Notes from the Stillroom: 03/07/11

 

Dear Friends,

Sadly, of course, I don’t actually have a Still Room of my very own.  In any case I suspect that when I do have an apartment of my very own that it will blend together with the Kitchen, which really blends my Craft and my Culinary interests together nicely and I think serves well for a 21st Century Witch.

Anyhow, I’ve made mention of a recent surge of practical Witchery on my part recently, and figured I’d post an update.

Crown of Success

  1. Bay Leaves
  2. Frankincense
  3. Vetiver
  4. Olive and Jojoba Oils

I transferred the Crown of Success Oil to a new jar, removed the old Bay Leafs and tried to keep the ground Frankincense.   I put the glass jar and oil into the Microwave and hit the 30 second button a couple of times to heat the oil.   I cut some new, dried Bay leaves, into fine pieces and added them to the heated oil.  I ground more Frankincense, and some Vetivert, and stuffed them into the jar and the hot oil, I added a little more Olive Oil.

The jar is quite literally stuffed to the gills with herbs.   I added more Olive Oil in part to replenish what I had used in making some CoS for the Fabulous Jonathan, and in part because the mossy mass of herbs and resin was above the level of the oil… and since I am trying to scent the oil and not oil the herbs it seemed apropos to bring the oil level up a little.

Finally, after reflection, I transferred the whole oily-mossy mess to a jar twice as large as the first, and added a little more oil… so that the consistency was more of a sauce and less of a paste.

I’ve shaken the jars, contemplating their green-gold depths and observing the Brownian dance of the suspension and settling of the herbs and resins.  Now comes the hard part, the waiting.  Shaking the jar daily, sitting it in a window-sill to warm in the Sun… or perhaps 30 seconds in the microwave on some days…. contemplating successes and praying over the oil.

Crown of Success, like a lot of the conditioning oils from American folk magic and Hood00, is a scented oil product used as a perfume, an additive to baths, to sachet-like mojo-bags, and to dress candles for burning in spells.  From my research it seems like a lot of these oils will have very different blends of ingredients depending on the maker; but there are usually some standard items in each formula.  For Crown of Success these seem to be Frankincense and Bay, so those are the predominant ingredients.

In doing the quick, essential oils, version I wrote about in the previous post I discovered the scent of Vetivert.  I rather like its smokey scent and so added some dried Vetivert to the mix as well.

Pax’s Prosperity Powder

  1. ‘A popular Chamomile Tea blend’
  2. Mint
  3. Essential Oil of Vetivert
  4. Essential Oil of Texas Cedar-wood
  5. White Rice, ground to powder

I was feeling the need for a non-scented oil prosperity spell stuff, and decided to throw something together last week.  I had a box of a popular Chamomile tea and remembered that Chamomile was widely regarded as a good luck and prosperity herb… and as I read the other ingredients in the tea blend I discovered to my delight that several of them had associations with prosperity and luck and other useful associations!   I added a little Mint to the mix, and then using the coffee-grinder (aka 21st Century Mortar and Pestle) I grown down some White Rice.  This resulted in a nice little powder to which I have added a few drops of essential oil of Vetivert and some essential oil of Texas Cedarwood.

The Instructive Power of Looking at the Ingredients

This has led me to think and look at the ingredients in a number of the herb and spice mixes I have in my small portion of the Kitchen.  (the joys of living with a room-mate!)

I have been comparing notes between the magickal and medicinal associations for some things and learning a lot and finding I have a lot more tools at my disposal than I realized.  I am also finding the strange confluences and coincidences of meaning and symbolism, how certain herb blends or teas have combinations of ingredients that have one set of herbalism associations and another of herb magic associations and where the twain meet.

I held off of actually practicing spell-craft or herbalism for a long time because for a long time I did not have an apartment with a Kitchen… Unfortunately I also was holding off from practicing things like decent nutrition… so I am now working on a lot of things at once and juggling them in the air and growing and learning and having a lot of fun.

All of this may seem silly or superstitious or surreal to those unfamiliar with the embodied spirituality of Paganism, or the study of the spiritual practice of magick.

If so, look at it this way….

I will meditate on Success daily, I will put my energy and thoughts towards efforts to bring more stability and security in my life both financial and personal.  I can alternate the sessions of worrying the jar with sessions of working on my resume, meditating on where I have room for improvement at work, adding to my LinkedIn profile, researching suppliers for scented oil bottles, and business liscense requirements.

