Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Reference: Cursing Stones

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Charging a stone with malevolence is an ancient Celtic method of delivering a curse. 

Charge the stone by holding it in your hands while allowing yourself to be engulfed by feelings of rage, jealousy, anger, or hatred. The stone will store your this emotion. When charging is complete, terminate the process by setting the stone down and consciously changing your train of thought. Reserve the stone for future use.

Should one wish to curse someone or something, hold the stone within your hands, stroking it, while turning it counter-clockwise and murmuring curses.

Source: The Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells by Judika Illes

Read more about this idea here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Practicing What I Preach

Today I decided to sit outside. It is cold, it is gloomy and I truly didn't want to face the biting chill of the wind.

However, I am currently putting together a year and a day program for my new online coven The Coven of Moondust and Starlight and one of the assignments is to sit outside, to commune with the Earth and to journal about your connections made while sitting on Mama Gaia.

I have been practicing for 7 years now and I feel that I know of my connection to the Earth. I know what it feels like to lay out on the grass and feel the thrum energy skimming below the surface. I know what it's like to stand outside at night and stare up into the endless abyss of stars and feel the Moon shining on my face.

I haven't done it in a while, now that it's colder here in New England. It's a chilly 28 degrees outside as I write this, but I felt that it was only fair that I tugged on my winter coat and shoes since that's what I'd be asking these people to do during my program.

So, after getting bundled up I grabbed a purple pen (because purple is the only color pen you'll see me write with), my journal and Geronimo, my plush familiar.

I sat down on the very cold earth and I took out my journal and noted the time since I had promised myself that I'd only be outside for five minutes. Before I could even begin to close my eyes to meditate and connect with the Earth, it began to snow.

To some this is unimportant, but I have been waiting for the first snow of 2016 for 12 days now. It hasn't snowed in my area all winter. No snow in December. None in November. I think a dusting in October.

The moment was perfect, and I'm glad that I scribbled it down into my journal. Here is what I wrote:

"The wind chime I have charmed is tinkling, the wind is biting and my fingers are being dusted by the light snow that started to fall the moment I sat down. It is the first snow of the new year and I am endlessly happy that I get to be here for it."

This is why I preach about sitting outside in nature. These fleeting moments are the important ones. These are the moments that can't be captured on Instagram, or in a Facebook status, or even in a blog post. This moment that I got to experience was a real memory and that's what I really want all of my new students to experience. Real life, out in the world, creating their own spiritual path.

If you're interested, please join me. Head over to the the Coven website and read up on the rules and then download the application.

Love and Light,
Ristoria

Monday, January 4, 2016

Why I Don't Use White Sage (Anymore).

White sage is one of those herbs that has been touted around the witchy world for years and years. Everyone and their mother (it seems) think that this is THE herb to go to for cleansing and clearing.

What many people don't know is that in recent years is that white sage, which is a native to California, is on the verge of going extinct.

Due to the droughts and over harvesting - much to do with New Age folks utilizing it like there's no tomorrow - it might go away for good.

I really don't want this to happen, which is why I haven't been utilizing it for...oh a good 6 or 7 months now.

*GASP* you say. How do I smudge you say. You blink at me with unbelieving eyes. "No SAGE?!"
Yup. No sage.

Never fear - Palo Santo to the rescue! Palo Santo is a wood that when lit and blown out, works like it's own smudge stick.

It even has some of its own health benefits!
       

          Palo Santo is traditionally used for relieving common colds, flu symptoms, stress, asthma,                   headaches, anxiety, depression, inflammation, emotional pain and more. This Essential Oil is               great for Aromatherapy and can also be used during massage work to assist in healing.

          Palo Santo can also be simmered in hot water and drank as a tea. Great for calming the immune           and nervous systems for faster recovery of illness. In essential oil form, it is great for physical             pain and inflammation containing high levels of D-Limonene and Monotropenes that are useful           for cancer symptoms.

What's better is that if you buy from the right sellers - it is 100% sustainable, and is only harvested from naturally fallen branches.

I also find that a palo santo stick (which costs me $1.00 at my local witchy shop) lasts a heck of a lot longer than a sage/herb bundle as well, since it's a slower burning wood, instead of a leafy herb.

So, yeah. That's why I don't burn sage. I don't want to contribute to potentially wiping out an entire plant species when there are other alternatives. On the plus side I find that Palo Santo smells better. I don't dig the marijuana-like smell that comes from burning sage (or many other herbs for that matter.)

