Saturday, 30 April 2016

Arc of the Goddess...in print

We are very excited to announce that our Arc of the Goddess course is now available in paperback format (with extra added bits) - the book will be published by Moon Books on 24th June but is available for pre-order now.

The blurb:

This year-long Arc of the Goddess course will take you on a personal journey of discovery, taking each month as the wheel of the year turns and introducing you to different goddesses and pantheons with your choice (or theirs…) about who you work with and how you work with them.
The authors hope to help you connect with the magical energies of each month as well as giving you lots of practical exercises to work with and suggestions on how to make your spiritual connection stronger.
At the end of the course it is hoped you will not only have discovered your own personal pantheon of goddesses to work with but also uncovered The Goddess Within…

Endorsements:

“An amazing course, clear, powerful, brimming with information and highly recommend.”
Alannah Smith

“This course is perfect whether you want to dip your toe in or fully submerge yourself on your Goddess journey.”
Bernie Anderson

“Following this comprehensive and insightful course will help you to connect with the energies of the month as well as getting to know, understand and grow closer to many different goddesses.”
Sue Perryman

“The Arc of the Goddess is an inspirational way to reconnect to the energies surrounding us. Following the monthly turn of the wheel is exciting and there is no right or wrong way to progress. It is a personal path of discovery, developing year after year.”
Heather Dewhurst

"Another wonderful Kitchen Witch course with heaps of ideas to guide you to work with the energies of each month. You start a unique journey creating your own personal pantheon of Goddesses - each Goddess giving you a deeper connection with her and the changing of the seasons."
Vanessa Armstrong


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

A journey into the Earth...by StormloverWolf

A journey into the Earth...by StormloverWolf

I am walking through a very dense forest knowing well that the entry will make itself known to me. I can hear rustling in the ferns that are so lush around my legs. Small bugs fly hither and thither about. Some are firefly’s that light up and dash every which way….The different colours of the trees amaze me. There is deep green on the pines, an olive like green on some other tree's, then there are also a bright kelly green colour on others. The lengths of the limbs are stunning. Some are thick, some gently thin and yet they blend into a beautiful weave of wonder where the sun can only peak through just here and there.

There is a path, but a natural one, not marked with anything specific. There are stones here and there, but never in the middle of the path area. Along the path I see patches of wild violets with their sweet tiny fragrant flowers. I see ferns of every kind, colour and texture, they are soft against my hand as I pass by them.

I am sensing something ahead of me, a subtle knowing and yes, there they are. There is a very, very large tree ahead with a massive trunk with thick roots that curl this way and that. Just off to the left side, there is a gnome. He is dressed with brown pants, brown shirt, but a floppy yet pointed blue hat that match his sparkling eyes. He is barefoot, yea for barefoot as so am I!! His eyes have a twinkle to them, but his expression is very serious indeed.

As I approach slowly he gives me a good once over as if deciding if I am good enough to enter his realm. I am thinking about what I am going to say, and he nods his head as he has heard my thoughts without my saying a word. I stand before him, and I bow. He seems to accept this as an indication of “honor” to him and he raises his arm towards an area between the largest roots and they continue spreading until an opening appears. He hands me a lit candle, where it came from I know not. Somehow I know that he will not be going with me, this is my journey. He was there to see if who I was warranted entry into his blessed realm.

The door looked exactly like the tree trunk, that’s why I was unable to see it before. Closer now I could see little rivets of copper at the hinges. It looked so old I never expected them to open, but they did just that. The door came to a bit of a point at the top, Gothic like and was made of very old, well worn wood. It had bark on parts of it, which also had some moss on it as well. I closed my eyes, and pushed through the entry way. I was very happy that I had been given a candle as it was black as pitch inside.

I could see little dig outs in the walls following a spiral staircase that seemed to go on forever. Such a strong pungent smell filled my nose and lungs. I felt I might have trouble breathing, but that was not to be the case. As I stood there on the small landing, my eye’s adjusting finally, I could see all sorts of materials in the walls. There were roots of course, and much earth, rich dark soil that blended in with lighter colours seemingly to make a kind of mosaic. The stairwell seemed so tiny I wasn’t sure that I was going to fit, but as it is with most things magical, as I lowered myself to each step, it was wide enough, so wide in fact another could have shared the same step with me and we would have been safe.

