Monday, 30 April 2012

Beltane Reading

Today is known as Beltane Eve, and tomorrow, 1st May, is Beltane proper.  Leftover traces of this old festival are found in the fact that almost all European countries celebrate the First of May as a public holiday.  Researching it a little, I discovered that it actually used to be celebrated in the way that Jewish festivals still are: from sunset this evening until sunset tomorrow.  In a time before accurate and universalised methods of telling the time, this made a lot more sense than counting days from midnight, which is pretty impossible to calculate by natural means.

©Emily Carding
This is an important sabbat for neopagan's, too, and I did a reading for the day with my Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011).  It made so much sense to me!  In the "Now" position I drew the High Priestess, which represents the fact that I will be leading a Beltane ritual today, my first of this year.  She also speaks to my renewed dedication to this path, as I have recently accepted the Horned God onto my altar for the first time.

In the "Don't" position I received the Warrior Princess (equivalent to the Page of Wands).  In Emily Carding's deck, she offers us the Gift of Courage.  I think this is a fabulous card, and normally aspire to her energy.  However, in this position she says to me that I shouldn't try to be too focused and directive with this ritual.  Instead, I need to allow a more natural, emotional flow to it, as the Dancer Eight card tells me (Eight of Cups).

The Dancer Eight as what to "Do" also says that I should move forward with an open heart, knowing this is a natural part of my path.  I should be guided by my search for illumination and emotional attunement, rather than focusing on "doing" the ritual, which might remain somewhat empty and stagnant if not filled with true seeking for divine union.

Blessed Be!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Pendulums

My main working pendulum is, to my eyes, a rather unprepossessing thing.  You get all kinds of incredible shapes and colours in pendulums, but this one is very simple and a rather dull, grey-blue colour.  However, when I got it I literally tried every pendulum at the stall.  I asked each one if it wanted to come home with me, and all the rest said no.  A couple gave me "you're not asking the right question" responses - turned out they wanted to be gifted to my fellow coven members :)  But none of the beautiful, elegant pendulums wanted to come home with me :(  Finally, the stall holder picked out this little grey pendulum, a bit dusty from having been sat in stock for a while, and suggested I try it.  Straight away, huge yes!  So, I put my eye for beauty on hold, and bought this little gem.

It was at my first ever Tarot Conference, back in 2006, and I had such a great time.  For anyone who's thought about attending a Tarot Conference, but maybe feels nervous or shy, just go!  Really!!  Anyhow, since then this pendulum and I have been great friends.

I really love this pendulum!  It saw me starting to douse again, after more than twenty years.  My mother originally taught me, back when I was about seven years old!  That, and how to read coffee grounds.  Her tarot decks stayed firmly in their silk wrappings, though.  I guess she felt they were a little delicate for a child to be let loose on, or perhaps simply that she kept them very personal.

So, getting this pendulum was a way for me to reconnect with that positive part of my childhood, when my mother started teaching me witchcraft.  And it was also the continuation of my path, which I had strongly rekindled with tarot and a coven from 2001.

I use it, as many have said, for "yes-no" answers, though it sometimes says "maybe" or "you're asking the wrong question ;D  And I use it sometimes if I'm unsure whether a particular card in a tarot spread should be read in its light or shadow aspect.  I've also used it to dowse for the sex of babies, or other binary(ish) questions.  I'd love to hear how others use a pendulum, and what that pendulum is like...

I also spoke about pendulums in a Video Response to TipToeChick's Show and Tell, as well as talking about my other most-used magickal items.  If you'd like to see what those were, take a look here.

Crystal Show-and-Tell and a Question

I absolutely adore working with crystals!  I find them really grounding, which is something I definitely need, being a double air sign - sun and ascendant.  However, I recently heard something which gave me pause.  Someone said that they wouldn't use crystals because mining them is like raping the earth.  Now, obviously, I'm not going to get rid of the crystals I already have, but I haven't bought any more since.  And I wonder whether I should also protest mining practices.  Anyhow, I recorded a little show-and-tell with some of my favourite crystals, and pose the question.

Show and Tell: Altar and Witchy Space

I really enjoy show-and-tell's, so here's one I recorded about my witchy space and my altar as it's set up at the moment :)

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Blood Magick

©Ian Daniels
Avalonmoon91 started an interesting discussion over on Youtube about the relevance of Blood Magick, and its dangers.  While I agree that advocating cutting may encourage those who have self-harming tendencies, it made me think about why we might use blood in our rituals.  It is something that has long been done, and there are some valid reasons for that.  Perhaps, then, what is needed is to talk about how it can be practiced both safely and effectively, rather than running away from the idea entirely.

I like this image, from Ian Daniels' Tarot of Vampyres (Llewellyn, 2012), because although it shows a young, beautiful vampyre with a knife (idealising bloodletting?), it also shows a key in the blood on the floor.  What powers can blood unlock?

To see my video response, click here.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Beltane Chant

©Emily Carding
For a spell-working I'm planning for Beltane I adapted the Triple Goddess Chant by Moving Breath to create a chant to Cernunnos and Brigid - get some of that lusty, creative energy flowing!  It can also be used as a chant for the God and Goddess in other contexts, I think.  For the visuals, I used images from the DruidCraft Tarot (Connections, 2005), the Mythical Goddess Tarot (Holloway & Skaggs), and Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011).  Here's the lyrics:

Beltane Chant

Honoured wild hunter,
Cernunnos, Cernunnos,
Horned one come to us

Fertile wombed lady,
Brigid, Brigid,
Mother come to us

Cernunnos and Brigid,
Come to us, come to us,
God and Goddess come to us


Intro

Wildwood Tarot ©Will Worthington & Mark Ryan
Recently, I feel more and more drawn to deepening my spiritual practice and path.  It's a road I have long walked, in one way or another, and now my steps lead me here.  Where next?  We'll see.

For years, I have followed an eclectic path, strongly influenced by Starhawk's teachings of the Faery Wicca Tradition.  Even before I found that, though, the Goddess drew me.  I remember, as an 8 year old, driving with my mum and stepdad to a cousin's wedding and saying, "I don't believe in Jesus, I believe in Mother Earth."  Fortunately, my mother wasn't too horrified: she's a witch herself :)

The two main Goddesses I worship are Brigid and Hekate, and the Horned God has just recently found his place on my altar (which I'll do a video blog of at some point).  For a long time, I didn't feel the need to worship the God.  I felt that male divinity got plenty of attention elsewhere, and that as a woman the Goddess was more relevant to me.  Perhaps, also, I needed Her influence, as I was always rather a tomboy and have often been told that I am quite masculine/pushy/assertive/self-confident.  Now, though, I am doing some fertility spellworking, and a little male input seems rather relevant ;)

So, I hope to share some of my path, and explore that of other's too, through this blog and my Youtube channel.