Friday, February 20, 2015

Be a Light, Make a Light

It can be hard to see in the dark--but little by little, the light is coming back. In the mean time, you can make a light, and be a light with basic tools and recycled materials. Here’s what you'll need:

  • Tin cans (Any size can works; large like the ones you see at Costco, or small like tuna cans. Just make sure they are clean, dry, and have no sharp edges.)
  • Candle stubs or votive candles
  • Sand or fresh kitty litter
  • An awl or thick sharp nail
  • Hammer

What design would you like the candlelight to make? A pentagram? A crescent moon? Whatever picture or symbol you choose, keep it simple! The design must be reduced to a bunch of dots. After deciding on your design, draw it on the can with a black medium point marker. 

Place the awl or nail on one of the dots. Tap the hammer slowly and carefully to puncture the side of the can. You don’t want to bend the can, so you may have to insert a block of wood, but a stiff piece of Styrofoam will help the can keep its shape. 

Once your can in punctured in your design, pour at least one inch of sand, small gravel or litter into it. 

Center your candle (NEVER leave a burning candle unattended!) and share your light!

by Charlotte Bennardo

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The story of stuff... continued!

Remember the STORY OF STUFF? Well, there's more! Have a look:

As Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." ♥ 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Moon--Make a Wish! ♥

It's January 20, and today we will experience our first new moon of 2015! Try this exercise to start working with the new moon (and the phases that follow): 

Starting today with the moon in her dark phase, keep a daily journal of your activity for the month--what you do, what you eat, how you feel, and any good news (like getting a letter from a pen pal, finding money in the street, or acing a test) or bad news (urgh--a flat tire! not being able to find something you're looking for, or skipping breakfast) that comes your way. Note the phase of the moon for each day (you can get a free moon phase calendar at STARDATE.ORG). Do you see any patterns? Changes? Try it again for another moon phase. How can this information help you grow?

New moons are good for making wishes and planting the seeds of things you would like to see come to pass in the future. According to many astrologers, you'll see results from the wish you make and the work you do to make it come true at a new moon in six months time. Wish today, work and watch; by summer, how much of your dreams have been realized?

by Natalie Zaman
Moon Phase art from ClipArt Panda

Friday, January 16, 2015

Magical Lives ~ Scott Cunningham

He left too soon.

However, before his untimely death at the age of 36, Scott Cunningham had written some of the most influential books on Magic and Wicca of his generation. Born in Royal Oak, Michigan, Scott and his family moved to San Diego where he made his permanent home. Rosemary Ellen Guiley, author of The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, says he was introduced to Wicca through a book his mother bought, The Supernatural by D. Hill and P. Williams. After viewing a TV movie, and meeting a classmate practicing the Craft, he made it a point to learn as much as he could. By the time he finished two years of college, he had published more books than his professors, and dropped out to write full time.

As a writer, Scott used clear, simplistic language to explain the spirituality he felt and shared with the Goddesses and Gods through the earth and others. When he was a child, he displayed a fascination with plants, minerals, and gemstones, and many of his books reflect his interests and beliefs: Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, The Magical Household, Wicca, A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic, The Truth About Witchcraft Today, Divination of Beginners, Spell Crafts: Creating Magical Objects, and Magical Aromatherapy: the Power of Scent. And these are just a few of the things he's written!

Scott believed that Wicca was a neo-pagan (or “new”) spirituality, established in the 20th century, and not a continuation of ancient religious beliefs. He felt that even if today’s Wicca exhibits many aspects of the older Pagan Path, modern witches and seekers should forget about some of the historical and mythological connections, or “trappings,” as he called them.

It all came down to this, said Scott: the purpose of religion is to “…facilitate human contact with the Goddess and God.” He did not believe in secrecy, complicated rituals, or that traditional Wiccan initiation and formal practice were necessary. He wanted people to read as much as they could, throw out what didn’t feel right, and embrace their path.

Some feel that Cunningham’s “find your own way” philosophy weakens traditional Craft. Some even label his work as “fluffy” or “Disneyesque” because he wrote in a positive, affirming manner. He did not address the dark side, or the reality of death and evil. This, his critics say, makes his approach to Wicca overly simplistic. But this probably would not have bothered Scott; he encouraged the idea that only three things are required for successful magic: need, emotion and knowledge, and those are available to everyone.

