Category Archives: Sabbats

The Night Before Yule

1470086_10152098251769402_1879620665_n

Poem by Richard De Angelis to Mirror the classic Christmas tale of ” ‘Twas the Night before Christmas”.

 
‘Twas the night before Yule, when all ‘cross the heath,
not a being was stirring; Pagan, faerie, or beast.
Wassail was left out & the alter adorned,
to rejoice that the Sun King would soon be reborn.

The children lay sleeping by the warmth of the hearth,
their dreams filled with visions of belov’d Mother Earth.
M’lady & I beneath blankets piled deep,
had just settled down to our own Solstice sleep.

Then a noise in the night that would leave us no peace,
Awakened us both to the honking of geese.
Eager to see such a boisterous flock,
When we raced to the window, our mouths dropped in shock!

On the west wind flew a gaggle of geese white & gray,
With Frau Holda behind them in her giftladen dray.
The figure on her broomstick in the north sky made it clear,
La Befana was approaching to bestow Yuletide cheer.

From the south came a comet more bright than the moon,
And we knew that Lucia would be with us soon.
As these spirits sailed earthward o’er hilltops & trees,
Frau Holda serenaded her feathery steeds:

“Fly Isolde! Fly Tristan! Fly Odin & Freya!
Fly Morgaine! Fly Merlin! Fly Uranus & Gaea!
“May the God & the Goddess inside you soar,
From the clouds in the heavens to yon cottage door.”

As soft & silent as snowflakes they fell:
Their arrival announced by a faint chiming bell.
They landed like angels, their bodies aglow.
Their feet left no marks in the new fallen snow.

Before we could ponder what next lay in store,
There came a slow creaking from our threshold door.
We crept from our bedroom & were spellbound to see
…There in our parlor stood the Yule Trinity!

Lucia, the Maiden, with her head wreathed in flame,
Shown with the radiance for which she was named.
The Lightbringer’ s eyes held the joy of a child,
And she spoke with a voice that was gentle, yet wild:

“May the warmth of this household ne’er fade away.”
Then she lit our Yule log which still burns to this day.
Frau Holda in her down cloak stood regal & tall;
The Matron of Solstice, the Mother of all.

Under her gaze we felt safe & secure.
Her voice was commanding, yet almost demure:
“May the love of this family enrich young & old.”
And from the folds of her cloak showered coins of pure gold.

Le Befana wore a kerchief on her silvery hair;
The veil of the Crone who has secrets to share.
In her eyes gleamed a wisdom only gained by spent youth.
Her voice was a whisper but her words rung with truth:

“May health, glad tidings, and peace fill these rooms.”
And she banished misfortune with a sweep of her broom.
They then left a gift by each sleeping child’s head,
Took a drink of our wassail, and away they sped.

While we watched them fly off through the night sky we laughed,
At the wondrous magick we had found in the Craft
As they departed, the spirits decreed

Merry Yule To You All & May All Blessed Be!

Quelle Night!

IMG_0725

Samhain night, that is! Or Halloween for you lay folks out there.

Every Witches New Year (which is what Samhain is) my mother and I celebrate with what we call a feast-ival. Our dinner (feast) is our party and then we have a ritual honoring our ancestors and loved ones who have passed on. I like to usually dress up in some witchy finery but since I still not completely mobile, i just kept to the witchy stocking and my favorite Samhain bracelet.

IMG_0723

We had a lovely, delish feast consisting of antipasto salad (from Mike’s Italian, a cute little Italian place that we’ve been going to in Ocala for years) and bread with dipping oil and balsamic vinegar. For those of you keeping up with my health I rarely ever eat bread (let alone white bread) since I am diabetic and have to watch my carbohydrate intake and white flour in my diet but tonight was special and I always pull the insides out of bread and only eat the crust.

IMG_0721

Following this wonderful antipasto (done the old world way with two kinds of salami, provolone, giardiniera, prosciutto and melon, cappocola and mortadella) we had a few sugar-free chocolates (from a box of candy Mom bought me for the holiday, thanks Mom!) and later had a dessert of granny smith apple slices and sugar-free caramel dip.

The ritual was brief because I wanted to follow it with a healing ritual and I had two spells to do later at midnight.

I wish our neighborhood did trick or treat or perhaps its that all the kids are too old now. I would have loved to give out candy though I admit I was glad to not have the temptation of all that sugar.

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos), which I like to celebrate (at least on the altar) so I might post later about what I do for that. I will be casting tomorrow too, though I am taking the day off.

Blessed Samhain to all and Happy New Year to my witchy family all over the world.

