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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Solstice Fire and Seeing the Unseen

Occurring only days apart, the Summer Solstice and Midsummer’s Eve have become intertwined with overlapping traditions and customs. In addition to celebrating long warm days, protection charms were high on the to-do list at this time of year and often incorporated into bonfire rituals.
      In the British Isles and Germany, the magical plant mugwort was especially useful. Long stems were tied together and worn around the waist, and then thrown into the bonfire, which would protect the wearer from ghosts and magic. The burning mugwort would also carry away bad luck. In Germany, gazing at the bonfire through a wreath of mugwort was believed to ensure good eyesight for a year. In France, both these customs were followed using St. John’s wort instead of mugwort. Wearing sprigs of St. John’s wort and tossing them into the fire was also common in parts of Britain.
      As part of a Midsummer protection spell in Germany, vervain and larkspur were thrown into the bonfire through a wreath of mugwort to give them extra power. For protection on the Isle of Man, people wore chaplets of mugwort during the celebrations and attached leafy stems to the horns of their cattle.
      The faeries were said to be particularly active at this time of year and many customs involved protection from them or were aimed at keeping them from meddling with livestock. There were also many beliefs about methods to make the usually invisible magical beings visible. In Denmark, standing beneath an alder tree at midnight on Midsummer’s Eve was said to enabl a person to see the faery king and his entourage on their way to revels. According to Danish folklore, the fae often lived under alders or in alder thickets.
      Elder shrubs were also a faery habitat and in England adding elderflowers to the Midsummer’s Eve bonfire was believed to allow people to see the fae. A mainstay of medieval gardens, lavender was also said to attract elves with its delightful fragrance and silvery leaves. After all, one of its folk names is elf leaf. Wearing a circlet of lavender flowers and tossing a few sprigs into the Midsummer’s Eve bonfire was said to also aid in seeing elves and faeries.
      What might you see this Solstice? Will you have a Midsummer night’s dream?

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 The Salad Bar

Did I want to hear about this great money spell that she and her coven had done?

Elderhood obligates. Sure, I say.

Well. They all needed money, so they decided to do a money spell, right?

That's how it usually works, I acknowledge.

So, here's what they did. They all went out to a restaurant.

Then they all got salad bar.

She pauses meaningfully, to give me time to savor the symbolism.

Anything done with true intent is magic, right?

Ah, I say, nodding. These things must be done delicately.

And did it work? I ask at last.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Euphemisms and the Detritus of Life ...

Faith-based is what you say when you don't have the courage (or honesty) to say “religious.”

Plant-based is what you say when you don't have the courage (or honesty) to say “vegan.”

Earth-based is what you say when you don't have the courage (or honesty) to say “pagan.”

Are you seeing the trend here?

Of course, one understands the reasoning. The Bush 2 administration didn't want to admit that they were directly giving taxpayer dollars to religious (in virtually every case, conservative Christian) organizations. Vegans have a—let's be honest here—all-too-often well-deserved reputation for entitlement and self-righteousness. And sometimes, as we all know, everything sounds fine until you use the P-word.

(Besides, calling the modern paganisms “Earth-based” is aspirational at best; in most cases it's just plain untrue. I'm sorry, there's nothing “Earth-based” about Something Out of Books from Long Ago and Far Away.)

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Euphemism.

Me, I'm a word-guy. The trajectory of my entire linguistic career has been towards a language of clarity, precision, and honesty. Euphemism strikes me, instead, as the preserve of the dishonest, the craven, and the demagogic.

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Seeds of Love: Magical Garden

A great relationship can be cultivated, literally. By planting and carefully tending flowers that have special properties—like night-blooming jasmine for heightened sensuality, or lilies for lasting commitment—you can nurture your relationship along. During a new moon in the Venus- ruled signs of Taurus or Libra, plant an assortment of flowers that will surround you with the beauty and energy of sweet devotion. A few of my proven favorites are listed in the garden of Indra that follows.

Before you place your hothouse posies or seeds into pots or flowerbeds, bless the ground with a prayer of health for your plants, yourself, and your relationships.

...
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The Devils Book Our beautiful Wall Art ...

Hey Boss Warlock:

OK, I've seen you: basically, you haven't changed for decades. Clearly, you've discovered the secret of eternal youth.

So 'fess up. Did you find a portrait-painter à la Dorian Grey or something?

Aging in Aiken

 

Dear Aging:

Clearly, you've forgotten your witchly lore.

Sell your soul to the Horned One, get eternal youth, eternal beauty, erections for hours, etc.

Seriously.

Then there's the Boss Warlock Five-Point Health Plan:

  • Keep active, physically and spiritually.
  • Keep engaged/interested.
  • Spend some time sitting cross-legged on the ground every day.
  • Shit squatting.
  • Have at least one orgasm every day.

(Nobody wants to hear about discipline, but thou mayest not be a witch without it.)

Then there's the food:

  • Eat low on the food chain, mostly plants.
  • In general, stick to whole grains and natural sweeteners: honey, maple syrup, etc.
  • Eat some beans every day.
  • Eat allium—onions and garlic—every day.
  • Eat tomatoes (in some incarnation or other) every day.
  • Eat raw greens every day.
  • Eat cooked greens every day.
  • Eat some sort of cruciferous vegetable (= cabbage and kin) every day.
  • Eat some sort of orange vegetable every day.

Mostly importantly of all, eat real. By real, I mean close to the source: the closer, the better. Local is better than shipped. Real meat is better than faux, dairy milk than plant, whole grains than refined. You get the picture.

Oh, and top of the list, Aging: get your butt out to the woods stat, give Him a call, and sign that Book like you really mean it.

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Long Distance Love: Sending Affection From Afar

Perhaps you are in a long distance relationship with someone special who lives many miles away Long distance magic can be quite effective so try this ritual which has worked well for my circle.

Gather together:

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Summer Weaving: A Sacred Season

Since Ariadne's Tribe is a living spiritual tradition, it has taken us a number of years to complete our sacred calendar. This post and the next one will be the last additions for the foreseeable future. This has been a long-term community effort in the Tribe, and I'm grateful to everyone who has participated in this process.

So where are we in the calendar right now? We've just passed the Blessing of the Ships and are now in the season that leads up to Summer Solstice.

...
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