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear your suggestions and thoughts on this.

Ristoria

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Roll the Dice!

Hello gorgeous! 

I'm writing to let you know that I'm proud of you. 

You made it. You're here, the last night of 2015. For some of you it may already be 2016. 

The New Year to me, is a fresh start, a blank slate, a blank page, a game board with a path of exciting adventures just waiting for me to roll the dice. It can be scary, for sure, but you've got this. 

Through the year you've had experiences and moments and smiles and tears and ALL of that has helped to carve out who you are today. And I am proud of you

I know first hand just how difficult life can be. It can seem that we're in an endless loop of roll two, move forward, only to land on "move backwards 4 spaces." 

There have been times when I've wanted to hastily shove my most treasured items into a backpack, grab all the crumpled dollar bills I had (not many) and the pour those into my car's gas tank so that I could drive until the tank was empty, and then walk until my feet couldn't carry me any farther to a place where no one knew me. 

I would have a new name. A new identity. A new start. 

Each and every time that feeling came up I would turn to my best friend, or my fiancee. I would just need one person to tell me "no." To say "stop, I need you here." That's it, just one person to make me feel that this battle is worth it, one person to say that they needed me, one person to let me know that I mattered. 

You matter. You're needed. It's worth it. 

I promise. 

A new year can be scary, but it's also so, so fun. You have no idea what's in store for you, and everyday is an adventure and I think that this night is the night to remember that. This is the night when we can look at the game board, dice in hand and say "my move." 

Let's roll the dice together. Let's make 2016 great because - I know it's going to be great. 

Happy New Year. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Witches Pyramid: What, Why and When to Utilize It.

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The Witches Pyramid is a set of guidelines that help Witches live and well balanced practice. Some people place a lot of value on this teaching, and others, like me, haven't heard of it until later on in their practice.

There are 4 (sometimes 5, depending on who you're talking to) tenets of this whole teaching.

To Know (Air) - This simply means that you need to study. Anyone who has been on this path for a while knows that this is a never-ending path of learning and growth. In order to become the best Witch you can be, you must be open to new ideas, and you should constantly be reading, writing, observing etc. Air is about communication and intellect, so it makes since that To Know corresponds well with Air.

To Will (Fire) - This one is about intent and will, as it is named. To Will means that you have a reason, a need, to performing any witchcraft that you have. It's always good to practice casting and spell work, but I think that in order for any spell or circle to really work you have to have a need. Not a desire, but a serious need. Scott Cunningham talks a little more about it in his books, if you're interested in looking at it that way.

To Dare (Earth) - This is allllll about putting all that knowledge and firepower to use and daring to GO for it. To Dare is all about having the confidence you need in order to make a spell WORK. This is not the time for doubt, this is not the time to second guess yourself. You GOT this. You know your stuff, you NEED what you're going for and it's GOING to work. Lookit you, you powerful witch.

To Be Silent (Water) - You know you got it going on, but that doesn't mean that everyone else needs to know what's up. I like to think that your energy and magick are for you and no one else. It's a meeting between you and Spirit, the Divine, Deity, whatever. No one else needs to know what goes on in your private relationships. Just like how you wouldn't go screaming about your sex life from the top of your lungs, or posting every nitty gritty detail of your relationship on Facebook. Same. Thing. Some things are meant to stay private, no matter how confident you are. This will automatically protect you from people who doubt your magick, or don't believe in it, or from anyone who isn't accepting of your path. You don't need their negative energies getting in the way of your work.

This next one is sometimes included, sometimes not. I never really learned it, but I figured I'd include it.

To Go (Spirit) - This talks about walking the walk in addition to talking the talk. From what I've gathered it's all about making sure that you are able to do your workings, and to back up all that you've learned, all the energy you put into doing what you do and keeping what you do quiet.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Reference: Snow Magic

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Image Source.

Even though there's no snow here on the East Coast (yet) I figured there are places that had the white stuff falling, so this info might be useful! This article comes from PaganWiccan and I can't say enough good things about this website! Patti is an amazing woman, and her information is always spot on! Enjoy!








