Thursday, March 31, 2016


Today I learned that some witches are afraid of mugwort tea. They seem to be under the impression that a cup of mugwort tea will cause all sorts of health issues if you have any medical problems, or that a cup of mugwort tea will get you high.

So let's talk about mugwort for a second. Mugwort has been a commonly used herb through the centuries. People have been making mugwort tea, and using mugwort for culinary purposes for a very, very long time. Most people are not going to drop dead from using a little mugwort.

The idea that mugwort is a hallucinogen... Look, mugwort contains thujone, that's true, but it's my understanding that it contains less (or about the same?) thujone than rosemary or sage, two other very commonly used herbs in cuisine and witchcraft. No one is running around warning about the dangers of those herbs, so why has mugwort drawn such negative attention to it? It's very odd to me.

Of course it is absolutely true that you really need to do your research, consider your health problems, what medications you're on, if you're pregnant, etc, before you start up drinking and strange herbs or whatever. I'm not at all going to discount that. Mugwort in particular is not something pregnant people should be consuming, since it can induce periods. That said, the idea that anyone who has any mental health issues, is taking any sort of medication, has heart problems, that those people need to stay away form mugwort completely? It's just not true. They need to watch how much they ingest, yes, of course - too much mugwort isn't good for anyone. (But remember, too much nutmeg is toxic, as well...)

Full disclosure here, I have high blood pressure. I have struggled with anxiety and depression most of my life. I am on medications for both. But I've been using mugwort in tea, mead, and in incense incense in honor of Artemis for quite a while, and have never had an issue. A mug of mugwort tea has no effect on my blood pressure, it does not interact with the type of medication I take to help manage my blood pressure, it does not affect me mentally. I just do not use it in the quantity needed to reach any sort of high. I doubt most people making the occasional cup of tea from the herb ever will. I did my research first, very carefully, and I recommend anyone else do the same - don't take my word for any of this, go research for yourself when it comes to your own health - but at the same time, don't be completely scared off because some exaggerate the possible dangers. If you're interested in mugwort, go read about it, check out it's long use in history, and make your own informed decision.

Pagans - what we DON'T have in common.

I think this post could easily be summarized by saying "not all pagans/witches are Wiccan," but I think what that really means can sometimes use some clarification.

The (Triple) Goddess and The (Horned) God
Not all pagans/witches work with/worship/acknowledge this pair of deities. Beyond that, not all pagans/witches see it necessarily to work with a male/female deity pair at all. Some work with a single deity, a few deities, maybe a few goddesses and a god, a a few gods and a goddess, whatever. Deities don't always show up in neat little male/female pairings, and it is not something emphasized in a ton of traditions. (And no, not following a male/female pairing doesn't mean that person is unbalanced, doing it wrong, or whatever else.) Heck, not all pagans and witches are even theists...

Sun=Male, Moon=Female
There are a lot of moon gods and sun goddesses who might feel differently. Some moon gods include: Khonsu, Iah, Thoth, Baal-hamon, Mani, Ay Ata, and Tsukuyomi. Some sun goddesses include Isis (her lunar associations were Greek in origin, not Egyptian), Sekhmet, Hathor, Saule, Ekhi, Etain, Sol/Sunna, Arinna, and Amaterasu.
On a similar note, I notice a lot of pagans putting a lot of emphasis on fitting everything into a male/female or masculine/feminine box, and well, again, not something everyone's going to be doing... but that's probably a whole different post for later.

Ritual Tools/Altars

Athames, chalices, pentacles, and wands... nope, not all pagans/witches use these. And since not all pagans use these, it goes without saying that not all pagans place these on their altars. And as mentioned above, since not all pagans work with the Goddess and God, of course not all pagans have representations of them on their altars. Different pagan traditions (and individuals) have totally different ritual tools, altar needs, altar layouts, and so on.

Pretty much all pagans are familiar with the Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year: Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lammas, Mabon, and Samhain. These are hugely popular holidays. Many also know that sometimes these are known by different names... Lammas/Lughnasadh, Imbolc/Candlemas, Litha/Midsummer, and other variations.