I seemed to go down and down and down until I could see a warm glow that I was pretty sure was the base of the tree. Looking back up the stairway all I could see was the underside of the spiral, and of course nothing of the old wood door entrance. As I continued down I was fascinated by all the little creatures in the soil that made up the walls. Bugs have never bothered me, spiders a bit, but I was fascinated as in looking closely at them, they actually had faces. Now how could I feel the “wheebie geebies” at a spider when she, I think it was a she as she had long eyelashes, smiling at me?

I made it to the base and it opened up quite wide and there was nestled in this area some couches, very overstuffed and comfy looking with all sizes of pillows in every different colour and pattern that you could imagine. There were overstuffed chairs with ottomans, a few rocking chairs. There were also wooden tables of different sizes and shapes even a stone fireplace with a fire in a grate. Now how does that work in the base of a tree you ask? Well, very well indeed. There were some tea pots, cups and saucers, some biscuits/cookies on a large platter with funny little napkins. I fixed a cup of tea and decided to sit for a bit and get my bearings.

As I looked around there were several doors leading in all sorts of directions including one in the ceiling and one in the floor. Go figure! Each one was a different colour and shape. I had finished my tea and biscuits and found that I was very sleepy. I rested my head on the back of the cushion and drifted off.

When I woke up, I looked at my watch and several hours had gone by. I found that a lovely quilt had been laid over me, and my feet had been propped up on a pudgy padded stool. I had never heard anyone, nor felt anyone, but someone had surely been down here with me. I looked on the small table beside me where my empty cup and saucer were and saw a note. It said ”Welcome new friend, we have journeyed through your mind whilst you slept and find that you are a good soul and you have much to learn from us. We will look forward to your next visit and hope that it is sooner than later…fondly, the Gnomes”.

I gathered my cloak and began the climb up to the surface which seemed to take no time at all. I reached the landing and once again there was the gnome with the blue hat. He still had the stern face, but teasingly smiled and said “I bid you adieu until next we meet”. I smiled and thanked him and said the next visit would not be too long away.

I closed my eyes to once again smell and feel the pungent old door with the bright copper rivets in the hinges. I stepped back out into the dense forest knowing well that I would be back soon, for this was home to me. Deep in the earth, what more could I desire…



StormloverWolf

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Dion Fortune by Starlitenergies

Dion Fortune (1890 – 1946)

Behind the shadows of Gerald B. Gardner, lurks Dion Fortune. Unappreciated during her own time she was perhaps his lesser-known equal, working quietly behind the scenes she developed her own tradition and was unconcerned with the need for publicity. Dion was a respected psychiatrist, occultist and author who approached magic and hermetic concepts from the perspectives of Jung and Freud. She was a prolific occult writer of novels and non-fiction books, an adept in ceremonial magic and a pioneer psychiatrist on religious thought in occultism.

Dion was the daughter of a solicitor and born “Violet Mary Firth” on the 6th January 1890 in Bryn-y-Bia, Llandudno, Wales. She showed mediumistic abilities at an early age and was reputed to have had visions and dreams of “Atlantis” as early as four years old. Later she claimed to have been a priestess in a past life. She was a bright and intelligent child who wrote her first book at the age of 13, a book of poems entitled Violets in 1904.

Her family were fair to do Christian Scientists with a family motto that reads: “Deo, non Fortuna”, meaning “By God, not by chance”. In 1906 after the death of her grandfather, the family moved to London and lived on they’re inheritance. There she joined the local Theosophical Society and in 1908 had another poem published called Angels. In 1910 she started work at St Georges Secretarial College, while continuing her studies in psychology. She worked as an assistant to the college principal, a strong minded and domineering woman with a violent temper

After a number of clashes with the woman, Dion decided to leave. Reporting her intentions to leave, the woman subjected her to a diatribe of incompetence and lack of self-confidence, that she later suffered a near mental breakdown. She later attributed this to the principal, believing she had used “psychic attacks” to try and control her, a technique allegedly learned on visits to India.

As a result of these attacks and during the following three years it took to recover, Dion delved deeper into Psychology, focussing her studies on the theories of Freud and Jung. In 1913 she took up a position as a lay-psychoanalyst at the Medico-Psychological Clinic in London. There she concluded that neither Freud nor Jung adequately addressed the subtleties and complexities of the mind. There was something they had missed, and she felt the answers might lie in occultism.