Samhain Celebration

6259303_orig

I can smell Samhain in the air even though we do not really have much of a Fall season here in Central Florida. I know it is coming though and as the nights get cooler I start to get ready for the wonder of that Witches New Year. I’ve got the eco-friendly logs I burn for the firepit, herb bundles good to go, candles made and at the ready. I’m back casting outside in nature once again, without having to deal with pesky mosquitoes and staggering summer temps.

This year I will decorate minimally since I am recovering from my foot injury and hobbled somewhat by that (put plain and simple I cannot walk without my knee scooter – but I am hell on wheels otherwise!) though I am eager to celebrate this Samhain in the most festive way possible because after dealing with illness over the summer and a variety of difficulties regarding that – it just feels so great to be able to enjoy the sabbats, especially when everyone else is enjoying them too (even if they do not realize that Halloween is Samhain!).

I have found some great diabetic-friendly recipes online and there are wonderful sugar-free candies by Russell Stover (yes they make sugar-free Halloween Peeps – I mean for real!) and Hershey’s, plus I recently discovered that Pillsbury makes sugar-free brownies and other dessert mixes. Kudos to Hershey’s for also making semi-sweet sugar-free chocolate chips. This will really make the holiday festive with cupcakes and other goodies. Unfortunately one of my favorite things is candy corn but I have yet to find that in a sugar-free version.

There will be pumpkins, there will be sugar-free Twizzlers (I know, right?), there will be sugar-free mini candy bars in decorative witchy delights around the house.

I will stir my cauldron on October 31st and who knows what magickal things I will produce?

In the spirit of this month long celebration (I am making it a month – I deserve it!) I am keeping my BIRTHDAY SALE going at mysticspells.com so check out the GREAT prices.

I will update you too on the plans for the big feast as soon as I have an idea of what it will be. I am currently pinning lots of cute things on PINTEREST, so check that out too. I think I may make a Samhain board since there is so much.

 

Midsummer Magick

spring_glitter

What a night for magick! Things were beautiful after a long afternoon storm, lots of thunder and lightning and the fire-pit was flooded. It was nice though by 10 pm when I began. I cleaned things up before the casting, tipped out the fire-pit, dried it off, had my candles and herbs ready for the spells and my special handmade beeswax Goddess candle for my special Goddess Love Spell.

Things went faster than I expected but that was good, the power raised was palpable in the air. It tingled. The Goddess candle is still burning. It’s so sweet smelling and  burns cleanly. I love beeswax candles.

Mom and I did not have our traditional feast as usual but opted rather to go out for a banana split following the casting. That was wonderful. We went to our local Sonic and  enjoyed the night sounds, the music playing, the summer air all cooled down after the big storm.

We were sitting there eating our sundaes when in front of us I saw winking lights in the forest and bushes behind Sonic.

I called my mother’s attention to them. I knew they were the Fae  who  had come out on this Midsummer’s night to celebrate the same as we were.

We went home and did our neighborhood Faerie walk after midnight. Fortunately it was temperate enough there were no mosquitoes. I could feel the eyes of the Fae upon us especially where the gardens in the neighborhood were in full bloom.

I was so excited by everything and feeling that extra magickal energy of the Earth as all her Pagans celebrated the day. I didn’t get to sleep until early this morning after journalling in my Book of Shadows and marking the Sabbat and my first casting of my Goddess Spell.

I hope the longest day of the year was magickal for you too and tomorrow it is the SUPER MOON!

 

Balance

lightfall

On the summer solstice this year (in three days) I am casting a special spell that i created from a dream. I’d like to tell you about the dream.

In the dream I was in a house that seemed haunted. I was having some kind of pagan get-together, all women except for my brother who was there and promised he would make himself scarce. The house was a combination of the first apartment I had in college and a Victorian house I lived in once in Key West.

The spirits in the house seemed threatened by this gathering of women and strange things started happening. At first everyone was a little nervous but I said not to worry for I would commune with the Goddess and find out how to cleanse the house of the evil spirits.

The Dark Goddess The Morrigan appeared then in the living room and with her was Green Tara. The Dark Goddess and The Light Goddess. They gave me the ritual, they spoke to me and through me and their influence cleansed the house of the evil spirits but better than that it brought to me a great gift of courage and love that helped me later in the dream to heal my troubled relationship (with Gerard Butler – hey – it was a DREAM, come on!).

For weeks I worked on the real world application of what transpired in the dream. That led me to create a love spell for balance between the forces of the dark and the forces of the light.

I think its pertinent too  that the perfect time to cast this spell is right in the middle of the year on the summer solstice.

