Today I am watching my grandson, who has been with me for care since his mommy went back to work. I first watched him every day, but now I trade off with the other grandmother. We are different in wonderful ways, and my grandson will have a richer life because we are.
One way we are different is that I’m a witch, and she doesn’t declare herself as one, although I’ve seen the magick she does in the kitchen and in her home. So, some day, when my baby boy is old enough to start noticing such things, he will ask about the goddess statues in my house, or the altars I have set up in various places. I will have to explain what a witch is. And I think the next question will be whether I can do majick.
The easy answer is yes, of course I can do majick. The more important answer is that everyone who wants to can do majick. You see, for a cottage witch like me, majick is creativity. It’s a form of majick to be able to make art, to write poetry and stories, to score music, and so on. But the arts aren’t the only way people do majick. Creativity is found in many things–the business report that concisely and elegantly explains the solution to a problem, the perfect configuration of processes to accomplish a goal, a parsimonious mathematical equation, and so on.
Majick is in the ordinary, but the reason people miss it is because they think only the extraordinary matters. Right now, my ordinary grandson is rearranging the lightweight metal tables on the patio. He’s not even two yet, but he’s the size of a 3-4 year old (tall people in his background). He doesn’t talk much but makes himself understood. This is a child who arrived 6 weeks early and spent three of his first weeks of life in an incubator. I’ve watched him problem-solve many things with his toys, working at a task until he conquered it. Just now, he managed to climb up the slide rather than use the stairs, and laughed brightly at his success. That is a form of majick.
I live in a desert, essentially, made livable by water brought to us. And yet there are all kinds of plants here that prosper without it. A green guava tree grows near the fence without any help from me. The California Live Oak doesn’t like water much. Succulents and cacti, of course, do well with very little at all. Isn’t that a kind of majick, that a living thing might find a way to prosper in the soil where it grows?
all around us. It’s the hummingbird knowing which flowers give the sweetest nectar.
It’s my grandson exploring his world and the wonder he finds in the ordinary
things of my household. It’s the comfortable love between two people who have
been together a long time. It’s the feel of growing grass on bare feet, a drink
of water on a hot day, a fire in the winter. Majick is all the beautiful things
that manage to work together so that this earth keeps turning and we keep
Majick is also candles, spells, and what not. But that’s a story for another day. Blessed be.
I’ve been thinking a lot about numbers this week. One day it’s over 100 degrees, and the next, it’s in the low 90s. My car is approaching the 25,000-mile mark, so I need to take it in for service. I managed to buy groceries today with a fixed amount, and came within 90 cents of what I had, without keeping track of it in the cart. That was interesting to me.
Numbers are informative. They are also nonsensical. They
have no meaning beyond what we give them, so I am especially intrigued by the
role 13 plays in our culture. Today is Friday the 13th, and for some
it conjures up images of a horror movie unfolding in ever more gruesome
episodes. Some may think about the absence of a 13th floor in many
buildings, as though not calling it 13 didn’t make it the 13th floor
up from the street. That’s an interesting notion, when you think about it.
For others, it is simply an unlucky day—one where driving, decision
making, and acquiring new debt should be avoided. Some people are so afraid of
the number 13 and its connotations that they suffer from triskaidekaphobia,
working hard to stay away from 13 of anything.
Where did this fear of the number 13 come from? Some say it started in the middle ages, when theologians started thinking about the story of the 12 apostles and Jesus (making 13) sharing the last supper before Jesus went to his death. Others point to Friday the 13th as the day the Knights Templar were arrested by order of King Philip IV in France; most were subsequently tortured and killed. Still another explanation is that having 13 moons in a year that had only 12 months vexed the hard-working monks who maintained church calendars. It made keeping track of the various holidays and feast days very difficult, even though more years have only 12 moons (about 67 in a century) versus 13 moons (about 37 in a century). The way the date of Easter moves around is an indication that the way they resolved it still had some drawbacks. Yet another explanation is that as the solar calendar of 12 months overcame the lunar calendar of 13 months (the solar being a masculine energy and the lunar being a feminine), hostility arose with respect to the number 13. A lunar calendar makes a lot more sense—there are 52 weeks in a year and 52 is divisible by thirteen. I think fear of the number 13 is a belief that gets passed from one generation to the next, without much idea about why it might be unlucky.