What it seems some do not realize however (and you've probably guessed where this is going), is that not all pagans/witches celebrate this same set of holidays. In particular, reconstructionist pagans (be they Greek, Roman, Egyptian, or other) tend to have their own calendars, but other traditions of paganism/witchcraft may not incorporate the Wheel.

Also, among those pagans/witches who do follow the Sabbats, not all follow the Wiccan God/Goddess mythos. There are many ways to celebrate the Wheel.

It should go without saying that not all pagans/witches follow the Wiccan Rede. Heck, it's not even all that emphasized in some Wiccan traditions. The Law of Three is another Wiccan thing. Karma is not a universal belief.

Afterlife Beliefs

No, we don't all believe in the Summerland. No, not everyone believes in reincarnation.

Ritual Structure
No, not all pagans and witches cast circles, call quarters, etc...

Gems, Crystals, Tarot, Runes, Pendulums, Auras, Reiki, Astrology...
Yeah. All those things aren't a part of every pagan's path. Not all pagans believe in astrology. Etc...

I could probably go on, but I think the point is made. Whatever one aspect you look at, it's not going to be universal among all pagans and witches. Except for like, breathing. All pagans and witches breathe. Probably. I don't know. There's probably one pagan out there who thinks breathing is for peasants and refuses to do it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"Easter isn't the same date every year so Christianity is totes wrong!"

I really feel like I've talked more about Christianity and Judaism this last week than I have about paganism, which is interesting, because it's all been taking place in pagan communities, heh...

Alright, so with the Easter season coming to a close, I thought I'd write up a little post to shed some light on something that has a lot of people worked up... the date of Easter.

Apparently since Easter moves each year, that means Easter is totally pagan, and/or Christianity is a bunch of made up BS, or... whatever other insulting thing people jump to. Which is quite funny to me, because if you wanted to question the date of a Christian holiday and get on the "they stole it from pagans!" train, Christmas really would have been the way to go. See, the thing is, Easter has a really specific date, and it has nothing to do with paganism, and everything to do with Judaism.

Easter is, in short, the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. Okay, hold on now, that sounds pretty pagan, right? Well, not really. See, this has to do with the Jewish calendar, which is a lunisolar calendar (meaning lunar and solar), like pretty much a boat load of ancient calendars were. Easter is calculated off the date of Passover, because, well, that's when Jesus died. We know this, because the Bible is pretty clear on that.

In other words, Easter is closely linked to Passover, and both holidays appear to move about the "standard" calendar we use because they are based off the Jewish calendar.

But doesn't this mean the day Jesus died moves around? Well, no, not really. The best way I've seen to explain this was on a Jewish website. A man was sitting in a synagogue, and overheard someone asking when Hanukkah was this year, and he was given an answer of "the same as always, the 25th of Kislev." In other words, on the Jewish calendar Hanukkah does NOT move, it is always the same day! However, since the Jewish calendar is lunisolar, the dates do not match up with the Gregorian calendar most of us use in day to day living. So, Hanukkah is always the 25th of Kislev - but when we try to translate that to the Gregorian calendar that means it could be the 24th of December, or the 6th of December, or the 10th of December (and so on), because these two calendars are calculated in different ways.

(Reconstructionst Greek pagans also use a lunisolar calendar, so explaining why those festivals move, and how to calculate them, same sort of idea, same sort of confusion for some folks.)

Woah now, but wait, Easter was the 27th of March, and Passover isn't until the end of April this year! Yeah, okay, bear with me... The thing is, a Rabbi sort of solidified the Jewish calendar several hundred years back, made it universal, for lack of a better way to put it. Christians basically decided to ignore this and continue on with their own calculations, since that's what they'd been doing, and this is why some years Passover comes after Easter, and not before. This isn't super common though, happens, oh, every few years? Most years both celebrations still line up.

So hopefully all that makes sense. I have explained this dozens of times this weekend, and a lot of folks still seem confused by it, and yeah, I guess it can be confusing if you're not used to working with calendars other than the Gregorian one. Or I'm just not doing a great job explaining it, since it is a bit weird.

