The Black Moon

This Thursday and Friday we will be experiencing a phenomena called the Black Moon.  It refers to a second Dark and New Moon cycle in a calendar month.  The energies are the antithesis of a Blue Moon, which is the second full moon in a calendar month.  The Black Moon is a super charged point for any banishing, transforming, or releasing.  Also if you REALLY need a fresh start, a ritual at the Black Moon will give an extra oomph to your goals.  Something else to keep in mind is the festival of Imbolc this weekend.  Combining the refreshing energies of this sabat with the Black Moon will be amazing.

Take the next two days and meditate on how best to tap into the cycles of the Moon and Sun.  Consider what you want to change in your life.  Do you want to let go of old habits, relationships, and negativity?  Do you want to begin cultivating your spiritual practice a little more?  Or do you want to renew your New Year’s resolutions?  Usually I advocate free form and spontaneity in ritual, but this opportunity is too unusual and transformative to use lightly.

For myself, I have a lot of rituals planned for this weekend.  Friday will be dedicated to the Black Moon with a releasing and new growth ritual, Saturday to Imbolc, and Sunday (or the first day I see the Crescent Moon) to honoring one of the deities I venerate.

© Ariadne Woods

Imbolc Recipes

Imbolc, Brigid’s Day, or Candlemas is the season of coming spring, new beginnings, and cleansing.  This is the time of year in which the Goddess is recovering from the God’s birth, who is growing a little bigger and stronger every day.  The days are lengthening, even as we weather some of the coldest moments of the year.  Milk products, such as cheese and cream, are the center of this feast.  For vegan practitioners, research the best brands of soy milk and cheese to create variations of these recipes.

  • Spinach, Artichoke, and Cheese Dip: A classic bar food, this spread incorporates many different forms of cheeses, making it a perfect starter for this time of you.  Use garlic bread or tortilla chips to scoop.
  • Curried Lamb: This is the time of year when new life comes to Earth.  Lamb is one of the strongest symbols of this phenomenon.  I like this particular recipe because it is a lot of taste with only a few ingredients.
  • Quesadillas: For the vegetarians in the room, let them make their own quesadillas.  Provide green onions, cooked bacon (for those who don’t enjoy lamb), guacamole, salsa, and plenty of cheese.
  • Spiced Carrots: Carrots are one of the best vegetables for winter because they have a long shelf life.  For this recipe, you’ll need a bag of carrots, an orange, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, ginger, 1 clove of minced garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Put a small pot of water to boil, adding a little zest from the orange so the veggies will keep their color.  Slice the carrots in quarter-inch rounds.  Place in boiling water and cook until desired consistency.  Meanwhile, whisk the juice from the orange, a tsp of lemon juice, a big drizzle of olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper together.  Drain the carrots and toss in dressing.  Top with herbs.
  • Baked Potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees F.  Wash and fork the potatoes.  Lightly oil and salt the skins and wrap the spud in aluminum foil.  Place in oven and bake for 1 hour.  Top with sour cream and chives.
  • Creme Brulee: This is my all time favorite dessert.  The caramelized sugar on the top of this creamy custard make it a perfect ending to this fire festival’s feast.
  • Honey Bees: This cocktail was a happy accident one night while I was in college.  Put 1 shot of Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey in a glass.  Top it with chilled ginger ale and enjoy!
  • Cakes and Ale: While a Honey Bee is an option for ritual, milk and mead are appropriate choices as well. For cakes it would depend on the ale since there are so many sweet options for this sabat.  If you want something savory buy or make croissants.  If you decide to use a sweet option, this honey cake recipe is perfect.

For more recipes, check out these resources from Pagan and Wicca About.com and The Celtic Connection.

© Ariadne Woods

Finding Your Yoda

Mentors and teachers come into everyone’s lives at the weirdest moments.  On occasion, they leave your life just as swiftly.  It is because you are getting the guidance you need when you need it.

