Candle Magic

Of all the diffrent magical techniques used in witchcraft I’ve always considered candle magic the most practical and acessable. Since I am getting back on the broomstick it seemed like a good skill to focus on.

It is a simple way to add a lot of power to your workings. Here are some basics about it if you are new to the craft.

The first way is with the color of candles you use. You can use a colors that coordinates with the holiday such as yellow and orange for fall. You can use colors that relate to the type of magic you are trying to do such as green for prosperity, pink for love and so on. Deities also have associated colors and using the appropriately colored candles is a way to strengthen your connection to them. There is a lot of color charts avalable on the internet to help you find the best ones for your need.

The second is with fragrance. Much like with color various fragrances are associated with seasons, magic type, and deities. In addition to this fragrances have the added bonus of having healing properties. Aromatherapy is great side subject to study to really get the most out of this kind of scent magic. But in general fragrance in candle magic is applied in two different ways. The first is by using scented wax. The second is by dressing the candle in scented oils.

A third way is with carving or painting symbols on to the candle related to your magical goals.

You can also use various shaped candles, and candle holders to add additional symbolism. For example a pine tree shaped candle would be great for a Yule ritual, or a rose shaped candle for the goddess Venus. You could use a skull candle holder for ancestor veneration, or a sea shell for Poseidon.

This past weekend I decided to take my candle magic to the next level and tried making my own. I can custom blend my own combination of colors and fragrances as well as mix in herbs and other magical ingredients. I can also pick my own containers, and molds to build on the magical intentions. In addition the whole time I am creating the candles I can pour my energy, intentions and prayers into the process.

In addition to all this candles are great for meditation as a focal point. You can also try flame and smoke scrying as well.

I fell in love with the candle making process and candle magic in general. So much so I have extended the offer out to my friends and family to make them custom ritual and spell candles to add to thier own practice.

Book Review: Pop Culture Magic

Pop Culture Magick, An Exploration of Modern Magick by Taylor Ellwood. (2004 edition)

This book contains advanced magical techniques and is about incorporating pop culture in to your already existing practice. The author makes the assumptions that the reader already understands basic magical theory and has the following skills:

  • Knows how to invoke and evoke
  • Knows what thoughtforms are and how to create and use them
  • Knows what an egregore is
  • Knows how to perform aspecting Knows shielding
  • Knows glamoury
  • Knows sigil magic
That’s a lot right! Truthfully if you don’t understand these magical concepts your going to have a hard time following this book. The author, whom I am pretty sure is practicing choas magic, divides this book up by media type, instead of by magic type or genres. As such the author goes on long rants about each media type and how to use it for insperation in creating spells and rituals. For example dressing as a your favorite superhero while doing a protection spell to bring forth that characters energy in to the magic.

While the overall message of “be creative and find inspiration in pop culture” is good, the author’s writting style is not. It was more like a long series of slightly connected rants rather than a coherent instruction manual. The one thing I found particularly distasteful was the author’s constant consumeristic insistence that every thing exist just to be exploted and then discarded. I feel that such a view point is insulting to fandoms and nostalgia. Which was weird because the author clearly had a lot of favorites characters, authors, shows and games, and was passionate about them, but also simultaneously dismissive of them. Small side note this book was written in 2004 so all the pop culture references are rather dated.

Overall it was a rough read and not a well thought out book despite the great concept. I would like to point out again this is the 2004 edition. The author has revisited the book and rerealeased it in 2018 with much nicer cover art. The 2018 edition was so popular that Ellwood went on to write several sequels. I can only assume that the second version is much more user friendly and overall is probably a better read. Maybe later down the road I’ll look in to the newer version to see how much it has improved between the 14 year gap.

I was disappointed by how much I disliked this book because by chance I had unknowingly acquired a signed copy. I had purchased this book from the gift shop at the Buckland Witchcraft Museum last summer.

Mabon in Ohio: Forget Apples It Is All About The Paw Paws

Mabon is a pagan holiday celebrating the Autumn Equinox. It is closly related to apples because apples are harvested right around this time of year. The stores are bursting with all things apple cider flavor, carmel apples and other such goodies. But for me these part of Mabon is the paw paws.