Not only is today Friday the 13th, it is a full moon on
Friday the 13th. This is very rare; the last was in 2010 and the next won’t be
till 2049. It’s the Harvest Moon, preparing us for Autumn Solstice next week
and the feast of Mabon. For witches, it’s a special day, combining a number we deem
important (13) with the goddess Freya (for whom Friday is named). Freya is the Norse
goddess of love and is also associated with cats (she has a cart pulled by two of
them), sex, lust, beauty, sorcery, fertility, gold, war and death. Tonight, it’s
a good night to cast spells, particularly those associated with money, romance,
and luck. At full moon, I take time to celebrate what has happened since the
last full moon, and I cast spells for my home, for love, for creativity, and
Here is the way I will celebrate this majickal day. As dark
approaches, I will set up my altar in my back yard, where I can see the moon
after it has risen. In addition to my usual candles associated with the
elements and spirit (yellow for air, green for earth, blue for water, red for
fire, white for spirit), I’ll include candles in orange, brown, pink, and
purple. I’ll watch the moon rise from my east facing front yard, over the treetops
and the houses on my street. After watching it rise, I’ll return to the back
yard, where I’ll soak myself in hot tub and relax, preparing for ritual. When I
get out, I’ll sit with my eyes closed, letting the air dry my skin, feeling the
water leave my body. As the moon appears over the roof of my house, I’ll cast a
circle, inviting the Elements and Spirit to join me. And I will cast this
Hail, Goddesses of the Moon Thank you for all the gifts of this moon cycle I ask for your blessing in the coming cycle I ask for abundance food to eat money to pay bills creativity in my work peace in my household I offer the flame of my brown candle, asking protection of my home, my family, and my dogs and cats I offer the flame of my orange candle, asking for my business to prosper as wise decisions are made I offer the flame of my pink candle, asking that love may grow and deepen in my life I offer the flame of my purple candle, asking for creativity in my art and writing Great and gracious moon goddesses, the faces of women in life through death I will be strong in the protection of my home and family I will be diligent in the running of my business and in my use of money I will be one who loves and receives love I will be open to ideas that the universe sends me As I will it, so mote it be.
Afterward, I will say farewell to Spirit and to the Elements, take my circle down, and sit in a chair with my wine, gazing on the moon until She bids me goodnight and tells me to sleep.
I hope you have a majickal day and night. Thirteen is simply a number. It can be frightening or empowering. It can mean nothing at all. But majick is all around us and living majickally is within your grasp. Let your life be majickal on this day. Blessed be.
If you are an early riser, you have to opportunity to watch the sun rise and feel the first stirrings of the wind. A gentle breeze might be blowing as you walk outside, stirring the strands of a wind chime, creating a light melody for your pleasure. And if you’re lucky, you’ll see a beautiful circular web, woven through the night by an orb spider. One of Arachne’s descendants has graced you with a gift of Air, a reminder of the element we cannot live without for very long at all.
Air is not only associated with wind but with smell and
hearing. Did you know that certain smells can invoke your memories? Some argue
that smell has the strongest association with memory of any of our senses. We associate
the seasons, for example, with smell—Autumn and apples, Spring and new mown grass.
A song can take us back to a particular event or place where we heard it.
Although we need all the elements for life, Air is the most
precious to us. If we cough too long or choke, we know a sudden terror of being
without Air. We can bundle up if we’re cold, go for a while without food, and
last a few days without water. Most of us can barely go a minute without Air. A
baby’s first breath is a miraculous event.
Invisible to us, we almost take Air for granted. Unless the
wind is blowing hard, we barely notice it. Sometimes the quality of Air will
call attention to it—a smoggy or foggy day will make us notice. But experience
a sleepless night, and you’ll find yourself thinking about your breathing at
some point. Once you start, it’s hard to stop thinking about it, and it results
in your being even more wide awake. When you meditate, you might be aware of
your breathing until you reach a deep state of relaxation. It’s easy to take
breathing for granted; indeed, we must, or we’d never get anything done.
Air, like Fire, is a masculine element, represented by an equilateral triangle pointing up, with a line through it.
Air is the opposite of Earth, just as Fire is the opposite of Water. Air is associated with movement, intellect, learning, and communication. Because it is a masculine element, there are few goddesses directly associated with it. Aura is one in Greek and Roman mythology; she is joined by the Slavic goddess Dogoda, Japanese goddess Shinatobe, and the Mesopotamian goddess Ninlil.
