Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rider- Waite - Smith Tarot Card Meanings - The Elements of Court

The suit of wands corresponds to the element of fire, so the court of wands consists of fiery personalities who rule the fiery realm of spirit and initiation. The Page usually ferries messages of a spiritual nature; in his role as a student, he might also offer a spiritual lesson. The Knight suggests a spiritual adventure or rescue. The Queen nurtures and protects the spiritual realm, and the King provides spiritual leadership and defence.

The suit of cups corresponds to the element of water, so the court of cups consists of watery personalities who concern themselves with the undercurrents of emotional life. The Page usually bears a message of an emotional nature; in his role as a student, he might also offer a lesson about understanding and controlling one’s emotions. The Knight suggests an emotional adventure or rescue. The Queen nurtures and protects the world of emotions and the King provides leadership and defence in the realm of emotions.

The suit of swords corresponds to the element of air, so the court of swords consists of heady personalities who rule the airy realm of intellect, thought and communication. The Page usually broadcasts messages of a thoughtful nature; in his role as a student, he might also offer a lesson in logic or communication. The Knight suggests an intellectual adventure or rescue. The Queen nurtures and protects the world of ideas, and the King provides intellectual leadership and defence.

The suit of pentacles corresponds to the element of earth, so the court of pentacles consists of grounded personalities who rule the physical world. The Page usually carries messages of a physical nature; in his role as a student, he might also offer a lesson about material reality. The Knight suggests a physical adventure or rescue. The Queen nurtures and protects the physical realm, and the King provides physical leadership and defence.

*** As a side note, the numbers on each card are important too. In the Minor Arcana, aces are viewed as beginnings, while five is about the middle of your journey and tens represent the end of something.

Rider- Waite - Smith Tarot Card Meanings - The Four Royal Families

Pages are young and enthusiastic. They are students and messengers, children who must learn the fundamentals of the family rule. During the Renaissance, pages were like ferrying members of the royal court. It was their job to study - and to run errands, like ferrying messages from one person to another. When pages show up in a tarot reading, they typically represent young people, students and messengers.

Knights have outgrown their roles as childlike pages: now they are young adults who must make their own way in the world. Traditionally, when pages grew to the age of knighthood, they were tested: they were expected to embark on a quest, master a challenge, and demonstrate that they were not only strong enough and smart enough to succeed, but that they also could live up to the family’s heritage. Essentially, knights were rescuers and adventurers. When knights show up in a tarot reading, they may suggest that a new quest or adventure is about to begin, or that rescue is on its way.

Queens represent women who have proved themselves; they have faced their daemons and shown themselves to be mature and competent adults. Each queen symbolizes an ideal woman - a perfect wife, mother, or role model. The queens also embody the qualities we associate with femininity: they are compassionate, creative, receptive, empathic, and intuitive. They know how to exert their power behind the scenes, convincing - or cajoling - others to adapt their point of view. All told, the tarot’s queens can tap into their feminine qualities to safeguard, nurture, and protect their realms.

Kings are protectors, providers, and seasoned, experienced leaders, who succeed in he missions and quests they undertook as knights. They are skilled commanders who have proven themselves on the battlefield of life. And they are confident in the knowledge and wisdom they acquired during their quests. Kings are also stereotypical masculine: they are authoritarian, assertive, and alert. They can even be aggressive. They guard their kingdoms with passion and force, and they’re not afraid to make executive decisions. When kings show up in a reading, they may suggest that someone is willing to mount an aggressive defence or even wage war.

Rider- Waite - Smith Tarot Card Meanings - Minor Arcana Meanings

* Wands symbolize spiritual experience. Remember that wands correspond to clubs in a playing-card deck, where the three-leaf clover design is sometimes said to represent a holy trinity.

* Cups represents emotional affairs; like hearts in a deck of playing cards, they’re the very pictures of emotion.

* Swords illustrate thought and communication; they correspond to spades, which have a point to make.

* Pentacles embody physical, material, and financial realities; they correspond to diamonds, which are always worth money.

The Fiery Suit of Wands

Wands are the fiery cards of spirit and initiation, which typically refer to the driving forces of work, career, and special interests that inspire passion. In most tarot decks, wands look like freshly cut branches from leafy trees; that’s your cue that wands can be set on fire and burned. You might want to picture each wand as a flaming torch that can be used for light and heat, or enlightenment and inspiration.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire: the wand cards can indicate that sparks are about to fly, that passions may be enflamed, and that an affair is about to heat up. Wand cards may suggest that someone is carrying a torch or burning with desire. Wand cards might even revel that an old issue will be rekindled, or that someone is playing with fire.

The Watery World of Cups

Cups hold the watery affairs of emotional life, and they’re especially well suited to issues of love and relationships. Obviously, a cup can hold water, the essence of life. For that matter, a cup can hold any liquid that has sentimental significance, such as wine or champagne. The connection to emotion is clear: We use cups to toast each other in celebration, to commune with others during religious ceremonies, and sometimes, we use cups to drown our sorrows. Because cup cards correspond to water, they serve as a reminder that the well of human emotion runs deep. Just as the human body is 75% water, the human psyche is driven by an overwhelming emotional combination of wants, needs, drives, and desires.

Don’t let the water metaphor slip through your fingers. Cup cards may indicate that emotions are welling up under the surface, or that still waters run deep. When cups are in play, a situation may be fluid, or on the rocks.

The Airy Suit of Swords

Because a sword moves through the air, the sword cards deal with the airy, heady realm of the intellect. They depict the way we think and communicate our ideas to others. The cards in the suit of swords should be near and dear to any serious writer. After all, swords cut through confusion, and they get straight to the point. They can pierce the veil of obscurity and pin down any concepts that seem unclear. The sword cards also demonstrate that language should be handled as a precision instrument. More often than not, the imagery of the sword cards demonstrate how words can be used as weapons of war. The sword cards also seem to depict the troubles we encounter when our ideas come into conflict with others, as well as the problems we impose on ourselves through negative thinking.

The imagery of the sword cards may suggest someone with a piercing glance, a rapacious wit, a sharp tongue, or a cutting remark. Elementally, swords could represent someone with his or her head in the clouds, an airhead, airy-faerie ideals, or someone who needs to come back to earth.

The Earthly Realm of Pentacles

Pentacle cards embody the tangible realities of physical and material life - the fundamental nature of earthly existence. They often represent money or property, as well as the treasures we hold dear on an emotional and spiritual level. In most tarot decks, pentacles look like coins with star-shaped designs. That pattern is symbolic of humanity’s physical nature: when you stand with your arms extended and your feet apart, someone could trace the shape of a five-pointed star around your body, with one point on the top of your head, and the other four points on your outstretched hands and feet.

The suit of pentacles deals with issues that are serious and real - like real estate. The pentacle cards often refer to people who are earthy and grounded. The cards might even hint at grave concerns that haunt those of us on the physical plane. The pentacle cards also embody the dimensions of time and space; in readings, the pentacle cards may strongly imply that time really is money what should be well spent.

Rider- Waite - Smith Tarot Card Meanings - Meanings of the Major Arcana

0 - The Fool - The happy wanderer who sees the world through the eyes of a child. The Fool represents each of us - naïve travelers through life, off on a grand adventure, out to learn whatever experience the tarot can teach us.

1 - The Magician - The skilled and cunning master of all he surveys. He represents an individual in control of life’s tools and techniques, like those on the table in front of him. Typically, they include a cup, a sword, pentacle, and wand - the four symbols of the Minor Arcana.

2 - The High Priestess - The enigmatic keeper of spiritual secrets. Secretive and guarded, she knows the secrets life holds - but she shares them only with the wise.

3 - The Empress - The archetypal mother who nurtures and protects all of her creation, including humankind.

4 - The Emperor - The authorities protector and provider who rules the known world. A father figure, he brings order out of chaos so that civilization can prosper.

5 - The Hierophant - A symbol of traditional authority and influence. He’s the head of a hierarchy, determined to maintain his religious and cultural traditions.

6 - The Lovers - They embody the twin principles of opposition and attraction. While an appearance by this couple could encourage any hopeless romantic, the card also signifies a choice to be made between two equally strong desires.

7 - The Chariot - A vehicle for forward motion and change. The young charioteer is in command of his physical and emotional drives, even when they seem to oppose each other.

8 - Strength - The lovely lady with the heart of a lion. She gently holds the jaws of a powerful wild cat, patiently controlling a force that could otherwise eat her alive.

9 - The Hermit - A recluse, far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. He reflects on spiritual concerns, and carries the light of wisdom as a beacon for others to follow.

10 - The Wheel of Fortune - The spinning wheel of destiny and fate. Because nothing is certain but change itself, the Wheel of Fortune reminds us all that what goes up must also come down.

11 - Justice - Both the giver and enforcer of laws. As the ultimate arbiter, she holds a two-edged sword - a reminder that fairness cuts both ways.

12 - The Hanged Man - He sacrifices his comfort and passions for a time, knowing that better things will occur as a result. He is the visionary who sacrifices one life to be rewarded with another.

13 - Death - The card of transition. Like the Grim Reaper, who clears away all that cannot survive, the card depicts the turning of a page, the completion of one chapter of life, and the exciting start of a new story..

14 - Temperance - The archangel of balance. With dexterity and grace, Temperance demonstrates that moderation can serve as a bridge to wholeness.

15 - The Devil - The dark and shadowy side of our existence. With tongue firmly in cheek, he demonstrates how a selfish devotion to material possessions and ill-conceived passions can tie us down and keep us from true happiness.

16 - The Tower - A forceful clearing of pent-up energy that strikes like lightening. It’s a bolt from the blue, and it can shake any overbuilt structure to its foundation.

17 - The Star - A shining light in the darkness. Like the Goddess of the night, she’s the blithe spirit who offers hope, inspiration, and guidance.

18 - The Moon - The ever-changing mirror of the sun, and a symbol of the unconscious mind. From its perch in the night sky, the moon represents secrets and mysteries that may not be understood - or even recognized.

19 - The Sun - A symbol of consciousness and action. It’s the center of the universe, and the source of heat, illumination, and life on earth.

20 - Judgement - This reveals all, heralds the dawn of a new world, and stands as a reminder of the power of forgiveness.

21 - The World - It depicts the never-ending, spiral dance of life. It’s a card of completion and success - as well as the chance to start another round.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Poem to the Water Element

Soothing calm,
And endless ocean
Water Undines
Empower my potion!

Desire Incantation for the Fire Element

Burning passion,
Element of Fire
Ignite within me,
My soul's desire.

Poem to the Witches

Blackest night,
Dark as pitch,
The eve is ruled
By the Witch!

Crone Incantation

Goddess Crone,
Knowing all,
I surrender myself
To your call.
To show the future,
And learn from the past
With a wave of my wand
The spell is cast.

Goal Seeking Invocation

Seeking knowledge
Open mind
Teach your lessons
And help me find
The reason I'm here
My goal for this life
Provoke my passion
And bind my strife.

