Greetings my Gracious Group of Grateful Gals, Guys, and everyone in-between! I must apologize, I hadn’t realized that my scheduled post never published! But, as they say, better late than never!
Remember the Magic
That’s the thing with magic. You’ve got to know it’s still here, all around us, or it just stays invisible for you.
Remember The Magic – it was created for YOU!
I hope everyone had a great week! Finally the weekend! We are due to get a major snowstorm up here in New Hampshire, so I will be spending the day preparing for that- going shopping to stock up on food, water, batteries, candles, diapers and wipes for my son. The local Walmart has just gone through a make-over, so I cannot find anything in there anymore! I will wander around craning my neck for what seems like forever and when I finally decide to flag down an employee more often than naught I’ve already passed the aisle I’m looking for.
I do get a lot of steps in when I decide to go there though, which is perfect for today’s magical practice! Today is Magical Footsteps – taking 100 thankful steps.
Following in Albert Einstein’s Footsteps
Today’s practice is inspired by Albert Einstein.
You may take any number of steps you’d like at anytime, anywhere you’d like today – so long as you meet the 100 steps total. With every footfall you think “Thank you”. Left foot thank you right foot thank you…you get the idea.
Byrne promises that this practice will make you feel happy, even if you are in a rotten mood before you start. She writes “It doesn’t matter if you can’t get much of a feeling of gratitude while you’re taking them; I promise you will still feel happier afterward. If you’re feeling down, Magic Footsteps will make you feel better, and even if you’re feeling great, Magic Footsteps will lift your spirits even higher!” (p. 177). She also notes that you should spend at least 90 seconds on this – it’s how long it takes the average person to take 100 steps apparently. She goes on to say that the practice isn’t so much about the steps, but it will take at least 100 steps in order for the practice to make a difference.
If Einstein said “thank you” 100 times EVERY DAY, then we can do it at least one day out of our entire lives (and maybe we will start making a habit of it – maybe not 100 but maybe 10, or 30, or 50 times).
Start out your day by writing 10 more blessings on your Thank You list, and then before you go to bed take your rock, hold it tight while thinking of your day, and say Thank you for the best part of the day.
Until tomorrow my lovelies!
Magic & Miracles in Health
Byrne states that “We should feel healthy, energized, and full of happiness most of the time, because that is how it feels to have our birthright of full health.” (p.149). I cannot disagree with her; while I don’t always feel energized, and I often feel the extra weight I carry around my hips and middle (and everywhere else), I am happy most of the time. But, based on the Universal Law of Attraction, if I were truly grateful for my health, then I would be healthier. I have a condition called narcolepsy, which causes me to feel sleepy often. According to my sleep specialist, I have no natural circadian rhythm. If you were to go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up the same time every day, then you would not need an alarm clock because you would just wake up at the normal time. You get hungry at the same times every day, have your second wind at the same time – you get the idea. With me, I could go to bed and wake up at the same time every night and day, but I always need an alarm clock. Some days it is almost painful to wake up at my normal time, despite getting 10 hours of sleep, while other days I wake up 4 hours before my alarm and feel wonderful. Some days I wake up with my stomach rumbling, but other days I don’t even think to eat until I’ve been awake for hours. I have to take a medication to keep me from taking “micro-naps”, which is when you fall asleep without warning for a few seconds. As amusing as it may sound, it has cost me jobs and got me into a car crash. The medication helps me wake up for the day, and helps me stay awake during stressful situations. I do not like having to take pills to function, but I’m grateful for them. Without them, I would not have come this far in the gratitude challenge! I would not get up to bring my son to school, I might get into accidents with my son in the car. Based on Byrne’s theory, if I’m grateful for feeling energized, I will overcome my ailment. I must be honest, I’m not sure if that will work – but I’m willing to try! I will start taking a moment every morning to feel true gratitude that I am awake, that I was able to get my son safely to school, get myself safely home, and stay awake to write when I get home. Gratitude has brought a lot into my life that I thought was not possible, like happiness, so my health could improve!
Saint Augustine said:
Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.”
We are going to take a three-pronged approach to “accelerate the results”, as today’s exercises are “designed to dramatically increase your health and happiness”. (p.151)
- Health you’ve received in the past: Think about 3 ties you have felt on top of the world, and say the magic words THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !
- Health you’re continuing to receive in the present: Feel grateful for every organ, system, and physical sense that is currently working well in your body. Think about your arms, legs, brain…Choose 5 functions of your body that are well, and one by one, mentally say the magic words: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !
