DIY: Spell Candles

My working theory is that magical people are also “crafty” people.  We like to harvest and dry our own herbs, when possible.  We enjoy making our own incense blends, sachets, magical oils, etc.  I’m sure there are “supermarket witches” out there, but many of us like to prayerfully/meditatively place our intentions/energy into every step of the creative process from the raw materials to the finished product.  I believe our magic is more powerful when we work with products made by our own hands.

If you’ve never tried making spell candles before, it’s a lot easier than you think.  I begin with honeycomb textured beeswax sheets which I buy from a farm that is dedicated to helping our bee population thrive.  In the pictures below I’m making healing candles so I chose light blue as the color of the beeswax.

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I cut each sheet in half so I get two candles out of each sheet.  Then I take a blow dryer and soften the wax on the edge of the sheet for a few seconds.  (Don’t overdo it or you’ll have a mess!)  I press the wick gently but firmly into this softened wax.

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Then I warm a small section of the sheet with the blow dryer and begin rolling the wax over the wick.  Make sure you do this tightly because if there are a lot of air pockets, the candle won’t burn correctly.

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Here comes the fun part!  You can place either herbs or oils on the surface of the sheet in small amounts.  In this instance I’m using dried rue and yarrow which came from my garden.  Choose whatever is going to help your specific intention for the candle.  This is a prayerful process for me.  When using oil I make the sign of the cross on the surface of the wax sheet with my finger, saying “On earth as it is in heaven.”  One of my Wiccan friends, who taught me how to make these candles, draws a pentacle in a circle, saying “As above, so below.”  Do whatever feels right for you.

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Then continue rolling up the candle until you reach the end of the wax sheet.  If you’re using herbs hold the blow dryer on the underside of the sheet so you don’t send your herbs flying all over the place!  If it’s a warm summer day I find that you can sometimes roll up the rest of the candle without applying any more heat.

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When you’re finished rolling the beeswax sheet, heat the edge and press it into the candle to seal it!  Then take a moment to prayerfully dedicate the candle for its intended purpose.

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Copyright ©2018 by sabbatsandsabbaths.com

Posted in Herbology, Magic, Prayer | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Encountering the Divine Ritual

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Wow, we had such a powerful and holy conversation at The Welcoming Circle last night. Here is the closing ritual we did which includes the meditation exercise on Spiritual journaling.

ENCOUNTERING THE DIVINE RITUAL

ANOINTING WITH PROTECTION OIL—David Taliesin

May you be protected on our journey tonight
as we seek to connect more deeply with the Divine Presence.

CALLING THE QUARTERS—David Taliesin

Guardians of the East, we ask for your presence
In our circle tonight.
Sophia, Lady Wisdom, open our minds to new revelations
And new directions.
Mercury, protector of the road, guide our journey
And keep us safe.
All Divine forms associated with Air,
Athena and Hermes. Hail and welcome!

Guardians of the South,
We ask for your presence in our circle tonight.
Brigid, goddess of the forge and poetry, purify our thoughts
And tickle our imagination.
Horus, protective sky god, watch over us
And shield us from any power who seeks to do us harm.
All Divine forms associated with Fire,
Freya and Thor. Hail and welcome!

Guardians of the West,
We ask for your presence tonight.
Aphrodite, goddess of love and emotion, surround us
With your peaceful and nurturing presence.
Poseidon, god of sea and rivers, wash away stagnant emotions
And quench our thirst for knowledge.
All Divine forms associated with Water,
Cailleach and Neptune. Hail and welcome!

Guardians of the North,
We ask for your presence in our circle tonight.
Gaia, goddess of earth, fill us with your vibrant energy
And strengthen our bodies.
Cernunnos, lord of the beasts, keep our hearts light,
Joyful and inquisitive tonight.
All Divine forms associated with Earth,
Demeter and Jesus of Nazareth. Hail and welcome!

The circle is cast. We are in a well protected and sacred space.
Let us open our hearts, minds and spirits
So we may connect with what the Divine Presence
Desires to give to us.

SPIRITUAL JOURNALING/INNER WISDOM DIALOGUE—David Taliesin

Instruction: Make sure everyone has a pen and paper. Give them the guidelines for spiritual journaling:

This is a difficult exercise for some people. For others it is life changing.

1. Begin by closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. Try to rid the body of any tension you may be feeling and attempt to clear your mind.

2. When you are ready, open your eyes, grab a pencil and start writing. The easiest way to start is with a question you are struggling with at this point in your life. Write down the answers you receive and continue the conversation.

