Tuesday, 29 September 2015

As it is St Michael's Day, Michaelmas, here is a prayer which appears in An Alternative Almanack of Unlikely Saints by Chris Sempers and Elizabeth St. George. It is used both for personal protection against foes and all evil, and to banish negative energies and entities from your home.

Michael, Archangel, 
defend us in the day of battle and be our safeguard 
against the time of darkness. 
May the Shrouded One dispel all evil, 
Michael, thou Prince of the Heavenly Host, 
by that ultimate light, thou shalt thrust all evil from us and protect us 
from those dreadful things that wander through the world for the ruin of souls.
Go forth from this place, O Evil, 
in the name of the One who has created all things. 
May all the power of our enemy, all the dark host, every evil onslaught, 
every phantasm depart from here, now and forevermore. 
Leave us, O Darkness and all evil. Go hence in the name of Deity.
So Mote it be!

The above book is published by Corvus Books and available from Raven at only £4.95 plus p&p

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Not Another Equinox Post ...

I am sure I have mentioned, when talking about the Equinoxes how rather than being a time of balance and harmony, they can be a time when all sorts of stuff seems to rear up and bite you on the bum.
     I suspect this is a sort of cosmic clear out. It is probably no co-incidence that it is around the time of the Spring Equinox that we suddenly decide the house is looking dingy and shabby and could do with a right good clean - if not a total redecoration! And a similar kind of clearing of the decks often seems to go on through the magical and physical worlds.
    So it ought to be no surprise whatsoever that this morning - the day after the astrological equinox - we get up to find that rather than the freezer doing an impression of the arctic, we are now in possession of the lake district! Yep full melt down with accompanying floods.
    Not all things which happen around the Equinoxes is bad though. We have had a mixture of all sorts this year: gave in and bought wheels, yes new wheelchair arrived last week. So now we are set up for Great Adventures such as Going Round Sainsbury's, Visiting the Shopping Centre, and possibly subject to negotiations with man the mighty wheelchair pusher, A Walk in the Country - having tried the chair out I am surprised just how bumpy and wobbly even the most normal pavements are, the Walk in the Country might be a jolt too far.
    We have also had a lovely surprise of a new, second hand lap top and tablet from some generous Danish friends of ours.
    Incidentally, in the spirit of 'if you are given lemons, make lemonade', seeing as everything in the freezer was going to have to be thrown out or eaten immediately, we have made a VAST pan of meat stew. It has Lincolnshire sausages, chicken breasts and some very nice burgers from the local butcher in there and tastes amazing.
     Now all we need are eight to ten extra people to help us eat it.
     Anyone feeling peckish?

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Musings on the Equinoxes

     In the ancient saga The Voyage of Melduin, the sailors come to a strange island divided in half by a fence. On one side of the fence all the sheep are white and on the other side all the sheep are black.
     But the strangest thing of all was demonstrated by the shepherd of the island: he picked up a white sheep and threw it over the fence so that it was in with the black sheep, and immediately its hooves touched the ground the sheep turned black. To prove this was not a fluke, the shepherd then took one of the black sheep and led it through the gate into the white sheep half, and as he did so the sheep turned as snow white as all the rest.

     This is a real demonstration that nothing is 'black or white', it very often depends on where you are standing and what your view of the situation is.

     The Equinoxes are times when as Pagans we are very aware of the nature of dark and light. Equinox literally means 'Equal-night' when the length of day and night are exactly the same, but in the Autumn the darkness is growing, while in Spring it is the light which is advancing.

     Of course, this is not a one way street, as the darkness grows and strengthens each day from the Autumn Equinox until the Winter Solstice, the light grows less, the length of the daylight shortening as the nights lengthen.

     The Autumn Equinox is also a time of celebration as most of the harvests have been gathered in, so now we give thanks for our stores of food to see us through the Winter. Of course these days, to many of us in the Western world, the harvest is not even noticed as we are so far removed from food production. We don't think of the farmers watching the weather anxiously while they wait for a run of dry days to harvest the grain which will be milled into flour for the loaves we casually buy at the supermarket and toss into the rubbish bin, half eaten.
     We don't understand that those sanitised packages of meat came from living, breathing animals - or we would rather not think about it.
     Only if you have prepared meat from an animal which you have had to skin or pluck do you have some understanding of how lucky we are to be able to have whatever meat, fruit and vegetables our hearts desire.
     In many parts of the world people are not so lucky.

     This year Graham has taken up home brewing once more. This was something we used to do regularly, years ago, but we got too busy to fit it in, so all the home brew gear was disposed of. Now we are once more in production, Graham has been collecting fruit from the local woods and hedgerows and is brewing up an Autumn Wine, composed of elder berries, blackberries, rosehips and apples.
     The wine will be used to celebrate the bounty of the Earth, and will keep the blessings of the Equinox in our minds whenever we drink it.
     I am hoping that the wine will be ready for Yule. Graham remarked 'You didn't say which Yule did you?'

