Monthly Archives: November 2009

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Gratitude

Every day I give thanks in my journal. I write about the people I love and the spells I have cast for friends and family and give thanks to the Goddess for helping me through the good times and the not so good times. I honor the Buddhist Goddess Tara (She is my patron Goddess) with Her mantra OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SVAHA!

The connection I have with Green Tara (Her Tibetan Buddhist name) is immensely powerful. I know that when I honor Her with offerings and prayers that She helps guide me to the best life I can possibly live. The Goddess for me is an aspect of the interconnectedness of all things. She is the Great Mother (like Isis), the most powerful form of creation. She exists in every religion on Earth.

Day by day though, She and I have a communication of gratitude. I thank Her for helping me to sort out my issues and for giving my spells power and focus. It may seem silly to ask the Goddess to listen to my concerns yet I know She listens, I know that She gives me Her special attention because I keep Her in my heart always. She is me and I am Her.

Thinking about what I am thankful for as Thanksgiving approaches I am reminded of how I start every day praying to the Goddess and chanting Her mantra. It is said that to invoke Green Tara one only needs speak Her mantra and She will bestow Her blessings upon you. I cannot tell you how often I have found this to be true.

Today I am grateful for a sweet black and white tomcat who visits me lately in the evening on my back porch. His presence doesn’t thrill my Lucy too much (she hisses at him through the window on the back door) but she indulges me by letting me sit outside with him. He doesn’t seem to be a stray but a neighborhood cat as his fur is quite clean and he is well-fed. Still he should have a collar on with tags of pertinent information if his owners allow him outside.

Of course I don’t believe in letting cats outside since they are small creatures and need to be taken care of. They live twice as long as cats who go outside and they don’t bring home fleas and feline diseases. I believe my new friend is neutered though which is good. I call him Raphael because he is like an angel. He is personable and I so enjoy spending some time in the cool night air with him curling about my legs and raising his big head up to meet my hand to get scritches.

He has bonded with me and I am honored to have his attention. He is an angel (to me as a Buddhist this would be a Bodhisattva) and we all must take time to sit with the angels and show them our gratitude.

Friday the 13th

For a witch this is simply a grand day! For a Knights Templar – oh, bad, very bad day. Here’s a little more on that cribbed from Wikipedia:

According to folklorists, there is no written evidence for a “Friday the 13th” superstition before the 19th century. The earliest known documented reference in English occurs in an 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini:

[Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring and affectionate friends; and if it be true that, like so many other Italians, he regarded Friday as an unlucky day, and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday, the 13th of November, he died.

* In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve signs of the zodiac, twelve hours of the clock, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, twelve gods of Olympus, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.

* Friday has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century’s The Canterbury Tales and many other professions have regarded Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects. Black Friday has been associated with stock market crashes and other disasters since the 1800s. It has also been suggested that Friday has been considered an unlucky day because, according to Christian scripture and tradition, Jesus was crucified on a Friday.[

On the other hand, another theory by author Charles Panati, one of the leading authorities on the subject of “Origins” maintains that the superstition can be traced back to ancient myth:

The actual origin of the superstition, though, appears also to be a tale in Norse mythology. Friday is named for Frigga, the free-spirited goddess of love and fertility. When Norse and Germanic tribes converted to Christianity, Frigga was banished in shame to a mountaintop and labeled a witch. It was believed that every Friday, the spiteful goddess convened a meeting with eleven other witches, plus the devil – a gathering of thirteen – and plotted ill turns of fate for the coming week. For many centuries in Scandinavia, Friday was known as “Witches’ Sabbath.”

Another theory about the origin of the superstition traces the event to the arrest of the legendary Knights Templar. According to one expert:

The Knights Templar were a monastic military order founded in Jerusalem in 1118 C.E., whose mission was to protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. Over the next two centuries, the Knights Templar became extraordinarily powerful and wealthy. Threatened by that power and eager to acquire their wealth, King Philip secretly ordered the mass arrest of all the Knights Templar in France on Friday, October 13, 1307 – Friday the 13th.

The connection between the superstition and the Knights Templar was popularized in the 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code. However, some experts think that it is relatively recent and is a modern-day invention.

A further theory goes back to a combination of Paganism, Christianity, and the Battle of Hastings. For many, the number 13 was considered a lucky number (such as 13 lunar cycles each year), but with the efforts of Christianity attempting to degrade all things Pagan, they promoted 13 as an unlucky number, with Friday thus also being considered a bad day of the week. However, on Friday the 13th of October 1066, the decision was made by King Harold II to go to battle on Saturday the 14th of October, rather than allow his troops a day of rest (despite his army having made a long and arduous march from a battle near York just 3 weeks earlier).

This decision in going to battle before the English troops were rested (the English lost and King Harold was killed), further established Friday the 13th as an unlucky day.

My plans for today include casting (this is an excellent power day), going out to dinner with my Mom to continue her several days of celebrating her birthday (yes my mother needs at least three days to celebrate properly and she deserves them!), more work, grocery shopping and likely a nice bonfire tonight since the temps are getting much cooler. I’ll light a candle too for the Knights Templar as I do every year.

I hope your day is filled with luck and good fortune. The number 13 is a sacred number to witches and I bless you with its power!

Samhain Secrets

These Samhain Secrets will not be so secret since I am publishing them here! I thought you might like a rundown of how my holiday went.

