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How to make..or choose a lucky charm.

Bad look is often attracted when there is a lot of stress around; good luck is attracted by happiness. Which is why those who are already happy/in love/wealthy seem to get ever more and those who are already miserable tend to get more and more misery heaped upon them.

An excellent good luck charm would be something that represents something happy to you, something you love. Sunshine for example, represented by a sun or a disc is a positive happy energy form for some people. Some people make a good luck charm out of the picture of one of their kids, because that’s what they love and what makes them happy when they look at it. Some people choose a Jesus medallion or a Saint they love for a good luck charm. Some love crystals so for those, a nice crystal makes a good luck charm.

Have a think on what you love, and what makes you happy. Something that brings out the best in you, something that you can give a kiss for luck and you can instantly feel something, a shift, like something has changed.

You can experiment with different things too, and over time learn to match different charms to different occasions or topics.

Most importantly, remember the HAPPY = LUCKY connection. Things that make you happy are those things that attract luck.

Magic Potion For Absolute Beginners: Attract Positive Attention



1 medium glass with mineral water 
1 spoon of sugar 
1 spoon of honey 
9 leaves from a red rose 
1 small clear quartz crystal 

Wash the crystal and the rose leaves thoroughly under running water first. Then, put all the ingredients into the glass with the water. Stir until the sugar and honey have dissolved.

Cut out a piece of paper in a circle. 

Feel invisible sometimes? Don’t get asked to dance at parties? Want to be more popular? Here’s a simple, classic magic potion to improve your energy field and make you more attractive for absolute beginners. Also an easy potion with simple ingredients that one can find around most homes.

Write your name around the circle, clockwise. Full name, 1st, 2nd, 
family name. 

In the center, draw a simple pentagram. 

Stand the glass on the paper for 3 hours, preferably in sunlight. 

When the three hours are up, pour out a small quantity (minus rose 
leaves and crystal, obviously) into a fresh glass and either drink 
it there and then, or keep it in the fridge until you are about 
ready to go out and drink it then. 

This potion raises your vibration and people will start to notice 
you, see you in a more positive light. 

Nice and safe to experiment with, and to get a feel of how magic works. 

Gypsy love potion.(This is a really gypsy spell. for reference only remember the law of three!)

Gypsy Rose Love Spell

Three hearts of precious wild pink rose
that under sun and starlight grows;
Three silver spoons of honey gold
awakens powers of the old;
Three silver spoons of brandy wine
you shall be mine, you shall be mine.
You shall be mine till I you free
This is my will, so shall it be.


note: This is a form of spell that transmits through the generations without the need for cookbooks and things that can be found, burned, or lost. All the instructions necessary to perform the spell are INSIDE THE SPELL itself; which means that once you’ve learned it, it is always available to you.

Before anyone asks, clearly you’re supposed to put all the ingredients in order into a pot and stir them on the last three lines. With a SILVER spoon. Then you have the Love Potion ready to use. Or sell.

Protection Spell Against A Person Who Wishes You Harm

When I do this spell, I raise energy first through myself, and visualise the negative person being enfolded in a bubble of clear, mirror smooth energy to keep their negativity inside.

This is an interesting manouvre because it has a dual action - this bubble in which they become encased contains their energy emissions absolutely and doesn’t make any distinction between good or bad emissions. So should they think loving thoughts, they will be healed just the same as they will be getting painful repercussions from thinking or broadcasting ill thoughts.


Here is the core spell:

All acts of negativity 
will now return threefold to thee.

All bad you try to send my way
upon your own self will hold sway.

All actions, thoughts and words of hate
become your own decided fate.

By all up high, the worlds and wise
by oceans wide and deep blue skies
by day and night, and powers three
this is my will, so mote it be!

Sun Spell for Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice for 2012 is on Wednesday, 20 June at 23.09. That’s the moment when the sun stands still and listens - and a perfect moment for a special spell. Now in all magical workings from the dawn of time, the Sun has had a special place as the single most powerful physical existence in our lives. Sun magic, one might say, is therefore the most powerful form of magic if you want to make changes in the material world. Which is why Hitler adopted the Sun rune (aka the swastika) as the symbol for his party … and material changes they made …

Please Note: You can do this spell at any time the sun is shining, all year round!


Since then, the Sun rune has fallen into disuse amongst magicians; this is of course a lamentable state of affairs but there we have it.

Luckily, we have an even older alternative which is the magic spiral, much used by indigenous people from all traditions, all cultures and nobody as far as I know has so far marched to war under a spiral banner … and if they ever did, they won’t be troubling us now.

But I digress.

Fact is that this year, the moment the sun stands still to listen to our requests for sun power connections happens to be in the late afternoon, at least for the Europeans amongst us. Which means that if we can see the sun, we can make a special ritual that focuses intention on that one moment in time; we can launch a spell there with a bang.

So what kind of spell would you like to do?

Here are some ideas.

Sun Spell SpiralOf course, the sun has been the focus of material and worldly power. So if you wish to be a leader,gain followers, more customers, more respect or power in your community, get elected to some kind of office, or simply increase your reality creating powers, that’s definitely in keeping with sun magic.

Sun Spell SpiralThen there’s money. Gold, to be precise. Sun and gold are often magically interchanged, as are other prosperity metaphors such as ripe golden corn, golden fruit, gold animals. So for a hardcore money ritual, the exact moment of the Summer Solstice is the best launch pad you could wish for.

Sun Spell SpiralFinally, and this is particularly interesting, the Sun has also been associated with the soul, the shining immortal center of self that powers all our endeavours, worldly or otherwise. The soul is also the center of the psychic circuitry and thereby responsible for one’s magic power. So if you would like to do something to activate your soul in your life more, feed your soul, celebrate your soul or get closer to your soul, this is the perfect time to do that also.

"Wait a minute!" I hear you cry. "You want me to choose between worldly power, money, magic, love and immortality? I want all of those!"

Right, my magical friend, quite right you are and you should, at that.

You should want all three because all three need to develop and grow in harmony, or else all sorts of major craziness and magic madness will ensue.

So that brings us to the the 3 Suns magic spell or ritual.

3 Suns Solstice Spell

That’s quite simple - as all good spells are, of course - and you can do this in the Hard or in Sanctuary, I leave that up to you.

The first thing we need is a small fire.

Fire is “of the Sun” - it is the human ability to light the night, to bring light to darkness, a reflection of the sun, and whenever you light a magic fire, even a candle, you are evoking the Sun power, whether you know this or not.

So we’ll light a fire.

Sun Spell Solstice Sun Symbols

Now we’ll have three circles with the spiral painted or drawn on it to represent the Sun in its three meanings - power, wealth and love.

Don’t discriminate against any of them or hold any of them more dear than any of the others; of course they all need to work together, be as one for any one of them to be what you hope it to become.

When you make these three discs - from paper, card, round slices of a tree branch, whatever you choose to use - focus on one of the three aspects of the power/wealth/love trinity at a time and allow yourself to really want *that* with all your heart. Draw the spiral on your disc.

When you have all three, switch them around until you no longer know which one is which - or witch one is witch! - and then you’re ready to wait for the moment.

As the time approaches for the moment when the Sun stands still to listen, and you are by your fire, pay attention to the Sun.

*If you are somewhere where the sun is not in the sky at this time, tune into the sun. You can feel where it is even when you can’t see it, even through the Earth if it is on the other side. It’s actually awesome the way that works and a wonderful thing in and of itself.

For effect, I would use an accelerant on the discs, some essential oils as an extra offering to the Sun which sent its power to grow the plants from which they came, LemonLotus and Elemi or such and at the moment of the Solstice, throw the three discs into the fire where they will transmute, unite and become one and the same.

