Tarot 101

As we pass Hallowe’en (Samhain) and the days of the dead come to a close, I want to take this time to talk about tarot and clear up some misconceptions about it. Now is the time of year that the veil is thinnest and the spirits of those who’ve passed walk with us. Our ancestors watch over us and send us messages, and it is our duty to light candles and pray for the dead, so that they may pass on to the next plane of existence. Tarot, usually a deck of about 78 cards, is used for divinatory purposes and communication with the ‘other side’. The spirits seek to help us, especially if we are asking for their help, and we also have guides that pass us information. Tarot is one of the many tools that can be used to tap into this information. Other divinatory tools include runes, scrying balls and shallow pools. 

Tarot is not evil, it isn’t involved in any way with devil worship, black magick, voodoo or sacrifice. (For that matter, Wiccans don’t believe in the devil or in practicing any magick that would or could bring harm to others. Consider us ‘the good witches’ 😊) 

Tarot is not a spell, it’s more like an open line of communication- and keep in mind that its predictions aren’t written in stone. Tarot can be used to help us, warn us or give us hope. The spirits never want to distress you or upset you. Readings are almost never like they are in the movies or pop culture. Readings are personal, revealing, but most of all, they are meant to help you. 

In my experience, cards help the most by showing you a different way to see your situation. They can help you see the silver lining, the bigger picture or maybe help you come to an even larger epiphany!

  For me, cards are a special, they are my own way to pray and receive guidance. They often help relieve me of stress about a specific situation or person. There are times when I do get “bad news” from the cards but it’s better, I feel, to be prepared for the rocky road ahead instead of blindly driving into a storm. And typically, if I’m going to have a negative reading I can feel it coming. Negative readings are usually accompanied by a suggestion for a solution or plan to prevent the negative things from playing out, so they have a hint of hope. Tarot is about energy and interpretation is individual to every person. I love to read for people- friends, acquaintances and even strangers. And the more I read, the stronger my connection grows. Interested in conducting your own readings for yourself or others? Next I will be writing about how to go about this and how to hone your craft.

Until then, if you would like a reading, please visit the tarot page on our site or check out the daily tarot on our Facebook page.

Have any questions about tarot? Maybe how it works or what spreads to use for certain people or situations? Please comment below or send me a pm.

Blessed be 

-Rhiannon

Thirteen Powers of a Witch

There are so many books about Wicca and Neo-paganism, it can be confusing for a curious new pagan to determine which to read, much less which ones should be at the top of the list.The books that have really shaped my journey so far have been Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon, Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance, the 

Bhagavad Gita, and Solitary Witch by Silver Ravenwolf. I recommend Adler’s book for a solid history on Wiccan and Neo-paganism in America. The Spiral Dance has a summary of the larger history of Wicca and witchcraft; discusses spellwork and circle casting. Ravenwolf’s book is large but encompasses a large span of pagan information, covering all the basics and goes into detail as well!

While on the subject of Ravenwolf’s work, I’d like to talk about a blessing she includes in the very first chapters, called the Thirteen Powers of the Witch. I’ve posted a copy of the blessing below.

  

She warns that the spell is very powerful and to use with clear intent. I would advise to be careful whenever practicing the craft, and to always follow the Wiccan Rede. Your journey is your own however, walk where you will.

Thanks for reading again today, I know my posts have been a bit erratic but that’s what being the new mum of a three month old will do for you 😊

Blessed Be-

Rhiannon

Witchcraft Crashcourse- Circle Casting

Samhain is just around the corner my witchy loves! Time for thanksgiving and a cleansing of the energies! This is my second intimate lesson on the craft. Today I will discuss what “circle casting” is, why we cast a circle and how to go about it. As Wiccans, we believe in multiple dimensions, many worlds and several planes of existence. Circle casting is a way for us to make and designate a magickal space, pull open the seam and step into a personal and sacred space where magick is best preformed and the most opportune place to communicate with your guides. It is said that the circle exists “on the boundaries of space and time”. Therefore it is profoundly important that we both open and close the circle with respect and intention. Other religions traditionally use churches and temples to pray and create a sacred space, as witches we are to be one with nature and should be able to set up a temple anywhere! Also keep in mind that not all practices and “sects” of paganism cast a circle, and it is entirely up to you. 
Now, it is important to know that there are solitary witches like myself who practice alone and therefore do not have the opportunity to cast with other witches. This is something that is sometimes chosen but usually involuntary, as the craft calls to few but only those who are ready. I will be outlying how to cast the circle solo, with a few edits added to guide those who may be lucky enough to practice with others. If you have any questions, comments or corrections please send them my way!

