Friday, 21 December 2018

A Ride With The Wild Hunt

This is a Mind Witching exercise which is particularly appropriate around the times when the Wild Hunt is said to be chasing across the sky, and Mid-Winter is one of those.
     There are many figures who are said to lead the Wild Hunt, and as this is a personal journey, you can decide which version suits you, your beliefs or your personality. So here are some examples:
     Herne the Hunter. Some say that Herne was a mortal hunter, a servant of the king, who hunted around Windsor Great Forest. Others believe he is a personification of the spirit of the hunt, the Horned God who can be both the hunter or take on the form of a great stag which all pursue.
     Diana, known as the Queen of the Witches is said to lead her band of Witches through the midnight skies. Or it could be the Queen of Faerie who leads the Seelie Court in a wild carouse across the skies, picking up mortals who take their fancy.
     Or is could be Odin, leading the riders through thick and thin, between the worlds on his grey, eight-legged horse, Sleipnir.
     Sometimes the leader is unknown, and instead it is a great shrieking mass of ghosts and spirits who sweep past. Or they could be lead by Arawn, the Celtic Lord of the Underworld, or even Death himself.
      Of course, with the Wild Hunt one can never be sure, and the reality may turn out far different than you had prepared for. There is also the old belief that if the Wild Hunt is called, they cannot leave without adding a member to their ranks....

     For this working it is traditional to start by lieing on your bed. Old accounts tell of people who appeared to be asleep in their beds yet afterwards told tales of fantastical flights to magical meetings, so this working will emulate those accounts.
     For a start you can light a candle or two and some incense (I like Frankincense for this), but these are optional, and (of course) if you have any candles lit, make sure they are safe and can cause no harm.
     Lie down and close your eyes. Create your magic circle around yourself. You can use a ritual you are familiar with, or simply imagine yourself within a blue bubble.
     When you are ready you will call the Wild Hunt.
     As a Witch, I shall describe this in a Witchy way, but your experience might be quite different.
Diana, Queen of Witches All
Hear, tonight, my spirit call,
Catch me up and take me high
On your wild ride through the sky!
    You can say this out loud, or in your head. You can repeat the incantation three times, then be ready!
     You may feel a breeze growing around you, a wind whipping up. Or you might feel a strange trembling or shaking, almost like an earthquake. Or you might simply suddenly find yourself whizzing through the air, like a leaf caught on the wind.
     Enjoy the sensation, look around you. You might see faces, you might see Witches, male and female, some flying, some riding animals, goats, horses, donkeys, geese or swans. You might see some on broomsticks, and others just dancing on the thin air.
     Below you there might be the bright, twinkling lights of a town or city, or you might be flying over dark countryside, with just the odd light to mark the sparce houses.
     You might be above or below the clouds. Perhaps you can see the Moon and stars, brighter than they have ever seemed before.
     You can tell from the way the clouds and the scenery whips past you, that you are travelling fast. You might recognise the landscape below you, the shape of a river or the turning of a road, or you might find that you are flying over wild moorland and heading for a rocky mountain ahead.
     At the head of this wild ride is a chariot or wagon drawn by two marvellous creatures which seem to change shape as you try to focus on them. Are they cats, or goats, or perhaps even unicorns?
     The woman in the chariot has long, dark hair and wears a cloak which streams out behind her. She directs the horde, raising an arm and pointing to the mountains before you.
     Suddenly you see a bonfire leap into life and all around are points of light, candles or torches.
     The whole crowd of Witches heads for the bonfire, dropping lightly to the ground like leaves or feathers and begin an intricate, twirling dance on the hillside. They hold hands in a long snaking line and you feel your hands caught as you are drawn into the dance.
     It feels so free and joyful. You can dance as wildly as you fancy, you will not get out of breath.
     Now the dancers wind around the bonfire, forming a circle which swirls around the fire,
    Then suddenly they stop.
     You find a goblet in your hand. Look into it, what magical wine does it hold? Will you taste it?
     As you gaze into the liquid, you realise the face of the Goddess is looking up at you. You glance up and find that She is standing right beside you.
     'My child, what do you need?' she asks
     Now is the time to make your petition. What magic help do you need? What would you like the Goddess to provide? What would you like to know?
     Make your wish known to the Goddess.
    She smiles. You have been heard.
     And as quietly as She came, the Goddess is gone.
     Do you wish to stay and talk to others at the meeting? Some will teach you magical skills, others may tell you stories, or show you visions. There may well be spirits of loved ones here, people you have missed, or who you would like to tell your news to.
     Eventually the meeting will fade. You may fall asleep, or you may simply realise that you are back in your own bed, safe and warm, content and relaxed.
     Remember to thank the Goddess for including you in Her wils ride and magical meeting. You can ask also that you be allowed to participate again.

