Rethinking the Elements

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Think about the Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit, etc.  What do you associate with these forces?  Any seasons, cardinal directions, colors, creatures, or attributes?  Do you have a special connection with any of them?  Do you even perceive Elements that are not listed?  Now, think about why you have these associations. Did you read about the correspondences in a book or article?  Did your mentor or coven give you this wisdom?  Or is it something you developed in your own practice?  Lastly, think about if you agree with these associations.  Have you moved or relocated since first establishing your relationships with the Elements, so they shifted cardinal directions?  Has your practice changed?  Or have you found that you don’t agree with an aspect anymore?

I encourage you to do this questioning every once in a while, especially if you move a lot or have had a serious change in your spiritual beliefs.  Things change, so even if you feel you have standing correspondences with the Elements it is good to reestablish and reconnect.

© Ariadne Woods

Witch Tips Special Edition: Spirit

This is the last post in a series of five about connecting to the Elements.

Spirit refers to the connections between all of existence. It links us to the Gods and Goddesses, the ancestors, the self, EVERYTHING.  It has no direction and encompasses all deities.  In reality connecting to Spirit is personal and varies person-to-person.  So here are the things that establishes my relationship with the element.

  • Travel: See new things.  Meet new people.  Eat new foods.  Find a new way to see the world.
  • Prayer Beads: I will sometime soon do an entire post on these  I’ve found them invaluable in cultivating a good daily practice.  I made my set, but lots of Pagan shops and online stores carry them.  If you want some ideas for chants and mantras, check out my Curios page.  Selena Fox’s Twitter page also features many good chants that can be used in ritual and while working with prayer beads. Or write your own!
  • Keep Your ‘You Time’ Sacred:  Every Friday night I put in a movie and paint my nails.  If I am home I light some candles and incense.  This ritual is a little bit of self-indulgence that renews me every week.  Everyone has this kind of routine, whether it’s a daily coffee or a yearly trip to the spa or to a baseball game.  Make these little things a priority.
  • Clear Space: You don’t have to have a perfectly clean house or apartment.  But studies link clutter and excess mess to depression, anxiety, and concentration problems.  Spend just five minutes a day tidying and one Saturday a month doing some intensive cleansing.
  • Take a Walk in Nature: Let the Earth renew your spirit.  Notice everything from the itty bitty bugs to the tall trees.

@ 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