. Happy Epiphany!

Copyright ©2018 by David Taliesin, sabbatsandsabbaths.com

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January: Wolf Moon

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“Wolf is the pathfinder, the forerunner of new ideas who returns to the clan to teach and share medicine. Wolf takes one mate for life and is loyal like a Dog. If you were to keep company with Wolves, you would find an enormous sense of family within the pack, as well as a strong individualistic urge.”—Medicine Cards, Jamie Sams & David Carson

January 1st is the full moon that is known as the Wolf Moon. It’s one of my favorites. Using the information from the Native American Medicine Cards as our guide, there are several questions we can meditate on during this full moon:

At the beginning of this new year, what is the undiscovered territory we are exploring? What boundaries are we crossing? What new knowledge are we assimilating?

If we feel more like a gerbil on a wheel instead of a pathfinding wolf, what can we do to push us out of our comfort zones? How do we awaken the Wolf Spirit that lies within?

How well are we balancing the needs of family and friends vs. our own individual needs? Do we need to strengthen our ties with those we love or do we need to learn a little self-care?

A simple ritual for this night would be to light a white candle and place a picture or statue of a wolf in front of it. Use this as a meditative image as we reflect on one of the questions I asked above.

Copyright ©2018 by David Taliesin, http://www.sabbatsandsabbaths.com

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Coping During the Holidays

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“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”—Chinese Proverb

As we approach the Winter Solstice, the days continue to get darker and darker. Likewise, the world around us feels like a darker place as well. The headline news brings a fresh new horror every day: mass shootings, police brutality, global warming, terrorism, sexual harassment charges, political hubris and the like. I find that many people around me are anxious and afraid of what the future will bring. When we put the insanity that is the secular American Christmas on top of this, it makes many of us feel like hiding behind locked doors and not coming out until at least January 1st.

Since this is not an option for most of us, how do we cope? What tools do we need in our spiritual toolbox to navigate this dark season in all of its layers of meaning? Here’s my list of things we can do to light a candle in the midst of the darkness. No matter how bad things may seem, we all have the power to make a positive change in our lives and in our world. Feel free to add your own coping strategies in the comment section of this post:

Limit the time you spend on social media. Psychological studies suggest that social media sites don’t contribute to us feeling closer to others. In fact, they can make us feel isolated and depressed. Furthermore, inflammatory and reactionary posts and comments can make our blood boil. Don’t get sucked into the drama!

Take a walk out in nature. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a walk down a city street or a stroll through the countryside, turn off your computer and/or cell phone and connect with nature. Breathe deeply and look at the flora and fauna that are around you. It’s good for the soul (and also a great way to get away from that obnoxious relative who pushes all your emotional buttons)!

Avoid the 24-hour news cycle spin. Yes, bad things are happening in our world but you don’t have to wallow in them. Get the highlights, hold the situation in your thoughts and prayers, send healing energy if that’s a part of your spiritual path, and move on with your day!

Practice random acts of kindness. Do something loving for your spouse, your family, a neighbor, a coworker, or a total stranger. Volunteer for an organization that is making a difference in your community such as a food pantry, homeless shelter, abused women’s shelter and the like.

Breathe, breathe, breathe. Find a meditative practice that works for you. Channel your inner Elsa and learn to “let it go”! Let go of worry, obsessive thoughts, etc. I do this on a daily basis and it makes a big difference in my life. Click on the “meditation” link on my site for suggestions.

Lower your expectations for the season. It doesn’t matter whether you celebrate Solstice, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza or Yule. We often have a mental “to-do” list running through our heads that is probably too ambitious. Yes, it’s great to create memorable moments for those we love, but they’ll enjoy them a lot more if we’re not cranky and stressed when they arrive.

Copyright ©2017 by David Taliesin

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In Praise of the Invincible Light

be_the_light

“The light shines in the darkness,
And the darkness did not overcome it.”
(John 1:5, NRSV)

While writing a sermon on the first chapter of John, I came across this interesting observation from Karoline Lewis in her Fortress Preaching Commentary on John: “A quick review of the science of light in terms of our ability to see underscores the theological claim that is being made. It only takes the slightest bit of light for our optical system to adjust and see in the dark. When there is no light present at all, our eyes will never become accustomed to the darkness.”

In a season where every spiritual path celebrates some festival of light, I find Lewis’ observation tremendously encouraging. It’s easy for us to focus on the darkness that exists in our world. Facebook and the 24-hour news cycle do an excellent job of promoting every tragedy and sadness that is happening all around us. But if we’re paying attention, nature is telling us there is an alternative: we can shine whatever light we possess, armed with the hopeful knowledge that even the tiniest bit of light makes a huge difference to those we shine it on. It can go a long way in helping them navigate the darkness in their lives.

So, keep those Hanukkah lights burning. Rejoice in the return of the sun on the Winter Solstice. Sing Silent Night with candles blazing on Christmas Eve. Follow the seven luminous principles of Kwanzaa. Find some reason, any reason, to light a candle! May the candles we light remind us of our connectedness to each other, and our sacred duty to be light for one another. We spend far too much time talking about what makes us different. Maybe this December we can focus on what binds us together as one! Shine on, sisters and brothers!

Copyright ©2017 by  David Taliesin, sabbatsandsabbaths.com

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December Full Cold Moon

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According to the Farmer’s Almanac, December 3rd’s Full Moon will appear brighter and larger than any Moon this year. It is 2017’s one and only “Supermoon.” This means that the rising of the Full Moon happens at its closest distance to Earth, causing the Moon to appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual. So definitely make time to see this one and plan to do some ritual activity along with it.

Early Native Americans called this Full Moon the Cold Moon (or Long Nights Moon) since December is the month when the winter cold makes its presence known as the nights become long and dark. However, here in the North Carolina I still have calendula and roses blooming in my yard, so I haven’t really experienced any super cold days…yet. That being said, I do notice the increasing darkness and it definitely calls us to observe a different rhythm than we do in the summer.

The weird thing about December is that it’s super busy for most people which is counter-intuitive to what nature is telling us to do. Practically everyone celebrates some festival of light during this season: Yule, Christmas, Winter Solstice, Diwali, Hannukah, etc. Our calendars become filled with extra activities and lots of busy preparation. All of this tends to stress us out and leave us feeling depleted and exhausted when
January rolls around.

Instead of picking up the pace, why not consider setting aside time for “hibernation” during the month of December? The long nights call us to get some extra sleep, to read a book and drink a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire, to pamper ourselves a bit, and use the time to do some soul-searching. December is a good month to ask ourselves “What seeds do I need to be planting in my life that will blossom in the spring? What work do I need to do in the soil of my life so that it can nurture new opportunities when they make their presence known?”

I’m not saying we can’t have a good time in December. I know I’m planning several opportunities for family and friends to gather together and celebrate. However, we all need to intentionally plan some “down days” during this busy month and not feel guilty about it. If you don’t know it already, you’re worth it! No one can go like the Energizer Bunny 24 hours a day 7 days a week and not experience burnout. So, be good to yourself and, whatever you do, go out on December 3rd and see that beautiful full moon!

Copyright ©2017 by David Taliesin, http://www.sabbatsandsabbaths.com

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