Blue Moon

The next three nights constitute a blue moon.  While there are many different definitions concerning what this means, one popular version is the fourth full moon in a season.  Another is the second full moon in a calender month. Today refers to the latter.

In addition to other regular sabbat activities, it’s a time for power and for deep introspection.  Do a spell that needs an extra boost.  Look at your life and use to moon to cultivate its blessings.  Or, change a habit or practice.

I am spending it in two ways.  First I am spending time reconnecting with my friends (it is Thirsty Thursday after all)  and then in ritual looking at my relationships.

Have a good Blue Moon and may the Goddess bless you!

©Ariadne Woods

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Shielding and Academic Success

Shielding is a psychological, energetic, and magical technique of surrounding oneself with a “wall” of a particularly calibrated purpose.  They are not dissimilar to ritual circles, the only difference is a ritual circle is fixed whereas a shield is attached to a person, animal, or object.  While shielding techniques differ on personal preferences, CharmingPixieFlora offers one set of tips and guidelines.

I got interested in shields when I was living with a toxic roommate.  It wasn’t that she was a bad person (we’re still good friends, but we no longer live together), but she was going through rough times and her negative energy permeated everything in our room.   In my practice, I put up my shields around myself in the morning and take them down at night.  I put a completely different shield around my entire bedroom to sleep.  I find this method works better energetically for me than keeping them up all the time.  Even that half hour I have no shield makes a strong difference in the quality and strength of the shields.  I also do mine in multiple layers depending on my needs.

I want to go to graduate school next year and want to boost my GPA.  I am a pretty good student, but I know I can do better.  On Monday while I was putting up my daily shields, I decided to put up a layer for concentration, focus, and mental awareness.  You know what?  I’ve been feeling more alert in class, more motivated to do my homework, and less distracted.  I have tried other spells and methods in the past and none of them have worked this well.  I think what is going on is I center my focus early in the day and keep it mindful throughout my classes.

© Ariadne Woods

Paganomics

Today I went online to buy a piece of tumbled Lapus Lazuli to heal my Fifth Chakra and to aid in creative writing. After checking all the usual shops, I went on Etsy.  Instead of buying ONE stone, I ended up buying EIGHT stones, only ONE of them being Lapus.

Pagans have the tendency to need (or think they need) a lot of STUFF.  Candles, incense, deity figures. Three of the most popular practices associated with Paganism are herbalism, divination, and stonecraft.  Perhaps not for divination, but think of how many herbs and gems comprise the basic of basic in those practices.  It’s mind boggling!

My biggest weakness is books.  Right now I have a little over a dozen, but my “To Buy” list is LONG.

If you are financially challenged, this can be a serious problem because people sometimes feel like the stuff is integral with spirituality. If you are, my best advice to you is to choose wisely.  Buy one stone, book, or herb at a time.  If space is an issue, keep quantities small.

This most important thing to keep in mind is that all you need is you in your magical practice.

© Ariadne Woods

List of Colleges and Universities with Pagan Campus Organizations

This is a post I put on Tumblr a couple of months ago.  In the spirit of the season, I’ve updated it and am reposting it here.

While there are many different reasons to pick a college or grad school, a spiritual community is a great way to be acclimated in a new environment.  It’s something I didn’t think about when I did my college search and deeply regret.  Please feel free to pass on this list to your kids and friends looking at schools.

Arizona:

  • Northern Arizona University

California

  • The Claremont Colleges
  • UC Davis

Colorado

  • Colorado Mesa University
  • Colorado State University

Connecticut

  • University of Connecticut

Florida

  • Florida State University
  • University of West Florida

Georgia

  • University of Georgia
  • College of Costal Georgia

Maryland

  • University of Maryland

Massachusetts

  • MIT

Michigan

  • Ferris State University
  • Michigan State University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Central Michigan University

Mississippi

  • University of Southern Mississippi

Missouri

  • Washington University

New Jersey

  • Rutgers University

North Carolina

  • Salem University

Ohio

  • Kent State

Pennsylvania

  • Lebanon Valley College
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Drexel University
  • Penn State University

South Dakota

  • South Dakota State University

Tennessee

  • University of Tennessee

Texas

  • Baylor University
  • Texas State University in San Marcos

Utah

  • Utah State University
  • University of Utah

Virginia

  • Roanoke College
  • Old Dominion University

Washington

  • Washington State University

West Virginia

  • Marshall University

Wisconsin

  • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Oshkosh campuses

*Source: The Witch’s Voice

** If you have any groups to add, please message me and I’ll add them to the list.

*** Because a few people asked, no my university is not on here.

First Day of School

Today was the first day of my senior year.  I feel weird just writing it.  I can’t have been four years since I decorated my first dorm room and now I have my first single!

My college years have been a bit rocky.  Both my parents lost their jobs, my best friend went crazy (not exaggerating), rooming with friends turned out to be an awful idea, a close relative died, and I developed a case of anxiety so bad that I am feeling crippling “aftershocks.”