    Merry Solstice!

Friday, 7 December 2018

Why Mind Witching?

This is actually something I have done since I was a little child.
     I have always been fascinated by dreams, lucid dreaming and astral travel. My dreams have always been vivid, colourful and interesting - sometimes scary - but I have always remembered my dreams. It was a natural part of our family routine to talk about our dreams and look up the symbols in the Big Blue Dream Book.
     My dad encouraged me to write my dreams down and I have been keeping a dream diary for over fifty years now.
     As I got more into the occult and Witchcraft, I was fascinated by the stories of people taking magical journeys when they were supposed to be asleep in bed, in order to get up to mischief or attend magical meetings.
     Also as I have got less physically able as I've got older, I have found that it is possible to work more of my rituals using the power of my imagination.
     Many people have restrictions in their abilities to perform rituals and magic. It might be that you do not have the privacy, or restricted movement, or little spare space. We may live in the city with little access to wild open spaces and countryside.
     And these days even if you do live in the country it can still be surprisingly difficult to find a private, natural place to work a full ritual. I remember one time we ventured out into the woods, to a place we had picked during the day, only to find that night the same place was being used as a Scout camp!
     Mind Witching is very adaptable, so you can incorporate as much or as little into your rituals as is necessary or you want to.
      All magic involves mind power, because all magic works through the sub-conscious, our link to both primeval and universal energies and principles. Whether we realise it or not.
     So, if you have the room, capacity, tools and desire to set up your magic circle in a physical way, then go ahead. But if, for whatever reason, you are unable to do this then Mind Witching will still allow you to create rituals and spells and go on magical journeys.
     Personally, I love candles and incense. So even if I am not working a ritual, I may still have a candle or two burning and some incense on the go. So to do this as part of a spell or ritual I find no trouble at all, in fact quite the opposite. Candles and incense are to me two of the keys which start to unlock the magic and get the atmosphere and energy growing. Once these are in place, then how much of the rest of the ritual involves physical objects, words and movement will depend on how I am feeling.
    So never feel that you can't do a spell because you haven't got the right 'stuff' or the right place, or the right words even, the main element in any magical working is you.
     You are the magic!

Friday, 23 November 2018

Mind Witch Full Moon Ritual

The idea of Mind Witching is the dynamic use of the imagination to work rituals and magic. You can of course use magical tools, candles and incense to enhance these rituals, as pleases you, but this is a working created to show how any magic or ritual can be carried through using just the powers of the mind.
     For this ritual you can sit in a chair or lie down, or sit on the floor. It can even be done in bed if you are totally immobile.
     I would say that you are less likely to fall asleep if you are sitting up - but I know that I can fall asleep sitting up, so that is no guarantee. Don't worry if you find that you have fallen asleep, this usually means that knowing what your aims were, your spirit has completed the working on the astral planes.
     First cast your circle.
     There are many ways of doing this and if you have a ritual that you are happy with, then use that.
     If not, then the simplest and easiest way to cast a circle is simply to imagine yourself sitting or lieing within a blue bubble. I always use a blue bubble because to me blue represents the colour of Witch Power. Blue is also a calming and protective colour.
     Take a little time to think about being surrounded by your magical bubble, this is your magic circle in three dimensions.
     Now think about the Full Moon, the bright shining disc floating in a deep blue sky.
     Imagine that the disc of the Moon becomes the face of a beautiful woman, with dark hair streaming over the sky. Now say, or think:
Lovely Goddess of the Moon,
fill me with your magical light.
     Try to imagine your blue bubble filling with the silver glow of moonlight.
     Take your time.
     You might 'see' the energy like a bright moonbeam flowing from the Goddess and into your circle, filling it with glowing energy. Know that with every breath that you take you are breathing in that energy and taking it deep within yourself. Feel it filling you and making your whole body glow with moonlight and magic.
     When you are ready, use that energy to create a magic spell.
     You could send healing to a friend.
     You could turn the energy into a shower of golden coins which rains over you, bringing wealth and optimism.
     You could use the energy to send erotic thoughts to someone you desire, and make them think longingly of you.
     You could radiate the light, making yourself a beacon to draw friends and magical companions.
     Or you could use the energy to move your magic circle, like a spacecraft, to a different dimension or realm, such as the Land of Faery. Or to the woods where spirit animals wait to become your familiar.
     What magic do you want to do?
     Do it now!