But yeah, long post short... The date of Easter isn't stolen from pagans, it's based on the Jewish calendar, which is different from the Gregorian calendar.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Open and Closed Traditions

So, I wanted to elaborate a bit on something I mentioned in my ancestry DNA test post from the other day.

I briefly mentioned that I've been told I can't follow Greek/Roman deities, because I am not Greek/Roman myself. Interestingly, I have always been told this by people who are also not Greek/Roman, but who are trying to convince me I need to be following some sort of Celtic path because ancestors. (Never mind how they always totally ignore the Japanese bit, even though I am much closer to Japan through living family and closer ancestors than Ireland or England, but I digress.)

Like I said then, I do not feel like I am limited to whatever it is my ancestors got up to back in the day. But in the case of the Greeks and Romans, I also think it is important to point out that these are pretty open traditions anyway. What I mean by that is the Greeks and Romans willingly spread their religions throughout the ancient world. I was recently made aware of a shrine to Minerva in the UK where people still leave offerings, as an example. The idea of 'foreign' people worshiping their deities was not something they seemed terribly offended by, all things considered.

Beyond that, when one stops and looks, it's easy to see just how incredibly influential these civilizations were on our modern lives, how much of them still lingers with us. That winged staff with two serpents around it that you see frequently in medical symbols in the US? Totally Greco-Roman in origin. And how many statues of Justice - Themis - adorn courts around the world? For many, these traditions are still part of our day to day heritage, even if often overlooked.

That said, I do think it is important to mention that I do not feel this way about all traditions. I do think there are traditions where ancestry or proper initiation are very important aspects. The obvious one that comes to my mind would be many Native American beliefs. I always cringe a little when I see just how many white pagans feel entitled to these beliefs and practices without any actual dialogue with these people. I think some find it hard to accept that, you know, some things just aren't open for you. They belong to someone else, and that needs to be respected. There is the idea that it's totally between Deity and the individual, and for the most part, sure, I get that... but in traditions where the group is extremely important, that must be honored, too. Sometimes it cannot be separated. It's not always an easy process, but if you're going to pursue a closed tradition, that should be expected. (Heck, challenges should be expected of any spiritual path, but hopefully you know what I mean.)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Oh gosh, here we go again...

Well first of all, happy Easter to those celebrating!

If you're a member of any online pagan communities, especially on Facebook, you may have seen this meme floating around. (Without my creative artwork.)

The information this image presents is pretty much entirely inaccurate. Other people have already written a great deal about this, so I'm just going to link to this article: Easter Is Not Named After Ishtar, And Other Truths I Have To Tell You

On a related subject, can we talk about the art used for this image? If you've read the article above it mentions that scholars debate who this image actually represents. It's a really fascinating piece of art. Here's another great article all about the relief and who this image might be of: The Queen of the Night (Burney Relief)

Personally I am partial to the image being of Ereshkigal. But, since we do not know for certain who it is, I can understand why devotees of many deities see their Goddess in this image, especially in such a powerful image.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Full Sugar Moon

I held my full moon ritual tonight. It was one of those times where I wish I wasn't a solitary, so I could have some help carrying things out to the ritual space! I made the usual offering of incense - mugwort and frankincense tonight - as well as some oats, barley, an egg, and milk sweetened with maple syrup and honey.

Since I can remember, I've always held my full moon rituals during the middle of the night, when the moon is highest in the sky. I think, though, next month I might hold a moonrise ritual instead. I have never once sat and deliberately watched the moon rise as I've done with the sun. It might make for a nice change of pace.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


This year I continued my tradition of holding a sunrise equinox ritual. I went outside and set up about five minutes before sunrise, under the same maple tree as usual, filled with it's red buds. I'd love to make a stone altar under the tree, but for now the ground is a perfectly good working space!

I lit the charcoal to let it get ready for incense, and settled in with my back against the tree, facing east. It was cold out, 18F, but with a warm jacket it wasn't so bad.

It takes about a half hour or so for the sun to fully become visible. I did a bit of drumming (and thought about getting a deeper sounding drum...), did a bit of praying, and just sat and enjoyed the morning, listening to the birds. As the sun started to poke through the trees I offered some incense to Artemis, in her role as goddess of the dawn, and to Demeter, welcoming her life back to the land.

