Upon dealing with incredible stupidity, willful ignorance, or a deliberate lack of common sense, perform the following – strike the offender in the head with a rolled up newspaper until they go away or you feel better, whichever comes first. If a rolled up newspaper is unavailable, really any blunt object will do. Anything you get blood on, you are responsible for cleaning.
Jumping the Broom
A birch besom was placed aslant in the open doorway of the house, with its head on the doorstep and the top of its handle on the doorpost. First a young man jumped over it, then his bride, in the presence of witnesses. If either touched or knocked it in any way, the marriage was not recognized. In this kind of marriage, a woman kept her own home and did not become the property of her husband. It was a partnership, “cyd-fydio,” rather than an ownership. A child of the marriage was considered to be legitimate. If the couple decided to divorce, they simply jumped back over the broomstick again, but this could only be done in the first year of marriage. If a child had come, it was the father’s responsibility. Mischievous boys played with this symbolism by placing a birch broom over a doorstep before an unmarried lady went out of the house. This was supposed to make her pregnant before marriage! As late as the 1920s in Surrey, a conversation was recorded wherein a man whose wife was away said jokingly to a young woman: “I shall be putting the broom out of my chimney if she stays away much longer. Will you come in and do for me?”
Hand fasting is an ancient Celtic custom, especially common in Ireland and Scotland, in which a man and woman came together at the start of their marriage relationship. Their hands, or more accurately, their wrists, were literally tied together. This practice gave way to the expression “tying the knot” which has come to mean getting married or engaged.
The hand-fasting ritual recognized just one of many forms of marriages permitted under the ancient Irish (Brehon) law. The man and woman who came together for the hand fasting agreed to stay together for a specific period of time, usually a year-and-a-day. At the end of the year the couple faced a choice. They could enter into a longer-term “permanent” marriage contract, renew their agreement for another year, or go their separate ways.
There is much debate as to the actual method of performing the ceremony, though all sources tend to agree that there was much celebrating and feasting afterwards.
Celtic Wedding Vow
By Morgan Llywelyn
“You cannon possess me for I belong to myself
But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give
You cannon command me, for I am a free person
But I shall serve you in those ways you require
and the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand
“I pledge to you that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night
and the eyes into which I smile in the morning
I pledge to you the first bite of my meat and the first drink from my cup
I pledge to you my living and my dying, each equally in your care
I shall be a shield for your back and you for mine
I shall not slander you, nor you me
I shall honor you above all others, and when we quarrel we shall do so in private and
tell no strangers our grievances
“This is my wedding vow to you.
This is the marriage of equals.”
Irish Vow of Unity
From the Irish Wedding Book
“We swear by peace and love to stand, Heart to heart and hand to hand.
Mark, O Spirit, and hear us now, confirming this our Sacred Vow.”
Childbirth and Blessing
The blessing of a newborn ritual the author likes best involves calling a circle, surrounded by family and friends. The child is anointed with a SAFE oil, or just pure water, and presented to the four corners. Blessings are spoken over the child, and then the circle ends and everyone celebrates and feasts.
“Blessed be your breath.
May your breathing be deep and relaxed.
May you breathe in power with every breath you take.
Blessed be each breath you take.
Blessed be the fire inside you.
May your will be unbroken.
And may it be as strong as fire, and as supple.
May your will be as strong as water, and as supple.
May your passions burn truly and free.
Blessed be your fire, may it burn strong.
Blessed be the waters of your life.
May your blood be strong.
May the flow from your loin be joyful and fertile.
Blessed be all your life-waters.
Blessed be the earth of your body.
May your muscles be strong and fearless.
May your heart beat with love, soul, vigor and courage.
Blessed be your body that is the body of a God.
Blessed be your spirit.
May you always have health in spirit.
May you be whole.
Blessed be your spirit.
May you always have community.
May you be prosperous in all ways.
May you love and be loved.
May your voice —
both your complaints and your special offerings to the world —
be truly heard.
May you always be surrounded by the warmth of family & community.
May you know the innate goodness of your being.
