Invoking and Banishing 

Pentagrams

 

 


					

 

 

 

Definition/Preamble:

 

Oh my god, [they're] full of stars.”

 

David Bowman’s final, paraphrased words from 2001: A Space Odyssey
applies not only to enigmatic alien artifacts but to pentagrams and pentacles as well. A pentagram is a precisely drawn five-pointed star (as in the case of Wicca save for second-degree initiations) with the one point up and two downward (spirit over body.) A pentagram is a pentacle inside a circle. A pentagram drawn with the one point downward and two up, for a witch, signifies that they are on a voyage of self-discovery and learning to face the darkness within lest it overwhelm them later. This tradition is similar to the ceremonial magician’s Dark Night of the Soul.” For a Satanist, an inverted pentagram or pentacle is a sign of pleasure over rationality, or that their will is the sum of the law, and love is the law subject to their will.

 

I have written this short essay because last time at class there was some confusion (most of it on my part) over the proper way to use the invoking and banishing pentagram. This essay is my attempt at clearing some of the confusion and correcting an incorrect supposition on my part. Another reason for the writing, and for that matter, the reading of this small article is that whether it be ritual or magick, your experience will be all the more powerful if you understand why you do or say something rather than reading empty words or following gestures by rote.

 

Since this paper is not a formal thesis, I have not cited all my sources (what good ceremonial magician would?) only those whose work I have extensively quoted.

 

History:

The pentagram has long been associated with mystery and magic. It is the simplest form of star shape that can be drawn uni-cursally – with a single line – hence it is sometimes called the Endless Knot. Other names are the Goblin’s Cross, the Pentalpha, the Witch’s Foot, the Devil’s Star and the Seal of Solomon (more correctly attributed to the hexagram). It has long been believed to be a potent protection against evil and demons, hence a symbol of safety, and was sometimes worn as an amulet for happy homecoming. The potency and associations of the pentagram have evolved throughout history. Today it is a ubiquitous symbol of neo-pagans with much depth of magickal and symbolic meaning.

To the Gnostics, the pentagram was the ‘Blazing Star’ and, like the crescent moon was a symbol relating to the magic and mystery of the nighttimes sky.
For the Druids, it was a symbol of Godhead.
In Egypt, it was a symbol of the “underground womb” and bore a symbolic relationship to the concept of the pyramid form.
The Pagan Celts ascribed the pentagram to the underground goddess Morrigan.

Early Christians attributed the pentagram to the Five Wounds of Christ and from then until medieval times, it was a lesser-used Christian symbol. Prior to the time of the Inquisition, there were no “evil” associations to the pentagram. Rather its form implied Truth, religious mysticism and the work of The Creator.

In Medieval times, the “Endless Knot” was a symbol of Truth and was a protection against demons. It was used as an amulet of personal protection and to guard windows and doors. The pentagram with one point upwards symbolized summer; with two points upwards, it was a sign for winter.

During the long period of the Inquisition, there was much promulgation of lies and accusations in the “interests” of orthodoxy and elimination of heresy. The Church lapsed into a long period of the very diabolism it sought to oppose. The pentagram was seen to symbolize a Goat’s Head or the Devil in the form of Baphomet and it was Baphomet whom the Inquisition accused the Templars of worshipping.
In the purge on witches, other horned gods such as Pan became equated with the Devil (a Christian concept) and the pentagram – the folk-symbol of security – for the first time in history – was equated with “evil” and was called the Witch’s Foot.

The Old Religion and its symbols went underground, in fear of the Church’s persecution, and there it stayed, gradually withering, for centuries.
In the foundation of Hermeticism, in hidden societies of artisans and scholarly men, away from the eyes of the Church and its paranoia, the proto-science of alchemy developed along with its occult philosophy and cryptical symbolism. Graphical and geometric symbolism became very important and the period of the Renaissance emerged. The concept of the microcosmic world of Man as analogous to the macrocosm, the greater universe of spirit and elemental matter became a part of traditional western occult teaching, as it had long been in eastern philosophies.” As above, so below” The pentagram, the ‘Star of the Microcosm’, symbolized Man within the microcosm, representing in analogy the Macrocosmic universe. The upright pentagram bears some resemblance to the shape of man with his legs and arms outstretched. In Tycho Brahe’s Calendarium Naturale Magicum Perpetuum (1582) occurs a pentagram with human body imposed and the Hebrew for YHSVH associated with the elements. An illustration attributed to Brae’s contemporary Agrippa (Henry Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim) is of similar proportion and shows the five planets and the moon at the centre point – the genitalia. Other illustrations of the period by Robert Fludd and Leonardo da Vinci show geometric relationships of man to the universe. Later, the pentagram came to be symbolic of the relationship of the head to the four limbs and hence of the pure concentrated essence of anything (or the spirit) to the four traditional elements of matter – earth, water, air and fire – spirit is The Quintessence.

No known graphical illustration associating the pentagram with evil appears until the nineteenth century. Eliphaz Levi Zahed (actually the pen name of Alphonse Louis Constant, a defrocked French Catholic abbé) illustrates the upright pentagram of microcosmic man beside an inverted pentagram with the goat’s head of Baphomet. It is this illustration and juxtaposition that has led to the concept of different orientations of the pentagram being “good” and “evil”.