Elemental Ode to Fire

In perfect love
And perfect trust
Guide my path
And feed my lust.

My Personal Circle Casting Chant

Circle cast
And circle bound
Contain my magick
All around.

Open veils
Between the realms
Create sacred space
Here where I dwell.

My New Raven Pendant

Since Hecate is my favourite Goddess, I bought this beautiful pendant to remind me of her! (I just wish my camera wasn't giving me a hard time! :P The picture isn't very good!) I wrote this invocation to dedicate the charm in her honour. :)

I dedicate this amulet to you, Hecate,
Goddess of the Witches and Crossroads
In your guise of the Raven,
I shall honour thee.
Upon my breast,
I bare this charm.
Protect me and mine
From all harm.
To thee all roads will lead,
But allow me to remain here on earth
Until I've completed my deed.
Teach me your mysteries,
Expose me to your lessons
Embrace me as a Hidden Child,
To you, I wish a thousand blessings.
So mote it be.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Which Greek Goddess Are You? Quiz Link

This was a little fun :)

My result was Demeter :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dead Man’s Garden

ANEMONE: Sometimes depicted on a memorial to symbolize the brief flowering of life and an early death.

ASPHODEL: Believed by the ancient Greeks to be the favourite food of the dead, these flowers were thought to grow in one of the fields of the underworld.

CHRYSANTHEMUM: In many European countries, including Italy and France, this flower is associated with death.

HOREHOUND: This plant was one of several listed as sacred to the ancient Egyptian god Anubis and is useful for summoning the spirits of the dead.

LILY: Associated with resurrection, lilies were used widely in Victorian funerary iconography and can be found decorating many modern tombstones as well.

POPPY: A plant sacred to the god Morpheus, the poppy is the source of opium, which relieves pain and induces dreams. Its association with death is two-fold: First, it presents death as a relief from pain. Second, it presents death as a great sleep or dream.

WILLOW: Sacred to Hecate, the willow has ancient ties to the dead in both Western and Eastern traditions.

YEW: A poisonous tree whose dark, brooding greenery seems perfectly at home looming over a lonely grave.

Symbols of Death

ANCHOR: A symbol of hope that one can cling to through troubled times.

BOOK: The Book of Life, wherein one’s destiny is written.

BROKEN CHAIN: When this symbol appears upon a memorial, it represents the bonds of family that have been sundered through death.

CIRCLE: A symbol of eternity. When complete and whole, the circle represents the hope for unending life in the next world. A broken circle signifies that life has ended.

COVERED URN: A symbol of death and mourning used from Roman times onward.

CROWN: A symbol of glory in the afterlife and victory over death.

LIT TORCH: The flame of life. When upended, the torch indicates that life has been snuffed out.

TREE STUMP: The severing of life, often before its proper time.

Elements of the Death Altar

* In its most basic form, an altar is merely a table or raised structure that provides a specialized space where matter and spirit converge. The altar will become the focal point of death energies in your home, creating a threshold between the world of the living and the world of the dead where you can more effectively pursue the Twilight Path.

* The first and most basic step is to find a table, desk, or similar structure that can serve as the base of your altar. Consider buying a piece of cloth to drape over it. Good colours include black, purple, and red. Midnight blue can also work.

* Set up the base of the altar in a room that you can close off, so you will not be disturbed in your work, against a western wall. The west was the traditional realm of the dead to Egyptians.

* Find reproductions of the four elements: earth (salt or dirt - dirt from a cemetery is especially effective), air (smoke from incense), water (chalice or goblet - symbolic of both blood and tears) and fire (two candles: black and white; they serve a dual symbolic purpose. The lit wicks will represent the element of fire upon the altar, the element that both destroys and renews. The candles themselves will represent the forces of life and death. Place the white candle on the far right corner of your altar. Place the black candle opposite this, on the far left. Together, these represent the pillars of the threshold between life and death, and this is the conceptual space ultimately evoked by your altar).

* The centerpiece of your altar will be a mirror. This should be relatively large, at least large enough so you can look into it and see your whole face. The mirror represents the Otherside, the realm of the spirits, which is the energetic echo of our own physical world. Hang it securely on the wall above your altar, directly between the candles of life and death. You will also need a piece of lace cloth large enough to completely cover the mirror. This veil should be black or some other appropriately dark colour, but it can’t be opaque. When you drape it over the mirror, it should obscure the reflection slightly, but you should still be able to see partial images through it. The veil represents the point of separation between the world of spirit and the world of flesh.
* Memento mori were objects or symbols used in the Middle Ages and beyond to remind people about the ever-present reality of death in their lives. The phrase is Latin and generally translated, “Remember that you must die.” (Skulls, willow branches or branches of cypress - trees often planted in graveyards; willow is sacred to Hecate, hourglasses - the fleeting nature of life, poppies - the source of opium, symbolize dreams and visions as well as the sleep of death, bones.

The Colours of Death

BLACK: In Western culture, this has become the colour most widely associated with funerals and mourning. If the Grim Reaper is depicted, he is most often portrayed wearing robes of midnight black.

GREEN: According to certain Irish traditions, green is the colour of faeries and the Otherworld, and is thus related to the spirits of the dead.

PURPLE: In Victorian times, the horses in a funeral procession wore purple plumes upon their heads. Elements of this practice still linger in the purple colour of the flags used to designate the cars in a funeral procession.

RED: The crimson colour of fresh blood, red has associations with violence, death, and passion.

WHITE: The colour of the funeral shroud. In Eastern cultures, white - not black - is the colour of death.

Casting the Circle

Using the wand, sword, athame or whatever feels comfortable, proceed deosil (clockwise) from North to North:

“I conjure thee, O Circle of Power, that thou beest a meeting place of love and joy and truth; a shield against all wickedness and evil; a boundary between the world of men and the realms of the Mighty Ones; a rampart and protection that shall preserve and contain the power that I shall raise within thee. Wherefore do I bless thee and consecrate thee, in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia.”

Or whatever God or Goddess you’re using).

To strengthen the Circle, now that it has been established through the power of Earth, the bowl of consecrated salt water is carried around the perimeter, sprinkled as you walk.

Next carry the smoking incense burner around the perimeter.

Finally, carry an altar candle around the Circle and return it to the altar with the other items.

The Opening Ritual

Place the bowl of water on the pentacle atop the altar and put the tip of the athame in the water:

“I exorcise thee, O creatures of water, and thou cast out from thee all the impurities and unseemliness of the spirits of the world of phantasm; in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia.”

(or whatever God and Goddess you’re using).

Place the bowl of salt on the pentacle with the tip of the athame in the salt:

“Blessings be upon this creature of salt;
Let all malignity and hindrance be cast forth
hence from, and let all good enter herein;
Wherefore do I bless thee, that thou mayest
And me, in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia”.

(or whatever God and Goddess you’re using).

Next, pour the salt into the bowl of water.

A Self-Initiation Ritual

The Preparation

The tools on the altar: sword, athame, white-handled knife, wand, pentacle, censer of incense, scourge, cords, chalice of wine, anointing oil, bowl of water, bowl of salt and a necklace or pendant.

It is best if the initiate is sky clad; any jewellery usually worn should be removed.

The Ritual

Consecrate the water and salt, cast, the Circle, carry around the water, carry around the censer, carry around the candle and summon the Lords of the Watchtowers.

Face the altar with arms raised high and wide.

“I invoke thee and call upon thee, Mighty Mother of us all, bringer of all fruitfulness; by seed and root, by stem and bud, by leaf and flower and fruit do I invoke thee to bless this rite, and to admit me to the company of thy hidden children.”

Stand with your back to the altar and recite the Charge of the Goddess:

“Now listen to the words of the Great Mother, who was of old also called among men Artemis, Astarte, Athene, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Dana, Arianrhod, Isis, Bride, And by many other names. Whenever ye have need of anything, once in the month, and better when the Moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place, and adore the spirit of me, who am Queen of all witches. There shall ye assemble, Ye who are lain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; To these will I teach things that are as yet unknown. And ye shall be free from slavery; And as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall be naked in your rites; And ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, All in my praise. For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit, and mine also is joy on earth; For my law is love unto all beings.

Keep pure your highest ideal; Strive ever towards it, let naught stop you or turn you aside; For mine is the secret door which opens upon the land of youth, And mine is the cup of wine of life, And the cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of immortality.

I am the gracious Goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man. Upon earth, I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal; And beyond death, I give peace, and freedom, And reunion with those who have gone before. Nor do I demand sacrifice; for behold, I am the Mother of all living, And my love is poured out upon the earth.

Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess; She in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven, whose body encircles the universe. I, who am the beauty of the green earth, and the white moon among the stars, And the mystery of the waters, and desire of the heart of man. Call unto thy soul; Arise and come unto me; For I am the soul of nature, who gives life to the universe. From me all things proceed, and unto me all things must return; And before my face, beloved to Gods and of men, Let thine innermost divine self be enfolded in the rapture of the infinite. Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth; For behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, Honour and humility, mirth and reverence within you, And thou who thinkest to seek for me, Know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not unless thou knowest the mystery: That if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, Thou will never find it without thee. For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; And I am that which is attained at the end of desires.”

Face the altar again with arms raised, giving the “Horned God” salute.

“Great God Cernunnos, return to earth again!
Come on my call and show thyself to men.
Shepherd of Goats, upon the wild hill’s way,
Lead thy lost flock’s from darkness unto day.
Forgotten are the ways of sleep and night -
Men seek for them, whose eyes have lost the light.
Open the door, the door that hath no key,
The door of dreams, whereby men come to thee.
Shepherd of Goats, O answer unto me!”

Sit of kneel in the center of the Circle facing the altar.

“Gentle Goddess, powerful God; I am your child, now
And always. Your breath is my life. Your voice, Great Mother, and yours, Great Father, speak within me, as they do in all your creatures, if we will only listen. Therefore here in your Magick Circle, which stands between the world of men and the realm of the Mighty Ones, do I open my heart to your blessing.”

Meditate in silence on the Goddess and God, opening your heart to them.

Once it feels right, rise and go to each of the cardinal points in turn and say:

“Take heed, ye Lords of the East (South, West, North), that I, ____, am properly prepared to become a priestess and witch.”

Stand in front of the altar once more with your right hand on your heart, speaking the Oath:

“I, _____, in the presence of the Mighty Ones, do of my own free will and accord most solemnly swear that I ever keep secret and never reveal those secrets of the Craft which shall be entrusted to me, except it be in a proper person, properly prepared within a Circle such as I am now in; and that I will never deny the secrets to such a person if he or she be properly vouched for by a brother of sister of the Art. All this I swear by my hopes of a future life; and may my weapons turn against me if I break this my solemn oath.”

Bow to the altar and take the anointing oil. Dip your fingers in and say:

“I hereby sign myself with the Triple Sign.
I consecrate myself with oil.”

Make the Triple Goddess sign with the oil over your heart and forehead.