When I use the oil, or when my friends whom I gift portions of it too use it, we will remember the good wishes and thought that went into it.  We will think about our own definitions of success and our goals and methods for getting there.  We will fortify ourselves with knowledge of reaching our goals, and with the knowledge that a little change in our attitude or behavior can make all the difference.

We will remember that the Sacred is all around us, and within us.

The physical is sacred and as infused with the Holy as anything else.

Peace,

Pax

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Freewriting and Notes on the Journey 3/02/11

Image found here thanks to Google Images search...

Dear Friends,

So there have been a LOT of little nudges from the Cosmos, Kledon’s found in random discussions and comments from friends, and outright urgings from friends and acquaintances.  Keep Writing.  You should write a book.  Look at how successful online writers/E-book authors are…  So the Altar’s lit with the various candles and Brighid’s Candle from Imbolc is lit atop my Computer tower as I sit here writing freely and from the heart.

I feel like a fraud sometimes.  I write here about my practices and journey and yet my Practice is a sometimes fragile thing in the face of rapid changes in schedule or routine… yet still I try to keep my log book of Practices, and at least Ground and Center each day… the prayers and Chakra exercises and Meditation ebb and flow… but at least I ground and Center each day.

I sometimes wonder if one of the most difficult things we can do on our journeys of Spirit on our many Religious paths isn’t just going back to them each day?  Letting go of the distractions and the doubts and just trusting in the journey….

Today I stayed home from work, overwhelmed by allergies and a sky-high pollen count in Orlan0do in the wake of this Winter’s freezes; overwhelmed too by Benadryl… which always hits me like a trippy tidal wave when I first take it each year.  I slept for several hours this afternoon and have been up for a few hours this evening and am getting ready to pass out as my modern day flying ointment (aka benedryl) takes affect.

Sometimes you just have to slow down and let things happen in their own time… been getting that message too lately.  From the Spirits and from my own magickal work..

As I may have mentioned here I have been doing some prosperity related work lately.  Made myself a money candle and used some oils and herbs and added them to a 7day candle and used some silver and gold metalic craft ink to write things on the outside of the glass.  Been burning that a bit each day… had to re-make it once when the first ink I chose rubbed off quickly…

Made myself a money powder with a popular chamomile tea blend, which happened to have a lot of lucky and prosperity herbs in it for flavor balance – handy that, and some rice and ground them together in the coffee grinder.  (I lack a mortar and pestle as the mortar was re-purposed to an incense burning bowl a couple of years ago whilst the pestle was misplaced, and lets be honest, for a lot of uses a grinder makes more sense you can charge the herbs without inducing early onset carpel tunnel)  Sometimes though, it would be nice to have that mortar and pestle, to grind the herbs as best I could by hand and feel them breaking down, to smell their scents, to feel the energy of my action and will flowing into them as I break them down… sometimes.  Sometimes its nice to simply have some things on hand that I can say a quick prayer over and toss a pinch of powder into my pocket as I get ready to leave the house.

I Also started in on some Crown of Success oil.  Found all SORTS of recipes, but I started out by using the one in Judika Isles 500,000 Spells book.  Started by steeping fresh and dried bay leaves in Olive and Jojoba oil.  Blended that with some Sandalwood essential oil in Jojoba (because I need more success until I can afford retail Sandalwood essential oil), some Frankincense (because I was in a hurry and didn’t realize that the Frankincense was nearly twice the cost of the other until I got home and read the reciept) and Vetivert essential oils, and gifted the results to The Fabulous Jonathan.

That was the quick Crown of Success Oil, now I’m working on the slow long-term success so all that left-over Bay leaves and Olive/Jojoba Oil will come in handy!  I bought some Frankincense tears and ground them up and added them to the oil and leaves that remained, gonna try an old school home-made batch of Crown of Success.   May not have the “pow” of an essential oil batch, at least not for a long time and multiple herbal additions and steeping cycles, but I think a longer term steeping might be instructive and useful…. at lest thats the urgings/leadings/impression I’ve been getting.  Slow down, relax, do what you need to do but don’t be afraid to let things develop naturally you don’t have to be doing it all to have everything you need to have happen, happen.

So I will trust in the Gods and the Spirits and the Ancestors and light Brighids Candle and write something somewhere each day, and breathe, and Center, and do what I need to do.

