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Early 20th century Valentine's Day card, showi...

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This time of year, a lot of people get thinking about love, especially when they feel they haven’t found it yet. Unfortunately too many people think that performing love magic is a bad idea or will bring bad consequences. The truth is that if you do it properly, you can draw in nothing but blessings and do no harm to any one or any thing.

Not all love spells, after all, involve commanding someone to love you. Most of you who practice will be familiar with love-drawing spells. Some work with ‘spiritual magnetism,’ others go by Law of Attraction, some make petitions to holy figures and some just try to make themselves extremely receptive to love. Whatever works for you is best, but I’m going to tell you about something I’m trying this year: a love-drawing note.

Love letters are something I have always longed to receive and something I have never been brave enough to write. If you’re like me, you might like this year’s Goblin-Friend idea for Valentine’s Day.

~ © ~

Things you will need:

  • Attractive stationery that reminds you of love
  • A pen you like, possibly with scented or non-black ink
  • A pink or red candle, possibly figural like “The Lovers“, wedding couple candles, or an individual figural candle of the gender you wish to attract
  • A romantic smelling candle-dressing oil, perfume, or both
  • Pick a special day to do this when you have enough time. Valentine’s Day is a good day, because the energies around you are magnificent and invigorating if you can pick up on them. Otherwise, consider doing it on a Friday during an Hour of Venus.

© ~

Preparation:

The thing about this spell is that it takes preparation and mindset.  You need to be in a lovey mood for it to work. Before you write your letter, take some time to feel the romance well up within you. Here are some ideas for getting ready:

  • A pampering bath or shower
  • Romantic, attractive, or cuddly clothes—whatever you like best
  • Wear your favorite romantic scent
  • Eat some chocolate! It inspires very potent chemicals in the brain in both men and women. Try some foods that are considered aphrodisiacs.
  • Watch a movie that inspires you with love
  • Play a song that’s very dear to you in a romantic way (but make sure there are no unwanted associations with it, like an old flame or a lost love)
  • Above all, keep the mood thrilling and hopeful. Do things that remind you of that new, exciting, wonderful love that you want to draw into your life.

© ~

Time to write!

Once you have set the mood, it’s time to begin your letter. You may wish to write it by candlelight at night for a more romantic effect. (You can use your figural candle if you like, but I suggest you save that for later.) Sit down in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and get ready to spill your guts!

This love letter isn’t going to be a laundry list of qualities you want in a partner. Imagine you were writing it to someone you actually know—you wouldn’t tell them how much you like their height, weight, eye color, and job, would you? That’s not very romantic. Besides, that is a limiting mindset with this kind of love spell.  You want to draw in something real, not something formulated.

Instead of describing the partner you’d want, focus on how you want to feel around that partner. Write the letter as if the person knows you and will read it. Give them a magical name like Love, Darling, or Cherished, if you want to address them. Tell them how you feel when you’re around them. Tell them what it’s like when you don’t have them near. Tell them the secrets of your heart, your yearnings, your joys. Tell them what they mean to you. Remember to focus on how you feel about them.

You can also venture into descriptions of your love’s personality, but make sure to keep it loose, open, and about how you feel. Here are some examples of how to “translate” your descriptors of personality or appearance:

  • “You always make me laugh” is better than “You have a great sense of humor.”
  • “The way you look at me makes my heart leap” is better than “Your eyes are so bright/deep.”
  • “When we touch, the connection is electric” is better than “Your skin is so soft.”

Keep in mind this is because if you describe something specific about someone—for example, having soft skin—that may pollute and confuse your own magic. Remember that it’s about what you really want and need. Would you rather have someone with soft skin, or someone whose touch makes you tingle? Exactly! If you talk about how you feel, it can apply to just about anyone, and it will draw in the person you will feel that way about. If you describe someone’s traits, you may draw in that person, but you may not love them.

Remember to keep the letter in the present tense. It is more effective to describe how your love currently makes you feel rather than how your love “will” or “would” make you feel. Write as if the person you love more than life is already with you!

Make sure to end your letter with a hope or expectation that you will see your love soon. Keep it positive! “I know that I will see you soon and I long to see your face” is one example of how to do it.

© ~

Now that you’ve written it…

Now it’s time to make that letter enticing and send it along. If you have perfume or oil to put on the letter, go ahead and put it on. You can put it in an envelope if you want. Next, take your magic candle and dress it in the oil (or spritz the perfume in the air and wave the candle through). Set the letter down on a fireproof surface such as a candle dish or a normal plate. Put the candle on top of the letter and light it. Allow the candle to burn down on its own until it won’t burn anymore (this shouldn’t let the letter burn, but it should result in wax stuck to your letter). If you need to, you can do this in stages, since you don’t want to leave a candle unattended. (That’s another reason to pick a reasonably-sized candle.)