 

Five points for five elements:

 

While people have been drawing pentagrams for one purpose or another for thousands of years, it was the Greeks, particularly the mathematician, Pythagoras (of a2 + b2 = c2 = the Pythagorean Theorem fame) who first assigned elemental names to the five points of the pentagram. He also furthered some interesting properties of pentagram:

 

  • The ratio of any two unbroken line segments joined at point vertices, is approximately 1.618~. Check your trigonometry if you don’t believe me. This number is known as the golden mean. The golden mean also refers to body proportions of arms to legs. A normal human body with the arms and legs arranged properly forms the points for a pentacle.
  • A pentacle is unicursal; it is a single unbroken loop.

 

  • The golden mean may also be derived from the either of the shorter line segments formed from a long line segment where a point breaks such a line.

And

  • Treating the line segments as cords intersecting a circle provides the basis for some trigonometric and geometric functions. Remember our discussion about “circle geometries?”

 

The pentagram was adopted by Enochian ceremonial magicians and later by the Golden Dawn (not to be confused with the golden mean.) Somewhere in time, the wice, or witches learned this symbol.

 

Possibly, witches learned the use of this symbol from the druids. If druids were the priests of their time, then the witches were the village deacons: more accessible and less aloof than their druid brethren. The witches may have learned or copied druidic rituals and then changed them as they saw fit.

 

Druids were certainly well aware of the Greeks and could have learned some mathematics from them and then passed this knowledge on to the village wice or wicce (hence Wicca.) Much—not all—of witchcraft to me seems like watered down versions of ceremonial magick.

 

Pythagoras as I mentioned earlier assigned each point of the pentagram one of the basic magickal elements: Spirit or Will, Fire, Water, Air, and Earth.

 

Over the years the points the elements were assigned to shifted somewhat. One can attribute that fact to differences between Wiccan traditions and the cases where practitioners altered the directions of the elements to correspond more closely to the local geography. As in the case of some who call Air in the north and orient their altars as such. However, most traditions assign the elements as illustrated in fig. 1.

 

Five Points, Five Elements, and Five Ways to Summon Elementals

Alternatively, a Hypothesis Disproved:

 


Figure 1: Pentagram element and color correspondences

 

Pictured above is the pentacle, as we know it, oriented (usually) with one point up and two downward, and girded within circle. Some have proffered the idea that the circle represents protection, and or the fact that all the elements are connected. Personally, I ascribe to the latter notion. Elements and their respective colors assigned to the appropriate points of the pentacle.

 

In class, we were taught to draw an invoking pentagram by starting at the point assigned to Spirit, then moving in an unbroken motion from Spirit towards Earth as depicted in the next figure. The quarter caller would then proceed from Earth to Water to Air to

 

Fire and then back to Spirit.     

 

To draw the banishing pentagram one starts as shown in the adjoining figure and then visits each point in a similar fashion to the invoking

pentagram.

 

That’s about as far as most witches go even though there are invoking and banishing pentagrams for each of the elements. Therefore, when drawing an invoking or banishing pentagram while calling the quarters, one is actually drawing the invoking or banishing pentagram for the element of Earth.

 

In my personal practice, I plan to draw the proper elemental pentagram at each of the quarters instead of using the more generic technique. I was experimenting the other day. I was standing facing the east and drew the invoking pentagram for Air. Even though I didn’t call the quarter, I felt the elemental’s presence or at least its interest. Apparently, the act of drawing the pentagram alone is enough at least to get a nod from the quarter guardians.

 

There is a case for using just the invoking and banishing pentagram in Wiccan rituals. That being that since Air, Water, and Fire (according to their colors) combine to form Earth, it is not considered improper to use just the pentagram for Earth for quarter calls.

 

However, there are four more possible invoking and banishing pentagrams. There is an invoking and banishing pentagram for all five elements. Generally, the rule for drawing an invoking pentagram is start at the point opposite the element you are invoking and draw toward that element. To banish the element, simply begin at the element in question and draw away to the element directly opposite. See the figures for invoking and banishing Earth.

 

The exception to the rule is Spirit. The forms for the invoking and banishing pentagrams of Spirit are shown in figures 4 through figures 7.

 


Figure 2: Invoking Spirit (active)         Figure 5: Banishing Spirit (active)

 


Figure 6: Invoking Spirit (passive)        Figure 7: Spirit Banishing (passive)

 

Therefore, to invoke Spirit, one draws to either the left-hand or the right hand-point from the lower either left-hand or the right-hand point. Then, to banish the elemental, you simply reverse the drawing order used for the invoking.

 

Why are there two sets for Spirit? One set is for invoking the active Spirit and the other for Spirit in a passive sense. Put another way, an active invoking of Spirit is Spirit in a superior position over the element, which is what you would want in most circumstances. Invoking Spirit in an inferior mode or under the elements would be satanic equivalent of an inverted pentagram all that the satanic inverted pentagram stands for (e.g. flesh over spirit.)

 

Of course, this discussion regarding Spirit is moot since I am not aware of any Wiccan rituals that require Spirit to be called. This is just another one of my little intellectual curiosities.

 

Finally, to have one of my hypotheses proved wrong. Back when life was simpler and we only had one invoking pentagram, I suggested a better banishing pentagram would be just to draw down the right side of Spirit since the resulting pentagram would be a mirror image of the invoking pentagram used.

 

Nope.

 

I don’t know where I came up with that but I cannot find the source and until I can find a verifiable source that says that, I have to say that my supposition was invalid—just plain wrong. Besides, I think we have enough invoking and banishing pentagrams without adding another one.

