Category Archives: General

Ritual/Circle Etiquette

Ritual/Circle Etiquette

If you are attending a publicly advertised ritual, you need to check to see if they have any special requirements (check the website or call if they provide a number). 


Individual covens or groups often have their own set of rules to adhere to in a ritual or circle setting.  If you have been invited to attend a private coven/group ritual, do not assume it’s okay to bring someone else with you (this includes a spouse or significant other) and certainly don’t assume children are allowed.  If there is someone you’d like to bring, you need to contact the High Priestess (HPS) and/or High Priest (HP) for permission.  Please be respectful of their choice.  Also note, that if a ritual/circle is not ‘advertised’ or for public consumption, do not make it public!  Respect the privacy of the members and do not mention their names, or the ritual to outsiders.  Keep in mind, some traditions/covens take an oath of secrecy and take those oaths very seriously.  Please be mindful of the requirements for private covens (i.e. dress, jewelry, electronics, etc..)

 

Having said this there are some general guidelines for attending ritual/circle:

·       Never attend a circle/ritual under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

·       Time:  Make sure you know the time you must be there by and allow for a few hours total (this of course can vary from circle to circle).  This will include prep time, ritual time & ‘down’ time.  If you are on a time constraint it may be best not to attend, whereas someone who’s obsessed with the time may disrupt the flow of the ritual.  BE ON TIME!!!

·       Clothing Requirements: Some groups prefer clothes that move freely to avoid constricting energy flow (like ritual robes), some prefer shoeless, some prefer specific colors, etc…  Please make sure whatever you wear is comfortable and avoid t-shirts with ‘sayings’ or ‘images’ so it’s not a distraction.  Some covens/groups work skyclad (clothed only by the sky), if you are not comfortable in this setting, please don’t accept the invitation.  Also, if it’s going to be an outdoor ritual, dress accordingly!  Also, remove hats!!

·       Jewelry:  Some covens/groups have special requirements for the types of jewelry within circle, be sure to ask.

·       Fees/Costs:  Some groups have a fee for attendance to help cover expended costs, be sure to inquire about this and how payment is to be made (is check okay, credit card, paypal or cash only)

·       Food:  Many rituals/circles are followed by a ‘feast’ of some kind or sometimes just a snack setting.  Be sure to ask if you need to bring a food item if so, are there any allergens or special requirements and how many should you ‘account’ for when preparing food.  If it’s a Sabbat, you may want to research what foods are typical for that Sabbat and incorporate it.

·       Drink:  Again, don’t assume alcohol is okay.  If you are bringing drink to share, inquire as to whether alcohol is allowed or what other drinks are acceptable (some don’t like high sugary drinks).

·       Electronics:  Never assume electronics are okay in circle (more often they are not).  Most covens/groups prefer electronic items not be in the ritual space.  So remove watches, cell phones/pagers (have them turned off so they don’t go off) and store them in a safe place.  Cameras/Video are also not typically allowed within circle. 

·       Bags/Purses/Backpacks:  The circle/ritual is a sacred space and often ‘mundane’ objects are a distraction and inconvenience if circle dancing is involved.  Please leave these items in a safe place and out of circle.

PRIOR TO RITUAL/CIRCLE:

·       Make sure you have bathed/showered prior to a ritual (remember the old adage “cleanliness is next to godliness” ).  A ritual bath or shower helps you begin to get into a certain mindset.  It’s during this time you begin to focus on the upcoming ritual and to wash away any ‘negatives’ you may be carrying around during the day.

·       Make sure you have all the items you’ll need for ritual (special clothing, jewelry, ‘tools’, etc…)

·       Make sure you have any food/drink items ready to go

·       If it’s an outdoor ritual, be sure to bring and apply insect repellant ahead of time!

·       Be aware of smoking rules (do not smoke in a circle at all), but be aware of designated smoking areas and be sure not to leave cigarette butts on the ground.  Dispose in dispenser (if provided) otherwise pocket it until you find a trash!

·       Find out if shoes are allowed or where they are to be left outside of the circle.

·       Make sure to listen carefully to directions during prep time to fully understand what is expected of you.

ENTERING CIRCLE:

·       Be mindful if there is a special ‘order’ in which to enter a circle.  Some covens/groups prefer a balance and therefore ask that people alternate (female, male, female, male).

·       Once people have begun to ‘line up’, it’s time to stop talking.  Now is the time to begin to center yourself and focusing on leaving your ‘mundane’ self behind as you enter circle/ritual as your magic(k)al self.

·       There may be a special spot for smudging or self consecration prior to entering, be aware of this and follow directions (these are for spiritual cleansing).

·       Never touch someone elses tools or altar items without explicit permission.

·       Move Deosil (clockwise) at all times in circle (unless directed otherwise for specific purpose).  When you enter circle, turn left, you’ll always be going in the right direction then.