The element of Air is associated with the east and sunrise.
Its colors are yellow and white; when representing it in candle colors on an
altar, yellow is preferred as white is generally used to represent Spirit.
Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra are all Air signs. Most birds and flying insects
are representatives of Air, as are spiders. Fantasy creatures of air include angels,
sylphs, griffins, hippogriffs, the Sphinx, and Pegasus. Musical instruments
representing Air are the flute, especially, and all other wind instruments.
Majickal tools for Air include feathers, wands, athames
(also representing fire, depending on the user), and the censer or thurible, which
is an elaborate device for burning incense. Other incense burners are as simple
as something that holds a stick of incense and catches the ash, or a dish for
cone incense. A recent arrival in stores is the backflow incense burner, which draws
the smoke of incense downward on a sculpture so that it looks like water
Air is represented by clear and lightweight crystals and
gems are best for Air, such as citrine or mica. Herbs and plants include dandelion,
mint, nutmeg, and mistletoe. Flowers with a strong scent may also be used to
represent Air. Majickal spells invoking Air might be used to help resolve a
conflict, study for a test, prepare for an interview or other event requiring
strong communication skills, make a decision, call/control/befriend wind, and
Cottage witches like us at Awen’s Cauldron invoke Air throughout our homes. Wind chimes are found near doors and windows to create natural music in our spaces. Having chimes that are tuned to different scales makes the sound particularly interesting. In addition to wind chimes, simply having hanging items that move in the breeze like ornaments or dream catchers invoke Air. Open windows as often as possible to allow air to flow through your dwelling (although if you’re in our area you probably want them closed with the air conditioning blowing hard as temperatures are still in the triple digits most days). We don’t use censers to burn our incense, but instead use scented candles or flowers to create fragrance in our homes. Witches tend to gravitate toward learning, and you will find many books gracing shelves in our living spaces.
As conflict is a frequent visitor to most lives, we include
this spell for resolving conflict. To prepare, you’ll need a yellow candle, a feather
or hand-held fan (made of feathers is best) and sandalwood incense in the form
of your choice. A general image of the Goddess can help focus your attention.
If you have instrumental flute music, play that in the background. Light the candle
and incense, focus your thoughts, wave your feather through the smoke of the
incense, and say
Elements and Powers of the Air Goddesses of the Air Aura, Dogoda, Shinatobe, Ninlil Hear me now in this time of need My speech has faltered, and my words have failed One whom I care for is angry with me [Or, I am angry with one whom I care for] Grant me wisdom to understand what divides us Give me intuition to see each side Prepare my heart for resolution Open my ears to hear what the other really says And provide me with the words to speak my truth Flow around us, Winds and goddesses of Air Surround us Blow away that which no longer serves us Blow into us that which creates new understanding As I will it, so it is
Until the next time, blessed be!
Fractured Sky by Ruth Anna Abigail. Used with permission of the artist.
Campfires and toasted marshmallows. Winter outside and a cozy fire within. The flame of a broiler rising as it sears food. The whoosh of a gas burner just ignited. Fire warms us. Fire helps us eat delicious food. And Fire dances for us, moving in the night and casting shadows beyond its circle. Fire is majickal. We can become transfixed by the leaping of the flames as they skip and twirl around the wood we’ve placed in it.
Fire transforms the landscape, both in beneficial and harmful ways. Without Fire, the great sequoia tree will not reseed. Small fires help rejuvenate forests. But out of control, there is loss and death. We need all the elements for life, but we find death in them when they rage. At this moment, vast areas of the Amazon, Angola, and the Congo are on fire. Experts offer mixed opinions about the long-term effect the fires will have.
At Awen’s Cauldron, we know that Fire transforms us. It is the element associated with creativity, passion, strength, healing, and illumination. Its healing power is found in Fire’s ability to pasteurize, sterilize, and cauterize, the latter being a primary way of healing wounds before modern medicine gave us new methods. We speak of passion as being hot, and Fire creates light for us. In fire’s transformation we find insight, and the creativity to approach old problems in new ways. Just as Fire can refine metals, it can burn away the dross that keeps us from being all that we can and want to be.