Francesca De Grandis, copyright 1996
Coming of Age
For females, this ritual is performed at the start of the first menstrual cycle. For males, it is performed at age thirteen and is the age they may be given their first sword. Many also celebrate the age of seven. Gifts presented should encourage the child’s potential. It is also a time for charging the maturing child with greater responsibility and thus greater privilege. Some traditions require the child to first complete twelve tasks, including tasks such as memorizing a story, learning to identify trees, spending a night alone in the woods, etc…
Time celebrating the wisdom of elders. In women this ritual is performed at the time of menopause, in men at a similar age. However, several sources state this is a ritual for women only.
Rite celebrating the life of one who has departed this life, when we guide them to the Summerlands, similar to a wake. It does not consist of summoning the dead, merely of summoning and enjoying their memory. For the Celts, the soul was immortal and death simply a passing from one world to the next and the places of the living and the dead were continually exchanged.
Find a place where you will be comfortable and undisturbed - this means if you live with other people, you need to tell them not to bother you during your meditation for any reason. (unless there’s an emergency, of course!) Unplug your telephone, as well. Keep your pets out of the room. Outdoor meditation is preferable, but not always possible.
Dim the lights in the room and light some candles. (don’t make the place so dark that you will fall asleep!)
If you are meditating in your home, play some drumming or other type of soothing, soft music. This helps you focus and it also serves the purpose of drowning out background noises such as neighbor’s music (very distracting if you live in an apartment) or traffic outside.
You may cast a circle if you wish to. Sometimes this will help improve your focus.
Sit upright in a comfortable position, whether in a chair or cross-legged on the floor. I usually find that it’s not very effective to meditate while reclining; too easy to fall asleep!
Now, close your eyes and begin to relax every part of your body, starting with your feet and moving upwards to your calves, thighs, hips, stomach, hands, arms, shoulders, neck and finally your face. (be sure to remember to relax your face! A lot of people forget this; make sure your lips, cheeks, jaw and eyebrows are all relaxed)
Focus on each part of your body separately at first, feeling the tension draining away. You should start feeling a tingling sensation throughout your body as you do this, but don’t worry if you do not at first. It takes your body time to learn to relax; most of us spend our whole lives in a state of tension except for when we’re asleep. While you are doing this, breathe deeply; inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. With each breath, feel yourself relax more. Remember to keep breathing deeply throughout the meditation.
When you are fully relaxed, begin visualizing a place that is comfortable and serene to you; a beach, a forest clearing, the bank of a river, a cave - whatever feels right to you. Make this visualization as detailed as possible. You should see it in detail first - notice whether it’s daytime or nighttime, see the leaves on the trees or the sand on the beach, notice how the water is moving or whether it is still. See the walls of the cave and notice whether they are rock or clay or another type of substance. “Look” all around you, in front, behind, to the sides. See everything that you can see about your safe place.
Once you have the picture in your mind, you can begin to incorporate your other senses. Feel the air on your body - is it warm or cool? Is there a breeze? Feel the sun on your face if it is daytime. Feel the sand or earth or leaves or water beneath your feet. Dig your toes into it and experience how it feels. Smell the air - does it smell salty or fresh? What other smells do you experience in this place? Hear everything around you - the rushing water, the wind blowing in the treetops, the rustle of animals.
Stay in this safe place for as long as you wish. Don’t worry if your mind starts to wander at first; this takes practice. If you find your concentration waning and your mind wandering, let it wander without trying to force it back to your meditation. It will eventually get tired of that train of thought and you can gently bring yourself back into focus.
You may see animals or people while you are meditating. Notice how they react to you. Talk to them if you can or if you feel like it. Don’t worry if they don’t respond at first. Sometimes spirit guides like to check you out for a while before they talk to you. If you don’t see anyone, that’s fine, too. Maybe you just need to be alone in this place.
When you are ready to return, begin noticing things around you in this plane: feel the chair or ground beneath you, listen to the sounds around you, become aware of your heartbeat and your breathing. Become aware of your body again (because once you become skilled at this, your body may go numb during your meditation). When you can feel and hear things around you, slowly open your eyes and sit there quietly for a few minutes. Release the circle if you cast one.
When you are finished meditating, get something to drink and eat - it doesn’t have to be a full meal, but definitely drink some milk or tea or something and eat a bite of cheese or bread. This will help anchor you in this plane and ground you so that you don’t end up feeling drained or jittery.
This is a ritual for healing any problem. This is usually best performed on a waning moon, when it is almost new moon.