 

 

Examples of Invoking and Banishing Pentagrams

 

Air invoking and banishing pentagrams

 



 

 

Fire invoking and banishing pentagrams

 




 

 

Water invoking and banishing pentagrams

 




 

 

Earth invoking and banishing pentagrams

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit invoking and banishing pentagrams

 

Unlike the other elements, there are at least four invoking and banishing pentagrams for Spirit.

 


Invoking Spirit (active)             Banishing Spirit (active)

 


Invoking Spirit (passive)            Spirit Banishing (passive)

1
Apr

Ideas for Daily Wiccan Devotions

   Posted by: Scrivener   in Uncategorized

  • Morning, greeting the Sun, waking, beginning the day.
  • Noon, the height of the Sun’s power, energizing.
  • Sunset, transition between day and night, releasing, changing consciousness from active to relective.
  • Moonrise, greeting the Moon, reflecting, strengthening intuition.
  • Before bedtime, reflecting on the day giving thanks for the day.
    • (Note that daytime Sun-based devotionals tend to be more active and action-based, while Moon-based devotionals are more mystical and reflective. Neither is better than the other. We need both to be fully integrated.)
  • Meal preparation: Feeding and nurturing yourself or others is a magickal act.
  • Eating: Mom was right. Don’t just gobble your food while you’re reading the paper. Honor the divinity of that which gave you sustenance. Eating as a ritual connects us with the power of the life force. It also can help you eat healthier and overeat less.
  • Housekeeping: bringing the spirit of cleansing into your daily chores, makes the chore easier, and brings cleansing to your mental/emotional life as well.
  • Study time: Embrace and heighten your intellect by invoking the power of your mind.
  • Bathing: A few candles, some scented soap and a magickal attitude can turn an ordinary bath into an honoring of the divinity of your flesh.
  • Before Making Love: This one requires the consent and desire of all parties. If it doesn’t heighten your sex/love life, don’t us it. And don’t feel you must perform a devotional EACH time before making love. Sometimes what we need is a good primal roll in the hay.
  • Tea Time: I think the English have this one right: Take a few moments in the afternoon to stop what you’re doing and relax.
  • Morning Dream Sharing: In some cultures, the first thing people do in the morning is to take time to speak of the dreams they had during the night; to share and analyze them.
  • Exercise: Speaking of the gym and dance class, a brief devotional before hand will enhance your energy and your entire experience. Creating a healthier, fit body is an honoring of the form and the flesh we have taken.

The Witches’ Pyramid of Four Pillars


There are many tools used in Modern Witchcraft. According to some Wiccan systems, the first four are not physical, but rather are qualities which must be developed within the witch.

The “Four Pillars of the Witches Temple” are;

To Know (nescere)
-corresponds to Air
-represents the witch’s reason/intellect/intuition/wisdom and other more mystical understandings…

Basically this has to do with the gaining of knowledge, whether it be from books, teachers, or from experience. This also includes anything having to do with organising said knowledge: remembering, analyzing, dissecting, logical reasoning, imagining, linking, and many more. This is shown in many kinds of knowledge needed to do ritual: from remembering the words to invocations, to knowing when to cast the circle, to knowing what incense to use, to remembering how it feels when one grounds correctly.

In witchcraft knowledge is power. No knowledge is ever wasted, and you may find that your fifth grade Creative Writing class taught you things useable for creating invocations, or that your Aunt Jean’s gardening tips are helping you with your herb growing, or your Tai Chi class helped get the idea of centering across.

The admonitions “Know Thyself”, “Know your Craft”, “Learn” and “Apply you Learning” are all included in the pillar.

To Will (velle)
-corresponds to Fire
-represents the witch’s Will/Discipline/her skills in the arts of magic and life.

This can be split into two categories: the mundane and the Magickal. The mundane is where a with tries to keep their life in good order, and to follow through on promises and commitments. The magickal version refers to the Will to see a spell or ritual to its completion, keeping the intent clear without letting onself get distracted.
Concentration, Discipline and Drive are definitely a part of this, as well as Enthusiasm for doing ritual in the first place.

Placing one’s will in tandem with Divine Will is also incuded.

“Keep you thoughts and deeds in good order” and “Breathe and Eat correctly” belong here (though really just the act of living up to all the Goals could be listed inder “To Will”)

To Dare (audere)

-corresponds to Water
-represents the witch’s Emotions/Heart since the word courage derives from a word that means “heart”

“To Dar” encompasses the acts of facing fears, especially with regards to doing magick. Dare to experiment with what one has learned to gain more experience, like trying out that new astral travel technique or trance working. Dare to meet the Gods and interacte with them. Dare to deal with inner darkness.

This is not to say that one must never feel fear. Fear must be felt and examined before it can be dealt with. The more one tries to hide one’s fear from one’s self, the more power that fear will have over one’s self. Facing the Shadow within can be more traumatic than facing the most awe-inspiring Deity. However, Starhawk mentions in her book The Spiral Dance, “Where there’s fear, there’s power.” One’s greatest fear can mask one’s greatest strength.

It must be stated that any emotion or personal attribute brought into a magickal circle will be increased and strengthened. This explains the admonition at the gateway “Better to fall upon this knife/Than enter here in fear, or strife”. Give strength to your courage.