I personally would follow that with a moment of connecting with the sun, with the fire, as a human being with the forces of the Universe and our acts that create ritual reflections of these forces to be a part of all of that, a friend and lover to the Sun, to the fire, and to the existence here and now.

This is a powerful spell/ritual and actually very easy to do; if you know how to EmoTrance and have a sense of that, you can get a fabulous energized end state which is an event of evolution - what each energy magician truly seeks each time they perform any ritual or spell.

Ok! So that’s the Three Suns Spell which I will be doing for this year’s Summer Solstice.

I trust you found some inspiration for a Solstice Spell or Ritual of your own; don’t let the magic moment pass you by and do *something* that feels good and right to you.

Happy Solstice to you!

Money Spells..

Done During the Full Moon…

 Fill your cauldron half full of water and drop a silver coin into it. Position the cauldron so that the light from the moon shines into the water. Gently sweep your 
hands just above the surface, symbolically gathering the Moon’s silver.

                     While doing this say…

                “Lovely Lady of the Moon, bring to me your 
                 wealth right soon. Fill my hands with silver 
                 and gold. All you give, my purse can hold.”

Repeat this three times. When finished, pour the water upon the earth.

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Money, Money Spell… 
This spell I made my own version… and it works quite well!

This must be done on the Proper Day and Hour of Jupiter. I will explain more in a bit.
You will need a Green Candle and a White Candle. The Green candle represents the money, and the white candle represents you. Make sure you annoint the candles with oil first, thinking of your desire for money to come to you. Set the candles on your alter or table 8 inches apart. After doing this say…

                              “Money, money come to me 
                              In abundance three times three 
                              May I be enriched in the best of ways 
                              Harming none on its way 
                              This I accept, so mote it be 
                              Bring me money three times three!”

You need to start this Spell on a Thursday which is the Day of Jupiter and at the proper hour of Jupiter for your Latitude and Longitude. Repeat this for 8 days. Each day move the White Candle one inch closer to the Green Candle. When the Candles touch, your spell is finished. This will end the Spell on a Thursday as well.
Each day you should find the proper Planetary Hour of Jupiter and do the Spell at that time. This will give it much more Power.
Jupiter is associatied with Money.
Make sure you visualize the money pouring in from the Universe but make sure you imagine a source of where that money will come from… and don’t ask for the Lotto…. it’s not gonna happen.

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Coltsfoot Wealth Spell…

                   For wealth and prosperity for a year, 
                    take the husk from an ear of corn and put 
               a dollar bill along with a note written on parchment,

                            “Oh, dear god of luck, 
                             money is like muck, 
                         not good except it be spread. 
             Spread some here at———————(write in your address). 
                          Thanks be to thee. Amen.” 
                               Sign your name.

               Sprinkle the dollar bill and note with coltsfoot leaves. 
           Roll the husk up and tie together with green string or ribbon. 
             Hang the token up above the entryway with green cord. 
      That husk should bring riches into your home or business by the bushel.

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   Scullcap Money Spell… 
     To inspire others to give you money, place some Scullcap in a small saucer 
and moisten it with Money Mist, or Money Drawing Oil. Get a ball of green cord or yarn and wind it around your “nest egg” of Scullcap and oil, winding until the herb is completely covered and secure. 
     Tie the cord so that the ball will not unwind and hang above the doorway. 
All those who enter will become possessed with an unreasoning desire to bring gifts 
and money to your home. Anoint the ball every seventh day with a few drops of the 
oil to preserve it’s powers.

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     Money Spell with Smartweed…

  To find money, one should make a conjure bag containing a magnetic horseshoe, 
      and a lodestone to attract and draw wealth to you, and some smartweed 
     to enable you to see how to capture it and hold it without being led astray 
        by unprofitable distractions or foolish delays. Feed your money bag 
              with a sprinkle of Gold Magnetic Sand every third day 
                      until you find the amount you need..

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   Lavender Money Spell…

    A lucky money spell is made by placing in a conjure bag seven pieces of money, 
each different, such as a penny, nickel, dime, quarter, a half dollar, $1.00 bill, 
and $5.00 bill, all of which are sprinkled liberally with lavender. 
    Take the bag with you for seven days and your money should multiply seven times(this would give you $41.46 above your original investment) or, in some instances if the gods are smiling in your direction, seven times seven! This would result in a tidy sum of $338.50 and seems well worth trying for!

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      Luck Hand Root Money Spell…

     To get and hold a job, always carry a lucky hand root on your person. Use Lucky Nine Oil on your wrists each day for nine days, and burn some John the Conqueror Incense each night. These roots bring luck in all undertakings and no conjure bag would be considered complete without one. The hands are usually imperfect, but this does not affect their value as a talisman. The ones which are formed so that all five fingers are distiguishable are very rare and therefore extremely expensive.

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         Yellow Dock Money Spell…

         Brew a tea with a spoonful of this herb to a cup of water, strain, 
     and use to wash door knobs at your place of business to draw customers, 
     or at home to attract good fortune.

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        A Quick Money Spell…

 This spell requires good visualization. Take a green candle and anoint it with cinnamon oil. Take the bill or write on a piece of paper the amount of a bill you owe and who it is to. You will need a candle that can burn for 7 days. Place the paper under the candle. Hold your hands over the candle and say…

                    "This candle burns to light the way 
                      for the money I need to pay this bill 
                         in a way that harms no one.”

     Light the candle and burn patchouli incense. Meditate for about 5 minutes as the candle burns. Visualize yourself writing the check or purchasing the money order for this bill and putting it in the mail. Burn the candle every day around the same 
time for 7 days and 15 minutes at a time. Also, burn patchouli incense every day 
too with the candle. On the last day, burn the paper with the flame from the candle 
and let the candle burn completely out.

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           Prosperty Ritual… 
 

                                    Tools: 
               poppet made out of green cloth, leave the head open 
                            chamomile for money 
                              rosemary for luck 
                               basil for success 
                              needle and thread 
             Directional elementals (earth, incense for air, fire, water)

                                Altar Devotion 
                              Casting the Circle 
         As you walk around the circle three times, imagine a green, 
 soothing mist trailing from your fingers, enveloping you and enclosing your magick 
                                    circle.

 ”I conjure the magick circle I am safe within the Goddess’ womb 
                         A sacred place, a world apart 
                  Where enchantment births and magick starts 
                      With Air and Fire, Water and Earth 
                        I circle round the Mother’s girth 
                             This circle is sealed”

                           Drawing Down the Moon 
         Stand holding your athame, legs slightly apart, arms at your side. 
     Breathe deeply. Raise the athame to your lips, holding it with both hands, 
 and then point it toward the moon. Feel the energy of the moon move through the 
athame,down your arms and into your whole being.

                           Invocation to the Goddess 
                        ”Wondrous Lady of the Moon 
                Mistress of all magick and protectress of all Wicca 
                              Life-giving mother 
                  I greet you at the waxing of the moon’s power 
                    I invite you to attend my Full Moon rite”

                            Invocation to the God 
                         “Radiant King of the Heavens 
                         Master of beasts wild and free 
                                 Horned stag 
                  I greet you at the waxing of the moon’s power 
                    I invite you to attend my Full Moon rite”

                      Meditation and Chant to the Goddess 
            Sit with your spine straight, legs crossed, hands in your lap. 
      Close your eyes and visualize the Goddess, however she appears to you. 
                Feel her arms around you in a protective embrace. 
          When you have the vision firmly planted, begin chanting softly:

                        ”Starry Goddess, Full of Light 
                       I honor you this Full Moon Night”

                       Repeat, feeling your energy grow. 
            This energy will be used during the following spellworking.