But I’ve also lived in Europe, gone on my first real date, had a handful of hysterical nights with my friends, got my first (and second!) job, and, oh yeah, became a Witch.

So it’s not been all bad.

I did a reading with an oracle deck and they were lovely, positive cards.  In spite of my anxieties, I carry hope with me for the first time in a long time.

© Ariadne Woods

Witch Tips Special Edition: Earth

This post is the first of a series discussing ways to connect to the five elements.

In my Earth Science course in school, the professor spoke of the Gaia Theory; the idea that our lovely planet of green and brown is in fact a living organism and we are all just part of a larger system.  As Witches, many of us look at this theory and say well, duh.  She is our home as well as our Mother.

Although it varies, Earth generally is associated with the North.  Her colors are green and brown.  Many deities are associated with Her, including Gaia and the Green Man.  Ways to get close to her are wide and varied.  A small sample includes:

  • Gardening: Or any other form of physically working with the earth, including working with gemstones (I’m not an expert in stonework, see other sources like Youtube’s Hibiscus Moon or Witch on the Rocks if you’re interested).  Feeling it through your fingers.  Watching life you have planted spring forth and prosper.  Or, if you are city-bound, cultivate houseplants.
  • Dance: You don’t have to have years of formal training to move to music and let go.  Just put good music on and start moving. Feel the earth under your feet.  Use this method to connect your relationships between earth and spirit.  Along the same lines: drumming.
  • Eating Something Earthy:  I’m not talking about buying organic, being vegan, or eating ‘bunny food.’  Have you ever noticed how you feel after eating a potato?  Or a carrot?  It’s easy to over-do (and therefore feel TOO heavy), but eating root veggies can allow you to slow down and look around a little.
  • Tree of Life Grounding:  I forget who originally guided me through this visualization exercise, but I know I have found it since then in The Spiral Dance.  Begin with a deep breath.  With the next imagine you have roots that dig deeply into the Earth.  Then with the next breath grow a trunk and branches to the stars.  Breath again and imagine flowers and leaves sprouting.  Spend time in this state, thinking of yourself as a conduit of energy between the Earth and the stars.  Use this meditation to heal the Earth.  It’s also great before spellwork and intense trancework.
  • Craftwork: Pottery, yarnwork, beading, etc.  They ground of in the creation of something beautiful and often deal in part with some sort of material from the Earth.

© Ariadne Woods

The Fifth Element Part I or Why The Charge of the Goddess and Psalm 23 Stir My Soul

What makes the spirit move an inch?  A foot?  A mile?  Or does the soul move at all?  Does it merely swallow and grow and shrink?  I like to think the way the spirit evolves is unique to the specific soul.  There is no formula or universal text or one size fits all.  Yes to some extent there is a “collective conscience,” but it’s time the myth of the “one way” is put to rest.

People need to find their words.  I don’t care if it comes from Moses, Scott Cunningham, or Beyonce.  Finding the words that make you shift or grow or whatever can mean everything.

Let me illustrate the three most spiritual moving moments of my life.

I grew up Methodist, although that didn’t last long.  When I was in elementary school my parents sent me to Christian summer camp.  One day (I think it was a Wednesday), all the campers were gathered together and told us to settle down.  The head counselor led us into the woods.  After ten minutes we came across an altar with a loaf of bread and a bottle of Welch’s grape juice.  He began acting out Psalm Twenty-Three.  What I remember the most was how green everything was, right down to the shadows on my hand.  I felt like I understood everything.  Ten years later I was on a beach in Scotland building my first altar reciting the Twenty-Third Psalm to the God and the Goddess.

Speaking of Scotland, I lived in Europe for four months last year.  It was the most transformative experience of my life.  There was one night, my first night, that I decided I needed a Coke and some French fries.  Grabbing my coat I stepped out into the night.  After getting my food, it started raining.  Not a gentle spritz but a full-on downpour.  Instead of ducking for cover, I began laughing.  Loudly, hysterically, and absolutely joyfully.  And started singing: “Lights will guide you home/ And ignite your bones/ And I will try to fix you” at the top of my lungs.  I have never been so carefree, light.  And it was all in the words.  And the song shifted, from “La Vie En Rose” to “Hallelujah” to “Now We Are Free.”  Ever since if a situation presents itself that I want to let go and relax, I sing it to myself one of those songs under my breath.  They give me power.

Last, there is one small, but important, moment that had such a long, lasting effect.  I was reading The Spiral Dance two years ago late at night when I came across Stawhawk’s version of the Charge of the Goddess.  After I finished I just thought wow.  That’s it.  That’s the Goddess.  It gave me the strength to find my words to describe the Goddess and to articulate my point of view.

These moments came organically, I didn’t force anything or really ask for my words.  They just changed me in ways I wouldn’t trade for anything.  Because they bring me closer to the Goddess, to the world, and to myself.

I hope you, reader, have the words that empower you to live your life and may they bring blessings to you.

© Ariadne Woods