What will you do?  What do you need to do?

Peace, and Curiosity, always the Curiosity,

Pax

PS- Technically speaking I shouldn’t be surprised at the changes and upheavals and jumping around going on in my life since I ASKED for it….  I need to remember to bless and remember that fact when the universe forces me to think and breathe and dance between the lines of the spiritual tides on the shores of my life.

The Lady

I Call upon and Invoke Thee

Oh Triple Goddess of the Witches

Mighty Mother Celestial

Black Robed and Silver Clad Queen of the Mysteries

Lady of Spirit and Inspiration and Magick

Ever-changing Goddess of the moon

Lady of the Groves and Gardens

Bride of the Sun

You who is at once, The Maiden of Creativity,

The Mother of Possibilities, and The Secret Wielding Crone,

I Invoke Thee by Perfect Love and Perfect Trust

Please be present in this rite in Thy Honor and Praise

Share with me Your Love and Lore and Law

That Thy Servant and Friend may be Fulfilled

Hail & Well Met

~Invocation, (c) 2010 Pax/Geoffrey Stewart

Dear Friends,

This, which I was determined would be the first entry in this little series, has been a tough post to write for all its brevity.  It is strange to note that I don’t have many dramatic or deep encounters with The Witches Goddess, the Three-fold Lady who is Maiden and Mother and Crone… a couple stand out… but Her presence in my life is a largely subtle one compared to some of my other encounters with Divinities.

The Charge

The Charge, or rather, Valiente’s Charge of The Goddess is the first time I can specifically remember encountering Her.  After all these years I can’t recall which version in which book or where I was when I first read it…. I want to say it was in the back of either Complete Art of White Witchcraft or Diary of A Witch, both by Sybil Leek.

I remember it was an older book.   Anchorage is blessed with some world class used bookstores because it can be ridiculously expensive to move to and from Alaska thus a lot of folks jettison stuff on their way out, I remember the worn pages of a paperback in my hand,the sensation of that light almost feathery quality of the page edges that old paperback books have.  I remember the old paperback/used book scent overlaying that slightest hint of Metaphysical/Occult bookstore.  I remember the slightly old fashioned type against the sepia kissed creme of the page.

I remember the words, as I read them, seeming to flow off the page, up my arms deep into my head and heart.  I remember how filled to bursting I was with Spirit and Love and Hope and Power as I first experienced a sense of Her deep and abiding love.

I remember the sense of the rest of the world receding and the sense of the words speaking directly to the deepest part of my soul.  Drinking down the words of the Charge, I can remember feeling changed.  Touched and Transformed by Her words, sent through Doreen, so many years before I was born.  She was there, and although Her presence in my life has been an often subtle one, She has been with me ever since.

A Voice in The Rec Room

This was one of the few, dramatic, moments in my experiences of the Triple Goddess.  An acquaintance of mine who was claiming to suffer from Multiple Personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder) had had, or decided to have (which I say looking back on the episode with the perspective of many years experience of the ways people seek to suck up attention and specialness in dysfunctional ways) an episode.

I wasn’t entirely sold on the MPD, had some inkling it might just be attention seeking, but also felt that it was possible that there WAS some mental illness going on or at least some emotional troubles… so I did what any self-respecting Witch would do; I decided to turn it over to the Gods… or in this case The Witches Goddess.  This was early enough in my journey and practice as a Solitary Witch that She was in the spotlight of my practice at the time.

I had decided to try something different, and instead of putting the tools on an altar table or cloth, I arrayed them and the various notions and lotions and potions that inhabited my early altars around me in a circle, and Cast Circle through and upon them.  I did the usual Cirlce rites and then after The Rite, in symbol, I began praying to Her.  I asked Her what I could do for my friend and lay the situation out before here as I understood it at the time and prayed for Her guidance.

“Love him.” She said.

I.  Heard.  The.  Words. Aloud.  Not in the conversation-in-my-head-but-not-my-words style, which is the usual way I get impressions from The Holy Powers, but aloud.  Out, friggin’, Loud!

I spun around, startled, and knocked over the lit Candle for Fire… which luckily went out and did NOT ignite the synthetic orange shag of  daylight basement rec-room.  After a moment of processing this, one of my earliest this-shit-is-real experiences, I uprighted and relit the Candle for Fire and continued to pray for a time.  She, of course, was maddeningly silent after this, but I tried to remain content knowing She was and is there and will put a hand or word in if needed.

