Winter Solstice: December Magick, the Whys & Hows

winter solstice 1

Happy Winter Solstice!

 December

 Named for: “Decem”, meaning ‘ten’

Anglo-Saxon: Midwintra-monap

Birthstone: turquoise, zircon

Flower: holly, narcissus, poinsettia

 December Moon Magick:

Oak Moon

Herbs: cedar wood, juniper, sage, star anise, carnation

Stones: lapis, smoky quartz, lazulite

Scents: violet, patchouli, frankincense, myrrh, rose geranium

Colors: red, white, black

Trees: pine, fir, holly

Deities: Hathor, Hecate, Athese

Elements: Fire/Water

Astrological Influences for December:

Sagittarius:

ruled by Jupiter, projective/masculine, mutable/fire

Capricorn:

 ruled by Saturn, receptive/feminine, cardinal/earth

 Pagan Holiday:

Winter Solstice/Yule

December 21

Winter Solstice…the longest day of darkness in the year; and with the darkness comes the promise of light, the rebirth of the Sun. It is no wonder, because of the importance of this date to the ancient pagans and the symbolism involved, that the Roman church chose this date to celebrate the birth of Christ.

 This is the time that the brothers battle– the Holly King & the Oak King. The Oak King will win this fight with his brother, and light and warmth will return to the Earth.

 Herbs: frankincense, myrrh, sage, bayberry, rosemary

Altar Flowers/Herbs: holly, mistletoe, pine cones, evergreen, thistle, cedar

Feast Foods: fruitcake, gingerbread, cranberries, dried fruit, eggnog, cider/wine

Animals: white buffalo, stag, weasels, owls, squirrels, blue jays, cardinals, doves

Incense: bayberry, cedar, frankincense, myrrh, orange, sage, rosemary

Rituals/Spells: hearth and home magick, lighting the Yule log, hopes and dreams spells, wishes

 (The information above is from, “Natural Magick the Gray Witch Way”,  by Amythyst Raine)

© Natural Magick the Gray Witch Way, Amythyst Raine, 2011

Magickal Herbs for the Holidays:

 mortar_pestle-1.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

 Holly

Gender:  Masculine

Planet:  Mars

Element:  Fire

Powers:  Protection, anti-lightening, luck, dream magic

 Magical Uses:

Holly is a protective herb used to keep you safe from lightening, poison, and evil spirits.  Planted around the home, it keeps the occupants safe from black magic.  Holly is said to tame wild animals, and holly water sprinkled on newborn babies will protect them.

This herb is carried to promote good luck– especially when carried by men, because its energy is masculine.  At Yule time its hung around the house for good luck.

Its said that holly leaves added to a mojo bag and kept beneath your pillow will make your dreams come true.

 Ivy

Gender:  Feminine

Planet:  Saturn

Element:  Water

Powers:  Protection, healing

 Magical Uses:

Ivy is carried by women for good luck in general, and is traditionally carried by brides for this reason.

Where Ivy is grown or scattered, its suppose to guard against negativity and disaster.  Its also used in fidelity and love charms and spells.

Ivy is magically “paired” with holly as a potent charm.

____________________

Magickal Stones for the Holiday Season:

stones

To commemorate the season, we’re going to look at stones that promote “Peace”.

 

Sapphire

Energy:  Receptive (feminine)

Planet:  Moon

Element:  Water

Powers:  Psychism, love, meditaiton, peace, defensive magic, healing, power, money

 Magical Uses:

Sapphires are worn to awaken the third eye chakra and increase your psychic powers.  This stone is said to be the ‘guardian of love’, promoting positive feelings and fidelity between couples.  The sapphire also banishes envy, promotes positive social interaction, and is said to reconcile foes.

Sapphires are worn during meditation to induce a peaceful state.

 

 Sodalite

Energy:  Receptive (feminine)

Planet:  Venus

Element:  Water

Powers:  Healing, peace, meditation, wisdom

 Magical Uses:

Sodalite is a healing stone used for emotionally related diseases, such as those caused by stress, nervousness, anger, or fear.  This stone is said to dispel fear and guilt and to calm inner turmoil.

