Monthly Archives: July 2011

preparing for Lughnasadh

We just got back from visiting one of our local witch stores. I am glad we have this available to us, but I do kind of miss the older stores that were less flashy. Of course that is my personality. I like simple. Anyway I am glad they are there and I did buy two more candles for mom and her healing. I also bought her some amethyst that we are going to bless and charge tomorrow during ritual and then give to her to help the healing along. Amethyst is good for healing both mind and body and we can certainly use both.

We also got some incense though I didn’t find my old stand by so I am going to have to find it online. So now I just am working on the final touches for my part of our ritual and then printing them out for everyone. If we were normal people I would be baking bread today. Bread is very traditional, in so many ways. It is so integral to our story as people that we have sayings such as “break bread” and the work companion which means loosely “with bread” if you speak Spanish con is with and pan is bread. Little loves were made to break in circle and loves were also made to give as gifts of thanks to people in your life. I personally love that idea and maybe I will get around to making some zucchini bread. Maybe.  Sadly though 3 of us are gluten intolerant. Which means when eating gluten (found in wheat, rye and barly) our body sees it as a foreign invader and starts attacking itself. So sad. If I do make bread it will be Gluten Free and I have only had partial luck with baking that. But all of that is a story for another day.

I thought I would share with you a little about Lughnasadh and our plan for tomorrow. Lughnasadh (as you will see on every witch site) is the first of three harvest festivals. It was the time when they fields where reaped and then mowed into themselves to ensure a good harvest for next year as well. We celebrate the life giving food that the sun has ripened for us even as we can feel the subtle shifts in the suns appearance knowing that summer is coming to an end. The God is giving of himself to us.  The Goddess is sad as she knows that the God is dying but she is joyous as she realizes that she is pregnant and the God is growing with in her.  Lugh (who gives is name to the day) is also the Celtic God of grafts and for that it is also a nice time to do crafts. There are other names such as Feast of Bread or Lammas.

A side note here for those new to Wicca the Wheel of the Year turns and we have Sabbats that mark the turning. The Sabbats are celebrations of the God (primarily) just as the full moon is the celebration of the Goddess (primarily)

I will share what I can of our ritual in tomorrows post. I don’t know all what it will entail yet because as I said we are a coven of solitaires. Which of course is a contradiction and I guess I should explain. The group I do rituals with are at this moment all ladies and we are just friends. We all are solitary  which means we practice for the most part on our own. However, we like each other and that sense of community and so we have started having some rituals together.  Because we each practice on our own we each do things differently. As I am not the host tomorrow I am not sure how things will go. I like this though it gives each of us a chance to lead and a chance to follow.


Bright Blessings

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Hay crafts are traditional this time of year, as Lughnasadh was the traditional time to reap and make hay. There are a lot of lovely crafts out there but I wanted to share with you this. It is kind of a sculpture I pass by on the way to a friends house. It is different every time I drive past and really I just think it is really cool.


my skill level is not on par with some hay crafters out there so this is the person Little and I made.

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Crystal Altar

This is another example of a small altar. This is at my mothers house, in the kitchen. You can see that it has a small Goddess statue and a large crystal. She likes to turn the light on to shine through the crystal to “turn it on” and also to bring her awareness to it more. That leaf in front is on top of a little hedgehog and is a place to leave little gifts. Shortly after this I put a sprig of Rosemary on it for healing. image

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The night before a new moon and spell to move on

Tonight is the night before the new moon, which means it is a excellent time to do go away magic. There are as I have said basically two kinds of magic. one is to draw something to you an the other is to get rid of something in your life. When you look at it really they are two sides of the same coin (Hermetic law of polarity) really you are using your energy to illicit change in your life.  Let us say that you have a happy life but there is a person in your past that keeps cropping up and irritating your mind. By that I mean you are thinking of them or dreaming of them and they seem to always be on your mind. Let us say this is a past love and you are now happily with someone else.  We need to look at several aspects of this to bring about the change that you need to give you peace of mind. 1. we will ask for help getting them out of your mind. 2. We need to focus you on something else. Below is a  two part spell  to cover your basis.

First I want you to contemplate a few things. Why are you thinking of this person. Do you have rose colored glasses on? Are you thinking of what could have been? Is there something going on in your current love life that you don’t want to deal with and so you are focusing somewhere else? If something comes to mind then you need to address that issue. Perhaps it is just time gone by and a younger you or a different life. In which case you need to start counting your blessings and being thankful for what you have.

All you need for this spell is a candle of any color though light pink is particularly nice. You can get as fancy as you want to, dressing it with oils or herbs, but you don’t have to.  I would recommend doing this as a kitchen table spell or dinning room table. By that I mean sitting at the table Cast a circle and once you feel in the right space say the following (or similar words)

“Gracious Goddess and Gracious God please cut the cord that binds, let ______ have a his/her life but keep them off my mind. If my thoughts to them should turn, I know this candle I can burn. That you Dear Goddess and God, will grant me peace and happiness. For this I thank you knowing that I am truly blessed,”

Now think of at least 3 things that you are so thankful for in your current love life. Light the candle and thank the God and Goddess for each of those things. Spend as much time as you wish counting your blessings. Then extinguish the candle.