Pick up the necklace and put it around your neck.

“With the Necklace, which is the Circle of Rebirth,
I seal my commitment to the Craft of the Wise.”

Finally, go to each of the cardinal points in turn and, with your arms raised, say:

“Hear ye, Mighty Ones of the East (South, West, North); I, ______, have been duly consecrated priestess, witch, and hidden child of the Goddess.”

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I've been thinking about past lives...

I've been thinking a lot about reincarnation while I've been doing my meditations and I've come up with a few things that I wanted to share... :P

I believe that I was shot in the back of the head and killed in one of my previous lives... I always have this vivid nightmare about kneeling and having a cool gun barrel pressed against the center of the back of my head. The trigger is pulled and for a split second, I can feel the warm blood oozing from the wound and making my hair sticky before I fall forward...

*** I believe that dreams are often memories from previous incarnations that often get mixed up with this life. It's like they bleed through the subconscious when we're sleeping... and sometimes when we're NOT sleeping :) ***

All my family heritage dates back to Europe and I believe that I lived out many lives there as well. In my mind, I believe that a soul in continually reincarnated in a certain place until it dies elsewhere and then it continues to be reincarnated in the new location until it dies elsewhere again. (That is, my ancestors were from Europe, so perhaps I immigrated to Canada and died here. That's why I've been reincarnated in Canada again. If I move elsewhere, I will be reborn there instead).

I also believe that I was a prostitute in a pervious life because my sexuality has such a dominance in my life. (This was a fleeting thought and could find no more available information on this at the time of my meditations).

I've really only begun to give this some serious thought, but i thought it might be interesting to share my discoveries and perhaps others can share their experiences or thoughts on the subject! :D

Blessed be! )o(

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Twilight Path Ritual: Earth Burial

Approach the altar, prepared and attuned for entrance into the sacred space. Stand between the candle of life and the candle of death. Light these, raise your hands, and meet the eyes of your reflection beyond the veil. Address the spirits thus:

“Spirits! Guardians! All you immortal beings who walk the shadows between darkness and light! I call to you and ask that you attend me, here in the twilight. I stand on the threshold between the living and the dead, and I open myself to the secrets you have to share.”

Light incense as an offering. Gently waft the smoke. First, guide it toward your own body, inhaling the mingled scent of precious resins and herbs. Then waft the smoke towards the candles of life and death in turn, and, finally, waft it toward your veiled reflection in the mirror. Listen inwardly for the response of the spirits. When you feel their presence crowding around you, dip your finger in the water on your altar and anoint your forehead, lips and heart, opening each to a better perception of the threshold state.

“I open my mind. I open my lips. I open my heart. Gather round, ye spirits, and witness me in my rite. Tonight I commit my body to the earth, so the earth may receive me and wear away the bonds that tie my spirit to my flesh. Gather round and lend me power as I call to the element of earth.”

Hold in both hands the bowl or other vessel of elemental tokens you have gathered and raise it before the mirror in blessing. Once you have focused your power and intent into this collection of items, set the bowl on the floor. Arrange these items in a U shape at the foot of your altar. The U shape should point out from your altar and contain enough space within the U for you to lie down comfortably without disturbing any of the items. Eventually, you are going to lie down at the foot of your altar, and this collection of items will curve around your head and shoulders. Depending on how many items you have collected and how distantly you space them, the items may run down along your torso as well. Once you have outlines the space where your body will lie, place the small pillow, together with the scented funeral shroud, in the center of the U. Still kneeling before this, cross your arms upon your chest and say:

“Although I have not passed beyond the veil of life, I ask that you receive me as one dead. I commit my flesh to earth, that the earth may accept me and return my body to the dust from which it came.”

Lie down amidst the tokens of the element of earth. Stretch out fully on the floor with your head lying on the pillow at the very foot of your altar. Unfold the funeral shroud, then lay it across your body, covering everything from your feet to your head. Fold your hands on your stomach or cross them upon your chest and close your eyes. Lie there, breathing slowly and evenly, holding yourself as one who is dead.

Imagine that you lie beside an open grave. Family and friends gather round you. It is a simpler time, so there is no coffin and no embalming has taken place. You are simply a body, washed and wrapped in a funeral shroud. The scent of the newly turned earth is strong in your nostrils. You can smell the grass beneath you and the open air above. You feel yourself lifted and placed upon another length of strong cloth. Those who have gathered at the graveside use this to lower your body into the ground. Gently, gently you are eased into the arms of the earth.

The walls of the grave rise around you, and everything is thick with the loamy scent of earth. Then you feel the first few spadefuls of earth falling onto you like hard clumps of rain. The scent of the earth grows ever thicker as the loose soil is returned to the open grave. It descends upon you, blocking out all other scents or sensations. But rather than feeling smothered or crushed, the weight of the earth upon you is like an embrace, the firm arms of a mother holding you tight against her breast.

Around you, the tomb is dark and moist, and, like an infant in the womb, it takes you days, weeks, months to change and develop, trading your flesh for naked bones. Other life gathers round you - insects, moles, mice and worms. Each of these does its work upon your body, helping the earth to reclaim you as her own. And yet, this is not a taking, but a giving. Bit by bit, your flesh is gathered up and becomes part of something more. The earthly part of your body returns to the earth; eventually, even the bones of your skeleton degrade, becoming one with the soil of your tomb.

Feel the weight of the earth and the gentle insistence of this cycle: your physical flesh will remain a part of the physical world, even after your spirit has flown. Let the simplicity of this truth be a comfort as you lie stretched out at the foot of your altar, the funeral shroud soft against your face.

When you feel replete with the knowledge of your relationship with earth, draw the funeral shroud away from your face and sit up. Uncross your arms, and gather some vital energy into your cupped hands. Turn and present this energy in the direction of your altar as an offering to the element of earth.

“Hail to thee, Mother Earth! You are the dark of the grave and the mystery of the tomb. You take our flesh back into yourself, holding us as infants in your womb. May I not forget this lesson when it is my time to surrender up this precious flesh.”

Continue to kneel for a few moments and reflect upon the revelation of earth. Then stand and ask the spirits to depart.

“Spirits of the threshold! All you beings who walk between the darkness and the light! I thank you for attending to bear witness to this rite. As you have gathered, may you freely depart!”

Anoint your forehead, lips and heart.

“I close myself as I close this space. I stand upon the threshold, but for now walk away, passing from death back into life.”

Snuff the candles. Facing the mirror, cross your arms upon your chest and bow your head, then depart. Once you have come down fully from the ritual mindset, go back to your altar and gather up the tokens of earth. If this is a rite you want to perform again, store the tokens in a safe place. Otherwise, find time to cleanse them and use them for something else.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Ritual of Thresholds (consecration of altar)

Prepare yourself with a ritual bath taken about an hour before you begin the rite. After the ritual bath, dry yourself off and don whatever mask or other attire you have settled upon to help make a break with ordinary reality and keep yourself in a ritual frame of mind. Approach the altar in silence and light first the incense, then the candles of life and death. Cross your arms upon your chest and kneel down for a moment, contemplating your purpose and intent.

When you are ready, stand before the altar. Stare into your own eyes behind the veiled mirror. You will do this whenever you do ritual work at your death altar, for your veiled reflection represents the spirit aspect of you. When you work at this altar, you are trying to bring both spirit and flesh together, to allow yourself to walk and work as one, so identification with this veiled self is important.

Take three slow, deep breaths and feel the power begin to flow throughout your body. Place your fingers in the vessel of earth and invoke the first element:

“I call upon the earth, which gives and then takes back! You are the foundation of all life, nurturing the young and welcoming the dead with open arms. Lend your power to this space and consecrate it to the element that ground.”

Scatter a pinch of earth across the altar. When you are finished, touch your fingers to your forehead, leaving a streak of dust. Then place your fingers in the vessel of water and invoke the second element:

“I call upon the water, which cleanses and renews! You are my blood and my precious tears, and in the form of the great ocean, you take everything into yourself so it is transformed. Lend your powers to this space and consecrate it to the element that flows.”

Scatter the water clinging to your fingers upon the altar. When you are done, touch your fingers to your lips, tasting the salt of blood and tears. When you are finished, pass your hands over the candle flames, both at once, so there is a balance between life and death. As you do this, invoke the third element:
“I call upon the fire, which illuminates and consumes! You are the shifting flame that shines and then destroys. You are capable of devouring everything, reducing it down to its most basic parts. Lend your power to this space and consecrate it to the element that burns.”

Press both of your palms together in front of your heart. Smell the lingering scent of the flame as it clings to your flesh. When you are finished, waft the smoke from the incense towards you, so it billows up and around you. As you do this, invoke the fourth element:

“I call upon the air, which is both breath and life! You are the essence of a sigh and the voice of a mighty storm. Invisible to the naked eye, if you are absent, all life comes to an end. Lend your power to this space and consecrate to the element that breathes.”

Hold the incense holder in both hands and present the smoke to the left of the altar and then to the right. Finally, present the smoke to the veiled mirror, so curls of incense waft up past the centerpiece of your altar. Put the incense holder back down in its proper place. With the scent of the smoke still clinging to your skin, fold both hands over your belly, just beneath your navel. When you are finished, hold your hands out at your sides, palms turned upward. As you do this, invoke the final element:

“I call upon the spirit, supreme force that binds the rest. You are the essence that remains when the wind falls still. You are the light that shines when the fire has burned down. You are the force that flows when the water has gone dry. You are what remains when all the earth crumbles into dust. Lend your power to this space and consecrate it to the element that survives even death.”

Lift your hands before you and feel energy gathering in your open palms. Radiate this from your hands and your heart into the altar. Still summoning energy and infusing it into the altar, imagine a gate opening up between you and the veiled mirror, a threshold that stretches between the candle of life and the candle of death. Call upon the spirits to help open this gate from their end.

“I call to you, spirits, and unseen powers! I invoke the shadows and the creeping arms of night! Come, stand at this threshold and bear witness to my rite. Lend your power to the gate I now throw open. Join me here in the space between death and life.”

Point the first two fingers of your right hand out. Concentrate all of the energy you have been building in the ritual thus far into the tips of those two fingers. Starting at the floor beneath the left candle, begin to draw the outline of a gate in the air just in front of the altar. Move up in a line parallel to the left candle, arching over the altar, then drawing a line on the other side all the way to the floor, in line with the candle burning on the right.

As you do this, continue to concentrate the energy into your fingers, summoning the power of all five elements you have just invoked. Use this power to cut a gateway in the very fabric of reality, opening a gate between flesh and spirit.

“I consecrate this altar as a space between. When I stand here, I stand between life and death. When I stand here, I stand among you, my spirits, guardians, and friends. This is my threshold, and my will is my key. When I call for this gate to open, nothing will stand in my way.”

Stand before the gate, spreading your arms wide. Briefly invoke each of the elements again, calling the memory of their energy to your hands and imbuing this energy into the space of your altar.