This is also a popular stone for meditation, said to promote wisdom.

The Real Witches of Halloween Blog Tour…Welcome!

autumn 6

 

 

When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween.

~Author Unknown

 

 

October Moon Magick:

Blood Moon

Herbs: ginger, myrrh, allspice, basil, clove

Stones: alexandrite, citrine, lilac kunzite

Scents: pine, patchouli

Colors: dark green, brown, gold

Trees: yew, cypress, maple, oak

Deities: Astarte, Horned God, Lakshmi, Ishtar

Elements: Air/Water

Astrological Influences for October:

Libra:

ruled by Venus, projective/masculine, cardinal, air

Scorpio:

ruled by Mars, receptive/feminine, fixed/water

 

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Pagan Holiday:

Samhain

October 31

Samhain (pronounced ‘Sou-wen’) is a celebration that has a more somber side than the revelry of modern Halloween. It is a day of remembrance of your ancestors and for those family members who have passed over.

Pagan families may set an extra place at the supper table on this evening, to honor those loved ones who are no longer with them. The veil between the world of the living and the dead is thinnest on this eve, and this night is an excellent time to perform divination, or try to connect with those from the other side.

Herbs: patchouli, sage, heather

Altar Flowers/Herbs: acorns, apples, pumpkins/gourds, dittany, autumn leaves

Feast Foods: pumpkin, squash, nut breads, sweet potatoes, milled drinks (cider, wine), roast meat, root vegetables

Animals: bats, cats, crows, ravens, owls

Incense: cinnamon, cloves, myrrh, patchouli, pine, mugwort, nutmeg

Rituals/Spells: making besoms, divination, spirit contact, crone magick, working with dark energy, spells for new beginnings

Crafting Your Magic:

Ancestral magic is cast with the Blood Moon. Do magic now to communicate with family members who have passed, to connect with your ancestors and your heritage. Magic surrounding divination is relevant, it’s the perfect time. Cast spells for justice and balance, and to overthrow anything oppressive which may be blocking your path to success. Ambition is highlighted, use magic to increase the potency of your own, or cast magic to contain ambition that may have run amok. This is also the perfect time to step into the dark shadows and take advantage of the vibrations found there. The gray witch revels in the magic of the Blood Moon and in this season.

Halloween, or Samhain, is the most important holiday at our house and the most fun. We go all out. I make a huge kettle of hot apple cider, my big red kettle full of chili, and I spend the day before baking pies, lots and lots of pies! The older kids invite their friends, and the neighbors know that it’s an open house. My husband moves our firepit to the front driveway and tends the bonfire all night long, with chairs gathered ’round the cheerful flames, while guests roast hotdogs and marshmellows.

My kids look forward to this night all year long.

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Lady Amythyst’s Pumpkin Pie:

1 16 oz. can pumpkin

(about 2 cups)

1 13 oz. can evaporated milk

(but sometimes I use sweetened

condensed milk– it makes it more ‘chiffony’…is that a word?)

2 eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 sugar

the spices:

Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and a dash of salt. Most recipes call for 1/2 teaspoon each, but I’m much more generous with my spices!

the crust:

I tried for years to learn to make a good pie crust, and I almost gave up out of frustration– then I found this recipe. It’s almost foolproof, no kidding.

2 and 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup shortening

1 beaten egg

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/4 cup water

Mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the shortening, as usual. Then combine the egg and vinegar, stirring it up a bit, and add this to your dry ingredients. Add the water a dash at a time as you work it in, you’ll be able to tell when you get a good texture.

myworldSamhaintreats.jpg picture by Amythyst1

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Hot Apple Cider

I have a *Huge*– did I say huge?– kettle that I use to mix up my cider. This sits and simmers all afternoon on the backburner of my stove, wafting a wonderful aroma throughout the house.