Once it’s done burning and the wax has cooled and hardened, take your letter and treat it like a valued treasure. Tuck it into a letter box, or slip it under your bed, or fold it into the pages of your diary (if it will fit; you can take off the big pieces of wax if you want and a residue will remain). Put it somewhere sacred and secret!

© ~

And don’t forget…

… the first person you have feelings for after you perform this spell may not be the one. There is no way of determining when this person shows up or how (not that I’m aware of, anyway!). Keep your mind and your heart open, and don’t jump to the conclusion that your true love is the new fellow next door you’re remarkably attracted to. It’s possible of course, but keep your head on your shoulders. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a relationship with them, though! Just keep your eyes open for all the signs that you wrote about. When you need a reminder, go back and read your letter. May you all be blessed with love of all kinds and from all sides!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


An almost burnt-down lit candle on a candle ho...

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Sometimes we need a simple, peaceful way to get rid of something in our life. This candle meditation can be done literally or through visualization alone. It can be used for unwanted people, situations, habits, or emotions. It is also helpful for melting away someone’s control over you if you feel they have more influence on you than is appropriate or desired.

Make sure you have an appropriate amount of time to spend on this spell, as you should be in front of the candle as long as it is burning. (You can always take a break, blow out the candle, and resume it another time. Take as many sessions or days as fits your schedule.)

If you practice with the moon cycles, it is best to perform this spell during the waning moon. Tuesday and Saturday are best for banishing, being the days of Mars and Saturn. However, you may wish to choose another day depending on what you are focusing on. For example, if you want to get rid of difficulties in communication, you may want to perform on the day of Mercury (Wednesday). If you follow the Planetary Hours, you can choose an appropriate hour to match your day or to further describe and associate the thing you are banishing.

Obtain (or visualize) a candle of an appropriate color. Banishing is usually associated with black, which is lucky and erases negativity. However, you can use any color you like, as long as you can strongly associate it with the thing you are getting rid of. You can also obtain figural candles of several different shapes to represent what you are banishing. The most common one is of the human figure. If you wish, you can carve words into the candle to show what it represents. This is intended to cement your vision of what you are doing. You can also place the candle on top of a picture of the thing, or a picture that represents its idea.

Light the candle. Sit or stand comfortably in front of it. You must be comfortable enough to reach a meditative, energy-filled state, but not comfortable enough to fall asleep. Watch the candle burn. Envision that you are the flame, burning away the wax and melting the problem into nothing. You can concentrate on pushing the issue away or symbolically destroying the issue. The candle is meant to be your visualization: you are the flame; the candle is the problem.

When the candle has burned out on its own and exhausted its supply, the idea is that there is hardly any problem left for you to banish. Allow the stub of the candle to cool enough to stay together, then throw it outside into living water or into trash that will be taken away from your home.

You can repeat this meditation as often as you like. However, if you find it ineffective, you may need to reevaluate the situation and understand the true core of the problem. Good luck in your workings!

Magic and Gratitude


Thanks at the Buddhist Temple

Image by Stuck in Customs via Flickr

When not a part of worship, magic is essentially what we do, spiritually, to influence matters with our own willpower—or at least that’s what it feels like. The truth is that none of us have the power to do something without being given it, and it’s our responsibility to use it appropriately. I’m not talking about black magic or white magic; I’m talking about overuse of magic. And yes, it can happen.

Let me give you an example. I have been going through some difficult issues lately. Early in January, I planned some spellwork for today, the Day of Mars, during the Hour of Mars and the nearly new moon. It was going to be quite effective and do a lot of good. I have been looking forward to it for nearly a month, and today I was glad to be able to perform it. Everything was right.

Well, actually, not everything.

You see, for the last near-month, I’ve had to do some serious work on this issue and I’ve been answered with some really remarkable help. I don’t worry about it anymore. The issue isn’t over, but it’s no longer a burden because I have the right people taking care of it. I’m well, I’m confident, I’m safe, and I’m happy. Yet today I was still going to perform a spell, and when I was about to, I found myself asking, “What business do I have performing this magic?”

What business do I have performing this magic? Before we do something, it’s always a good thing to ask. Sometimes it leads to remarkable revelations and a better understanding of magic, much better in fact than if we had actually done what we originally intended. This time I came to understand the need for gratitude.

