Saturday, September 7, 2013

Make Your Own Magickal Broom

Here is how I made my own Broomstick.  I am sure you can find different tutorials online for different ways of doing it, I didn't look at any of those I just pretty much made this up as I went along and it turned out pretty good!  It was fun and simple!



What you will need;
* A long stick or tree branch found in nature, or a wooden dowel you can find at a craft store.
* Long straw, thin branches, or Raffia to use as the bristles.  (I used a combination of Raffia and the dry needles that fall off my Palo Verde tree)
* String, cord, or yarn for wrapping the bristles to the broom handle.  Lots of it!
* Hot Glue gun or super glue to help hold things in place.
* Scissors
* Optionally you can use ribbon, bells, feathers, and charms for decorating your broom.
* If desired some paint or markers to decorate the handle.

To begin;
Cut the Raffia into the length you desire for bristles.  Gather a hand full of the Raffia, straw, or whatever you are using for bristles and wrap string tightly around one end to make a small bundle, like this;



You will need 5 or 6 of these bundles for your broom.  Make them bigger or make more of them if you want the bristle part of your broom to be more full.



Next;
When your bundles are ready, take one of them and apply glue to the end of your broomstick.  Then use another long length of string to wrap and tie (tightly) the bundle to the bottom of the broomstick.  Repeat this process for each bundle, all the way around your broom.  When you have all the bundles attached, you may want to wrap more string, or ribbon around the entire base of the broomstick, again applying glue just to make sure everything stays in place nicely.



Decorating;
You may wish to wrap more ribbon or string to the top few inches of the broom handle, for decoration.  If desired, hang bells, charms, or feathers from string to the top of the broomstick.  You can also add these to the bottom to hang around the bristles.  Additionally, you can paint or draw. designs, symbols, words, or runes onto your broom handle.

My son's decorated broom.


my decorated broom, bristle end

My decorated broom handle, complete with butterfly ribbon, bells, and faerie & feather charms
You will want to bless and consecrate your broom if you plan on using it for ritual or household magick.  It is also traditional to name your broom, give her a name that makes you feel happy and peaceful!  For blessing I would suggest smudging your broom with sage, perhaps anointing with some blessing oil, and a quick and simple prayer or chant in which you dedicate the purpose of the broom to be used for positivity.

My little wizard with his new broom and wand! 


Air Magick - Broomsticks

Brooms have long been associated with Witches and Witchcraft.  Everyone has seen the images of a Witch flying through a moonlit night on her broomstick.  While most of these stories can probably be traced back to the old days of Witch Hunting and The Burning Times as stories meant to scare children and help people "identify" witches, there are many magical uses for brooms that are very much alive and well for the modern witch.  Broomsticks, also called "besoms", are traditionally used to purify and cleanse a sacred space before ritual.  Sweeping away the negative energy in a circle to help create a sacred and protected place for rituals, and meditation.  They are also commonly used for energetic cleansing of a home, sweeping away any negativity that may have gathered in your house.  Broomsticks are also associated with dreaming and Astral travel, which is probably how they became associated with "flying".

The broom can be used for cleaning, decoration, magick, and ritual. It is suggested that you have more than one broom for your home; one for the daily cleaning and sweeping, and one or more others for rituals or magick. (Though the first, for cleaning, can also be magickal, it is not the same one you would use during ritual, but both can be used for sweeping away negative energy.)

The broom is commonly seen as the symbol of the female witch and represents her vehicle for traveling into dreamtime, astral travel, and her power over her realm - the Home and Hearth. Since it is mainly used in purification and blessing, the broom is commonly associated with the element of water; thus is also used in all types of spells including love, dreams, astral travel, and psychic workings. Yet others see the broom as associated with the element of Air and align it more with masculine energy because of it's phallic appearance.

Generally the most common use for a broom or "besom" is to ritualistically cleanse and area for magick. In many Wiccan traditions (though not limited to such), a ritual is begun by gently sweeping the area (the circle) before the altar is set up - sweeping away any negative astral energy. For more, see the *Broom Purification of Space Before Ritual * post

It is customary for a witch to name her broom - thus imbuing it with personal energy by respecting it as an intimate familiar. If you have a permanent altar, the customary placement for your magickal broom's "Home" would be the left side of your altar. (stored bristle side up for luck) If you don't have a permanent altar set up, your broom can be stored behind a door, hanging on a door or wall, under your bed, or wrapped in a cloth and stored in a closet; somewhere that it can be untouched and undisturbed between ritual uses.

Sweeping
The simple act of sweeping can be very magickal. When using a new broom for the first time, you should sweep something into the home, otherwise, you may sweep your luck right out the door.
If you have a fireplace, you should always sweep towards the fireplace. Otherwise, you can sweep in any direction except for towards the door. Some people choose to sweep the room's perimeters in a clockwise circle, beginning at either the East or the West, to enhance the cleansing energy of sweeping. It is also believed that sweeping at night may bring bad luck or prevent good fortune. This belief seems to be based on ancient folklore that says sweeping disturbs the spirits that walk the floors at night time. More on broom folklore can be found in this post- Broomsticks ~ Many Uses and Lore ~

Making or decorating your own Broom
A traditional magickal broom is crafted from a wooden staff (preferably Ash), Birch twigs, and Willow binding. Though other materials can be used such as Straw, Pine Needles, Lemon Balm, Elder Stalks, Mallow Stalks, etc. You may want to decorate the handle with sacred symbols such as a crescent moon, runes, or sigils of protection or cleansing. Feathers, bells, other herbs, or shells, can also be hung from your broom to further empower it for magickal cleansing and blessing purposes. If a broom cannot be made, you can decorate a store-bought one with any of these suggested items, and cleanse it or bless it for your purpose. The following inscription is suggested in the book "The Magical Household" by Cunningham and Harrington;

On one side of the broom, with the words traveling toward the bristles, write "I sweep in Luck, Blessings, and Prosperity." On the other side of the broom, with the words traveling away from the bristles, "I Sweep away Negativity, Evil, and Poverty."