Through the war years 1914-1918 Dion joined the “Women’s Land Army”, during which time she maintained her links with the “Theosophical Society”. Towards the end of the war she met with and worked with the head of the society “Theodore Moriarty”, an occultist and freemason. Moriarty encouraged her interest in the occult, and in 1919 after the war, she was initiated into the “Alpha and Omega Lodge of Stella Matutina”, an outer order of the hermetic “Order of the Golden Dawn” situated in London.

She studied under J.W.Brodie-Innes but came under conflict with Moina Mathers the wife of S.L. MacGregor-Mathers, one of the original founders of the Golden Dawn. Feeling symptoms of “psychic attack” similar to her past experience, she later quit and formed her own order “the Fraternity of the Inner Light”. Initially the order was part of the Golden Dawn, but based on esoteric Christianity. It later separated and distanced itself, removing all connections with witchcraft.

After the death of her friend and mentor Theodore Moriarty in 1923, Dion took over the Theosophical Society and renamed it the “Christian Mystic Lodge”. In 1924 she bought a property in Glastonbury called the Chalice Orchard. This she would use as a retreat from the pressures of work and living in the city. While visiting at Glastonbury, Dion became deeply interested in Arthurian legends and the magical-mystical folklore centred on the area. She later formed a pilgrim centre there known as the “Chalice Orchard Club”, which she dedicated to the “Mysteries of Isis”.

In 1937 she met and married a medical doctor “Thomas Penry Evans”. Due to his own occult interests, different from Dion’s, he became known as Merlin or Merle by many of her followers. They worked together magically as Priest and Priestess of her order, the “Fraternity of the Inner Light”, but argued constantly over their differences. In 1939 Evans left her for another lover and they divorced. Dion continued to head the order renaming it the “Society of the Inner Light”.

Later that same year she leased a property in West London known as “The Belfry”, and turned it into a temple for her followers. Like Glastonbury it was dedicated to the “Mysteries of Isis”. During the rest of her lifetime and indeed since she passed away, her societies continue to grow and attract new followers. Just after the Second World War, Dion contracted Leukaemia and in 1946 on the 8th January, she departed this world for the next.

Dion Fortune (her pen name) was a prolific writer. She derived her pen name from her family motto, “Deo, non Fortuna”, meaning “By God, not by chance” which she shortened to Dion Fortune. She writes of her many personal experiences as a practising occultist and psychiatrist, and pours out her knowledge of the occult in both fiction and non-fiction books, some of which have now reached classical status.Three of her non-fiction books were written using another pseudonym - V M Steele, which included: The Scarred Wrists (1935), Hunters Of Humans (1936) and Beloved Of Ishmael (1937).

Today the “Society of the Inner Light” is still practising and still based in London, but they maintain that Dion was not a witch, and was not involved in any coven? They stress that the present day society is not connected with witchcraft in any way. A sad tribute to a writer whose books did so much to influence, and continues to influence the thoughts of many practitioners in the Wicca/Witchcraft movement.


Starlitenergies


















Sources:
Books
Encyclopedia of Witches & Witchcraft - By Rosemary Ellen Guiley
Psychic Self-Defence - By Dion Fortune
Websites

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Dandelion by Unity

Dandelion by Unity

Taraxacum officinale

Other names : Witch Gowan, Lion's teeth, clocks and watches, piss-a-bed, Blowball, Puffball, Priest's crown, wet the bed.

Planetry ruler : Jupiter
Element : Air
Gender : Male
Associated Deities: Brigid, Hecate, Theseus
Magical Uses : Divination, wishes, calling spirits, psychic powers, abundance

A well known hardy perennial plant that is considered a weed by many people. It is however, an incredibly useful plant for healing and magic as all parts can be used. The young leaves in Spring can be added fresh to salads and smoothies and the older leaves used for tea, wine, magical and medicinal uses. The roots can be gathered in Spring or Autumn and roasted for a caffeine-free coffee, and between June and August for medicinal purposes. The flowers can be used to make wine and beer, or an infused oil which is an excellant rub for muscle tension and cold stiff joints. It is also good for dry skin.

Dandelions were used as a general cure-all in the 11th and 12th centuary by Arab healers. It's also mentioned in the Welsh herbal of the Physicians of Mydrai dating from the 13th centuary. Before the 1st world war it was grown as a commercial crop, and in world war 2 the roots were used as coffee and the leaves as a food.