It began at midnight on Saturday, which is when I cast the spells that I had for the Full Moon (which was yesterday) using Halloween as the ultimate power night for witchcraft. Even my regular spells were cast at this time. I made a big bonfire in the fire pit (even though it was kind of warm out) and cast everything, then came back in to re-charge and supposedly to take a nap before I started making the feast for Samhain later that night.

I was too keyed up to sleep so I did some reading (that is why I love my Kindle so much – anything I want to read is right at my fingertips) andso I chose a pretty scary book and stayed up late reading it. Perfectly Halloween oriented.

I finally did get some sleep and then awoke to make the feast. I baked a Scottish Pub Pie with potato and leek (delicious!), green bean casserole, yeast rolls and honey glazed baby carrots. What a meal! My sister-in-law brought her family favorite Spinach Veggie Dip and we had a delicious Cherry-Orange Punch and later with dessert, some mead.

We did the ritual after the feast (sometimes I do it before but felt like eating first this year – I was starving!) and then hung out a bit by the fire. It was a little cooler but still unseasonably warm but that was ok since to be outside when the moon was that glorious on Samhain was utter perfection.

The worst part of course is always clean-up after a feast and this I left till the next day. I was exhausted but felt so good and happy and haven’t felt this good in a long-time so it was very meaningful for me.

Fortunately we have a slight lag before the major holidays kick in – but two birthdays (my Mom and brother) then Thanksgiving, Yule and Christmas! Where did the year go?

Here are some other Samhain Secrets:

1. Dumb Supper

A dumb supper is a wonderful way to celebrate Samhain, especially if you are honoring someone in particular. There are many ways to do this. If you like, you can have dinner as usual, and simply leave an extra plate and dinner out for your “guests”. You can have dinner as usual, or perhaps talk to the person you are honoring. Laugh and joke with them, or ask them how they are doing. Another way is to have dinner completely in silence. This is a good opportunity to reflect on who you want to be having dinner with, and why. If you are honoring someone in particular, remember to make something that you know or think they might like.

The Dumb Supper:

In some Pagan and Wiccan traditions, it has become popular to hold a Dumb Supper in honor of the dead. In this case, the word “dumb” refers to being silent. The origins of this tradition have been fairly well debated — some claim it goes back to ancient cultures, others believe it’s a relatively new idea. Regardless, it’s one that’s observed by many people around the world.

When holding a Dumb Supper, there are a few simple guidelines to follow. First of all, make your dining area sacred, either by casting a circle, smudging, or some other method. Turn off phones and televisions, eliminating outside distractions.

Secondly, remember that this is a solemn and silent occasion, not a carnival. It’s a time of silence, as the name reminds us. You may wish to leave younger children out of this ceremony. Ask each adult guest to bring a note to the dinner. The note’s contents will be kept private, and should contain what they wish to say to their deceased friends or relatives.

Set a place at the table for each guest, and reserve the head of the table for the place of the Spirits. Although it’s nice to have a place setting for each individual you wish to honor, sometimes it’s just not feasible. Instead, use a tealight candle at the Spirit setting to represent each of the deceased. Shroud the Spirit chair in black or white cloth.

No one may speak from the time they enter the dining room. As each guest enters the room, they should take a moment to stop at the Spirit chair and offer a silent prayer to the dead. Once everyone is seated, join hands and take a moment to silently bless the meal. The host or hostess, who should be seated directly across from the Spirit chair, serves the meal to guests in order of age, from the oldest to youngest. No one should eat until all guests — including Spirit — are served.

When everyone has finished eating, each guest should get out the note to the dead that they brought. Go to the head of the table where Spirit sits, and find the candle for your deceased loved one. Focus on the note, and then burn it in the candle’s flame (you may wish to have a plate or small cauldron on hand to catch burning bits of paper) and then return to their seat. When everyone has had their turn, join hands once again and offer a silent prayer to the dead.

Everyone leaves the room in silence. Stop at the Spirit chair on your way out the door, and say goodbye one more time.

By Patti Wigington, About.com

2. Honoring the dead

How exactly do you honor the dead? Simple- remember them. Don’t let their memories fade. What do you know about them, what were they like, what did they do, what did they feel? Do you miss them? Tell them. Tell them you still love them. Talk about them and remember the person they were.

3. Bobbing for apples

Bobbing for apples?This wonderfully pagan activity is great for kids and adults alike. The tub of water (read: Cauldron of Renewal), and apples (read: Magickal Fruit) are perfect for the season. How long will it take you to catch your apple?

4. Carving a pumpkin/turnip

Okay, while carving ugly faces into pumpkins isn’t actually a pagan activity, it does have some roots there. The vegetable of choice used to be the turnip, however. But this is one tradition I’m glad has been adapted. (Have you ever tried to carve a turnip)? Anyway, the theory is that if you carve a scary face in to a lantern  then you will frighten away any spirits of the dead that mean harm. Friendly spirits, however, will recognize it as a lamp and will be welcome.

5. Divination

This is one of the times of year that the veil between the two worlds is thinnest. If you are planning on doing any divination work, this is probably the best time you will have until Beltane. Tarot, Runes, Scrying, pendulum, and any of the hundreds of other methods of divination are easier to read at this time.

From Keitha at www.glasstemple.com