Reflection

Mostly I am aware of her on Full Moon nights, or nearly full nights.  The familiar embracing Presence.  The sense of settling in as I begin Invoking Her in Circle, the passionate thread that runs through me as the Blade and Chalice meet.  While I haven’t had a lot of woo-woo experiences involving Her, I have almost never really doubted She is there.

I’d love to be able to say that I have NEVER doubted Them or The Craft, but I am as human as anyone else and sometimes I wrestle with fear and doubt and confusion.  Always though, I return.  I return to Them and to Her.

Lately my relationship with Her has taken a bit of a turn as I encountered the Feri Trad way of addressing Her as “Holy Mother in Whom we live move and have our being”… this has resonated strongly for me and for my practice and I have incorporated that phrase into some of my own Craft.

Peace,

Pax

Intro

Libertas (whilst written before this series was conceived of, it fits a little too perfectly into the theme to be ignored…)

The Witches Goddess (this post)

The WitchFather

The Morrigan

Hecate

Dionysus

The Honored and Beloved Dead

Spirits of the World Around Us

Invocations, Old Words, and Creativity

Dear Friends,

I have had the words, well mostly one of the choruses, of the old British folk and busking/begging song Tom O’ Bedlam stuck in my head for a couple of days now.

Still I sing Boys, Bonny Mad Boys

Bedlam Boys are Bonny

For they all go bare and they live by the air,

and They want no drink nor money

I blame Veles, who was apparently similarly afflicted and posted to his Facebook…

Oh Tom o’Bedlam, get out of my head!

Some discussion ensued and, realizing I had only heard snippets over the years in my wanderings through sci-fi/fantasy and Renfair geek-dom,  I researched the piece, and looked up all the lyrics and listened to several versions online….  Enjoying the flexibility of the song and how many different directions you can take these old words…

Ever since Veles (because, again it is his fault) got me stuck on this song I have been thinking how by adjusting the verses and some of the various choruses (and possibly adding one or two relevant verses) you could take this song and transform it into a very powerful Mummers interlude during a Yuletide potluck feast, or a Mummers Parade around Samhain, or an Invocation of The Horned God and the Wild Hunt at either of the above Sabbats are all interesting possibilities.

Some of the inspiration for this comes from reading a LOT of Traditional Witchcraft material in the last month, Huson and Paddon and Cochrane and Jones oh my!  Some of this inspiration has probably been stirred up by Dver’s diverse posts over on A Forrest Door on mumming and masking (here, here and here) that she shared near the turning of the Calendar Year…

One of the elements that can make a ritual powerful, one of the things that can make it Ritual and empower true Magick, is repetition or age.   This is why old and oft repeated rituals have a certain power, they’ve had time to inscribe themselves into the warp and weft of things….  rituals, like the Catholic Mass, or the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, or the casting of Circles or the invocation of Watchtowers; this is also part of what empowers some of the ancient stories and songs such as the works of Shakespear, and passages from the Norse Saga’s, or the Homeric Hymns, have had time to work themselves into the warp and the weft of things and reach what I tend to think of as the Graphic User Interface stage of magick and ritual.

So by bringing in Poetry and Song and Language and rituals with some age to it, or simply by figuring out what works best for you and going with it, you can end up drawing on the power of meanings built up over time; with yourself and your group as the lenses through which that deep magick is focused…

As an example of the flexibility of the piece, and the many different moods one could take one written source (either ancient, or modern, or one that blends the two…) We have…

A late 1960’s folk-rock rendition…

A 1980’s sounding version with overtones of Synth and New Age Music…

A gloriously over the top spoken word version….

And a Japanese Math Rock band which, while some of the pronunciations are a bit surreal has captured a delightful mood…

or for invoking Dionysus perhaps fabulous almost rockabilly version…

Peace, and creativity,

Pax

Holy Libertas, Holy Justitia, and All You Holy Powers of Healing…

Dear Friends,

In the face of recent events Pagan community journalists are looking at the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, a Democratic member of the U.S. Congress who was shot at in an apparent assassination attempt, and adding their prayers.  Pagan Elders and Teachers are encouraging us to pray and send energy, and to not only not despair but too find ways to Bend that oh-so -famous Moral Arc of the Universe more towards justice from the strange and tangled place our Nation finds itself in these day.  Pagan Authors and Elders are writing essays inquiring into the moral responsibility for the vitriolic climate that pollutes our fair Nations politics.