Gratitude isn’t something a lot of people think about with magic. Sure, they think about it with prayers and petitions, but not so often with magic. The truth is that gratitude is important whenever we receive something good or experience a relief we longed for. And if I have found the good I wanted, if I have experienced the relief I sought, then what business do I have performing this magic? It was a startling thought, because I had always considered magic to be something perpetually appropriate, since it is so adaptable. But this time I paused. What business did I have?

I have been blessed with an immense amount of help, confidence, assurance, and safety. What worries I have are negligible and easily brushed aside. I don’t lose sleep, I don’t think about it negatively, I’m not concerned about its effects in the future. So why was I performing magic? Hadn’t I received everything I needed? This issue goes well beyond that sense of needlessness: I suddenly realized that if I were to perform my magic as planned, it would show an incredible lack of gratitude.

God had given me all the help I could ever need to deal with my troubles. I had every tool at my disposal and, as far as life is concerned, the problem was completely solved. It’s not over, but it’s solved, since someone else is handling it and the outcome is fairly certain. I had a huge burden lifted from me—who am I to perform magic that says to God, “The ton of help you gave me isn’t good enough“? I received everything I asked for and more. I received justice and wellness. How, in the name of all that is holy, is that not good enough?

It is good enough. In fact, it’s more magnificent than I could have hoped for. So I decided not to perform my magic.

You too may encounter a situation like this in your life, and I urge you to listen to what your gut tells you. Sometimes you may find that you desire so much to make magic, but you know deep down that it’s unnecessary or it’s overkill. Some say, “There’s no kill like overkill,” but I’d say that doesn’t apply when something is already taken care of. If you’ve been given a gift, accept it with grace. And always remember: the best revenge is living well.

Imbolc 2011


A ewe and her twins on the Faeroes.

Image via Wikipedia

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, then you know that Imbolc is almost here! This year, The Festival of Lactating Sheep falls on February 2nd. Its Christian adopted counterpart is Candlemas. In today’s post, I present you with some fun and spiritually significant Imbolc things to do!

 

An Imbolc Meal

“Imbolc” comes from the Old Irish “i mbolg,” which means “in the belly.” This was the time for pregnant ewes to start lactation, with the birth of lambs coming not long after. Accordingly, it was an excellent time to start milking sheep and making cheese. While sheep’s cheese and milk can sometimes be hard to come by (at least in the United States), it’s definitely worth a try for a seasonal celebration! If you eat meat, you might also try mutton or lamb during this festival’s meal. Otherwise, in your meal, focus on milk products, potatoes, onions, and grains. You can also make traditional Irish soda bread or the braided bread associated with Brigid.

 

Imbolc Decorations

For this particular holiday, focus on its animal theme: sheep! Set out a cute little lamb and surround it with subtle signs of the coming spring, like snowdrops.  The sight of delicate snowdrops creeping up through a blanket of snow with a little lamb pawing at them–now that’s a hopeful and adorable sight! You can decorate with other winter plants as well, such as evergreens. Focus on colors that show what’s happening in the current season. Whites, browns, and fresh greens are appropriate. Additionally, since fire and candles are an important part of this holiday, include some yellows, oranges, or reds.

 

An Imbolc Activity for the Whole Family

As just noted, candles are a traditional symbol of this season. Candle-making is a great option for families, but many people are concerned with the cost and dedication it takes to buy molds, waxes, and fragrances. The process is a little daunting, especially if you have children in the house.

There is a much easier method of candle-making, however, that produces fast and fun results. I’m talking about rolling your candles out of sheets of beeswax. All you need is the beeswax, the wick, a surface, a hair dryer, and a pair of hands! You can even roll things into the candles: herbs, oils, etc. Just remember to use very little as they will be rolled up extremely tightly. After you’re done, you can warm the outside of the candle and roll it in herbs, glitter, or tie a ribbon around it for presentation. Burn the candle during your celebration!

Here is a fantastic instructional video on one of the many ways you can make rolled candles. I recommend getting your supplies from Candlewic if you don’t have a supply store near you. Candlewic sells sample packs for a reasonable price with several colors of wax and enough wick material to complete your project.

Happy Imbolc, Everybody!


The original letter sent asking about the vera...

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By Francis P. Church, first published in The New York Sun in 1897. [See The People’s Almanac, pp. 1358–9.]

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


Father Christmas,” the white-bearded jolly man of winter, is almost universal to the cultures of Europe. Many of us have in some way grown up with this figure, whether you were raised Pagan, Christian, or Atheist. No matter what your chosen path, there is always a good reason to write to Santa Claus.