Dandelion is a powerful diuretic which doesn't strip the body of potassium like orthodox drugs do. It stimulates the kidneys and can be used for water retention. It can also help with rheumatism, athritis, skin problems, sluggish liver, digestion problems and constipation. Dandelion has amazing detoxifying properties that can help filter toxins from your kidneys and purify your blood. It can also help nursing mothers to produce more milk. It's high in minerals and vitimins including zinc, calcium, potassium and vitimins A,B and C and can be used as a very effective Spring tonic.

The plant itself is almost indestructible as it has very deep tap roots making it hard to dig out. If even the tiniest part is left behind it will regenerate. Dandelion's are a favourite with bees as they are an important honey producing plant.

Folk magic

Send loving thoughts to someone special by blowing on the seed heads.

A popular children's game is telling the time by counting how many puffs it takes to blow at the seed heads until all the seeds have dispersed.

To dream of dandelion was considered bad luck.

To find out how long you will live, blow once on a seed head. The number of remaining seeds correspondes to the number of years you have left.

Burying dandelions in the north west corner of your garden will bring favourable winds.

Dandelion tea placed beside the bed before going to sleep will call the spirits to you. It can be drank to help enhance psychic powers and divination.

The flower head is associated with solar energies and can be added to sun and divination incense.

The white seed heads are associated with the moon, the element of air and Sylphs.

The root descends to the Underworld and defies death which makes it a good plant for working with Hecate. The root can be gathered fresh, cut into small pieces and pierced in the centre with a large needle. It can then be threaded onto string, dried and worn as a ritual necklace when calling on Hecate.

I also read that it is associated with Brigid which makes sense because of her solar and Spring associations. In Gaelic its name is 'Bearnan Bride' which means 'Little notched plant of Bride'.

Increasing Psychic powers tea or loose incense mix

Dandelion leaves
Marigold petals
Cinnamon
tsp honey if desired.

Dandelion and bacon salad

225g young dandelion leaves
100g streaky bacon, diced
1 cm slice of white bread,cubed
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and Pepper
Oil for cooking

Wash and dry leaves and tear into salad bowl. Make a vinaigrette using live oil and vinegar and season to taste, adding a little sugar if desired. Fry bacon, garlic and bread in oil until golden brown. Pour mix over dandelion leaves and mix well so all leaves are coated. Add vinaigrette and toss well.


Unity

Saturday, 16 April 2016

The Pentagram...it's history...

The Pentagram - it's history...
by Tansy Firedragon (Rachel Patterson)

Probably the most recognisable symbol from paganism and when I started on this pathway many years ago it was one of the first items I purchased to put on my altar and the symbol I chose to wear as a necklace, one that I used in my dedication to the Craft all that time ago.

Many of us wear the pentagram in the form of jewellery or on clothing, accessories and even tattoos.  To pagans it is an incredibly important symbol with a whole heap of power and meaning behind it, but where did it come from?

The pentagram is a five pointed star, encased by an outer circle. Its apex points upwards.   The five pointed star shape without the circle is called a pentacle.  Yep I know… like many I used to get terribly confused trying to remember which one was which…

Here I have given some information that I have discovered in my research, it is by no means comprehensive but I hope you find it interesting.

The pentagram was first used around 3500BC at Ur of the Chaldees in Ancient Mesopotamia. Pieces of broken pottery were found, some of them with the earliest findings of the written language on. In later Mesopotamian art the pentagram was used as a symbol of imperial power in royal inscriptions. It symbolised the imperial power extending out to the four corners of the world. The Hebrews also used the pentagram as a symbol of truth and for the five books of the Pentateuch (the first give books of the Hebrew scriptures).

The geometry of the pentagram and its metaphysical associations were explored by Pythagoreans who saw it as a symbol of perfection. It was called the Pentalpha, composed of five geometrical ‘A’s. Pythagoras travelled all over the ancient world, so he may be the explanation of the presence of the pentagram in Tantrik art. Early Hindu and Buddist writings that seem to share Pythagoras’ view of the star.

The Gnostics saw the pentagram as a Blazing Star, symbolising the crescent moon which related to magick and mysteries of the night time sky and the dark.

