Spiritual Toolbox

Pine Salt Infusion

Salt infusions are handy to keep around, and pine (or cedar*) is one of our favorites to make.  Both salt and pine are well known for their protective and purifying qualities.  But while salt is feminine and earthy, pine is masculine and tied to the air.  Combining these properties brings balance, creating a spell component that is more powerful then the sum of its parts.  And it’s quick and simple to make. …

Source: Pine Salt Infusion

Spiritual Toolbox

Witches Gossip Corner ~ December 19, 2016

Not everyone celebrates the same during the holidays and gift giving varies from culture to culture. If you are looking to help someone’s life progress and know what they are currently struggling with, you cannot fail or tarnish your Karma if you are willing to help another, in fact, you are in turn balancing it. Good deeds are always rewarded three-fold … Read the article at the Source: Witches Gossip Corner ~ December 19, 2016

 

 

Spiritual Toolbox

~ The Magical Use Of Cascarilla ~

While cascarilla is not something you would find among the many supplies of a Wiccan or occult practioner, cascarilla is an important ingredient found among the practioners of Curanderismo, Espiritismo, hoodoo, Palo, Santeria and Vodou as a well known source of protection, tool of invocation, purifications and cleansings. …

Read article in entirety at Source: ~ The Magical Use Of Cascarilla ~

Spiritual Toolbox

Taking Care Of Your Crystals …

Source: There’s Magick in the Air : Photo

Musings, Odds & Ends, Spiritual Toolbox

TANAAZ (Forever Conscious): “Winter Solstice 2016: The Dark Night of the Soul”

In the Northern Hemisphere, December 21st marks the Winter Solstice and the dark night of the soul.

Traditionally the Winter Solstice has been a time to honor darkness and to journey deep within to reflect, restore and nourish from the inside out.

Every living being on this planet is a reflection of dark and light.  As beautiful as a rose is when it’s in full bloom, it too still needs to die and wither away into the darkness in order to be reborn.  Just like the petals float away and the bud closes for the winter in order to regenerate, we too follow a similar process.

Nature is always providing us clues as to the cosmic energy around us and where Mother Earth is directing her attention.  By following the rhythms and cycles of the Goddess Mother Earth, we too can bring harmony and equilibrium to our own state of being …

Read in entirety at Source: TANAAZ (Forever Conscious): “Winter Solstice 2016: The Dark Night of the Soul”

Spiritual Toolbox

Crystal of the Week: Bloodstone — Holistic Experiment

Composed of deep green Chalcedony and small dots of Red Jasper, Bloodstone is used to purify and detoxify the body, increase energy and strength, remove blockages, and create a smooth and constant energy flow throughout the body. It’s said that it can help bring love into a difficult situation and help ground any negative energy that surrounds the issue.

This stone can be used to enhance the function of the mind, bringing clarity and understanding to subjects that are unfamiliar to the user. It can help enhance our intuition by stimulating our dreams and can enhance creativity as well as help combat fatigue, irritability, and confusion.

Used as a talisman of good health and long life, it can help cleanse any negative energy as well as purify the blood, detoxify the liver, kidney, and spleen. It’s a wonderful stone that benefits all of the organs and regulates the blood flow.

Often given to children as a talisman against bullies or physical or emotional threats and give them strength when adjusting to new circumstances. It’s used as a good luck charm for athletes, sport competition, or matches. […]

Read the rest of the article via Crystal of the Week: Bloodstone — Holistic Experiment

Spiritual Toolbox

~ Babalu-Aye – Orisha of Disease and Health ~ — Ye Olde Dark Arts

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Asojano is the Orisha of the epidemics that hover over the lands. Asojano also know as Babaluaye or Acronica brings diseases, infections of the skin and other sicknesses whether terminal or non terminal onto humankind. Asojano is said to be a man that walks around on his crutches with abscess and other skin disorders on his body. He wasn’t like that before legends say but that is how he is now. Asojano was entrusted by Olofi after his punishment to inflict these epidemics onto the earth. He is said to be one of Olofi’s wrath and through his actions we suffer.

He is also the Orisha of discrimination. Due to his sickness and the epidemics he has conflicted on him, many people outcast him and did not want anything to do with him. They would throw water at him when he would try to approach them, which is an offense to Asojano in now days. He is also seen as a beggar. That’s what he disguises himself as to test and see how the heart of man is. When you fail that test, Asojano usually brings epidemics and sickness to your life. Whether it is directly to you or the closest person or thing to you. He is the epidemics that happen to the world in an instant. The people that are inflicted with these epidemics are said no to be victims, but are now his messengers to show the world that he does exist and to have respect for Olofi and him.