So mid to late September is paw paw season. The paw paw is a native fruit to the Appalachian range which includes Ohio. It is a short tree that grows along side creeks and has largish tropical looking leaves. The fruit is ugly looking, thin-skinned and is the most delicious thing ever. It had a custard like textured flesh when ripe and taste like a banana and a mango had a baby. There is a tiny time frame in which the fruit is avalable, and it’s hard getting them at peak ripeness. They don’t store or transport well, and go bad quickly.

I first learned about them from a fantastic book called “Eating Appailach”.

Going foraging for paw paws is one of my kid’s and I favorite early fall activites. We are luck enough to have a nice patch near our home and check every week for the precious fruit. The trees don’t bare a lot of the fruit. Maybe if we are luck we can get 6-8 per tree. You need 2 paw paws to equal 1 regular banana in recipes because they are full of brown colored, butter-bean sized seeds, which can be dried and used in crafts and jewlery much like the Buckeye is.

Every year we try a diffrent recipes with the fruit. This year I made a sponge cake with a paw paw Custard filling, and topped with homemade whip cream. It was amazing. I think warm paw paw custard is my new favorite way to eat it.

Fun gardening fact I have managed to get two paw paw growing in my garden from seed. They are only about a foot and a half high and 2 years old. It is my understanding it will be a minimum of 3 more years till they produce fruit.

Magically speaking I associate them with the element of water because of thier proximity to rivers and creeks. They are short trees growing in the shade of bigger trees like the black walnut so they have a lot to teach us about finding opportunities, survival and modesty. They teach us we don’t always have to be the out in the open to do amazing work. The fruits teach us that appearances can be deceiving, timing is everything, and humble offerings are often the best. Not a lot of people know about them and so they are like one of the best kept local secrets, and the fruits are magical treasures only avalable to the seasoned adventures.

If ever there was a tree that was a perfect representation of the spirit of witchcraft it is the humble paw paw.

Late Summer Gardening

I am writting this sitting on my phone in front of my fire pit. (The auto correct on it is less than reliable so apologies in advance, but if you have been ready my blog for a while your probably use to the typos by now.) The air has a chill to it that says fall is coming, but still getting the occasional mosquitoe bite despite sitting between two citranell candles. So garden updates what is going on here. Spent Sunday doing a lot of work in the garden. Pulled a lot of weeds and was overjoyed to find my ground cherries had come up and were just hiding behind my bolted lettuce. Yay ground cherries. The kid and I totally did a happy dance. We love these sweet little fruits.

We put some mulch down in two of the beds. Then we pulled in some cabbages, beets and peppers. We cut back the herbs and dried them out in the dehydrator.  Looking foward to making a lot of pesto tomorrow evening. 

We planted seeds for our fall crop of radish and lettuce. We also planted some mums for some lovely late summer blossoms.  And of course started making plans for next year. We want to expand out the raised bed area and add a pumkin / squash patch. Although I think I might have to invest in a deep freezer, and might actually have to learn to can too.

I love gardening it helps me feel connected to my grandparents. As a kid I use yo help my grandpa water the garden and green beans. Then we would sit and snap the beans in the kitchen while watching tv. He would put on loony toons whenever they were on. Been missing him a lot here lately.

My grandma would cook the green beans with garlic parsley in a pressure cooker till the were tender. She would often make a cucumber and tomato salad too. There would often be a baggett and goat cheese, and homemade jam on the table too. Dinner at there house was always the best. But isn’t grandma’s food always the best?

Inspiration

Calling it “Inspiration”
It’s a visual commentary on the struggles between the artists vision, versus skill and expression. The artist is trying to recreate a spiritual experience on paper but it’s not quiet the same. Elements are missing or altered because our ability to understand the divine is limited by natural restraints.

Back on the Broomstick

So I got back on the broomstick, and realized the traing wheels have been on the whole time. Ugg. Getting out the wrench and finally taking them off. Well a little wobbly but time to fly for real this time

So two weeks ago I wrote Getting Back on Track about how my spiritual goals had gotten knocked off the rails and I was trying to get my ducks back in a row. Well this is a follow up post. So what progress have I made these past two weeks?

