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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Meditation and Visualization

by Lady Bridget, © 1998

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Wicca is a religion that uses magick, which is triggered by the mind. In order for this to work well, it’s important that the person doing the magick be able to envision what she wants to have manifest. That’s where meditation and visualization skills become so important.

Remember the Thirteen Goals of a Witch? Goal number one is “Know Thyself”. In other words, if you don’t have a clear idea of what will make you happy, you are unlikely to get it (or even recognize it when you do get it!). So an important part of doing magick is to know what you want for your outcome and be able to visualize it strongly.

Visualiztion is the skill of seeing with your mind’s eye. (also called your “third eye”) When you can clearly see pictures and events taking place, using your imagination to control the outcome, then it is much easier to direct your will and your energy into making those pictures manifest on the physical plane. This is one of the ways for working magick.

Also, goal number 12 is “Meditate”. Why should this be a goal of every witch? What benefits could this possibly have for us?

“Modern” science has “discovered” the many benefits of meditation, and so it became popular, especially in the 1970’s. Such programs as “TM” and others, brought meditation into mainstream society. Benefits such as stress relief and greater ability to focus are easily attained using a simple meditation schedule of just 10-20 minutes a day. People who meditate regularly are calmer in crisis situations. They are able to stop the “chatter” that happens in the concious mind, and have an increased ability to focus on one problem at a time.

Meditation will bring you a sensitivity to the earth and to all life, and all the forces which surround us. You will be better able to connect, to be as one with the life forces, with the flow. Medititation brings also a sense of belonging, and that brings with it a sense of compassion. For we will be compassionate for that with which we share a belonging.

Certain meditations have also been traditionally used as one of the “eight-fold paths” to enlightenment. Meditating, for example, on questions that don’t have easy answers enables you to go above your normal mundane thinking into more trancendantal thinking. One example of this might be using the Wiccan Rede and meditating on exactly what constitutes “harm” to yourself or another. Another example of this type of question is “Who am I? Am I the person I want to be?” There are books available for more information on this type of meditation, and I will refer to them later.

Many people have told me that they can’t meditate, that they can’t sit still for long periods, they get restless, etc. This is because the majority of people think of meditation only as sitting still in the lotus position (legs crossed) and chanting “OM” over and over. While this is one form of meditation, it is ONLY one form, and there are MANY others.

Meditation is, simply put, the focus of the mind on only one thing at a time, whatever that may be. It can be internal, such as an idea, or external, such as a flower or picture. It can be as simple as counting your breaths to a count of four, and then starting over again. It can be done while lying down, sitting still, or even moving. One method of meditation uses repetitive movements to still the mind – doing it this way you can even meditate while walking on a treadmill, or while sitting and knitting, just to name two possible ways.

So, do you want to get started? The easiest form of meditation that has been very successful for beginners, is “breath counting”. This is, very simply, counting your breaths up to a count of four. It is important to breathe correctly during this exercise, you must breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth – using your diaphragm. Put your hand on your stomach, in the center just below your rib cage. This is where your diaphragm is located. Now breathe in deeply through your nose, and fill this area with air FIRST, feeling your abdomen expand. Now fill your lungs from the bottom up. And release this breath through your mouth, slowly.

It is generally best to exhale twice as long as your inhale breath, but you will do that naturally most of the time. If you start to feel lightheaded, then you need to exhale longer, and breathe more slowly. Now to do this exercise, you get comfortable, and breathe. Concentrate only on the breathing, and count to four, and count to four, and count to four, only. If any other thoughts intrude, just gently let them go, and continue breathing and counting. Do this daily for 10 minutes to start with for at least 3 weeks to see if it suits you. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Your mind will come up with all kinds of thoughts, itches, tingles, or uncomfortableness to distract you. Your mind has been allowed to “run” undisciplined all this time, so don’t expect to be able to master this overnight. In addition, remember, every time you say, “Aha! I was just doing it right!”, you are already thinking of something other than your breath. Pat yourself on the back, and then go right back to counting.

