Rejoice spring is here: our equinox ritual summary

Sun Cleansing: Imagine the light of the Sun healing and cleansing any unwanted or negative energy.

Musical Circle Casting: Walking in a circle while playing healing music.

Spring 2015 music

Set  our intention and invocation through poetry:

rejoice as,
the light returns,
birth, life, and warmth,
possibilities and longer days
prosperity and childlike play
gods, goddesses, spirits of spring
join us on this day
faeries, nymphs, and elementals
we follow, lead the way.

Activity: Write intentions for the season and placed them in pots.Plant flowers over them and watch our plants and goals blossom.

Closing: Say goodbye and thank you to all the invoke spirits. Music circle opening by walking in the opposite direction.

And Water shall heal the wounds: Working with Troubling Ancestors update.

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April 24th marked what would have been my  departed father’s 69th birthday. As I have written before it has been a struggle figuring out  how to honor my father since he was a difficult man in life. When I  first began meeting with my father in ritual, I was offering beer and a few good thoughts. Beer, although a clear favorite of his, was an odd choice since it was also his downfall. I justified my choice by reasoning that it could no longer affect his physical body. But in honestly I have no idea what drinks and food do for or to a spirit. I simply gave beer because it was one of the few things I knew he enjoyed. I had no clue how to approach ancestor worship with my father so I just winged it, hoping that eventually I would find my way. Hoping that he would at least appreciate the effort. If not, at least I would help myself in the grieving process.

Now, my practice has changed slightly, I stopped offering alcohol for the time being. Thanks to a suggestion in Haitian Vodou Handbook  by Kenaz Filan instead I started offering him blessed spring water. Water to purify and promote clarity on his new spiritual  journey. This offering feels more authentic and active. For even when I do not have good words to offer  or  there are no messages to receive, I can still give this small blessing. It is something I can do even when I am in the angry stage of grieving. “ Hey I do not want to talk and engage you, but I wish for you clarity and peace.” However, I found myself often wishing that “this water brings purification so that we may one day have a healthy relationship.” The  water offerings have opened a new door for communicating with my father.

For his birthday, I did a little more than my regular offering. I gave him a present of playing cards. Playing cards was one of the healthy activities I recall him participating in with his friends. After I gave the offering, I played and sang along with a recording of  Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday. My Dad would always leave long annoying voice messages on my birthday singing this song. It drove me wild back then but now it is one of the few precious memories. When it came time to snuff out the candle,  I whispered to my father “ I miss you.”  It was the first time I was not stuck between angry and confusion. For the first time, I allowed myself to remember and embrace the good side of my father. I allowed myself to set aside the beer drinking and angry man long enough to honor the funny playful dad.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

On Defining my Magick

What is my magick? I used to do a lot of spells when I was younger. Spells for love and happiness and money. But the older I  would get, the less spells I would do. Magick become less about what I could attain. Magick became about my connection with nature. I wanted mystical relationships. Marriage to the sun and moon. An affair with the waters. A deep secret friendship with the air. The earth as a my protector. Old, grumpy and wise earth. I wanted to understand how everything worked. And how I was apart of it. I did not want to create magic, I wanted to discover that I was indeed magic.

Surprise. As I got older still, magic took on a new meaning. I wanted to heal. Not with spells. They seemed too easy and fleeting. I wanted to heal people.  Heal the inner pains with hard work. By helping them see into their own hearts and minds. Helping them to see their own wisdom. Help them see they are also magic.

I wanted to heal the human relationships. I wanted to heal our relationships with nature. With creation.  I wanted to teach that we all were married to each other. Interdependent. We were all the sun, moon, earth, water.  And then I grew older and came down to earth. I wanted to  experienced the true magic of family and friends. I wanted to heal my own wounds and disconnection from loved  ones. I wanted to feel not the sun or reach the stars. I wanted to dig through the earth, pull up the dirt and find the bones, the bodies, the skeletons of my ancestors. I wanted to discover my roots.  How could I know magic if I don’t know where I come from, and  who I am.? Magic is now honoring the past, the spirits and ancestors. Seeing and receiving their healing messages. Passing on what I learn.  So that many other people can take this journey into magic too.

Happy Ostara: Correspondences

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Here is just a quick list of Correspondences:

Other  related or close holidays: Easter, St. Patrick’s day, Passover

Aspects and symbols: fertility, birth, new life, balance,light ,becoming  warmer, rebirth, renewal, new ideas, good fortune

Gods: Eostre/Ostara, Ariadne, Athena, Minerva, Persephone, Attis, Cernunnos

Animals and Mystical beings: chicks, bunnies,  magical hare, hawk, sparrow, snake and Merpeople

Myths: “ magical hare and magical eggs” and resurrection of various God/desses.

