Odin’s Ordeal

The Hanged Man tarot card, drawn by Pamela Coleman Smith
The Hanged Man tarot card, drawn by Pamela Coleman Smith

Odin is one of the Norse Gods, a warrior king who becomes a magician through ordeal and personal sacrifice. I didn’t know very much about him before last October, when I attended Hecate’s Sickle pagan festival in the U.S..

Odin is the Allfather, not the Somefather

Except, I knew enough to spout off on facebook that he would smite Soldiers of Odin, a white supremacist group using Norse imagery, who had started chapters in Vancouver, where I live. I said things like Odin is the Allfather not the Somefather, and that as a Norse person (I have Norwegian heritage) and a lifelong Pagan, I oppose and resent the usage of my mythology and gods to promote hatred.

Someone was listening. And it probably wasn’t the white supremacists. Continue reading “Odin’s Ordeal”

Prosperity Magic

I’m known among my friends to be ‘good with money’ and also to have ‘freakishly good luck’ with money and work. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do have a strong intuiton for what works in prosperity magic.

One of the best ways I know to review and deepen what I know about a topic is to teach it to others. In the process of preparing to teach a class on prosperity magic in May, I’m reviewing what I know, adding practices and themes from others, and trying them out.

Types of Prosperity Magic

Most types of prosperity magic fall into a few main categories: cleansing, clearing, blessing, envisioning and creating focussing objects. They operate on the general magical principles of making oneself worthy to recieve good things, clearing out the unwanted to make space for the good to flow in, blessing what is already good so it will increase and inviting or summoning good things in. The following is the first in a series of posts about prosperity magic, beginning today with cleansing magic. Continue reading “Prosperity Magic”

Better Paganism Through Composting and Tree Planting

Is environmentalism part of Paganism? Part of Wicca?

Many Pagans believe strongly that environmental conservation is a necessary part of their devotion to the Goddess. However, if you go to Pagan festivals where there are many traditions represented you’ll find that others do not.

I was going to write this all not-judgy, and neutral, analysing the difference based on whether people believe in the Gods as literal beings or abstract concepts, or whether you are a religious Pagan who integrates your spirituality into your everyday life, a ceremonial magician interested primarily in energy workings and magick or a celebratory or ‘mead and cape’ Pagan. This is true, but in my opinion, not very interesting. Continue reading “Better Paganism Through Composting and Tree Planting”

Spring Mysteries Festival Review

Spring Mysteries Festival Poster 2018
Spring Mysteries Festival Poster 2018

I have attended the Spring Mysteries Festival, hosted by the Aquarian Tabernacle Church, many times. It’s really refreshing to be at a large complex multi-day ritual, that is so devotedly and competently done.

Some festivals are the land of the Party Pagan, whose main interest in festivals are in costumes and mead (1). While there are definitely attendees who fit this mold, this is a festival that isn’t shaped for that purpose, something that is a relief to me. Sometimes it feels like the more religious Pagans are few and hard to find. Based in this experience, the sincere dedication to ritual that deeply engages the gods and the participant, clearly and well executed in this festival is a joy. Continue reading “Spring Mysteries Festival Review”

Creating a Beltaine Ritual for Lovers

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7d/Beltane_Bonfire_on_Calton_Hill.JPGBeltane is a Pagan/Wiccan festival of sexuality and fertility, usually celebrated on the evening of April 30th or May 1st.  When celebrated in a group, the sexuality is usually symbolic, represented by dancing around the May pole – which yes, is representing just what you might think that is meant to represent, and the ribbons encasing it, also, exactly what you’d think. Similarly a chalice and blade may form the central imagery in other rituals. While the traditional imagery is heterosexual, this imagery can be adapted to any configuration of humans you enjoy, again, *all* acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals.  When celebrated privately, with just you and your lover, spouse or partner, the symbolism can be more direct, and can be customized to the bodies involved. Continue reading “Creating a Beltaine Ritual for Lovers”

Inadvertently Pagan pop song #1 – Love Can Move Mountains

Mount Aetna, site of the workshop of the God Hēphaistos By BenAveling - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3350813
Mount Aetna, site of the workshop of the God Hēphaistos
By BenAveling – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3350813

One of the nice things about being Pagan is that the forces of life – earth, air, fire, water are held sacred by many people, which means that we can relate spiritually to much of popular culture, particularly music.