Earth and Water are considered feminine signs; Fire and Air (discussed in our next post) are considered masculine signs. As Water’s opposite, Fire is represented by an equilateral triangle with the point up. Fire signs in the zodiac are Ares, Leo, and Sagittarius. Its colors are found in the warm spectrum of yellow, orange, and red, as well as white, and this is reflected in the crystals that represent it—ruby, fire opal, and volcanic rock. Fire is the element of south and is associated with summer. Goddess include Brigid, Pele, and Hestia. Fire is the element that fuels the music of guitars and other stringed instruments; indeed, this blog was written while listening to classical guitar. Herbs and plants associated with Fire include those with a “bite” to them, like cinnamon, red pepper, garlic, and coffee. Burn frankincense, cinnamon, and dragon’s blood (a plant—you don’t have to actually find a dragon) to activate your sense of smell when working with Fire. Real animals associated with Fire include cats, lions, scorpions, and foxes, while fantasy realm creatures are the dragon, phoenix, and salamander.
Cauldrons are a traditional majickal tool for witches. Not only can you mix potions in them over a fire, you can use a cauldron to hold Fire. One way to invoke Fire safely inside is a combination of Epsom Salts and rubbing alcohol in a fireproof dish like a small, cast-iron cauldron. Use a ratio of 2 parts Epson Salts to 1 part rubbing alcohol. Two tablespoons of salt and 1 of alcohol will burn for about 15 minutes. You can adjust the amount according to how long you want the fire to burn.
Other majickal tools associated with Fire include wands and athames (ritual daggers). Use the athame to cast a majickal circle before calling in the elements and spirit and use it again to take the circle down. To cast a circle, start in the east and move clockwise (doesil) toward the south, ending at the north. When taking down a circle, you reverse your movements, starting in the north and moving counterclockwise (widdershins) toward the west and ending at east. A wand is used primarily to focus power and concentration when casting a spell. Holding it as you say the spell can intensify your intention. You can also point it at something that represents the intention of your spell for greater effect.
Candles are an easy way to access the element of fire majickally.
The color of the candle should be associated with the spell you wish to cast.
White is good for any kind of spell, as it reflects all the colors. People also
use candles in these colors according to the spell:
Green (Earth)—healing, abundance, money Red (Fire)—energy, passion, courage, strength Yellow (Air)—learning, reason, focus, memory Blue (Water)—serenity, emotions, communication White (Spirit)—peace, communication with the divine, purity Brown—animals, home protection, family Pink—romance, friendship, nurturing, self-love Orange—business, success, prosperity Purple—influence, intuition, divination, hidden knowledge Silver—dreams, the Moon, the feminine Gold—power, the Sun, the masculine Black—banishing, protection, binding
Flash paper can use used to write a spell and then burn it in the fire of the candle after saying the spell. Flash paper, as its name implies, disappears immediately when it touches fire, leaving very little ash. You can make your own flash paper by following the directions found here.
Another way to use Fire majick is to bake something. What did women in old movies do when they want to get a man’s attention? They baked him cookies or a cake—something sweet, created in fire. Whether they knew it or not, the writers of those screenplays were having their characters use Fire majick.
Fire Majick can be used for any number of spells—love,
healing, destruction, transformation, and so on. Here is a spell for home
protection. You’ll need a brown candle and a fire-proof vessel to use for
cauldron fire. You can write the spell on flash paper or on regular paper that
you’ll burn in the cauldron.
Write out the spell on the paper of your choice. Light the candle and the cauldron (using the salt/alcohol recipe). If you have an image of Hestia, it would be good to include it. You can find some images here that you could print out for your majickal purposes. Once everything is in place, read this spell and then burn the paper in your candle or cauldron. When you are finished, place the lid on your cauldron to extinguish the fire and use a candle snuffer or your wet fingers to extinguish the candle.
Gracious Hestia, keeper of the hearth Protector of our homes One who helps bring order from disorder in our family Creating harmony and bliss
Hestia, we call on you now Circle this home with your majick Guard us against malice caused by fire, air, water, earth, or spirit Protect us from those who would harm us Let only love enter through the door Create in us a spirit of harmony That this home may be a refuge for us
Loving Hestia, may our hearth be merry May our fires be warm May our hospitality be generous May our food be nourishing May those who enter as friends leave as family
Hestia, bless us. So mote it be.
If you are in the Northern Hemisphere in this August, it is likely to be warmer than what may be comfortable for a fire indoors. But the fire of a cauldron and the fire of a candle may indeed move you to a more majickal place without adding heat to your space. Blessed be!