I also believe that a mentor can come from anywhere.  They can be a friend, a professor, an author, a Tumblr page, a Youtube vlogger, etc.  You will instinctively know this person is supposed to be a mentor by how their wisdom affects you.  It should ‘hit home.’

In my life, I have had a handful of great people I could turn to for advice and guidance.  My grandmother is the big one.  I distinctly remember being eight or nine having elementary school problems, and she would give me advice on whatever was going on.  It’s been like that my whole life.  I also had a bunch of mentors in my teenage years.  Most of them were teachers or friends’ parents.  They always came into my life at the right moment and left when I no longer needed their guidance.  In my Pagan life, I have never had a High Priestess or formal teacher other than the wisdom the God and Goddess have given me.  But early in my practice, I lived in the Netherlands so I didn’t have access to materials in English.  So to get inspired in my spiritual ways, I would watch CharmingPixieFlora or TipToeChick.  When I am down, I pull out a few of their videos I know will help me.

So, how does someone find a mentor?  It’s not something you can necessarily just acquire.  You have to seek them, although it doesn’t need to be an active and aggressive process.  Just keep your ears, heart, and instincts open.  You will know when you have found the right person.

© Ariadne Woods

Ritual Worksheet

Ritual Worksheet

For some reason, sometimes I have a hard time codifying my rituals.  Planning is the most difficult part, which means I occasionally get a little lost mid celebration.  So a few sabats ago I developed a worksheet that helped so much in the development process.  For anyone else facing the same issues, I am sharing it with you.  It is admittedly Wicca-centric.  But I hope it can help other Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches.

© Ariadne Woods

Love and Magic

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.  For some people it’ll be a great day with your partner.  For others experiencing problems in their relationships, the day might seem weird or off.  For single ladies and gents, it can be a bittersweet holiday.  Whatever your relationship status, this is a time of the year for love.

Which means it is time for the love spell talk.

There is a lot of material out there regarding love magic and ‘snaring a mate.’  Some of it is harmless, for example workings a couple does together to work on and strengthen their relationship.  Some of it is deceptive and destructive, such as anything that advocates using a specific person in mind when doing any love spell.  Why?  Free will.  Fucking with it is not only stupid, but also unethical.  Not only are you affecting the person’s life, but also the life of the person they are supposed to love.  That is a lot of heartbreak going on just because you are lusting after someone.  Trust me, it will bite you in the ass.

As someone who was single for a very long time and is adjusting to being single again, I understand your perspective.  Maybe you have never been in a relationship and you long for that experience.  Maybe you have been dating for a while and are ready to settle down with the right person.  Maybe you have had bad relationship after bad relationship and you want to change those patterns.  Maybe you recently got out of a relationship and are considering getting back out there.  Maybe you have been divorced or widowed and are scared to move on.  What do you do?  How do you effect change to bring someone fabulous into your life?

Honestly, you have to get your shit together before a partner can come into your life.  In my life, the times I have been happy, confident, and comfortable in my own skin are the moments love has come into my life.  And when I have lost my way and disliked myself, I have lost love.  In fact I didn’t have much of a love life until I embraced the witch in me.  I think there is a strong correlation between the love and acceptance of self and the love from others.  It’s magnetic, draws the right people to you.  As I have seen on many a t-shirt, ‘confidence is sexy.’  Sometimes though, getting your shit together means being alone for a while.  Taking the time to consider your life and ethics.  Making a few changes.  Getting comfortable in your own skin.  And that is fine.  It’s scary as hell.  But it is so worth it.

If self acceptance is an issue for you, there are a few things you can do both magically and mundanely:

  • Affirmations: Little sayings you use every day to bring about a new truth about yourself.  There are lots of resources online and anyone from any faith can use these.  I recommend using mala or prayer beads as a tool to help you concentrate on your affirmation.  If need be, making this part of your Morning Ritual or Greet the Day.
  • Little Luxuries: One thing you do on a regular basis just for yourself.  For examples, I buy flowers and paint my nails every week.  Both activities make me happy and bring a little beauty and harmony in my life.
  • See a Professional: If you suffer from deep seeded self loathing, perhaps this is something you cannot tackle on your own.  By taking to step to reach out to a psychologist or religious professional, you already put yourself in the right place to believe in your awesomeness.