- Health you want to receive in the future: choose one thing you want to improve about your body. Think about the ideal state of what you want to improve, and give thanks for the ideal state.
Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease
Wow, we are half way through the challenge! Who else has noticed a change since the magick of gratitude has been growing in your life? Isn’t it incredible? I’ve noticed that I’m cheery, even in the mornings when I have to get my son up and ready for school after he woke up in the middle of the night or didn’t go to sleep at his normal bed time (I follow a routine and he’s in bed at the same time every night, but there are a few nights a month when he is just a spaz and spends have the night thrashing around playing in the blankets). I’m noticing my blessings much more, like having a great heater in my car – again especially in the morning when I take my son to school! It has been 5-10 degrees most mornings this winter, and I am so grateful my car warms up quickly! I’m grateful to have a car too! I see parents walking with their kids and 1. feel awful for them, and 2. feel so blessed that I not only have a car, but a reliable car that runs well, gets good gas mileage, and is even kinda cute! (I have a Toyota Matrix)
Have a Magical Day
So, you may have noticed I posted this article the night before instead of the day of. That’s because we are going to start our gratitude exercise FIRST thing in the morning. When you’re getting dressed or taking a shower, go through your plans in your mind from the moment you are done getting ready for the day to the moment you get into bed. After you think about each event, think about how grateful you are that it went to plan – you’re in the mindset that the day has already happened, and you’re not imagining but you’re remembering. I hope that makes sense lol, but you have the book I’m sure, so, you can read through the chapter if you need clarification.
Being grateful for your day beforehand creates a magical day through the law of attraction.
By the time you imagine yourself getting into bed, you are feeling immensely grateful that you had the perfect day! Have you ever noticed that when you wake up cranky, it’s Murphy’s law – you stub your toe, get soap in your eye, you lose your keys, your kid spills their breakfast all over themselves and the floor, you can’t find your favorite earrings and this is all before 9 am. But when you wake up cheerful, everything seems to fall into place. The light goes green the moment you drive up to the intersection, your co-worker surprises you with a coffee or a bagel. Your kid gives you a big hug when you drop them off at school (my son LOVES school, so I usually have to chase him around the classroom to get half a hug and plant a kiss on his head). So, you’re feeling awesome about the day. Before you move onto the next step of your morning routine, conclude your magical exercise by saying “And thank you for the great news coming to me today!”.
Welcome to Day 9!
Day 9 Exercise: Gratitude for your bills…
If you don’t have enough money, the last thing you would normally do is feel grateful for your bills, but if fact that’s exactly what you have to do to receive more money in your life.
Take a Bite Into a Gratitude Sandwich
Byrne writes that giving thanks for the food one is about to eat has been practiced thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians. In Elen Sentier’s new book Shaman Pathways -Following the Deer Trods: A Practical Guide to Working with Elen of the Ways, Sentier explains that the ancients dating back to Paleolithic times, when humans were still hunter-gatherers, considered hunting a sacred rite, and gave thanks to the animals and plants who gave their lives to sustain that of the humans. (Btw – if you’re interesting in learning about Elen of the Ways, this is a great book choice! Sentier teaches a lot of exercises that help you explore the Otherworld, and helps you connect with the Universe in unique and enlightening way).
When you’re about to pop some popcorn for a movie night with your family, or pop open a bag of pretzels for your child (obviously something I just did), think about the work it took to get that food into your hands. You went to the store and spent the money, yes, but there’s more than that. The people who stocked the shelves at the store, the people who delivered the food to the store, the people who put the food into the neat mini-sized bags, the people who made the food….when you think about it, you realize that a lot of people contributed to feeding your growing child; that keep your belly from rumbling angrily when you’re hungry.
Day 8 Exercise
Thoughtful Thursday Presents: Devotional Practice
Devotional Practice for Hekate
Lughnasadh is all but upon us!
- what Lughnasadh means to me
- what I’ll be doing to celebrate
- suggest activities for families/covens/solitary witches
- share a ritual and go over ideal spell themes.
What Lughnasadh is All About
It marked the point of the year when nights grow noticeably longer. Celtic days started with sunset so they actually began the celebrations the night before the first of the month. They had a different calendar than we do so if you want to do it like the Celts you’d observe Lughnasadh on the first full moon of August.