     When you have finished you can then say or think:
Thank you, Lady of the Moon, 
for lending me your power, to work my magic.
     Then imagine the Moon glow fading until your circle returns to its calm blue colour.
     At this point you could have a little something to eat and drink. This both celebrates your successful magical operation and also helps to 'ground' you and make sure that you are fully back in this world.
     However if you have fallen asleep that is fine, as sleeping within the blue bubble does mean that you will have a good sleep, and be magically protected at the same time.

     Incidentally, if you ever suffer from nightmares, put the blue bubble around yourself, and they will be banished.

(the book 'Mind Witch' by Chris Sempers is available from Raven at £8.95 plus p&p)

Friday, 12 October 2018

The Dark Half

Here is an extract from our latest October Raven Newsletter, which goes out to folks on our Mailing List:

     The two Equinoxes mark the two points in the year when the length of day and night are equal.This only happens on two days each year, the rest of the year there is more light than dark, or more darkness than light.
     The Equinoxes also mark the transition points for the Goddess. The Spring Equinox celebrates the return of the Maiden, bursting with life and fertility.
     The Autumn Equinox marks the Goddess turning from fecund Mother to barren yet wise Crone.
     The Autumn Equinox is also the start of the Dark Half of the year.
     As soon as you say that, doesn't it make you feel spooky, sinister and magical? And yet all it means is that from now onwards there will be more hours of darkness than of light.
     The further North you go, the more dramatic this change is, until you cross into those latitudes where there is no light at all, the sun never making it above the horizon for days even weeks at a time.
     As the darkness grows, the night enfolds us and the stars and moon, and the Northern Lights too, are more easily visible.
     The sun loses its Summer ferocity and, although there can still be many sunny and even warm days, there is a distinct cooling, and a proper nip in the air.
     In the UK, we have a temporate climate, less harsh and extreme than places on the same latitude on the continents of Europe and North America. Yet we still see changes all around us.
     The leaves of the trees change colours, losing their Summer vitality and becoming the warm colours of Autumn, gold, russet and brown. In the fields the Winter crops are coming to ripeness, root crops, turnips, swede and parsnips, cabbages and brussels and apples too and the bright orange pumpkins. All food for warming stews, pies and pastries.
     At the beginning of October in Hull, every year for a week the Fair arrives. Loud, noisy and colourful, and only waking properly after darkness falls. With its Gypsy caravans and fortune tellers, stalls selling typical 'fair' goods, candy floss, nougat and brandy snaps, side shows, guess your weight and travelling rides which will be set up and taken down again, to vanish like magic after a week.
     And every year the weather seems to change with the arrival of the Fair, so that when you see your breath and the twinkle of frost on the pavement, people will say to each other, 'It's Hull Fair weather!'
     And as the darkness grows and encroaches on the firelight, so the magic grows.
     The power of the Winter Crone growing, encouraging us to light candles and cast spells. To seek out those who also feel the energies of the Old Ways.
     To become one with the magic.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Diary of a Small Dog

Tallulah aged 15 weeks:

Today has been an exciting day!
     Mind you all days are exciting. There is so much to do, to explore, to stick your nose into, to scrabble at, or to try out with your teeth.
     This morning so far I have played with Bridie, taken some socks outside and eaten many marrowbone biscuits.
     The humans had burgers with their breakfast, so I had to remind them that I was hungry by jumping up and down and yipping as loud and shrilly as I could.
     I don't know why they put me out of the room and shut the door.
     I chewed the carpet at the bottom of the stairs while I waited.
     Then I was let in and Bridie and me both had a piece of burger each. Bridie ate all of hers! I made sure she hadn't dropped any.
     After that we went in the kitchen and I practised 'Sit!' with Bridie and we were given pieces of dried meat strip. Bridie ate all of hers! I did check thoroughly that she hadn't dropped any.
     Daddy put his boots on.
     Well, after bringing in the one that was in the garden, and the clog. And several toys. And the dog brush. And the dog comb with the chewy wooden handle.
     Then me and Bridie had our leads put on and we went for a walk.
     There was nothing to eat in the underpass today (yesterday there was some bread I managed to eat before daddy caught up). When we got onto the track at the side of the field, Bridie and me ran and ran and ran.
     Sometimes I think Bridie is trying to get away from me. I jumped at her and yipped in her face to let her know that I was happy, then we ran some more.
     On the way home I met two of the neighbours, they are black pug dogs. When I lunged and yipped at them, they lunged and barked at me! They were very noisy and a bit scary.
     Then we came home and I went to sleep.