Here is a list of some Lore, Beliefs, and Magickal Uses associated with Broomsticks (Besoms)

•It is considered unlucky to buy a broomstick in the month of August.

•Bringing an old broom into a new house is bad luck. If you are moving, buy a new broom and leave the old broom at the old residence. (this applies to the brooms you clan with, but you can take your magickal brooms or decorative brooms with you... just cleanse them or bless them before using them in your new home.)

•When you first use a new broom, you should first sweep something into the house. This invites luck and fortune into your home. Otherwise, you just may be sweeping away your luck! It is also believed that if you make wish the first time you use a new broom, it will come true.

•If a broom falls from your hands while you sweep, make a wish before you pick it up.

•Sweeping at night is considered unlucky, as it disturbs the spirits who roam the floors as others sleep.

•If a broom falls across a doorway, you will soon go on a journey. Pick it up quickly without stepping over it for a safe journey.

•If a broom falls anywhere else in your home, you can expect company.

•To bring rain, stand outside and swing a broom in the air over your head.

•Place our broom on your front porch during a lightning storm to protect from lightning stikes.

•If you want to get married, jump over a broomstick nine times - you will be exchanging vows within the next year.

•Placing a broom across the top of any doorway in your home allows your departed friends and family to speak to you if they so choose.

•For protection while you sleep, lay a broom beneath you bed. a small broom tucked under your pillow is said to protect against nightmares.

•If you must be away from home for some time, and want to return home to an energetically clean and safe bed, tuck a broom into it, laying the bristles on the pillow.

•Two brooms crossed and hung on a wall or nailed to a door guard the house, as does a broom placed on the ground before the door. A broom standing behind a door (bristles up will guard and protect your home and prevent from unwanted visitors.


*sources*
"To Ride a Silver Broomstick" by Silver Raven Wolf
"Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner" by Scott Cunningham
"The Magical Household" by Scott Cunningham and David Harrington

I found this beautiful Sweeping Spell online, but I don't know it's original source or author
This is a Sweeping spell I wrote;

While sweeping Widdershins (counterclockwise) and finishing by sweeping out the door, chant and repeat;
"Sweep, sweep, away from here
Anger, worry, negativity, fear.
Sweep, sweep, sweep away
negativity now kept at bay!"

Then sweeping in from the door and clockwise around the room, chant and repeat;
"Sweep, sweep, welcome in
Love and Health to stay within.
Sweep, sweep, sweep again
Prosperity and Blessings now begin!"

Here is a photo of my hand-made Magickal Broom.  In the next post I am going to show a tutorial on how to make one of your own!



Sunday, July 28, 2013

Spirit-Guide Sunday; Orangutan

I recently got a new deck of Oracle cards; "Animal Messages" by Susie Green.  It's a beautiful and fun deck with many different animals and the spiritual messages of each.  Today I was part of an online conversation with some friends about Spirit-Animals, Animal Totems, and spirit guides, so I thought it would be a perfect day to pull a card from this deck and share it on my blog.  Also, if you follow FlyLady, you know that Sundays are "Renew Your Spirit Day" when you are encouraged to take some time for yourself.  This is similar to pampering day; pampering can be a way to renew your spirit; but also a day to focus on doing something that rewards, relaxes, and renews you on the inside as well as the outside.  With all that in mind, I decided to draw a card from the Animal Messages oracle deck.  I asked for an animal Spirit-Guide to present itself, not only to me but to my friends who read my blog.  I asked for this animal to bring us all a message that will help us through this coming week.

ORANGUTAN



"Working to live joyously, not living to work."

"Orangutan, utterly content in his lush rain forest, sees no pressing need to swing on agile limbs from his soft arboreal bed at dawn.  He rises when refreshed, stretching great arms before breakfasting unhurriedly on ripe fruits, and only then carrying on with the business of his day.  For Orangutan understands the true value of time and counsels that you use it wisely.  Are you working to live, or living merely to work?  Adjust your priorities lest time slips silently away, taking pleasure with it."

For me, the sentence on the card really hit home.  How often am I living to work, rather than working to live?  I tend to base my entire day's schedule on whether I am working or not, often choosing to put off doing things I enjoy because "I have to work later", or "I just got off work."  That's not right!  Yes, work is a necessity, but I can't continue to put off what I enjoy just because I work, the whole point of working should be so to support the life and the joys that come before & after I clock out!
Another thought I am having here; Orangutan is telling me that I should take more joy and pleasure in the work that I do at home.  Yep, the housework.  Because it should be a joy to take care of my home and family... because I love them!  And when I get the basic and necessary things done, I will have more time for leisure!  Not that I need to rush around to get things done... (I don't think I have ever seen or heard of an orangutan being in a hurry for anything)... but more to simply enjoy each moment and live fully in the moment for each task that I undertake.  It's not about being lazy or slow, it's about being in the moment and really living each moment with joy and pleasure.  Even when we have an unpleasant task to do, we can take joy in it by remembering that; 1) it won't take forever, and 2) we will feel better and have time to relax once it is done.

Here are some tasks for you to undertake this week to embrace the message of Orangutan.

  • Go to bed earlier!  You need your sleep!  Don't deprive yourself of this!
  • If you need to, sleep in late!
  • Eat more fresh fruits.  Take time to really be in the moment when you eat.  Let yourself be aware of the sensations and tastes of eating and nurturing your body.  Try not to be thinking about what you need to do next while you are eating; be aware.
  • Turn on some fun and happy music while you are working or doing housework.  Just like with eating, try to live in the moment and be aware of the task at hand rather than thinking or worrying too much about what you have to do next.  Allow yourself to feel joy and pride at the completion of each of your tasks.
  • Take pleasure in some simple pampering and self-care.  Nurture your body and spirit so that you can nurture others in your life.  When you reward yourself with relaxation and leisure, really enjoy it!
I hope you all have a wonderful week and allow yourself to Work To Live Joyously!  In the words of the Discworld's most famous Orangutan; The Librarian, "Oook."