As a devotee of the Goddess of Love, many love songs have a double meaning to me. Songs that might seem over the top when sung to or about an actual person, make perfect sense when framed as coming to or from the Goddess of love.

Forge of Vulcan by Antoine Wiertz, 19th century. Public domain.
Forge of Vulcan by Antoine Wiertz, 19th century. Public domain.

I was dancing with some women last night and a song came on called ‘Love can move mountains”. It occurred to me that it works perfectly as a hymn to the power of Aprhodite. The power of love is such that it can transform anything. Aphrodite’s association with her husband Hephaistos, who lives under mount Vesuvious, adds another layer of meaning to the song. While we may at times lose faith in a particular love or experience of love, we cannot lost faith in Love herself.

Here’s the   text of the lyrics, written by Diane Warren and first recorded by Canadian vocalist Celine Dion in 1992

You can listen to her version here.  For a version that is, well, a little less Celine Dion, you can listen to this version sung by the young Sara Niemietz (or click on the album at right to see, stream or buy the album)

Lyrics to Love Can Move Mountains by Diane Warren

Faith
Trust
Love (love)
(Love can)
Love can move mountains
There ain’t a dream
That don’t have the chance to come true now
It just takes a little faith, baby
Anything that we want to do we can do now
There ain’t nothing in our way, baby
Nothing our love couldn’t rise above
We can get through the night
We can get through the light
Long as we got our love to light the way
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
With a little faith
Just a little trust
If you believe in love
Love can move mountains
Believe in your heart
And feel, feel it in your soul
And love, love can
Love can move mountains
Oh yeah, baby
Oceans deep and mountains high
They can’t stop us
Because love is on our side, baby
We can reach the heavens and touch the sky
Just believe it, believe in you and i, baby
If we got love that is strong enough
We can do anything, we’d get through anything
‘Cause through it all, love will always find a way
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Just a little faith
Just a little trust
If you believe in love
Love can move mountains
Believe in your heart
And feel, feel it in your soul
And love, baby, love can
Love can move mountains
You got to feel it, baby (trust love, love can move mountains)
You got to feel it, baby (trust love, love can move mountains)
(You need love)
You got to feel it, baby (trust love, love can move mountains)
Oh yeah
You believe in me
I believe in you
If we believe in each other
Nothing we can’t do
If we got love that is strong enough
Then we’ll find a way
Just a little faith
Just a little trust
If you believe in
Love can move mountains
Believe in your heart
And feel, feel it in your soul
And love, love can
Love can move mountains
Trust love, love can, love can move mountains (you need love baby)
Trust love, love can, love can move mountains (you got to feel it baby)
Love can, love can move mountains
Love (trust love, love can move mountains)
If you believe in me and I believe in you (trust love, love can move mountains)
We can believe in love, baby
Love will find a way (trust love, love can move mountains)
Love will find a way, baby
We’ll believe in each other (trust love, love can move mountains)
Oh, baby
Believe in love (trust love, love can move mountains)
Love can move mountains
Believe if you’re feeling love
Love
You got to believe it baby
You gotta, you gotta, you gotta
You gotta, you gotta, you gotta baby

 

Imbolc, Music and Priestessing a Song

On how sacred attention is everything

Crosóg Bríde: Drumnalost (Bridgid's cross)
Crosóg Bríde: Drumnalost, (c) Louise Price

The Pagan choir I lead was working on a new song for Imbolc a few weeks ago, Lisa Thiel’s Imbolc, from the album Circle of the Seasons. It’s a song for Brigid (pronounced Bridjid or Breed) with the following lyrics:

Blessed Bridget comest thou in
Bless this house and all of our kin
Bless this house, and all of our kin
Protect this house and all within

Blessed Bridget come into thy bed
With a gem at thy heart and a crown on thy head
Awaken the fire within our souls
Awaken the fire that makes us whole

Blessed Bridget, queen of the fire
Help us to manifest our desire
May we bring forth all that’s good and fine
May we give birth to our dreams in time

Blessed Bridget comest thou in
Bless this house and all of our kin
From the source of Infinite Light
Kindle the flame of our spirits tonight

There are several different kinds of Pagans in the choir I lead. Some are experienced singers with little experience priestessing, some are experienced priestesses with little experience singing and performing and some are less  experienced in either.