Before you cast your circle, make sure your altar is set up as you like it and are ready for your rituals with all supplies and tools at hand. If you need help with this, our last lesson was on magickal altars. I also like to meditate and ground myself before casting a circle, and I highly recommend it to help you focus too.

You can cast your circle with something physical and tangible or simply imagine it in your mind’s eye. I recommend actually constructing a circle, at least for your first several times, but it’s up to you. You can do this by carving into the ground, or spreading wax, sand, crystals, wood and even salt on the floor.

  
Your circle should enclose the shape of a pentagram with the top point facing north, with markers, like candles or other tools like the chalice and athame, on each Cardinal point. At the north, you will place flowers, bark, stones, and/or a green candle to symbolize earth; in the east corner, a feather, incense or yellow candle to represent air; in the south corner- charcoal or an orange/red candle to symbolize fire; and finally in the west corner place your chalice full of water and/or a blue candle to represent water.

The high priestess or priest should lead the casting of the circle by marking it on the floor or ground, if you are a solitary practitioner you will do all the steps yourself, and if you are a part of a coven you will be led by the high priestess/priest. The high priestess should enter the circle from the east and say, 

“Let it be known that the circle is about to be cast. All who enter the Circle may do so in perfect love and perfect trust.”

If part of a coven, other members may wait outside the circle until the casting is complete. Next, the high priestess (or yourself) should move clockwise around the circle, carrying a lit white candle, wand or athame. At each of the four cardinal points, she will call upon the Goddess, God or her guardians.

Starting at the east corner, the priestess will light the candle and acknowledge the energies of that element 

“Guardians of the East, I call upon you to watch over my rites and rituals (or rites and rituals of [said] coven, Powers of knowledge and wisdom, guided by Air, we ask that you keep watch over us tonight within this circle. Let all who enter the circle under your guidance do so in perfect love and perfect trust.”

The high priestess will walk to the southern candle and light it while saying,      

“Guardians of the South, I call upon you to watch over my rites and rituals (or rites and rituals of [said] coven, Powers of energy and will, guided by Fire, we ask that you keep watch over us tonight within this circle. Let all who enter the circle under your guidance do so in perfect love and perfect trust.”

Next, the priestess will move to the western candle and light it while saying,

“Guardians of the West, I call upon you to watch over my rites and rituals (or rites and rituals of [said] coven, Powers of passion and emotion, guided by Water, we ask that you keep watch over us tonight within this circle. Let all who enter the circle under your guidance do so in perfect love and perfect trust.”

Finally, the head priestess will move to the northern candy and light it while announcing,

“Guardians of the North, I call upon you to watch over my rites and rituals (or rites and rituals of [said] coven, Powers of endurance and strength, guided by Earth, we ask that you keep watch over us tonight within this circle. Let all who enter the circle under your guidance do so in perfect love and perfect trust.”

The priestess will then announce that the circle has been cast and other members (if there are any) will join the circle as well, while announcing themselves that they join “with only perfect love and perfect trust” and kiss the cheek of their neighbor to their right and then their left. This is done as a sign of sister/brotherhood and is optional as it is just tradition.

Now your circle is cast and you are ready to cast spells, contact those who have passed and attempt to communicate with your guardians. Good luck little witch! And while practicing magick, always keep the Wiccan Rede in mind- Do what you will but harm none! Everything will return to you seven fold so be prepared for the consequences. When you are done with your rituals and rites, you must close the sacred space that you’ve designated. You may do so by having the high priestess thank and dismiss the four Cardinal points in counterclockwise motion, or have everyone in the circle kiss and raise their wand or athame in gratitude and devotion to the elements and Goddess.

Congratulations, you just completed your first magickal rite, welcome to the world of Wicca 🙂

Tips for circle casting:

-Have all the tools you need for the ritual at hand

-Feel free to write these steps and words down in your Book of Shadows or magickal journal. It can be difficult to remember, especially for beginners. 

-As with any other magick, it is most strong when it has been personalized and tailored, any changes, summaries or improvements can be made based on your personal preference and only make your intentions and results stronger. So feel free to edit, shorten or change what you will.