Spots for the spell are going fast – I only have three left!

Click here to go right to the spell.

Midsummer

Litha, the sabbat of the Summer Solstice is one of my favorite sabbats (I know I say that every year) because I am such a summer person.Celebrating this time of lush renewal and nature abounding happens at the perfect point in the year (halfway through) when I feel the collective powerof every summer I’ve enjoyed present upon me.

The last couple of years have been a struggle and for this sabbat I will celebrate endings and beginnings. I have a spell that I am casting for clients my Summer Solstice Wish Spell but also a new spell for myself that I may be offering in the future. I also had a number of clients purchase spells this past week and I will be casting them on the sabbat for extra power.

Here is some information and history on Midsummer:

History of Litha (MidSummer)

Also known as Summer Solstice, Litha, Alban Hefin, Sun Blessing, Gathering Day, Feill-Sheathain, Whit Sunday, Whitsuntide, Vestalia, Thing-tide, St. John’s Day

In addition to the four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic year, there are four lesser holidays as well: the two solstices, and the two equinoxes. In folklore, these are referred to as the four ‘quarter-days’ of the year, and modern Witches call them the four ‘Lesser Sabbats’, or the four ‘Low Holidays’. The Summer Solstice is one of them. (Though for me it is a more major holiday than most!)

Litha is usually celebrated on June 21st, but varies somewhat from the 20th to the 23rd, dependant upon the Earth’s rotation around the Sun. According to the old folklore calendar, Summer begins on Beltane (May 1st) and ends on Lughnassadh (August 1st), with the Summer Solstice midway between the two, marking MID-Summer. The most common other names for this holiday are the Summer Solstice or Midsummer, and it celebrates the arrival of Summer, when the hours of daylight are longest. The Sun is now at the highest point before beginning its slide into darkness.

Humanity has been celebrating Litha and the triumph of light since ancient times. On the Wheel of the Year Litha lies directly across from Yule, the shortest day of the calendar year, that cold and dark winter turning when days begin to lengthen and humanity looks wistfully toward warmth, sunlight and growing things. Although Litha and Yule are low holidays or lesser sabbats in the ancient parlance, they are celebrated with more revel and merriment than any other day on the wheel except perhaps Samhain.

The joyous rituals of Litha celebrate the verdant Earth in high summer, abundance, fertility, and all the riches of Nature in full bloom. This is a madcap time of strong magic and empowerment, traditionally the time for handfasting or weddings and for communication with the spirits of Nature. At Litha, the veils between the worlds are thin; the portals between “the fields we know” and the worlds beyond stand open. This is an excellent time for rites of divination.

Those who celebrated Litha did so wearing garlands or crowns of flowers, and of course, their millinery always included the yellow blossoms of St. John’s Wort. The Litha rites of the ancients were boisterous communal festivities with dancing, singing, storytelling, pageantry and feasting taking place by the village bonfire and torch lit processions through the villages after dark. People believed that the Litha fires possessed great power, and that prosperity and protection for oneself and one’s clan could be earned merely by jumping over the Litha bonfire. It was also common for courting couples joined hands and jump over the embers of the Litha fire three times to ensure a long and happy marriage, financial prosperity and many children. Even the charred embers from the Litha bonfire possessed protective powers – they were charms against injury and bad weather in harvest time, and embers were commonly placed around fields of grain and orchards to protect the crops and ensure an abundant reaping. Other Litha customs included carrying an ember of the Litha fire home and placing it on one’s hearth and decking one’s home with birch, fennel, St. John’s Wort, orpin, and white lilies for blessing and protection.

The Litha Sabbat is a time to celebrate both work and leisure, it is a time for children and childlike play. It is a time to celebrate the ending of the waxing year and the beginning of the waning year, in preparation for the harvest to come. Midsummer is a time to absorb the Sun’s warming rays and it is another fertility Sabbat, not only for humans, but also for crops and animals. Wiccans consider the Goddess to be heavy with pregnancy from the mating at Beltane – honor is given to Her. The Sun God is celebrated as the Sun is at its peak in the sky and we celebrate His approaching fatherhood – honor is also given to Him. The faeries abound at this time and it is customary to leave offerings – such as food or herbs – for them in the evening.

Correspondences

Purpose
Rededication to the Lord and Lady, beginning of the harvest, honoring the Sun God,
honoring the pregnant Goddess

Dynamics/Meaning
Crowning of the Sun God, death of the Oak King, assumption of the Holly King,
end the ordeal of the Green Man

Tools, Symbols & Decorations
The sun, oak, birch & fir branches, sun flowers, lilies, red/maize/yellow or gold flower, love amulets, seashells, summer fruits & flowers, feather/flower door wreath, sun wheel, fire, circles of stone, sun dials and swords/blades, bird feathers, Witches’ ladder.