Opening image Refiner’s Fire, used with permission of the artist, Ruth Anna Abigail.
Think, for a moment, of all the things you can do with
water. We drink it, cook with it, bathe in it, nourish our plants with it. We
sail on it. We fish from it. We swim in in. We sit beside it. We taste, see,
and smell it. We hear it. We feel it.
Our lives begin in water in our mother’s wombs, and our
bodies are about 60% water. Is it a mystery that a bath is soothing? Is it any
wonder than we find the sound of running water calming? And what is more romantic
than moonlight on the water?
In California, where Awen’s Cauldron is based, we feel the impact of water, or rather, its absence. This very hot summer has brought multiple days exceeding 100 degrees. The lack of humidity in our area increases thirst, and we long to immerse ourselves in the coolness of a pool, pond, river, or ocean. We cannot live without water, any more than we can live without any of the elements: fire to warm us and cook our food, air to breathe and blow cool breezes, earth to stand on and in which to grow our food. Of all the elements, though, we resonate with water—it is part of our name, referenced in the cauldron.
Water plays an important part in all faith traditions, most
often symbolizing purification and cleansing. For Hindus, bathing in the sacred
water of the Ganges is an important ritual. Christians use water to baptize people
in that faith. Water appears in creation myths, as part of the formation of the
world. And people travel annually to sacred water sites such as the Lourdes
grotto in France or the Chalice Well in England.
There is even a popular belief that blessing water and speaking to it in a loving way can change its nature. When returned to other bodies of water, the expectation is that the water goes on to change the water it encounters. As intriguing, hopeful, and majickal as that idea might sound, it is not supported by scientific research.
There are, however, many ways in which water is majickal in
and of itself. The fact that it can be gas, liquid, or solid is remarkable. Air,
fire, and earth don’t have that ability. Water dripping on stone will erode it
over time—the Grand Canyon was formed over the course of millennia by the
course of the Colorado river. Water can power electricity and take us to new
places. And when it rages, it is a terrifying element, sweeping away everything
in its path.
In Wicca, water is associated with the moon and is considered feminine. That is one reason why it is represented by an upside-down equilateral triangle, which reflects both the shape of a chalice and the shape of the womb. It is the element that is most closely aligned to the goddess (for example, Belisima, Anuket, Brizo) and it is the element of those born under the signs of Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio. Water rules our subconscious as well as our emotions. Its tools are the cauldron and the chalice. Water is associated with the west, autumn, and sunset. Silver, topaz, amethyst, citrine, aquamarine, opal, pearl, and sapphire crystals or gems should be used in water rituals. Animals associated with water include, as expected, turtles, dolphins, and seals, but also bears and snakes. Majickal creatures associated with water include undines, mermaids, and sea serpents. Using musical instruments such as cymbals or bells will invoke water during a ritual.
Majickal rituals are often preceded by sacred bathing that relaxes the ritualist and prepares her to be receptive to majickal influence. Herbs, oils, and water charged under the moon can be used in the bath, as well as the special bath salts we create for our Sabbat boxes. Moon-charged water can also be used for scrying; put it in a dark bowl and gaze through the water to practice your divination skills. Making tea or potions with moon-charged water is also a good idea. After using water for ritual purposes, it should be returned to the earth, no emptied into a sink.
How do you charge water? The simplest way is to leave a
vessel of it out all night where the moon will shine on it for the longest
time. Our practices involve using the same vessel each month and using that
container only for moon-charged water. Rainwater, spring water, or purified
water are the best sources of water for charging. You can also do solar water
charging in the same way, leaving it out where the sun will hit the water for
most of the day. Some Wiccans bless the water to free it from any negative
energy and use salt to purify it.
Majick spells that work best with water are those that healing, dreams, sleep, intuition, love, and friendship. If you have been plagued with bad dreams, for example, this might help. Take a cup of moon-charged water and add a teaspoon of sea salt along with three drops each of jasmine, lavender, and violet essential oils (or add petals from each of the flowers; you can also substitute bergamot for violet oil). If you have moonstones, add them as well. Place the bowl of water near your bed, and before lying down to sleep, put your hands about the water and say (if you aren’t comfortable yet with writing your own spell):
Majickal water, I now ask For you to fill this simple task Bring me restful peace and sleep Let my dreams not make me weep
Water is life, but more than that, water is majickal. All life came from water, and humans begin their lives there. Like water, we can carve our own paths. The creatures that live in it have their own beauty; even a hippopotamus is graceful in water. And the majickal creatures are even more striking—undines with bodies made of water, mermaids with their fish tails and long flowing hair, sea serpents that curve sinuously through the oceans.