Foods: chocolate, eggs, green foods, seeds, salads and “Spring foods”

Activities: spring cleaning, egg hunt, egg art, gardening, new projects.

Flowers, Trees, Plants: ash, birch, maple, daffodil, lily, rose, violet, honeysuckle,lavender, tulips, lilac

 Stones and gems: moonstone, clear quartz,rose, garnet, agate

 Zodiac: Aries

Other symbols: flowers, vines, seeds

Direction: East

Tarot: Chariot, 7, Magician, eight of wands

Resources and Further reading:

Towards a Wiccan Circle:A Practical Introduction to the Principles of Wicca by Sorita d’Este 

Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences: A Comprehensive & Cross-Referenced Resource for Pagans & Wiccans by Sandra Kynes

Tarot for all seasons: celebrating the days & nights of Power by Christine Jette

What is Sin? One Wiccan perspective

The question of sin was a heated conversation in my religious studies classes. We were Buddhists, yogis and a Wiccan who did not believe in a God outside of creation ( or did not believe in God at all), who did not believe in punishment or damnation.

Sometimes, the aversion to the concept of sin would make  it difficult to relate to Christian text. Eventually, it became clear  that we had to think differently about sin in order to really engage the texts.  We began to think about what sin meant from our own religious perspectives.

In my case, I had already lessened my anger around the term. It happened when I was introduced to the idea that sin was “whatever takes you away from God”*. Boom. It was a miracle. That one phrase was like poetry to me because it took out all the damnation and punishment. It also made rejecting sin sound  like a daily practice. You do what brings you closer to God to avoid sin. It was also so much more relatable. While someone Christian might take that to mean do not have sex before marriage because it takes you away from God. I could relate it to when I am not doing practices that bring me closer to the Goddess.

When we substitute God for divinity or sacredness, then sin holds a whole other notion of personal responsibility and wisdom. In the Buddhist tradition, we can likely “sin” to what leads you away from enlightenment, service to others or a healthy mind. An example of  this would be virtuous or non-virtuous  karma. These are not a good/bad reward system. They are not a punishment system. Instead, non-virtuous Karma is what is created by  and leads to unhealthy emotion patterns (Kleshas). Kleshas stand in our way of  having a healthy mind (somewhat like that sin that keep us from God).

In Wicca,  God is Divine Immanence. God is and is in nature. God is in us and all creation. So what would be sinful in Wicca. To me,  Wiccan “sin” would be  whatever causes imbalance in nature and whatever makes us experience disconnection from  The Goddess, The Divine, Nature and Humanity.  If I did a spell that causes an imbalance or was against nature or if I was cruel to an innocent human, I would see that as “sinful.”

With all that said, Christianity, Buddhism and Wicca are not completely comparable if at all. Also, sin is unique to certain religions like Christianity. The theology of sin does not really work in religions like Wicca. However, it is so helpful to ponder religious concepts that challenge us, to translate into our religious words. In this case, the concept of sin can be a doorway into to thinking about what is important in our Wiccan practices. And what makes us have regret, fear or imbalances. What do we “punish’ ourselves for. And what can we do to be closer to The Goddess and Nature.

* I do not remember where I first heard this but it seems to be a 
   take on " Sin separates us from God" (Isaiah 59:2).

Do I believe in reincarnation? One Wiccan View

Wicca thea/theology confirms reincarnation and afterlife though its fascination with seasonal changes, life and death cycle, and communication with Spirit realms. With that said, Wiccans do not agree on the particulars of reincarnation or after life.

For me, Wiccan practice and theology is not so much about what happens next.  It is about how we treat ourselves, each other, and the Natural World in the here and now.  It is about how we connect with our Ancestors, Higher Self, Spirits and the Divine in every present moment.

Unlike some religions that focus on what can we do in order to ensure a better time after this earthly life, Wiccans are usually pretty in love with our earthly existence.  We tend to not be considered with ensuring a perfect next reincarnation, in ending reincarnations or getting into “heaven”.

Even when Wiccans do Spirit communication, we are talking to them in the here and now. They are not in so far off place. We are simply pushing away the veil between two realities. To the Wiccan, Spirits are all around us and a part of our current lives. We are simply not always open to seeing and experiencing them.