Colors
Blue, green, gold, yellow and red.

Customs
Bonfires, processions, all night vigil, singing, feasting, celebrating with others, cutting
divining rods, dowsing rods & wands, herb gathering, handfastings, weddings, Druidic
gathering of mistletoe in oak groves, needfires, leaping between two fires, mistletoe
(without berries, use as a protection amulet), women walking naked through gardens
to ensure continued fertility, enjoying the seasonal fruits & vegetables, honor the
Mother’s fullness, richness and abundance, put garlands of St. John’s Wort placed
over doors/ windows & a sprig in the car for protection.

Goddesses
Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Venus, Aphrodite, Yemaya, Astarte, Freya, Hathor,
Ishtar, all Goddesses of love, passion, beauty and the Sea, and Pregnant,
lusty Goddesses, Green Forest Mother; Great One of the Stars, Goddess of the Wells

Gods
Father Sun/Sky, Oak King, Holly King, Arthur, Gods at peak power and strength.

Animals/Mythical Beings
Wren, robin, horses, cattle, satyrs, faeries, firebird, dragon, thunderbird

Gemstones
Lapis lazuli, diamond, tiger’s eye, all green gemstones, especially emerald and jade

Herbs
Anise, mugwort, chamomile, rose, wild rose, oak blossoms, lily, cinquefoil, lavender,
fennel, elder, mistletoe, hemp, thyme, larkspur, nettle, wisteria, vervain ( verbena),
St. John’s wort, heartsease, rue, fern, wormwood, pine,heather, yarrow,
oak & holly trees

Incense/Oil
Heliotrope, saffron, orange, frankincense & myrrh, wisteria, cinnamon, mint, rose, lemon, lavender, sandalwood, pine

Rituals/Magicks
Nature spirit/fey communion, planet healing, divination, love & protection magicks.
The battle between Oak King, God of the waxing year & Holly King, God of the waning
year (can be a ritual play), or act out scenes from the Bard’s (an incarnation of Merlin)
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, rededication of faith, rites of inspiration.

Foods
Honey, fresh vegetables, lemons, oranges, summer fruits, summer squash,
pumpernickel bread, ale, carrot drinks, mead.

How to have a magickal Beltane

  • This is about the world coming to life again and you will need to celebrate nature in some fashion. Take a long walk in the woods if you are able or at the very least (like I do) relax on the back porch with a friend (Lucy especially likes this – ha!) and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature surrounding you.
  • Buy flowers. If you are feeling especially inspired make a chaplet (wreath of flowers to wear) or a flower chain.
  • Have a feast – bread, cheese and fruit are traditional Beltane foods, so bake a fruit pie or include raisin bread and sweet cheese in your meal. These are foods of abundance. I love to bake bread for this sabbat. I usually make a traditional Scottish Meat pie (meat pasty) for the feast.
  • Make love. You don’t have to frolic in the forest certainly (but why not?) to celebrate this time of fertility and passion. Approach this time and connection with your desired one with wild abandon!
  • Beating the bounds. This custom involves walking around the boundaries of one’s property to invoke protection. In some places, the entire community would walk the boundaries of their village, proceeding deosil (clockwise) around the boundary. This would be an excellent time to walk around your house, yard, apartment building, or just your personal space. You can speak, chant, sing or silently appeal for protection.
  • Petitions for good health. Take ribbons or fabric strips and write requests for healing, then tie them to a tree. Hawthorn, Ash, Thorn and Sycamore are the magickal trees of Beltane, but any tree or shrub will do.
  • May Day morning dew. Long ago, young women would rise very early on May Day and collect the dew from leaves and grass. Washing their faces with dew, perhaps rolling in the dewy grass, was believed to make them beautiful, thereby becoming more attractive to the young fellows. It would be a sweet thing to walk through the morning dew, thinking about the beauty of the day and the love of your life.
  • Build a fire outside. Now is the time to put that fire-pit to use, likely for the last time before the Autumn. Burn some sacred sage or thyme in the fire.
  • Do something creative. I have often used the afternoon on Beltane to craft sacred oils, dry herbs or even craft beaded jewelry. Make use of this powerful energy by putting your mind toward artistic pursuits.
  • Drink mead. To me, any time of celebration is a good time for mead but today especially since the honey-wine is perfect for such spring festivities!
  • Give love to the Earth Mother and the Green Man. Or to whomever and whatever your Higher Power is.