All the elements can be used in majick, but we have a favorite in water.
Why is the moon so majickal? I think the primary reason is that we see it grow and ebb in the sky above us. While we can track the movement of the sun from rising to setting, its changes are more subtle. If you’re very observant, you’ll notice that the place it rises and sets shifts over the course of the year, and of course, the days shorten and lengthen. But the moon! She changes daily in position, rising, setting, fullness. Since humans looked up to the sky the moon has been a fascination to them.
According to Erin Dragonsong, the moon represents mystery and chaos, flow and evolution, birth and death, emotions and soul, and wisdom and majick. Until we explored her, we speculated about what the moon was made of. It was a mystery. Humans observed her changes in the sky, along with her apparent death and rebirth. If you listen closely to love songs, you’ll hear the moon referenced quite a bit more than the sun. A moon is romantic. We see partially. We see with our souls.
And then, there is majick, the kind of focus and intention setting we do according to the phase of the moon. There are many books and articles written on this topic. Our hope here is to provide an overview and help you get started.
First, then, we want to understand the kind of spell each phase of the moon calls for. The cycle begins at the New Moon, because this is a time to set goals, think about your dreams, and make plans for how to achieve them. It’s important to think about what you want rather than what you don’t want. Spells work very poorly when they’re cast as what you don’t want to happen. For example, if you’re going on a trip, you don’t want to write a spell that says, “I don’t want to get sick” or “I don’t want to get stranded somewhere.” You write a spell for good health and safe travel. Focus on the positive, not the negative.
The New Moon lasts about 3 nights, when the night sky is
dark and no trace of her is to be found. During this time, be sure to write
down your goals and how you expect to achieve them. Keeping records is a very
good way to track what really happens instead of relying on memory. You may
even want to draw or do a collage of your dream, so that you are seeing it as
well as feeling it. You can also write a spell and cast it during a ritual. If
you do write a spell, be sure it is specific, because what you get may not be
what you intended if you are not precise. Use the New Moon to focus on what you
want to achieve.
The Waxing Crescent moon follows the New Moon. If you are
casting new spells, focus on positive outcomes such as friendship, health,
love, or success. While focusing on your New Moon goals, remember that things
are growing. Things are moving. You are moving toward your goals.
A good way to practice your majick during this time is to
read your goals and plans aloud to focus them in your mind. Look at any visual
representations you’ve made of them or visualize in your mind what achieving
your goal would look like. Is this majick? It’s certainly one form. Other forms
include using potions, charms, rituals, dancing, singing, and divination to
work your will. If you’re a beginner, we suggest starting with visualization and
writing of goals and plans, and continued focus on them throughout the moon cycle.
We come to the First Quarter, the half-moon. In some ways it’s
the most mysterious of all, neither this nor that. The dark half tells us
whether the moon is waxing or waning (dark left is waxing, dark right is
waning), but at first glance it can be hard to tell. Its “neither here nor
there” aspect may create doubt in you considering the things you’re working toward.
It’s important to keep focused during the first quarter, to remain confident. Revisit
your goals and visualization again. Say them aloud.
The Waxing Gibbous Moon promises us that the Full Moon isn’t
far behind. New spells should still be focused on positive outcomes. And this
is a good time to review goals and plans and adjust as you might need to. Don’t
simply give up if something isn’t working exactly as planned. It’s too easy to sabotage
your own success with doubt when you’re close to achieving it. The Gibbous Moon
is swollen with potential. It’s a woman in her 8th month, yearning
to give birth to something miraculous. You are swelling, expanding, and intensifying.
Ride that increase to its conclusion.
And now the Full Moon arrives! For three days she shines upon
you and your dreams. For the first of the three days, she is 99% full. The second
day is 100% full, and the third is back to 99%. Although the third day could be
considered a waning period, the moon is so full that we respond to her as in
This is a time to ask for almost anything. Divination,
spells, and rituals are especially powerful now. It’s also a good time to
charge your tools, potions, candles, etc. with
the moon’s energy. Create moon water by leaving a full vessel under the
moonlight. If your dreams, goals, and plans are going to manifest, you will get
some hints about that around the time of the full moon. This is a good time to
release negativity and any hurts that have accumulated. It will help you be clearer
in setting your intentions at the New Moon. It’s also a time to express gratitude.