To Keep [the] Silence (tacere)

-corresponds with Earth
“To Keep the Silence” is often interpreted as “To Keep Silent”: that is, to keep secret knowledge of witchcraft, of membership and places of meetings etc., except in cases of voucher-for persons. “To Keep Silent” is probably a good general practice since it keeps the foolhardy from trying things that might be dangerous or from getting flack from less sympathetic neighbours. This is, however, not the whole story.

“Silence” represents the ‘still point’… the silence within… The correspondence with Earth here also gives another hint of this interpretation, since in order to begin to work magick, we generally “ground” and “center” ourselves. It is difficult to keep clear one’s intent if other extraneous thoughts keep flitting by and being distracting.

Listening to the Gods and Nature (and other people for that matter) is also intimated since one cannot hear unless there is silence first.

Again, “Keeping your thoughts in good order” as well as “Meditate” come under this heading

To Go (ire)
-corresponds to Spirit

Some traditions use the fifth Element of Spirit as embodying the power “To Go”: to go forth, to journey, to make manifest, to evolove. Most traditions assign Spirit to the Gods, making spirit a combination of the other four elements in perfect balance.

Conclusion

If one sees each of these qualities written on a four-sided pyramid, “To Keep the Silence” would be on the base, with the other three (To Know, To Will, To Dare) rising from the base (ie. Earth, foundation) to meet at the top. All things begin and end in Silence.

All of these qualities must be developed to gain proficiency in magick. (Remember “Achieve Balance”)Sources:

sources:

The Way of the Goddess by Ly Warren-Clarke
Dalukah’s Notes
The Spiral Dance by Starhawk

30
Mar

Definition

   Posted by: Scrivener   in Uncategorized

Wic·ca (w¹k”…) n. 1. A pagan nature religion having its roots in pre-Christian Western Europe and undergoing a 20th-century revival, especially in the United States and Great Britain. 2. A group or community of believers or followers of this religion. [Old English wicca, necromancer. See WITCH.]1

Wic·can (w¹k”…n) adj. 1. Of or relating to Wicca: the Wiccan religion; a Wiccan ritual. –Wic·can n. A believer or follower of Wicca; a witch. 1

witch (w¹ch) n. 1. A woman popularly believed to have supernatural powers and practice sorcery, and often believed to be aided by spirits or a familiar. 2. A believer or follower of Wicca; a Wiccan. 3. A hag. 4. Informal. A woman or girl considered bewitching. 5. One particularly skilled or competent at one’s craft: “A witch of a writer, [she] is capable of developing an intensity that verges on ferocity” (Peter S. Prescott). –witch v. witched, witch·ing, witch·es. –tr. 1. To work or cast a spell on; bewitch. 2. To cause, bring, or effect by witchcraft. –intr. To use a divining rod to find underground water or minerals; dowse. [Middle English wicche, from Old English wicce, witch and wicca, wizard, sorcerer; see weg- below.] –witch”er·y (-…-r¶) n.
–witch”y adj. 1

1The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

* * *

 

I am a witch.

Signifigator (Your innate characteristics):

Strength

You face trials ahead but with head held high, you are able to grasp firmly your destiny. You will master the forces within you.

Objects in Your Dream:

Poster from the movie “Blow”:

10 of Cups

You fear that your former life of abusing drugs or being associated with the drug world will destroy your happiness

Broken Headboard:

10 of Pentacles (rev)

You have a hard time letting go of things that no longer serve your best interests: e.g. broken relationships, things you’ve lost but may never find again, your own doubts and fears.

Oreos & Milk:

5 of Swords (rev)

In your past there was a conflict and while you were victorious you paid a high price for your victory—loss of childhood innocence or something that represents former happiness.

Transition Card (influences People in Dream):

Queen of Swords (rev)

Trying to find meaning and even demanding that there must be a meaning to what happened to you in the past is a fruitless endeavor.

People in Your Dreams

You smoking marijuana:

Knight of Cups (rev)

Be wary of falling into old habits for doing this could jeopardize future happiness. Or, this could simple be a fear of that happening. You seem to have a lot of emotional baggage from your past.

Your Friend, Amanda:

Queen of Pentacles

Amanda represents a time when you were happier and things seemed simpler and everything made sense. Now, you are feeling very confused and are unsure of what to do.

You & Amanda:

9 of Swords (rev)

Here again, Amanda represents something from your past or a sense of loss. I feel that you are almost nostalgic about something and are desperately trying to regain it. Your heart is crossed and you can’t see your way to solve this problem or resolve some old conflict. Until you are able to do this you will be blocked from true wisdom and emotional calm.

Transition Card (influences Symbols or the Deepest Meanings of your Dreams):

Knight of Pentacles (rev)

You need a rest or currently are in limbo about something. However, don’t hang on to the past too long or spend too much time searching for meaning in your past for your future will require your attention for your future holds abundance or fertility if only you can adapt to your changing environment.

Symbols in Your Dreams

A Wall (appeared twice):

The Devil

You have misplaced blame. Take responsibility for what happened and move forward. You’ve been using these feelings like a wall to prop up a false sense of being a victim thus creating an imbalance in your life. The wall is a barrier you must move through to create a new you.

Castle:

The Emperor

A castle and an emperor or a king appears in your dream. But the emperor like the castle has decayed and fallen into ruin. You have weakened the foundation of your life or perhaps your relationship with a father-figure has deteriorated. You recognize this and wish for more stability in your life.