Friday, July 5, 2013

Air Magick - Insect Guides

Like birds, Flying Insects are Spirit Guides and Totem animals that are related to the element of Air.  Many people have a strong dislike of these animal allies, but if you can put aside your fears and "icky" feelings you may find that we actually have a lot to learn from the amazing lives of insects!  Similar to the suggested exercise of bird observing, take some time to notice and observe the types of insects that you encounter on a regular basis.  Learn about their life cycles and how they live and interact with their environment and other insects and animals.  You might find that the insects around you on a daily basis have a message for you!!


Transformation

Most insects go through some kind of major transformation.  A caterpillar goes through a metamorphosis to become a butterfly.  Flies transform from maggots to flies.  Cicadas and Locusts go through a metamorphosis that can actually take up to 10 years to complete.  When you encounter flying insects, ask yourself what kind of transformation you are going through.  What stage of your transformation are you in?  Are you still a caterpillar, preparing to make a chrysalis?  Are you inside your cocoon, undergoing dramatic changes in solitude?  Are you emerging from your cocoon and learning how to spread your wings and fly?  Keep in mind that sometimes it's hard to recognize that we are undergoing a period of change, and even harder to see the end result when we are going through pain or hard times.  The caterpillar probably doesn't know that it will one day become a butterfly... it just knows when it is time to go into a cocoon.  The transformation of insects can teach us a lot about faith and trust in our own instincts and intuition.  If we fight the change and just continue along our path, ignoring our inner urges to transform, we might miss out on our chance to become a butterfly!


Community

Insects like Bees and Wasps can teach us a lot about community and communication.  Insects that live in colonies have a complex yet beautiful and simple structure in which each insect has a specific job.  They may be scouts, harvesters, protectors, or breeders.  We all have roles we play in our lives, sometimes for just a short period of time and sometimes for extended periods.  Think about the roles you play in your life and whether you are giving those roles the attention, dedication, and energy they need.  Colony insects also have a lot to teach us about communication.  A scout bee will locate a food source, fly back to the hive and communicate with the harvesting bees with a series of body movements and touch.  In a beautiful dance the scout bee will give exact directions to the other bees, who will then fly out to collect the pollen to bring back to the hive.  If you are encountering bees or other colony type insects, think about your own methods of communication, and how you are vocalizing or expressing yourself to the people in your family or work place.  Proper communication can make all the difference in our group interactions!

Insect Totem & Spirit Guide Meanings

If you are interested in learning about the spiritual messages of some insects, check out this page I found!  Remember to pay attention to your surroundings and you will find that the element of Air is speaking to you quite clearly and frequently, with the air, the wind, the weather, birds, and insects!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Owl & Raven; Common Totem Birds for Witches & Pagans

Common Totem Birds for Witches, Wiccans, and Pagans
 
While these are in no way the only Totem Birds for Pagans, Owl and Raven seem to be very commonly named as a totem animal by most people that I talked to.  So I decided to outline the spiritual message of these two birds here.
 
I asked some of my friends on facebook to share their connection to birds, and two friends shared stories about Owls.  Here is what they said;
 

SHEILA -
For me, my owl spirit guide comes to remind me to trust my intuition...that inner voice that I sometimes choose to ignore! He also reminds me to protect what is mine and to not take anything for granted...to protect my property and my family, in essence protecting myself. He is also there to help me learn about myself in the deepest sense and to learn more about my spirit and to push myself spiritually. I'm blessed, I think, to be able to see the truth or lies in people that others just don't see and I'll be extremely sensitive to how people are feeling...really feeling! 
My spirit guide doesn't always come to me in reality, many times he will come to me through symbolism or synchronicity or dreams and visions. I've learnt over the years though, that when he chooses to make himself known in the physical sense...I pay attention to what he has to say as he's there to keep me safe and warn me of things to come.
I think I shared with you at the time, that for about two weeks before my Mom passed away, I woke almost every night at about 2am to the hooting of the owl in the tree outside. In the beginning it was infrequently, but as her time drew nearer, it was every night! Since my Mom's been gone, so has the owl! It's as though he was there to let me know that her time was near and that he would be there to guide her spirit to the other world.”


SUMMER –
The owl is my totem. Usually I will be in need of a message or clarity when one shows itself. Whether by way of a distant hoot or a close fly by.”
 
Message of the Owl, from Animal Totems
Owl is the Mystery of silent wisdom, heightened vision and hearing and the ability to pinpoint subtleties of motives, actions and people. He teaches the power of silence and contemplation and the balance of waiting and acting. When action is taken it is swift and exacting. Owl teaches the ability to extract secrets from within, so listen carefully. He also aids in clearing deceptions - within and without. Are you trusting your instincts about people? Are you listening to your surroundings? Do you have patience? Owl has much wisdom in teaching how to see and sense the world around you along with determination and patience in waiting for the opportune moment.

 

More on Owl Totem Animal: (from Spirit Animal)
 If you have the owl as a totem or spirit animal, you’re likely to have the ability to see what’s usually hidden to most. When the owl guides you, you can count on the power of this spirit animal to see beyond illusion and deceit to access the true reality. Owl spirit animals also offer wisdom about the unknown and life’s magic.

What is the owl spirit animal meaning?