                                 Spellworking 
             Cleanse and consecrate poppet for workings of magick. 
                 Stuff it with the herbs. Sew the opening closed.

                           “Goddess of Opportunity 
                         Bring good things in life to me 
                           I’ll be alert to all you send 
                         Goddess be my helpful friend”

      Repeat 3 times, envisioning the opportunities you wish to come to you.

                             Reverse Lunar Draw 
Raise the athame to the moon, then bring it to your lips and back down to your side, 
releasing the energy you built during the Drawing.

                         Thank the Goddess and God

                              Release the Circle. 
        Walk back around the circle, pulling the mist back into your hands. 
Place the poppet in your closet, your car, your handbag or somewhere else close to 
you. You can re-work this spell at the next full moon if you feel it’s necessary.

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           To Banish Debt…

                                  Supplies: 
         A piece of rolled parchment 2 inches wide and as long as you like. 
                                One black pen. 
                              One purple candle. 
                              Oil of your choice. 
                            Incense of your choice.

                         Suggested Correspondences: 
  Moon: Full (for more power) Dark (to banish) 
  Day: Monday (Family) or Saturday (banish) or Sunday (Success). 
  Planet: Moon (for family) Saturn (to banish) Sun (Success) or Mars (fast action) 
  Uranus (change) 
  Planetary Hour: Same as above 
  Astrological Placement: Moon in Aquarius (optional) 
  Deity: Juno (Goddess of Gold) 
  Elements: Air 
  Elemental: Sylphs

   Cleanse and consecrate all supplies with the four elements (earth, air, fire, and 
 water). List all your debts on the parchment. Draw a banishing pentacle on the back of the parchment. Carve a banishing pentacle on the candle. Place the rolled 
parchment in the candle holder then tighten candle on top. Think of banishing your 
debts. Think of the feeling of happiness and relief when the debts are banished. 
Light the candle. Take the candle to the East quarter and ask that the Sylphs send 
your message of banishment out to the universe in a safe and protective way, and 
ask that prosperity return to you in the same manner. Put the candle back on the 
altar and, in your own words, ask Juno to banish the debt and replace with 
prosperous energy. Allow the candle to burn completely. The paper will catch fire, 
so watch what type of holder you are using (glass will break) and that the candle 
holder is on a fire safe surface. As the candle burns, concentrate on banishing your 
debts, your feelings of relief and happiness, and the coming prosperity. 
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Knot Money Spell

     There are times when we are sometimes faced 
with an urgent financial need.  This is one spell 
I do not use often, and only use when I am in a 
sincere financial bind.  Do not misuse the powers 
that be for greediness, only to help you out in a 
pinch if the need arises. 
     This may not work well for those of you with 
short hair.  I have long hair and this part of the 
spell.  If you have short hair or no hair, try 
subsituting green thread/yarn (use natural fibre 
thread/yarn, such as cotton/wool).  To see if the 
yarn is real wool or synthetic, burn a bit of it 
on the end.  If it forms a hard little nub, then 
it is synthetic. 
     Brush/comb your hair.  The strands of hair 
that are on your comb/brush, is what you’ll be using. 
When you have at least nine or more long strands of 
hair, you are ready to begin.  Begin chanting the 
following or similar words:

          Dear Lord and Lady,

          Please send money to me.

          Please send money to me,

          Dear Lord and Lady.

          Let the money come in an innocent way,

          Let harm come to none,for fulfilling

          this need for which I pray.

     As you chant the above, rub the stands of hair 
between your palms, to form a sort of cord.  Keep 
chanting, while doing the following. Next, tie nine 
knots onto this hair cord.  The following is a sloppy 
diagram to show you where to tie these knots on the 
hair cord. The numbers represent where the knots 
should be tied.

      —-1—-6—-4—-8—-3—-7—-5—-9—-2—-

     Tie the first knot at the furthest left side of 
the hair cord, the second knot at the furthest right 
side of the hair cord, the third knot in the middle 
and so on. 
     As you tie these knots, keep chanting. 
Visualize your financial need being met, through 
positive ways, such as finding a stash of money 
you forgot about, winning a small sum, but not 
through inheritances etc(as this is destructive, 
you don’t want someone to die, in order for you 
to meet your financial needs, which is why the 
wording of the chant used is so important). 
    Once you have tied the nine knots in the 
appropriate order, keep chanting and visualizing 
debts paid in full etc.  Then, either bury the 
hair cord, burn it or throw it into the wind. 
Then make an offering to the Lord and Lady, by 
either burying an apple, pour some milk/wine into 
the ground, bury a bit of tobacco etc. 
     As you prepare and leave your offering of 
thanks, say out loud that you are thankful for 
their love, assistance, help, guidence etc and be 
sincere when doing so!

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SCULLCAP… 
To inspire others to give you money, place some scullcap in 
a small saucer and moisten it with money mist, or money drawing oil. Get a 
ball of  green cord or yarn and wind it around your “nest egg” of scullcap 
and oil, binding until the herb is completely covered and secure. Tie the cord 
so that the ball will not unwind and hang above the doorway. All those who 
enter will become possessed with an unreasoning desire to bring gifts and 
money to your home. Annoint the ball every seventh day with a few drops of 
the oil to preserve it’s powers.

SMARTWEED… 
To find money, one should make a conjure bag containing a magnetic horseshoe, and a lodestone to attract and draw wealth to you, and some smartweed to to enable you to see how to capture it and hold it 
without being led astray by unprofitable distractions or foolish delays. Feed your money bag with a sprinkle of Gold magnetic sand every third day until you find the amount you need..

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Money Ritual 
Perform on the three nights before the full moon, the night of the 
full moon, and the three nights after, using the same candles.

Ritual Bath: Use money bath salts, candlelight. Bring power through 
head and feet to cleanse any negativity. Get in water and focus on goal. 
(When you drain the tub, negativity will go down the drain). 
Cast circle. Light altar candle, God & Goddess Candle. Invoke Gods. 
Anoint green pillar candle with lodestone oil, visualizing putting 
your energy for your goal into the candle. Visualize the goal as already 
existent. Rub candle with cinnamon and cloves. Burn money incense

~ A Gathering Chant ~

The night is upon us
The sky is clear
We call upon the Goddess
and She is near

Children of the Goddess gather
Weaving webs of magick
Dancing circles through time
Chanting to the quarters
Re-membering an earlier time

The year moves in a sacred wheel
As the Goddess teaches us to heal
We heal ourselves and each other
We heal the Earth

Children of the Goddess gather
Weaving webs of magick
Dancing circles through time
Chanting to the quarters
Re-membering an earlier time

Our spirits know the way
To celebrate each day
We heal ourselves and each other
We heal the Earth
Re-birthing a saner time

Children of the Goddess gather
Weaving webs of magick
Dancing circles through time
Chanting to the quarters
Re-membering an earlier time

Elements prayer or chant

At one with the Universe
My spirit is free
All creation pulses in me
Floating upon the wind
Sparking with the energy of fire
Flowing with the waters
Dancing the rhythms of Earth
Spinning and Spiraling
into Elemental re-birth
The magic of being renews
Floating upon the wind
Sparking with the energy of fire
Flowing with the waters
Dancing the rhythms of Earth
Between the Moon and Sun

Pagan Prayer of Becoming

May clarity grow within me
Open my eyes to life’s many wonders
May I feel the pulse of all creation within me 
Open my spirit to Awareness
Fill my heart with deeper Understanding
May my life be of service to Earth and the Goddess

Open my ears to the needs of those around me
Make my hands strong, sure, & gentle in your service
May I remember always, the Goddess works through me

Paganism as a Belief System


There are many definitions of Paganism, Witchcraft and Wicca, and there are just as many different paths and traditions to explore… here we to try and define what it is that makes a pagan or a witch.