Shattered Windows in Castle:

The Fool

The Fool represents you and the new beginning and everything before you on a journey to a new life, and all you are hoping for but the broken windows suggest you must first move beyond the shattered halls of your past. While it is good to seek answers about the past the future and present are more important. Make a radical change in your life in the face of conventional wisdom.

Hunger (for Oreos and milk):

Temperance

Seek balance in your life and beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself—cut yourself some slack.

Haunted Buildings:

The Empress

You have some unfinished emotional business with something or someone from your past—possibly your mother or a mother-figure or perhaps even with yourself.

The Past Influences:

The Page of Pentacles (rev)

Carelessness in the past has caused you grief in the present. Pay more attention to practical matters. Seek new challenges or studies and don’t rest on your laurels. Be warned you don’t know as much as you think you do.

The Present Influences:

The World (rev)

You feel as though your world has literally been turned upside down and are languishing. But chaos and change are all part of growth. You lack confidence about your present and it’s not really all that bad. You tend to see the worst possible outcome in every situation.

The Future Influences:

The Mage (rev)

You have all you need at your disposal if only you will start to apply yourself and have a little faith. Continue your studies whether they be a magickal ones or mundane ones at a school. However do not let your blossoming abilities lead you down the path of manipulation and overly controlling others for that is an addiction as bad the other you suffered.

What it all Means:

The Hierophant

Through studies both magickal and mundane you will find what you seek but more importantly to you, you will come through this difficulty. You will learn (so make sure you keep studying), you will find some of the answers your looking for (others you will never know and must accept this as fact), and finally society will accept you and you will find contentment within structures others might find too confining but will make you happy.


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Background

This spread was a remote reading for a friend. I’ll refer to her as ‘R’. Typically when asking a question about a situation, I like to use the Celtic Spread. I use the full 78-card deck for readings; therefore, I sometimes yet need to peek at the card interpretations. However, I look at the symbolism on the card and add my own thoughts as well. One must do that otherwise, there would only be a finite number of unique readings possible (albeit still a large number—something like (78! / [number of cards used]) if my memory of statistics serves me.) The deck I currently favor is the Gilded Tarot.

R is a fellow guildmate of the online game I play. She asked me for a reading and I consented, curious to find out how accurate I’d be without being close to the querent. She lives in Texas with her boyfriend who recently lost his job. I also know that things have not been all quiet on the home front.

The cards definitely echo her situation and unfortunately, unless R alters her present course, I don’t see much improvement of her situation. For a card-by-card analysis, see my comments below each card listed.

The Reading

Significator (Self)

The World

This card, usually chosen by the querent represents how they see themselves. Since this was a remote reading, I chose by cut of the cards using my left hand since the left hand represents spiritual matters.

A woman stands atop a pedestal surrounded by a wreath. Her demeanor is proud and confident. She wears a lion mask and her hair is blown back as though it were a mane. She holds in each hand a silver wand. The wand is a symbol of air and intellect. The two wands together suggest mastery of the unconscious and conscious.

R believes that she is captain of her own ship and master of all she surveys. This card could also indicate a victory or a completion of task. But does the reflection in the mirror always tell us the truth?

1. Self (Present Situation)

The Emperor (reversed)

The emperor is a leadership card. In this position and reversed the card indicates that the querent arrived at the present place through some poor judgments or miscalculations. Possibly, because the querent was too stodgy and unwilling to let go of autocratic rules or adhered to strongly to ingrained habits.

2. Self (Immediate Influences)

Five of swords

A man holds aloft a sword in triumph on a battlefield strewn with the dead, dying, and injured. The sword is the symbol of fire and passion.

Was whatever victory R won worth the cost? Sometimes the best battles are those waged in the halls of diplomacy.

With the Significator, this card also suggests that R is at an end of a cycle or period in her life.

3. Self (Recent Influences)

Ace of Cups (reversed)

The cup or chalice is the symbol of feminine nurturing and is of the element water. Water signs such as Cancer are homebody nurturers. The chalice or grail is also a symbol of the depth of universal gifts of romance, love, and idealism.

Because this card is reversed, (the cup is upside down and hence emptied), it means that R’s journey for whatever this particular grail stands for is at an end and combined with the previous card’s influence it would indicate possible dissatisfaction with a quest’s result.

Whatever R was looking for, she didn’t find it or it wasn’t worth the price she paid. The moon phases depicted above the cup, again point to feminine influences but since they are ‘below’ the reversed cup it could mean that the moon’s pull is at a low ebb as are R’s feelings. She must feel as though the bounty of the universal grail’s gifts have all ‘run out’ on her.

4. Self (Past Influences)

Four of Cups (reversed)

This card echoes the negative side of the Emperor and in conjunction with the previous card indicates that R may be seeking an ideal that does not exist. She ignores what has been laid at her feet while following an internal dogma that dictates that something better is out there but she’s not exactly sure what it is. This is a negative manifestation of the truism that the grass is always greener…

5. Self (Possible Goal or Outcome)

The Sun (reversed)

This card is never negative—even when reversed. Reversal merely diminishes the Sun’s effect. The sun is pictured above a zodiac circle with Jupiter and Saturn figured prominently. The other planets in the orbits are also pictured.

It’s important to this reading that Jupiter is pictured since R is currently under some financial distress and Jupiter is generous and expansive when it comes to money matters.

If Jupiter is expansive, then Saturn is restrictive. Saturn is the astrological taskmaster that admonishes us to knuckled down and get to work.

