Beltane Approaches

May 1st is Beltane and in this witchy household it marks the beginning of the summer season as well as a huge excuse to feast!

This is our first Beltane with our new family member (my soon-to-be-sister-in-law) and I’m thrilled to add another witch to the family coven. When we can’t all be together (which fortunately this Beltane we will be) it is always good to have back-up.

Here is some interesting information on Beltane and then I will tell you how we will be celebrating:

Beltane has long been celebrated with feasts and rituals. Beltane means fire of Bel; Belinos being one name for the Sun God, whose coronation feast we now celebrate. As summer begins, weather becomes warmer, and the plant world blossoms, an exuberant mood prevails. In old Celtic traditions it was a time of unabashed sexuality and promiscuity where marriages of a year and a day could be undertaken but it is rarely observed in that manner in modern times.

In the old Celtic times, young people would spend the entire night in the woods “A-Maying,” and then dance around the Maypole the next morning. Older married couples were allowed to remove their wedding rings (and the restrictions they imply) for this one night. May morning is a magickal time for wild water (dew, flowing streams, and springs) which is collected and used to bathe in for beauty, or to drink for health.

Think of the May pole as a focal point of the old English village rituals. Many people would rise at the first light of dawn to go outdoors and gather flowers and branches to decorate their homes. Women traditionally would braid flowers into their hair. Men and women alike would decorate their bodies. Beltane marks the return of vitality, of passion. Ancient Pagan traditions say that Beltane marks the emergence of the young God into manhood. Stirred by the energies at work in nature, he desires the Goddess. They fall in love, lie among the grasses and blossoms, and unite. The Goddess becomes pregnant of the God. To celebrate, a wedding feast, for the God and Goddess must be prepared. Let Them guide you! Breads and cereals are popular. Try oatmeal cakes or cookies sweetened with a dab of honey. Dairy foods are again appropriate; just make a lovely wedding feast and you are sure to enjoy yourself! An early morning walk through a local park or forest could be fun for everyone. Gather up some plants or flowers to display in your home. Mom and daughter could braid their hair, and weave in a few tender blossoms.

How we will celebrate:

We’ll get together the day before to weave our chaplets (flower crowns) and create our May Day baskets. Traditionally we use the colors of red and white. I have a maypole staff that we use for the ritual that I have used for over 20 years. It has ribbons and flowers and bells hanging from it.

The May Day baskets are made with fresh flowers and traditionally we leave them on the doorsteps of our neighbors homes. This will be the first time I do this in this neighborhood, so I am excited to leave our springtime gifts.

The women in my family wear white and we have ankle ribbons with bells on them. We jingle like mad which creates an even more festive atmosphere. The men in my family (currently only my brother) usually participate only in the feast and merry-making. That’s actually better though, since when the women get together and start weaving flowers we can be pretty silly!

On Beltane we will light the fire pit at sundown and have our feast followed by the ritual.

Our feast this year will include homemade breads (I have been learning to bake bread and will make a cranberry raisin pecan bread and a sun-dried tomato herb bread), oatcakes with honey and almonds, a slightly non-traditional spring risotto with peas and prosciutto as well as fresh fruits and nuts for dessert. Ale and mead are always served of course.

Since ours is a family celebration it is rather tame. We just celebrate the season, enjoy the great weather and feast.

Custom Spells

Every time I cast spells on the particular moon phases I have a number of spells that are completely customized to fit my clients needs. I’ve noticed lately that these custom spells have become increasingly important in my repertoire to help my clients because so many situations are very unique and I end up going to the books (my books of shadow) to find or create the right spell for the specific situation.

Although these spells can be more time consuming to cast I have found that many clients get the kind of results they are looking for in a more immediate fashion because these spells to advantage of the uniqueness of their situations. Not every spells fits – so this option allows me creativity in dealing with clients and gives them an opportunity to pinpoint exactly what their needs are.

One custom spell set I offer is called a Custom Chain Spell. These are spells that are created to work in conjunction with one another building one spell upon the next to a desire result. A client challenged me a couple of years ago to handle her multi-tiered issues with a series of spells that would handle everything she was concerned about. We put together 9 spells over a period of several weeks that changed her entire life. Given the depth of her situation and the work done it was actually surprisingly cost effective for her to handle things this way.