One word of advice, I started to use this method, and it works very well, as a way of getting to sleep at night. It worked wonderfully, and I have never had trouble sleeping since. However, I had to find a totally different method after that to meditate, because my body was now trained to go to sleep! If you are going to meditate, try sitting up, or lying on a floor, and not on your bed. If you are going to use any meditation to put yourself to sleep at night, then be clear with yourself that you are going to sleep, and train yourself to know the difference.

Well, what if you simply haven’t the ability to sit still for that long a time? Some people really don’t, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t meditate. Try a “moving” meditation. Stand up and stretch your arms out as high as you can, and put your head all the way back…. that really feels good! Now, slowly come all the way down, and allow your body to relax totally, with your hands brushing the floor (don’t push it if they don’t) and allow your head to simply hang.

Now slowly, bring yourself back to the first position, and then hold it for a time, and slowly bring yourself to the second position, and hold it for a time. Continue to do this, and remember to breathe! You can try counting your breaths during this exercise, or you can simply find a mantra to say during it, to give your mind a focus.

A mantra is a word or phrase that you say over and over again, until the syllables have no meaning, it is simply a focus for the mind. One form of mantra, is the chant that is used during magick to impress upon the subconcious mind what it is that the person wants to manifest. You can use any word or phrase that you like, and the words don’t have to have any meaning, or it can be something empowering for you. Somthing along the lines of, “I feel good, I look great” is an example of empowering or positive affirmations that can be used as a meditation mantra.

One of the best books that I have found on techniques is “How To Meditate” by Lawrence LeShan. While this book has nothing whatsoever to do with Wicca, it gives practical techniques, exercises, and advice on many different types of meditation. Also, Starhawk’s Spiral Dance has some visualization and meditation exercises in it. Another book which is wonderful for someone new to these techniques is by Shakti Gawain, Creative Visualization which also has a tape that goes with it, and is in it’s second or third printing. I highly recommend that you work with one or more of these books, and use the exercises given there to develop and hone your skills.

Being able to visualize strongly and clearly can help you in many areas of your life. Athletes are now taught to see themselves winning by using visualization. Many healers tell their patients, especially children, to see the “good cells” battling and winning over the “bad cells” when they are fighting diseases in the body. These techniques are not new, they have been “rediscovered” and we are lucky now that this information is readily available to all, and is no longer the secret teachings of a few people handed down and taught only to selected students.

Clearly there are many advantages to using a daily meditation schedule to calm and clear your mind, above and beyond the advantages to be gained for magickal workings. This is truly a skill which should be acquired and practiced by every witch to the best of her abilities.

“A Charm of Isis” by DeTraci Regula

Isis is perhaps the most multi-faceted of all the Goddesses known to us.
Earth mother and star spirit, sacred healer and Amazon warrior goddess, passionate lover and pure holy preistess of the divine, she can be approached to answer any human need.  As the divine spell-maker and compounder of mystical medicines, she is also known as the “one who hears,” even to those who merely call on her out of curiosity or indefinable need.
Her responsiveness is legendary, but don’t ever invite her with disrespect or in a desire to dominate a deity.  It won’t work out the way you expect.

HOW TO MAKE AN ISIS CHARM

Go to a sacred space, at your home altar or out in nature, Draw one of Isis’ symbols on a piece of paper or in a spot of clear ground.  Take a strip of white cloth long enough to tie around your wrist, ankle, or waist.  Smooth out the strip and anoint the cloth with a sweet-smelling oil, such as amber, kyphi, or a blend named for Isis.  It should be a scent that you enjoy.

As you anoint the cloth, say these or similar words:

Great Isis, Lady of the Universe,
Let your divine nature flow into this band of cloth.
I ask for your protection in difficult times
I ask for your help and assistance with difficult people
Let me have knowledge of my own power
And enlightenment to guide me
In your name, Isis, divine protectoress,
Who guards all those who call upon Your name.

As you write on the cloth, say:

As I inscribe this cloth
so let me be also inscribed
with the enduring mark of your protection.
Holy Isis, Lady of the Words of Power
Hear my words and may they be pleasing to you.
Grant to me your divine protection
as I bind to me with the divine knot of Isis
Your Holy name.