  1. There’s a “Santa Claus” in your tradition too, most likely. And most likely, they’re all the same person. The universal figure for European winter held many names. Christianity merged him with the bishop Saint Nicholas of Myra (or Nicholas the Wonderworker) for his reputation of secret gift-giving and immense charity. In Norse and Germanic traditions, that jolly personification of Winter is seen as a form of Odin or Woden, bringing light and life to the dark part of the year. Many forms of Neopaganism have named this pan-European figure “The Holly King,” after a plant that grows in the dark half of the year, as opposed to the light-half  “Oak King.” He also carries the names Father Time, Father Winter, and Sinterklaas. Many people believe that this figure is entirely one person with several religious traditions giving him different names.
  2. As you can tell, you don’t have to believe he drops down your chimney with presents. In fact, Santa Claus is more a bringer of magic and of spiritual gifts than anything else. If you have grown up with him and you reflect on it for a while, you know this to be true. You are allowed to believe in Santa Claus. I cannot stress that enough! You, adults, are allowed to believe in Santa Claus. Even better, you’re allowed to write to him.
  3. Writing to him brings you joy and also helps others. Whenever you write down your dearest wishes on paper (and they don’t have to be material!), you are committing part of your heart to that object. It is a magical act in itself, and can inspire in you wishes and dreams that you haven’t felt since childhood. It is a powerful experience. Even better, you can use your letter to Santa Claus to help others: every year, Macy’s hosts the Believe program, which donates $1 for every letter-to-Santa received to the Make A Wish Foundation. Your letter to Santa can help a wonderful charity. For details on how to participate, visit Macy’s Believe website: http://www.macys.com/believe
  4. You might just get your wish. I have gotten my wishes granted, let me tell you.

So you might start asking: how should I go about writing to Santa Claus? The process seemed so simple as children. As adults, we get caught up in worries and moods that we never even imagined when we were little. Your letter should have the same focus as a spell, and the same heart put into it with the same sincere desire. Thankfully most people haven’t lost their ability to dream, and writing a letter to Santa Claus can be just as enjoyable as an adult as it was as a child, if not even more so.

  1. Get in the mood. Sit down, relax, have a cup of cocoa and some delicious winter snack, and put on some music that makes you feel good and seasonal. Put your paper and pen in front of you (or be ready to write on your computer) while you relax and think about what you really want to request.
  2. Start writing. Tell Santa Claus what you need or want this year, and perhaps why you need or want it so badly. You don’t have to convince Santa Claus why you ought to get what you want; he knows if you’ve been a good person already. (However, if you’ve been a very bad person, perhaps you should apologize first…! Haha!)
  3. Decorate your letter. You can use decorative stationery, or once your letter’s done you can embellish it with decorations that suit your personality. If you use Macy’s Letter Maker, you can choose from a large selection of clip art. You can also download some seasonal stationery for free from Macy’s website via that same link.
  4. Send it off. If you want to give your letter to charity, stamp it and drop it off in a Macy’s Santa Mailbox. (Macy’s will bring your letter to the post office, so don’t worry.) If you just want to mail it, you can; most post offices accept all letters to Santa and send them out. What’s that you say? You want your letter to travel magically? Believe it or not, it can do that too. Once you have your letter sealed up and ready to go, take it to your fireplace (or a fire outside, or light it on fire outside) and let the ashes and sparks carry your message far away to where Father Winter gets his mail. I assure you that all letters to Santa that are burned simply arrive as sparks and reassemble themselves for him.

I have written letters to Santa Claus and it is intensely fun. Plus, when I participate in Macy’s Believe program, I know that I’m helping others just as I’m asking for help myself. You are allowed to believe in Santa. You are allowed to write to Santa. So what are you waiting for, child? Get writing!


Jack-o-latern

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Samhain is almost here! Across much of the Northern Hemisphere, this time of year has been celebrated in very similar ways. It is a very potent period of time and a perfect time for celebration: Halloween (Samhain), All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and The Day of the Dead (El Dia de los Muertos) all fall in this sacred stretch of time between October 31st and November 2nd. It is a time to remember and honor your ancestors and to appreciate that family you have that is still living. It is also a time to recognize your own physical mortality and the inevitability of death. In doing so, we recognize how a living thing’s sacrifice upon death can feed and renew other living things. It is a Divine and Holy idea that we find in several religious traditions, as the sacrifice of Christ, the death of the Wiccan God, and in countless stories and themes across the world. In recognizing the depth of personal or divine sacrifice, renewal, and mortality, we also cultivate a greater appreciation for having spiritual immortality.