Ingredients:

5-7 large jugs of applejuice

8-10 bags of peach tea

a handful of cinnamon sticks

and a large metal tea ball filled

with whole cloves and allspice

You can leave a shaker of nutmeg sit on the counter & anyone who wants to add a dash of this spice to their mug of apple cider can do so.

If you don’t like this cider full force, you can dilute it some with water to suit your own taste.

myworldsamhainpreparations.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Our kitchen isn’t as organized as Rachel Ray’s or Martha Stewart’s, but we get the job done. Above are kettles of cider and homemade chili brewing in preparation for a Samhain evening.

falldivider.gif picture by witch_of_endore

Let’s take a look at the ingredients we just used from a magickal perspective:

Peaches– love

Nutmeg– one of the most popular uses for nutmeg is to assure fidelity. It’s also used for spells centered around luck, money, and health.

Cinnamon– spirituality, success, healing, power, psychic powers, lust, protection, love

Allspice– money, luck, healing

Cloves– protection, exorcism, love, money

Apple- love, healing, garden magic, immortality

Samhain2007020.jpg picture by Amythyst1

samhain7.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Samhain Memories

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Four of my beautiful little Witchlings–
where does the time go??

Sarabubbles.jpg picture by Amythyst1

My Samhain baby– I was busy giving birth
on a certain Samhain eve 14 years ago.

Samhain2005-1.jpg picture by Amythyst1

My “Isabella”, “Deadrose”, and #1 Son

80sCostumeParty09.jpg picture by Amythyst1

A ‘pre-halloween’ party, the theme was the 1980s.
CopyofEmma-1.jpg picture by Amythyst1

Our “Resident Elf”

(This Resident Elf is only two years away from being
a teen-ager now. Time goes so fast!)

samhain0911.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

“Isabella” and her boyfriend, Joe, at last year’s party.
(October 2010)

Samhain0919.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Preparations are finished– it’s time to enjoy!!

 

Samhain0924.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

We build a bonfire in the driveway & gather round, or join friends in the livingroom/kitchen for hot chili, or gather on the backporch to play with ouija boards, tarot cards, chinese fortune sticks, oracle cards, and runes, while sipping hot cider at candle-lit tables.

 

samhain095.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

A perfect day for divination.

 

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Spirits ‘rise’ to the occasion. 🙂

 

samhain094.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Throwing a little light on the situation. I love my black tree!

 

HarryPotterretouched.jpg picture by witch_of_endore

Our very own “Harry Potter”
(#1 Son)

October 2003

This young man has an associates degree in computer science now,
and is working towards his bachelors.

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Thank you so much for visiting my blog.
I hope you’re enjoying the Halloween blog tour.

On behalf of all the Real Witches out there,
Happy Samhain…

and Blessed Be!

 

 

Mabon

 

Mabon

Autumn Equinox

September 21 (approx.)

Also known as: Mabon

Traditions:

celebration of the second harvest festival of the season, thanksgiving for plentiful harvest, in some cultures this is a corn festival, marking the beginning of the autumn season, the witches’ Thanksgiving 

Pagan Lore:

Descent of the Goddess…in Sumerian myth she’s known as Inanna; in Greek/Roman legends it was Demeter and Persephone. The descent of the Goddess into the Underworld meant an end to the lush growing season, a time when nature would rest beneath the cloak of winter.

The Harvest Lord

…in the Celtic tradition, the Harvest Lord was slain at the time of Lughnasadh, marking the end of the growing season and the beginning of harvest time.

Mabon

…is the masculine counterpart of Persephone; the fertile male aspect of the growing season. He is a Welsh god, stolen from his mother Modrin as an infant and, so the myth goes, rescued by King Arthur. All the while, he was held captive in the Otherworld– Modrin’s womb, so as to be ‘reborn’ with the spring, bringing with him fertility to the land.

Wickerman

…at this time of year, the ancient Druids would burn a large human-like wicker figure as part of their celebration. This figure represented the vegetation spirit, and indeed, the heralding of the dark season would bring an end to the growth and flowering of summer.

