You Must Have Balance
Ever since I started learning witchcraft, just about every book I’ve read has emphasized the importance of balance. You must have balance for your workings to be successful. I agree with this, but as I’ve spent time actually doing the work, I’ve learned a thing or two that wasn’t in books- wasn’t in articles online.
This push for balance comes from the Hermetic Principles, which are outlined in The Kybalion. The Fourth Principle, the Principle of Polarity, states:
Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its’ pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.
Wiccans have drawn many of their ways from this little book. When they applied this Principle, they also apply it to the Deities. You must invoke the God and the Goddess, you must have a Matron and Patron deity. This implies that the God and Goddess – no matter which ones – are polar opposites and that you need both to learn the ‘truths’. Hmm…nope. Don’t think so, sorry! I’m sure this principle applies to other things, but I don’t think it can be applied to humans based on gender.
Duality and Deity
Calling The Three
I created a talisman for my bedroom, and as I was setting up my altar, something in me said to call upon the three deities that have the most presence in my life: the Morrigan, the Cailleach, and Lugh. I affectionately call them “the Three”. I thought about what they represent, most prominently anyways, and I thought of the elements. Not the four elements of traditional witchcraft but the elements as the Celts saw it: Land, Sea, and sky. So I arranged the candles I have dedicated to each deity in a triangle. I raised my hands in goddess position and called the Morrigan and asked her to bring the power of land – the strength of stone and stability of trees. I called to Cailleach and asked her to bring with her crashing waves of wisdom, and then asked Lugh come to my circle as rays of light come in through my window in the early morning hours. And it was incredible. The Morrigan came on a mist and rose like the standing stones she used to stop a retreating army once. Cailleach came in on a crashing wave – I could almost smell the salt and felt that unique chill you get when you stand on a beach. When Lugh came in I felt the gentle warmth of the sun and I could feel the flames of passion spark inside me as if gas was poured onto the fire. I said the words and gave the offerings. I left the talisman on the altar to scribble down everything I said and did, as it was impromptu and I didn’t want to forget what I said or what I felt. A few minutes later I returned to my altar, thanked the Three, and bid them farewell. When I went to pick up the talisman- I shit you not it was vibrating with power. I could feel the energy buzzing from it when my hand was about an inch away from it. Even though it may seem like it’s not a big deal, it was one of the freakiest and most amazing things I have ever experienced. After I hung it on my wall I pulled out my computer and started this article to share my story. I suggest giving it a try – instead of routinely calling a god and goddess, really think about the deities you work with and think about their personalities, the lessons they teach, the elements they favor and call on them based on those qualities. That would create true balance. If you don’t like it, then no harm done, right? But you could have an incredible ritual because of it, so just try it out.
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.|