“By flesh and spirit, by earth and air, by fire and water, I open this gate and bind it to me.”

Cross your arms upon your chest and kneel before the altar once more. Silently thank the spirits, elements, and powers for attending your rite, and silently bid them to depart. Continuing in silence, blow out the candles, snuff the incense, and remove your ritual attire. Do not speak until you have left the space of your altar. You may want to eat a small meal to help yourself ground and return to a normal frame of mind.

Daily Meditation: Twilight Path

Approach the altar and cross your arms upon your chest. Light the candles of life and death and take a moment to gaze into the mirror through the veil, seeing yourself as a being both of flesh and of spirit. Dipping your fingers into the chalice of water, touch them to your forehead, your lips, and your chest. As you do this, say:

“I anoint my forehead, that I may open my mind.
I anoint my lips, that I may loosen my tongue.
I anoint my chest, that I may open my heart.”

The first step opens you mentally and psychically to a deeper experience of this threshold state. The second step opens you so you may better communicate across the veil. The third step opens you emotionally and energetically to the spirits and the forces they represent. Spreading your arms wide, picture the edges of the gate glowing softly around you. Reach out mentally to any spirits that may be gathering nearby. Silently invite them to attend you. Out loud, declare the following:

“Standing on the threshold between darkness and light, I open myself to the mysteries of death and transformation. Gather round, ye spirits, and whisper to me the secret names. Open the path before me and show me the way.”

Close your eyes and allow your awareness to spread beyond the limits of your body. Listen carefully with both your physical and internal ears for any contact or messages. After a few moments, close yourself so you can exit the threshold state and return to the demands of your ordinary life. To close yourself, touch your forehead, lips and heart again, saying:

“The door is closed, but I carry it within. If a lesson presents itself to me, may it open again, so I may see and, seeing, learn.”

Snuff the candles and return to your normal affairs.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Poem (I didn't write this, but it felt very Wiccan to post!)

I had come to the end of daylight
and faced the doorway of darkness.
But when I touched my face,
I realized my eyes were closed
and my skin was cold.
All that I thought I loved and needed was gone
And I was naked, shivering in misery.
They were measuring me for a coffin.
Suddenly, I heard a voice calling
from within myself.
I turned my eyes around to look back,
to look down, to look deep
and I saw a single candle.
It drew me closer until I cound reach out
and put my fingers in the flame.
Slowly, meticulously, I burned away my dead body,
And when it was gone,
I was no longer naked.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Northern Mysteries & Magick - Freya Aswynn

This is, by far, the BEST book that I've EVER read in regards to learning about Runes (their meanings, how to use them in divination, the story that they tell collectively - which is comparable to the idea that the Major Arcana in Tarot cards tell a continuous story)...

Anyone interested in these mystical stones should DEFINATELY buy this book! :D

Basic Divination Meanings of the Runes

Fehu * Financial strength and prosperity of the present and near future

Uruz * Health matters

Thurisaz * Conflicts and complexities of an aggressive nature; psychological problems

Ansuz * Communications and transmissions; points things back to sources in the past

Raido * What is right or not right; what move to make; decisions; returns

Kenaz * Opening up of new ways; opportunities; information

Gebo * All matters of an exchanging nature; contracts; personal relationships

Wunjo * Gain; accomplishments; what is wished for

Hagalaz * The uncontrolled forces in the unconscious, which are usually of a disruptive nature and which usually originate in the past

Nauthiz * Restrictive forces in the unconscious; fears; anxieties; feelings of guilt

Isa * Blocks; stultified conditions; grievances; anything that the individual is not prepared to let go of; the formation of the personality; conditioning

Jera * Hopes and expectations; turning points; gradual changes; results of earlier actions

Eihwaz * The driving forces in the unconscious; motivation; sense of purpose

Pertho * The deepest creative part of the unconscious; the hidden realm of higher material that is waiting to come to fruitation and birth; hidden talents; occult or psychic abilities

Algiz * The strong, protective side in the unconscious; the influence that will protect you; religious aspirations

Sowulo * Position of the higher self in relation to the unconscious; the direction in which you will be guided by the higher self; the ability to establish contact between the higher self and the unconscious

Tiwaz * Creative energies in the martial sense; where your strengths lie; where to direct your energies in taking initiatives; honour and justice; leadership and authority

Berkana * Fertility; birth; rebirth; growth; maternity; family life; feminine Mysteries
Ehwaz * Adaptability; relationships with others; joint efforts; cooperation; sexuality

Mannaz * People at large; attitude towards others; other people’s attitudes towards you; legal matters; friends and enemies; intellect

Laguz * Emotions; stability; imagination; psychic matters; affections

Inguz * Integration; gestation; expectations; progeny

Othila * Home life; country; spiritual heritage; experience; foundations; fundamental values; establishing

Dagaz * Transmission; opposites; position between light and darkness; initiation; balance between the worlds outside of time and space; cosmic consciousness; change from one thing into its opposite; new beginnings

The Runes


* Meaning: cattle, wealth, movable wealth
* Letter: F
* Deities: Frey & Freyja (fertility gods directly related to livestock)
and Niord (god directly related to wealth)
* Freya wears a necklace called Brisingamen, which is a symbol of fertility. It’s made of gold and amber (both expensive). She earned it by sleeping with 4 dwarves (the 4 elements).
* It represents the creative fire which emerges from Muspelheim.
* Divination: the ability of the individual to create or maintain wealth; the energy to create wealth.


* Meaning: the life force of the masculine polarity, the unconscious drive for manifestation.
* Letter: U
* Element: Ice
* contains a primal earth energy - the inextinguishable impulse to be.
* the energy of this rune is indestructible, raw, primitive, and unbelievably strong.
* Symbolism: strength, persistence, durability, adaptability to environmental changes.
* on a higher plane, it represents healing energy, a strong, restorative, recuperative physical process.
* teaches patience, endurance, courage and the application of aggression at the right time and under the right circumstances.
* Associations: growth, the overcoming of obstacles, the force to assert oneself.
* Divination: the condition of your strength, on both the physical and psychological level. New opportunities and encouragement. Sometimes, taking a risk.
* Deity: Thor, the Thunderer


* Meaning: an ancient name for the god Thor; giant
* Letter: TH
* Element: Fire
* the Giants represent the forces of chaos, and Thor is the one
who keeps those forces under control.
* Active energy directed outwards or passive energy contained or directed inwards.
* viewed as the negative or evil rune.
* This rune is a carrier and can be combined with various other runes to ensure effectiveness in a working.
* It is an easy rune to tap into and the best method for invoking it is through emotion, whatever the nature of that emotion The more emotion, the more success.
* Probably the most dangerous rune in the whole Futhark.
* Divination: the shadow in the unconscious, the repressed collection of garbage amassed throughout life or foisted on us by the environment and its social conditions.
* An excellent rune to use for binding magick.


* Meaning: a god, Odin
* Letter: A
* Represents order
* Element: Air
* It is through air that sound becomes audible.
In an airless environment, sound cannot be heard.
* relates to the ancestors.
* On a higher level, it represents the life energy.
* Used for releasing.


* Meaning: riding or journey, traveling
* Letter: R
* Divination: creating movement, generating motion, taking charge of situations, being in control, taking the initiative, starting a new venture, decision-making or directing a course of action.
* counsel or advice
* leadership and nobility
* freedom and moral responsibility to the Self (to be in charge of your own path in life).
* the rune of repetitive movement and ritual
* can be used for shamanic traveling to the Underworld.


* Meaning: Torch, light (the torch is a symbol of knowledge, consciousness and intellect)
* Letter: K or a hard C
* Kenaz means “to know, apply and recognize”.
* the ability to seek, gain, apply and recognize, the learning and teaching process
* On a psychological level, the attributes of this tune are clarity of thought, insight, consciousness of the Self, inborn or hereditary knowledge, confidence and trust in one’s own intuition, concentration and determined effort.
* Element: Fire (in its contained form) - fire of enthusiasm and inspiration
* used to gain knowledge, investigate the deeper background of problems, hidden reasons and origins and underlying causes of the effects.
* can function as the light within - a guiding torch when exploring the inner realms.
* can be used as a weapon to expel unwanted influences.
* Divination: the exposure of hidden, unknown, or unacknowledged motives.
* can be used as an astral doorway - a symbol which can be projected through “the veil”.
* can be a beacon that represents our inner light.


* Meaning: gift
* Letter: X
* Deity: Odin; sometimes Thor
* marriage contracts, boundary markers
* Element: Air
* Divination: balance and equilibrium (giving and receiving)
* Theme: the preservation of balance, the law of compensation
* agreements, settlements, legal matters; betrothal
* hospitality and generosity
* for each sending, a price has to be paid.
* very useful for binding 2 or 3 runes together for magickal workings.


* Meaning: perfection
* Letter: W, sometimes V
* Deity: Odin, Uller
* Divination: All that is beautiful and wonderful
* one of the most magickally powerful runes
* extremely useful in realizing one’s objectives


* Meaning: hail (frozen water and air)
* Letter: H
* a negative rune; destructive force
* this rune rules Hel.
* Deity: Hella
* Divination: disruptive forces operating in the unconscious, creating necessary change; unlearned lessons or unresolved problems.
* the realm of Hel can be equated with the personal unconscious, the deepest part of which is connected with the collective unconscious.
* contains a lot of dark feminine power
* a strong connection with negative witchcraft.
* use for extremely negative magick.


* Meaning: need
* Letter: N
* Deity: Skuld (rules the future)
* can provide a window into what is to come.
* Divination: a person’s own unacknowledged needs (in a reading, what is needed will follow this rune; it can also be a warning)
* can be used to restrict other people
* rules Nifelhel, the realm of the dragon Nidhog, which means “gnawer from beneath”. Nidhog paws at the roots of Yggdrasil in an attempt to destroy the Tree. Nidhog can be viewed as the unconscious shadow, gnawing at the Self.
*teaches us the skill of self-preservation
* relates to the binding of Loki, who is the god of fire.


* Meaning: ice
* Letter: I
* represents the principle of preservation and resistance to change, counter-force to evolution, slowing down change.
* crystallizes spirit into matter (self-preservation)
* its function is to keep things as they are, to maintain whatever “is”.
* represents the darker side of the Goddess, the sterile barren goddess.
* Divination: a frustrating influence and most often indicates that whatever the question asked or the problem discussed, there is no immediate possibility of change.
* use to cancel any disruptive or aggressive forces, self-defence magick (to freeze someone’s actions).