Celtic Druids believed the pentagram to be a symbol of the Godhead. Celtic pagans saw the number five as sacred in many things. Examples of this are Ireland having had five great roads, five provinces and five paths of law, the Fae counted by fives and mythological figures wore five fold cloaks.

It was also a symbol of the underground womb and bears a symbolic relationship to the pyramid forms to the Egyptians.

Even early Christians used the pentagram, it symbolised the five wounds of Christ and up until medieval times it was used as a Christian symbol on occasion. It implied truth, religious mysticism and the work of the creator. It was only after the Inquisition that the ‘evil’ associations were assigned to the pentagram. Over time the Christians dropped the use of the circle and just used the five pointed star, I would assume in response to the neo pagan use of the pentagram with the circle.

In Medieval times the pentagram with one point upwards symbolised summer and with two points upwards signified winter. In the legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the pentagram was his signature glyph and was used on his shield. We are told that this symbolised the five knightly virtues – generosity, courtesy, chastity, chivalry and piety.

The Knights Templar formed during the Crusades used the symbol of the pentagon in their architecture and designs.

During the Inquisition the pentagram was seen as a Goat’s head or the Devil. In the purge on witches, horned gods such as Pan became equated with the Christian’s idea of the Devil and the pentagram, for the first time in history was equated with evil and labelled the Witch’s Foot.

During the Renaissance period Hermeticism (the proto science of alchemy) developed along with occult philosophy and symbolism. Graphical and geometric symbols became very important. Western occult teachings began to emphasize the philiosophies of Man being the small part of the larger universal spirit – “as above, so below”. The pentagram returned as the Star of the Microcosm, symbolising man within the macrocosm. In 1582 Tycho Brahe’s Calendarium Naturale Magicum Perpetuum shows a pentagram with a body imposed and the Hebrew YHSVH associated with the elements. And we are all familiar with Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of the geometric relationships of man to the universe. Later the pentagram came to be symbolic of the relationship of the head to the four limbs and hence of the pure concentrated essence of anything, such as the spirit, to the four traditional elements.

Masonry uses the pentagram to show man as the smaller aspect of the universe. The pentagram then being incorporated into American symbols. The five pointed stars on the flag and the eye/pyramid on money.

In the 19th Century metaphysical societies sprang up all around the world. Many of them based on the ancient Holy Kabbalah. Eliphas Levi was instrumental in opening of the Victorian lodges such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He is accredited with renaming the tarot card coins as pentacles. It is during this time we also see the first modern association of the pentagram with evil – Eliphaz Levi Zahed illustrated the upright pentagram beside an inverted pentagram with the goat’s head of Baphomet. This has led to the concept of the different orientations being good and evil.

In the 1940’s Gerald Gardner adopted the pentagram with two points upward as the sigil of a second degree initiation. The one point upward pentagram together with the upright triangle symbolising third degree initiation. A point downward triangle being the symbol of first degree initiates. The pentagram was also inscribed on the altar with its points symbolising the three aspects of the goddess plus the two aspects of the God in a special form of Gardnerian pentacle.

The pentagram  became a negative symbol in modern society so it probably wasn’t until the 1960’s that the pentagram was used and worn again in public.

The Church of Satan was an organisation that started out as a practice of following the Set, an Egyptian deity. For its emblem they used the inverted pentagram after the Baphomet image of Levi. The reaction of the Christian church was to condemn Satanism as evil and of course this lumped all pagan societies together as Devil worship. The stigma of Witchcraft and its use of the pentagram sadly still continues today.

Despite the use and the different meaning of the inverted pentagram as a symbol of Gardnerian initiation, modern witchcraft traditions tend to use the upright pentagram.

Taoism also uses the pentacle, each point signifying wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

The pentacle is the simplest form of star shape that can be drawn unicursally, with a single line, hence it has been called the endless knot. In the old folk song – Green Grow the Rushes O, the line ‘five is the symbol at your door’ refers to the use of the pentagram above doors and windows as protection against evil and demons.

The pentagram is a symbol of Wiccan and some neo pagan spiritual beliefs. The pentagram symbolises the five elements of earth, air, water, fire and spirit, with the top point representing spirit triumphing over matter. It is used in jewellery, on clothing and altars. It is also used in some blessings and healings. The circle around the star represents protection, eternity and infinity. The circle touching all five points indicates that spirit, earth, air, water and fire are all connected.



Tansy













Originally published in the Mystik Way magazine