Common meanings for the owl are:

  • Intuition, ability to see what other do not see
  • The presence of the owl announces change
  • Capacity to see beyond deceit and masks
  • Wisdom
  • Owl spirit animals are associated with curiosity for the unknown, life mysteries
  • The traditional meaning of the owl spirit animal is the announcer of death, most likely symbolic like a life transition, change
 
 
The owl spirit animal and the power to see in the dark
The owl sees in the dark: As a spirit animal, the owl guides you to see beyond the veil of deception and illusion; it helps see what’s kept hidden. It also symbolizes the ability to cut through illusions and see the real meaning of someone’s action or state of mind.
When the owl is one of your power animals, you have a strong intuition and can access information and wisdom that’s usually hidden to most. The spirit of this animal encourages you to look beyond deceiving appearances into the true reality of a situation or a person’s motives.
The owl is a strong spirit guide for discernment and making decision based solid foundations. Call on the owl totem when you have to assess a situation or are going through confusing times.

The unknown and the owl power animal

If you have an owl as a totem or spirit animal, you probably like to explore the unknown. The mysteries of life are a fascinating field of interest. As the owl guides your steps, you are likely to develop an appreciation for life’s magic.
When the owl shows up in your life, listen and look out for the subtle signs that are around you. Your animal spirit guide is a great helper to be attentive to what usually goes below your radar, but is now of particular importance.
The owl is also a guide to uncover your hidden potential and abilities. Check whether you need to reveal more of your intuitive nature.
Night time is particularly auspicious for your creativity, so take the time to focus your creative energy then.

Owl spirit animals as messengers of change

Owl spirit animals are symbolic of death in many traditions. In most cases however, it should not be taken literally: If the owl is associated with death, it can be viewed a symbolic death, meaning a transition in life, important changes that are taking place or about to happen.
When the owl shows up in your life, pay attention to the winds of change. Perhaps you are about to leave some old habits, a situation that no longer serve you or bring something new in your life.
 
 
 

 
 
I also had several people I know mention a connection with Ravens. 

Meg said;

“My husband's spirit guide the raven comes to my dreams when we will be having real upheaval in our lives, each PCS shortly before orders, and deployment before it has happened”



The spirit message of Ravens (From Animal Totems) is;
Raven is about the magical act of creation, internal magic and transformation along with miracle of a rebirth. Raven tells us to be aware of omens that become a harbinger of the mystical and exotic. He can show how to stir life without fear and teach to balance life's playful aspects. Raven also brings in the light of awareness and knowledge with opportunities of great changes that are in store for you. Raven will teach how to usher in these new energies. He shows how to dive into the depths of the inner being to illuminate the true self. Are you ready to uncover past conflicts and long forgotten emotional issues? Raven will teach how to transform your spirit. From the deepest part of you healing begins. What has been in darkness will now emerge into the light.

Some other info on Ravens I found;



Ravens, and to a lesser degree Crows, are very magical creatures. The Raven with it's plumage as dark as the void between the stars, is a citizen of the afterworld. It travels between the worlds of the living and the dead.

 Being native to both worlds, The Raven naturally has great knowledge and Power to effect transformations.

Raven is associated as a Wicca symbol because of this power to move between the worlds, and create new realities as she chooses. If Raven appears, you are about to experience a change in consciousness, Raven is the messenger that carries all energy flows of ceremonial magic between the ceremony itself and the intended destination.

 Although crows and ravens are part of the same family (Corvus), they’re not exactly the same bird. Typically, ravens are quite a bit bigger than crows, and they tend to be a bit shaggier looking. The raven actually has more in common with hawks and other predatory birds than the standard, smaller-sized crow.
 
No matter what your Animal Totems or current animal Spirit Guides are, meditating on the meaning and lessons of Owl and Raven can help deepen your intuition and help you tune into the realm of the Spirit Guides.  Adding a representation of an owl or raven to your altar can help you through changes and aid your magickal workings or rituals by adding the element of Mystery and reminding you to let your spirit soar high above your normal range of consciousness to contact the Divine and your Higher Self. 
 


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Air Studies - Connecting with Birds

There is a strong (and obvious) connection between the Air Element and Birds.  Most people, on initial thought, might think that birds are connected with the Air Element because they fly and travel through the skies.  While this is true, there are a few much deeper connections to the Air Element with our winged and feathered friends.  Below are some common Air Element associations and how they are connected with the world of Birds.

Communication
Birds are among the most vocal animals on the planet.  If you take some time to observe birds you will notice that they are almost constantly communicating.  They chirp "hello's" to other birds, sing songs to attract a mate, give warning cries to alert birds of predators, warn other birds away in territorial disputes or fights over a mate, and have various different songs and sounds for different moods, times of day, and seasons.  Birds can teach us a lot about communication and the power of words and music or song.

Spring
Many types of birds are strongly associated with Spring, the season commonly associated with the Air Element.  This is because in the spring the activity of birds becomes more apparent as they return from the southern areas where they have spent the winter months, search for a mate, build their nests, lay eggs, and bring food back to their nests for their young.  The spring symbolizes a time of rebirth, renewal, and fertility and the vibrant energy and activity of birds during this season can remind us to embrace our own time of renewal, rebirth, creativity, spring cleaning, fertility, romantic encounters, and more.

Intuition and Empathy
Birds need to be highly aware of their environment and their immediate surroundings in order to survive.  They have the advantage of being able to fly into higher branches, housetops, or telephone poles in order to get a different perspective or view of what is going on.  Even when they are not high in the branches, (and including flightless birds) they are always looking around, listening to the sounds around them, watching and observing.  They seem to have a strong sense of intuition as well... probably gained from this heightened sense of awareness.  Birds can teach us awareness of our environment and those around us which can lead us to a heightened sense of intuition and Empathy.