* Meaning: year, harvest
* Letter: J or Y
* has an important bearing on time and the divisions of time
* it represents time itself
* Associations: turning of the year at Yuletide, when the sun returns
* Deity: Baldur, Hoder; Frey and Freyja
* everything is on the move, nothing stays the same
* this rune can create gentle change
* Divination: change for the better, the end of a cycle and the beginning of another one; return as a result of a previous action
* contains the mystery of the eternal return
* Element: earth
* strongly connected with fertility
* In magick, it can speed up processes or slow them down


* Meaning: Yew, the Yggdrasil, the human spine or backbone which supports the rest of the body
* Letter: E
* associated with hunting
* can give you the necessary impetus to take a headlong plunge into the deep end.
* an outgoing rune of action, striving, persistence, and endurance.
* a testing force
* Deity: Odin, Uller
* being in a state of suspension as a result of conflicting emotions or a difficult choice between 2 equally valued opposites
* use in binding magick
* one of the most powerful runes


* Meaning: birth, secret
* Letter: P
* the womb of the great Goddess
* Deity: Frigga (goddess who governs birth)
* indicates space
* talents and hidden potential possessed by an individual which have not yet been manifested, as well as abilities inherited from ancestors
* use this rune in meditation
* Divination: an initiation experience, the discovery of a hidden aspect of oneself


* Meaning: protection, defence
* Letter: Z
* reminiscent of Tyr’s hand, which he sacrificed to bind Fenris the wolf.
* pointed upwards gives it male influence
* pointed downwards gives it female influence
* females give life; men deal out death
* shielding
* it acts as a powerful conductor, channelling energies from man to the gods
* associated with the Rainbow Bridge (path between Asgard and Midgard - the only way to travel between these two realms)
* use for healing


* Meaning: Sun (as a life-giving force)
* Letter: S
* sun is viewed as feminine to Norse people
* the higher will or intent, the sense of self and self-worth
* the highest force in the self, directing the individual’s evolution along a specific path
* spiritual guidance and leadership
* Divination: direct a course of action or state a positive purpose; it must always be interpreted in conjunction with the adjacent runes
* Deity: Thor (the god of lightning; the symbol resembles lightning); also a connection with Odin because the sun represents one of his eyes (the other represents the moon)


* Meaning: the god Tyr
* Letter: T
* shape of a spear
* use in magick dealing with gaining justice or to win victory in a conflict
* Divination: legal conflicts, court action
* on a spiritual level, it embodies the values of the spiritual warrior
* associated with death; can be used to design a talisman to communicate with the dead


* Meaning: birch
* Letter: B
* a goddess rune (resembles breasts)
* Deity: Berchta (patron of mothers and children)
* the process of gestation and birth
* use for healing, rejuvenation
* very beneficial for women and women’s problems
* birch is one of the sacred trees
* below the birch tree often grows the Amanita muscaria, a well-known “magick” mushroom used in rituals to achieve altered states of consciousness, in which “soul journeys” to the Underworld were taken
* Divination: process of growth, a caring, maternal influence and creativity
* a protection charm for children


* Meaning: horse
* Letter: E
* implies vehicles and control of vehicles; the persona on a psychological level
* one’s ability to adjust to various situations
* particularly relevant to marriage, partnership, join enterprises of all kinds
* can unify two people in a strong cooperative relationship such as marriage or even a business partnership; co-operation
* the art of adjusting, making the best of a situation
* use in magick to invoke good luck
* represents the astral or etheric body
* Divination: something of a female nature; often relates to one’s own mother or other older females


* Meaning: man, woman, human; ancestors
* Letter: M
* cooperation between people sharing the same environment
* Divination: people in general; the sort of people it means can be figured out by looking at surrounding runes
* use to attract support from one’s peer group in magick

* Meaning: lake
* Letter: L
* feminine influence
* Deity: Nerthus (the oldest goddess; worshipped on an island on a lake)
* sorcery
* Element: water ( a transmitting agency or a mediating and conducting principle)
* used to influence others or to evade other people’s dream-states
* waters of life
* Divination: infer whether a particular project has been carried by a favourable tide


* Meaning: the god Frey
* Letter: NG
* a fertility rune (female)
* the carrier of genetic material
* can be used as an alternate form to a magick circle
* use it to contain other runic energies within it
* use it for astral projection: imagine this rune on a door and project through it
* Divination: the completion of a situation and the progression to the next stage of the querent’s affairs, depending on the other runes in the reading, transformation, a dark night of the soul
* use during lunar magick


* Meaning: inherited land; noble
* Letter: O
* Deity: Odin (god of nobility)
* loyalty towards one’s family, tribe or village
* use to invoke Odin in his aspect of wanderer and teacher


* Meaning: day
* Letter: D
* the last rune in the Futhark (usually)
* the dawning of the new day or the midpoint of the day (when the Sun is at noon)
* relates to the division of the day
* a rune of change; cataclysmic change (the situation will change to its mirror image: positive to negative or vise versa)
* the end of an era and the beginning of the next cycle
* it acts as a catalyst initiating change without changing its own nature
* it synthesizes, transmutes and dissolves all opposing polarities
* can function as a Rainbow Bridge in magick
* can transform consciousness
* use for initiation
* use for the 4 or 8-fold division of the quarters to designate the area outside of time and space, or “between the worlds”
* can be used to hide things from view

Futhark Computer Font! :D

I've downloaded this onto my computer and I LOVE IT!!!! Whenever I'm writing something intimate to my deities, I always write with this alphabet! So this font is absolutely PERFECT for those who write pieces for their Book of Shadows on the computer (You know, to keep things all tidy-looking!) :P

The site also feats tons of other free fonts (Celtic Garamond is my most favourite!)

This is such a fast and easy way to spice up your magickal pages!

Blessed be! )o(

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Meditation: A Spiritual Love Affair

You are walking on the outskirts of a pine forest, moving away from the secrets held in its darkened recesses. A brilliant full moon flares overhead in the midnight folds of the night. She gifts you with pale light. Your footfalls land quietly on the thick carpet of pine needles that coat the forest floor. Soft, green branches gently brush your face and bare arms. Ahead of you, golden light drips through the tender tree trunks and whispering pine needles, suffusing every inch of air and space. You are drawn to the light by an almost imperceptible tugging in your heart and loins. Your thighs tighten in anticipation as your muscles propel you ever closer to your goal, to the source of your longing. You step through the last remaining foliage, brushing aside a wispy branch, and into the light.

You are on the edge of a large open area in the midst of the forest. The meadow forms a low, softly rising mound, a sleeping woman’s breast, an infant’s gently rounded cheek. Grass grows in verdant abundance on the mound, lush and deep under your feet. If you have shoes on, take them off now, in order to feel the wetness of each blade of grass. (PAUSE). On the top of the mound, a leaping bonfire releases intense heat and warming light. It is this light that led you through the forest, drawing you ever onward. Around the fire, shadows leap and dance. A well-endowed woman, skirts swinging. A muscular farm boy, shoulders moving. A lithe cat, paws scampering. A faint vibration quivers through the soles of your feet, as though coming from the depths of the earth herself, and propels you up the easy incline of the mound.

The vibration grows stronger as you near the fire. Sweat beads on your exposed skin. A band of merry musicians, male and female, plays a fast-paced tune to the driving beat of several large drums. The music pulses in your ears, getting under your sweat-slicked skin. The music is infectious, powerful, passionate, and strong. It spirals through the night, bringing dreams of love and heat and freedom. A soft breeze lifts the hair at the back of your neck.

Without conscious thought, your fingers release your shoes and they fall on the flickering golden ground. The heat from the fire licks at your skin, burrowing into your blood. Your clothes chafe your fire-sensitive skin unmercifully. You remove any unnecessary clothing, dropping it onto your shoes, creating a small pile. As you fling yourself into the circle of dancers around the fire, you vaguely notice many similar piles on the outskirts of the fire. A young fiddler with brown hair and glowing eyes smiles at you and winks.

Faster and faster, the music whirls round and round the steaming dancers. The drums are intoxicating, throbbing deep into your brain, deep into your heart, deep into your blood. Your skin tingles; your eyes sparkle. You and your body are one beautiful instrument of the Goddess as you dance with wild, passionate abandon. (PAUSE).

Just when you feel that your spirit, anchored deep inside yourself, will fly forth and soar far and wide, never coming back… just when your heart hammers against your chest and your skin is stretched taut and expectant… just when you feel that you must truly become the music or die… the drums stop and an eerie quiet descends on the clearing. The fire flares briefly upward, then crackles with repressed energy. You stop dancing and raise your drenched, dream-addled head. You are standing in front of the most beautiful woman you have ever seen.

The fire gilds her skin a creamy bronze, adding mystery and shadow to her beauty. Her hair is blonde, falling below her shoulders in waving fields of wheat. A golden helmet rests on her head, holding back the thick tresses. Cat motifs are stamped into the gold; in the firelight, they seem to move and stretch. The woman is clad in chain mail, a slightly see-through drape that lingers across the breastbone and down her shapely curves and full, round hips. She sits on a small, narrow throne that is made of earth and grass and rises directly from the mound itself. She taps the ground with her heavy golden spear as her turquoise-blue eyes bore into your own. She uncrosses and recrosses her legs, causing the chain mail to jingle, allowing the firelight to caress the contours of her body. She smiles knowingly at you.

“I am Freyja,” she intones, her voice both breathless and reverberating. “Welcome to my celebration.” She flings her arms above her head, and musicians and dancers erupt in raucous cheering. She stands up and the cheering subsides, but you swear you hear the faint moans of an amorous encounter beyond the fire, hidden in the shadows of the forest. Freyja walks toward you and flicks her fingers across your chest. Your nipples harden slightly and she laughs with joy. She licks her lips with her tongue.

“Come. It is time.” Freyja’s fingers trail across your shoulder and down you’re arm to embrace your hand. She leads you back toward the fire, as the music, once again, throbs through the night. An edge of wildness accents the movements of the dancers, as they pair off into couples. Some move together, lips locked, bodies pressed together, in front of the fire, allowing the sweat between them to lubricate their movements. Others sway toward the rounded hillocks of the mound, allowing the cool shadows to cloak their movements. Still others run into the forest, disrobing during their mad dash. Freyja laughs throatily.

“We must find your partner,” Freyja says, clucking you under the chin, “or partners,” she amends, grinning wickedly, a twinkle in her eyes. She rounds the fire, and you see him/her/them. Your spiritual lover. Your Beltane present from the goddess. Your lover is your ideal. Perfection. Mind, body, and spirit. Union eternal. Who is it? What does your lover look like? See every nuance, every muscle, every curve, every colour and shape in the flickering light of the fire. (PAUSE).

The goddess leads you toward your lover, slowly and with much care. She takes your hand and places it on your lover’s palm. “This is your lover for tonight,” the goddess says, caressing your palm. “Live out your greatest sexual fantasy. Touch the spirit of ecstasy. Feel the wild abandon of wanton love and freedom, knowing that you are safe and secure, here within my glade. I will protect you.” Freyja leans forward and kisses you on the lips. She kisses your lover as well, before smiling her secret smile and walking back to her earth throne, across the fire.

With your hand clasping your lover’s hand, you allow yourself to open completely and experience your wildest sexual fantasy. (LONG PAUSE).