In some moon circles, expressing gratitude is used to open or end the ritual.
Writing it down makes it even stronger. Words are majickal. They create ideas
Today, August 9, 2019, the moon is Waxing Gibbous phase. Use
the mounting energy of the growing moon to cast spells that will increase your
creativity, your intuition, your success, your courage, your love. The full
moon will be here August 14-16. Be prepared to greet her and make majick in her
light. Next Tuesday, we’ll talk about the energy of the waning moon and the
majick that you can work during those phases. Until then, blessed be!
Have you ever simply stared at the moon as she rose? The
moon is magnificent when full and near the horizon. She looks larger. Often,
her color is more pronounced. She commands our attention, and she gets it. When
you find yourself in a place where there is little light contamination and the
moon is full, you can walk easily without fearing you’ll make a misstep. You
see shadows from the light it reflects from the sun. In the city, it is
difficult to see how much light the moon provides for us, but step into a place
where people aren’t lighting up the sky and you will be awed by the moon’s
One of the things we enjoy in our majickal life is the
rhythm of the moon. Most pagans hold full moon rituals of some kind. Others
hold new moon rituals, and still others do both. But what is so important about
the moon that we would take the time to stop and do a ritual in her honor?
Since humans looked up into the sky, the movement of the
moon has fascinated them. Like the sun, it gives light. As with the sun, its
movement is regular and predictable. The moon takes about 27 ½ days to orbit
around the earth, but the time between new moons (when the sky is dark) is
about 29 days. While the sun projects light, making it a masculine force,
the moon reflects light, making it a feminine force. Despite what you
may have heard about the “man in the moon,” pagans know the moon as She. Some goddesses
associated with the moon are Diana and Luna (Roman), Artemis, Hecate, and
Selene (Greek), Cerridwen (Celtic), Chang’e (Chinese), Coyolxauhqui (Aztec),
Hekate/Hecate (Greek), and Sina (Polynesian).
The moon affects us in many ways. She exerts a tug on us. Many
people find it difficult to sleep when there is a full moon, even with blackout
curtains. For others, the dark or new moon exerts a pull on their senses. But
the regularity of her appearance, and her relationship to our bodies,
particularly women’s bodies, makes her an important part of our lives.
Many things are calculated by the moon. Easter, for example,
is celebrated on the Sunday that occurs on or after the first full moon after
Spring Equinox. Its date moves because the moon cycles don’t directly correspond
to the way we have split up the months. Planting and harvesting are often
completed according to the cycles of the moon, and many societies before the
current era counted time in terms of lunar, not solar cycles.
Did you know that each moon has a name? A blue moon, for example, is one that is the second full moon in a month, and a black moon references the rare occurrence when February has no full moon at all. Other moons are named according to the month in which they occur, and the type of moon affects the kind of ritual pagans choose to do. Moons that occur in the spring are our favorites: April’s Pink Moon, May’s Flower Moon, and June’s Strawberry moon.
Different phases mark the changing of the moon. This image at NASA demonstrates how the moon goes to full and back to dark. It’s interesting that while many languages read from left to right, the moon goes from dark to full by filling in from right to left. Perhaps that’s another thing that makes the moon so fascinating for us.
Pagans group the phases together as Dark Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter (when there’s a half-moon showing), Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Last Quarter (another half-moon on the opposite side), and Waning Crescent. At Awen’s Cauldron, we do our majick based on the phase of the moon. We find the power of the full moon to be best in charging the bath salts, tea, and other items included in our ritual boxes.
On this day, Tuesday, August 6, 2019, the moon is in her Waxing Crescent phase, growing toward full. This is a good time to do majick that calls on something to increase. If you want to lose weight, for example, you’d cast a spell to increase your willpower. But if you want to decrease your appetite, the Waning Moon would be better as spells cast during a waning moon are better centered on pushing things away. The New Moon is a good time to set intentions for yourself, while the Full Moon is a time to see how those intentions have borne fruit. Although some pagans avoid majickal workings at the Dark Moon, it can be a powerful time. Some say that the Dark Moon is when She is showing her true face to us, without reflecting another’s light, so it is a good time for introspection and reflection, focusing on one’s own needs and thinking ahead.