3. When doing this exercise, the key to success is you cannot stop writing and you cannot pause to think. You should let the conversation flow without censoring any of it.

4. Some people ask me if this exercise is only talking to yourself. My experience with this discipline is that is the wisdom gained from this kind of meditation comes from a deep wisdom source that is part us and part spirit. Some people gain incredible insights from this discipline that surprise and astonish them.

DISMISSING THE CIRCLE—David Taliesin

Guardians of the North,
All Divine forms associated with Earth,
Gaia and Cernunnos, Demeter and Jesus,
Thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
We ask you to keep us grounded in the coming week.
Stay if you will, go if you must. We bid you farewell!

Guardians of the West,
All Divine forms associated with Water,
Aphrodite and Poseidon, Cailleach and Neptune,
Thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
We ask you to keep us centered in the coming week.
Stay if you will, go if you must. We bid you farewell!

Guardians of the South,
All Divine forms associated with Fire,
Brigid and Horus, Freya and Thor,
Thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
We ask you to keep us passionate in the coming week.
Stay if you will, go if you must. We bid you farewell!

Guardians of the East,
All Divine forms associated with Air,
Sophia and Mercury, Athena and Hermes,
Thank you for your presence in our circle tonight.
We ask you to keep us inspired in the coming week.
Stay if you will, go if you must. We bid you farewell!

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 with a spirit of gratitude.
Merry meet and merry part, and merry meet again.

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

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Great Wheels of Fire

St. Lucia's DayImbolc is the celebration of the first stirrings of spring after the dark days of winter. Ancient Pagans celebrated the holiday by lighting ritual fires to lure back the sun. One of the most popular customs among the Celts was to have a young woman, representing the maiden aspect of the goddess Brigid, enter the ritual area carrying a circle of lit candles. This circle is a symbol of the Wheel of the Year that Brigid is slowly turning toward spring. Thanks to their Norse brothers and sisters, the wheel was eventually worn on the young woman’s head.  This tradition originated in the Norse celebration of Yule.

If all this sounds familiar to my Christian readers, we have another connection with our Pagan friends!  The Swedish folk song “Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella” commemorates the young woman in question.  This custom is still practiced today in Scandinavian countries on St. Lucia’s Day, December 13th.  Interestingly enough, St. Lucia’s original incarnation was Lucina, the Roman goddesss of light!

A great book that helped me make some of these connections is Sabbats: A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways by Edain McCoy.  It is filled to interesting rites, crafts, activities and history that surrounds the eight sabbats observed by most modern Wiccans.

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

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Imbolc vs. Candlemas

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Candlemas @ All Saints Ashmont, Boston, MA

Even some of my Wiccan books get this one wrong! Imbolc and Candlemas are not the same holiday, but they are tried together thematically as we shall see. Imbolc is a Gaelic celebration that usually occurs on the night of February 1st. It honors the goddess Brigid who is often associated with fire among other things. One of Imbolc’s main themes is Brigid’s turning of the Wheel of the Year toward spring. Therefore, light plays an important part in the celebration. Some NeoPagans light outdoor bonfires while others employ lots of candles in indoor settings.

Candlemas is a Christian holiday that is observed on February 2nd. Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox celebrate it as the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Candlemas commemorates a story found in Luke 2:22-40 where Joseph and Mary take baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth, as required by Jewish Law. After making the required sacrifice, Mary is then considered to be ritually clean and Jesus is presented at the Temple since he is their first born son. A man named Simeon witnesses this event and gives a heartfelt prayer known in Latin as the Nunc Dimittis. The theme of the prayer is that Simeon has now beheld the “light” that will shine on Gentiles and Jews alike.

Christian celebrations of Candlemas include the blessing of beeswax candles, and a candle-lit procession precedes the worship service that day. In some part of Europe, especially France, they eat crepes on Candlemas (I’m not exactly sure why!). Each member of the household cooks their own crepe while holding a coin in their hand. They believe it assures wealth and happiness until the next Candlemas celebration.

I’ve read a number of articles that connect Candlemas with Imbolc, as well as the Roman festival of Lupercalia. Personally, I’m not convinced the tie is as strong as some people suggest. Both Imbolc and Candlemas are festivals of light. However, there are numerous light festivals during the winter season that appear in many cultures and religions. If anyone out there has a strong argument regarding how they tie together, I’m all ears. Please cite the sources that helped you to draw this conclusion.