Divination
Many legends tell of Gods, Goddesses, Saints, Shamans, Priestesses and great "Seers" receiving messages from birds.  Birds would be messengers of the Gods or Angels, bringing warning or foretelling of some future event, visiting people in their dreams with some kind of message.  Birds were also thought to be able to travel between the earth and spiritual realms, to bring messages from our deceased loved ones. Because of their association in Myth and Legend with Divination and messages from the Divine, and because of what birds teach us about intuition and empathy, birds can help us in our endeavors to learn about and practice Divination.

Observing and Connecting With Birds
No matter where you live; somewhere rural or in a busy city.... there are plenty of birds in your home environment to observe and learn about.  Spending some time observing the birds that live in your neighborhood can help you develop a deeper connection with the nature and land on which you live.  Many who live in the city can feel disconnected from nature, and observing birds can help you regain a sense of connection with nature around you as well as helping you see that even in a city there is an ecosystem - and you are a part of it!
Take some time to observe the birds around your home.  What kinds do you see and hear frequently?  What trees do they favor?  What are they doing in the morning, vs their behavior in the afternoon or evening.  Watch how they interact with other birds in the area.  Listen to their song and voices until you can begin to recognize what bird you are hearing, even when you can't see it.  Also familiarize yourself with what the different bird sounds might mean... if you don't know.... Guess!  Use your intuition to tell you what the birds are saying to each other.  If you want, keep a journal of your bird observations.

Different birds have different spiritual meanings and we can learn a lot about the spiritual energy of our home environment by learning about the birds that live and interact around us on a regular basis. Occasionally, one of these birds might have a special message for you.  If a bird is watching you, chirps at you, flies or lands closer to you or your home or window than normal, swoops past you, etc... you may want to look more deeply into that birds' spiritual meaning and lesson.  As you develop a closer connection to the nature of your home habitat through observing birds, you will more easily notice when a Bird Spirit is speaking to you.  Also, when you notice a bird that is not commonly seen in your immediate area, this bird could be bringing you a special message as well.  Pay close attention to these messages, meditate on them and journal on them.

One of my favorite websites for looking up the Spiritual Meanings of birds is Animal Totems.  There are many different books and websites about the spiritual messages of animals, do some research and see what meaning seems to resonate with you and the birds you interact with.  Also, if you are keeping a journal of the birds you observe, you may begin to come up with your own personal meanings for birds in your life based on your intuition and what is going on in your life.

Spirit Guides and Animal Totems
There is a difference between your Spirit Guide Animals and your Animal Totems (and yes, you can have more than one of each).  Your Totem Animal might be an animal you have never physically seen or interacted with, but have always felt a strong connection to.  If there are certain animals and birds that you have dreamed about, thought about, had a desire to see or learn about, or an animal that you like to draw or write about, or collect images of (and generally have a strong connection with or a strong "draw" to this animal) these might be your Animal Totems.  You can do a meditation and ask your Animal Totem to reveal itself to you...relax, deepen and steady your breathing, imagine yourself sitting in nature and wait for your Animal Totem to reveal itself.  It may come to you and speak to you, or lead you down a path and show you something.  Afterwards, thank your Totem Animal for revealing itself to you and giving you a message.
Your Spirit Guide Animal would be an animal that comes to you for a specific reason or a certain time in your life.  This will most often be in the form of an animal you actually see, or an animal you dream about.  Your Spirit Guide Animals can be multiple, and change from time to time.  Last Spring I had several Mockingbirds nesting in trees in my neighborhood.  They would swoop down and land in my front yard right in front of me and chirp at me.  At that time, I needed to learn the message of Mocking Bird Spirit, and they were my Spirit Guide Bird for a time.  This spring, there have been no Mockingbirds in my neighborhood, but there have been Wrens and Ravens.... doing the same thing; landing in my yard and watching me or chirping at me, so currently my Spirit Guide Birds are Wrens and Mockingbirds.  This is an example of how our Spirit Guides can change and come to us at different times.... whereas our Animal Totems will hold a special place in our hearts and minds for a lifetime, even if we only see them in art or dreams.  Being observant of your environment and the animals around you, wherever you go, will help you see and notice your Spirit Guides.

Since we are studying the Air Element and specifically Birds, make a short list of birds that might be your Totem Animals.  Are there birds you have always been fascinated with?  Birds that you collect images of and figurines of?  Or, try a quiet meditation and imagine yourself in a meadow.  Ask specifically for your Bird Animal Totem to reveal itself to you and wait.  In your Journal or Book of Shadows make a list of Birds that you feel might be your Animal Totems, and also a list of birds that have from time to time appeared to you as Spirit Guides.



Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wind Magick - Dust on The Wind

Dust, Powder & Ashes on The Wind

Have you ever wondered what to do with the ashes left over from burning herbs and incense after a spell, ritual, or smudging?  A very simple way to boost the power of your magickal working and dispose of those ashes is to place them on a plate or a shallow dish, take them outside and hold them up where the wind will catch them and carry them away.  Say a simple prayer or blessing to ask the Air the carry the remnants of your spell away on the winds to be purified and blessed.  If it's not windy, you can use your breath to blow the ashes out of the plate or out of your palm.  Or, you can simply leave the plate outdoors and wait for the winds to rise and carry the ashes away in their own time.

Setting a mix of crushed herbs outside for the winds to blow away can be a spell or blessing ritual within itself.  Choose herbs based on the type of energy you wish to add to your spell.... and dry them and crush them.  Stir them in a clockwise direction with your dominant hand and feel the energy of your desire flowing into the mixture, visualize light flowing from above you, into the crown of your head, down your arm and into the mixture of herbs and spices, then take the mixture outside and release it to the wind.  Let go of your worries about how and when things will happen, and just trust that the winds will carry your desire to the right person or place to set things in motion.