Paganism and Witchcraft are very diverse and personal religions and you will find that many people adapt the religion to suit their own preferred system of belief… but within all this diversity, there are certain things that define our basic tenets of belief.

Paganism is a nature based spiritual system…in other words, we have a strong nature and ecological base. We do not worship nature, but rather we worship through nature. We see nature as a manifestation of Deity and we attune ourselves to this force. This alone does not define a pagan, as this nature based attitude could be applied to almost any other religion. But you will find it is a basic premise of all pagan belief systems. Nature represents the whole of divinity and gives us an intimate connection with that force.

Now within nature, you will find a polarity of all energies – there are two sides to almost everything in nature – you could label this the masculine and feminine aspects. Because we see nature as the divine, we also see our divine force as having two aspects – masculine and feminine – God and Goddess. Both are equally important to the existence of the universe and both are equally revered and worshipped within the craft. The fact that we worship both God and Goddess is very much a defining point of paganism and witchcraft.

Pagans and Witches have a personal and intimate relationship with their Gods. There are no dogmas governing our communication with deity, and there are no filters (by way of churches and priests etc) that interpret the messages of the Gods on our behalf.

Another defining trait of Pagans and Witches is that we attune to nature through the ‘Wheel of the Year’. Our eight solar festivals (called Sabbats) are universally accepted as common ground between the many pagan traditions. The sun is seen as the ‘God’ energy and Solar festivals are usually ‘God’ orientated.

As we attune to the solar cycle and the seasons, we also closely follow the lunar cycle. We perform our worship and practice our craft under the light (or dark) of the moon. The moon is seen to represent the Goddess and depending on the phase of the moon, we associate it to the Maiden Goddess, The Mother or the Crone.

Most (but not all) Witches perform magick. The type of magick that is performed is far from the general Hollywood glamorous image and usually relates to personal growth and betterment. There are laws of karma that dictate boundaries of magickal practice.

Pagans and Witches believe in Karma and what is more commonly known as the ‘Threefold Law’. This encourages thoughtful, ethical and responsible actions in all levels of our lives… mundane and spiritual.

Pagans do not believe that ours is the ‘one true’ path and do not proselytise…in other words we do not push our religion onto other people and try and convert them. We understand that each person has different spiritual needs and we do our best to respect other religious systems.

Pagans do NOT believe in the ‘devil’ (by any name). Most believe that the concept of a ‘purely evil’ deity has Christian origins…there is no mention of a devil until the New Testament in the bible. It is interesting to note that those of Jewish faith also do not believe in the concept… and that Christianity stems from Judaism. The ‘old gods’ have aspects of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and it was only the idea of an all-good, all loving deity, that necessitated an antagonist.

This has been a very brief look at what the Pagan path encourages as a belief system.
Paganism is both a religion and a philosophy… it is a spiritual system, an attitude and a way of life.

One can be a Pagan, yet never practice ritual, one can be a witch, yet never practice magick. It is your personal choice which elements to incorporate into your belief system.

Gruagach - Fairy Queen of the Highlands

The Scottish supernatural helper, the Gruagach, has generally been presented as a form of the better-known “brownie”. In fact what we seem to find in the Gruagach are remnants of traditions that are of extreme antiquity and are perhaps directly linked to ancient pagan belief in the specific form of Mother Goddess worship. Much of the material considered here came to my notice in the research for a study on the Nine Maidens, a motif that occurs with startling frequency in Classical, Celtic, Norse and other mythological and legendary sources. In the course of my researches I came across references to the Gruagach as possibly being linked to other beings and was intrigued.

In Old Scottish Customs, E.J. Guthrie (1895, repr.1994) introduces the Gruagach: “Some time ago the natives of some of the Western Islands firmly believed in the existence of the gruagach, a female spectre of the class of brownies, to whom the dairy-maids made frequent libations of milk. The gruagach was said to be an innocent being who frolicked or gambolled among the pens and folds. She was armed solely with a pliable rod, with which she switched any who would annoy her either by using bad language, or depriving her of her share of the dairy produce. Even so late as 1770 the dairymaids who attended a herd of cattle in the Island of Trodda [off Skye], were in the habit of placing daily a quantity of milk on a hollow stone for the gruagach. Should they ever neglect this duty they were sure to feel the weight of the brownie’s rod on the following day”.

F. Marion McNeill in The Silver Bough (1957) tells us of these creatures: “In Tiree, Skye and elsewhere, the tutelary spirit of both cattle and cattle fold is called the Gruagach, and in Skye, Gruagach stones, where libations were formerly left, are still pointed out. One of these is at Sleat, formerly the residence of the Lords of the Isles, and the Gruagach attached by tradition to the Castle is said to have been frequently seen in the vicinity of the stone”.

Several commentators have suggested that this helper might in fact be a decayed belief of a previously more substantial figure. J.A. McCulloch (The religion of the ancient Celts, 1911) had this to say: “Until recently milk was poured on ‘Gruagach stones’ in the Hebrides, as an offering to the Gruagach, a brownie who watched over herds, and who had taken the place of a god”. Evans-Wentz in The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries (1911) also describes the Gruagach, again stressing the link with cattle: “The fairy queen who watches over cows is called Gruagach in the islands, and she is often seen. In pouring libations to her and her fairies, various kinds of stones, usually with hollows in them, are used. In many parts of the Highlands, where the same deity is known, the stone into which women poured the libation is called Leac na Gruagaich, ‘Flag-stone of the Gruagach’. If the libation was omitted in the evening, the best cow in the fold would be found dead in the morning”.

There are many instances of the association of cows with powerful female figures in the traditions of the Celtic-speaking peoples, one of the most significant perhaps being the cow at Calanais who came from the sea in a time of famine and gave all the locals sufficient milk to survive, until a greedy witch, disappointed in not getting more than her share milked the cow using a bottomless bucket, which caused the cow to disappear. Tales of such supernatural cattle occur in many European and Asian locations as shown by Hilda Ellis Davidson (Roles of the Northern Goddess, 1998). The importance of cattle in Scottish Highland society has been well-documented and like the many instances Davidson mentions, appears to be of considerable antiquity. Evans-Wentz tells us that the Gruagach “is often seen”. This was written in the first decade of the 20th century and suggests that the belief in the Gruagach was still extant at that time, or shortly before.

The Gruagach Stone at Balnahard on the island of ColonsayIn J.F. Campbell’s Popular Tales of the West Highlands (1860/1) he writes of a spirit called locally ‘Greogaca’ which is clearly the same as the Gruagach but here the helper is presented as male. In this story, the Gruagach helps to look after the cattle, but only if an offering of warm milk is left for him in a nearby knocking-stone. This repeats the familiar motif in which farm workers, usually the milk-maids, leave libations of milk in nearby hollow stones. In some cases it is clear that these stones are cup-and-ring marked rocks. Such rocks are believed to have been the focus of some sort of ritual activity in the far past and are generally considered to have been carved in the Stone Age. This is as yet incapable of being proved, but archaeologists do agree on their great antiquity. This raises the possibility that the libations being placed in such stones was descended at some point either from specific rituals associated with such stones or that the sanctity of the stones themselves was the reason such practices arose.