I am neither an Elder nor an Author, and only a sometimes hap-hazard Journalist.  I will find ways to act and work and do whatever it is I can do to bring positive change into the world and into my Nation, but for now, I also pray….

Holy Libertas, Holy Justitia, and All You Holy Powers of Healing

Hear Me, oh, Holy Powers.

Lady Liberty,

Goddess of Democracy, You who raises your Torch to light the way to Freedom and holds close to your heart the Laws and History and Ideas and Ideals that should be guiding us.  Inspire your children and friends and praise-singers and drum-beaters to action, let us stand in numbers too great to ignore and say

“No.  Not here, and not ever here!”

To the rule of violence and to the fear-mongering and rabble-rousing that has helped lead to this.

Swift Winged Justice,

Lady of the Scales and the Sword, who although blindfolded sees all.  I know that You cannot be everywhere at once, but please be in Arizona now.  Cleave through the lies and accusations and counter accusations and help the forces of Law to work Your wonders and to find the truths at the  heart of this matter.

All You Holy Powers of Healing,

Be with, sustain, and nurture those injured on that tragic day.  Be with, sustain, and nurture the families of the fallen, and the wounded, as they go forward from this terrible cross-roads.  Be with, sustain, and nurture all those touched personally by this horrible event and help them to to heal, to grieve, to find the comfort they need, and to continue.

Honored and Beloved and Mighty Dead,

Welcome the Fallen from this tragic day amongst your numbers, may they find peace amongst your numbers and reunion with their beloved families.  May your presences and inspiration be there for your families and for your spiritual descendants who have need of you in this trying time.

Blessed Be and So Mote It Be.

So Mote It Be,
Pax / Geoffrey

On Breathing

Dear Friends,

So this is the first official entry on the blog with writings from my personal Grimoire, which I am working on.  It will probably be obvious to some that T. Thorn Coyle’s writings have had a strong influence on me in this section…

Inspire means both to breathe in and to fill with Spirit.  Air connects us with one another and with all of life around us, it fuels our bodies; awareness and control of breath can work wonders in ourselves and through us in the world around us.  Breathing in, taking in oxygen and life energy, air fuels our fire.  With breath we can raise power, call Spirit, connect with The Gods, and embrace the Numinous All That Is.  Our lives, our actions, all of our works of Spirit, all of our acts of Will, and all Magick begins with a breath.

In Through the Nose,

Out Through the Mouth,

Breathe Inspiration,

Let Go of your Doubt.

I prefer in through the nose and out through the mouth, but the key is a relaxed and even and steady and conscious rhythm.

On the inhale your throat should be relaxed and you should be as aware of the air flowing down your throat as you are of drinking down cold water.  The air is drawn down your throat and into the deepest part of your lungs, towards the pit of your stomach.  As you breathe in the air should first push out your belly, and then your rib cage and chest, raising your shoulders as your lungs fill to the brimming.

When you feel the breath pooling or tickling at the base of your throat, you can begin your exhale; breathing out slowly and steadily.  Breathing out through your mouth, your throat relaxed and the tip of your tongue touching the roof of your mouth.  Letting your shoulders slowly drop, your chest and rib cage and belly relaxing and contracting in turn.

So from here I am going to discuss Centering and then Meditation…. and I am still playing with the orders of the other items on my list.

I am coming to realize how central and important breath is in the work of Magick and Spirit and of health.

Which is  why I am trying to mostly quit smoking.  “Mostly”, because I will allow myself the very occasional cigar, but I want to be the one in control… not the nicotine!   It is also “mostly” because in similar situations in the past if I have said to myself I am cutting back, it means that if I break down and have a smoke early in the quitting/cutting-way-the-heck-back process I won’t fall over myself with recrimination but will simply return to the abstaining.

I had already quit due to time and money issues once before, then the Break Up happened and I feel … no I dove off that Wagon in an emotional fee-fall.   Even though I was able to pull myself out of a tailspin by twisting and curving and aiming my dive into the waters of spirituality and Witchcraft and Faith, rather than those of sensuality and self-destruction, I have been smoking way too much.

Peace,

Pax