On the first day after the new moon light the candle again thanking the God and Goddess for your current love, and naming 3 things you love about them. You can continue to do this night after night as long as you which. If your thoughts ever do turn to the past, stop it right there. Quickly focus on the present and your current love, what you love about them, and what you are thankful for. This is redirecting your energy to your current life and to better suite your needs.

Bright Blessings


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recipe for a ritual

As Lughnasadh approaches I am working on our festivities and ritual for that day. I am really looking forward to it as it will be a nice break from the hustle and bustle of reality that I find my self currently in.  We are actually planning our celebration for this coming Sunday so I will try to share with you and write about it for the rest of the week. To start though I thought I would share with you the basic recipe for a ritual or schedule of events. Again this is from my Book of Shadows


  1. Cleans self: do what you can. A pre ritual bath or shower is nice. You can do this at home before you head out to where ever you are going to celebrate. Take this time to get in the mood and mind set for the event. If you cannot bathe go somewhere where you can wash your hands and visualize the rest of the elemental grime coming off.
  2. Once on location you will want to ready the space. Set it up how you want it. Maybe mark the border of where the circle will be and make sure you have everything you need ready to go.
  3. Cleans the space. Most witches use a broom to sweep up and cleanse the area.
  4. Cast the circle (see the post on that)
  5. Invite the elements
  6. Invite the Goddess and God
  7. state the purpose
  8. Celebrate, give thanks
  9. energy work if needed
  10. Grounding or earthing the energy.
  11. Thanks and dismissal to the Elements
  12. Thanks and dismissal to God and Goddess
  13. Dissolve circle.
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phases of the moon and magic

Full Moon: height of power. Full in every aspect of the word.

Waxing moon:  growing. A time to create and draw to you. time for come here magic

Wanning Moon: time to diminish or get rid of. time for go away magic

Dark moon. also very powerful. Banish and Death for example to quite smoking. to ask for the death of a toxic habit or addiction.

All magic is pretty much come here (I want to create this in my life) or go away ( I want to be rid of this) In general I find that most people do spells for love, money (success) healing and protection. I will be posting some spells in the not to distant future and having the basic knowledge of the elements and moon phases will help with that.

Of course the thing that will help the most is a strong relationship with the Divine. If magic is something you are interested in doing I would say a good way to prepare is to try and do a daily circle for yourself(this will help you skill level with circle casting) and in it ask the God and Goddess to be with you and give you guidance. Perhaps meditate on them for a while.

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The Elements (a basic chart)

North East South West
Earth Air Fire Water
Physical Mental/ communication Action/ Passion Emotions
Pentacle Incense/ censer Candle Cup or bowl
Green or brown Yellow Red Blue
page from my book of shadows

the elements

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One way to cast a cirlce

Casting a circle is one of those conundrums that is simple yet complicated. That said anyone can do it, though you will likely find it becomes easier to do and the circle stronger with practice. I spoke of a circle before as something we Witches use to create sacred space. Really it is a sphere with you in the middle.  You would erect one or cast one any time you are going to do a ritual or magic. What you will be doing is using your energy to create a sort of energy field around you. It is space and time that is of this world and reality yet slightly removed. We do this to both shift our consciousness as well as give us a space where all the energy inside is our own. The circle also gives us a measure of protection as you will see.  You may or may not be able to feel it the first time you cast one and that is ok. Like everything with practice you will get better and better. The technique below is one I find to be good for beginners and non beginners alike. I use it quite frequently when I am doing work on my own.

A few key points before we get to the how to or recipe if you will

You want to be comfortable

You can do this sitting or standing or laying down

You may want to lay out something like a cord to make the boundary of where your circle will be

You will want to have what ever you are working on set up before you start. Whether your doing a spell or a ritual make sure you have all your components present. (which goes back to why a Book of Shadows is so important)

You will want to have water and food right after you are done in circle to nourish your body and help start to replenish the energy you used to create it. You may want to prepare a plate for you just so it is ready.

Be in a comfortable place and position. Breath in and out to center yourself, and to become fully present and in your body. Focus on your breath and use the energy of your breath to build energy around you. You may picture it as a small white blue light growing with in you with each inhale. As it grows and grows it will encompass your body and then you may picture your exhale blowing this light larger and larger. Focus your energy on this light and making it strong. I often picture mine as a shimmering bubble but strong like a force field. If you are standing you can walk the circle clockwise holding out your hand or wand or other tool pouring your energy into the circle making it strong and true.

You will then invite the God and Goddess to be with you. To keep you safe and bless your work and guide you.

Something as simple as “Gracious Goddess  please be here with me now in this circle. Please keep me safe and my actions honorable and in accordance with love and life and you. Gracious God please be with me now in this circle. Please keep me safe and my actions honorable and in accordance with love and life and you”

You will then invite the four elements to be present with you as well.