You cannot perform this ritual on someone else without them being present. You can, however, guide the person who needs healing to do this ritual on their own. It is very effective if the person with the ailment performs it, so it is ideal to heal yourself.
Your primary ritual tool will be an element. Choose one from the list that is most appropriate for whatever area of the body you will be healing:
Both you and the person to be healed should prepare for the ritual with a ritual bath, using an appropriate bath satchet. Once you are ready, you can go to your magical place and get ready. Your working area should be equipped with whatever is needed to invite the element of choice into the magic. You can use any method you want to have the element present, but if you need ideas, here is some help:
Earth: The stones or crystals best suited for the ailment, a dish of earth, or salt.
Fire: A candle charged for the purpose or a small bonfire (be careful and keep a bucket of water handy for emergencies!).
Air: An appropriate incense
Water: A dish of water will suffice, but if you can perform the ritual near a body of water like a river or lake that would be ideal. Even better is a cup of tea brewed with healing herbs.
You only need to have the element pertinent to your ritual at hand. However, if you want to invite all the elements, that is fine too. Just keep the focus on the one vital healing element.
You should dress in all white if possible, or in a color best suited to the ritual.
Cast your circle around your entire prepared ritual area. Sit in the center with your element before you. Inhale and exhale deeply and slowly to reach a meditative state. With your eyes closed, envision a pure white light surrounding you. Now that you have entered your magical state, take the element into your hands (if it is water, hold it in a container; if it is fire, hold the candle; if it is air, hold the incense stick, etc.). Feel the energy of the element flowing through you. Hold the element over the general area that needs healing and envision the energy flowing into that area. See it being healed. Continue to allow the elemental energy to flow into the area until a feeling of peace comes over you. It is done!
Close the circle and return the element to nature. (Note: don’t even blow a candle out! Pinch it or extinguish it with a bit of water.) Have an after-ritual meal of cakes and wine (or bread and juice).
This ritual will begin doings its work immediately, but it will not cure anything instantly. Allow it a good amount of time, a week for a minor ailment, and a month for a major illness. If you are using any medications or supplements for your illness, it helps to have those present during the ritual. They will be charged with magical energy so that when you take them they will be doing twice the good!
Casting a Circle
Casting a circle involves walking the circle and calling to the corners. Traditionally you start in the North and go clockwise, though a few start in the East. Be sure to close the circle after you are finished, which usually involves walking the circle in the opposite direction. If you so choose, you may draw the circle in powder or chalk, or use people holding hands to form the circle.
Calling the Corners
Calling the corners consists of calling out each direction, or each wind, or each element, and summoning their power as part of a magical ritual.
I call to the East,
Raise my arms, hear my voice,
That your Winds will
Blow forever through me.
I call to the South,
Raise my arms, hear my voice,
That your Fires will
Burn forever in me.
I call to the West,
Raise my arms, hear my voice,
That your Waters will
Flow forever through me.
I call to the North,
Raise my arms, hear my voice,
That your Earth will
Ground forever for me.
Invoking the Winds
To summon the power of the winds and ask for its help in spell casting is a great way to get some extra punch for your spells.
The whole idea of calling the wind is an ancient and classical one. Calling the wind before starting can help many spells and rituals.
Once you have gathered the needed items for your spell and cast your circle, turn to the north and call the wind with something like the following…
“Wind of the north, of cold and might
Aid me in my work”
NORTH WINDS - The Winds that blow from the North are the cold ones. These winds are associated with level headedness. So use this time to practice spell work for financial management, and organization.
Turn to the east. …
“Wind of the east, of minds so bright
Aid me in my work”
EAST WINDS - Winds that blow from the East are associated with transformation, and new beginnings. When the easterly winds blow, use this time to practice spell work involving all things new. A time to write new spells, create a new ritual, find new avenues in your chosen path.
Turn to the south…
“Wind of the south, of passion so true
Aid me in my work”
SOUTH WINDS - Winds that blow from the south are commonly associated with spells for love, lust and passion. South winds give us vitality, and spell work for banishing jealousy and selfishness from the self should be performed during this time.
Turn to the west. ..
“Wind of the west, so gentle and blue
Aid me in my work”
WEST WINDS - Winds that blow from the west are associated with healing. During these winds practice cleansing and healing rituals. Intuition in the natural Witch is strong during these winds, so take advantage of this and practice spell work, which involves using your inner strength to its capacity.
