Beltane Rituals for Every Element

20140518-08.jpg

Written by  Lisa Stardust

Beltane is here! It’s May 1st, May Day, halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice. It’s time to invite some friends over eat, drink, and be merry, embracing the beauty within and outside of ourselves as we celebrate the awakened, blooming flora and fauna of Earth. Originally celebrated as a Gaelic festival to protect cattle and encourage growth, Beltane is the light and beauty where we celebrate the sun and blossoms which perfume the air. In this May Day ritual, we are celebrating and giving back to the Earth, using all the elements (fire, earth, air, water) to ignite the hearth of Beltane. 

 
FIRE

Ideally, a bale fire is traditional merriment for the last night of April going into Beltane, May 1st. However, in this modern world, it may be impossible to have access to space which permits a bonfire. Consider using a small cauldron or candles. The colors of the earth, including red for passion, green for prosperity, purple for spirituality, yellow for happiness, white for harmony (or as a stand-in for any other colors. Red, green, and white are traditional Beltane colors. If you don’t have access to colored candles, you can use tea light candles. It’s ok to use the materials you have, remembering that the most important thing about magic is your intentions. 


Facing North, light the candles, evoking the goddesses you cherish and ancestors you admire as you go. Take a deep breath. As you inhale, close your eyes while the warm glow surrounds you. Amidst the warmth of the flames, envision a protective light surrounding, purifying, and stoking your own inner hearth. Open your eyes to the beauty of the flames burning. Let the heat serve as a shield against negativity, as you welcome in positive vibrations. 

EARTH 
Any urbanite can grab a fist full of fresh greenery and place it in a cauldron. Smelling fresh grass and flowers will bring life and abundance to any room. Honor their magical power and embrace the evergreen aroma. If possible, add some dandelions for positivity, hawthorn for fertility, and violets for protection. Try crossing twigs together with a red string to create a talisman that will also serve as a protective force against evil. When done using, recycle back to the universe by placing all remains outside to give back to Mother Earth. 

AIR
Make a wish for Beltane and release it to the air. Write down your desires on flying wish paper and let your desires travel on the wind. Through setting the intention and releasing your dream into the universe, you have the opportunity to plant valuable seeds of hope and creative renewal during these festivities. Giving prayers to the earth goddesses, pleases and inspires their support of your deepest desires to be manifested in the months to come. 

WATER 
Milk and honey is an offering made to Flora, Goddess of Flowers, to ensure vegetation blossoms in abundance during the Spring season. Added to baths, this mixture was notably used by the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra freshen up her soft, vibrant look and add beauty to her appearance. The mixture of milk and honey adds an element of fertility and sensuality to daily life. Rose petals infuse bathwater with feelings of self love and emotional healing. Use this combination for some bath magic to connect to the Earth Goddesses (such as Flora) and meditate. In this bath, be sure to take a moment of pause to connect to Flora’s lustful springtime earthy desires and evoke her spirit, as well as other water spirits like the river Goddess Oshun, who is also giver of love and fertility, and abundance, meditating on what you hope to grow. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Honey 
  • 1 Cup Salt 
  • Rose Petals 
  •  

Directions: 

  • Run warm bath water. 
  • Add milk, honey, and salt in a jar. 
  • Seal the jar and shake to mix ingredients together. 
  • Pour the mixture into bath.
  • Add rose petals to bath.
  • Lie back, relax, allowing your skin to absorb the 
  • Gently rub skin and soak in bath. 

Divining Through Disaster

  Photography by:  Maimouna Guerresi

 Photography by: Maimouna Guerresi

Written by Jaliessa Sipress

Recently, a lot of people’s realities have been turned upside-down; whether through “natural” or man-made disaster or through events that blur the line in-between. Disaster is something most of us live under the threat of everyday. It bubbles underneath our feet and seethes under our skin. It is what keeps us up at night and often impacts our day-to-day decisions. Its intensity and presence ebb and flow but the threat will always remain. Turmoil in this world is consistent but when the building pressure peaks, people start to panic, and they begin to forget.

As witches, misfortune is a part of our lineage. The fear, pain and suffering of those around us prescribed as side effects of us being privy to our own power. Our aptitude to tap into our natural abilities and form deep connections with our bodies, the bodies around us and the body of the earth are all things that make us dangerous because these acts can never fall under anyone else’s dominion. We listen and flow with the earth and her shifts and changes. We practice remembrance and manifestation in accordance with her seasons. We understand that we are of her and can harness her power and this is why we are feared. But the earth is a witch, too. She casts spells of beauty, love and abundance and she, too, is targeted for being angry and vengeful when she tries to heal herself. And this is why we must carry on. This is why we must acknowledge the power of the witch, the strength in our audacity to be our own temples and our own healers. Our abilities to make altars out of debris and never be without our magic because it lies within us.