This day brings equal hours of light and dark, a second celebration of perfect equality. Beyond this day, light will gradually fade as the dark season descends upon the world. Modern Pagans celebrate this holiday with many of the foods connected with this time of year in their area. For us this would include pumpkin pie, pumpkin breads, and apple cider. Decorations may include leaves of autumn hues, sunflowers, pumpkins and gourds.

Correspondences for Mabon

Herbs: marigold, myrrh, thistles, sage

Altar Flowers/Herbs: asters, mums, pine, ferns, milkweed, honeysuckle

Feast Foods: autumn berries, nuts, roast game, root vegetables, cider, wine, bread

Animals: stags, goats, blackbirds, canines, owls, birds-of-prey

Incense: cedar, myrrh, patchouli, pine, sage, sweet grass, oak moss

Rituals/Spells: drying herbs, gathering late harvest, past life work, harvest moon rituals, making willow wands, harmony spells, protection spells for winter

(The information above is an excerpt from my books,
“The Gray Witch’s Grimoire” and “Natural Magick the Gray Witch Way”)

© The Gray Witch’s Grimoire,
Amythyst Raine 2011

© Natural Magick the Gray Witch Way,
Amythyst Raine 2011

 

Litha: Summer Solstice

Another Summer Solstice is almost upon us. This is a quiet holiday at our house. When my son was a little boy, he used to like to stay up through the ‘witching hour’ and watch for fairies. He’d get comfy in his pj’s and robe; I’d gather up a lawn chair and place it beneath the large apple tree in our yard; and I’d prepare a special candle, placing it in a cauldron along with some herbs to offer the fairies. It was his time to sit quietly outside in the dark and watch for fairies, the only light being that of the candle.

Most of the time, these evenings were uneventful, but one Mid-Summer’s Eve, my son’s patience was rewarded.

From across the lawn, he saw what he said looked like three very small blue lights dancing along the top of the fence. Eventually these three tiny lights dropped from the fence to the lawn beneath, where they bounced around in the grass for several seconds, and then they disappeared. My son came back to the house breathless and wide-eyed to tell me what he had seen.

The next morning, we went out to investigate the grass where the lights had been. Overnight, three mushrooms had popped up to create a perfectly formed triangle in this area, and the grass in the middle of this formation was whithered and yellowed.

I can’t tell you with 100% accuracy whether what my son saw were fairies or not, but that really doesn’t matter. All that really matters is that one little boy had a very magickal and memorable night.

At my website, you’ll find more information on Pagan holidays, including rituals and videoes. I have this link set to take you directly to “Wheel Of the Year”:

The Witch’s Corner

On Mid-Summer’s Eve, 1980, my step-grandfather died after enduring a long and tortorous bout with throat cancer. I’ve always thought that perhaps, when people pass on this magickal date, the fairies that are about will help these souls cross into the Summerland.

Following are correspondences for the month of June, including correspondences and other information for the pagan holiday of Litha. This information is an excerpt from my books, “The Gray Witch’s Grimoire” & “The Book of Magick”, and is copyrighted material.

© The Gray Witch’s Grimoire/The Book of Magick
Amythyst Raine 2011

June

Named for: “Juno”, chief Roman goddess and female counterpart
of Jupiter

Anglo-Saxon: Sere-monap

Birthstone: pearl, alexandrite, moonstone

Flower: rose

June Moon Magick:

Mead Moon

Herbs: almond, dill, lily, lemongrass, clover

Stones: citrine herkimer, alexandrite,
blue lace agate

Scents: lily of the valley, lavender

Colors: orange, yellow-green

Trees: oak

Deities: Isis, Green Man, Cerridwen

Elements: Air/Water

Astrological Influences for June

Gemini: ruled by Mercury, projective/masculine, mutable/air

Cancer: ruled by the Moon, receptive/feminine, cardinal/water

Pagan Holiday

Summer Solstice/Litha

June 21

This is the longest period of daylight in the year, a time of magick, fairies, and the immortalized Mid-Summer’s Eve. Fairy contact is generally easier to achieve on this day, for those of you who are brave enough to invoke the mischievous little folk, that is. But don’t be surprised if soon after you can’t find your favorite earrings, or the car keys, or any other shiny inviting objects you may have left laying around.