The Gruagach was attentive to the herds and kept them from the rocks. In the tale, The Young King of Easaidh Ruadh the hero overcomes the supernatural being the Gruagach carsalach donn (the brown curly long-haired one) with the assistance of his daughter. Campbell later tells us that: “The word Gruagach … generally means a maiden. It also means a female spectre of the class of Brownies to which the Highland dairy maids made frequent libations of milk”. Campbell gives us a couple of other instances of the creature; for example, a Gruagach used to haunt Skipness Castle, and is still remembered there as a supernatural female who did odd jobs about the house for the maids, and lived in the ruin.

He also tells us of another male Gruagach in a tale from Barra called the Fair Gruagach, son of the King of Eirinn, in which the Gruagach was a former Druid priest. It is worth considering whether this male Gruagach in Barra could be the remnant of much earlier belief where the figure was in fact female. Over the years, as Christianity took hold, this idea of a female priest would have lost its relevance to the audience, and in fact might even have been offensive to them.

The Clach aBhainne (Milking Stone) near to Mullach Sgar on the island of Hirta, St.Kilda. Prior to 1764, the custom was to pour milk into a hollow in the stoneThe Clach aBhainne (Milking Stone) near to Mullach Sgar on the island of Hirta, St.Kilda. Prior to 1764, the custom was to pour milk into a hollow in the stone to placate a divinity called GruagachAll over Scotland, particularly the western isles, there were stones where offerings to Gruagach were made. In The Silver Bough (1957) Marian McNeill said: “In the isle of Skye there are stones to which, until fairly recent times the islanders brought libations of milk. These are called Gruagach Stones and are believed to be rude representations of Griannos or Gruagach, one of the many names of the sun-god [sic.] of the Gaels. In later times the milk was brought as an offering to the fairies”. While the reference to the sun god is difficult to credit nowadays, this shows not just the similar association between the Gruagach and the sacred stones, but the reference to the fairies again suggests a continuity of practice and belief.

‘Gruagach’ may mean “the long-haired one” and be derived from gruag = a wig, and is a common Gaelic name for a maiden, or a young woman. In A Midsummer Eve’s Dream(1971) Alexander Hope analyses16thC Scots poems by Dunbar. In the poem the Golden Targe Dunbar’s goddesses wear green kirtles under their green mantles and with their long hair hanging loose they are also presented as fairies in their appearance. The belief in a “fairy-cult” which Hope discerns in these and other works is quite clearly a remnant of an earlier pagan religion.

Donald Mackenzie (Scottish Folk Lore and Folk Life, 1935) tells of a gruagach in the township of Bennan on Mull who was also a cattle herder, but, taking offence she decided to quit the island. “She placed her left foot on Ben Bhidhe in Arran and her right foot on ’Allasan’ (Ailsa Craig), making this her stepping stone to cross to the mainland of Scotland or to Ireland. While the gruagach was in the act of moving her left foot a three-masted ship passed beneath, the mainmast of which struck her in the thigh and overturned her into the sea. The people of Bennan mourned the Gruagach long and loudly”. Here we have a truly supernatural being who tended the flocks but was a remarkable giant. The strong possibility here is that the Gruagach was capable of altering her size at will, a faculty strongly reminiscent of shape-shifting, an ability attributed to many female groups, as well as witches.

Her great size here is also suggestive of the Scottish Cailleach as the Hag of Winter. As Mackenzie points out, the Cailleach was clearly a Goddess figure in the past and many remnants of belief in her crop up in Scottish tradition. She is an extremely complex figure and O Crualaoich (Continuity and Adaptation in Legends of the Cailleach Bhearra, 1988) drew attention to her links with the notion of the Sovereignty Queen tradition in Irish sources as well as noting the similarity to various figures from Norse folklore. Anne Ross’s term for this creature “The Divine Hag of the Pagan Celts” (1973) is a particularly apposite term, though the similarities with Norse tradition noted by O Crualaoich suggest that it would be unwise to see this figure as existing only among the traditionary material of the Celtic speaking peoples. His reference to the recurring motif of the Cailleach creating aspects of the landscape can be perhaps best be interpreted as remnants of a fundamental mythological construct in which the original Mother Goddess was active in creating the physical world.

One of the generally ignored aspects of pre-historic, and early historic society, in Britain and neighbouring Europe, is that contact between them by sea was anything but difficult. Sailing from modern Brittany to the Hebrides is not a major journey and, even with less sophisticated equipment would not be a particularly hazardous or lengthy journey at certain times of the year. It is therefore not surprising to find that other similarly-named creatures to the Gruagach also exist in Breton tradition.

Gruagach may be related to the Breton words Groac’h or Grac’h, a name given to the Druidesses or Priestesses, who had colleges on the Isle de Sein, off the NW coast of Brittany. These Groac’h were known for being involved in divination, healing and shape-shifting, and P.F.Anson (Fisher Folk Lore, 1965) says of them: “On the intensely Catholic Isle de Sein there used to be the conviction that certain women had what was known as ‘le don de vouer’, i.e. the power of communicating with the Devil or his emissaries, in other words that they were witches. Fishermen alleged that they had seen these women on dark nights launching mysterious boats (bag-sorcérs) to enable them to take part in a witches’ Sabbath or coven known as groach’hed”.

In Women of the Celts, Jean Markale (1986) recounts the story of a supernatural female called the Groac’h. He tells us: “There was a lake where lived the Groac’h, who kept fabulous treasure and whose marvellous palace was accessible by a boat in the shape of a swan”. In the tale she is a witch type figure who has imprisoned a whole series of men by turning them into fish after marrying them. Through using a series of Christian magic talismans, the hero Houarn, with the help of his betrothed Bellah, manages to outwit the Groac’h, turning her into “ a hideous queen of the mushrooms” before pitching her down a well! He then releases the witch’s unfortunate husbands from their spells and appropriates her treasure.

Markale suggests that Houarn is “not in full possession of his power and feeling constrained to find it, (goes) looking for it in the matriarchal universe of a still gynaeocratic society”. The tale itself appears to be a Christianised version of something much more pagan and what we are perhaps seeing here are the remnants of a belief system which was focussed on the ultimate symbol of the feminine principle – the Mother Goddess.

The Venus of Quiniply - a 17thC version of the Groua-hourn, a Gruagach figureIn the late 17th century church leaders in the Castennec peninsula in southern Brittany were worried by an upsurge of what appeared to be paganism. People there were supposedly worshipping a goddess figure. The idol was called the Groua-hourn, Breton for ‘old woman’ or ‘sorceress’, a title that is very like Groac’h, and which has a similar meaning to the Scottish Gaelic term Cailleach or the Scots Carlin. The statue was thrown in the River Blavet by outraged priests but 30 years later was recovered by a local aristocrat, who attempted to make it more acceptable. During the attempt the statue was destroyed and the count ordered a new, more respectable one to be made. This was then put on display in the local church and is known today as the Venus of Quiniply, and still worshipped.

The Bretons are accepted as being closely linked to the P-Celtic peoples of south-western England and Wales, particularly in terms of language. In Welsh tradition we come across another similar term, gwrach, generally translated as witch or hag. Lewis Spence (Legends and Romances of Brittany, 1917) tells of the Gwrach Y Rhibyn, The Hag of the Dribble, as: “One of the Welsh banshees, whose pleasure it is to carry stones across the mountains in her apron, then loosing the string, she lets the stones shower down, this making a dribble. It is believed that at twilight this hag flaps her raven wing against the window of those who are doomed to die, and howls ‘A a ui ui Ami” This is clearly foundation mythology – tales told to explain the actual creation of the physical world - and here we have another direct link to the Scottish Cailleach.