Invoking the winds is an old practice that dates back to the ancient Greeks and possibly earlier. The power of the winds powers can give tremendous intensity to your magic. Depending on which wind is blowing, vibrations on the earth will differ.
If you hang a ribbon to a tree or fence, you will be able to see which wind is blowing; this will be the wind you will announce your intentions to as you perform the spell.
When invoking the winds for spell work, you will need to be outside.
It is also possible to just call the one wind needed to power your particular spell.
Then proceed to cast your spell knowing the wind will help carry your energies to the needed place
For this you will need a cord, or ‘cingulum’ as it is sometimes called, that is nine feet long (3x3: the perennial magic number) and is red in color (the color of blood; the life force, color of the Mother). It is best to make your own by taking three lengths of silk (or wool, nylon, whatever you prefer - though natural materials are preferable) and then plaiting them into one. As you plait, concentrate on putting yourself - your energies into it so that it becomes an extension of yourself. Like your athame, no one else should ever use your cord but you. Tie a knot at each end to keep it from unraveling. Make sure, once it’s plaited together, that it is nine feet long. When done, consecrate the cord.
Some traditions use their cords tied about their robes and wear them all the time at Circles. Some other traditions suggest that you keep it for strictly magical use, since it is a purely magical instrument. When not in use, keep it wrapped in a piece of clean linen or silk.
One magical use of the cord is as a ‘storage cell’ for power. As the power builds, more knots are tied until there are 9 knots in the cord. They are tied in a particular pattern and with appropriate words. The first knot, as I have said is tied at one end; the second knot at the other end; the third knot is tied in the middle; the fourth is halfway between the first and the third; the fifth halfway between the second and the third. Here is the pattern of tying, along with the appropriate words:
By knot of one, the spell’s begun
By knot of two, it cometh true
By knot of three, so mote it be
By knot of four, this power I store
By knot of five, the spell’s alive
By knot of six, this spell I fix
By knot of seven, events I’ll leaven
By knot of eight, it will be Fate
By knot of nine, what’s done is mine
At the tying of the last (ninth) knot, all the energy is directed into the cord and it’s knots, with a final visualization of the object/goal/desire of the work. The power has been raised and is now ‘stored’ in the cord.
Why would you want to store a spell? For some magic, the time for it to happen is important. Suppose, for example, that you want something constructive to happen but the most propitious time to do so happens to be close to the New Moon. Do you do your constructive magic during the Waxing Moon? No. You do it early on, at the Full Moon, using a cord. Now the power is there, properly raised, but stored for the future use.
You have nine knots. Although they are all tied in one ritual, these must be released one at a time, one day at a time, for nine consecutive days. Release them in the same order in which they were tied, NOT the reverse order. In other words, on the first day untie the knot that was first tied (at one end); on the second day, the second knot tied (at the other end); and at the climax of the tying ritual, the time of the greatest power. Each day, before you actually untie, do your concentration on what is to happen, rocking and again building power. Then, as you release the knot, release the power also with a shout.
Use the color magic section for deciding what color cords to use.
Your altar can be anything that has a flat top. Be creative. Choose your altar cover based on what color best suits the magick you are working. White is rather all-purpose. Keep in mind that candle magic is usually done in condensed areas so keep things as simplistic as you can, especially your candlesticks and censors.
Use an incense or powder suited for the spell you are working. Incense symbolizes Air… as the smoke rises our thoughts are carried up into the universe.
Prior to your spell working prepare yourself a nice relaxing bath. Add a hand full of sea salt to get your charges set where they need to be. Light a few candles, turn off the light and relax. Clear your mind of the junk you have picked up through out the day. Visualize the water washing all the negativity away from you. It is very important that your mind be at ease and clear prior to any spell working.
Any type of candle can be used for candle magic as long as it has been cleansed and consecrated prior to use. Although beeswax candles are higher in price than store bought candles, they are more powerful because they are produced from nature. As with any other tool, the candle made by the practitioner for a specific purpose captures the energy of the practitioner. Many experienced Witches will use only candles they have crafted themselves because of this.
