Sunday, December 11, 2011

Easy Peasy Candle Spellwork

Spellwork is an important part of many pagans’ practice. For the new pagan, it can be a daunting challenge. What do I spell for, how do I do it? More importantly, how do I do it correctly and not make a big ol’ mess of it? There are tons of books and classes out there which can give you a good idea of what spellwork is. Sometimes spells require a lot of time and energy to make them work, but there are spells which don’t require a huge time/energy commitment.

Not all spellwork has to be difficult or time consuming. We pagans have lives of our own; obligations to work, family, and day-to-day responsibilities. Sometimes we don’t have the time or energy to spend on a long, drawn out ritual, and sometimes the situation simply doesn’t require that much effort. Sometimes you can’t be very open in your household and need to be circumspect in how you practice your Craft. Time is precious and it’s important that we spend it as efficiently and positively as we can. Whatever the reasons, the bottom line is that we’re not all able to devote hours upon hours towards each spell we want to accomplish.

For general everyday spells, I like to do my spellwork in manageable chunks, and I find the best way to do this is through simple candle magick. Certainly, you can alter this to use whatever medium you wish – herbs, crystals, etc. This simple magick is really good for things you want to accomplish over a long period of time. I like candles because you can imbue a candle with energies and use it a kind of energy holding container, dispersing it based on your needs and parameters.

The first thing to remember is that a spell begins the moment you begin to think about it. Spells have a lot to do with visualization and manifesting that energy in this mundane world. As you plan what you want and how to go about doing it, you are focusing your energy towards that goal – which is part of the spellwork.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you want to draw in prosperity / money or financial security. At the full moon, take a green or white candle and use visualization to fill it with all the things you want which mean financial abundance to you. Ask the Universe and the Gods to assist you in making this goal real. Light the candle and push that visualization to the astral plane. This will start activating the “as above, so below” tenet that is so important to magickal work. When you feel the visualized goal is planted on the astral, extinguish the candle.

Now the major work is done. The link from the candle in the physical world (“…so below”) is secured to the astral (“as above…”), and you are able to execute the visualization here in more manageable chunks. Every night, for five minutes before you go to sleep, light your candle and reinforce that visualization you put into this spell. The reason for doing this before you sleep is that you want the image and focus to be the last thing you think of before you sleep, so your subconscious mind can work on it while your conscious mind takes a rest.

If your spell is about a new job, picture yourself in that new job, happy and secure. If it is about purchasing a car, picture yourself driving this car. It’s not about believing that this will happen – but KNOWING that it will happen; casting spells is making manifest in this world that which you Will to happen.

When the whole candle is burned down, the spell is complete. Thank the Divine (in whatever form you choose to identify the Divine as) for their assistance. Then for the most important – and sometimes most difficult – part of any spell: Let. It. Go. Release it. Stop worrying about it, or wondering if it’s gonna happen. Remember that every time you think about your spell, or worry about it, you are putting energy into it…and therefore the spell is never over and never allowed to manifest. Just release it to the Universe and trust that it will manifest in your life.

This is also a good spell technique for things like self confidence, inner strength, changing habits or breaking bad habits, finding love and more. I have used it to banish something out of my life (you can banish debt or bad habits, or even people who are not healthy for you). If you choose to banish something, charge the appropriate candle on a new or dark moon, that is, the moon opposite the full. This is NOT a good technique for baneful magick because it requires you to keep reinforcing feelings & energies. If you repeatedly concentrate on a person who has wronged you, you will keep reliving and strengthening that wrong every night, and we don’t want that! Remember, what you focus on will happen. That is one of the foundations of magickal practice. So…if you’re going to reinforce something, reinforce something that will make your life better!

I like easy peasy spellwork because it reinforces that which you wish to happen over a long time, and allows you to perform spellwork without it being detrimental to your everyday life. I wish you luck with this technique and hope it serves you as much as it has me.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Vehicle Blessing

Buying a vehicle – whether that be a car, truck, SUV, crossover, hybrid, bus, boat, scooter, spaceship, whatever – is a big purchase, second only to a home. It doesn’t matter if the car is used or new. For brevity’s sake, I’m going to call a vehicle a “car” in this article, lest someone think I’m leaving their precious Hummer out of the equation.

Ostensibly, a car is something intrinsic to your life  - which means it is pretty darned important. It’s used almost every day to transport us to our work, family functions, social events, to help us do our chores and more. It is part of our family in many ways.

Just about every pagan has heard of a house blessing ritual. The importance of this act is to protect one’s house and everything / everyone in it, to keep things safe and to make it special to those who will be residing in it.  A vehicle blessing is the same thing for your transportation device.

When many people buy a car, they do a lot to make it uniquely theirs. I’m as guilty of this as anyone! You cab buy accessories, make it smell nice, get the windows tinted, give it a name, and more. You can purchase insurance not only to be compliant with your local laws, but to ensure that you are protected legally and financially. You can maintain your car to make sure that it runs safely and reliably.

But how do you make your car yours on a spiritual level?