·       You may be asked for a special name and/or password when entering a circle (others may ask once inside circle at specific times).  If you don’t have a craft/magic(k) name, don’t worry, just use your regular name

·       Make sure you’ve used the restroom!!!!

 

IN CIRCLE:

·       Again, remember to move Deosil and never touch tools without explicit permission.

·       If you are asked to touch something on the altar, it’s often requested that you use the right hand to either pick up or put down (The right hand is considered the active hand and the left is considered the passive hand).

·       Be aware of the circle boundaries.  Do not step over them, move your arms over them, etc.  Remember a ritual circle is a space between space and a time between time.  The circles are cast as a protective place and breaking that may allow undesirables to enter.  IF you break a circle, please notify the high priestess and/or high priest or coven member so it may be properly closed again.

·       When the quarters are being called, turn (deosil) to face those quarters.  If you’re unfamiliar as to what to do during this time, just quietly ‘follow along’.  (Due to some space restrictions, be sure to ask if personal athames are allowed ahead of time), a couple pointed fingers are the typical substitute for ‘saluting’ the quarters.

·       NO TALKING.  Unless you are specifically invited to do so.  Conversations within circle are meant to stay craft related.  Remember whatever you hear in circle stays confidential (kind of like what happens in vegas stays in vegas).  If you find value in info. or stories shared within circle, ask permission before sharing it outside. 

·       During some rituals, the HPS or HP may invoke the Goddess or God during ritual.  During this time, there is absolute quiet among the coven with the exception of the HPS or HP during the invocation.  During this time you should be directing your energies to the one doing the invocation (to lend them a hand in bringing down the Goddess or God).  Once invoked into the body of the HPS or HP, they (the Goddess or God) speak through the HPS or HP, so if asked a question at that time you do need to answer, or you may be given a message that is meant just for you (if you don’t understand it, just keep it in your mind to discuss later with the HPS or HP).

·       During most rituals there is a time called cakes and ale (or cakes and wine).  If you are passed something to eat or drink, do NOT immediately consume them.  Many covens/groups have a libation cup that is also passed around to give to the Gods.  After ritual, this cup is usually ‘returned’ to the earth.  During cakes and ale, is often a time for small ritual discussion or questions.

·       If you must leave circle during ritual (illness or absolutely can’t wait for the bathroom), ask a coven member to properly ‘cut you out’ so they can properly ‘re-seal’ or close the circle again.

·       If circle dancing is planned and you are not physically able to join, make sure the HPS or HP are aware of this ahead of time, so they can plan to ‘cut you out’ prior to the dancing (you may stand outside to continue to raise energy to send forth).

AFTER RITUAL:

·       Now is the time for hugs, discussion, etc…

·       Ask if there is anything you can do to assist in clean up or for feast preparations.

Equinox and Solstice Dates and Times 2013

Equinoxes and Solstices of 2013:

SPRING EQUINOX March 20, 7:02 A.M. EDT
SUMMER SOLSTICE June 21, 1:04 A.M. EDT
FALL EQUINOX September 22, 4:44 P.M. EDT
WINTER SOLSTICE December 21, 12:11 P.M. EST

Mercury Retrograde Dates for 2013

February 23, 2013
9:41 GMT
4:41 AM EST
1:41 AM PST

to

March 17, 2013
20:03 GMT
4:03 PM EDT
1:03 PM PDT
**********

June 26, 2013
13:07 GMT
9:07 AM EDT
6:07 AM PDT

to

July 20, 2013
18:22 GMT
2:22 PM EDT
11:22 AM PDT
**********

October 21, 2013
10:29 GMT
6:29 AM EDT
3:29 AM PDT

to

November 10, 2013
21:12 GMT
4:12 PM EST
1:12 PM PST

What Is A Poppet?

What Is A Poppet?

Poppets, a magical doll used to represent a particular person during spell work and ritual magic. These dolls have been much maligned and misunderstood over recent decades mainly due to the media of film and TV portraying the popular image of a doll stuck full of pins in an effort to maim or curse.. Whilst it is certainly true that what has the power to heal has the power to curse, the poppet doll is a wonderful tool to engage the positive side of magic.

Poppets have been used throughout the ages for all kids of purposes and have firm links to Voodoo, although they are popular to many cultures. They can be made from all sorts of materials, clay, wax, mud, and cloth, in fact anything that can be molded to represent a person and these dolls have been used for both malignant purposes as well as benevolent. It is a magical doll that has been made for a magical or a ritual purpose. The doll is made to represent and therefore substitute the person for whom the doll has been made. The making of the doll itself is most important and will usually take much concentration and focus of intent. Ideally the doll will have items belonging to the person it is intended for and these would be worked into its making, for example, it could be made from material belonging to a garment that has been worn by the person, hair and nail clippings can be used, even bodily fluids such, blood, menstrual blood, urine, saliva, have all been used throughout the ages. The important thing is to link the poppet to the intended person as thoroughly as possible. Once the doll has been created, you would then cleanse and consecrate the poppet for the four elements, before using the poppet in a spell. The poppet is then looked after with great care until the spell is done and then destroyed completely, destroying the link between it and its human counterpart.