To divine through disaster is to not ignore it. A lot of the craft is centered in the simple act of noticing. We watch and wait and participate in the art of divine timing. We are here to nurture the collapse of all that ails us, to live in harmony with our fear and loss. We must remember that our ancestors birthed our path to freedom and it is our duty to lead the way for others. Witches work is the work of the people. It is the work we do to stabilize and satiate and educate and support those who have forgotten the power within them.

During times of turmoil, it is our duty to remember and share our knowledge of how to work and heal with water, soil and ash. We must pass on ways to regenerate with what remains when human inventions fail. We are the ones who have to figure out why the world is still turning and we must take note of where our magic fits into the maddeness. We have to keep fighting, casting and believing the way we have been but with steadier consistency and ferocious fervor. Witches have to hold it down. It is our job to lead the way, to teach others how light comes from darkness and to hold onto our beliefs and our beloveds until the walls fall down around us.

 Photography By  Photo credit:  Maimouna Guerresi

Photography By  Photo credit: Maimouna Guerresi


Witchcraft as Devotion: A Closer Look at the Practices and Principles of Witchcraft in the Modern Age

 Photography by Mo www.phobymo.com

Photography by Mo www.phobymo.com

Written By Jaliessa Sipress

With Vogue magazine hailing our time as a “witchy renaissance,” it is safe to say that witchcraft is on the rise.* But, what is witchcraft? What is it really for? Is it all just spells to get rich and make people fall in love with you? Is it about worshiping he who not be named and learning how to pronounce wingardium leviosa? For some, it is all of these things and for others, none. A witch can mean many things and can come in many forms, and much of it's popularity seems to stem from that. While witchcraft and wizardry has gained wild popularity for it's reclamation of power and perceived formlessness, what should not be forgotten is that being a witch is less about the fact that one has “power” and more about acknowledging where that power comes from.

Witchcraft is a work of gratitude. It comes from the practice of honoring the people, land and animals that came before you, that coexist with you now and that have yet to arrive. Witchcraft is the work of the wise because it is the everyday practice of those who are humbled by the world around them. Witches find meaning in the mundane and see the magic in weeds growing through cracks in the sidewalk or a shed feather of a dirty bird. Witches are rememberers, mourners and healers because they have reconciled with the cycles of life and realized what is and is not in human hands. Witchcraft is about gratitude and alignment, treading lightly and respectfully and only taking what you need. We must remember that witchcraft is less about control and more about connection. A connection to our own divinity, but also an understanding of the limitations of it.

A witch’s power is in their ability to adapt, working with the natural cycles of the earth to bring about abundance, clarity and direction. It is not about manipulation or having complete control. Witchcraft is about surrendering. It is the knowledge that most things are out of our hands but continuing to work with our surroundings to help swing things in our favor. It is the act of bowing to the elements and submitting to their power that makes a spell stick. Witchcraft is a labor of love and intention. Spells work because they are an act of communion with the powers beyond us, acknowledging our need for help, and partaking in a mutual relationship with things we cannot measure. It is about giving without the expectation of receiving.

 Photography by Gregory Halpern

Photography by Gregory Halpern

To practice magick is to be in attunement with a sensitive and dying world and being interested in working with, fighting for and healing with it. Yes, witches cast spells and ask the universe for guidance. This is because they are interested in being led, in asking for help when in need and respecting that whatever shall come, will come. Sometimes spellwork is feeding late Aunt Mable’s altar or lighting a “road opener” candle for weeks until anything finally sets into motion. Sometimes it is the humbling act of continually asking and never receiving because it is not what the universe wants for you. It can sometimes mean waiting, worrying, re-configuring and waiting again. But all of the waiting and worrying is worth it because the craft is about finding understanding in failed spells and magical mishaps. It is about finding true love for yourself and the world around you and being in communion with the gifts that come from that. It is about faith.

Witchcraft is a fun, freeing, beautiful and impassioned practice, and we must acknowledge that our ability to experience it as such is rooted in the magnetic force of offering. Offering our power, offering our light, offering our darkness, offering our strength, offering our material and immaterial gifts, our dedication and our relationship to the deities and beings that guide us. Staying in a state of gratitude and giving helps to attract the exact blessings you are grateful for. Your love and power are precious tools. Use them to uplift, remember and protect and they shall never go to waste.

 


HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE!

The midsummer solstice (Litha, Longest Day, shortest night) is today! The summer solstice is the time of nature's bounty and abundance. The elementis FIRE, the direction is south, and all around us we are surrounded by color and fragrant aromas  fromblossoming roses, wallflowers, lavender, honeysuckle, and jasmine.


Becoming the Earth: Contemplation, Visioning & Aesthesis.

