Friday, January 24, 2014

Bay Laurel Leaves

A friend and I were talking about cooking spices the other day, and I mentioned how much I love Bay Leaves. Bay is also known as Bay Laurel, Daphne, Grecian Laurel, and Apollo's Laurel. I love Bay not just for cooking, but as an herb to use in magick and spells. Also, I have recently begun a connection to and have started working with Apollo. Bay is important to Apollo, and he is often seen wearing a Bay Laurel crown upon his head.

Apollo was in love with the nymph Daphne, daughter of the river god Peneus. As the story goes Apollo poked fun at Cupid for using a man's weapon, the bow and arrow. In return Cupid shot Apollo with a golden arrow that caused him to fall in love with Daphne. Cupid then shot Daphne with a leaden arrow, that caused her to see and be repulsed by Apollo.

Apollo continued to chase Daphne, against her wishes. Wishing to remain a virgin and avoid Apollo's advances, Daphne begs her father for help. Peneus turns Daphne into the laurel tree. Apollo plucks a few leaves and wears them as a crown to always have Daphne near him.

The priestess of the Delphic Oracle, which was Apollo's oracle, used to burn the leaves in order to help open her communication to the other world, where she would have prophetic visons that she would relay to Apollo. So it is said that burning bay leaves can increase your psychic abilities, and help you with meditation and trance states.

Other magical uses for Bay include using the leaves in spells for protection particularly for travel and of the home. I've used bay as a protective herb in protection mojo bags. Another great use for bay is to write your wishes on the leaves during a waxing moon, then burn the leaves during the full moon to bring your wishes into fruition.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Witches Besom

A besom, otherwise known as a witch's broom, is made from a bundled of fine twigs or straw that are tied to a larger, sturdier piece of wood. Besoms, like any other type of broom, are used for sweeping clean an area. They are often used to sweep, both physically and energetically, an area to be used for casting a circle.

Of course today the idea of a witch's broom is usually thought of as a method of transportation, with the witch riding into off into a full moon. But the besom is more of a tool than anything else. It can be used to direct energy such as a wand, to cleanse an area of negative energy, or even to sweep something postive into your space such as prosperity.

I like to keep my besom, bristles up, by the front door. This is said to protect those living in the space from any negative energies.

Any type of broom can be used, from the standard broom you pick up at store, to the scented decorative brooms found in craft shops. You can usually find some hand crafted besoms (as mine is) from online shops like etsy, or from occult/metaphysical stores.

Goddess Airmid

I recently discovered the Celtic Goddess Airmid (Airmed), the Goddess of Herbs and Healing and is one of the Tuatha de Danann. Along with her father and brother, she was a healer to the wounded during battle. Airmid and Miach also built and tended to the magical Well of Slaine in Ireland. The well's magical powers were said to heal those wounded in battle.

Airmid and her brother Miach, were strong healers who surpassed their father in the strength of their healing magick. Their father, out of a jealous rage of Miach's healing powers, killed him.  In a deep sorrow over the death of her brother, Airmid buried him and wept uncontrollably over his grave.

The next day Airmid returned to discover that her tears had caused 365 individual herbs to have grown out of Miach's buried body and his grave. Methodically, Airmid gathered each herb, placing them on her cloak. The herbs began to open up to Airmid, speaking to her of their magical abilities, and revealing that when used in a certain sequence, they could bring the dead back to life.

Seeing the knowledge that Airmid had gained, her father over turned the cloak, scattering all of them to the winds. Her father didn't want anyone to gain the knowledge of the use of the herbs, or how they could be used to obtain immortality. It is said that only Airmid knows the use of every herb to this day. Although she knows the abilities of each herb, she was unable to retain the sequence used to revive the dead, and achieve immortality.

Call on Airmid to gain knowledge of working with herbs, or when performing any magick involving herbs. She is also known for healing waters, working with the Fae, and with nature.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Temple of Apollo

I've recently felt very drawn to Apollo, and have been receiving many signs to connect to him. I never thought I'd be drawn to a Greek God, or anyone in the Greek pantheon. But after researching him more, he is a very great fit for me right now.

Apollo is a Sun God, and is also associated with healing, prophecies, music, poetry and more. The son of Zeus and Leto. Apollo has a twin sister, Artemis, who is known as a goddess of the moon.

Apollo has many female and male lovers. The story that really stuck out to me was his lover, Hyacinth. Hyacinth was a Spartan prince, and Apollo was very much in love with him. But so was the Greek god Zephyrus. While practicing throwing the discus, Zephyrus in a jealous rage redirected the discus that Apollo had thrown. It struck Hyacinth, killing him. Apollo created the flower of the same name in memory of his lover.

Apollo is most recognized by his bow and arrow or the musical instrument the lyre that he often carries. These are symbols of him being known for both archery and music.

You can call upon or honor Apollo through song, listening to music, writing, archery, spending time outdoors in the sunshine, or any kind of healing practice such as Reiki.

Pagan Blog Project

I just discovered and decided to join the 2014 Pagan Blog Project.

I will have to catch up on the first scheduled post assignments in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Moon Ritual to Selene

The first new moon of 2014 is today, the first of the year. Both symbolize letting go of stuck energy, welcoming in the new, and a time for new beginnings.

Here is a quick little spell/ritual to the moon goddess Selene (who I've felt very drawn to lately. I will be doing an upcoming post on her soon).

Go outside under the new moon, or near an open window to perform the spell/ritual. Light a white or silver candle to signify Selene. Cleanse the area with incense or sage. Spend some time meditating on Selene and new beginnings.

On what piece of paper write down something you wish to let go of in the new year, and on another piece of paper write down a goal or something you wish to bring into, your life or draw to you in the new year.

Take the first piece of paper with the thing you want to let go off. Spend some time meditating on the thing you wish to let go, why you want to let it go, and how your life will change once it has disappeared. Burn the paper and place it into a small bowl or cauldron. Thank Selene for helping you to let go of this.

Next grab the paper with the thing you wish to draw to you, or bring into your life. Meditate on that as well, thinking about how positive your life will grow as you bring this to you and into your life. Now burn this paper, thanking Selene for helping you to grow with this item/topic/thing into the coming year.

Mediate a little longer, on Selene and your wishes for the new year. Thank her for her help and guidance in the new year. Think about how as they are released to the universe and the smoke flows from the cauldron of the burning pieces of paper. Let the incense and candle burn a little while longer. Throw the ashes down the sink and run water over them.