I’ve always loved the martian landscape of the Southwest. The big empty sky and cactus studded land brings a sense of otherworldliness and stark beauty. As someone who grew up surrounded by the lush trees and farmland of upstate NY, I don’t think I could ever feel comfortable living in this region, though I’m more than happy to travel here from time to time.
As a Pagan I often feel pressure to build my collection of spiritual items so that I can create a more cohesive ritual or spell using all the proper correspondences of herbs, incense, candles and ritual items.
There are a multitude of different types of witches out there in the world and I'd like to give you an introduction to some of them. To begin with, I think it's important to first define what a witch is.
It's certainly tempting to just immediately say 'No, of course witches don't believe in the devil!' But today I'd like to take the time to think deeply about this question and I don't think the answer is as clear cut as many would suggest.
My first memory of incense came from a church service when I was very young. My parents did not often attend church but would make an exception when my mother's parents would come to visit. My grandparents firmly believed in the Episcopalian faith so when they visited we made our yearly pilgrimage to our local church to attend Sunday service.
Imbolc falls on February 1st and 2nd in the Northern Hemisphere and it marks the center point for the dark half of the year. What I love about Imbolc is that it is a celebration of hope; a reminder that Spring is just around the corner.
The first thing you notice when you drive into Savannah is the trees. The branches reach far over the roads creating a thick canopy of green that shades the road from the blazing Georgia sun. Spanish moss trickles down in a delicate lace that adds a sense of sophisticated decay to the atmosphere.
A gathering approaches. I’m in the heart of my home tending to a bubbling brew atop the stove. Cozy knitted socks warm my feet against the October chill and the steam from the pot of wine tickles my nose with the scents of late fall.
The waitress poured my coffee into a delicate porcelain cup as I stared out the window looking towards the old cobblestones that my feet would soon tread. It was hot that morning and the trees in the nearby park hung thick and languid waiting for a breeze to sway their leaves.
There it was, a lonely glass filled with "two-buck chuck" wine and next to it a small plate with four town-house crackers. The ritual was over and as I turned to partake in the "cakes & ale" portion of my full moon ritual it somehow felt all wrong.
The roots of gnarled oak trees snaked underneath the sidewalks. They cracked and broke the pavement - a reminder that here, in New Orleans, nature is in control. I later learned that these ancient sentinels were in fact mostly hollow as termites slowly gnawed at them from the inside out.
A crowd of ancient Romans roar with applause as a simple laurel wreath is placed upon the head of a victor --so begins the history of the flower crown. Awarded to heroes and emperors to signify respect and success, this simple crown of leaves soon became a powerful and regal symbol.
We are all brought up with the classical myths of Ancient Greece and Rome. We can recall their stories, visualize the characters, and visit their ancient temples and sites. By comparison, the Norse myths seem shrouded in mystery and misunderstandings.
One should not judge a book by it’s cover, yet I am often guilty of such an act. How could anyone merely pass by this book without flipping through its pages, anxious to discover the mysteries contained within.
The snow still glimmers atop the grass and the trees still bow to bitter winds. Yet underneath the frozen ground a bright flame sparked to life upon this morning. A red flicker beneath a mountain of front.
Imbolc is a time for fresh starts. This sabbat is all about rebirth, new growth and emerging from the darkness. Bits of green begin to poke out of the rain- and snow-soaked ground and whispers of spring appear everywhere, once you start looking for them.
My life is becoming quite chaotic (last minute holiday shoppers unite!) as the end of December approaches. My weekends have been filled with commuting back and forth all over the city to various dinners and festivities and I haven’t had as much time as I would like to focus on my practice.