Have questions or comments? Message me or comment and I’d be happy to help ❤

Blessed be-

Rhiannon

Witchcraft Crashcourse- Magickal Altars

Hello witches! It’s the Autumn Equinox, one of my favorite times of the year. Hope you are enjoying this time of reflection and gratitude as I am. This week, let’s talk about our most fundamental <i>physical</i> necessities for witchcraft, your altar and magical tools. While magik can be preformed without first casting a circle and without all the ritualistic objects, they do help us envision exactly what we want and better focus our craft towards our goals. 
Your altar is a place to not only pay respect to the elements and your God/goddess/gods but also a place to practice rituals and spells. It is where I meditate, pray and connect to my spiritual guides so this space is very important! You can decorate it as you like, adding crystals, stones, gems, cards, flowers, etc. Keep in mind that the space should stay organized as this is where witches do their work! Everyone sets their altar up differently and there isn’t really a “right” way to do it but I stick to the following guidelines. Below is a picture I found on Google images, fairly simple but to the point.

  
Your altar should be on a raised table or surface, and if you can, let it be somewhere that sunlight and moonlight can reach (like in or nearby a window). The planets affect and can enhance our magik when done on the best days during the most ideal time. The sun and moon (and other planets) can assist us in our endeavors. Keeping our tools in “sight” of the planets only helps us strengthen our abilities and the power in our objects. 

Now, because each direction represents a different element, I align my objects on my altar accordingly. So- first to the north is Earth and I usually keep rocks, pine cones, flowers and such on the north side of my altar. Next to the east is Air and here I keep incense, sage and anything that gives off smoke, as well as any feathers I have collected through the years. The south is fire, and while some people like to keep charcoal to represent flame, as a fire sign, I like to keep tea lights that I can burn here (and I keep so many colors to choose from to enhance spell/ritual type too!). Finally, the west- water, here is a great place to keep your ritual chalice and fill with water or ice (of course!) I keep seashells and my abalone here to represent water, it’s pretty flexible. In the center you should keep your pentacle. This can be an actual pentacle, a drawing of a pentacle or even just a pentacle traced into the sand or dirt if you are having your rituals outdoors (which can be so much fun!), it is hard to take your entire altar with you though so improvisation is important. On the left I typically keep a tall ritual candle to represent the Goddess and on the right, another ritual candle to represent God. 

Most witches also have some sort of blade or athame, which is used in ceremony for many things, including cutting herbs and food offerings, or carving into candles/sand/dirt, etc. It is entirely up to you where on the altar you place this. Most witches also have a wand of sorts, which they may have purchased, made one themselves or one was perhaps even given to them. In the fiction and fantasy realms, wands have traditionally been seen as the source of a witch’s power. Although we know that power truly lives within ourselves, your wand is important as it is used in ceremony and is a powerful expression of your true magickal self. Some witches have rugged, rustic style wands; while others have more refined, and even elegant wands. They are made from almost anything, but are most often crafted from wood and/or crystals. Where you place it or keep it on the altar is up to you but I like to keep it on the same side as my dominant hand. Last but not least, I always keep my Book of Shadows somewhere on my altar. A book of shadows is essentially a witch’s personal magick journal. Witches can create several books like this in their lifetime, which can eventually be gathered and refined into a family or legacy grimoire, but we will go more into detail on those later.

As I said, none of this is absolutely set in stone, how you keep your altar is a personal choice and preference. The way you organize it can help you reach your magickal goals more quickly and with more clarity. Keeping the area organized is key to having a successful work space, as with any craft. If you have a lot of tools and candles and such, it’s time for a bigger altar! Make sure everything has its room to breathe, charge and cleanse. 

Other things I keep on my altar but are totally optional: my tarot cards, crystals, spare candles, sage, fan, chalk, lighters, dream catcher, and some of my more petite “holy” books. I want to dive into all of these objects and their role in my magickal life later, but all in good time!

I hope you enjoyed my little lesson on magickal altars. Peace and love be with you, blessed be- Rhiannon

Bedtime Prayer for Pagan Families

I don’t know when/how/by whom this prayer came to be but I love it and hope you enjoy it as well. This is one of the first prayers I will be teaching my baby daughter Zoë, so it’s perfect for my first post. I find it an excellent alternative to the slightly more pessimistic and concise judeo/christian bedtime prayer of “Now I lay me down to sleep”.

Witch Child’s Prayer

Earth, flame, water and wind

Bless my family and my friends

Power of love, hope and light

Protect me onward through the night

Guard my home from things that creep

Good spirits watch me as I sleep

By fire, air, stone and sea

As I speak- so mote it be!