A Wiccan Journey: Soween

The moment October started; it became Spooky Season. There’s something about this month, and maybe it’s because Halloween is at the end of the month, or maybe it’s because Halloween is at the end of the month, but everything feels different. Like we’re descending into some unknown place, and we have to be ready.

Soween ( saw-win, saw-vane, or sahven, and not pronounced sam-hayne) or Halloween is one of two points in the year when the veil between this world and the next is at it’s thinnest. Think of it as the waxing and waning of spiritual energy, but the atmosphere this time of year drips of spookiness. Maybe it’s the longer nights, the cooler evenings, the sight of colourful leaves and the expectation of winter, that lends itself to this interpretation. I know I am always grateful when October arrives. I am, and always will be an autumn person.

Traditionally, Soween marked the end of growing season and the festivals and celebrations reflected that. HERE is a great article written by Selena Fox on the subject. There are websites dedicated to all the different celebrations and how they were done, but for me, because I am a solitary, I like to do a simple celebration.

Two things about this time of year stand out for me: food and reflection. I love cooking for this season with so many simple comfort foods I’m surprised if I don’t gain weight. The other part is more personal; reflecting not only on the past year but remembering friends and family that are no longer with us. These last few years has been hard on the CatPack, and I miss them dearly. When I set up my altar this year, I think I’ll have pictures of them and remember the fun times.

When remembering those who have crossed over, it’s hard not to be sad, but remember that they can see us, and do visit us. You can feel their presence if you are open to them. It can be a very spiritual time, personally, but that doesn’t mean it has to be somber. I love the decorations and seeing kids dressed up, not to mention the candy, and I think that it’s a wonderful tradition to keep going.

In recent years, there’s been controversy about holding Halloween celebrations on a Sunday. Which, ironically enough, happens to be this year. Keep in mind that those of us who celebrate Soween see it as a completely different event from Halloween, so cancelling Halloween has nothing to do with our celebrations, and they’re just stripping a night of fun from kids, and who wants to be that person?

So, when the end of October finally arrives, remember to honour the dead, reflect on the past year, have some candy, and keep an eye on the shadows. After all the veil between this world and the spirit world is at it’s thinnest, and you never know who or what might cross your path.

A Wiccan Journey: Mabon Ritual.

It’s been almost ten years since I posted anything about Mabon. There are so many other sites that have much more detail information that I haven’t bothered. Not to mention that in the last few years, between work, school, and the stress from the pandemic, I haven’t done very many rites, and I want to change that.

Mabon ( Autumn Equinox) is September 22, a week from tomorrow, and I’ve put together a whole day of doing things. I asked for the day off too. I’ll start in the morning and hopefully, go all day, culminating in a Mabon dinner and maybe meditation outside afterward as the sun sets.

[NOTE: this is what I have planned. Whether or not I end up doing everything is a whole other matter.]

So, first thing in the morning, I’ll have my tea outside (weather permitting). I’ll have breakfast of ginger pancakes and fried apples. Recipe found HERE.

During the morning, I plan on smudging several rooms in the house. I asked a Native friend of mine for permission to use her custom, as smudging DID NOT originate from any Pagan tradition. I’d like to do the whole house, because it’s never been done, but we’ll see. I may even smudge the property. I had planned on doing a crystal protection spell on the house and property, but I may leave that for another time.

After lunch I will start putting together a Mabon meal for the evening. I’m having chicken and corn chowder with corn bread. I’ll set up my altar to be ready for 3:21. That is the official time Autumn will arrive.

After supper, I will sit and meditate outside, in front of my small cauldron with a fire going and listen to the crickets, burn some incense and just take in the night. I created this poem to say as well.

The night draws near,

The land begins it’s yearly rest,

I honour the balance of night and day,

and cherish the memories of the long summer

The earth grows cooler.
Gardens and fields are plowed.
The leaves of orange, gold and brown

nourishing the land for the coming spring
From this day on, the darkness grows,

I bid farewell to summer, and welcome Mabon.

It’s a work in progress.

Most of this is weather depending, and they are predicting rain for that day, but it’s still a way off and that might change. I have the day off too, but I’m wondering if I’ve planned too much and won’t have time to do everything. Some things I want to do I’ve decided against so I could have a full Samhain ritual.

Bring on the pumpkin spice!

A Wiccan Journey: Stress, the Pandemic, and new beginnings.

The last year has been hard on everyone, myself included. At first I thought I was doing really great, and all the time off I had, I thought to myself, this would be a great time to focus on my beliefs and strengthen my practice.

I wish I could say that really happened.

Stress, it seems, was affecting me in ways I didn’t realize. All those months that I had to do full moon, or dark moon rites, I didn’t. The solstices came and went and I think I might have done one or two celembrations. Even at the holidays, when I had a good week and a half off PRIOR to the Winter Solstice, I didn’t. I was too tired, or not in the mood or whatever other excuse i came up with to validate not doing them. Even now, when things are slowly going back to the new normal, I didn’t plan anything for the first of August, and as I sit here writing this, it occurs to me that this Sunday is a dark moon. I wrote out a rite for this moon phase, wrote it out exactly one year ago, but as of yet, I still haven’t performed it.