He left us too soon, but he left behind a treasury of words, concepts and ideas!

by Charlotte Bennardo

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Lay It On Me!

Winter is here! 

If you live in a place where the weather gets chilly, you'll appreciate the power of LAYERING. You're much warmer when you wear a thermal undies and a sweater and a jacket when you go outside in the snow. The same rule works for magic too--layering makes for more potent spells. Any spell you make will work better if you... 

Write it down--because writing makes it real. Think about it. Have you ever written out a shopping list? How about a list of chores that have to be done (I love crossing off tasks that I've completed!)? Writing helps you to remember and it makes you think about your intention (do I really want this?)--and that's always important when doing magical work. 

Make a touchstone. Once you know exactly what you want, make a touchstone--a physical reminder of your intention that you can carry around with you. Think of it as a souvenir (remembrance) of the purpose of your spell. Looking at your touchstone will send instant energy to your intention.

Get physical! Adding action to a spell keeps the energy around it alive and moving--and we all know that active spells are much more effective than tired, sleepy ones. Action includes actual physical activity and speaking your intentions aloud. 

Write it down. Wait--didn't we just do that? Yes--but you always want to keep track of any changes, dreams and messages you get as an end result of your magical work. Are you ready to make some magic? 

WRITE: Draw a large spiral on a blank piece of paper (or in your Book of Shadows if you have one). Why a Spiral? Take a look at this image:

It spins inward and outward; it shrinks, and it grows. Those are powerful actions that you can put to work in your life. 

Starting at the outer end of the spiral and working inwards, on one side of the line write something that you would like to see fade in the coming year--perhaps a bad habit or feeling. Write it over and over again until you reach the center. 

Next, on the other side of the line, starting at the center of the spiral and working outwards, write something that you would like to see grow in your life over the next year. Maybe you'd like to sharpen a skill you've been practicing, or connect to a spirit guide.

TOUCHSTONE: At the entrance to the burial mound at Newgrange in Ireland is a stone that is covered with spiral carvings. One of the things that makes Newgrange a special place is that at dawn on the Winter Solstice, the sun shines into the entrance of the hill, and for a short time, it lights up the open chamber deep inside--now that's timing! The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year--one of those special in-between times of light and dark, beginnings and endings.

The intentions that you wrote along the spiral can be reinforced by making a physical reminder of that intention--a spiral stone. Find a flat stone that you can easily carry in the palm of your hand. On one side of the stone, starting at the outer edge, draw or paint a spiral spinning inwards (crayons and white out or liquid paper work really well!). While you are making the spiral, think of your fading intention. Turn the stone over and draw another spiral, this time starting from the center of the stone. When you draw or paint this spiral, think of your growing intention. Your spiral stone will be a touchstone to your growing and fading intentions that you can carry with you throughout the coming months. 

ACTION: "Labyrinth" is one of my favorite movies. It's about a girl that goes through a maze filled with tricks and traps to rescue her little brother. A labyrinth is often mistaken for a maze, but where a maze has various routes, dead ends, and several possible solutions, a labyrinth is a single continuous path that eventually brings you to its center. Take a look at this labyrinth:

If you trace the green line around and around, you can get to the center without stopping (and it looks alot like a spiral!). Labyrinths were often built into the floors of churches and were symbolic of life's journey. Walking the labyrinth is a thinking exercise--your brain works very efficiently when you're on the move! Even though the path twists and turns, it is certain, so you can concentrate on your intentions without worrying about which way to go. Go to a place where you have lots of room. Beginning at the outer edge of your space, walk in a circle. With each pass around, move inward to form a spiral. As you walk, speak your fading intention (you can read from your book, you don't have to memorize it). Keep walking and repeating your intention until you get to the center. When you get to the center, pause for a moment, and then, turn around and walk the spiral outwards, this time speaking aloud your growth intention until you reach the outer edge where you began. 

WRITE: Don't forget to keep track of what happens after you do your spell. It might be a while before you see results. Keep your eyes open for subtle signs, changes and messages.

by Natalie Zaman