Tie the cloth around you.  It should be left loose enough that it can be slid off again without untying it.

~I glory in the light, I share in the sacred and eternal life.  Thank you, Great Isis, Lady of the Universe.~

Wear the cloth through the difficult situation, or until you feel that the power it represents is present within you.

Spud Babies

16  small red, Yukon gold, or new potatoes, unpeeled (about 2 1/2 lbs)
1  tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3  cup ricotta cheese
1  egg white
2/3  cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2  cup finely chopped smoked ham
1  tablespoon finely chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried chives (optional)
1/4  teaspoon salt, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper

Pick potatoes that are all about the size of a Ping-Pong ball so that they finish cooking at the same time.

Preheat oven to 375º. Rub the potatoes with the oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until just tender. Cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, whisk together the ricotta and the egg white until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Slice each potato in half. With a serrated citrus spoon or a slightly pointed teaspoon, scoop out a little of the flesh in each potato half. If the potato halves don’t sit level, slice a tiny sliver off the bottom so they stand upright.

Preheat oven to 400º. Use a teaspoon to mound the ham-and-cheese mixture into the scooped-out potato halves. Place the filled potatoes on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12 to 18 minutes, or until hot and just beginning to brown on top.

How Kids Can Help: Measure and mix ingredients; scoop out potatoes and fill them.

Yield: 32 pieces (serving size: 2 halves)

Elizabeth Woodson
Parenting, APRIL 2003

Cascara, Amarga

Botanical: Picramnia antidesma (S. W.)
Family: N.O. Simarubacaea
—Synonyms—Mountain Damson Bark. Simaruba Honduras Bark.
—Parts Used—Bark, root-bark.
—Habitat—Jamaica and South Guiana.

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—Description—A native of the West Indies and yields the drug known as Simaruba bark. The tree grows to a considerable height and thickness and has alternate spreading branches; the bark on the old trees is black and furrowed, on the younger trees smooth grey, in places spotted with big patches of yellow, the wood is hard, white and without any special taste; it has numerous leaves alternately on the branches, each leaf has several pinnae, nearly elliptical, upper side smooth deep green, under side whitish, short foot-stalks, flowers male and female on different trees, colour yellow in long panicles. The bark is rough scaly and poor; inside when fresh is a good yellow colour, but when dry paler; it has very little smell and taste and though very bitter is not disagreeable. Macerated in water or rectified spirits it gives a yellow tincture; makes a better and stronger infusion in cold water than in boiling water; the decoction is transparent yellow when hot, but when cooled, is turbid and brownish red in colour. The bark was brought from Guiana in 1713 as a remedy for dysentery. In France in 1718 to 1825 an epidemic flux was cured by the bark and this established its medicinal use in Europe.
—Constituents—A bitter tonic credited with specific alternative properties. It belongs to an undetermined species of picrammia and contains a bitter sweet amorphous alkaloid.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Purgative, tonic, diaphoretic. A very valuable bitter tonic, useful in diarrhoea, dysentery, and in some forms of indigestion; in large doses it is said to act as an emetic. It restores tone to the intestines, allays spasmodic motions, promotes a healthy secretion. Big doses cause vomiting and nausea – should not be used in dysentery attended with fever. In dysentery with weak indigestion it is often preferred to chamonilee.

—Dosage—The infusion taken in wineglassful doses every four to six hours.

—Other Species—
Simaruba versicolor, a Brazilian species,has similar properties; the fruits and barks are also used as anthelmintics, and an infusion of the bark is used for snake-bite. The plant is so bitter that insects will not attack it – on which account the powdered bark has been used to kill vermin.

S. alauca, a native of Cuba, gives a glutinous juice which has been found useful in some forms of skin disease.

Vatiaz

 
Themes: Sports, tradition, strength, excellence & recreation.
Symbols: Charms for strength or physical well-being.
 
About Vatiaz: Vatiaz is the Mongolian Goddess of physical prowess. Her
name even means “woman of great strength.”  Now that Summer is fully
underway, we could use some of Vatiaz’s endurance just to keep up!
 