Now, some Wiccans may choose to do past life regression or delve deeper into what reincarnation is. I, on the other hand, only experience the idea of reincarnation through watching the turning of the seasons, or in conversations with my Spirit Guide. My Spirit Guide has at least once been incarnate as my husband. I have had some visions of our past life.

Really, all this tells me is that reincarnation happens. Nothing about the ends and outs.

On that matter, I would have to guess.  My idea would be that there is either a waiting period between incarnations or  that one’s spirit could be simultaneously existed in multiple realities and times. This seems a big possible since one can communicate with one’s higher self. It would serve to reason, that we can communicate with our Ancestors’ higher selves even if they have reincarnated.

I am  borderline on whether I believe humans can reincarnated as everything. Can we be rocks? or insects? I am not sure. I figure once you experience one form of life, you would reincarnate into something else. I see reincarnation as an opportunity for growth. So, I doubt one goes from a human to an ant.

I do not believe that reincarnation is bad or good. That ones does something bad and therefore has a lower birth. I think we choose our reincarnations based on what we need for spiritual growth.

I think that there is no end to reincarnation.  Again, Wiccan theology poses reincarnation as a natural recurrence like the changing of seasons. It is not the same as  religions that  see reincarnation as  negative. Regardless of how spiritually realized you are, I think change is the natural state of things. I think we are always reincarnating even in one earthly life.  Reincarnation is the merely a process of impermanence.

With that said, I  do not think about it often. There are far too many mysteries in this current life, for me to be too considered about  what happens next.  I am more of a journey not the destination type.

How to incorporate Meditation into Wiccan practice

First, I would say, that Wicca practice already uses meditation. Ritual ( like yoga) is really meditation in movement. If one is really connecting to the ritual, to the invocations and to magic casting, this is meditation. When a person is fully in tune with the Goddess then this meditation. Or when we casting a circle and have that single object and single intention focus, this is also a form a meditation.

Think about when you are lost in any creative project. Where the project moves you into present moment. Where you are ” in flow” to the point where you move/ create automatically  We feel like someone else is guiding us because it is so effortlessly pouring out. In those moments of creativity, you are not worry about bills, or thinking about the future ( unless this is divination). You are completely in the project. This is mindfulness. This is meditation. And we have these moments all the time in Wiccan rituals.

These moments do not always happen.  Sometimes, we do a ritual and we can only go with the motions. We are  speaking, moving and acting but not connecting. We are not growing from the experience. Or we do a spell and our thoughts are all over the place.  It seems impossible to  send our intention into the universe.

This is why having a daily or weekly meditation practice can help Wiccans. By developing you meditation skills, you will likely find that you are able to focus and ground yourself  better before, during and after a ritual.

So here are a few ways to introduce meditation to your Wiccan practice.

First off, any of these techniques can be used before or after a ritual for grounding or by itself for a daily practice.

1: Doing mindfulness meditation. In this type of  meditation ( from  Tibetan Buddhism), you place a gentle focus on your outward breath and relax during the inward breath. or focus on both the in and out breath. See which technique is a better fit for you. When you have a thought, label it thinking without judgement and return to the breath.

2: Do visualizations:

A great visualization for Wiccans is working with  trying to project one’s own energy. An example of projecting your own energy is to imagining a beam of light coming from the middle of  your hand. Imagining  that you can move that light around. You can also imagine a beam of light coming out of each of your chakras or important body centers. These sort of energy meditations are great for strengthening ones’  energy body and projection abilities to aid in spell work.

3: Chanting/ Affirmation meditation.

You can do a traditional chant such as ” Om”. If you do a traditional chant from traditions such as African spirituality,  Buddhism or Yoga, you are benefitting from energies that have been tried and tested. They are energies that are connected to the vibration of earth and spirit and  create  healthy vibrations in your own body.

However, you should know enough about/ have access to the tradition, culture or chant ( though some chants have no literal meaning) before doing so. You don’t want to invoke things that are not meant for you. ” Om” however is  a good safe start.

You can also create your own affirmations to repeat. In this case, you can  do affirmations that are connected with a recurring goal, a spell  or ritual you will do  or something that creates a feeling that you  want such as relaxation.

Chants should not be more than a sentence, probably no more than five words. But can be as little as one.

Always remember the effects of meditation take a while. At least try a certain practice for a month before reflecting on the benefits and cons. Hopefully you will notice meditation or contemplation has a good effect on your rituals, spells and  mental well-being.