These magical dolls are a wonderful example of Sympathetic Magic which is one of the oldest and most commonly performed magical arts, particularly in modern day Witchcraft. Sympathetic Magic works on two principles or “laws”, these being the Law of Similarity and the Law of Contact and the poppet illustrates these beautifully. The Law of Similarity states that like produces like, which means that the Witch or Magician can produce a desired effect simply by imitating that effect, so a poppet is made to represent and therefore substitute a particular person. The Law on Contact states that whatever is done to an object will equally affect the person to whom the object once belonged or has had contact with. We use this principal in poppet magic by obtaining something that either belonged to or came from the person for whom the doll is intended as outlined in the paragraph above.

Finally it is the magical intent that “feeds” the spell being created, this forms the link within the ether between the poppet and the intended recipient and is created by the will of the practitioner. In the end it is the intent, will and magical ability of the practitioner that brings it all together and finalizes the outcome.

Poppets are a very versatile form of spell craft and can be used with great success in all areas of magic, the most common being in healing, love magic, protection, banishing, prosperity and of course hexing and cursing. Another use of the poppet, however, is in Ritual where the dolls are used to represent aspects of the God and Goddess and can also be used to tap into certain energies. A good example of this would be the Bridie Doll, traditionally used at Imbolc (Feb.1st) to honor the Goddess in her maiden form, to welcome in the spring and to celebrate the fertility of the land. Another form of poppet that many of us have made as children is the corn dolly, made to represent the Goddess in all her abundance or made to represent the Sacrificed God, or John Barleycorn the spirit of the corn itself.

The Museum of Witchcraft at Boscastle in Cornwall has an excellent collection of Poppets from all across the country representing both the benign and malignant use of these magical dolls. The display shows that this was a popular form of magic used throughout the ages by people from all walks of life and for many diverse reasons. The Museum is well worth a visit for this collection alone.

Types of Poppet Dolls:

WAX-

soften candles and shape them into poppet figurine. Rub lavender oil, or similar onto your hands first for ease, and ensure the wax is not too hot. Use small pieces of coal or gems to adorn the poppet. For a more powerful effect use hair, fingernails, or some token or possession of the recipient.

CLOTH-

Cut round a template on two pieces of cloth, stitch almost all the way up, then fill with herbs, or hair (depending on the spell) Adorn with colored threads, or draw symbols on. The name of the recipient can be written on the poppet.

PAPER-

(quickest way) simply cut paper into poppet figure, you can anoint with oil it draw symbols on it. You can even stick a photo on it of the person the poppet is intended for.

WOOD-

carve poppet into figure, glue on hair or use a piece of cloth from the clothing of the recipient of the spell. Use paints or color crayons to adorn the poppet.

ROOT-

several plant roots can be carved into poppet figures. (potato, apple, ginseng..)Make sure the poppet is finished before using it, do not carry on carving once you start using it. This poppet is for short term use as it will inevitably rot within a short time of making it.

CLAY-

mould into poppet shape, be sure to create a hollow to place hair, fingernails or herbs, etc, before sealing. Adorn with paints or by carving with a sharp object.

In modern days, the most common poppets are filled with herbs and incense. But pure Witchcraft still uses the practice of urine, blood, fingernails and hair.

The poppet dolls will be magickally charged by the Witch, using a simple spell, chant, song, dance, drumbeat. etc

Depending on the desired outcome, use the elements, winds, or moon phases to bring life to the magick.

IMPORTANT: Take really good care of your poppet when not in use. Wrap it in white cloth and keep it somewhere safe. Be sure to sever the magickal link between the poppet and the person before disposing of it. * The best way to end the spell (if you ever want to), is to simply caste a circle, and take apart the poppet within the circle to remove the effects of the spell. To dispose of the poppet that has been taken apart, dig a deep hole and bury it or burn it in a ritual fire. WARNING: * Do not dispose of a poppet without removing the spell (if one was applied to the poppet) as decribed above.

RULE OF THOUGHT: Your intent, be it good, or bad WILL come back at YOU. So choose your thoughts carefully. Never do anything magickal to or for another person without their permission, and never to affect their free will.

This information is shared in the good faith that no reader will use this to bring harm to another.

Reference:
wiccaspirit.net
ecauldron.net

New Year…New Chapter!

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It’s a new year…how will you write your next chapter? will it be filled with positive thoughts? will it be filled with generous deeds? will it be filled love, peace and happiness?

Remember you have the ability to change many things in life…HOW you view things is a great start 😉