Mar 272011
 

The grass is greener and warmer days full of sunshine fill our senses. I can’t help but think about the garden returning to life and the future garden that I will be planting. With that in mind, you might want to think about all of the possible uses of that future plant material. Think now what you will want in the coming year, so that you can plant wisely. Here is a brief list of all of the various types of ways to use herbs magickally around your house, home and ritual spaces.

One extra note: be careful when using oils and such that will go on your skin. While the scents of cinnamon and citrus can be uplifting, some of these oils can be highly irritating. When in doubt, leave it out – or at least make sure it’s highly diluted. Also, what is totally acceptable for one person may be really irritating to another.

Altar Decorations/Arrangements
Whether a simple vase of flowers and herbs or more elaborate wreaths, choosing plants for their energy can be rewarding. These can be made from fresh or dried plant material.

Amulets/Sachets/Talismans
Mixtures that are put together in a cloth, pouch, mini-bag, etc. for a very specific purpose. These are then left in an appropriate place.

Aspergers
Bundles of herbs that are used to sprinkle salt water in a ritual or around the home in purification.

Baths
Mixtures of fresh or dried herbs or oils to create magickal baths. Oils can be added to mixtures of epsom salts and baking soda to create wonderful bath salts. Don’t forget to use a tea ball, cheesecloth, or something else to keep your herbs from going everywhere!

Brews
Herbs steeped in water and breathed in for a particular purpose. These can also be sprinkled using aspergers or dispersed in a spray bottle. These are like teas except they generally are not ingested. While not really a “brew” because there is no steeping, a version of this is to put a few drops of essential oil into water, shake it really well, and use it in a spray bottle to bring wanted energies into your space.

Dream Pillows
Herbs stuffed into pillows for a particular purpose; better sleep, psychic dreams, vivid/lucid dreams, etc.

Food
Herbs and plants can bring specific energies into the food that we eat.

Healing
Is a broad catagory that encompasses many different techniques. Do not self-dose or self-medicate without being under the supervision of a professional!!! Also, don’t eat any plant unless you absolutely know that it is safe!

Incense
Burning plant materials for a specific purpose. People are most familiar with sticks and cones, but these can be time consuming and messy to make. Try getting incense burning charcoals and putting the plant materials/oils directly on the hot coal.

Inks
Especially potent if made specifically for certain spells. Locally, we use pokeberries (or ink berries) to make magickal ink. But it is poisonous, so don’t use it on any spells you plan on eating!

Ointments
Herbs/oils mixed into some kind of fat/lard/beeswax.

Perfumes/Oils
Used for anointing people, candles or objects. Usually a scented base oil. Please, use only essential, “authentic” oils. While synthetic ones are cheaper, they don’t actually contain the energies of the plant. If the oil is listed as a perfume oil, it’s probably not real.

Powders
Finely ground materials sprinkled on an altar or ritual space to add energy to the working. Be careful that your powders don’t contain ingredients that will stain!

Potpourri
Attractive mixtures of scented, usually dried, plant materials. Can be simmered to release scent or used as a dry mixture.

Soap
Herbs and oils can be either introduced in soap made from scratch or can be added to commercial Castile or other unscented soap that is “melted down”. Note: Castile soap can be very drying and a bit harsh – so you may want to add a cosmetic oil to the soap. Almond oil or Jojoba oil are good choices. You can also buy glycerin soap and add your own twist to it.

Teas
Steeped herbs/plant material that is then ingested.

Tinctures
Plant materials are soaked/infused in an alcohol base. The energies are released into the alcohol and the plant material is strained.

Mar 242011
 

Even as I write the title, I cringe a bit. Who am I to be calling myself a priestess, let along a high priestess? It sounds so pretentious that I think of going back and renaming this post. But it does fit. The path that I have chosen to walk for the last 20+ years has been one of the high priestess. If I were of a Christian denomination, I guess I would say that I had a “calling” to become a minister – to serve a faith community in whatever manner was appropriate. But we Pagans, witches, and Wiccans generally shun the Christian lingo in favor of our own. High priestess. Just what does that mean to me?

I never started out thinking that I wanted to be a high priestess. My first calling was that of the witch. I was fascinated with the subjects of magick and witchcraft. These interests started early in my life. In fact, most people that I know who are called to this path can go back to third or fourth grade and start pinpointing when they first discovered mythology and magic. It was the same for me. I really didn’t get the religion part of it though. That came much later. But as a kid, I did spells and divination. It was something that I took pretty seriously. Why wouldn’t I? It worked after all!

It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I started finding out more information about “the Craft.” I ran across Spiral Dance by Starhawk in 1986 and was immediate entranced with its connections to Goddess worship. Instantly, I found the missing pieces of my earlier practice and found a loving, joyous and worshipful religious practice that I could follow.