Eventually the sun was fully visible, and I walked into the woods a bit to offer the bread, and a bit of honey liqueur. Then it was back to bed, at least for a few hours.

Friday, March 18, 2016

St Patrick's Day, Part Two (The less ranty edition...)

We're doing our "Irish" dinner tonight, since we didn't really have time yesterday. Irish brown bread and a boiled dinner of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, onions, and carrots. Not at all a traditional Irish dish in actuality, but something made popular by the Irish communities in New England. Which works for me, you know, considering that I'm one of them New England Irish and all.

Which is actually something that doesn't get a lot of attention in the family. See, us kids/grandkids, we're also part Japanese, my grandmother came here from Japan fifty-ish years ago, and it's always been the more obvious 'ancestry' in the house. Right now my grandmother's sitting in the other room watching Japanese TV on her satellite, we just finished a little 'appetizer' of sashimi. Traditional Japanese items decorate the house.

So when this time of year rolls around, it's a nice time to remember the other part of my (known) ancestry. To me it's not a day about the Saint himself, or what he did or did not do, or anything like that, it's just a day to remember those ancestors. The ones who lived and died in Ireland, pagan and Christian alike, the ones who came to America about a hundred years ago. A day to be a little proud of them, focus on them - and there are some interesting, and some tragic stories on that side of the tree, (one of my Irish ancestors, Julia Barry, went down on the Titanic). The whole debate surrounding the day is just sort of foreign to me, because so many people in my area feel the same way about the day.

On a related note, I decided to do one of those ancestry DNA kit things. I know basically nothing about my mom's side of the family, and I think it'll be nice to fill in some of those missing gaps.

St Patrick's Day

I've seen some pagans spreading some really, really awful history these last few days. One meme in particular has been going around about how St Patrick is Hitler to pagans, etc. he slaughtered thousands of pagans! (Remind me how many people died in the holocaust, again?) Never mind the fact that, you know, no he didn't. Also did you know all the Irish pagans had snake tattoos? (Even though Ireland doesn't have any snakes. Why would they all get tattoos of some foreign animal?) I'm not saying the dude was perfect, and never did no wrong to pagans or anything, but come on, do we have to lie about this crap? The deliberate willful ignorance some people are happy to have, openly admitting that they'll trust their shit sources, because... well, because they say what they want to read.

It reminds me of a few weeks ago, when the Salem witch trials were the hot topic. People lamenting all the witches who were burned in Salem, and how they're our spiritual ancestors, and oppression! Wah! But... there were no witches burned in Salem. No one was burned in Salem, and the people killed were not witches. They were innocent people, Christians, and what happened to them was horrible, and for horrible reasons... can we not twist that into something else? There are still places in the world where innocent people are killed because people accuse them of being witches, places where people do not have the freedom to practice the religion they wish to, let's not shift attention away from those issues to cry about things that don't actually affect us like that.

Bad history is always frustrating, but I've always been more annoyed by it when it comes from pagans, people who you would think would be interested in the actual history they claim their spirituality pays homage to.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Downfalls of Being Eclectic

I'd a hedgewitch, but by it's nature, hedgecraft is a pretty scattered path in many elements. We share the spirit work link, and a few other such links, but we can also work with different deities, different ritual structures, tools, holidays, ethics, and all else. There are a lot of nice aspects of having this freedom, but it can be hard at times.

I am an eclectic hedgewitch because of the fact that I pull from a few different traditions to flesh out my practice. Greek polytheism has been a focus for me for a while now, but there are other paths that get pulled in, as well. The difficulty there is sometimes I feel like I'm just being pulled in too many directions at once.

The issue with practicing a path that is completely self-directed, completely solitary, is there's no one else to sort of point the way in so many cases. One has to sit down, and really think, okay, why am I pursuing this? Is it for a good reason? Will it truly add something? Do I really have time in the day to add in something more? And the answers aren't always clear.