The Gwrach Y Rhibyn is also clearly linked to the Banshee of Q-Celtic tradition who foretells death, and the mention of the raven wing might be seen as suggestive of the goddess Morrigan who haunted battlefields in the shape of a raven in Irish tradition. J.Rhys (Celtic Folklore; Welsh and Manx,1901) also talks of the Gwrach Y Rhibyn but is less definite about the meaning of the term: “What exactly Gwrach Y Rhibyn should connote I am unable to say. I may mention, however, on the authority of Mr Gwenogryn Evans, that in Mid-Cardinganshire the term means a long roll or bustle of fern tied with ropes of straw and placed along the middle of the top of a hayrick. This is to form a ridge over which and on which the thatch is worked and supported, Gwrach, unqualified is used in this sense in Glamorganshire”.

The reference to the term used in building hay-ricks is a clear link with harvest and is not the only one in Welsh tradition. There are other mentions of the Gwrach and clearly related figures which show them to be supernatural beings. W.Sikes (British Goblins, 1880) has the following:

The Gwrach ©A.L.Paciorek“It was also believed that a large town was swallowed up (at Crymlyn Lake), and that the Gwragad Annwn turned the submerged walls to use as the superstructure of their fairy palaces”. Here these creatures are what Katherine Briggs (Anatomy of Puck, 1959) called “lake maidens” rather than witches but the term Annwn obviously puts them in the Otherworld of Welsh tradition, again possibly suggesting the remnants of some earlier belief.

The use of the term gwrach at harvest time is well attested. T.M.Owen (Welsh Folk Customs. 1974) tells us that at the end of harvest in late 19th century Pembrokeshire the custom was to shout: “Bore y codais hi/ Hwyr y dilmais hi? Mi as hi mi ces hi (Early in the morning I got on her track, late in the evening I followed her; I got her, I got her). When asked what he had got, the reapers all shouted together: Gwrach, Gwrach, gwrach”. As Owen goes on to explain, the term gwrach here is the direct equivalent of the Scottish term Cailleach or Carlin, which was used in many areas to denote the last sheaf of the harvest. Such rituals associated with the last sheaf of harvest are common in many societies.

The various beings we have considered this far all have names that at one point or another have become associated with powerful female figures. There does seem to be a direct link in the attributes of these different essentially female figures, which I suggest points towards an underlying communality of belief. It is also of considerable interest that we have these references over a period close to two millennia. The Grac’h or Gallicenae were reported in the 1st century CE, while the various harvest uses of the differing terms in Wales and Scotland lasted into the late 19th century and probably later. In the midst of this we have a pagan seeress Groa from Norway (whose name and attributes may well also be connected to the Gruagach), an area which became Christian circa 1000 CE. The possibility that all these female figures are remnants of some sort of ancient religious belief is strengthened by the fact that both the Cailleach in Scotland and the Gwrach Y Rhibhyn in Wales are clearly remnants of goddess figures closely involved with shaping or even creating the landscape. In this respect the Cailleach is of particular importance. The term Cailleach is given as inherently meaning the veiled one, a meaning which gave rise to the later usage of the word as meaning nun. Such traditions certainly involve a concept combining both the feminine and the sacred.

I therefore suggest that in the various terms Gruagach, Gwrach, Grac’h, Groa etc. we are confronted with a term that was initially linked to the Mother Goddess in her Winter aspect and which through time became associated with those who were her priest-esses, and even perhaps priests. The association of the Scottish Gruagachs variously with cup-and–ring marked stones, skill at arms and fertility suggest remnants of ancient religious belief. The association of Groac’hs with ancient monuments in Breton tradition is another example of the same idea.

The Welsh Gwrach Y Rhibhyn is, like the Scottish Cailleach involved in the creation of the physical world. The Grac’h of the Isle de Sein and Groa in Norse mythology are practitioners of prophecy and magic, clear attributes of shaman style priests. In the story of the Groac’h luring unsuspecting males to her island home we have what seems to be a Christian attempt to demonise an earlier pagan figure. As I have said there are strong links with what were clearly established groups of pagan priestesses in various European societies and beyond. Elsewhere (The Quest for the Nine Maidens, 2002) I have looked in detail at some of these groups and here I suggest that the ongoing links with fertility, the harvest terms and rituals, the echoes of knowledge and instruction, and the involvement with divination show that in Gruagach, Grac’h and Groa we are seeing faint memories of an active priestesshood of a mother goddess worshipping religion.

In Scotland, Wales, Brittany and Scandinavia we have seen these similar terms being associated with female figures of a supernatural kind. They are all either powerful creatures, with control over healing, the weather and divination or are linked directly to fertility practices. Within the examples we have here considered there are groups who have been called Druidesses – the Gallicenae of Sena, individual seeresses – Groa, malignant fairies – Groac’h and of course the solitary Gruagach, tending the cattle and haunting cup-and-ring marked stones, themselves sites of ancient ritual. In all these cases the links to ancient pagan belief are straightforward. The names are very similar in pronunciation and are, at the least, suggestive of remnants of ancient belief and practice associated with an even more powerful female figure – the Mother Goddess, perhaps the earliest and most powerful of all human created deities.

Wicca & Witchcraft

Wicca & Witchcraft

What is Wicca?

Wicca is one of the most influential traditions of modern Paganism. Also known by the name Witchcraft, it began to emerge publicly in its modern form in the late 1940’s. It is an initiatory path, a mystery tradition that guides its initiates to a deep communion with the powers of Nature and of the human psyche, leading to a spiritual transformation of the self. Women who follow this path are initiated as Priestesses and men are initiated as Priests.

'Wicca is both a religion and a Craft. … As a religion - like any other religion - its purpose is to put the individual and the group in harmony with the divine creative principal of the Cosmos, and its manifestation at all levels. As a Craft, its purpose is to achieve practical ends by psychic means, for good, useful and healing purposes. In both aspects, the distinguishing characteristics of Wicca are its Nature- based attitude, its small group autonomy with no gulf between priesthood and 'congregation', and its philosophy of creative polarity at all levels, from Goddess and God to Priestess and Priest.'

Janet and Stewart Farrar, Eight Sabbats For Witches, Robert Hale, London, 1981.

Wicca is sometimes called the Craft of the Wise, or, more commonly, the Craft.

Those wishing to be initiated must be at least 18 years of age. Wicca does not seek converts and initiation is never offered. Initiation must be asked for and is only given to those who have proved themselves suitable. It is traditional to wait a year and a day before being accepted into the Craft, although in practice this varies.

In Britain, there are a number of Craft traditions: Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Traditional, Hereditary (Family), Dianic and Hedgewitch. In other countries, other traditions have evolved to reflect their own culture. Gardnerians claim lineage from Gerald Gardner, who was most responsible for the revival of the modern Craft. Alexandrians descend from Alex and Maxine Sanders, who developed Gardner’s ideas. Traditionalists claim their methods pre-date the modern revival and have been passed down from generation to generation. Hereditaries claim their traditions have been passed on by particular families through relations of blood and marriage. Dianic craft is based on feminist principles and Hedgewitches follow a more solitary path.

For some practitioners of the Craft, Witchcraft and Wicca are seen as two distinct paths, for others, the boundaries between the two are more blurred. Certainly, the word “Wicca” is less evocative and emotive than “Witchcraft” but whatever their perceived differences, they both share the same commonality in their beliefs and practises.