     Of course we are not saying that everyone has to go and pick wild fruit and make their own wine. All we are saying is: take the time to think about the blessings we all take for granted.

    We all have our own harvests, whether it is a new baby or a promotion at work, or the mastering of a musical instrument, or a new cake recipe, they do not always come to fruition around the Autumn Equinox, but now is a perfect time to thank your deities for helping you with them.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Power of the Equinoxes

     The Equinoxes are usually thought of as times of balance. A time when the powers of light and darkness are equal, and thus a moment of harmony within the cycle of the turning year.

     At the point of the Equinoxes the length of day and night are equal.This is easily depicted as an old fashioned balance scale, the symbol of Libra (Sept 23-Oct 22) with the two pans of the balance level.

     But a more accurate analogy might be the eye of a storm. When the 'eye' of a storm passes directly overhead, there is an eerie time of peace and calm before the storm moves on and hits with its full force again.

     The wheel of the year never ceases its turning, it is constantly and perpetually in movement. If you consult an astrological ephemeris you will see that there are precise times given for the Equinoxes (and Solstices too). So rather than being thought of as times of balance, it might be more accurate to think of the Equinoxes as times of dynamic change.

     They are certainly times which are known as 'cracks between the worlds', special times of magical energy, but they are times when the emphasis or direction of those energies undergoes fundamental change.

     At the Autumn Equinox suddenly the emphasis of the energy changes from more-light-than-dark to more-dark-than-light.

     Coming up to the Equinox you can almost see this change happening every day. Each day the sun rises later and sets earlier. Each day the darkness lingers longer in the morning and closes in more quickly in the evening.

     If you are tuned in to these magical currents, as most magical practitioners are, you can feel the rising of the dark energies.

     By the way NEVER get into the mind set of light = good, dark = evil. These energies are Yin and Yang, you can't have one without the other. It is always what you do with those energies that is important. You might as well say electricity = good, magnetism = evil. They are just energies.

     BUT to a magical practitioner, often the energies of the dark half of the year are more useful and more powerful.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

What Are 'Correspondences'?

For those of you who have missed out on the full wonder of the Raven Newsletter (FREE to active customers and also available by Subscription - £5.00 in UK and NI, £10 Eire and EU) here is an article from our latest edition:

I suppose the principle of correspondences can be summed up in the words of the abbreviated Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus:
As above, so below

Correspondences are symbols which magically resonate together. They can be ideas, physical objects, colours, crystals, shapes, plants or animals, but they are all used to add power, success and effectiveness to spells and magical workings.
     Once you start doing any magical working, ritual or spell, you will naturally begin to use correspondences without thinking about it, and without even realising you are doing it.
     For example a simple spell for good luck:
     On a Wednesday with the moon waxing, mark an orange candle with the symbol of Mercury. Light the candle and put near it a marker you will use in Bingo and say:
Lady Luck, Lord of Chance,
Make the Bingo numbers dance
Help me win and fill my need,
Make numbers fill my card with speed!

     Let the candle burn down, then pick up the marker pen and say:
My Lucky Pen will help me win!

     Obviously take the pen with you to Bingo and use it to mark your card.

     The above spell makes use of quite a few different correspondences. First the day of the week, Wednesday is sacred to the god Mercury/Hermes who devised the first gambling game, bones or dice.
     The Moon waxing is used to increase anything as the shape of the Moon can be seen as waxing or growing towards full. In this case we are 'growing' our Good Luck.
     Orange is one of the colours sacred to Mercury and this is emphasised by marking the candle with the symbol of Mercury too.
     The marker pen you put by the candle is being infused with the energies of Good Luck which you are gathering with your spell, and becomes a lucky talisman for you to take with you to Bingo.
     Very often the sheer number of correspondences that an experienced magician or Witch incorporates into their rituals can be seen as overwhelming to a beginner. There are books written exclusively on this subject including '777' by Aleister Crowley.
     But really there are a few major ones which can easily be learnt: the energies of the phases of the moon; the energies of the days of the week; and the significance of colours.
     Many other correspondences are based on these few simple basic correspondences. For examples the correspondences of plants and trees is based on the Doctrine of Signatures which says that each plant contains indications of what it might be useful for, either in its colour, shape of leaf or root etc. This in turn leads to each plant being assigned and astrological planet, which again has the same correspondences as the days of the week.
     The significance of colours often also indicates what a particular gem stone could be used for. So pink stones are sacred to Venus, yellow ones to the Sun and so on.
     One other point about correspondences is that they can also depend on what you feel about a colour or object. And upon your cultural background too. For example to the Chinese red is the colour of wealth and good luck, so you could use a red candle in the above spell, and instead of marking it with the symbol of Mercury you could mark the candle 88 as the number eight is seen as being very similar to the Chinese symbol for happiness and luck, so 88 is the equivalent to the Chinese symbol Double Good Luck, which is a very potent and fortunate symbol to use.
     Have a look at our Fact Sheets number 2 Candle and Colour Magic and 49 Planetary Magic, these will give you the basics of correspondences and help you get on your way to effective, practical magic