Cascarilla Powder can be added to any of these blends of spices, herbs, or ashes to help carry the energy of the herbs to the Astral Realm.  Cascarilla Powder is made of Egg Shells.  Legend has it that Witches used to travel through the air in egg shells, and Cascarilla Powder is a very simple yet old ingredient for powders that are said to promote Astral Travel.  Simply save your egg shells, place them on a cookie sheet and bake them in the oven at 350 degrees (F) for 10 minutes until they are lightly browned.  Wait until they cool and crush them into a fine powder, stirring clockwise and asking for/ visualizing blessings of Astral Travel being contained in the eggshell powder.  Mix some cascarilla powder with any of your ashes or blends of powder and release it to the winds as described above.


Wind Magick - Easy Wind Sock Craft!

Wind Sock Craft

You can make a simple yet beautiful "Wind Sock" to hang in your garden or on your front porch.  Watching it sway and blow in the wind will help you be more aware of the wind and breezes, or the sometimes subtle presence of Sylphs and Wind Sprites or other Air Elementals.  It can be a beautiful addition to your garden or porch, and also an aid in simple wind awareness meditation.

You need;
Construction paper or colored cardstock (scrapbook) paper.
Optional markers and stickers to decorate the paper however you want.
A Stapler and staples
Yarn or string
Streamer Paper (the long ribbons of crate paper used for decorating for parties)

Step 1:  Decorate the paper however you want.  I drew a simple cloud and swirls to represent the four winds, and decorated with stickers of birds, butterflies, fairies and flowers.

Step 2: Roll the paper and use the stapler to fasten it together into a cylinder shape.

Step 3: use a hole punch and put four holes around the top of the cylinder.  Tie the yarn or string into each hole (equal lengths) to make the part you will hang the wind sock up with.


 Step Four: Cut equal lengths of the streamer paper for the "tails" of the wind sock.  Use the stapler to attach the lengths of streamer paper to the bottom portion of the wind sock.



Step 5: Hang your wind sock in your garden or wherever you want and watch it blow in the breeze!


Wind Sock Magick
You can also bless or enchant your wind socks for magickal purposes.  I made a smaller one and decorated it with Air Element Symbols.  I will keep this one inside and hang it over my altar when I am doing Air Element type spells or rituals, when the moon is in an Air Sign, or when I am doing Air Element meditations.  I can open a window or turn on an indoor fan to help it move and bring wind energy inside my home.  You can make different variations for indoor wind socks if you want... get creative and you can make some fro home protection, creativity, fresh air, blessed communication, whatever purpose you desire and hang them inside of windows or where they might move or dance from the air of room fans, vents, ceiling fans, etc.


Wind Sock Wish Spell
Make a wind sock and use it in this simple Wishing spell.  Go back to step 1 of creating your wind sock.  After you have decorated your wind sock, preferably with Air element representations, turn the paper over.  On the side that will be the inside of the cylinder, write your wish.  Be specific because the Air Elementals tend to be very literal.  Write your wishes, take a few deep breaths and visualize those wishes coming true.  Continue with the other steps of making the wind sock.  Then take your wind sock outside and say this prayer as you hang it up;

"Elementals of the Air,
Hear my wish - it is clear!
God and Goddess Blessed Be;
The Wind shall carry my wishes to Thee!
Wind that blows set my wishes free
to return threefold to me!
As I will, so it shall be
An it harm none, So Mote It Be!"

Spend some time sitting and watching your wind sock blow in the breeze.  Visualize the wind blowing through the center of your wind sock, where your wish is written, and taking your wish and carrying it away on the breeze to be granted.  Thank the Air Elementals for helping to carry your wish out to the Divine Spirit.  Every time you see your wind sock blowing in the wind, trust that your wish is in the process of coming true and will be apparent to you soon.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wind Chime Magick

WIND CHIME MAGICK

As a continuation of our study of the Air Element and the Winds, I thought I would share with you some info and ideas about using Wind chimes for Magick.

Hanging wind chimes around your home and garden is considered very good Feng-Shui, as the sounds of the chimes help clear the energy of negative vibrations and attract positive energy to your home environment.  You can bless and enchant a set of wind chimes to hang outside and transform the energy of the wind into whatever you need!  Look for a set of wind chimes that has a pleasing sound to you, place it on your Air Element Altar, light a few candles and visualize and/or meditate on your desire.  You can bless your set of wind chimes for home protection, communication, clear-thinking, good luck, prosperity, or to invite faeries and sylphs to your home and garden.  If you can find a set of wind chimes with birds, butterflies, dragonflies, or fairies, this can be even better for inviting air-element types of energies (renewal, spring, fresh beginnings, clear thinking and communication, music, divination, etc) but any set of wind chimes will do.  The ringing of the bells from the chimes is a music created by the movement of the winds... which can clear, purify, and transform the energy in and around your home with it's gentle frequency and vibration.  Below are a few ideas for spells and blessings for wind chimes around your home:

Wind Chime Spell for Home Blessing
Here is a Wind Chime spell by Ellen Dugan from the book "Elements of Witchcraft".  Say this prayer as you hang your wind chimes outside after you have blessed them and empowered them with your intentions for home protection and good luck;

"Magickal wind chimes, now be for me
a charm for good luck and prosperity.
As the chimes ring out, a spell they'll weave,
all dread and negativity now must leave!
By the power of the sylphs and faeries,
as I do will it, so now it shall be."
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Spell to Attract a Wind Sprite
This is a spell to attract a Wind Sprite to visit your home and garden, from the book "The Fairy Bible" by Teresa Moorey.