In my coven and Tradition, we have a ritual for blessing our cars. It has turned into a beautiful experience as it gives protection and beauty not only to the vehicle, but to those who are inside it. It also celebrates our covenmate’s purchase and makes the new addition more special.

Here’s how we do our ritual, but of course, you may alter what I detail here to suit your own needs. Please note, dear readers, that this ritual isn’t limited to new cars – this can be done for your existing vehicles, or at any time you like, and can be adapted for many other circumstances!

I would do this ritual either on a full moon or a waxing moon. A waxing moon is a moon that is getting larger in the sky. The reason for this particular timing is to draw in protection and abundance and work with the moon’s energies.

Let the Universe know why you are doing this ritual, also known as a Statement of Intent, and begin your work.

First, cast circle starting in the North for Earth. Ask the Elementals / Gods / Spirit of Earth to help you draw in extra stability, strength and safety – three things which are paramount when choosing qualities you want for your vehicle. As you welcome the elements and elementals into your circle, ask them to bring their specific gifts.  For example, you can ask Air to blow away all traffic and to make sure you don’t get lost (that’s a big one for me); ask Fire to give you determination and safe movement; and ask Water to keep you peaceful and comfortable (and pretty – gotta arrive in style!).

Welcome in any appropriate Gods and Goddesses you wish. I usually make sure that no matter who I bring in, I like to invite Hermes (or his counterpart Mercury for my Roman friends) as a protector of travelers. As always, if you choose to invite the Divine, do your research first and make sure you really really want to be on their radar. Trickster Gods and Goddesses can provide a great deal of fun and spontaneity, but you probably won’t be laughing when they get you lost in the boondocks for their own entertainment!

Once you have assembled everyone – human & spiritual being alike – it’s time to light the beacon and make a mojo bag of goodness. You can make or purchase a bag, preferably in white or in green, to hold your items. Decorate the bag any way you want – the more ways you can make it unique, the more you tie the bag to your purpose. Bring a white candle that you’ve dressed and anointed with protection oils. It doesn’t have to be a big ol’ 7 day candle; a small taper or votive candle will do! On the candle inscribe your full name (or the name of the primary driver/owner) with a sharp pin or your boline, and anything specific you want that candle to do. I often scratch in words such as “safety”, “protection”, “joy” and “blessings”. I would put a square of tin foil under the candle to catch any melted wax. Not only will that save your surface and make for simple cleanup, but it will easily allow you to collect the melted wax to use later.

Have herbs or essential oils such as rosemary, bay, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, mugwort, rowan, and willow available to sprinkle in your bag as well. Be careful about which herbs you use, however…Valerian might well be a powerful protection herb, but it’s also good for sleep. Protection doesn’t do you any good if you get drowsy behind the wheel! (Besides, valerian smells like old gym socks and you don’t want that funk in your car!)

Go ahead and light your candle, saying something like “I light this candle as a beacon to the Universe, asking for protection and blessings on me, my vehicle and anyone / anything who find themselves in my car.” Make sure your wording is broad enough to cover many circumstances (if you say “protect anyone in my car”, it might not extend to your things…if you say “anyone driving my car”, it might not extend to your passengers).

After you have lit the candle and it is burning merrily away, have everyone in your ritual contribute a crystal or stone with the qualities they wish for the car and the car owner. Note: you can also use small charms, slips of paper with your wishes, and other non-rotting materials to put into the mojo bag – I don’t always include herbs or oils, as they can break down over years of exposure in your car, even in the glove compartment – but if you monitor your mojo bag for mold and gunk you should be ok. Stones/crystals are nice because they don’t rot, don’t burn, and are not usually reactive with other items. In essence, they’re very safe tools to use. Some of the stones you might want to consider are amethyst or clear quartz for protection. You can even turn this into a group project to research which stones would be best for this purpose.

As each person drops their stone into the mojo bag, they do so and share their wishes. My favorite wish for a new car owner is “May you never be on a first name basis with your mechanic”. And if your circlemates have more than one wish, they can continue putting in energies and well-wishes into the mojo bag until you all are wished out!

When everyone has said what they need to, add some of the cooled melted wax which has dripped from your candle – see, I told you it would come in handy! – and add it to your bag. For Zeus’s sake, don’t do something silly like pour hot wax into the bag! Have patience and wait for the stuff to harden! If you choose, put any drops of oils, herbs, or other items which you feel would make beneficial additions to your bag. Close the bag tightly and ask the Gods and the Elementals to bless the bag and the car it protects.

Close your circle as you would normally, thanking the Elements, Elementals and Gods for their blessings and keep the bag securely in the car. In my experience, the best place to keep it is in the glove compartment, under the driver’s seat or in a compartment designed to hold other items. The last thing you need is a flying mojo bag in your car thwacking you in the head! Putting it in a secure place will also help keep any volatile ingredients from turning to yuck. What’s important is to make sure that your sacred item will be secure, safe and not in your way as a driver. Drive away knowing that the Universe will do what it can to protect and help you.

Blessings to you and yours on your travels!