I don’t want to use the pandemic as an excuse, and that’s what I feel I’m doing, but how do I push past the rut I’ve fallen into? Everone says small steps, I get that, but some days doing even the smallest of things is difficult. I don’t want my practice to feel like a chore, and I’m at a loss where to begin. My husband (a practising Catholic) hasn’t been to service in over a year, and even now he’s very hesitant about going anywher near large gatherings.

Maybe I’m overthinking this. Maybe instead of jumping in all at once again, I need to start small. Maybe do one little thing today, like stand outside in the morning and meditate for five minutes, or read one of the new pagan books I bought last year. Yeah, that might be the answer to overcoming this stress. Funny, you don’t realize you’re stressed until you see how it’s affecting your life.

I will keep you updated.

A Wiccan Journey: Harnessing Planetary Energy.

Depending on what you want to create, harnessing the energy of the planets can enhance the power of your spell. I’ve written several blog posts on how to align with this energy, but knowledge of the energy and how they interact within our lives is a great way to enhance any spell.

Planetary hours is not a knew concept and is though to have been developed in Hellenistic astrology, and may have roots in the older Babylonian astrology. If you create your spell around a certain hour, you can harness that planets energy. The trick is figuring out what hour you need.

Below is a link to help explain more.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_hours#:~:text=As%20each%20day%20is%20divided,Moon%20(%22Monday%22)%2C

At the bottom of the page is the formula to calculate the planetary hour. Personally, I have an app for that.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.technologies.mobile.astroclock

This app is very convient and allows you to set alarms for certain times. Whether or not you want to utilize planetary hours into your spell work is up to you, but I find it exciting to create spells around these hours. It helps me to focus on what I want to accomplish.

One thing I do want to mention; the influence of the inner and outer planets. For those of you who are familiar with astrology, you know the inner planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars) are known as Personal, with the Impersonal planets being Jupiter and Saturn. Transpersonal are the outer planets (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto), and because their rotation around the sun takes much longer, the manifestation of your spell should you chose to utilize, may take much longer.

Bright Blessings and take care.

A Wiccan Journey: Outdoor Ritual vs. Indoor Ritual.

The title is a bit misleading. I’m not going to compare to see which is better, rather the opposite. I want to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, and ways to overcome the disadvantages (if possible).

It only makes sense that outdoor rites be the norm, but if you live in a northern countries where there’s extreme weather during the winter, that might be easier said than done. In Canada, our cold weather (that includes snow) usually starts in December, and doesn’t really let up until April. Sometimes March if I’m lucky. That’s not too bad. It means I have seven months of possible outside rituals, weather permitting, of course.

I love outside rituals. There’s something calming about being outside at night. When we lived in the country, it was perfect. The only thing I heard were the wonderful sounds of night; leaves in the trees, the occasion animal, and maybe a stray car off in the distance. It has to be the most peaceful setting to conduct a ritual. Outdoor rites are simple to set up and require no cleansing of the space beforehand. This is the biggest advantage I can think of with outdoor rites. I have four stones that I’ve painted and have symbols of the elements on them. I place them on the ground facing the right direction, have a candle for each, some incense, earth, water, and a flame and that’s it. Once, I got really creative and gathered up sticks from around the house and placed them as the circle.

Now I live in the city, so the noise from traffic can interfere, which is why I tend to do them later on in the evening or closer to midnight. Being in the city also means your neighbours are closer. During the warmer weather, a few of our neighbours stay out longer, and more than once I’ve done ritual with them still messing around in their backyards. It’s difficult to focus when they’re playing music, laughing and talking, not to mention I’m keenly aware that they are there so it’s not as private as I’d like it to be. I had to really concentrate to keep my focus as I keep thinking they were watching me through their privacy fencing.

Indoor rites allows me to burn more candles and not have to worry about them blowing out or being knocked over. A room full of candle light sets an incredibly calm atmosphere and helps me to focus. I can also play music at a soothing level to add to the rite. It also gives me the privacy and quiet that I want. Well, until I’m visited by a cat. Once, my son came downstairs to get something to drink and interrupt. I let him know ahead of time now.

During the colder months, I go out and chant to the full moon, and then go back inside and do ritual. It’s a nice way to still connect with the outdoors without freezing. Inside, I use my altar and I set up a sacred circle. The rite takes a little longer because of the circle casting, but as I’m inside, I don’t have the elements to contend with. They’re also the task of cleansing a head of time. This can be as time consuming as you want. I’ve scrubbed down my whole work area with water that’s had vervain soaking in it. Now I just smudge.

Whether you prefer indoor or outdoor rites, the most important thing is to make it fun and personal to you. Sometimes, when I’ve had a busy day, I just stand outside with a white candle, chant for a few verses, say a prayer and that’s it. There are a lot of guides as to how you can do a ritual, and you don’t have to do exactly how they instruct. Pick and choose what you like. Make it as easy or complex as you wish.

Blessed Be, and stay safe.