Written By Alicia Bello

I wanted to write an erotic love article to you. I wanted to write love to you by saying: May all kinds of milks, honeys, fragrant oils and flowers fill your home, altar, and bath. Let there be Eros possession in which every word rolled off the tongue is a spiced nectar. Let there be every lush nude sensation. Let every body in whatever sensual embrace undulate, hum, shudder and drunk on rhythm and ecstasy … whether crying out or soft sigh of respiration, mouth the genuine expression of ecstatic release (and please do always). Hopefully that article will want to be written soon because, well… what a sensation. Instead this article transformed from body in relationship to body into body in relationship to earth… a different kind of body, of intimacy.. the same and different.. but kind of the same. I have found myself outside significantly more than being inside anywhere. My hands and feet have been constantly investigating and trampling through the tropical landscape of Florida and so the intimacy running through me has been the aesthesis of shoots of new green covered in dew, balmy air scented with salty wet earth, and bees pressed deep into the center of flowers… and all of this is happening in the wide open, no shame, Nature needing no permission to burst with her blatant sensuality.

Connecting to the earth is not a new concept for those who practice the craft (to each and every guardian of the directions, the elementals, Hail and Welcome). It is a foundation of study and also a potent remembering. Within every natural witch lies dark earth, fertile, lush with the protected seedcrets of ancient ways, alive with mystery and kept sacred and untainted from the “normalization” of the status quo. No matter how we practice, each and every expression of the work that we do is beautiful to behold in its own right. Our earnest devotion to our practice is the catalyst to what peels away the layers so we begin to see the world completely differently. The earth is living, breathing, pulsing and we perceive it perhaps as our ancestors have, not in the grandiose Hollywood kind of way, but magic in the very real sense that begins to show itself when we learn(remember) how to look (be in relationship to it).

The Anima Mundi, the spirit of the world at this point is no longer a concept but so much more. It is perceived in the body and felt in the depths of individual experience. We, in turn, interact with our planet instinctually, in which in any given moment we turn on and tune in, and allow the power to course through our very body vessel. We can play the subtle vibrations like an instrument that opens the gates to other perceptions and other realities. The relationship that we cultivate with the spirits of the land is so very vital and just like any important relationship we’ve got to keep in touch, forget the small talk so to speak, and nurture it. We know the state of earth right now and quite obviously to say that it’s not healthy is a gross understatement. Just being with the understanding is like a glacial shower and it’s a beginning. We start right here, right now, with what is right in front of us. Without projecting rage or blame on anything, or fear, for the current state of the earth but to just be in a state of heightened mindfulness about say, the decline of bees or the poisoning of water… The Mother is where she’s at just as we are. Just to be in a heightened kind of mindfulness before any practice in which we evoke the elements, and contemplate their actual current state is incredibly important because we have to start where we are at. That being said, magic works non-linearly. No matter how we are working we can heal through coming into contact with root essence of the elements. What I am offering, however is to maybe initiate any ritual with that kind of present acknowledgment and then move into connection with the spiritus, gennii loci, and/ or Anima Mundi.

Visioning

I practice this visualization outside with meditation and contemplation either at sunrise or sunset, but as I usually instruct: if it feels right to practice it in ritual then do it. If you feel inspired to practice on the spot totally do it….except if your driving…listen to your intuition.

Demeter, just one name for Earth Mother is birthing and dying and birthing for us constantly...

 Photo: Alicia Bello 

Photo: Alicia Bello 

Vision your body/full self becoming Demeter by dissolving into the earth completely and merging with her creative chaos and order. Lie down on the earth while practicing. If you can, be completely naked or partially naked. See the shape of your body turn into dirt. Watch all of what you were dissolve into the earth completely. You are gone, but now you are also the whole of the earth. You are reborn in spring. See your blooms opening and the bees drinking your nectar. Smell sweetness of the season on the wind. Go through all the seasons of the earth in this way over and over. See the earth, which is you, floating in space. Place the periphery of your attention on the rhythm of the breath of your body. See the earth in your visioning breathing, the rhythms are in synch. Draw the scope of your vision to the place within the earth that you inhabit. See you where you are envisioning yourself as the earth while you are also the earth. Draw this harmonic image into the vision of your heart and let the vision pulse with your breath as you bring your attention back to your physical body. Enjoy your breathing still seeing the earth pulsing with your breath as your beating heart. Start all over again. Do it as many times as you can.

  • Take notes on how this practice affects you after two weeks and a month.

 As you move through your day, contemplate aesthesis as drawing in the essence of the world, the Anima Mundi with robust sensory perception. Drink in everything.


LOVE SPELLS

Love magick helps us to get in touch with the love within, It is the most important, basic step of Love magic learning. Through these rituals we are reintroduced to ourselves as creatures of love, and find the source from where all of our love can be graced by the presence of magick. 


Queen Hecate & Tending The Bone

"As witches we don't just walk in the shadow, we open to it's mysteries like night blooming jasmine. Fragrant with magic and revived in the properties of the night." Journey with Author Alicia Katrina to working with the Dark Mother Goddess Hectae as we learn to "tend the bone".