At the end of your fantasy, you rise. Your fantasy lover kisses you one last time. You are back in the forest glade. The embers of the fire glow in the night sky, and the first rays of dawn colour the world muted pink and yellow. The musicians are packing up their instruments. The other couples come together once again and separate, dissipating like puffs of smoke into the misty predawn. Your lover leans toward you and whispers a message into your ear. (PAUSE). Then he/she/they turn and walk into the dawning light. You gather your things, donning your clothes, and walk back into the forest from whence you came.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ritual: An Imbolc Celebration

Things you will need:

* one large candle (your choice of colour)
* four small candles (one of each: yellow, red, blue, green)
* candle holders for the four candles
* a lighter or matches
* two bowls of dirt
*a small watering can filled with water
* one packet of flower, herb, or vegetable seeds (choose seeds that represent a goal or idea that you’d like to bring into your life)
* freshly made bread
* butter
* a cup of milk
* a libation bowl
* a small hand towel


Place the large candle, lighter, two bowls of dirt, watering can, and seeds in the center of your sacred space. If you are performing the celebration inside, be sure to cleanse your area with sage ahead of time. Put the four small candles at the edges of your sacred space: yellow in the east, red in the south, blue in the west and green in the north. Sitting facing the east, ground and center yourself, taking as much time as you need.

Once you feel relaxed and connected to the four elements, stand and walk to the east. Hold your hands up above your head and say:

“Hail to the Guardian of the East,
The simple Cherry Tree.
Beautiful and gentle, pure and willing sacrifice,
You understand the cycle of life and death and rebirth.
Bring to me the peace to acknowledge the inevitable
And to welcome my growth.
Cherry Tree, Spirit of Air, I welcome you!”

When you feel the presence of the east enter your sacred space, walk to the south, raise your hands, and say:

“Hail to the Guardian of the South,
The quickening Rowan Tree.
Fiery and nourishing, physical and spiritual healer,
Your berries support life while your bark soars with spirit.
Bring to me the knowledge of the ancient ways
And the strength to use it well.
Rowan Tree, Spirit of Fire, I welcome you!”

Feel the energy of the south enter your sacred space. Then walk to the west, hold your hands above your head, and say:

“Hail to the Guardian of the West,
The giving Apple Tree.
Loving and opening, emotional and otherworldly center,
You know the heart is the key to happiness.
Bring to me the acceptance of my inner truth
And the generosity to share it with the world.
Apple Tree, Spirit of Water, I welcome you!”

Once you feel the calming presence of the west in your circle, walk to the north. Hold your arms above your head, and say:

“Hail to the Guardian of the North,
The enduring Holly Tree.
Bright and gay, protective and compassionate partner,
You shift with the currents of change, adjusting to seasons and spirituality.
Bring to me the courage to alter my perceptions
And the ability to persevere through trials.
Holly Tree, Spirit of Earth, I welcome you!”

Be sure to light each candle after you have requested the presence of each elemental tree. Having called for the aid and guidance of the four directions, return to the center of your sacred space and sit down. Think of the goddess Brigid in all her many guises: powerful smith, watery healer, illuminating muse, preserved saint, forgotten goddess, fire, sun, land, divine. When you feel her nearby, place your hands over your heart and say”

“Most blessed Brigid,
Bright Arrow,
Arousing, swirling, teaching,
Direct my words and
Focus my art
To resonate your will
Beneath the sky, beneath the sea.
Goddess of the sun and
Of the eternal fire,
You inspire.

Most sacred Brigid,
Sudden flame,
Shaping, melding, purifying,
Forge my hands and
Guide my heart
To do your bidding
Beneath the sky, beneath the sea.
Goddess of the sun and
Of the eternal fire,
You transform.

Most honoured Brigid,
Living light,
Calming, soothing, restoring,
Mend my wounds and
Allow your love
To shine through me
Beneath the sky, beneath the sea.
Goddess of the sun and
Of the eternal fire,
You heal.

Most blessed Brigid,
Living light,
Bright Arrow,
Sudden flame,
Goddess of the sun and
Of the eternal fire,
Arise like a shining sun
And join me in my circle!

Brigid, goddess immortal, most blessed,
I light this candle
In fiery offering to you.”

Light the large candle and take some time to gaze undisturbed into its flame. Feel its warmth and envision the goddess Brigid welcoming you with open arms. When you feel relaxed and open, put the two bowls of dirt in front of you and concentrate on the holiday Imbolc. When you feel ready, say:

“Imbolc is a time to plant my seeds, to begin anew, forging ahead to create my own destiny. The Goddess, as young mother, protects and nurtures the God, just as the earth protects and nurtures the warming seeds in the ground. May she protect and nurture my inner seed, my inner growth, so that I may flourish in the beauty and vastness of spring. We are all flowers waiting in the gentle arms of the Mother for the soothing warmth of the equinox sun. We are all burgeoning power, waiting for our time to bloom.”

Plunge your hands into one of the bowls of dirt. Feel the dirt between your fingers, warm and dry or cool and moist. Close your eyes and empty your stress, anxiety, concerns, and worries into the soil. Feel your old hurts and old impressions of self seep out of your heart, making their way into your long fingers. They move slowly but deliberately into the very tips of your fingers, and when you are ready, they release into the soil, freeing you from their self-destructive grip. When you have emptied yourself of the negative in your life, in your spirit, and in your soul, shake the dirt from your fingers. Hold your hands over the first bowl of dirt and cleanse them with water from the watering can. (You will have to do one at a time). Wipe your hands on the towel.

Pour the seeds into your hands, holding them tightly. Concentrate on the goal or ideal that you would like to bring into your life. Your goal is like these seeds, burgeoning with possibility, not quite sprouted but filled with the life force of the goddess Brigid. With your mouth pressed tightly to the seeds, say:

“By Brigid, goddess of the forge and transformation, I name thee (your goal or ideal).
By Brigid, goddess of the hearth and healing, I name thee (your goal or ideal).
By Brigid, goddess of bard craft and creativity, I name thee (your goal or ideal).”

Blow lightly on the seeds, placing your energy and essence onto them, melding the two energies into one. Then plant the seeds in the second bowl of dirt and water them with the watering can. Hold your hands over the newly planted seeds, and send them love and support. Be the Goddess to these seeds just as the goddess Brigid nurtures the seeds of your dreams.

Place some bread and butter and milk into your libation bowl as a sacrifice for Brigid and the four elemental trees. While you do this, state:

“I honour Brigid and the Cherry, Rowan, Apple, and Holly Trees for sanctifying and sharing in this ceremony with me. I give you this sacrifice of my hands and my heart as a symbol of my love and connection to you.”

Then eat and drink as much bread and butter and milk as you would like. When you have cleaned up the food and drink, concentrate once again on the goddess Brigid. Hold your hands out to her and say:

“I thank you, Brigid, for your presence here in my circle,
For giving me warmth of heart and hearth.
As the sisters of old, I have honoured you
In the traditional way.
May my love for you be felt through time and space,
Across the universe, upon the earth, and under the sea.
Although the light of this candle goes out,
I carry your flame in my breast.

Most blessed Brigid,
Living light,
Bright Arrow
Sudden blaze,
Goddess of the sun and
Of the eternal fire,
I guard your flame.

Blessed be.”

Quench the fire of the large candle and then say:

“I thank the Holly, Apple, Rowan and Cherry Trees for their presence in my circle. May I forever learn from their generous gifts and hidden, secret knowledge. May their trunks grow tall and sturdy, and may they be honoured for their nurturing, mature wisdom. May their presence be remembered and enjoyed for all time.

Hail to the Holly Tree, tree of courage and change.
(Blow out the green candle).

Hail to the Apple Tree, tree of love and generosity.
(Blow out the blue candle).

Hail to the Rowan Tree, tree of inspiration and healing.
(Blow out the red candle).

Hail to the Cherry Tree, tree of beauty and sacrifice.
(Blow out the yellow candle).

I honour you. Blessed be.”

Return to the center of your sacred space and say:

“My rite is ended. May I go with the peace and love of the Goddess in my heart. Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet Again!”

Blessing of Gratitude to Brigid

I thank you, Brigid, for your presence here in my home,
For giving me warmth of heart and hearth.
As the sisters of old, I have honoured you
In the traditional way.
May my love for you be felt through time and space,
Across the universe, upon the earth, and under the sea.
Although the light of this candle goes out,
I carry your flame in my breast.

Most blessed Brigid,
Living light,
Bright arrow,
Sudden blaze,
Goddess of the sun and
Of the eternal fire,
I guard your flame.

Wiccan Cartoon #9

Wiccan Cartoon #8

Wiccan Cartoon #7

Yule Meditation

Imagine that the room exists in this “other time and other place”, perhaps as a part of a stone-and-log house tucked far off in the forest…

At the south of this rustic room you see a heavy, old-looking door set into the wall. It is of heavy wood and hung with a wreath of holly. You go over to the door and push on it: the door opens easily and beyond you see snow, trees, and white-covered hills in the distance under a late-afternoon Sun. Although you know the light wind and the snow about your feet must be cold as you step through the door, you still feel warm and comfortable as though the talisman that you wear gives you the warmth your body, your hands, and your feet need from within. You are dressed as you deem appropriate for this trek through a world of snow and magick. You pull the door shut behind you, noting that it is set into a small stone hut with a straw-thatched roof.

The trees are lightly powdered with snow, and there is the sound of distant wind in the trees. A path leads off to the east, away from the declining Sun, and this you take. The snow crunching under your feet is usually ankle-deep, though sometimes drifting more, sometimes blown away to bare ground beneath. There is a chill and a bite in the air, though the cold does not bother you.

The path leads on down into the snowy forest. Overhead low, heavy clouds are moving in, with the promise of more snow likely. There is the sound of wind in the treetops and somewhere a raven calls in the distance. A few flurries of snow swirl about you as you continue on the trail that slants down farther into the evergreen forest. There are tracks in the snow before you, and you can see that others have been here quite recently.

There is a scent of wood smoke in the sharp, cold air, and ahead you can hear the sound of bells somewhere ahead, and distant voices. The trees open out into a clearing ahead, and you can see a small, ornate village; the picturesque type you would expect to see in the mountains and the snowy forest. They are half-timbered, with slanting roofs of thatch and shingle. Smoke rises from the chimneys, and there are candles in the small windows, behind the thick, tinted glass. Your path becomes the one short street in this little village as you continue along. There are people here, dressed in rough, archaic styles; laughing, drinking and singing, with children yelling and running through the snow and hurling snowballs from time to time. Although this is a village of peasants and foresters, it is a joyous one, particularly at this season. Wreaths of holly and ivy are hung on all the doors and the good smells of cooking waft from within.

A group of men in rough, fur-trimmed coats walk and stagger past with steaming tankards in their hands, attempting to sing in harmony some song that is festive and almost familiar. Although there are many people about, none seem to notice you as you walk down the packed snow of the street.