As a possible goal or destination, and in combination with the previous card, I’d say that with a little hard work, R can reverse her economic misfortunes but maybe not to the degree she’d like.

6. Self (Future Influences)

Two of Pentacles (reversed)

The two of pentacles shows a man effortlessly balancing two pentacles. This card relates to having mastery and balance in one’s life—especially where work is concerned. As I see it R is lacking in this balance. The ship and the dolphin in the background of the card indicates travel. I see R moving to some place where she can achieve balance in work and home life.

7. Fears

The Lovers (reversed)

This card is not always about relationships. Actually, it deals more with choices. The original card depicted a man choosing between two women.

However, in R’s case, I think it is about a relationship. In the fears position, this card tells us that her biggest fear is damage to their relationship because of economic turmoil or decisions they’ve made in the past.

8. Outside Influences

Three of Pentacles (reversed)

The three of pentacles is about career and pride in workmanship. R feels unappreciated or at least under appreciated in her job. This card shows a craftsman admiring his work. He takes delight and joy in his work or his creation. I feel that R has lost this joy in her work and needs to try to recapture that feeling or move on to something else.

9. Hopes and Ideals

Eight of Swords

A maiden (appropriate since R is female—this goes double for the Significator card) blindfolded, and bound is surrounded by eight swords. This would seem a predicament for most people, but the maiden exhibits a calm, if not confident air.

If the Significator shows how the querent views themselves, then, this card shows the reality of that perception. In this case we have a match between self-perception and reality. If only R can find it within herself to let go of past influences, unrealistic expectations, and yes even a stubborn clinging to romantic ideals which can never come to fruition, she’ll soon find her bonds broken.

10. Outcome

Four of Pentacles (reversed)

The four of pentacles (pentacles are an Earth suit concerned with career, wealth, and possessions) is an extreme or intensifier of the Emperor (which was drawn for the present position card.) When the emperor (in the upright position) provide authority and order for the betterment of life, all is well. However, when reversed, as is the case for this reading, it is merely order for orders sake.

Rather than a warning about an impending financial loss (that’s already occurred), the card seems to echo the Three of Pentacles drawn in the outside influences position. This draw reinforces the fact that R has lost sight of the fact that money / jobs are mere abstractions and only a means not an end. Also she should not be so fixated on current financial difficulties as to miss some opportunities (remember the Sun drawn in possible outcome position?) that will present themselves. She just needs to be flexible enough to recognize these opportunities and open to taking an unexpected (or even unwanted) path.

Overall Analysis

Since at least four major arcana cards were drawn for this reading, that fact indicates strong forces are at work.

The preponderance of pentacle and cups cards drawn is also interesting. These cards indicate trouble at home and at work and or trouble with financial matters. Moreover, since there is actually a run of cards from the pentacles suite (two, three, and four) However, with a little hard work, these difficulties can be overcome.

Another bit of good news for R is that while she may still hold some unrealistic expectations (Three of Cups and Five of Swords) her basic perceptions of herself are spot on as indicated by the Significator, and Eight of Swords. She is a strong and confident person and if she can marshal the strength necessary to change her current course then her situation will improve.


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Dream Spread Tarot Reading

For Myself

Signifigator

The Hierophant (rev)—my thinking has been too rigid. Or, I’ve been overly critical. Or I need to devote more attention to my teaching.

Objects in Dream

Cars in enclosed junkyard

3 of Swords—I am not dealing well with being out of work. I’m looking at the situation in the wrong way. This seems to reinforce the message of the Hierophant above.

The junkyard

10 of Pentacles (rev)—face the changes awaiting you. Discard what you don’t need; it’s time to leave this place of broken dreams and seek things elsewhere.

Crashed cars opening a hole in the junkyard fence


Ace of Wands—Out of this difficulty, a gift of the universe and an opportunity shall arise. This opportunity will be creative in nature most likely.

Transition

Strength—Use your power. Listen to your Middle Self. Higher Self cannot manifest from Middle Self—that is a pretense. You must get Younger Self to channel your desires. Accept a gift of strength from Higher Self.

People in Dream

Me on a White Horse

King of Cups—Seek a new outlet for your energies. You will then soon be riding to better fortunes.

Transition

Wheel of Fortune—Younger Self is scared—reassure it. This is just another cycle. Lay aside your negativity and bitterness so that Younger Self may channel to Higher Self.

Dream Symbols

White Horse

Temperance—All things in moderation. Practice being less negative.

White wall around the junkyard

The Magician—Think outside the box. You have all you need to reinvent yourself.

Weird candy misfit bullets

The Moon (rev)—my negativity is blocking my intuition. What I see as a source of power is really impeding me.

Past Influences

The Sun—I’m coming from a place where for a long time I haven’t had a real difficulty and now that I am I’m having a hard time dealing with it.

Present Influences

The Empress—Look to Mother Earth or your wife for nurturing to help you manifest the changes you need to perform during this time.

Future Implications

Death—Change. Spiritual growth at the expense of having to let go some old ways.

What will happen if I continue on this course

8 of Wands (rev)—If I don’t change or adapt, I won’t get the outcome I want.

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Manifestation to the visible?

The below journal entry is from our historical archives, circa March 2008, at the Circle of the Dark Moon Coven & School of Wicca, Wytchecraft, and Magick.