September’s Birthstone – Sapphire

Those born in the month of September have the sapphire for a birthstone. Available in many colours other than red (then it would be called a ruby), the sapphire represents dignity, loyalty, serenity, fait purity and wisdom. The word sapphire comes from the Persian word ‘safir’, which means ‘beloved of Saturn’.

Energy: Receptive

Planet: Moon, Saturn

Element: Water

Deities: Apollo

Chakra: Fifth Chakra, the Throat Chakra

Associated Metals: N/A

Lore: The sapphire was thought to guard against evil and poisoning, and venomous snakes would die if place in a container made of sapphire. It is the traditional favourite stone of priests and kings as it symbolises purity and wisdom. It was thought to make a stupid man wise and make a bad tempered man calm. Ancient Persians thought the earth rested on a giant sapphire and the blue of the sky was the reflection of the stone. It was thought to protect the wearer from poverty and promote spiritual enlightenment.

*Additional information provided by Scott Cunningham’s Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic*

August Birthstone – Peridot

Those born in the month of August have the peridot for their birthstone. The vivid green of the peridot has hints of gold is a perfect match for summer outfits. The peridot is an old gemstone, used since ancient times in Egypt. The peridot is the only gemstone that comes in only one colour which varies between shades of yellowish green and olive, to a brownish green, depending on the amount of iron within the stone.

Energy: Receptive

Planet: Venus

Element: Earth

Deities: N/A

Chakra: Fourth Chakra – Heart.

Associated Metals: Gold

Lore: The peridot is a symbol of strength and said to successfully ward off evil, enchantments and depression if you wear or carry the stone. It is also said that it protects the wearer from nightmares.

*Additional information provided by Scott Cunningham’s Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic*

July Birthstone – Ruby

Those born in the month of July have the ruby for their birthstone. One of the most highly prized gemstones, large rubies are harder to find than large diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. Because of this a rubies value increases with size more than any other gemstone. The ruby is only second to the diamond when it comes to hardness. the ruby, was regarded by ancient Hindus as the ‘king of gems’. It was believed to protect its wearer from evil. Today, the ruby’s deep-red color signifies love and passion.

Energy: Projective

Planet: Mars, Saturn

Element: Fire

Deities: Buddha

Chakra: Fourth Chakra – Heart

Associated Metals: N/A

Lore: Rubies are considered tokens of harmony and peace. It said that the wearer attracts both good luck and good friends. It is thought that rubies are effective for health problems relating to the blood and infections and increasing positive thought patterns. It’s also thought that they enhance energy, generosity and bring prosperity and success. Because of its qualities, a ruby is perfect for an engagement ring and a popular alternative to a diamond in either an engagement ring or wedding band. Some believe a ruby will turn a darker colour when danger is close and return to its original colour when the danger has passed.

*Additional information provided by Scott Cunningham’s Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic*

June Birthstone – Pearl

Those born in the month of June are lucky to have the only birthstone that isn’t a stone. The pearl is created by certain mollusks as a defense against infections. Unfortunately, the creature must be killed in order to obtain the stone. For this reason, there is an alternative to the pearl – the Moonstone.

Pear Information:

The pearl has long been the symbol of purity. Ancient Greeks believed that pearls were the harden tears of joy from Aphrodite. Wearing pearls suggests chastity, modesty and stable marriage relationships. They come in a wide variety of colours such as black, grey and all the way up to the familiar creamy-white tones.

Energy: Receptive

Planet: Moon

Element: Water, Akasha

Deities: All oceanic deities, although the pearl is more goddess-oriented. Also associated with sky goddesses.

Chakra: Third Chakra – Solar Plexus

Associated Metals: Silver

Lore: Pearls, like jet, amber, and mother-of-pearl, are the product of a living creature. It is said that they can change bad fortune into good, and enhanced virility and the ability to attract the help of influential people. Because a living creature must be killed in order to acquire the gem, many people feel that there is a bad Karma in owning them.

*Personal Note* I own a pearl ring. It was originally owned by my Mother-in-law’s aunt and given to me after she died. I keep it in my jewellry box and don’t wear it.

*Additional information provided by Scott Cunningham’s Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic*

May Birthstone – Emerald

Those born in the month of May have the beautiful green stone of Emerald. The name emerald comes from the Latin word ‘smaragdus‘ which means green gem. Legend claims that Nero wore eyeglasses made from emeralds to enhance and protect his eyesight while watching the gladiator games, and was thought to be one of Cleopatra’s favourite gems. Romans dedicated the stone to the goddess Venus

The emeralds represents loyalty, faithfulness and friendship.

Energy: Receptive

Planet: Venus

Element: Earth

Deities: Isis, Venus, Ceres, Vishnu

Chakra: Fourth Chakra – Heart

Associated Metals: Copper, Silver

Lore: Emeralds are said to enhance eyesight or aid in the healing of ailments of the eye, and mental clarity, which is probably why they are a popular stone for earrings. If carried or worn during a long journeys it’s said to keep the traveler safe. Powers include fertility and clairvoyance.

*Additional information provided by Scott Cunningham’s Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic*

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