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As we approach Samhain, we grow more attuned to the darkness and the things that go bump in the night. This can be frightening, but as the veil between the worlds grows thinner, it also gives us the opportunity to reach out to the shadowy things that mean us no harm, and look within to the shadows inside ourselves. All of us have them, but if you can do it in a healthy way, it is better to embrace our own hints of darkness than to ignore them or fight them. Try lighting a black candle and saying this spell. If you often struggle with the shadows inside, you may want to use this spell to bless a special charm to help you cope.
Darkness falls and night is here, but I will turn and face my fear
Shadows deep may lurk inside, I do not run away and hide
All are darkness, all are light, the gods see both with equal sight
The shadows do not mean me harm, so I embrace them with this charm
Source: Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2016
This posting addresses wonderful examples for witches on a budget as to what can be gathered up at the dollar store.
1. Herbs and Spices. The spice section is great for picking up herbs and spices that can be used in sachets, incense blends, and mojo bags. I’ve found:
-Chili Powder (used in hoodoo/voodoo)
-Oregano (marriage blessing/kitchen witchery)
-Onion Powder (protection)
2. Sea Salt. Sometimes it’s coarse, and sometimes it’s finely ground. Either way, there is usually some kind of bulk salt available for circle-casting and whatnot.
3. Candles. Tea candles, pillar candles, jar candles. They have them all. Personally, I prefer the unscented white ones, which are great all-purpose candles for carving symbols in and anointing with various oils. They are generally much cheaper at the dollar store than almost anywhere else.
4. Seasonal decor. I usually make a trip before any given Cross Quarter holiday for altar decorations.
5. Incense. Truth be told, I am not a big fan of…
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Tuesday was the eve of the latest Esbat, and I celebrated it in full ritual fashion, typical of a witch, but even more so for those within covens. However, I have also discovered that for many Solitaries, a full ritual for an Esbat may NOT be so “typical.” I’ve found that although ritual is the more traditional manner of communing with the Lady on her night of fullness, She is also rather accepting of something a bit more informal (to some it may even be a bit more personal– let me know if you feel and think that way)– almost like that of a simple Mother-Daughter (Son, for you guys out there) get-together over a cup of coffee and perhaps performing a candlelit Tarot reading (which IS a great way to open the doors of communication, by the way). Irregardless, as I normally do on Esbats– I still performed a much-needed self-reading in which I’d asked the Lady in her triplicity, very simply, to make use of the Tarot as Her “channel” of communication, and to grant me confirmation and guidance in the areas of concern to me. Her answers were quite comforting.
The Tarot reading when performed utilizing the “Triple Goddess Spread” is an absolutely wonderful way to get feedback from the Lady and some helpful advice! Allow me to show you how such is done…
Maiden: the High Priestess
Mother: the Empress
Crone: the Moon
Place those 3 cards in a row (as pictured to the right), then shuffle the cards. You then ask the Triple Goddess to share her wisdom with you.
Then you deal 3 cards under each aspect of the Goddess. You will have 9 cards in all.
The Maiden (Priestess) will inform you of possibilities, your hopes and dreams, and things that may yet be coming into fruition. She will also address the root issues of your concerns.
The Mother (Empress) shows you how your projects and goals have come to fruition and what is going on around you now. She will also address if whether or not She believes you’re headed in the correct direction, or areas where you may need improvement.
The Crone (Moon) shows you the outcome, and your karma– things that are unseen at the moment be they potentials or hidden thoughts or desires, and quite possibly issues and things that you may be either unaware of or afraid to face.
Although this spread can truly be performed anytime, I find that it is best used the evening of an Esbat. In any case, try it for yourselves, and feel free to let me know your thoughts and feelings about this particular spread.
Now, back to the non-traditional Esbat celebration issue amongst Solitaries…
For some Solitaries, they conduct their informal rites saying a simple prayer to “Mother Moon.” Others may simply go for a walk and bask in the moonlight. If the weather is inhospitable, some may simply light some incense and a few candles, and take a few moments out for meditation.
With such in mind, I dare to ask, are the informal “rites” any less effective or honorable and befitting to the Goddess? To be quite fair, I’ve done ritual in the traditional sense, and I’ve done the informal. What I have found is that the Lady simply LOVES to be remembered. Period. How you go about doing such is irrelevant. It all boils down to opening the doors of communication and communion with your Mother by taking a few moments of time from the insanity and fast-pacedness of our lives just to be with Her. That is what She cares about.