Alright so you have been working on yourself and you know you are ready to begin a new relationship.  This is the perfect time to consider a little magic.  Again, not for a particular person.  We have covered that bad idea.  The best advice I can give is to stick to qualities, not specific ideas.  Write down everything you want in a partner before you do any workings and keep those qualities in mind when doing any sort of magic.  Just let the Goddess and God know ‘okay I am ready.’  Put the vibes out there.  And starting making room in your life for someone wonderful.

© Ariadne Woods

Witch Tips: Spell Planning

Spell writing is an art.  It takes a little practice, planning, and consideration.  For people new to the Craft, the abundant resources online and in books can seem a little daunting.  For people well versed in magical ways, sometimes we develop ruts and lose a little creative mojo by doing the same types of spells all of the time.  So for all you new and seasoned spell casters, here are a few steps to assist in your magical workings.

  • Have You Considered All Your Options?: Yes magic is lovely.  But it is not always necessary.  Make sure you have explored all aspects of the situation.  This is especially true when the action affects others.  Sometimes a simple conversation solves all the problems.
  • Refine Your Need: Be really specific in what you want.  Let’s say you need a new job.  Don’t be general and do a spell for a job.  Make a list of all the characteristics you want in that job, like salary, duties, and benefits.  The one time I recommend NOT doing this is attraction or love magic.  You never should be specific in the person, but rather the qualities of the person.
  • Timing: If you work with the Moon or Sun, use their power to enhance yours.  For example if you want to do protection magic, a good time to do it is around the Summer Solstice.  To get you started, here is an easy guide to moon phases and their connection to magical workings.
  • Spell Speed: Most spells at their core use one of the Elements.  This means the characteristics of Earth, Air, Fire, or Water become part of the spell.  Not only should this be considered when planning your spell, but the actual speed of the manifestation will differ from spell to spell.  Consider the situation and how quickly you want it to become reality.  Be careful though. Sometimes if you want it to happen too quickly, the spell will not be as effective.  For example if you are addicted to something and want to change that behavior, avoid quick release spells.  Let these things take time.  The utterly prolific CharmingPixieFlora made a video a few years ago discussing this topic, so for more information here you go!
  • Accessories: Do you want or need to use herbs, crystals, food items, libations, parchment, candles, etc. specific to the properties of the spell?  Do you have them on hand?  If not, how long will it take you to obtain them?  Also, what magical tools do you want to use, such as a Working Candle, cauldron, or athame?  If you really feel you need the ‘stuff’ then wait until you have them.  Also if you have no idea what to use, check a few books with great indexes (example: any of the Cunningham encyclopedias [if you do a lot of spell casting, I recommend splurging for all of them they’re REALLY useful]).  There is a reason I refer to these items as accessories.  You don’t really need them but they are nice to have.
  • Try Something New: Seem to always to candle magic?  Try an Earth or Sea spell.  Get out of your comfort zone a little.
  • Belief: If you think the spell is not going to work, then it won’t.  Simple as that.  Doubt is the number one negation of spellwork.  So buck up and have a little faith in yourself and your ability to change your life.
  • Visualization: Basically, picture the change and outcome while performing the magic.  This method provides focus and clarity.  It does take a little practice though.  There are plenty to exercises on the Internet to help develop this skill.  Here are a few to my favorites to get you started.
  • Follow-Up: I have mentioned this before and don’t mind beating my readers over the head with this point.  After you do a spell, do some sort of action in the mundane world that mirrors your intent.  For example if you are doing a spell to bring a new lover into your life, then actually accept the dates that come your way.  Even if the person isn’t your ideal mate, creating a little momentum towards your goal will go a long way to manifesting it to reality.

© Ariadne Woods