In modern times we typically don’t rely on crops and livestock for food, so the focus translates to things applicable to today’s world. This is a day to appreciate what we have. Make a meal that has meaning to you, like using a recipe that’s been passed down from generation to generation. I will be making chicken soup because the recipe holds sentimental value for me. My younger brother and his girlfriend just purchased their first house not too long ago- he’s only 27! I’m 30 and the only thing I own is my car (😥) – but despite my envy, I am beyond proud of my brother and what he has accomplished. The amount of time and energy and love he and his partner have put into the house is incredible and the result is a warm, welcoming home (although one of their dogs was not keen on welcoming my toddler). My brother’s girlfriend made us chicken soup from scratch for supper. My son, who I normally have to force feed if it’s not mac and cheese, sat at the table like a grown up and ate all of his soup! It was phenomenal! So when I make the soup I will think of family, of the strong bonds siblings have, of talent and creativity, and of perseverance to make a house into a home.
Other than food the themes of Lughnasadh are:
- a time to begin new projects/careers or set new goals
- protection of hearth and home
I’ll have my son ‘help’ me by giving him a squirt bottle of water and a rag to have him wash the walls. He’s 2 and at that stage where he wants to be involved in everything I do.
When the cleaning is done it’ll be time for something fun with the Gods in mind – part of my devotional practice is to do arts and crafts making something for them at least once a week, so, this is the perfect day to do so! I’ve already made statues as offerings so I’ll make decorative altarpieces while my son makes a mess with his Model Magic. I favor Sculpey clay but it’s not really child-friendly. Crayola’s model magic never dries so it’s perfect for little ones who tend to leave it out for hours but keep coming back throughout the day.
Some activities you could partake in are:
- Painting/Drawing (of what you want, of the Deities, of what you’re celebrating today)
- Sculpting (statue of the Deities, a mini spear for Lugh, a Goddess statue for Anu, an offering dish for the ritual/your altar)
- create Corn Dolly’s for the ritual (to represent the Deities)
- Go for a walk and find the perfect stick to be your wand for the rites, or if its’ big enough to be your staff- my son LOVED when I took him to help me find my staff
When the arts and crafts are done, and supper time is coming close, I will turn the crock pot to low and take my son outside so he can play for 20 minutes while I ground myself. I will take off my shoes so I can actually feel the earth beneath me. I will feel the strong, unbending ground and the warm, exhilarating sun on my skin and I will think about Anu and Lugh. I will think about ways they have affected my life, ways they could help me with my goals for the next phase of the year, how my love for them runs so deep and strong like the roots of an ancient tree. This is something I try to do every day as a part of my devotional practice for the Morrigan (I’m a priestess for the Morrigan so I will interact with her multiple times a day).
Lughnasadh Ritual & Workings
©2018 Amanda Wilson. All Rights Reserved
Since I don’t want to impact the efficiency of the ritual I’m planning I have designed one especially for you, my lovely readers. I have been really drawn to Celtic magic lately, so I have written a ritual that combines practices of Druidry, Celtic magic, and Wicca. The ritual will be honoring Lugh and Anu, the Goddess of the Land, the mother of the Gods and one of the three Morrigans. (To learn more about Anu, check out my article about her on Hubpages: The Magic of the Morrigan: Alluring Anu.) You will acknowledge and provide an offering for your ancestors and the Spirits of the Land as well. The intent of the ritual is to recognize and give thanks for the abundance in your life – what you’ve ‘harvested’ from your hard work and dedication. This could be beautiful paintings as a result of study and practice, a raise or promotion at work after years of working your ass off, a garden full of gorgeous flowers after spending all those days getting bitten by bugs, dirt under your nails and sunburns on the back of your neck because you were sitting on the ground messing with the soil, pruning the massive plants (I have some flowers that grow so big they weigh down the whole plant), or anything else that applies to you!
Before the ritual, you should clean your whole house. This is something I do with every turn of the year. Witchcraft values order, balance, and efficiency. By going through your house cleaning and organizing each room you are setting up the home for maximum efficiency. If you come across things that are no longer of use- and be honest with yourself here!- you should consider donating or recycling it. I used to have the hardest time letting go of things, but I’ve come to learn they are just that: things. Would I save them in case of a fire? No. So no sense keeping them in that box you keep tripping over because it doesn’t fit in the closet. My rule of thumb is if I haven’t thought of the thing in 6 months then its time to move it along (obviously certain things are exempt, like your kids’ first outfit or heirlooms etc.). When your home is clean and organized the energy tends to be more positive and light. The Faeries certainly prefer a clean and orderly home over one that is cluttered, dark, and dusty.