Blessed Yule

This is the spirit of Yule and one I treasure and value. I hope you all enjoy your holidays and have the brightest blessings for the New Year. Today I will be celebrating  Yule in a small ceremony this evening with friends and family as well as casting spells for extra power tonight. This is a wonderful day to cast and hopefully it will be nice and cool this evening for the bonfire and burning of the Yule Log.

I’m making some big changes around the homestead in the coming year, moving altars and doing some redecorating with sacred objects as well as cleaning the house out of tons of witchy clutter (and other kinds too). I’m eager to streamline things and look forward to what the new year will bring.

I also plan on upgrading the sites (which are somewhat overdue) including re-purposing my original site magickrituals.com, as I have talked about doing for some months now. There are many good things in store and I hope you will be with me my dearest friends and clients.

All Hallows Eve

Rather then post another description of what fun we witches have on Samhain I thought I’d talk about my plans for the day (& night!)

This has been an incredibly active casting month for me – I’ve been casting nearly every night for the entire month. I took a little break while I was working on some other projects but  for the most part it’s been solid witchiness all month and I’ve loved it.

The weather is appropriately fallish and getting very cool at night which is perfect for the bonfire in the firepit. I use recycled paper (and coffee grounds) logs that burn wonderfully and clean. They also smell very nice. Things can get a little smoky once I start tossing herbs around but that’s part of the experience.

I’ve been doing the same ritual at Samhain now for many years but this year I want to cast some special spells on the day so I will do a shortened version of the ritual then just have a nice feast with my mother. very low-key, quiet, honoring those who have passed on.

I like to get a little wild with my feast, we have ale and I get some catered items from Publix so I don’t have to do anything but put out our party in the living room. I decorate the dining room and set-up all kinds of candles and spooky displays. We don’t have kids trick or treat here so it’s just reflective conversation,  casting and then feasting.

Summer Solstice

 

If you’ve been keeping up with me for a while you all know that my favorite sabbat is Midsummer, the Summer Solstice. I have wonderful summer memories from my childhood as well as always having had a bang-up Litha (the other name for the sabbat). This is the first summer in several years that I truly feel the significance of the holiday since so much has changed in my life recently. I will be conducting a special ritual and spell on June 21st. You can read more about it at mysticspells.com.

 

Here is some information on the Summer Solstice written by Sarah Todd:

Summer Solstice is also called Litha or St. John’s Day, and in Pagan times it was an important religious event. Tribes would gather to celebrate the longest day of the year. Whole communities would participate in the celebration, paying homage to nature and the planets. Mother Earth was commemorated as “The Goddess”, while “The God” was represented as the Sun King. The festivities were filled with color – yellow for the harvest, green representing nature and blue for the sky. Some of the rituals that took place during Summer Solstice are kept alive today by modern Pagan faiths. They include:

1. Staying up all night to welcome the rising sun at dawn.

2. Keeping a sacred fire burning all night.

3. Dancing around the sacred fire to the beat of drums.

4. Burning a Yule wreath in the sacred fire.

5. Making a promise to Mother Nature to do something to improve the environment.

6. Exchanging magical gifts with fellow Pagans.

7. Exchanging songs, stories and poems with other people.

Summer Solstice was celebrated by the Slavs, the Celts and many Germanic tribes, with massive bonfires a main feature of the festivities. The Druids celebrated it as the marriage of Heaven and Earth. Customs and rituals were performed all over Europe, and over time Summer Solstice evolved into a night of fire festivals and love magic. Oracles were consulted, predictions were made and spells were cast. Midsummer Night became focused on lovers and fortune telling, commemorating the magic of the year’s shortest night, nature and the woods. A maiden could learn the identity of her future husband, a pair of lovers could leap through the bonfire flames to bring them luck and spirits and demons would be banished. Other leapt over the flames in the belief that the higher the leap the taller the crops that year! Customs to ensure the health and fertility of the land, domestic animals and humans were performed, and the church, the nobility and the peasants would join in the celebrations. Cities and towns marked the occasion with parades, plays and festivals in the market place, the town green and nearby forests.

Adding to the celebration of nature and her gifts was the inclusion of herbal potions, water and brooks that were supposed to contain healing attributes. Water customs conducted during the Summer Solstice, such as cleaning and decorating fountains and wells persist in many European cultures to this day. The Germanic tribes called this festival “Johannisnacht”, and tell of the healing powers of a magical pool and a fern that blooms only at Midsummer. Herbs gathered at this time and specific foods like baked elder flower blossoms were also believed to be able to heal and bring health.