“The full moon last night overshadowed by a total lunar eclipse combined to make a magickal night. The Goddess through the Moon showed all three of Her aspects, but the two aspects most prominent were the bright fullness of motherhood, and the wisdom of the dark crone.

I was still in Ohio, so my wife and high priestess, Kris conducted ritual for the coven in our home. I was planning to just do a meditation, but Kris “guilted” me into doing the ritual solo in my apartment.

I began ritual around the time the eclipse started and completed it at about halfway to totality. After a short call from Kris informing me that her ritual had gone well, I went outside to perform another drawing down of the moon.

While outside, something made me look upward, and when I did, I saw, centered over my apartment building, a phosphorescent orange glow reminiscent of a monochromatic aurora borealis. There were four distinct areas of glowing amorphous energy stationary over where I had just dismissed the watchtowers (quarter guardians) from my ritual space. Or perhaps they were other entities who had been attracted by the cone of energy generated by my ritual magick circle.

When considering this magickal phenomenon a few facts are important to remember.

  • It was a cloudless night. Therefore, the orange glowing areas could not have been reflected city lights from low clouds.
  • There were no reports of auroras in the area for that night (I checked—besides March is a bit late for that kind of activity in those Ohioan latitudes.
  • In fact, there were no reports at all of anomalous weather activity of any kind in the Akron area.
  • There were no UFO reports or reports of any strange lights or anything strange at all in the night sky over Akron by any news agency, local UFO clubs, or amateur astronomers.
  • Everyone I asked, said they had not seen any strange lights in the sky that night. Perhaps these beings of light were only visible to me.
  • While I was in the presence of these lights, I felt an outpouring of empathy, compassion, love, and happiness and the source came from those lights.

Therefore, I am left with the following conclusion that what I witnessed were Luminaria (Beings of Light—BOLs) that had been attracted by the ritual occult energy created by my sphere of power. What I saw when I looked upward, was the energy of my circle illuminating these beings. On the other hand, perhaps because of the circle energy, these being were able to manifest to the visible. And finally a last possibility remains that it was I who was so affected by the energy from the magick circle, that for a short space of time I was able to see beyond my normal perceptions and thus was able to see these Luminaria.

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30
Mar

Wiccan Q & A

   Posted by: Scrivener   in wicca

Listed below are some recent questions posed by new students at The Circle of the Dark Moon School of Wicca, Witchecraft, and Magick.

1. What are the bare minimum altar tools required?

The bare minimums are nothing. Nevertheless, as I said people don’t like that answer because it removes the justification for buying tools. However, if you’re looking to set up a standard altar, then you would want a pentacle, God & Goddess candles, censer (or something to burn incense in), a chalice (or cup), libation dish (you could use an ordinary dish for this), salt and water dishes. You can use common household items for many of your altar tools.

2. What pantheon as a coven do we work with? (it seems like I have heard names from more than one pantheon.)

I can’t say as a coven since we’ve never sat down and discussed that—but what I do when writing the rituals is try to work with some of the better known goddesses so that the people in circle have a common reference visualization. That’s important for energy-raising.

But to answer your question, we work mainly with the Celtic pantheon. Lugh, is a god I have a personal relationship—despite the fact that Beth thinks Loki is my patron god. You have also probably heard Kris evoke, Cerredwen (the Goddess in her mother aspect), Hecate (as the Goddess in her crone or dark aspect), and occasionally, Flidais, Arianhod, or even Brigit (as the Goddess in her maiden aspect). A Celtic equivalent of Hecate would be Aradia or Morrigan. Aradia is the Queen of the Witches and Morrigan is mostly too terrible to evoke for casual rituals. While Aradia and Hecate are known best as the Queens of sorceries, Morrigan, or The Morrigan as she is sometimes known

3. How do you choose your own pantheon? Do you just pick one or do you go by ancestry?

You have to search your own heart. Meditate on that question, and then listen for the answer. You could use ancestry but ancestry from which lifetime would you use?

4. How do you come up with your wiccan name?

Numerology is one way to make your name even more special to you. There are two simple steps to choosing your name using numerology;

One method is to use numerology. Begin by finding your birth number by adding the digits of your birth eg. 8.6.1989�

8 + 6 + 1 + 9 + 8 + 9 = 41. Break that number down to a single digit thus:

4 + 1 = 5. Your birth number is 5. If the numbers still add up to a double digit number, just break them apart again.

Next, pick a name that has the same number as your birth number (use the grid at the bottom to find the number that goes with each letter). I believe Buckland discusses this technique in the Big Blue Book.

Example numerology chart

1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9

A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I

J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R

S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z

E.G. DIANA = ( (D=4) + (I=9) + (A=1) + (N=5) + (A=1) ) = 20 = 2 + 0 = 2.

If you really like the name you’ve picked and you want it to match your birth number then add another letter or letters or subtract a letter to the name you’ve picked (sometimes you’ll like the name you make up better than the one you picked in the first place).

Sometimes, your name will be assigned by the coven. Otherwise if you have a name that you really like or have another system of correspondences that you want to use (such as letters from decomposing a sigil—especially powerful, or for instance let’s say you lived near the sea and developed a special rapport with the water element, then maybe Oceania would be an appropriate name.)

I wrote a program to help with using this method. The program uses two input boxes, one is where you input your birth date or other correspondence, and the other is where you input your proposed name. You then click the button and the program tells you whether you have chosen a numerologically balanced name.