Ahead is a cluster of people of all ages, laughing and shouting together, for something seems to particularly spark their merriment. As you approach the children, women and men happen to move apart somewhat and you see that there is an old, bent woman there, leading a goat about whose neck is a garland of straw and ivy. The old woman is laughing with the rest and is obviously the center of attention. She waves her tankard at some of the men and shouts a suggestion that reduces them to laughter. From a large, old bag, once ornately embroidered but now dirty and tattered, she pulls out a small carved toy and gives it to a child, and another to a young girl who takes it and hugs her. She tugs on the rope about the goat’s neck and pulls him along towards you. Then the old woman looks up and sees you. She grins a near-toothless grin, pulls her shawl closer about her head and beckons for you to come nearer. She swats at her goat, who has begun to butt against her.

She is cheerful, lively and quite ugly, with warts and even a bit of a beard on her angular chin. Her voice is like a crow, but she is obviously much liked here and definitely the life of the festivities with her raucous and bawdy good humour. She comments that you are very obviously a stranger here and that it would surprise the locals if they could see you, as odd as you look. But she welcomes you, then turns toward the forested hills which rise on the other side of the small village; she points with one gnarled, bent finger. The old woman tells you to go on out beyond the town, to the old stone circle on the other side of the hills and wait there. She says goodbye, then cackles with laughter as she turns toward a pair of boys who are pulling on her tattered cloak, threatening to swat them with her broom and turn them into toads. They laugh and run and she talks to her goat, who also has been nibbling on her raggedy clothes. Then she hobbles over to a group of women to begin an animated, loud conversation. You continue on down the street. The people about you seem not to notice you as they celebrate this season, singing and calling greetings to one another.

The tavern, stables and the houses are warm, cozy and ornate, with carved, half-timbered structures and small windows of leaded glass. As we proceed down the street part the last sod-roofed sheds and to the small fields, it once more becomes a path, with snow that crunches beneath your feet.

At the edge of the field the path passes beneath a high portal like an inverted “V”, made of two carven logs. You cannot make out any meaning to the angular letters of the strange alphabet carved on the portal, though where the two logs cross near the top the high ends look like stylized hawks or eagles. The last light of the setting Sun breaks through momentarily so that the high gate seems to shine like red gold as you pass through it.

The trail passes through the snow-covered underbrush and then into the blue-gray shadows of the forest, with snow flurries whirling down from the dimming sky overhead through the snow-covered evergreen boughs to either side. The air is sharp and cold, with the slight scent of evergreens and the delicate touch of occasional snowflakes on your face.

There is the sound of a bird in the distance, a sort of croaking “caw, caw” that must be from a raven, faint at first, then louder as it approaches. You look up through the snow-flecked dimness to see the dark shadow overhead. The bird obviously sees you and swirls down in your direction in a beating of ebony wings that shakes the snow from the trees all about you so that it falls like a miniature blizzard. The big bird lands on the broken trunk of a dead tree next to you, and the wind stirred by her wings is surprisingly strong. The swirling of the snow fades away and the large black raven is perched on a dead branch near to you, about eye level. The bird cocks its head to the side and looks at you with a quizzical, mischievous expression uncannily like the old crone you had met back in the town. You pause for a couple of minutes, looking at the raven as she looks at you. You listen, and perhaps you hear with your mind what the Old One has to say.


The raven decides that it is time to depart. With a loud, raucous “caw” she spreads her great back wings and beats them powerfully. The snow swirls suddenly about you so that you cannot see the bird, though you can feel the strong wind of her wings, lessening along with the diminishing sound of their beating as she flies away. The snow flakes, soft and cold on your face, settle about you and the raven is gone, though you can hear her call fading over the dark trees, far away. You continue walking along the snow-covered road.

The trees overhead are higher and thicker, and the evergreen forest darker and more dense on either side. You can hear the sound of some animal off to the side (perhaps a deer) startled by your passing, as it crashes through the undergrowth and snow falls from the bushes to the ground. There is the sound of wind in the treetops far off, then closer. Here and there sheets of snow fall from the boughs of the trees as the wind stirs them, and you are wrapped in the swirling snow for awhile as you continue. You can see little except for the path as you continue.

The wind fades somewhat, and the swirl of snow from the upper branches lessens. In the deepening dimness you can see that the trail has begun to incline upward and the trees are lower and thinning. You continue farther and the darkening sky can be seen more and more. The Full Moon has risen, and floods the sky and the treetops with bright silver light, though the shadows are still deep. The trees thin enough so that you can see you are at the edge of a great, open meadow - perhaps a plain - that stretches far to the north and the east.

A hill rises ahead and to the left of you and, in the still moonlight, you can see a high circle of standing stones atop the hill. You walk toward it through the slightly deeper snow, looking at the symmetry of the standing circle of monoliths and at the sparkling stars beyond, glistening in the bitter night air. All is still, and far overhead you can hear the calling of a flock of birds as they wing south. Their call fades into the distance as you reach the stone circle, to reach out and touch the icy rock of the first monolith. You walk to the center of the great circle and pause to look around. From where you came you can see the dark forest, and farther to the east seems to be mountains and perhaps more forest. Off to the northeast seems to be some clouds and perhaps a misting of snow.

Somewhere, far off in the distance, you can hear the faint howling of wolves and, somewhat closer, what might sound like the baying of hounds: hunting dogs of some sort. The wind begins again, soft at first from the north across the vast, empty plain. It is bitter cold, though the icy breeze does not bother you as it blows harder, whirling the snow before it so that you feel the cutting sharpness of the blowing snow. The wind is harder yet, with snow whirling about the black stone monoliths, the bright moonlight making it all look like whirls of silvery whiteness with icy spangles dancing between and about the great rocks.

Off to the northeast, from out of the blowing, bitingly cold snow you hear the hounds again, closer now. You hear other sounds from other creatures: yapping, howling, caterwauling screams, and, as they draw closer, even some gibbering which do not sound like they come from any animals of which you know. Always, there is the deep baying of the hounds in the distance, drawing closer. You ease back across the stone henge through the driving, sparkling snow to one of the great stone monoliths, and stand against it in the shadows to watch what is approaching this place.

From the northeast to the southwest you can see something dark and shadowy run swiftly and silently across the center of the stone circle. Then others rush past behind it, both large and small. Some call raucously, others howl and shriek in strange voices. They are hard to make out through the driving snow. Most look like some kind of animals, though many are hulking, misshapen creatures with eyes that glow scarlet in the snowy dimness, and white, long teeth that glisten in the moonlight. The ground rumbles with their passing and the snow swirls all the more densely in and around the circle of dark stones. More of the chaotic, bestial things come, stamping with the baying of the hunting hounds ever closer behind them. They scream, bellow and even laugh wildly, though there seems to be no intelligence, no mind, no sanity to any of them. You feel the almost physical waves of raw elemental power, chaotic and uncontrolled, that seems to be all about these strange, fearsome things, passing through the dimness of the whirling snow like a wild waterfall of greys and blacks.

The belling of the hounds is close now, and the horde of fleeing, shadowy creatures begins to thin, for most of the herd seems to have gone past, heading off to the southwest into the driving snow. A few last ones come lolloping through, some seeming almost human, some very bestial, others large, huge, and hulking, their jaws slavering and their harsh breath clearly audible through the icy wind. Then for a few moments the stone circle is empty again.

A group of large animals pause at the edge of the circle, and you can sense that they are looking about, sniffing the air, listening for a moment. Then the deep, bellowing bark of the hounds fills the air and they run through the stone circle, eyes glowing yellow in the darkness. One of them passes nearby, sees you and pauses for a moment. It is a very large, powerfully built animal with a massive, thick neck and sharp teeth; its body is dark, but the head is definitely red in colour, seeming almost to glow in the dimness. The great hound sniffs the air in your direction, regards you closely with its glowing, yellow eyes and runs off to follow the others of its pack, giving a deep, barking voice as it chases after the chaotic horde.

Again all is still and silent in the stone circle, except for the blowing snow and the silver of the moonlight. Then a glistening figure in silver armour, mounted on a large, white horse, appears between two of the great standing stones nearby. You see the rider’s helmeted head, with the broad spread of glistening silver antlers, turn toward you; he snaps the reins and the big horse walks over to halt in front of you in a jingling harness and with breath steaming in the bitter cold wind. The rider looks down at you.

His full armour glistens brightly in the full moonlight, ornate and finely fashioned armour of a very old style, looking familiar as though you can almost remember having seen it somewhere, long ago. The polished helmet has the visor closed, so that you cannot see his face. The helmet is set with antlers seemingly fashioned of pure, sparkling silver and wreathed in holly and ivy. There is a definite sparkling glow in the air about his head and his antlers. A long sword in an engraved, jewelled sheath hangs by his side, as does a large, ornate hunting horn. He lifts his silver-gauntleted hand and raises his visor with an almost musical chime.

In the full moonlight the face of the horned rider is extremely handsome, almost supernaturally so, as befits the rest of his appearance. From what you can see of his hair it is almost like sun gold, (or of silver, for you cannot really tell in the moonlight). He smiles at you and wishes you a joyous Yule, then adds that not many come here any more, and it is good to see those of the Old Ways once again. He laughs in a voice which is rich and musical and tells us to come again at a time when he is not so busy. He points off to the east and says that if you head off in that direction you will find another who will be happy to see you, just over the next hill and through the veil of snow. He tells you to just remember that space as well as time may vary in these lands, for you are beyond the far boundaries of the world of men.

His great white stallion snorts and stamps the ground restlessly. He reaches forward to pat the neck and scratch the mane of his mount. “Now I must be going. These lands have to scoured clean by the rising of the Sun.” He calls farewell, snaps down the glittering visor of his helmet and slaps the reins, nudging the horse with his boot heels. As the great stallion leaps away he waves to you, the glistening silver of his armour and his antlered helmet almost seems to throw off sparkles in the bright moonlight. While the armoured rider disappears between the tall standing stones, he is reaching for the horn that swings by his side. Then he is gone, though you hear the rich, pure tone of his horn, echoing and re-echoing across the snowy plains, and in the far distance the calling of the hounds answers back. Then all is silent and still once more, except for the blowing snow.

You pause for a few moments, listening for faint sounds disappearing in the far distance, then walk in the direction which he pointed. The snow thins as you walk away down the hill from the stone circle, and you see that there is a faint path in the snow; perhaps some sort of a trail which is on the frozen ground beneath. The touch of occasional snowflakes is soft against your face as you continue, the wind fading and the stars coming out more clearly overhead. It is still and silent by the time that you reach the bottom of the hill and start up the next. Looking up at the sky to the north you notice what seems like pale curtains of light, shifting and shimmering, glowing in rays and sheets of yellow, blue, red, orange, green and violet.

Patterns that are vague, yet bright, seem almost to crackle in the moonlit night sky, ever-changing, far off in the star-spangled night. As you reach the top of the next hill you see that the rippling and changing lights stretch from the horizon to far overhead, spreading to cover the entire northern half and more of the sky constantly moving, changing sheets, flowing beams, and sparkling, iridescent curtains of colour crackling above.