Sometimes I miss following a pagan tradition where everything was just laid out, here's how we do it, without much wiggle room, because at least all the groundwork was taken care of. I could focus on other things. But, as a whole, that never really worked well for me. I get much more from my path now than I did then, and I suppose that's got to be worth it in the end.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Been a bit under the weather these last few days. Still getting out into the woods for a little while each day (well, not today because of sleet), it's nice to be spending more time outside again. Lit up Artemis' shrine tonight for her monthly feast day. Too exhausted to make honey cakes for offering though, so only olive oil tonight. (Maybe a belated offering tomorrow?)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Spirituality and Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism is something I've seen come up a lot lately. I have seen a lot of misconceptions about it, why it is done. Personally, I am not a vegetarian right now, although I have been in the past.

I think the first issue I saw come up was the idea that the rede says we should be vegetarians, since it says to harm none. Which, no, it doesn't - but that's something I've already addressed in the past. So the idea that Wiccans need to be vegetarians because of the rede doesn't quite hold up. And of course, it doesn't apply to all pagans, so...

Then, from the other side, I've seen people saying it's not natural for humans to be vegetarians. Well, it's not really natural for us to drive around in cars, ride roller coasters, chat online, and whatever else, but... well, we do it. Frankly, I see that sort of thing, being able to make choices, to do such "unnatural" things to be very natural for us, it's part of out nature, part of what makes us human.

I've also seen people saying our ancestors ate meat, as if this means we should. Our ancestors did a lot of crap that we would never do today. Or that our ancestors didn't have the choice. As if being a vegetarian is a new concept. Yeah, it's really not. Hinduism is a very old religion, and vegetarianism has existed within Hinduism for quite some time - as well as with other dharmic religions. Orpheus is an important figure to a lot of Hellenic pagans, many read his hymns in ritual - and he was an advocate of ending animal sacrifice, and of being vegetarian.

Beyond that, depending on where your ancestors lived, they might not have eaten very much meat at all in the first place. For a lot of folks meat would have been a rare treat, not something eaten commonly.

Like I said, I'm not a vegetarian, so I'm not trying to talk anyone else into being one. What you eat, or don't eat, is a personal choice... just don't base/justify it on incorrect assumptions.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Listening in the Woods

Today I went back out into the woods again. The temperature here was unusually warm at 77F. Averages for this time of year would be more to the mid/high 50s. On the way out to the woods I noticed that the daffodils in front of the apartment are beginning to come up. I spent quite a bit of time in the woods, just watching, listening. There's always this one beech tree along the path, still has it's dried leaves on it, always catches the wind just right, makes a beautiful rattling sound. It's good to stop and listen sometimes.

Tonight I should have preformed my monthly noumenia ritual, but I was feeling a little off about things, so I decided that it would be better to do it tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Hekate's Deipnon

Tonight is the night of Hekate's supper. Shortly after sunset, while there was still a little light in the sky, I went back out into the woods, under the bridge. I spent a bit of time cleaning some of the litter from the area. Then I made offerings to Hekate and her wandering dead, and made private prayer to Hekate.

On the way home things felt very right, and I think this is a call to make a permanent shrine in that area, but again, I'll have to think more on that to be sure. There is another area that I was considering, a triple crossroads in the woods, sees much less traffic I think. But... there's something about that bridge I just can't get over.

After the ritual, I also got the feeling that I should be sprinkling barley over the offerings when I leave them, something I usually do not do for the deipnon, but will start doing.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Pomona and Vertumnus

Pomona (Latin "pomum" meaning orchard fruit), was one of the Roman Numina, a group of guardian spirits who watched over homes, special locations, and people. Pomona herself was a goddess/wood nymph who watched over orchards and gardens. She watched over and protected fruit trees and gardens, and assured fruitful abundance, and proper cultivation. She was not, however, strongly linked to the harvest of the fruit itself.

Pomona is often associated specifically with apples, and one of her symbols is a pruning knife. She is also shown holding a cornucopia, or a basket/platter of fruit.

In Rome Pomona was said to be served by priests known as Flamen Pomonalis, and there was a grove sacred to her, the Pomonal.

Pomona was one of the virginal goddesses, she rejected the advances of many, including the woodland gods Silvanus and Picus. Pomona was not interested in love, only in tending to her gardens. She eventually built a wall around her garden to keep suitors out. However, the god Vertumnus often visited her in many different guises, such as a fisherman, a solder, and an ox-herd.