Now that your house is clean you probably are not. So take a shower and scrub yourself clean. You will be inviting Gods into your home tonight and you don’t want to be grubby doing it! As you’re washing your body let go of all the things stressing you out. Let it slide down your body like the water drops and swirl down the drain with the soap and water. When you are washing between your toes you are washing away the bricks of stress weighing you down. Exfoliating your face is clearing the clutter from your mind as the gunk is cleaned out of your pores. The Celtic gods appreciate cleanliness and this definitely applies to you as well. Even if you aren’t honoring Lugh and Anu, taking a ritual shower or bath is common practice before a ritual. Cleansing yourself helps to cleanse your mind and soul which allows for a fierce focus on the working.
- Candles to represent Anu, & Lugh (green and gold are common choices)
- Altarpieces that make you think of the intent – like photos of your garden, a pay stub, the painting you’re proud of.
- offerings for the ancestors, land spirits and the Deities – traditionally this would be whiskey, wine, herbs, honey but when it comes to offerings I always tell people it’s not WHAT you give but HOW you give it. Now the Fae do appreciate shiny trinkets and sweet food/drinks, like milk and honey. But offerings for Deities must come from the heart. Don’t go out and get whiskey and absently pour the libations. You could offer herbs the Deity is said to favor, offer food or drink that you particularly favor, make something for them like a painting or a sculpture, or perform a duty in honor of them. Offerings can be as unique as the individual laying them out.
- Incense: I know there are lists all over the internet that tell you which incense is appropriate for Lughnasadh. When I choose incense for rituals I use my intuition. Certain scents act as keys, that is once I smell them my chakras open and my energy becomes grounded, I start breathing slow and steady and my consciousness shifts to the necessary level for magic and devotionals. Nag Champa, Dragons Blood, and chakra aligning incense sticks are my go-to’s but choose what works for you.
- Magical Tools: tools are more than objects that assist us with a task, they are symbols for different concepts or themes in life. The tools that we will recognize/use in this ritual are the cauldron, the torc, the sword and the spear. If you don’t have these things don’t fret. You could use a bowl, a necklace, an athame (I’m using a dagger), and a stick. I’ll be using clay statues of these things and the dagger to cast the circle and open the barrier etc. You could have pictures of these things too, the whole idea is what these things symbolize.
Bring all these things to your altar and set them aside – not on the altar yet. Light some sage or a cleansing incense. Rosemary, patchouli, dragon’s blood, frankincense, myrrh, and vervain all work great to clear the air of negative energy. And by negative I don’t mean ghosts – negative energy is energy that distracts from the intention of the working. So, cleanse the air, and then smudge your tools one by one as you put them on your altar. I’m not going to tell you how to set up your altar – the Gods don’t care where everything is. Do what works for you. I like to have the tools arranged by the quarters, so candles in the southern corner, incense in the east, water or my cauldron in the west and then salt or soil from my property in the north. Again, this works for me but do what works for you!
Before you cast the circle center yourself – find your point of power (usually in the belly) and rock gently back and forth until you come to a natural stop, then rock side to side until you come to a natural stop. Now release all tension, control your breathing. Focus on your feet. From the bottom of your feet, roots are extending, they reach down into the ground -the body of the Earth Mother Anu, and when they come to a natural stop your breathing pulls up the Waters of the Earth, the natural currents that charge the power of the earth. With each breath, these waters rise higher. Continue until they fill your body. Now focus on the sky – see the Sun in your mind’s eye. Now see the moon, the stars. See them together in a beautiful blended sky. Open your Crown and accept the golden stream of light, the Fire power from the Sky. Again pull it towards you and into your with each breath. Take a moment to feel the combined powers merging with your own. When you cast the circle, see the Waters of the Underworld and the Fire of the Sky emerge from your finger (or athame or wand whichever you prefer). As they meet they form protective Mist, that is both a barrier and a boundary, establishing a safe space in which you will conduct your ritual and carry out your workings. As you rotate you could think or say something to this effect:
I cast now a circle of the Waters of Anu and the Fire of Lugh, a circle of mists that protects from the unwanted and invites the Divine. In the name of Anu and Lugh this circle is sealed!
Now call the Airts. If you have a call you particularly like then you may use it, or you can make one up. Ian Corrigan’s Sacred Fire, Holy Well he provides an exercise to attune to the Four Airts, but I like to use it as the call. The short and sweet invocation for each corner allows for time to envision the wind and feel the qualities enter the circle and intertwine with your energy.
East wind blow Bounty
See red wind blow from the east and enter your circle, swirling around you clockwise until it wraps around you bringing the awareness of wealth in your life and the power of growth.