By the way, the origin of using coven names stemmed from days of persecution when it was dangerous for a person to go by their ‘real’ name in the case of capture or others in the circle being captured.

The use of a magickal name (a name known only to yourself and the gods) is yet another name you need to choose. Typically, a person upon initiation or completing their first degree chooses or is given a name. Then upon completing your second and third degrees, you may also pick another name. Or, upon passing a particular milestone in your life, you may pick a name to reflect your changing attitudes about yourself or your evolving relationship to Deity.

Perhaps Bouncy Moonbeam fit you in college, but now as a HPS you prefer Selene Shadows. I do not believe in attaching a title such as Lord or Lady to your name. I believe the titles of lord and lady should be reserved for the Lord and Lady. I would also avoid actual deity names—to me it seems presumptuous.

As I said, if you don’t like the numerology, sigil decomposition (taking the letters that make up a sigil), look for some magickal correspondence that “speaks” to you and take a name from that. For instance, my full name Duir Gwalchmai, in Gaelic duir means oak, gwalch mai means may hawk. Oak is a sacred wood, and I’m pilot (hence I’ve always admired hawks) and I choose a Celtic name since while my immediate ancestry is not Celtic, I’m a Celt at heart.

We’ll be holding a class on name selection but that doesn’t mean you can’t be thinking about your magickal name in the meantime.


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22
Feb

Snow Day

   Posted by: Scrivener   in snow day, solitude

“Anything is Possible on a Snow Day”

Just as the above tag line from the movie says, anything is possible on a snow day. Recently, Mother Nature, with the help of the ‘snow dance’, treated us to a rare middle Georgia snow day, thus proving that anything is possible—even for hell (if we witches believed in hell) to freeze over.

The storm gains strength, spreads, and grows.

Let the temperature drop and icy Boreas blow.

Let it snow; let it snow; let it snow.

Or, something along those lines read the operative part of the spell. Someone asked to see this ‘snow dance’ of mine, which brought such cold and snow to the hellish Georgia clime. To that request I demurred because sure, I show you, you show someone else, then that person shows someone else, and on and on until the next thing you know, we’re in the middle of another ice age. Wait. That’s not a bad thing.

Last week, schools closed; people, as though they were swarm of locusts, stripped bare supermarket shelves; and masses donned parkas and mukluks at the mere threat of snow. So while soccer moms with their 1.3 units of precious cargo, panicked, crashed, and rolled SUVs (because people in Georgia can’t drive on dry pavement let alone wet or icy roads), the local media warned of impending disaster comparable to Armageddon (stay inside; don’t go out if you don’t have to; it’s extremely cold and treacherous out there), I waited.

I waited.

Nary had a flake fallen yet from the slate gray sky.

Then it started: rain mixed with snow.

That turned to snow falling on Georgia pines.

The next day, the world had changed; for, anything is possible on a snow day. Like a little girl, my wife made a snowman; and, I decided to go for a walk with my dog.

We, my dog, Gaia, and I, entered a cathedral of white, and silence of the mind. The cold damp air, and the warm and moist exhalations of breaths mingled steamily in the air. The silent snow insulated us in this new world as though sound itself couldn’t penetrate the threshold of the forest cocoon. I could finally hear the silence.

Everywhere branches ‘boughed’ low over the trail, forming hanging vaults of green and snow. Whereas sound was hushed, I gained secret knowledge of the world hitherto unseen and known only to my dogs nose. In the snow, beneath bushes, or following the now mostly hidden trail, were signs of life, or at least life that had passed that way. There were rabbit tracks, mice, raccoon, squirrels, and some that I wasn’t quite sure what they were, and one mysterious path worn down in the snow. My dog enthusiastically sniffed these signs, trying to follow whatever animal had made those tracks and I for once had a glimpse into her personal world of scents. The snow allowed me to see what only she could smell and allowed me to understand why she finds each pile of leaves, every tuft of grass, and mounds of pine needles so intriguing.

Our walk took us along a two-mile loop of this private world apart from the mundane. That park was not place, and that time we walked was not time; we were between worlds—separate yet connected to all. My dog, and I met other shamanic souls walking the along the park trail plane, seemingly friendlier, happier, at least for a time, caught as we were in the spirituality of the moment.

However, all things must end—even a snow day.

For with the warming and brightening of the day, the snow was melting, receding into memory, like the remembrance of trees long ago felled, or the sighs of lost lovers, and missed chances, stories that you would never tell and the cacophony of everyday existence was bleeding into my consciousness. Suddenly, I could again hear constant background traffic noise; the noncommittal grunts of non-acknowledgement of passersby once again caught up in their own mean little cell phone melodramas, and a growing stale taste in my mouth of waste and stagnation that we call progress. I arrived home to find my wife’s snowman, mostly gone in the climate-changed sun, bent low, and leaning on a stick arm for support, a wasted vestige of his former self.

I believe more was lost on this day than just one snowman. I think with him, the last of our childhood memories of a simpler and fairer world, of a time when time hadn’t worn down our ideals and dreams, of what we could have been, or at least would have like to be, that is what was lost. Like the melting snows, trickling down into the earth below, these remembrances seeped away leaving us bent a little bowed, and perhaps even a little broken. But, like the snow which will return someday when the sky turns cold, slate, and gray to once again deliver to us a soul-saving snow day. Perhaps on that day, we’ll remember, we’ll hope, we’ll dream, we’ll dare to say:

“On a snow day anything is possible.”

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