Read the rest of the article via ~ Babalu-Aye – Orisha of Disease and Health ~ — Ye Olde Dark Arts

Spiritual Toolbox

WINTER INCENSE

Burning Incense speaks to me without saying a word to my conscious mind

As I light the Incense it stirs my emotions

It brings back to me the memories I hold so dearly of places I visited events I went to and people who have been long forgotten

It burns
It attracts a higher spiritual force
It gives me the ability to believe

Prayers and Wishes turn into smoke

Blessings granted

Read the rest at the Source: WINTER INCENSE

Herbals, Spiritual Toolbox

Mistletoe The Sacred Plant of the Druids — Good Witches Homestead

Gathering the Mistletoe On the Sixth day after the new moon A procession of village folk. Gathered to seek a special boon Underneath the ancient oak. They spied a clump of mistletoe High in the oaken canopy The berries gave a milky glow Against bare limbs of the winter tree. A white robed Druid climbed the boughs With his golden sickle blade A green circlet of ivy ‘round his brow His long dark hair caught up in a braid.

Extending his body along a stout limb He could just reach the holy plant Anxiously below they waited for him And began their sacred chant. Uil-ioc! Draoidh-lus! Sùgh an Daraich! Stretched beneath the gnarled wood A sheet of white linen was spread For the herb to touch the ground would Be an ominous omen of dread. Deftly the Druid cut the stem And the herb fell upon the sheet A cheer rose from within the glen And the deed was declared complete. A white bull was sacrificed that night And a midwinter feast was held for all The herb was preserved for a holy rite A gift from the venerable Druids of Gaul.

via Mistletoe The Sacred Plant of the Druids — Good Witches Homestead

Musings, Odds & Ends, Spiritual Toolbox

Alban Arthan

The name for the festival of the Winter Solstice in Druidry is Alban Arthan, which means ‘The Light of Arthur’. Some Druid Orders believe this means the Light of the hero King Arthur Pendragon who is symbolically reborn as the Sun Child (The Mabon) at the time of the Solstice. Others see the Light belonging to the star constellation known as the Great Bear (or the Plough) – Arthur, or Art, being Gaelic for Bear. This constellation shines out in the sky and can symbolize the rebirth of the Sun. At this point, the Sun is at its southernmost point almost disappearing beyond the horizon, and the days are at their shortest. This was a time of dread for the ancient peoples as they saw the days getting shorter and shorter. A great ritual was needed to revert the course of the sun. This was probably calculated by the great circles of stone and burial grounds which are aligned to this festival, such as Newgrange in Co. Meath, Eire. Sure enough, the next day the Sun began to move higher into the sky, showing that it had been reborn.

This time of year is very cold and bleak, which is why so many celebrations are needed to help people get through the Winter months. It is significant that many civilizations welcomed their Solar Gods at the time of greatest darkness – including Mithras (the bull-headed Warrior God), the Egyptian God Horus.

In this darkest time of the year, we celebrate the return of the Divine Child, the Mabon, the rebirth of the golden solstice Sun, who will bring warmth, light, and life back to Earth again. The Wheel of the Year revolves beyond death and towards the new light and new life.

In the Druidic tradition, the name of this festival is “Alban Arthan”, Welsh for “Light of Winter”. According to an older and more poetic interpretation, the name is “Alban Arthuan”, meaning “Light of Arthur”. In this poetical image, Arthur is symbolized by the Sun. The Sun dies and is reborn, just as the mythical Arthur is sleeping deep inside a mountain and will wake up again when the people needs his help.

Alban Arthan, the Winter Solstice, takes place every year on the 21st or 22nd of December (Northern Hemisphere).

While Samhain is strongly connected with insular Celtic culture, Alban Arthan is a universal festival, which has been (and still is) celebrated by many peoples and long before the coming of the Celts. The Winter Solstice is probably (together with the Summer Solstice) the oldest seasonal festival of humankind.

We know today that the Sun will return because the course of the Sun and the other planets in our system have been scientifically explored. Our ancestors did not take the return of the Sun for granted, and in addition, they were suffering much more under the hardships of severe winter weather than we do today. For an agricultural society, whose survival depended mostly on crops, the return of the Sun was not just a matter of casual celebration, it was rather a matter of life or death.

What Stonehenge is for Alban Hefin, Newgrange is for Alban Arthan. Newgrange (Brú na Bhoinne) is a mighty Neolithic passage tomb and temple structure in the valley of the Boyne River in Ireland. Its age is presently estimated at approximately 5200 years, making Newgrange older than the Pyramids of Gizeh and Stonehenge. Newgrange is aligned towards the sunrise of the winter solstice. When the Sun reaches a certain angle, the light shines through a special window (the famous “roof box”) along a 17 meters/57 feet long passage and at the end of the passage falls onto a big stone, which bears the carving of a three-fold spiral. The event lasts for about 15 minutes, during which the light is wandering across the floor of the passage and the stone at its end as if it wanted to tell a story.
This alignment has been esoterically interpreted as the insertion of a ray of light by the Sun God into the womb of Mother Earth, to bring about the creation of new life in spring.
Other monuments aligned to the winter solstice are to be found in Knowth and Loughcrew (also in the Boyne Valley, Ireland), Maes Howe (Orkney, Scotland), and the so-called Seven-Mile-Cursus in Dorset, England. The winter solstice can also be watched through specific stone formations of Stonehenge, although this is not the main alignment of this monument.