You may do your work

To close your circle you are going to have to do something with that energy. If you have used a tool such as a wand you can visualize the light being sucked back into that tool, dissolving the circle. If you are not using a tool (and I am very often not)  you can visualize the light being sucked back into you, or you can thank the God and Goddess for their attendance, blessings and abundance, ask the take the energy from the circle. You can then visualize the sphere dissolving and dissipating.

Eat and Drink water. I cannot emphasize this enough you will need to ground and replenish yourself.

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I do try to write everyday

I really do. It gives me a focus and something to strive for. I also have a lot of thoughts running around my head and it gives me way to process them. That said of course I missed posting yesterday. I was in the hospital with my mom. She is continuing to do well and I am pleased with all the progress she is making. It does make me think of two of my past posts about energy and remembering your spirit. I talk about energy work as focusing your energy on something to illicit change.

Yesterday was a full day of that for me. Focus on my mother to help her, heal her and lift her spirits, was exactly what I wanted to do.  That said it is exhausting! wow does it take it right out of you. add in 3+ hours of driving and I am beat!

Having this experience and it being Sunday and all I wanted to share another one of my favorite sayings which is “you can’t pour from an empty cup” If you do not take care of you, you cannot take care of anyone else. We all have a lot of people depending on us and we need to make sure that we take the time to care for ourselves. If you crash and burn you are no good to anyone else. If you do not do something to fill your energy back up you will not be able to use it or focus it on anyone else.  Please do something today that builds you up.

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Book of Sahdows

A dear reader and friend of mine asked me the other day what the heck is this book of shadows I keep talking about. A good reminder that sometimes I start a thought in the middle, instead of at the beginning.  After all my blog is called book of shadows and blessings so it must be important. So for today’s post I will talk a little about Books of Shadows.

Think of it as a manual to your witchy self.  It is a book that contains all your rituals and prayers. Information on different seasons and the holidays. It often includes recipes for incense and herb potions for various need. It will be a place to keep you spells and a whole lot more. Anything Witchy you need to look up will be in there.  I think of mine a lot like a cook book. If I have not remembered something I can turn to the page and see the order to do things in or words to say. It can also be handed down to a child or someone else should you want to, and in that way there may be pages explaining just what is all of this Witchy stuff.

It is said that it got its name from the burning times (the witch hunts, a scary time) when you had to keep your knowledge and practice in the shadows.  Now though there are many published ones and some folks claim to have super old ones that were passed down from family members. Many of the old ones were lost though or burned to protect the Witch who had it.  Many Witches also keep a mirror book or journal where they document their spiritual life. If you are a student I highly recommend you keep both. The mirror book is kind of the day to day stuff of I tried this and this is how I felt about it. It is also an excellent place to write out about and analyze your dreams.  You may find that you when you cast a circle (ok I will explain that next) one way it feels much more powerful then another way. But how will you remember all the ways you tried if you don’t write it down.  When you find the way that works best for you, you can then write that into your Book of Shadows as “how to cast a circle” I find this to be very important because when you are doing a formal ritual it is sometimes hard to remember all the parts and so here is somewhere where it is all written down step by step.  You may have copied part of yours or all of yours from a teacher and that is ok too.

The books themselves can be anything. I know lots of Witches have a computerized version as well as a written one.  You can print out pages and keep it in a binder if you like. There are also some really beautiful ones out there. Hand tooled leather with hand made paper or carved wood. They can be of any size. If you plan to be traveling a lot you may want a small one more a pocket size.  If you are working with others you may have a coven book and individual ones. My sporadic nature has led me to having several. I am working on combining them all in once place but have not completed that project yet. At the moment I am gathering them all into a purple sketch book that I picked up at an art store. I like the blank pages so I can draw as well as write. My student, who is a marvelous artist has made hers absolutely astoundingly beautiful.  She has done collage on the pages and then has the words over the collage. For instance her Goddess page is a collage of different Goddess images or pictures of statues or things that speak Goddess to her and then she has a write up about the Goddess. I am of course inspired by this and perhaps my next one will look more like that.

I would share with you my entire book but because I too have copied things from other books that have copy rights I can’t. When I am using a ritual or something from a book I will try to tell you always where I got it.  I strongly recommend if you practice to either get Scott Cunningham’s Book of Shadows or his guide for a Solitary practitioner which has part of it in it.  I use this a lot both word for word and as a starting point. I think that Book of Shadows are very much like Altars in that they are kind of always changing as you do. They will evolve as you do. For that reason I still have, and refer to, my first Book of Shadows I wrote when I was 15 but since I am no longer a maiden my current one shows a different bent.

Before I leave you today, I will as promised, explain casting a circle. I will explain different methods on  how to actually cast one in another post, but I want to give you the basic idea now.  When a Witch casts a circle they are creating sacred space, separate yet still part of our world. Think of it like a bubble encompassing you and the work space. It is like erecting a church for your work.  It is typically done at the beginning of every ritual to help shift the Witches consciousness to what is at hand and to give them added protection as they do energy work.


Bright Blessings

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