There’s no one way to celebrate the phases of the moon. But
if you want to start living a majickal life, the simplest way to do it is to
mark the phases of the moon. Get a calendar that shows when each phase is. When
the moon is visible, take some time to step outside and be with her. You will
feel the majick in the air, beckoning you to join. Look upon her and be at
Imagine walking down a street in your neighborhood on an
early August evening. For some reason, you’ve never been on this road before.
Up ahead, you hear music and laughter. Walking on, you come to a dwelling that
can only be called a cottage. The brick chimney is a little crooked, the slate
shingles seem to undulate across the roof, and a blue door is open to admit visitors.
Intrigued, you walk up an old brick path, lined by sunflowers, admiring those
as well as the brilliant red geraniums that stand like sentinels beside the
door. Wind chimes move in a gentle breeze to create soft whispers of music. As
you approach, someone comes skipping out, saying “Welcome! Join us in a dance
for Lughnasadh!” Intrigued, you decide to enter and discover more.
You travel through a cozy home marked by light and light breezes to a large yard where others have gathered. Soft green grass beckons you to remove your shoes as the others have done. It feels lovely on your feet, stalks emerging from between your toes. Musicians play a dancing tune, and a table groans under the weight of a feast, decorated by wheat stalks, corn, and fruits. Candles burn around the space, reflecting their orange, green, and brown wax. An altar is set up with different depictions of goddesses and gods, and small offerings of food and drink. And it looks as though there are things representing different kinds of work on the altar—a pad of paper with a pen, a stethoscope, a small shovel, a replica of a musical instrument, and so on. Another person greets you with a smile saying “Happy Lughnasadh!” After replying “And to you,” you find a chair and surrender yourself to this sacred moment.
Lughnasadh, or in some traditions, Tailtiúnasa
or Lammas, is celebrated near sunset on August 1 or 2. Those who call it Lughnasadh (loosely
translated, the assembly of Lugh) are celebrating the Celtic god Lugh. Some say
it commemorates Lugh’s wedding. Others say that the celebration represents a
funeral rite Lugh held for his stepmother Tailtiú, who died of exhaustion after
clearing Ireland’s fields so they could be planted. Dianic witches honor it
with the name Tailtiúnasa in memory of the stepmother. “Lammas” is said to be a
corruption of “loaf mass,” a church tradition associated with this summer time in which farmers would bake bread, take it to
the church to be blessed, then divide into four pieces to be placed in the
corners of a barn to guard against pests.
Whatever you call it, on this holiday we celebrate the first
harvest of wheat, corn, and other grains. Lugh was also said to be a
many-skilled god, and so it is also a day to take note of your skills and
applaud them. This is a cheerful, happy holiday, where people dance and sing
even in the face of shorter days as the sun moves toward Autumn Equinox.
Falling approximately halfway between the Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox, this holiday is one of the cross-quarter holidays in the Pagan Wheel of the Year. The quarter holidays are associated with changes in the amount of daylight, and are Summer Solstice (Litha), Autumn Equinox (Mabon), Winter Solstice (Yule), and Spring Equinox (Ostara). The cross-quarter holidays fall at the approximate middle between the quarters. The other cross-quarter holidays are Samhain (October 31), Imbolc (February 2), and Beltane (May 1). At Awen’s Cauldron, we use the traditional words to describe pagan holidays as they are more readily recognizable.
Celebrate this holiday by gathering wheat sheaves, corn, and
sunflowers to decorate your altar. A small bolline knife (shaped like a scythe)
reminds you of the harvest season. Put figurines of your favorite sun deities
on it. You can always draw from other traditions if you aren’t comfortable with
the Celtic ones: Demeter (the Greek goddess of agriculture), Anuket (the
Egyptian goddess of the Nile) are appropriate, as well as any representation of
a goddess or god associated with the sun or skills. Take some time to bake
bread or muffins from scratch to honor the harvest, and then place your baked
goods on the altar. Make a corn dolly to represent the day (you can find a
video on how to do that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C1t3UyBFEg).
Use candles in gold, green and brown to represent the sun and earth. And be
sure to put something on your altar that represents your skill. This is a time
to brag a little about what you have harvested in yourself.
Summer is waning, but the sun still shines, the fields are
ripe with their crops, and the bread made from fresh grains is delicious. Eat,
drink, and be happy. Blessed be!