Witches celebrate eight seasonal festivals called Sabbats. Craft rituals, like all Pagan rites, are often conducted out of doors and involve simple rites to celebrate the seasons and the gift of life. Craft ritual is a means of contacting the Divine beyond our individual lives, but also a way of understanding our inner psyche and contacting the Divine within.

Witchraft is a path of magic and love, the movement of a deep poetry of the soul, a sharing and joining with the mysteries of Nature and the Old Gods.

Organisations

The ideal way to obtain training in Wicca is through a local teacher or coven. However, in reality there are insufficient covens to cater for the needs of all those who wish to learn more about Wicca. Below are some organisations in the UK which offer training and can help those who wish to learn more before trying to contact a local group, or for whom there is no local training available. Please send an SAE when writing to these organisations, and allow a few weeks for a reply.

  • Marian Green, BCM Quest, London WC1N 3XX. Runs a correspondence course on Natural Magic based on the philosophy in her books, and also runs seminars and workshops in the UK and Europe.

  • Wicca Study Group, BM Deosil, London WC1N 3XX. Vivianne and Chris Crowley and other coven leaders run an introductory correspondence course for those interested in exploring Wicca. Evening classes are held in London, while one-day workshops are held throughout the year in London, and in other parts of Britain and Europe by arrangement.

Hellenism

Hellenism

Hellenism (also known as Hellenismos and Hellenic polytheism) refers to the religious practices of those who honour the Gods of ancient Greece.

Hellenic refers to a particular time in Greek history, beginning with the conquests of Alexander the Great. In practice, those who practice Hellenism base their spirituality on the time spanning from the Minoan Era, through the Hellenic Era and up to the Christianisation of Rome.

There is a great deal of variety in how followers approach Hellenism, ranging from a Reconstructionist path, seeking to recreate ancient religious practices, right through to adaptations of contemporary pagan practice. Hellenismos often refers specifically to the Reconstructionist path or Hellenic reconstruction.

Hellenic reconstruction

Hellenismos is the religious path of the ancient Greek, faithfully reconstructed for Pagans in the modern world. Followers seek to be true adherents of the public and family ways of honouring the Gods, in a manner that is as close as possible to that of the ancient Greeks.

Hellenismos is a diverse religious path that allows the follower to be equally diverse. The religion of the ancient Greeks had no formal doctrine regarding what was considered canon or the right way to serve a particular God. Instead, there existed a great deal of variety in forms of worship and belief across the Greek world and over the centuries. Different city states had different times for festivals and many had festivals that were unique to their own city. The ways in which people celebrated their religion differed from place to place and people held different views of the Gods and life, often influenced by great philosophers such as Plato, Socrates and Aristotle. In fact, the path of Hellenismos is closely linked to philosophy. Studying the great philosophical writings of the time helps us to discover how the Greeks lived and how they viewed their world, including their perception of the divine. This diversity is not however a license for modern Hellenes to mix together whatever they want and call it Hellenismos. The focus is upon what is true to ancient Greek culture, as opposed to that of the Celts, the Jews, the Norse, etc.

Hellenism and contemporary Paganism

While Hellenismos concentrates on reconstructing the ancient ways in the modern world, followers of Hellenism can ground themselves instead in those practices and ideas that have become familiar aspects of contemporary Paganism.

The ancient Hellenes would not have cast circles and called quarters, for example, but there is no reason why one who is dedicated to Hellenism could not do this as their means of achieving a sacred connection to the Greek Gods. Indeed, the four elements of fire, earth, air and water commonly called at the quarters are Greek concepts.

Hellenism, whether centred on contemporary or ancient Paganism, is characterised by its veneration of the Gods of the Hellenic world, honouring them by means of prayers, hymns, offerings and rituals.

Cosmology

In Hellenism, the Gods are not distant and untouchable; they are real forces in the lives of their followers. The Gods are part of the greater society of the cosmos, which is made up of many different beings. Humanity is just one rung on the ladder and the Gods interact with humanity according to the same societal guidelines that humankind holds in esteem. For the Greeks of old, society was based upon reciprocity: society rewards those who contribute to it. If you live up to your responsibilities and help to make the world a more pleasant place, you are rewarded by sharing in those benefits, as everyone else should also be benefiting society in the same way.

This is the significance of making offerings. The Gods are not given offerings as payment or a bribe in return for help. Offerings signify that we are willing to give back to the Gods as well, recognising that they are also part of our community and so deserve the same or a greater level of reciprocity for all that they do.

Deities

The main Gods of Hellenism are the Dodekatheon, the twelve Olympian Gods. There are also numerous other Gods, many of them the sons and daughters of the Olympian Gods.

Zeus: The chief and king of the Gods, renowned for wielding the mighty power of the thunderbolt. Zeus is the son of the Titans Rhea and Cronos, the latter of whom he overthrew after causing him to regurgitate all his sons and daughters (who were the other Gods), thusly earning his place as ruler.

Hera: The wife of Zeus and queen of Olympus. She is best-known for her jealous outbursts against Zeus’ mistresses and their offspring. Hera is concerned primarily with marriage, women and fidelity.

Poseidon: The God of the oceans. He is often viewed as a tempestuous God that is easily angered, but this is also a reflection of his unwavering authority. Poseidon is primarily associated with the sea and rivers, horses and earthquakes.

Apollo: Apollo is a God of light, far-viewing into the distance, inspiring us to raise our eyes to greater horizons. He is primarily concerned with music, poetry, healing, prophecy and the arts.

Artemis: She is the virgin Goddess of the hunt who wanders in the wild places. Many associate her with the moon, which is fitting as she is the twin sister of Apollo, who is associated with the sun. Artemis is primarily concerned with animals, chastity, children and the protection of her sacred forest.

Athena: She is the Goddess of wisdom and the patron protector of the city of Athens, which still bears her name. She is regarded as a great warrior and extremely wise. Athena’s primary concerns are education, the arts and war.

Ares: Ares is the God of War and the son of Zeus and Hera. As God of War, this is his primary centre of concern, but he also takes interest in issues of strength, martial prowess and in some cases, assertive lust and virility.

Hermes: Hermes is the messenger of the Gods and in this capacity is the God of Guidance, who watches over travellers of all varieties – both physically and spiritually. He is concerned with travel, trade and animal husbandry.

Aphrodite: The Goddess of Love. She is connected to love in all its forms, as well as beauty and sexuality. When Aphrodite was born she was the most beautiful of the Gods, so Zeus gave her in marriage to Hephaestus in order to stop the other Gods warring over here. However, she had many affairs. Her main concerns are love, the sea, beauty and sex.

Hephaestus: Hephaestus is the smith of the Gods, the God of Fire and the forge. He is the God that is closest to workmanship, especially the construction of weaponry. His chief concerns are the forge, construction, the mastery of fire, and crafts.

Dionysus: Centrally, Dionysus is the God of Wine and revelry, though in his Mystery Cults they may have explored many other associations to him. As it is, his primary concerns are wine, parties, drunkenness and sexuality.

Demeter: Demeter is the Goddess of Agriculture, who taught humanity how to work the land. She controls the fertility of the earth and the raising of crops.

In addition to these are Hades and HestiaHades is the God of the underworld, who took this area for his realm when the world was divided between him and his brothers, with Zeus ruling from the sky and Poseidon ruling the ocean. But Hades is still a very important God and holds a prominent place within the Greek pantheon. Hestia is the Goddess of the Hearth, who voluntarily gave up her place on Olympus so that she could dwell among humanity. Because of her care for humankind, she is afforded special favours in the homes of Hellenes, being given the libations before each meal and receiving prayers each day. This is certainly not the limit of Greek deities that may be honoured. There are a great many more, such as Pan, Priapus and the Fates, to name but a few.