South wind blow Song
See white wind from the south blowing in and filling you with energy and new impulse.
West wind blow Wisdom
See the twilight gray wind enter your circle and infusing your spirit with knowledge and inspiration.
North wind blow Strong
A black wind swirls in and around you, bringing strength and stability.
Light the candle for Anu as you raise your power hand and with your wand/athame or finger, draw an invoking spiral (start in the middle and rotate clockwise). See the mist parting and Anu appearing and stepping forward as you say:
I call to you, Anu, Goddess of the Land and Mother of Gods, to come to my sacred circle to join and bless this Lughnasadh rite. Hail and Welcome Earth Mother Anu!
Now light the candle for Lugh and repeat the process, saying:
I call to you Lugh, God of Light, to come to my sacred circle to join and bless this Lughnasadh rite. Hail and Welcome, Master of Skills Lugh!
Take the offering for the Ancestors and as you pour/place it into the offering dish say:
With this offering I honor you, Ancestors of Blood and Bone. May you bless this rite with your wisdom and love.
Take the offering for the Land Spirits and as you pour/place it into the offering dish say:
With this offering I honor you Spirits of the Land, Guardians of this place. May you bless this rite with your protection.
Now state the intention of the ritual. Acknowledge the ways in which Anu and Lugh have blessed you thus far (say at least one specific thing, like “thank you Lugh for helping me write that proposal that got me my promotion”, or “thank you Anu for blessing me with perseverance I needed to reach my weight goals”). Next share with them the goals you have for the future, and request that the bless you with their virtues so that you will achieve them.
Take the offering you have for Anu. Hold it up above the altar and say:
Behold my offering for Anu, a token of my respect, love, and gratitude.
Place/pour into the offering dish and repeat for Lugh:
Behold my offering for Lugh, a token of my respect, love and gratitude.
If you have any spellwork planned you may proceed with it. If you don’t, you may perform divination, using Tarot or scrying to find an answer to any burning questions you have or to obtain advice on how to achieve your goals. You could just sit and communicate with the Deities. Be sure to write down messages your receive and any feelings/sensations you felt during the ritual.
When you are ready to end the ritual thank and dismiss the Deities and then the Energies of the Directions. Saying something like “Thank you for joining me on this night. Depart in peace ____”
Open the circle by extending your power arm and rotating counterclockwise, envisioning the mist separating into the Water and Fire and returning to the Earth and Sky.
Lughnasadh is a great time for spells that involve prosperity, abundance, relationships, and protection. The moon phase for tomorrow night is Waning Gibbous, so for prosperity and abundance, I recommend casting the spell during the day, drawing from the Sun’s energy. The Sun has cycles just like the moon. From sunrise to noon it’s like the waxing moon so spells bringing things to you are best, from noon to three the sun is most powerful so you could cast any kind of spell and typically from 3 until dusk you would cast for release, serenity or removal.
The Druids follow the year’s cycle just as Wiccans do but with a few differences. Again explaining this in detail would warrant another full article, but here it is in a nutshell: instead of a hierarchical modal of realms, they believe that the Upper- and Underworlds manifest themselves here on Earth in various time phrases. There are specific moon phases, times and holy days that correspond to each Station of the Year – Station being holy days. For Lughnasadh, the energies for spellcasting are strongest when the moon is a Waning Gibbous between the hours of 3 and 5:59 in the evening. This year the moon is, as I said earlier in Waning Gibbous so from 3 until 5:59 tomorrow would be the best time to perform your ritual and spells. You would draw on the powers of the Sun, the Moon, and of the earth.
I am a firm believer that the most effective spells are ones you write yourself because that much more energy is put into manifesting your Will. I will provide a spell I’ve found to be effective and easy to manipulate to cover just about any type of spell.
- Anu’s incense (small pinch of soil, 3 tbsp of mugwort, 2 tbsp Irish moss)
- a small bowl
- 1 cup soil from your property
I am one with Anu, Mother of the Land, whose body is the green and fertile hills, whose blood flows through the rivers, whose bones are the stones of the earth. The power of the earth flows through me, I am one with the spirit of the earth, I am one with Anu!
With your finger or athame draw a symbol representing what you wish to manifest in the soil. See your desire clearly in your mind and see it flowing into the soil, moving from the realm of Energy to the physical realm to manifest in your life. When you’re done sprinkle the soil outside on your property (releasing it into the Universe to manifest and send you what you want). (Woodfield, 2011, p.90-92)
|©2018 Danielle Milo. All Rights Reserved.|