Sunday, 9 September 2018


Well, a lot can happen in a week.
     It has been a steep learning curve for all of us - including our other collie, Bridie.

Tallulah has learnt:
     After 2 days - to go upstairs
     After 3 days - to go downstairs (going downstairs is much more scary for a small dog whose legs are the same length as the height of a stair)
     After 4 days - she decided that she was sleeping upstairs in our bedroom
     She also learnt to follow Bridie out of the dog flap
    After 5 days - she learnt how to pop in and out through the dog flap on her own
    After 6 days - she had learnt that outside is where dogs do their toilet, and had house-trained herself

     Tallulah is as bright as a button. (she may even be more intelligent than our Lupin was, and that would be going some), she watches everything and is interested in everything, and wants to know everything that everyone is doing!
     This can sometimes be difficult as she wants to follow me, Graham and Bridie all going in different directions.
     She has decided that Bridie is her friend.
     Bridie has no say in this matter, Tallulah is determined to follow Bridie wherever she goes, copy Bridie and play with Bridie too. Bridie is not sure about the 'playing' thing and has tried to discourage Tallulah when she gets too boisterous by snapping at her.
     Tallulah barks at Bridie, then 'accidentally' falls on her, she is a determined little thing and not easily put off even by a dog four times her size.
      One thing that Bridie does like to do from time to time is dig large holes in the garden.
     On Wednesday night Bridie came in looking sheepish, followed by a very happy, enthusiastically wagging Tallulah covered in wet earth. Graham had to go and find the large hole and fill it in again.
    Tallulah likes to play, and to chew things. Alan, one of the dog walkers Graham chats with while out with Bridie, found it hilarious that we were getting a puppy, imagining all the trouble/disruption she would cause. And as soon as he heard Tallulah had arrived, he went straight home and presented Graham with two Disney toys for her to play with. 'You want to get Disney toys from boot sales,' he explained, 'They are good quality and the eyes are embroidered on, no loose bits to come off and be eaten.'
     Tallulah has also found a wooden child's brick, the vine from a bunch of tomatoes, the inside of a toilet roll, learnt how to take the laces out of Graham's heavy work boots, and was only stopped from burying one of Graham's slippers in the garden because she couldn't get it through the dog flap.

     One week on and we already have her lodged in our hearts.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

A Lot Can Happen in a Week

Sometimes you can go along, week after week, nothing much changing, then sometimes it seems like the fates have to shove everything into one week!
     As you know (if you read my blog) it was only on Monday that our sweet China died.
     I was so upset that I couldn't ring our friend Angela (Wicani Collies) to let her know, so Graham rang her up. Of course once Angela was on the phone, then I could talk to her, and straight away Angela said, 'This might be a bit soon, but I have a bitch who is just recovering from having a litter, and when she is ready, I will be looking for a home for her, so would you consider taking her on?'
    It always means a lot to us that Angela considers us a good retirement home for her dogs, and so it was not difficult to say 'Yes.' to that idea, knowing it might be a few months before we would have another dog.
     The next day we had a message from Angela 'Would you consider having a puppy instead?'
     Now Angela's puppies are like rocking horse droppings, they are precious and there is a waiting list for them, so we thought there must be a story about why she had one to offer us.
    We worried that it might be a health problem, as we know of Angela's heart condition and that she has had several major operations over the years, the latest being earlier this year. We also were not sure whether taking on a puppy would be something we could/should do at our ages.
     So we rang Angela and she told us that this puppy was supposed to have gone to a family member. But this lady had recently had a baby, and when Angela dropped the puppy off, decided it was too much to cope with as well as the baby. So Angela had to almost immediately go and pick up the puppy and take it home.
    Graham and I had a discussion and decided we would like the puppy, so rang Angela back again and asked when it would be ready. 'It's ready now,' she said 'You can pick it up any time.'
    So yesterday afternoon off we went to Langtoft to pick up Wicani Larks Rise - or as she will be known, Tallulah.

Angela and Tallulah at the top, and Graham and Tallulah.

When we agreed to have Tallulah, we could hear the spirits laughing.