Snow Magic 

 When winter rolls around, in some parts of the world there is an abundance of snow. If you live in one of those areas, it makes sense to take advantage of snow’s natural properties and work those energies into your magical endeavors. Think about, for starters, some of snow’s physical characteristics. The most obvious one is that it’s cold. It’s also white. Sometimes it’s light and powdery, other times it may be heavy and wet. How can you incorporate these into your magical workings?
  • If you’re a fan of candles, make ice candles - they’re are a lot of fun and easy to make during the winter months.
  • Build a snowman as a very large magical poppet. Assign a snowman the magical task of being a guardian at the entrance to your property.
  • Got a bad habit you need to get rid of? Form that bad habit into snowballs, and throw them as far away from you as you can.
  • Snow quartz crystals are often associated with fulfillment of hopes and dreams. Use actual snow instead of crystals in workings related to wishes and goals.
  • If someone is bothering you and won’t leave you alone, try this simple bit of magic. Write their name on a slip of paper, and pack it in snow in a ziploc bag. Place the bag in your freezer, and leave it there until the person “chills out.”
  • Go for a walk in the woods on a day that it’s snowing. Enjoy the silence, and the magic of the snowfall - some people report that they have experienced messages from the Divine as they walk on a snowy day. Perhaps it’s because we’re better able to hear the gods when it’s quiet!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Reference: Prayer and Prayer Beads

Lately I have felt the need to utilize prayer beads and I feel like many Pagans would like to do the same, but might not know where to start. mnemosynejewels has written a great piece with awesome ideas, so I thought to share it with you!

Check out my post on working with prayer beads/knotted "rosaries" HERE






PRAYER & PRAYER BEADS  by mnemosynejewels:


Some of us pray as part of our spiritual practices, and our reasons for doing so are as varied and numerous as the gods we pray to. We may pray for help, for guidance, for favor, in devotion, in greeting, in thanks, to feel closer to our gods, or just to talk. Prayer is our direct link to the divine - no tools are needed, and anyone can do it. I’m a prayer bead maker, and prayer beads are a tool, but they are not at all necessary to pray. All you need are your words, or even your thoughts and feelings. If they’re directed toward the divine in communication, to me that’s prayer.

So, what are prayer beads for? While they aren’t necessary to pray, and I say many quick prayers without them, in my experience they can be helpful. Prayer can be quick and easy and frequent, but I think prayer beads have a place too - when you want your prayers to be deliberate, to set apart time for them, to be rituals in themselves.

Unless you’re part of a specific tradition that uses prayer beads, there are no absolute “rules” for how to use them. Here are some ways I’ve personally found them to be helpful:
Prayer beads can be an immediate, physical and visual, connection to a god. When I pick up my prayer beads, I physically feel them vibrating with energy. The moment I pick them up, I’m in a different head-space. Touching the beads can act as a cue to shift you into a prayerful mindset. When you pick them up, you are ready for communion with your god/s.
The use of beads with repeated prayers can induce a trance or trance-like state. I’ve personally experienced states of rapture and trance while using prayer beads. Holding them and speaking simple, repetitive prayers can carry you away. The time can slip away, too. If nothing else, it’s relaxing.
Prayer beads can be used to meditate on specific aspects of your god/s.With the use of colors and symbols that are meaningful, you can focus on aspects of your gods that you love and want to feel connected to, or aspects that you don’t fully understand and want to know better.

Okay, so you have a set of beads. How exactly do you use them? Again, there are no absolute “rules,” though different religions use them in different ways. If you are not part of one of those traditions, here are some ideas to get started:
You can simply hold them while praying spontaneously.
You can assign to each type of bead a different prayer, speak the prayer while holding the first bead, then hold the next bead and repeat. I have a different prayer for each “element” of my beads, with the majority black bone being a simple repeating 2-line chant; the flowers, skull and pomegranate being longer written prayers; and the garnet being a cue to speak spontaneously.
You can designate different sections of beads to focus on different aspects of your god, holding that entire section as you pray.
You can wear them to feel closer to your god/s.
Example - of-the-eucalypts’s prayer beads
Anything else you can think of - be creative!

In closing…I’ve always been amazed by how prayer works. I can’t count the number of times that the perfect answer to a problem has come to me mid-prayer, and how many times I’ve left prayer newly energized, happy, feeling connected to my god and knowing I’ve deepened my relationship with Her.

I wrote this post because I’ve had many people ask questions on prayer and on using prayer beads. Again, they are not necessary for prayer - but if you are interested in using or making them, I hope this has been helpful, or given you ideas.