I understand that for many people a custom spell with a custom price tag is not an option; however I always am willing to work with clients who are very dedicated to the spellwork they are interested in.

I bring this up because I plan on offering more one shot spells – spells that can be customized for one person per casting period. I want to continue to grow as a witch and for me that means always working on new spells.

I hope you will take advantage of discussing custom spells with me so we can put together the right working for you if you find that no other spell I offer fits the bill.

As for my process of spell writing and devising a custom spell I’d be happy to give you an idea of what that is like in a future entry.

The Leap

On the 29th of February I had the singular pleasure of casting a spell that I can only cast once every four years. The last time I cast this spell I did not offer it to clients but friends and family only. It changed all of our lives over the next four years so much that I desperately wanted to share the spell with as many clients as I could. The downside was that the spell is very involved and I could offer it to only a handful of clients.

Spells of this nature have incredible inherent power because the timing occurs infrequently. It adds an unprecedented amount of energy to the working that is simply not available at other times. I have a small selection of spells like this – usually ones that can be cast once per year. I do have several spells however that I have never offered to the public which I call Millennial Spells.

Since the start of the millennium there have been specific days of incredible power – 01-01-01, 02-02-02, 03-03-03 and so forth. These dates will not be repeated in exactly the same fashion until 1000 years has passed and the dates read the same, only it will be 3001, 3002, etc. My decision to offer the spells I have for these particular dates was fostered by my mother who suggested that instead of keeping such magicks close to the vest that I open it up to giving as much of it as I could to as many as I could.

This requires a leap of faith for me because spells on such dates are extremely fatiguing if I do the working for more than a few clients (or friends and family). I don’t know yet how I will work this out – there must be a way to channel as much energy as possible without draining myself into sickness. This is a very real concern which is why I often have limits on how many clients I can offer a spell to.

After the Leap Year Spell it took several days for me to recover. I was completely exhausted. The spell was about 8 hours long, very time intensive (for one single spell) and required me crafting items for the results during the spell. When it was complete; the fire was smoldering in the fire pit, just embers and I watched a cloud covered sunrise. I was depleted and yet felt an incredible sense of peace at having completed such powerful energy work on that special day.

Stay tuned to hear more about my first publicly offered Millennial Spell which will be cast on 08-08-08.

How does it work?

I get this question a lot – “How does the spell work?” Usually I answer – “It just does.”

The truth is I cannot know how because every single situation is different. Every client who comes to me may have an issue that fits in the general nature of one of my spells but their specific situation is unique; the conditions, the players, the obstacles – all of it. Thus when I am asked about percentages or rates of success I can’t really give them. What works for one may not work for another. Even if the situation is similar, the conditions or players or obstacles may not be. Also occasionally I don’t get the entire truth. I may get an edited version; important elements may be left out. There may be a selection of spells at my site that I cast over and over again for many clients but the truth is there is only ONE SPELL and that is the one that I cast for YOU and that spell will be as unique as you are.

You must believe the spell will work. It would astound you how many people come to me with a half-hearted doubting mind and expect their spell to delivers miracles by the pound. If you don’t believe in spells, witchcraft, energy, etc. why would you even consider purchasing a spell? It’s not as if the spell is operating under its own power (it is not; it operates under my power, your power and the power of the Universe) and by some lucky chance even though you don’t believe in all this hoo-ha it will end up working for you. If you think that I have some kind of supernatural powers you are wrong – my abilities are ALL NATURAL. Everything I do is tied to the Law of Nature, nothing supernatural about it. I am a seasoned witch, like any artisan who knows their métier. This is real world witchcraft; not Hollywood witchery. The work I do is not out of the big spellbook on “Charmed”.

Know what you want. Sometimes you may think you know what you want and yet when it comes right down to it, it may not be at all what you thought it was. Perhaps you want someone to love you. Seems simple enough. Yet, what if you aren’t ready to love back? What if you are really more focused on your career or your children or just enjoying being on your own? What if you don’t know this? What if you you are just going through the motions thinking that the old boyfriend you dumped three years ago is really who you love simply because no one else has shown up or because you are tired of not having a date on major holidays? Do you know balls to bones that this is what you want?