To Do Today: The Nadam festival began in the 13th Century with Marco
Polo, who reported a gathering of 10,000 white horses with Mongolian
leaders participating in numerous games of skill ranging from archery to
wrestling. Today the tradition continues with sports, focused on
exhibiting excellence and skill, followed by a community party to
celebrate and revel in local customs. If there’s a sports exposition
or game that you enjoy, try to get out to the proverbial “ball park”
today to honour Vatiaz and enjoy her excellence as exhibited through
professional athletes.
 
For those who are not sports fans, making a Vatiaz charm for strength
and vitality is just as welcome by the Goddess and invokes her ongoing
participation in your life. You’ll need a bay leaf, a pinch of tea,
and a pinch of marjoram ( one herb each for body, mind, and spirit
). Wrap these in a small swatch of cotton, saying,
 
“Health, strength, and vitality,
Vatiaz, bring them to me!”
 
Put the swatch in the bottom of your daily-vitamin jar to empower the
vitamins with Vatiaz’s well-being.

from 365 Goddess – A Daily Guide of the Magick and Inspiration of the
Goddess
by Patricia Telesco

Goddess Meditation
 
The corn is growing.
Water falls from dark clouds, drop, drop.
The rain is falling.
Water falls from corn leaves, drop, drop.
The rain is passing.
Water from corn plants, drop, drop.
The corn is growing.
Water from the dark mists, drop, drop.
 
Corn is one of the plants that grows, not in the sunlight, but at night.
Some people claim they can hear the swish of the plants as they grow in
the hot darkness of Summer.
 
We often think of personal growth as taking place in the open: in
classes and workshops, in a therapist’s office, in the company of a
loved one. But, as often, our growth occurs invisible even to us. Within
our own hot darkness, we are maturing, growing, developing into the
people we will someday reveal ourselves to be. Trusting in this inner
process is sometimes difficult because we want visible, tangible
results. But just as the seed must grow beneath the ground, establishing
firm roots to uphold its growth, so our inner growth must be well rooted
and be free to grow in secret, until it is ready to be harvested.
 
from The Goddess Companion – Daily Meditations on the Feminine Spirit
by Patricia Monaghan

Blessing of Change

Bless this day and all who live it
open my eyes to ways of helping
give my heart over to my humanity
connect my spirit and my powers
spur my best self into action
 
I bless this day and all who live it
touching one heart spreads joy
sharing freely expands my heart
listening to others opens my mind
respecting others fuels my hope
 
I bless this day and all who live it
in small ways I am growing wise
in quiet ways I am learning now
in openness my spirit grows strong
in sharing, my life makes sense
 
I bless this day and all who live it
the essence in you is my essence
knowing our similarities frees me
feeling the sameness at our cores
unites us all as family of billions
 
I bless this day and all who live it
I reach out in kindness and spirit
you may learn to reach back in time
if I keep true and strong to being
the change I want to see in the world
 
Bless this day and all who live it
~ Abby Willowroot © 2008

Cold/ Flu Bath

5 drops Eucalyptus oil
5 drops Peppermint oil
4 drops Lavender oil
*Add 7 drops Thyme oil
if there is chest congestion

Make An Maypole Centerpiece

You Will Need:

A cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels

Heavy cardboard

Paint

Crepe paper in two or three colors

Some small stones

Flowers for decorating

A ruler

Scissors

Tacky glue

1) – Cut a circle from heavy cardboard about 1 and 1/4 inches larger than the diameter of the cardboard tube.

2)- Glue the cardboard tube to the center of the cardboard circle. Let dry.

3) – Paint the cardboard tube and the cardboard circle. Let the paint dry.

4) – Cut 3 or 4 pieces of crepe paper the length of the tube. Cut the crepe paper in half length-wise. Glue the crepe paper strips to the top inside of the tube alternating colors.

5)- Put some small stones inside the tube to add some weight so that it will not tip over.

6)- Decorate the top of your Maypole with flowers and more crepe paper if desired. Enjoy!

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