Well I took inventory of all my witchy supplies and made a list of what I needed to stock up on. I decided to try the new pagan shop that opened up on the west side of town called Witch lab. It was like a shop right out of a movie, it was wonderfully witchy and I highly recomend. The whole atmosphere of the place was inspirational. Got a book, some incense, tea and a new fabric mask.

I finished reading Sallust and did a review on it. Then started reading Pop Magic, so will probably have that read and the review up by mid September.

This weekend I went to Mama Witch and had her help me make my first batch of magical bath salts. We used the recipe from The Witch’s Book of Self-care. It was a lot of fun and when I was done I felt like I had one of those videos game graphics pop above my head announcing “Achievement Unlocked: Bath Salt Blending Level 1” So naturally I decided to make the investment and order my own essential oils so I can make more bath salts, and try other things out of the book like, sugar scrubs and body butter. It was great doing hands on magic like that and I found my self wondering why I haven’t been doing more stuff like it. It one of those facepalm moments when you go “damn I’ ve been doing it wrong this whole time”. I am so guilty of being an armchair pagan that just plows through one book after another with out really doing any of the exercises in the books. Going to fix that and expect to see that change in my post moving forward.

Garden update:

I also got out in the garden and pulled some weeds and check on things. I put mums in the front planters. They are yellow and orange to reflect the changing seasons.

And remember dear readers if there is a witchy topic you ever want to see me discuss please leave a suggestion in the comment section.

Book Review: Sallust – On the Gods and the World, Pythagoric Sentences of Demophilus, and Five Hymes by Proclus

This Book is a three for 1 deal. It is a compilation of translations by Tomas Tyalor. It contains Sallust – On the Gods and the World, Pythagoric Sentences of Demophilus, and Five Hymes by Proclus.

This is what I would consider advanced reading. In order to get the most enjoyment out of these ancient works the reader should already be familiar with Greek / Roman mythology. One may also benefit from a passing understanding of Platonic Philosophy.

The first section of this book is ‘On the Gods and the World by Sallust. This work is an examination of Roman / Hellinic theology. This includes the purpose of mythology and the role the gods play in the world. Parts of which are reminiscent to Cicero’s work. I am always facinated with how ancient pagans viewed thier own faith and Sallust’s work is one of the clearest theological writtings I’ve read so far. He even includes an honest view of sacrifices and offerings being of more use to the person performing the act than the god reciving it.

He also discuss classic philosophical motifs such good & evil, providence, fate, and fortune. His work sticking very close to Plato’s. Sullust also discusses the nature of the soul and reincarnation, which he refers to as transmigration of the soul.

Section two of the book ‘The Pythagoric Sentences of Demophilus’. This section is only a few pages long and is a collection quotable words of wisdom. The overall theme of which is reminded me of Stoicism and Yogic philosophies of living a minimalist lifestyle, conteoling anger, and being pious.

Section three of this book is ‘The Hymns of Proclus’. The translator presents the original Greek first and then the traslation. Modern Hellenic practioners may find them useful additions to thier rituals.

List of the 5 Hymns:

To the Sun.

To the Muses

To Venus

To Venus

To Minerva

Getting Back On Track

We are well over the half way point now for 2020 and thought it would looking at how well. I’ve stuck to those new year’s resolutions. Remember that wonderful optimism I had around new years when I wrote “Planning a very witch 2020″, lol.

For starters Covid-19 shut down all yoga classes in my city and with out a regular class my practice fell apart.

I also have not done a great job at establishing a daily spirtual practice at all. Nore have I done anything for the ADF Dedicant Path since Imbolic. Just feel so emotionally exhausted all the time. All the doom and gloom in the air takes a toll on a person. And based on a lot of other pagan blog post I follow this seams to be the normal right now.

So now what? Been trying really hard to get back on that horse and find some motivation. Here is a good podcast on the topic from Druids In Cars.