Pomona and Vertumnus
One day he visited her in the guise of an old woman. As the old woman, he told her about the joys of love, of marriage, how even her garden showed the importance of such bonds with the grapes growing on the elm tree. He told her stories of the importance of not having a hard heart. Tells her of how much Vertumnus loves her, and how alike they are. Some say this was enough to win her over, but in most retellings of the story it is not until he drops his disguise and shows his radiant true form that she falls in love with him.

Vertumnus is quite similar in many ways to Pomona. He is a god of the seasons, plant growth, fruit trees, and gardens. A statue of him was erected in Rome, and was said to be decorated with the changing seasons. He is also a god of change, and as noted above, was able to take on many different forms - whatever he wanted to be, whenever he liked.

It is likely that Vertumnus came to the Roman pantheon from the Etruscan pantheon, where he was likely Voltumna, a chthonic deity who was considered supreme god of the pantheon. Neither Vertumnus nor Pomona have a direct corresponding deity in the Greek pantheon (as say, Venus does to Aphrodite). Their myth is one that is truly Roman in origin, where many myths were brought in from other pantheons.

Vertumnus had a festival on the 13th of August, called the Vertumnalia. Pomona was also honored on this feast day along with her husband. It is likely they were offered first fruits of the harvest.

Pomona possibly also has another feast day on November 1st (Pomonalia?), but it is possible this is just a misunderstanding of the date of the Vertumnalia. It would seem she was offered apples and nuts at this time.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Back into the woods...

Today was my first trip back down into the woods near my apartment since winter started, as the paths are inaccessible then.

There is a path that leads under a bridge, and this space always reminds me of Hekate. While not Her traditional triple crossroads, the crossroads of the upper road running one way, and the lower forest path going the other way under it really resonates as a strong liminal space. I keep feeling myself pulled back to this place, and I am considering building a small, discreet shrine in the area. I would like to return tomorrow and do some meditating on the subject there, perhaps leave an offering, and see where things go.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

"I'm a beginner witch, what herbs/oils do I need?"

I have seen this question asked so many times this last week. Usually followed with "oh, and I don't have much money, so they need to be cheap."

Look, if you don't have much money? Don't waste it on herbs and oils you may never even need, especially if you don't even know what they're used for. If you don't have an actual need and money is tight, put that money to better use! Witchcraft isn't just owning things just for the sake of having them, after all. Not that I can blame beginners for this, when so many books make it look like you need a whole shopping list and a half of junk.

Besides, sometimes the best place to start is your own kitchen cabinet. Most people have at least a few bottles of herbs and spices in their kitchen, as well as things like salt, pepper, honey, sugar, and other such things. Check out what you own, how it can be used. It's a good place to start, and if you want to branch out from there, you'll have a better idea of what sorts of things you don't have, or where you'd like to go with your herbalism practice.

Another reason I have an issue with this question is, well, need is just so different from person to person. The herbs I find absolutely essential to my practice probably aren't going to mean a lot to someone else. I try to keep a stock of mugwort, barley, sumac, crown vetch, wild carrot, juniper, pokeweed, foxglove, and mint. And, you know, some of those are toxic, I'm not about to recommend those to anyone just starting out! The others, hard to find, things I harvest locally. Things I use in my spirit work, or for my deities. They can be used for other things, sure, mint is an easy one to find, often cheap - but dozens of other things could be used for such purposes. Why specifically recommend mint, when something else could better fit a need, if a need actually existed? Beyond that, someone looking at that list might wonder where the sage is, since everyone else seems to use it, and yeah it's a "must have" for a lot of people... but I use it very rarely, once a year at most.

So, yeah, if you're going to ask this sort of question, first ask yourself what you actually need, what would actually benefit your practice in general terms. Are you looking to do a lot of protective work? Looking to bring in prosperity? Fertility work? Pick a subject, narrow it down a bit, and see what you have that could work, or what would be easy for you to get, what makes sense for you, because it's not going to be the same for everyone. Put in a little work and decide what you want, what you'll use, and go with it.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Prayer Beads for Hekate

I made these prayer beads for Hekate several months ago, and while they've been adorning her shrine, I had not yet ever used them in ritual/prayer.