Cleansing and consecrating is a very important step and should not be omitted. Cleansing removes all the negative energies that the candle has picked up along the way. As with all supplies you want your candles to be as free of psychic debris as possible. Submerge the candle in sea salt and then ask whichever deity is best suited to the spell to bless it.
Dressing the candle with oil is as important as any other step. Use whatever oil you prefer or what a specific spell asks you to use. What is important is the direction you dress the candle. To bring something to you, rub oil on the candle in a downward motion from the top to the middle and then from the bottom to the middle.
To send something away from you…you rub the oil from the middle of the candle out to the ends. Never make a back and forth motion as this defeats the purpose. Dab the remaining oil from your fingers onto your third eye and on your breastbone. Then say the following:
“I cleanse and consecrate this candle in the name of _____. May it burn with strength in the service of the light.”
Then state your intent or the purpose of the candle.
If you inscribe a candle you should use your Athame. The same principle as dressing the candle is used. To draw something to you, write from the top to the middle, and then from the bottom to the middle. To repel things, write from the middle to the ends.
Breathe deeply and build a ball of protective light around you. While soaking in your ritual bath, meditate on the whole ritual: the steps you will take and what you wish to say to your spirit guide when you make contact.
Light the incense. With the oil, dress the Altar Candle and the Day candle while concentrating on the purpose of the ritual.
Light your Altar Candle and Day Candle and state your intent: ‘I am here to make contact with my Spirit Guide, and to acknowledge him or her.’
With your athame, inscribe a violet candle with the word “Spirit”. Dress it with oil. Light the Violet Candle #1, direct your energies into it and say: ‘Here do I light the first Lamp of Spirit. May its light reach out across the barriers from this world to the next. May it make contact with that World of Spirit into which we will eventually enter.’
Take your censer or incense wand and swing it around, censing the whole area around the altar while rhythmically repeating the word “Merge” and building up energy to focus. Replace the censer and pick up another violet candle. Inscribe it with the word “Spirit” and dress it with oil. Put it back on the altar, light it and say: ‘Here do I light the second Lamp of Spirit. May its light also reach out across the barriers from this world to the next. May it make contact with that World of Spirit and help spread the light, illuminating the passageway between our worlds.’
Again take the censer or incense wand and cense the entire area around while chanting the word “Merge.” Build up your energy to focus. Take a third violet candle, inscribe it with the word “Spirit”, dress it with oil, charge with your energy, light it and say: ‘Here do I light the third Lamp of Spirit. May the light from these three lamps blend and grow, dispelling all darkness and lighting the way that my Spirit Guide may come to me and speak with me here today.’
Inscribe the three white candles with the word “Truth” and anoint each candle with oil. Light the three candles in the order of 1, 2, 3, and say: ‘Here do I build Truth. As these candles burn throughout this ritual, their power generating nothing but truth in all that transpires between this world and the next. Through these candles there is truth in all communications that come to me.’
Again cense the altar area while chanting “Merge.” Replace the censer and continue chanting. Sit comfortably while chanting, and gaze into the crystal ball, or the clear glass of water. Continue chanting until you feel it is right to let the chant taper off. Continue to quietly look into the crystal ball or glass, not trying to picture anything.
Keep your mind blank, so whatever comes will appear and will come in it’s own free will. Gaze into the center of the crystal, there is no need to try not to blink. Look into the crystal and blink naturally.
Try not to notice anything in your peripheral vision, just the center of the crystal. Eventually a face or figure will appear. This may take a long time, or it may appear almost immediately. If it doesn’t come at all within approximately 20 minutes, abandon this attempt, extinguish the candles in the order in which they were lit, leave the altar set up, and try this ritual again in three days. You should have results within a month at most. When a figure does appear, ask if he/she is your Spirit Guide. You will hear an answer, you may not hear it out loud, or even see the figures lips move, but you will be aware of the answer.
This is how most conversations will proceed. You will ask your questions mentally (or out loud) and the answer will be clear inside your mind. Ask if you have more than one Spirit Guide. If yes, ask them to appear also. You may ask anything you wish to know, but it is better to establish a connection first where your Spirit Guide may appear to you at any time, or at specific times, so that you can converse with any other spirits through him/her. When you have finished speaking with your guide, thank him/her, then sit for a moment with your eyes closed, meditating on all that you have learned. Extinguish the candles in reverse order to clear the circle.
by Michael Celtic Book Of Shadows
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