However, all are game for an experiment, and Pagan music being a largely oral music tradition, we do a lot of experiments with different ways of arranging and mixing the songs to make them more layered and interesting. However, this most recent experiment was quite powerful.

I paired up the members including myself set us each to sing the song in pairs, at our own speed, as if it was (and is) and invocation of Bridgid.

Myself and one other singer, who is a professional singer, very experienced as a singer but less as a priestess,  went into a separate room, grounded and began to sing it, trusting Bridgid to guide us. I asked my partner to sing the song as if she was calling directly to Brigid and invoking the song as a spell. And magic happened. We connected to the energy of the song and inprovised a winding, tight, almost Baltic harmony as we sang the song. I could feel the power of Her flow through both of us an we just followed it.

Encouraged by this success, I went back into the choir room, and we all switched singing partners. My second partner was an experienced priestess whose singing is understandably quite a bit less polished than my first partner. For her my direction to sing the song as an invocation had a quite different flavour. A dedicated and devout priestess, the instruction to sing the song as an invocation to the Goddess Bridgid had the effect of pulling her deeper into the song, making the song real and rich and deep, as if it had been in one dimension before but now was in three.  Her tone was better, her volume and tone varied with the meaning of the song, and it had the meaning she brought to it by her devotion. It was transformed by the presence she brought to it.

I think the lesson in this, from Bridgid, Goddess of Bards after all, is that sacred presence makes everything better, and that when songs (and life) mean something and you really attend to that meaning and connection with the sacred, it transforms what you do.

After we finished singing, we thanked and devoked Bridgid, because She was definitely present.

Imbolc Blessings Everyone.

 

Magic is a perilous art – practical prosperity magic part 2

I realized today my prosperity spell  has taken effect in yet another unforeseen way.  I was doing a tarot reading about a dilemma I have  and received the following cards.

Tarot reading with Magician card in hopes and fears position

In the ‘hopes and fears’ position of this reading, which is notable for it’s long series of major arcana cards, there is the magician card. I was taught to read a major arcana card in this position as fact rather than hope or fear.  I was also taught to read the magician as a card signifying the results of a spell.

The reading is about the proposed sale of my house to developers, for about $900,000 more than it’s assessed value, and about $700,000 more than it’s usual market value.  Because of some recent zoning changes in my area, the land my house sits on has become much more valuable.  No offer has yet been made, but potential purchasers have been expressing interest.

I’ve been anxious about this prospect. Sure, it’s a lot of money, but houses in Vancouver are expensive, and what will I replace my home with? As well, I’m an orphan, and as a result of having lost my family at a young age, my homes take on extra importance, as I have no other anchors. This house has a lot of loving labour put into it, and a lot of memories. It’s the home I created and shared with my ex partner of 14 years, and selling it will let go of the physical space of that history. The contract I signed three days ago, one week after casting my spell, says that if my price is met by a potential buyer, I will sell the house. I have declared to the forces of life that I will harvest this fruit if it is ripe.

This is the perilous nature of magic. Once I have cast a spell, I do not know exactly how it will fall, and I have consented to it’s completion. “She changes everything She touches, and everything She touches, changes”. This is particularly true of spells, for they give consent to the Divine to speed up the natural forces of causation in your life.  A cast spell is like that William Hutchison Murray quote inspired by Goethe:

“the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”

It is fall, when even the trees let go of what was once beautiful and full of life.

As witches, it is our job to make compost of it to nourish the new and the living.