Hellenes may also honour a variety of other spiritual beings, such as heroes and daemons. Heroes are legendary figures whose deeds have made them particularly noteworthy and who have achieved a divine or semi-divine status, or have otherwise earned the right to such honours. Examples of these would be the great hero Achilles, wise Odysseus and Jason. Daemons can take many forms, existing as the spirits of places and concepts, as well as free-roaming wild spirits. They may be beneficial or detrimental to humankind, generous, malicious or apathetic. They are as diverse in mood and temperament as humans, perhaps even more so. But like the Gods, we may enter into relationships with them, helping to create a harmonious spiritual community between humanity, daemons and the Gods.

Soul

One of the principal beliefs in Hellenismos is in the existence of an eternal soul, which is the vital essence of the individual. The philosopher Sallustius, for example, considered the body to be the vessel of the soul, through which it operates; yet the soul is not connected to the body. It is like a driver in a car, who begins life with no knowledge of how to drive. The soul must learn how to work the car and then how to navigate the road. In the same way, the soul must learn to find its way through life, by using a body that sometimes gets in the way or steers it in the wrong direction. This is not the only view of the soul. Different philosophers had different musings on the subject. But the existence of the soul is seen not only as a staple point of the religion, but also as a matter of logical sense to those involved.

Afterlife

Greek religion deals primarily with the afterlife from three angles. The most common is that the dead descend into Hades to spend their afterlife as a Shade of their former self. There is also the view that the more deserving may spend their afterlives in The Asphodel Meadows, a place of natural beauty where the dead may dine upon asphodel flowers. To some though, the afterlife of Hades is simply a resting place for the soul before it drinks from the waters of forgetfulness and is reincarnated into a new life. Many within Hellenismos believe in reincarnation and it was a subject broached by many philosophers of the ancient world.

A chosen few may be able to avoid Hades altogether and ascend to places of prominence amongst the Gods. The best example is the Hero Achilles, whose greatness was recognised by the Gods who allowed him to avoid a regular human death and marry in the afterlife. To some, Achilles even elevated to the position of a God in his own right.

Overview

Hellenismos aims not just to worship the Gods of Greece, but also to recapture the mentality and civility that the ancient Greeks aspired to. It is more than a way to worship; it is also a way to look at the world and find your place within it, both philosophically and physically. It teaches that we are accountable not only for ourselves, but also for the wellbeing of society and our fellow human beings. In Hellenismos, the Gods smile on those that accept their responsibilities and honour those who honour them.

Egyptian goddess Bast

Bast (Bastet, Pasch, Ubasti, Ba en Aset) - Daughter of the sun god Ra, wife of Ptah, and mother of Mihos, Bast is an ancient Egyptian goddess who is still greatly revered by many today. Her worship began around the year 3200 BCE during the second dynasty in northern Egypt and her city is Bubastis. There, and in many other ancient cities, Egyptians celebrated Bast’s feast day, October 31st, with great joy and enthusiasm honouring their goddess, their protectress. Related to Neith, the Night Goddess, Bast symbolized the moon in its function of making a woman fruitful, with swelling womb. She was also the Egyptian Goddess of pleasure, music, dancing and joy, and associated with the Eye of Ra, acting as the instrument of the Sun God’s vengeance.

Bast is the Sacred Cat and her name means devouring lady. She is depicted as having the body of a woman and the head of adomestic cat. She holds the sacred rattle, Sistrum, and she possesses Utchat, the divine, all-seeing eye of Ra.

Indeed, the people of ancient Egypt turned to Bast for protection and for blessing, as she was a renowned and beloved goddess. She was the protectress of women, children, and domestic cats. She was the goddess of sunrise, music, dance, and pleasure as well as family, fertility, and birth.

The goddess’ protection can still be invoked for modern cats in homes and apartments.

Cats were very sacred animals to the ancient Egyptians. They held a high, honoured position in many households and were more important even than humans. Cats were demigods in ancient Egypt. Anyone caught harming or killing a cat, even by accident, was punished by death, for cats guarded the royal granaries keeping them relatively free from vermin which threatened the food supplies.

The famous Temple Ruins of Bast at Bubastis (Per-Bast in Tameran, today Tell-Basta). The sacred enclosure consisted of a grove of tall trees (the only one to be found in an Egyptian temple) holding the shrine of the goddess within. The temple was full of cats who were carried around in baskets and ritually fed.

"Other temples are greater and more costly, but none more pleasing to the eye than this." - Herodotus, Histories Book II, Chap. 137



Though the cat-headed goddess Bast was revered and loved throughout Egypt from the earliest of times (her worship was formalized at the end of the First or beginning of the Second Dynasties), there were several cities sacred to her cult and which hosted several large, important and influential temples. Among the more well-known cities were Memphis (Mennefer), Heliopolis (Iunu) and Herakleopolis (Henen-nesut); among the dozen or so cities important to the Bast Cult, none was more important or holy than Bubastis.

Located in the Eighteenth (“Prince of the South”) Nome of Lower Egypt, in the southeastern portion of the Delta, the city the Greeks called Bubastis was originally known simply as Bast; early in its long history it became known as Pwr-Bast or Pwr-Bastet. The Egyptian word “pwr,” commonly rendered as “per,” can be translated either as “house” or “realm,” so the city would have been known as the House of Bast. Exactly why this city, relatively unimportant in Egypt’s larger history until the advent of the Twenty-second Dynasty in the Tenth Century BCE, should be so important to the Cat Cult, or become so identified with the goddess Bast, is one of the many mysteries of Egypt lost in the proverbial mists of time, unlikely to leave physical traces in the archaeological record.

During the Bubastite period (22nd dynasty), cat cemeteries became popular, and a huge profusion of cat amulets were being made. Cats were mummified and ritually buried. In 640 AD Bubastis was still alive and people were still worshipping cats there.

Once per year, a great festival was held in Bubastis to honour Bast, attracting devotees from all over the country. According to Herodotus, the original accidental tourist, upwards of 700,000 people attended, most traveling by barges to the sound of flutes and percussion instruments. Though this was a religious festival, gaiety was rampant along the riverbanks and through all the avenues of the city, and in character it could easily be compared to Mardi Gras. One aspect of the festival, however, was quite moving, and came on the last night - in a town of silence, a town of darkness, a single light is lit in the Temple of Bast, and from there the light spreads through the town, carried by devotees; and prayers rise into the night, accompanied by music and incense.

All things come to an end, and so it came to Bubastis, destroyed by the Persians in 350 BCE. Today, only ruins remain of Bubastis, and the once-proud temple is nothing but tumbled blocks. One of few sights to see these days is the famous cat cemetery, where so many beloved pets journeyed to the Other Realm.

Sekhmet - Twin Sister of Bastet



Another aspect of Bast is her twin sister, Sekhmet. Sekhmet is also a goddess, depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness. She represents the negative, darker side of the goddess. As the lioness goddess, Sekhmet symbolizes the destructive forces in Nature and in human nature, while Bast is everything pure and good and life-giving. Together, the sister goddesses make up a whole - the balance of good and evil.

A Prayer

Beloved Bast, mistress of happiness and bounty, twin of the Sun God, slay the evil that afflicts our minds as you slew the serpent Apep. With your graceful stealth anticipate the moves of all who perpetrate cruelties and stay their hands against the children of light. Grant us the joy of song and dance, and ever watch over us in the lonely places in which we must walk.
You may wish to take a moment to honour this great ancient egyptian goddess. Light a green candle (Bast’s sacred colour) and be nice to a cat, her cherished animal.
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