Some clients come to me and know what they want but they want it NOW! TOMORROW! YESTERDAY! They give me time constraints and say if you can’t make this happen in 2 weeks then forget it. Two weeks. I’ll cast a spell that will make him leave his wife and kids and come to you, move in with you and love only you. In two weeks. When being with him for the past five years as his mistress has not been enough of a catalyst to get him where you want him! This my dears would be more than a little unrealistic.

Real spells take time to manifest. Especially spells that involve other players and obstacles.

Know your obstacles. There will be obstacles. There always are. If there weren’t ; everything would be just ducky and you wouldn’t be taking your problems to a witch. A spell without obstacles is like Disney World without that freaking mouse.

Magick likes the direct route. It doesn’t like obstacles. It doesn’t want to have to get around or over anything. It likes to go to the source, weave its spell and fold back into the eternal energy pool of the Universe. That’s why if you come to me unaware of the obstacles to your desires; you can find yourself quite woebegone.

For instance if you came to me with the situation that you want to marry your ex-girlfriend who is currently married to a man that she is not in love with but is in love with you but is considering staying with her husband because of the kids and to top it all you are married with children too – then you my dear have a hefty sack o’ sorry obstacles! It’s not that it cannot be manifested (where there is focused will and intention there is a way!), rather that you must know and understand each specific obstacle and how it will come to play in your particular situation. A working like this would need several powerful spells. You would not be able to just have one spell cast and expect it to be the WD-40 of spell casting and have it fix everything.

Tell the truth. If you lie; the spell will die. I’ve had clients come to me and tell me a long story but leave out the fact that the girlfriend they are trying to get to return to them has a restraining order against them. Now this is an extreme case but it has happened. You certainly don’t have to tell me things that are not pertinent to the spell – you know, I don’t really care if you stole a stapler from work. However when it comes to something that is extremely important to the spell you are having me cast (as in casting a love spell on a married man that you do not tell me is married ) consider me as discreet as a shrink.

Don’t obsess. This is one that I should have made into a flashing button that my clients can wear. I recognize that when it comes to love there is a very fine line. In fact that line is actually intertwined. Yet it does no good for the working. It doesn’t help the spell.

Clients who obsess usually send me several emails a day or at least several per week. Some will hound me unto the end of the Earth, never letting me take a single day off or considering that I too have a life with errands that must be run, family to see, dinner to have, time to meditate or categorize my new herbs.

It is all obsession. They will send me long-winded emails and ask me questions like I am a psychic and not a witch. It is not healthy. Obsessing doesn’t get you what you desire. Obsession usually means you are going after the wrong thing or wrong person. Because if it was right – you would not be obsessing.

When you have a spell cast take my advice – once the spell is complete – LET IT GO. The rest is up to the Universe. Keep your focused will and intention but that is not obsession. That is what you did when you had the working done in the first place. Letting go once the spell is complete allows it to manifest unhindered by you. If you obsess, you will sabotage yourself.

In the end how it works is very much dependent upon you. Take this advice to heart. Then watch the magick happen.

Magick Happens

Yesterday was the New Moon. I celebrate every moon phase since that is when I do my casting. I dedicate each casting to the Goddess and feel her presence with me as I do so. Right now I have needed her more than usual.

This New Moon for me was about more than just casting spells. For me it was about recognizing the fact that my old life is gone and a new life awaits. I’m not ready just yet to accept this of course – it is still too early and grief is still too fresh. Yet at least I know that at the end of all this darkness there will be light.

I have been working on my Altar Room for months now. I have been doing rituals mainly outside while getting all the altars set up in that room. Over the holidays I had to use the room for gifts etc, so I put a hold on completing it. Now the room holds many of my husband’s belonging including his guitar which I simply cannot bear to touch or take-out of the case. For now the rituals must be done outside then which suits me fine since sometimes I can hardly breathe when I am in the house.

When I cast spells I go “between the worlds” and right now this is a very good place to be. I already feel such a sense of unreality as it is but to go to a place that is neither here nor there is a great comfort to me. “Between the worlds” there is no sense of time or place. Often I don’t even remember too much of what went on during the time I was there but I will notice immediately that many hours have passed and everything I needed to do is accomplished.

Lucy has been adding her energy to the work I do in the house before I go outside to cast. She is not an especially curious cat (which is good since right now I have witchy things all around the house!) but she likes to see what I am doing and will sit patiently with eyes the size of saucers watching me in my crafting.