Take the time to celebrate this wonderful stretch of days. Here are some spells and activities that you might enjoy doing alone, with family, or with friends.

APPLE BANISHING SPELL

Samhain is a time to banish all negativity for the coming year. It is also known as the Feast of Apples. How appropriate, then, is an apple negativity-banishing spell? Take an apple and charge it with what you want to get rid of for the following year.  After that, take a nail or pin and scratch the name of what you’re banishing into the skin of the apple. Go to the furthest edge of your property (or not on your property at all) and dig a hole. Sprinkle salt into the hole, put the apple in it, and press the dirt back down on top of it with your hands. As you do, envision the earth swallowing up the apple. Sprinkle some salt on top of the dirt. As the apple rots away and disappears, so will what you want to banish. The salt will purify the negativity and turn it into good energy. There is also the chance that the apple may sprout, which further illustrates the significance of this holy time.

…EAT APPLES!

It’s the Feast of Apples! Have fun with it. The apple harvest is at its peak and you should be able to buy truly fine, large specimens. Make apple cider. Roast apples over a campfire with friends and family. If it’s not too cold, bob for apples. If something can be done with an apple, now is the time to do it, and to do it creatively and enthusiastically. (I’m biased as a Minnesotan, but I recommend Honeycrisp!)

FEED HUNGRY SPIRITS

Bury apples at a crossroads on Samhain night to feed hungry, traveling spirits. When the veil is thin, all sorts of things may cross into our world, and you might imagine it helps to make them feel welcome. Leave offerings of apples, barley, milk, and alcohol. Light candles (safely separated from anything that can catch fire) to guide them along the road and light their meal.

A PICNIC IN THE… CEMETERY?

Take the time to give thanks and greet your ancestors and those family members you have lost. On one of these days, take a family picnic near your relatives’ grave. Set aside food and drink that you know they would like in order to represent that though dead, they are still part of your family and welcome in it. Keep their food and drink there even when you leave the cemetery.

You can even do this activity overnight, if your cemetery allows it. That makes it a perfect opportunity for scrying. If you can’t do it after dark, you can still have a nice family picnic during the day, and have other celebrations at night.

CARVE GOURDS (OR TURNIPS!)

This is a classic activity that is best enjoyed with others, but can also be done alone. The decoration for the season demands harvest fruits and vegetables, and what’s better for Halloween than carving scary faces into them and putting a light inside? Nothing, that’s what. Although in the New World the most common fruit used is the pumpkin (or other gourd), the original tradition from across the pond involved carving turnips, a much smaller vegetable with a translucency that provides an eerie glow. This is a great option if you live in an apartment, since you can set your turnips in your window and not worry about exposing them to children that might like to stomp them. This should also point out however that anything that allows a hollow carving is suitable for the holiday, so get creative and find something unique! Have fun with it!

MAKE A SCRYING MIRROR… AND SCRY!

Now is the time of year when the veil between worlds is the thinnest. Most find it the best time of year for scrying. An especially fun project is to make your own scrying medium; you could even have a party with friends where you all make something to use! For information on scrying, scrying media, and how to scry, check out this previously written post. It even has a link to a tutorial to make your own super-cheap, super-easy, super-pretty black scrying mirror!

MAKE A PROTECTION WITCH BOTTLE

Samhain is the perfect time of year for making a spell bottle of protection, otherwise known as a witch bottle. What is a witch bottle? Well, you can find that (and other information about it) in a previous post here. As for the instructions: you will need a jar or bottle made of glass or ceramic. Place protective, cleansing, and dangerous items inside like these:

  • Bent and/or rusty nails
  • Pins
  • Needles
  • Razor blades
  • Ashes
  • Broken glass
  • Thorns
  • A tangle of red thread
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Sage
  • Mistletoe
  • Mullein
  • Basil

Now it’s time to add the identifying material. This is the biological stuff that belongs to you and anyone else the spell is protecting. Usually, witch bottles have one or more of these:

  • Blood (or menstrual blood, which is the strongest protective substance available)
  • Urine
  • Hair
  • Nail clippings
  • Wine or vinegar you have spit into

Don’t use any ingredient you feel uncomfortable using. The idea of blood and urine is enough to disgust most modern witches.

Once you have put all your ingredients into the bottle, close it tightly and consider sealing the lid with wax to avoid any accidental openings. If you want, you can also draw a face onto the bottle to make any incoming spells think they have found a person and not a bottle (another reason for that biological material). Hide the jar in a safe, secret place where no one will ever find it but you!

What are you doing for Samhain? Please comment and share!

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