There is a good possibility, however, that Candlemas got its start as a Christian alternative to Imbolc. This has certainly been true of many Pagan festivals so it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

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

 

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Brigid: The Goddess Behind the Saint

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St. Brigid from wikkicommons

St. Brigid is both historical figure and character of folklore and shared more than a name with her Pagan Goddess counterpart. It is through St. Brigid that the clearest glimpse into Brigid the Goddess can be found.—Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess, Courtney Weber

If you spend any time researching the subject, there are numerous theories that describe how the Saint and Goddess are connected. The one that resonates with me most strongly these days comes from the excellent research done by Courtney Weber in Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magic of the Celtic Goddess. According to Weber, one of the commonalities between various Celtic cultural traditions was a term for an exalted being: Brig or Brid. It was applied to more than the Goddess, and was also used to refer to women in positions of power in society. One example is a first century Irish lawyer called Brigh which was probably not her name but was a reference to her occupation as a female judge.

When nuns take their vows, they leave their secular name behind and choose a new one. Based on Weber’s work it is possible that the nun in question chose the name Brigid which was quite fitting since she held a powerful position as the founder the cathedral in Kildare (which was built on top of a Pagan shrine) and abbess of a monastery. She also had a reputation for being generous to the poor and was known for healing miracles and compassionate care for animals.

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Cross from St. Brigid’s Cathedral

When Brigid died and was declared a saint, there is no doubt the folklore surrounding her continued to grow. It’s my theory that many of the qualities that were once attributed to the Goddess Brigid became attached to St. Brigid since the worship of the Goddess remained strong in Ireland in spite of Christian attempts to eliminate it.  This way, the Celts could have their Goddess in the guise of saint’s clothing.  It was a win/win for both sides!

There are others beside myself who believe in this theory. Robert Ellsberg in All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses For Our Time, says “It has been noted that in ancient times Brigid was, in fact, the name of the Celtic sun goddess. This has given rise to the suggestion that in St. Brigid, a nun and abbess of the fifth century, we find the repository of primeval religious memories and traditions. In any case, it seems that with the cult of St. Brigid the Irish people maintained an image of the maternal face of God with which to compliment the more patriarchal religion of St. Patrick and subsequent missionaries.”

Edward C. Sellner in Wisdom of the Celtic Saints, says “These attributes (of the goddess) were eventually identified with Brigit, the saint, whose feast day, February 1, came to be celebrated on the same day as that of the Pagan goddess. Early hagiographers also portray crucial turning points in Brigit’s life  and ministry as touched with fire. It i clear that St. Brigit stands on the boundary between Pagan mythology and Christian spirituality.”

In my own personal spiritual practice, Brigid plays a big part as my “go-to” Goddess. I have an icon of her above my altar in the form of St. Brigid to remind me of the connection between my Christian and Pagan paths. For me she is a bridge-builder and reconciler whose healing power might help to bring us all closer together!  Hail Brigid, and I wish you all a blessed celebration of Imbolc!

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

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Imbolc: Becoming Rooted in Good Soil

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Artist Unknown

At an Imbolc celebration I attended one of the priestesses talked about paying attention to the season we’re in. During the month of February, it may not look like much is happening in the natural world around us. However, underneath the ground seeds are breaking apart, rooting themselves, and drawing nutrients from the soil. It is only when they do this that they can become green plants and beautiful flowers in the spring. She challenged us to spend time this month doing things that “ground” us and make us feel “rooted.” She said we should look for activities that nourish our spirits and make us feel alive and creative.

The other part of this process is that we may have to “die” to something. The seed breaks apart and transforms itself into something new. This is also a part of the growing process as we let go of old, unproductive ways of living and adopt healthier behaviors and habits that are life-giving to us, to nature, and to the people around us.

As we say in the South, “That will preach!” It reminds me of something Jesus said: “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). Both Pagans and Christians must undergo this same spiritual process if we are going to grow and become the healers and reconcilers the world needs us to be. It’s not easy to die to our self-centeredness and destructive patterns of living. We love our habits and routines, even if they are killing us! But natures tells us that dying is a part of the process of bring new life into the world.

Jesus also told a parable about four different types of soil. The first three yielded practically nothing but the last seed that was sown, even surprised the farmer. Jesus ended the parable by  saying: “Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold” (Mark 4:1-9).

We all need to find good soil in our lives. So, while the chill of winter is still with us, let us find something that helps us to put down deep roots in spiritual soil, so we can emerge in the spring with vitality and “aliveness.”

Copyright © 2018 by sabbatsandsabbaths.com

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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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