Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - Dwarves

Each day when I cast my circle, the first element I call upon is the earth, represented by the little bowl of salt on my altar above.  I invoke all four elements by their spirits, and dwarves are the earth elemental. 

They are the stewards of all that grows and I ask their blessing in tending my garden and houseplants.  When I bought my home about 3 years ago, there was a birdbath in the front yard.  It was only after I began studying Wicca that I realized there were dwarves carved into it!

Another of those "happy coincidences" we often find in our lives.  Dwarves are skilled craftsmen and I ask for their inspiration in my sewing.  They are grounded, in touch with the earth and her seasons - new life, growth and maturity, abundant harvest, and dormancy and rest to begin the cycle anew.  We draw strength and nourishment from the earth.  She gives us two of my favorite offerings - bread and beer!  As an earth sign (Capricorn) I feel an affinity with dwarves (it could also be because I'm short!).  There is nothing that brings me more peace and joy than sitting in my garden and feeling surrounded by both the visible and invisible faces of nature.  Next time you catch a movement out of the corner of your eye, be glad and know that you may have just spotted an elemental!
More info on correspondences can be found at the link here: http://www.wicca.in/the-wiccan-elements/
For an interesting perspective on the history of elementals, read this: http://www.angelfocus.com/elementals.htm

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - Cauldron

It's amazing how inspiration works!  When I started practicing Wicca, a cauldron shortly became high on my list of desired tools.  All the ones I liked (and were big enough) cost more than I wanted to spend.  One day it "just occured to me" to use my cast iron dutch oven.  It was perfect!  It can contain a small bonfire, works for water scrying, and now has the added benefit of feeling magick when I actually cook in it!
To use it for a little bonfire, start on a fireproof surface (a hearth, patio or even a trivet) and away from flammable objects such as curtains, altar cloths, etc.  Pour equal amounts of epsom salts and rubbing alcohol in the bottom.  Carefully light it and cast your spell while the flame burns.
For water scrying, fill the cauldron with water and set it where it will ideally catch the full moon's reflection.  Scott Cunningham also recommends placing a piece of silver in the cauldron and letting the moonlight reflect off of that. 
For more mundane tasks such as cooking a Sabbat meal or "cakes and ale", this oven is perfect for roasting potatoes, heating apple cider, chicken and dumplings, etc.
Happy magickal workings!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pagan Blog Project - Candles

With all the great postings we're seeing, I’m sure there will be a wealth of information on working with candles for spells.  I've chosen to guide you toward affordable sources.  In addition to needing them for spellwork and daily circle casting, I love to use candles to light my home for family gatherings – they cast a spell of warmth and love.

World Market is my go-to store for candles and incense.  They sell a set of 6 long-burning tapers for $7.99.   If you sign up for their emails, you will receive enough $10 off coupons to keep yourself well-supplied year in and year out.  They also are a good place for seasonal candles - last year I found these bunny holders and tapers for Oestara at about $1 each.
Target is another good source that frequently puts their candles on clearance.  That's where I found the owl above as well as this beautiful carved green pillar.

Kohl's was the source for this silver candle which is perfect for esbats and Mondays (moon days).  Now that the center has burned down enough, I just insert a tealight so the main candle can be used indefinitely! 

The candle with the starfish charm (also from Kohl's) was a fun case of serendipity – I received it as a Christmas present and noticed later that the starfish was a pentacle!  (Let people know you like candles and see what shows up for your special occasions!)

The Hispanic section of the grocery store is an excellent source of colored votives and candles dedicated to a particular saint or angel.  Use these to represent the god or goddess on your altar.  The one pictured above is the archangel Michael, who has the "swift ability to cleanse away negativity and create the most positive atmosphere possible."  (Magical Housekeeping, Tess Whitehurst)

Hancock Fabrics is another fun place to pick up seasonal items for your altar.  I use this little harvest votive holder from Lammas through Samhain.

I use these tiny channukah candles from Amazon.com to fill in colors I couldn't find elsewhere.  They are too tiny for any of my holders so I simply use a few drops of wax to secure one to the top of an inverted votive.

Have fun with your candles!  Use earrings or broken jewelry as charms; simply stick the post into the candle (or glue it on if there is no post).  Use your boline to carve symbols into them.  Charge them by rolling them in oil and herbs for specific spells. Meditate on the flame.  Candles are one of the best tools we have for everyday magick!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Imbolc!

It's just before dawn and I have collected my Brigid's cloak - a green scarf I knitted.  I set it out in the garden at sunset to spend the night under the moon.   From www.brigidscloak.com"Traditionally, the brat bhríde, or Brigid’s Cloak, was laid outside before sunset on the eve of Brigid’s Feastday, 1st February, and brought back in before sunrise. Blessed by Brigid, ancient Spring goddess and saint, the dew which fell that night imbued the cloth with powers of healing and protection which lasted throughout the year."

My altar is decorated with red, green and white.  I fashioned a Brigid's cross from some pipecleaners I bought a long time ago to use for Christmas - the colors are perfect for Imbolc: white for the melting snow, green for new growth and red  for the rising sun or blood of life. I found a kalanchoe plant at the grocery store with red star-shaped flowers.

Ribs are marinating in the frig for tonight's dinner.  My "cakes and ale" food of choice for tonight's ritual is homemade salsa - red tomatoes, green jalapenos, white shallots.  I'll be baking vet-approved muffins for Rahja, my son and daughter-in-law's dog.
I will spend time today cleaning my house and yard - ridding both of last year's clutter and giving new life to some things by donating them.  Then I will walk through the house with incense, salt and water and do a ritual cleansing.
Tonight I'm having Jarrod and Sharee (above mentioned son and daughter-in-law) over for dinner - the ribs, white mashed potatoes, green broccoli and salad, red strawberry cupcakes for dessert.  After they leave, I will light a bonfire to end the sabbat.
May you have a happy and blessed day!