Physically I have decided to change it up and try something new. I am 1/3 of the way though a “couch to 5k” program. My inspiration comes from an unlikely source, a web comic. See the one good thing about this covid thing is that alot of 5k events have been turned in to virtual runs which allows people who don’t live local to an event, to partcipate. I signed up to do the Beat the Blarg run hosted by the web comic The Oatmeal.

Spiritually, the ADF released a new program called the Hearth Keepers Way which is supposed to be Druidism lite. So thought I’d give it a go and see what happens. Also slowly still plowing through that ever growing book pile. Apparently I’ve been stress buying books here lately.

So expect to see more book reviews soon, and who knows what else. If there is a witchy topic you would like to see me talk about please tell me in the comments.

Book Review: Magicians of the Gods

Magicians Of The Gods by Graham Hancock

This book is the sequel to Fingerprints Of The Gods and I highly recommend you read it before reading Magicians Of The Gods. In Graham Hancock’s previous book he travels around the world looking into similarities in ancient mythology, archaeology and cultures trying to piece the clues together about the possible existence of a antediluvian advanced civilization. Fingerprints of the Gods is a hefty book that is part adventure story, part scientific investigation, and part comparative mythology. He focuses on Egyptians and the Mayans. Graham references this book many times in Magicians of the Gods and as such I think it makes the reading all the more enjoyable having that base knowledge of what he is referring to.

He continues his quest in his book Underworld. It is equally part adventure story, part scientific investigation, and part comparative mythology. This time he he focus on India, Japan, and Malta. He even scuba dives on the sites with his wife and get photographs of mysterious submerged megaliths. While a wonderful book and a great read, reading Underworld is not  required to enjoy Underworld as  he dose not reference it in Magicians Of The Gods.

So with that back ground info out of the way lets get in to Magicians of the Gods. In Grahams’s previous books he figures out that there was indeed a mega disasters in mankind’s ancient past and that it coincided with the Younger Dryas weather patterns. Thanks to scientific breakthroughs he found the smoking gun. Don’t want to give any spoilers but he sets the stage for his next book America Before, which I will soon be acquiring.

As an avid fan of Graham Hancock’s work I loved the book, although I must say compared to his other works this one felt a bit like lighter reading, but it is my understanding that that was intentional on the authors part because he wanted to make the material more accessible to a wider audience.  It wraps up his previous works nicely and felt like the perfect concussion statement to a portion of his research.

 

Lughnasadh 2020

Lughnasadh is a few days away so I thought I’d share what I’m up to. The past few years I have attended the 3 Cranes Grove public ADF Druids’ ritual at the Dublin Irish festival, more so to support the grove than anything else. This year however everything has been canceled because of the plauge.

In general though this has been my least favorite pagan high day. Here in Ohio it marks the start of the hottest month of the year, and the back to school shopping. Neither thing being enjoyable for me. It took me taking up gardening to feel any positive connection to the holiday. This year I am just not feeling the festive energy. I should be excited for all the veggis I will be pulling in soon but two things have kind of taken all the excitement out of me. The first thing is this is not first harvest for me I’ve been harvesting my various crops since April. Second a lot of the plants I was looking foward the the most have not done well. The mullberries never ripen, and the birds ate all my blueberries. My ground cherries never sprouted, and some animal trashed two of my squash plants.

But enough grumbling, lets move on to the fun stuff. What are my plans for Lughnasadh?

I am getting a blue heron tattoo on my arm. The blue heron is an animal spirit that I have been working with for about 5 years now and getting the tattoo just seems like the logical next step to build a closer bond.

I just aquired a Hermes statue for my altar. I am going to be adding it in on Lughnasadh when I do my standard high day tradition of dusting off the alter, changing out the alter cloth, and such.

I got 1 week left on my internship at work and then I should be able to graduate with my associates degree that I’ve been working on for 6 years. When you can only take 2 classes a semester it takes forever but I’ve stuck it out and time to get that paper.

That whole school thing is the primary reason I have had problems posting on a regular schedule. So to all you awesome followers that have stuck it out thank you.