The snow crunches beneath your feet and all is bitter cold, though you do not feel the chill. As you start down the hill you see that at the bottom is the edge of a large, hard-frozen lake that extends out to the far northern horizon. The ice is smooth in most places that you can see, and powdered with snow. Far out the ice has broken, by the winds, most likely, and tumbled up into what look like mountains of angular white here and there. These high, tumbled mounds catch the moonlight oddly. Some of them seem to glow from within pale elf-fires, cold and desolate. You are near the edge of the lake now, and begin to walk alongside it. Examining the lake carefully, you see that between the great ice-mounds the lake surface still has broad and far areas which are smooth and unbroken, glistening in the moonlight with the pale colour of the borealis.

You walk farther along the edge of the frozen lake, with the snow crunching beneath your feet. Perhaps it is only a trick of your eyes, but the northern lights seem to grow richer and more vivid in their rippling and flowing colours; although all is silent, it seems as though you should hear a buzzing and a crackling from the brightening colours in the sky.

Looking more carefully out toward the north across the wide expanse of the glittering lake, it seems as though you can make out a sparkling in the north, like stars glimmering just at the horizon. You pause and gaze closely at the sparkling and the glittering, and by degrees we can now make out, far off across the ice, a great, lofty structure which looks to be of crystal, as though fashioned from the ice, the stars and the glowing and shifting lights in the sky.

As your eyes adjust you see it more clearly now, a far distant castle out on the wide lake, or beyond it. Its towers are impossibly high and slender, of pale, icy blue and violet. It is a slender, high sculpture of delicate, crystalline beauty, glistening in the moonlight and the rippling rainbow colours of the northern lights. The great castle is far too delicate, too high and insubstantial a structure to be fashioned by human hands.

There seems a mist of snow out on the lake surface near the castle, and a movement. From out of the mist comes a faint blue-violet glow, brightening as you watch, for out of the glow something is approaching swiftly across the lake. It comes rapidly, and now you can make out that it is a sled of some sort, drawn by animals. You can now see three of them. It draws nearer, and the sound of sleigh bells becomes clearer, jingling and tinkling across the ice. It is a sled, pulled by three large reindeer hitched side by side under a carved and painted wooden arch, harnessed with many bells which sound constantly in the icy air. You see that the sledge is painted and carved intricately, glistening in the moonlight and the aurora.

There is a nimbus of frosty light about the driver and sole occupant of this now slowing sled, about the sledge itself, and about the three antlers beasts which draw it, their breaths glowing in the cold air like blue fire. The driver of the sled is a woman, you now see, with long, blue-white hair, touched with shadows of gold, blowing over her full fur collar as she rides. She wears a long coat of glistening iridescent furs and intricately embroidered gloves. The jewels that she wears catch the fire of the aurora borealis, and of the moonlight, glittering like ice at her neck and scattered through her hair. Her features are perfect and finely chiselled, like a sculpture in pale ice; definitely, this being seems to be “not of this Earth.”

She comes closer,, slowing, and you can hear the thin sound of the sled’s metal runners on the ice. The woman pulls back on the reins as she comes neat to the edge of the lake alongside you, and her horned beasts slow and stop. They are restless but they wait, their breath misting blue in the moonlight and their eyes the colour of the sky-fires above. You walk toward her as she regards you closely, looking at your hammer pendant and magickal jewellery. Then in a clear voice like the sound of crystal she tells you that you are welcome in her realms, as are the worthy ones who truly seek the ancient ways.

She looks deeply into your eyes, for you are close now, and her eyes seem to like deep pools of luminous blue flame, drawing in a portion of your consciousness. No words are needed as you begin to know of her, for she speaks directly to your mind. She knows of the distant stars, and of the vast distances between them.

Though she is inhumanly beautiful, like the far-flung aurora of the northern skies, you have the feeling that nonetheless she is ancient beyond the ages. All unchanging, she has seen the ebb and flow of vast aeons of time. She has known the times when the titanic mountains of ice stretched to the skies, and marched slowly far to the south. She has known the distant times before that even, when these icy lands were warm, and other strange races walked the emerald-green Earth. Then she speaks more to you in the silence. And in the silence, you listen.


Then she smiles at you, a cold smile, and points with one elegantly gloved hand to where your path now sparkles in the snow before you, as though frost had marked the way for you to go. She waves farewell and, in a voice like the winter wind, gives you her blessing as she slaps the reins and her great deer begin moving, the sled turning and moving rapidly away across the ice toward the crystalline castle in the distance. You watch her as she disappears rapidly toward the high structure.

Then you notice that the rippling and flowing colours spread across the dark sky have shaped into what seems to be a vortex, a column of intense light and power rising from the faceted, glowing castle up high toward a bright star directly overhead. A column of light and colour rising from the very core of the Earth perhaps and flowing on out beyond the very stars. Then the icy wind rises, and swirling snow obscures your view again, so that all you can see is the Moon and some of the colour flowing in the sky.

You begin walking toward your path marked with the glistening frost. Ahead, just above the horizon, is a single very bright star, and the path points directly toward it as you walk on through the swirling snow blown by the bitter cold wind. You walk up the first hill and down the other side, away from the lake, guided by the glittering trail of frost and the star before you. You go on, and it is as though you are in a trance with what you have seen, knowing only the wind and the blowing snow. If you should happen to stray from the path, the lines of frost will unerringly draw you back again on the path which now inclines more toward the south as the wheel of the sky turns slowly with the Moon. You become conscious that there are low trees now. How much time has passed you are not certain, but you are among hills and low mountains again, and evergreen forests have begun to rise on either side.

You hear the sounds of bells, chiming clear in the cold air and the distant sound of sleigh bells, soft and musical in the distance. You rouse yourself as you walk and look about to see that the tall pines about you are laced with delicate, misting snow and glittering icicles. The wind has faded and the air is still again. Sparkles of light glisten here and there in the snow and ice ribbons in the trees, reflecting and refracting every colour of the rainbow. The bells are clearer, and the glistening in the trees are more bright; you realize that they are more than simple refractions of the Moon and the northern lights.

You smell wood smoke ahead, and your path breaks out into a good-sized clearing before you. A large, half-timbered manor house stands there, its leaded-glass windows sparkling with candles and many-coloured sparkles of jewelled lights glistening even along the flowing curves of the old-style, heavy-shingled roof. The yard before it is bustling with activity as a noisy crowd of short, stocky, gnomish men and women hurry about, preparing for what seems to be some sort of celebration, carrying flickering lamps and gaily wrapped packages, talking and laughing. You can hear cheerful singing in the distance. They do not notice you as you walk toward the big house. There are sleds, and antlered beasts of burden hitched to them.

A figure appears at the door before you, sees you and waves for you to come over to him. He is a big, cheerful man, large and heavy, dressed in brightly-coloured, fur-trimmed leathers. His hair and beard are full and white, and when he laughs the windows seem to rattle, so deep and rich is his voice.

He claps you on the shoulders and welcomes you to his place, stepping outside to be with you. He waves toward his many servants, smiling, and says that the place may be rustic, but it’s cheerful, warm and quite a change from his more northern abodes. The big man looks around with a smile. “I was a god before there were gods,” he says, “Yet still of them all, I am remembered a little.” He pauses for a moment and looks off into the light-sparkling distance, wrapped in his own thoughts. He looks back at you with a deep chuckle and reaches for you in his big hand. “Here,” he says, “I have something for you.” You hold out your hands and he puts something into them that tingles and glows bright, warm, and with every colour of the rainbow, its light shining even on the glistening trees about you. You look at it and gaze at the bright, sparkling rainbow light that gives such a feeling of well-being and strength as it rests almost weightlessly in your hands.

He smiles at you through his thick white beard and looks deep within your eyes with his own bright eyes. “Remember,” he says. “From the stars you came, and to the stars you shall return. Know full well of your immortality. Keep your sense of winder, and work your life so that you strive for perfection.” He waves his big hand over yours, and the light settles into you, pervading you with a feeling of well-being, strength, and wonder as though you could see and know all things. Then it is gone, though you know that his gift is now within you.

He says, “Come, I want to show you something.” He turns toward the deep, snowy forest where there are lights and sparkles in the tree, and leads you on the path that goes deep within where elf-lights of every colour and hue sparkle and glow in and over the trees, within the bushes, and on the snowy ground all around you. The path glistens and glows, sparkling in reds, blues, greens, and yellows. There is thick snow on the ground and in the trees the place seems warm and filled with power, growing stronger as you walk onward. The air is filled with sounds of distant bells and music, gentle and sift, like carols you remember hearing years ago.

There is a clearing ahead, and the Ancient King who leads you stops and points at the vast tree, bigger than any redwood, whose base and gnarled roots are before you. Lights and mists are everywhere, as are the sounds of bells, tiny and faint, large and distant. There are scents in the air like incense. The big man points, and you see that the roots of the gigantic tree (lights glisten as high up into it as you can see) enclose a rustic house, stables and sheds as though they had grown from the tree itself. On closer examination, you see that they are indeed part of the gigantic tree.

The glow is bright as the cheerful, big man leads you on into the house within the tree. There are others here, though they are hard to see: people with features so fine and delicate that they could not possibly be human; beings stocky, massive and elementally powerful; animals, and creatures of pure, coloured light. The place radiates strength and power from every wall and nook. The others are going where you are going. Music seems to be everywhere.

You have passed on into the structure so that by now you seem to be at the very core of the vast tree, where the branches might go forever above us and the roots forever below. With all the others, seen and unseen, you enter the inner chamber, where the throne is at the heart of it all, rough like that which has grown out of the Earth, with the small bed nearby.

The light is bright, and the air is perfumed. The Mother is there, she who is at the center of all, holding the new Child in her arms. It seems hard to keep your eyes on the Lady, on the Child, for the light is brilliant, and it seems that vast power rises through the very walls and especially the floors of this rustic place to pervade all. It is as though everything is linked with flowing light that passes into and through you.

You bow and give greeting to the Great Mother. She smiles, and it is as if a forest suddenly burst into blossom. She looks down at her Child, proud of the new life which has come forth to spread everywhere.

Your bearded friend eases back, and you leave with him. You walk back through this place of elemental power and of life, and when you get outside he shakes your hand and clasps you about your shoulders. “It is time for you to go,” he says, “but be sure to come back again, to this, the Source.” He points the way for you on the path that glistens off indefinitely into the shimmering and sparkling dimness of the forest. You bid him farewell and walk away, down the path. It goes on, with the lights of all colours fading somewhat, the singing and then the bells fading into the sift and peaceful, glistening night of the enchanted forest.

You walk on, for how far you are not really certain, and then, abruptly, the path ends at the heavy wooden door set into a small stone hut under a small, thatched roof of straw. There is a wreath of holly on the door, and you realize that this is the place from which you started. You push open the door, and see within the room from where you started your journey. Perhaps hours have passes, or perhaps only minutes. You step into the room and push the door shut, then go over to where you can relax for a much-needed rest.