However, as I was walking my dog tonight, enjoying the light snow coming down, I felt Hekate's presence, and I knew it was well past time to finally sit down and find/write prayers for these beads.

This is what I came up with...

(Medallion prayer.)
Hekate of the roads and of the crossroads, I honor you.
In heaven, on earth, in the sea, saffron-cloaked,
pleased with dark ghosts that wander through the shade,
haunting deserted places, I honor you.
Night-wandering, dog-loving, key-bearer,
unconquerable queen, I honor you.
Hekate, hear my prayers to you, with ever joyous heart.

(Prayer for the lava rock beads.)
Hekate, you who roam the moonless night, who walks
in the dark with certainty, torch-bearing goddess,
keeper of the keys, I follow where you lead.

(Prayer for the labradorite beads.)
Hekate, you who see things hidden, whose torches light the dark;
you who dwells on the threshold,
who receives due offering wherever three roads meet;
To you, Hekate, are the mysteries known.
To you do the lost ever turn for protection.
To you do those who work magic pray for wisdom.
Hekate, ancient one, I praise you.

[First prayer based off the Ophric hymn to Hekate, second and third prayer altered from the prayers found on this website.]

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Housework With/For Hestia

Today's act of devotion was a simple and practical one. My kitchen was overdue for a cleaning, so I went about cleaning it, thoughts frequently drifting to Hestia and her role as goddess of the household. Keeping my home clean and hospitable for guests, for my family, for myself, and of course for Her.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Simple Evening Devotional

Sometimes the simplest rituals can be the best. They're easy to do each day, and that can keep you linked to your spirituality. I often see people upset because they feel cut off from their practice, and they just don't know what to do. I'm a firm believer that daily devotion, of some sort, is the answer to a lot of those types of problems.

When creating this daily devotional I knew I'd have to keep it very simple. There are a lot of days where I deal with health/fatigue issues, and it really rules out a lot of things for me. In the past I've written about a daily ritual at my hearth shrine during dinner, but there are now many days where I either might not be the one cooking, or I might be with my grandparents, away from my own kitchen, and it's shrine.

So I came up with a very simple solution. I keep a clay olive oil lamp on the window sill near my computer, right in my view so I remember to use it. It has four wicks, one for each of the deities I primarily honor. The first wick lit is always the one for Hestia, and when lighting it I say something along the lines of "I light this flame in honor of Hestia, heart of my home, who brings peace and stability." It varies a bit, sometimes I use a different title, or have something more specific I am thankful for, or even something I might be requesting from her.

I light the other flames for Artemis, Demeter, and Hekate, all with the same style of short prayer. Then I take a few minutes to simply relax, clear my mind a bit, take a deep breath or two. Then I will leave the lamp burning for a while as I go about my business - be it work, writing, or just playing games. The lamp will go out on it's own when it runs out of oil, and some nights I simply let it go out when it will. However, on most nights, I extinguish the flames with a final thank you to the deity.

Now, what about those nights I'm away from home? I don't bring the lamp with me, I just take a few minutes to myself and, well, basically imagine lighting the lamp, with the same prayers. Since I do it often enough physically, it's easy to picture in my mind. In some ways I enjoy this symbolism even more than the physical ritual, carrying the flames of these deities within me, always.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Creating an Incense Blend for the Equinox

This morning I decided to spend some time messing around with a few different ideas for some Ostara incense. Usually around this time of year it's still quite cold and snowy, but it's been a very mild winter this year, and I wanted something that would reflect that as we move into spring. Something dry and earthy, but still warm and somewhat floral for the coming months.

Right now I'm working with lavender, lemon peel, caraway seed (which, by the way, are a pain to grind), mint, juniper, turmeric, and ginger. Each remind me of Ostara in their own ways, but I am still working on finding a nice balance. With ritual incense it's important to consider the symbolism of the herbs used, but it's also nice not to have something that smells awful, or smokes too much, or whatever else. A good incense should also help to set the mood for a ritual, not take away from it by being unappealing.