Occasionally she will stretch out a paw while I am doing calligraphy or mixing oils and powders, just to let me know that she is interested and as a witches cat she is happy to offer her energy to whatever I am doing.

I had many firsts the last couple of days since all the heartbreak and tragedy. I was able to travel. I was able to go to a restaurant. I was able to see my father too; who came to visit with his wife. I spent some time alone with him which was  precious to me. It was the first time I had been alone with him in 17 years. I wish I could see him like that every week.

Magick keeps happening. Thank Goddess! The magick of my new little kitty; the magick of such wonderful caring clients, friends and family and the magick of being able to go on.

Witch Kitty: Meet Lucy Brown!

Lucy Boo

After much sadness and grief this past month a most wonderful surprise greeted me several days before the New Year. My brother and his fiance took me to the local Animal Shelter to help me find a companion cat.

At the local Animal Shelter my soon to be sister in law picked out two fluff-ball grey striped kittens (2 months old) for her new family with my brother (twin sisters!) and I made the rounds of the lovely facility. The kitties were all beautiful and loving and if I could have I would have taken them all! In fact it was getting extremely difficult to consider actually picking one!

And then I walked up to a cage where a one year old young cat mewed at me, calling me to her. I knew I wanted a female because my Mom already has a neutered 11 year old male cat in our house (a wonderful kitty, too); I felt guided toward a female. I dearly loved my only girl kitty, Jerry. She had been my best little girlfriend.

So this mewling tuxedo kitty (who was almost picture perfect of my Mom’s previous companion cat Blackie) little girl put her paw out and tapped the cage so I would pay attention to her. I took her out and she immediately began grooming my face with sweet little kisses and licks and nuzzled her shiny black head into the crook of my arm as if to say – ok I am ready to go home.

I turned to the gentle volunteer caretaker and smiled and said words I had said once almost 19 years ago when I had found my familiar: “I’ll take this one.” But the truth is she had me at mew-lo.

She is named Lucy Brown (after a character in the song “Mack the Knife”) and is a Sagittarian just like my brother. She is still very much a kitten and likes to play so much that I am heading out to Petsmart tomorrow for more toys. She keeps me going – night and day but the joy I feel after so much sadness makes my heart soar.

I will give you updates and let you see more photos as she grows up.

Chinese New Year’s Day Good Fortune Spell

I’ve been doing this spell for over a dozen years.

Traditionally I begin the spell by gathering the items needed and then sit quietly in meditation before I cast. Sometimes I have my family around for the spell, other times I do it myself.

I get out my ceremonial cauldron(that is the BIG one!) and light a nice low fire in it. This is where I will burn the envelope and results from last year’s spell. I add some of the sacred herb mix (a combination of herbs unique to China), burn some special Chinese incense and enjoy the fire for a bit with a cup of strong Chinese black tea.

I then burn the results, which alight quickly and leave nothing but a trace of ash on the wood. I take out the ash at the end after the fire has cooled and blow it to the winds.

Once this is complete I move back to the altar room to finish the preparation for the new spell.

I copy the Chinese characters that are used on aged parchment using a Chinese calligraphy brush and red ink. I add a special “chop”(my chop is a Chinese antique that was sent to me by a friend in China, it is made of jade) to the outside of the brightly colored envelope and write the names of those who are participating in the spell. The spell is then cast and the results are sealed and placed above the entrance to my home where they will stay for one year.

I’ve had clients who have purchased this spell every single year that I have offered it and they tell me that since they have been using the spell things have gone better for them than any other time in their life.

The Good Fortune spell certainly doesn’t prevent bad things from happening. Bad things will happen, that is yin and yang and there is nothing to counter that. However the Chinese believe strongly in getting as much good fortune on your side to counter-balance the bad things that occur in everyday life. So something unfortunate may happen but the Chinese believe that as long as you have specific elements to keep good fortune in your life, ultimately you will be ok and much better off with their protection and assistance.

I completely agree and know that since I have incorporated more Chinese Magick into my life and used feng shui; it really has made a difference. It won’t stop you from getting sick or from someone you love dying, but it will help you to heal faster and to cope better with your greif. We all need that kind of assurance.

Plus the upside is that it does actually open the door to opportunities that you may have missed and that allows good fortune to settle in and make a home with you. A year is a long time for a spell to continually work its magick but this is a very ancient and special spell and I am proud to be able to cast it for family, friends and clients.