What were the celebrations of the winter solstice in pre-Christian times, is nowadays mostly known as Christmas. The difference may not be that big as it appears from the first look. In Catholic tradition, Jesus Christ is “the Light of the World” and it is no coincidence that Jesus is born at the time of the winter solstice. It has been said that the birth of Christ, which is not dated in the Bible, was originally celebrated in spring. It has later been moved towards the winter solstice, partly because the early church was unable to stop the winter solstice celebrations and wanted to give them at least a Christian motto, partly also because it seemed fit to place the birth of the light into the time of greatest darkness.

yule-log

One of the main features of a traditional winter solstice celebration in Northern European countries is the Yule log. A log or a big piece of wood is burned in the central fireplace. According to tradition it must come from one’s own land or be a gift, and it must not be purchased. It is traditionally ignited with the remaining piece of last year’s Yule log. This way, the light is passed on from one year to another. The Yule log is to burn slowly for 12 days in the fireplace before it is extinguished. The ashes are stowed away and in springtime mixed with seeds and brought out in the fields. Thus, the power of the Sun, symbolized in the Yule log, is distributed over the land. The rest of the wood is kept until next year to ignite the new log.

The house is decorated with evergreen branches. The green reminds us of the promise that nature will be green again in springtime and life will return to our lands. In the Irish tradition, a house decorated with greeneries is expected to offer a place of rest to nature spirits fleeing from cold and darkness.

Another tradition says that there is a perpetual battle between the Oak King, the God of the waxing light, or the Divine Child, and the Holly king, the God of the waning light, or the Dark Lord. Each year at the winter solstice, the Oak King wins the battle and rules, until he is defeated by the Holly King at the time of the summer solstice.

In the folk customs and traditions of Bavaria, the time around Christmas sees some of the most important and festive celebrations of the year. Bavaria’s traditions are still defined by the fact that it was an agricultural country over many centuries.

Along the Alps, there are so-called “Percht runnings”, enactments of the misdeeds of malevolent spirits. Often wildly masked young men run up and down the streets and “kidnap” people who don’t hide or run away in time or give them mock beatings with willow sticks. This is probably a remainder of the Germanic “rough nights” and Odin’s Wild Hunt, but one could also think of a local interpretation of the Cailleach.
Numerous customs involving the use of incense have survived. Traditionally, there are three occasions to “smoke out” the house: Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and the evening before Epiphany, which marks the last day of the Christmas celebrations. On these occasions, all people living in a house walk ritually from room to room and burn incense and certain herbs, while the head of the household speaks prayers. On farms, stables and animals are included in the round. Sometimes consecrated water is sprinkled in the rooms. The use of fire and water hints at a purification ritual.

Around this time of the year, there is generally a liberal use of lights and candles. I often notice that people don’t just put candles up because it is dark. It seems to be somehow culturally ingrained to do so, and I guess that these customs are remains of light rituals reaching back further than we might imagine.
Almost gone are the wassailing customs, where the head of the farm would bless the fruit trees and pour them a libation of wine. This should induce the tree to bear rich fruit in summer. There was and still is much baking going on, especially of Christmas cookies. Sometimes they still come in traditional shapes, especially Sun shapes.
Christmas in Bavaria is celebrated on Christmas Eve, December 24th, after fall of dark. This may well be a surviving Celtic relic. We know that in ancient Celtic understanding the day started with the sunset, not the sunrise.

The deities of Alban Arthan are the Dagda and Brighid. Brighid is the bearer of the flame of inspiration, which penetrates the darkness of mind and soul, just as the light of the reborn Sun penetrates the darkest time of the year. The cauldron of the Dagda is a symbol of the promise, that nature will bear fruit once again and care for all beings living on Earth

The plants of Alban Arthan are in the first place mistletoe and holly but in a wider sense all evergreen plants, e.g. spruce, fir, pine etc. The green of the plants is pleasant to the eye and symbolizes the promise of renewal and new growth.

The central and essential thought of Alban Arthan is renewal. We let the past behind us and greet the new. The world is undergoing constant change and we must change and adjust, too, in order to be able to survive. Change is inevitable. The German poet Heinrich Heine said: “Nothing is so permanent as change”. In this knowledge, humankind celebrates festivals since times unknown, giving people the opportunity to let go of the old and to embrace the new things which life would certainly hold in store.

Alban Arthan is also a good occasion to think about the meaning of the Sun. In spite of all modern technology and the possibility to bring a bright light to a room with the turn of a switch, we are still dependant of the Sun. The Sun is indicating the times of the day and of the year to us. It is vital for the growth of all plants and for the existence of all living beings. It decides over warmth or cold. Everything on Earth and in the whole “solar system” literally is revolving around the Sun!

In spite of the importance of the Sun, I honor the Sun not as a deity, but as a manifestation of the Divine Principle which stands behind it.

Source: Alban Arthan