Since most of us start as solitaires, I am guessing that most of you can relate to the struggle of the next three years. Spiral Dance, while containing great exercises, primarily centers around group practice. My steps were tentative and uncertain as a lone witch. It was Scott Cunningham’s new book, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner that really gave me the courage to start practicing Wicca as a specific religious tradition. (Luckily, there was a New Age/Pagan bookstore close to my in-laws hometown. My original, but sadly battered, doggie-gnawed copy was actually signed by Cunningham when he did the promotional tour for it.) I did a self-dedication rite and from there, it seemed as though the Goddess and God truly had heard my need for a greater community of people with which to share my experiences. Through a series of increasingly bizarre coincidences (?), I found myself connected to the local Pagan community. In early 1990, it was a fairly small group of folks – small when compared to the number of Pagans around Athens today. The local Pagan Sabbat circle was pretty much by invitation only.

It was in the autumn of 1990 that the unofficial organizer of the local Pagan circle along with my husband and myself started the study group that would eventually (and with many trials) become the Coven of Celestial Tides. Pretty much from the beginning I acted as the group’s high priestess. I cringe now to think of all of the mistakes that I made. It was not just a trial by fire, but of water, earth and air too. And spirit. Let’s not forget spirit. I had much to learn.

For me, every witch is truly their own priest or priestess. No one needs another to mediate between one and one’s deity. Still, when people get together, there is a need for someone to play ritual “traffic cop.” In the beginning, that was pretty much the role that I played. I enjoy crafting and running rituals. But over time, more was required. The call became deeper and more meaningful. It became about helping people grow spiritually. It became about creating community. It became about sharing concerns and joys and laughter and tears. Presiding over a handfasting ceremony or a baby blessing (Wiccaning) was a joy. And it is a great honor to be asked to share in people’s lives in this way. When my best friend’s son died in a tragic car crash, I underwent a personal rite of passage in aiding the family in coping with his death. It was a terrifying privilege to minister to the family and community – being there through the calling hours and running the memorial service.

As I continued to grow in my role as a priestess/minister, I found a personal connection to the goddess Hekate.  I spent a night in vigil to honor Her and to dedicate myself as a priestess to Her. And now as the winter nights turn to springtime’s dawn, I see Her in the shadow of the moon and hear Her voice in my heart.

There still isn’t an end to this story – but that is just the point. The path of the high priestess – nay, of any priest or priestess – is about the journey. Mine has brought me to this place and time – and I hope that I am worthy to be called in service to this community. My education continues as I share in a teacher/student/mentor/learner relationship with this glorious planet, the Goddesses and Gods, our animal kin, the bounteous plant life and the many beautiful people of our community.

May you find such beauty on the path you walk.

Mar 202011
 

Herne Invocation for Ostara

Hail Great Horned Herne!

We ask you to be here with us
On the Rite of Ostara.
You are the balance between Hoof and Horn
As the time of rest and reflection has come to pass
As we move into the time of growth and action.

Herne, we ask that You be our guide for the world!
Give us the drive for new growth.
Bring us the insight on our path.
Watch over us and protect us on our way.

Let Your intuition fill our heads.
Lets us feel Your strength in our bones.
Let our bodies move in this world with confidence.

So Mote It Be!

Thanking Herne at Ostara

Hail Great Horned Herne!
Thank You for Your guidance at this Rite of Ostara!
We are grateful for your gifts of intuition, strength and confidence.

Place your protective eye over us and our loved ones
As we travel the spiral paths of our lives.
May we always feel Your presence within us.

Blessed Be!

© 2003 Rock

Mar 082011
 

Brighid's CrossBrighid Invocation for Ostara

Hail Brighid, Goddess who brings forth life anew!

We ask that You be here with us
On this rite of Ostara -
Balanced between Your energies of fire and frost.
For the time of cold and dark has passed, and
We move into the time of warmth and light.

Brighid, we ask that You be midwife unto the world!
Aid the sprouting of seeds, pushing up through the dark earth.
Bring comfort to those who labor bringing forth
new life from the dark womb.
Watch over the sprouts and the newborns,
protecting them with Your gentle hand.

Let Your inspiration fill our hearts.
Let us feel Your fire in our souls.
Let our minds perceive the world in clarity.

So Mote It Be!

 

Thanking Brighid at Ostara

Hail Brighid!
Thank You for Your guidance at this Rite of Ostara!
We are grateful for Your gifts of inspiration, fire and clarity.

Hold Your protective hand over us and our loved ones
As we travel the spiral paths of our lives.
May we always feel Your presence within us.

Blessed Be!

© 2003 Sabrae