"Wind Sprites are the carefree gypsies of fairyland.  Storm-riders, whisperers, and mischief-makers, they bring the balm of the fragrant breeze and the rousing blast of the tempest.  They teach that all is light and changeable, yet they also bring clarity and sharpness of mind.  You may invite Wind Sprites into your life, but do not attempt to bind them to you -- that would destroy the gifts they bring.  You will need wind chimes and a length of ribbon.  Wind chimes of bamboo will invite a gentle, thoughtful sprite who will encourage reflection.  Crystal chimes will attract a highly evolved sprite to help you achieve greater detachment.  Metal chimes will attract a creative sprite who will help you achieve change.  Choose a windy day and hang your wind chimes securely in a tree or near a window.  Close your eyes and visualize the gifts you would like to receive from your sprite.  Feel the breeze blow on your face and say;

Wind-Sprite flying light and high,
I call to you, draw nigh, draw nigh
My chimes a home for you shall be,
Ever welcome, ever free

Listen for your chimes to ring to alert you that your sprite has arrived.  Welcome the sprite by tying the ribbon to the upper string of the chimes, being careful not to restrict their swaying and ringing.  Thank your sprite for being present.  Whenever you feel the need  of the gifts of the wind-sprites, stir the chimes with your hand or sit near them and listen to them blowing in the breeze, let them refresh your spirit and mind with their breeze and music."
My wind chimes hanging over my fairy garden.  I added yellow ribbon, yellow feathers,  & painted on some runes

another shot of my chimes above my fairy garden.  Runes & air element symbols painted on it, feathers attached, and a fairy door charm hanging from the ribbon.

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Wind Chime Spell for Bringing Good News to Your Door

From "Magical Spells For Your Home" by Ann-Marie Gallagher.  For this spell, you will bless your Wind Chimes at your altar, calling upon Athena - Goddess of Communication and then hang them outside your front door.   You will need three feathers, some yellow ribbon, lavender oil and a yellow candle.

Put some lavender scented essential oil in an oil burner with some water, light a yellow candle and say;

Athena, Goddess of Communication, 
Empower and bless my spell
to bring good news to my door,
with the swiftness of a bird in flight, 
Good fortune to ensure.

Using one length of ribbon, tie the first feather securely to any thread of the wind chime and say;

Happy news, find your way
to my home, begin today!

Tie the second feather to another thread of the chime with ribbon and say;

Bright music, sacred sound
Evil here is never found

Tie the third feather to another thread of the chime with ribbon and say;

Lucky Breeze, happy din
Summon light to flow within

Hang your wind chime over your front door or on your front porch near the door where breeze or wind will frequently stir it to action.
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Air Blessing Protection Wind Chimes

I found this spell at Pebble's Spiritual Cave, as well as different variations on the spell using the same prayer on a couple other websites as well.  Find, make, or buy a new set of wind chimes.  Before you hang them up, charge them and empower them with protection using the following spell.  Place the chimes on your altar and see them in their still and motionless state.  Wave your projective hand or wand over them, visualizing bright white light flowing into the chimes until they are glowing with power.  Say;


"Wind Chimes,
Spell Rhymes,
Spell Chimes,
Wind Rhymes,
Air Primes,
Spell Chimes,
Nine times Nine"

Hold them up in front of you and blow on them or sway them to activate the ringing and activate the spell.  Hang them outside and visualize the sounds reflecting the white light around them, driving away negativity and attracting positive energy.

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Wind Chimes for Good Dreams
I found a set of wind chimes made with dream-catchers.  I bought them to hang outside my children's bedroom window and I wrote this blessing prayer to empower the chimes and dream-catchers to help my children sleep soundly and keep away the bad dreams, and keep them safe at night.

All through the night,
help us sleep tight.
Chimes that ring,
sweet dreams now bring.
Winds that stir,
bring blessings here.
Good Dreams through the night,
until Morning's Light!

The beautiful dream catcher wind chimes I found!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Air Elementals - Sylphs

SYLPHS


The name "Sylphs" is often used as a generic term to include all types of Air Elementals.  Angels, Fairies, Air Sprites, Flower Fairies, Spirit Guides of Birds and Flying Insects, Valkyrs, and Griffins are all examples of Air Elementals that may sometimes be grouped under the category of "Sylphs", although most often the name is used in reference to Air Fairies.

However, there is also a specific type of Air Elemental that are called Sylphs.  They are more connected to the world of the Fae, and some even say they are members of the Sidhe race who took to the skies instead of the Underworld when the Sidhe were driven out by the Celts.  Slyphs are shape-shifting, flying, angelic beings of the sky... made of Air itself.  In their truest form they are described as tall, humanoid beings with huge wings; a wingspan more than double the length of their body, flying and swooping high in the sky like eagles.  They are said to make patterns in the clouds with their wings.  The Sylphs are not really interested in human affairs - although they are very concerned about Air Pollution and the health of the skies.  Some people claim that the Sylphs can clear away chemtrails left by jets and airplanes and can also have an effect on the weather because of their large, forceful wings.  

Since they are made of Air, Sylphs are usually invisible - so sightings are rare, especially since they often remain high in the skies and do not usually reveal themselves to humans.  Their presence is usually noted by intricate patterns in the clouds that look like they have been swirled and brushed by large feathers; often into the shape of wings, birds, or angels.  Their presence is often indicated by strong gusts of wind that seem somehow "different" than the normal wind that day... a wind that suddenly gusts and swirls from a different direction or that appears on a calm day when there was no wind.  

Even though the Sylphs are not very concerned with human affairs (unlike the Angels, who are fully interested in human life), sometimes a human will gain their attention and favor.  People who show an interest in weather patterns, clouds, nature, birds, and a shared concern about Air Pollution might have results in calling upon Sylphs to help them.  Others may gain the attention of a Sylph, uncalled for... either way if they appear to you they are most likely trying to help you be aware of your connection to the air and wind, take notice of your breathing and the health of the air in your environment, and to help you learn to be truly free.  There is a certain symbiotic relationship between humans and Sylphs - we breathe the air - the very stuff they are made of, and they need our help in protecting and healing the skies.  Recognize that these powerful beings need your help too, and they will certainly be happy to return the favor.  You may feel the presence of a Sylph as a soothing, peaceful breeze or gust of wind that seems somehow to speak directly to you - a wind that whispers in your ear and makes you suddenly aware and alive, your heart fluttering.  You may suddenly have clarity of thought or suddenly think of a solution to a problem with a gust of wind - perhaps a Sylph has smiled on you.  Though they rarely "land" on the earth, if they do they are sometimes seen as tall slender figures that are glanced as shadows or shapes out of the corner of your eye... yet invisible or flying away when you look directly at them.  They can shapeshift to much smaller sizes if they want to and appear as small breezes playing in a garden or swirling up dust in a mini-whirlwind.