This is a popular month for weddings, though few in the Christianized world realize why…The Druid’s celebrated the Summer Solstice as the ‘marriage between heaven & earth’, and thus the popular belief that June is a ‘lucky’ month for marriage ceremonies.

There will be Pagan spirit gatherings all around the world at this time, the most famous and the most notable at Stone Henge, where large groups of people will light bonfires and stay up all night in order to welcome the dawn.

Herbs:

fennel, lavender, chamomile, cinquefoil, mugwort, thyme

Altar Flowers/Herbs:

larkspur, rose, wisteria, St. Johns Wort

Feast Foods:

apples, citrus, fruits, ale, mead, honey cakes

Animals:

butterflies, frogs, toads, wrens

Incense:

ylang ylang, thyme, rose, sandalwood, chamomile

Rituals/Spells:

all night fairy vigils, candle magick, dream work, familiar blessings, herb gathering, self-dedication, sun magick

 Crafting Your Magick:

Fairy magic will be powerful and their presence could herald both the mystical and the mischievous. Work on magic now that clarifies communication and highlights the element of Air. Use magic of the wee folk to tap into the fairy realms. Magic now is all about movement– movement of ideas, creations, people, and places. This is the perfect time to cast spells of transformation, spells to increase/decrease, to banish/manifest. Think about where it is you want to be, either from a mental or physical perspective, and cast the magic needed to move you along to this destination.

The solar plexus is the chakras to focus on. Learn to assert yourself, or to tone down an overbearing attitude. And which energy applies to you? If you don’t know, I’ll bet the people around you do.

Happy Imbolc

How ironic that this holiday, meant to lead us into the light and spring, is greeted this year with a massive snowstorm.  As I speak, the neighbor’s snowblower is roaring in the background, strong winds are tearing around the corners of the house, and the furnace is rumbling to keep us warm and toasty.  Here in Nebraska ice was the main problem in Omaha, causing several accidents and closing Interstate 80.  Because of the high winds, salt couldn’t be used on the roads– it would just blow away– so black ice was a nasty surprise for many drivers.

Tonight we lit candles for this pagan holiday, in tribute to the Goddess Bridget…to welcome in the light and spring, and to banish winter.  We ask Bridget to protect those out and about, to keep us warm and safe within our homes, to heighten our level of creativity, and to show us the three faces of the goddess– the maiden, mother, and crone–  along with the unique wisdom that comes with each.

From our house to yours, we wish you a blessed Happy Imbolc!

Imbolic Candles


Correspondences for Imbolc:

Colours Lavender, Light Green, Orange, Pink, Red, White, Yellow
Tools Besom, Bonfire, Brighid’s Bed, Candles, Cauldron, Garden Tools,  Priapic Wand
Symbols Besom, Brighid’s Cross, Candle, Corn Doll, Garden Tools, Lantern, Plough, Priapic Wand, White flowers
Animals  Burrowing animals, Ewes, Deer, Goats, Lambs
Herbs Angelica, Basil, Bay, Blackberry, Celandine, Chamomile, Coltsfoot, Rosemary 
Feast Food Bread, Cakes, Dairy products, Seeds
Feast Drink Blackberry tea, Chamomile tea, Milk, Spiced wine
Metals Brass, Gold, Iron
Incense & Oils Jasmine, Myrrh, Neroli
Flowers Broom, Daffodils, Heather, Iris, Primrose, Snowdrop, Tansy
Trees Evergreens, Willow
Gemstones Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet Onyx, Ruby, Turquoise
Altar Decorations Acorns, Brigid’s Cross, Corn Doll, Daffodils, Lanterns, Sun symbols, White flowers   

For more information on Imbolc, including a ritual, click Here.
Thanks to"Crone-Crafts" for the Imbolc correspondences.