Below are some pictures of Sylph activity in the clouds above my house.  These pictures were taken just a couple days ago, as I began researching the Sylphs and preparing for this blog post.  Do you see the shapes of angels and birds in these clouds that look like they have been brushed into shape by large wings?  





For further reading on Sylphs, here are two links to sites I found very helpful;






Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wind of Change Tarot Spread

I found this wonderful tarot spread at Tarot By Arwen and thought it would go perfectly for our Air Element studies focusing on the Winds right now.  First I would suggest spending some time doing the Wind Observation / Meditation from my previous post.  Observe how the wind reacts to walls and fences.  Observe how it flows differently through windmills, pinwheels, windsocks, wind chimes, and trees.  As you observe the wind, think about or ask the tarot what kind of changes the wind is bringing to you, and how these changes would react if they hit a wall vs. a windmill.  Lay out the cards as indicated above, the first card, in the middle is the Wind (the change), card 2 on the left is the Wall (The Obstacle or resistance), and card 3 on the right is the Windmill (the way to transform with the change).  After you do the reading you can go back outside into the wind, observe it with your senses again, and think about card 2, the wall.... your obstacles.  Hold these obstacles in your hand, then lift them up to the sky and release them to the wind, and ask your guides and Higher Self to help you be the Windmill instead of the wall.  (Basically, just focusing the results of this reading on the Wind Meditation as described by Starhawk.)

Here is the result of my Wind of Change reading:


Card 1 - Winds of Change - Queen of Pentacles
Key Words; Down-To Earth, Practical, Resourceful, Trustworthy, Nurturing
My husband is preparing to leave on an out of state job for a couple of months.  When I saw the Queen of Pentacles in this position, I noticed her solitude... but also her strength and resolve.  I am going to be the one here in charge of the house, the bills, and caring for the children.  It's something I have done before, I know what is coming... but I know it involves a lot of strength on my part.  The coming months will require me to really buckle down as the "head of the household"; while the husband will be making the money... I will be the one managing it and everything else.

Card 2 - The Wall - 8 of Wands
Key Words; Taking Quick Action, Letting things go, watching to see how things pan out, rushing things
When I was sitting outside doing my wind meditation, I noticed how the wind reacts when it meets the wall or fence.  The wind isn't actually stopped... it's just diverted.  It goes somewhere else.  So if the wind of change is my opportunity to become the strong, dependable Queen of Pentacles, then if I react as a wall I do nothing but deflect the opportunities away from me.  Making quick, rash choices instead of thinking things through and carefully planning things out could hinder me.  It's not a time to be a wall and just watch the winds scatter things and see where they end up.

Card 3 - The Windmill - 6 of Pentacles
Key Words; Having / not having resources, having / not having power, giving and or receiving. 
Sometimes with this card you have to figure out who you are... the one in need or the one in a position to give.  I think with the Queen of Pentacles as my first card I am going to be in the position of giving, distributing, sharing, and nurturing.  If I take the changes that are coming and embrace them, like the windmill, and let those winds transform me and strengthen me, I will end up doing exactly what needs to be done to run the household efficiently, nurture my children in the ways they need, and "take care of business". I just have to be careful to not let things just slip past me like in the 8 of Wands... but to take charge, be present, and use what I have wisely.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wind Observation / Meditation

For this meditation, you will need to be outside.  It doesn't matter if there is just a light breeze, or a strong wind - actually you should do this observation in all kinds of weather and wind strengths to "get to know" the different moods and voices of the wind.  Air is all around us, constantly moving.  It is constantly changing and moving with the temperature, the seasons, and the type of terrain that it travels over and around.  Wind is a great process of the living earth, much like the circulation of our own blood.... it carries storms and clouds across the land, clears storms away from other areas.  It moves the seeds and spores of the plants to fertilize the earth, and it lifts birds to fly and travel.  It can be peaceful and refreshing; yet it can also be destructive.  Just observing how the wind moves, where it comes from, and how it is affecting the world around you is a powerful exercise in itself, and will empower your connection to Air Energy.


Wind Observation / Meditation
by Starhawk, from "The Earth Path"

 "In your home base, or wherever you happen to be, ground and come into your senses.  Now focus on the air and the wind.  Notice what you can smell and taste on the breeze.  Where has it come from, and what does it carry with it?
Notice the feel of the air on your skin.  Is it gentle or powerful, moving or still?  What is the temperature?
Listen to the sound of the wind.  The wind is telling you what it's moving through, and how fast.  The wind has a  voice that sounds different through trees or around corners of houses.  It can tell you how much moisture it carries, and whether or not there is a storm coming.  What does the wind say to you now?
Look around you and notice what is responding to the wind, and how.  Are branches bending and swaying? Are there trees and bushes or earth that show signs of having been shaped by the wind as they grew?
How does the wind respond to obstacles?  Does it move differently through swaying branches than it does encountering a wall?
Get up and move around now, and find the places where the wind is stronger, and the places that are wind-sheltered.  What makes the difference?  Feel what happens when the wind hits a hard surface or a soft surface.
What can the wind teach us about movement and change?  About responding to obstacles, or about softening the great forces that impact us?
Is there something in your life that you'd like to let go of?  Imagine that you hold it in your hand.  Raise up your arm, open your fist, release it, and let the wind carry it away."