Saturday, 30 November 2019

Novenas and the Pursuit of Wool

This is a busy time of year.
    I don't think I have to tell you that, dear reader, as we are all whirling like spinning tops in preparation for the biggest blow-out of the year, christmas.
     Here are Raven I have been designing and drawing our Yule card for this year, on top of dealing with orders and trying to prepare a little flyer to go out with it.
      In my 'down time' (what the hell is that? does anyone have 'down time'?!) I have been pursuing my love of crocheting by making a variety of gifts, which means I have made a few things I am really chuffed with, and I can't blog about because I will be giving away surprises for friends and relatives!
    Incidentally I may have mentioned that it is IMPOSSIBLE to have too much WOOL, and for any friends or relatives who might be reading this, a ball or two of  (preferably) brightly coloured wool would make a very acceptable and thoughtful gift for certain people interested in crocheting.
     I must admit that when my son asked me what his father would like for christmas, I may have said WOOL. Maybe some beer too, but definitely WOOL.

    Right let's change the subject. mmmmm soft, pretty, wool......


     I sometimes mention on my Facebook page that it would be a good time to start a spell novena, and I was asked the other day what a novena is.
    A novena is a set or series of spells, usually carried out daily over a number of days. It comes from a traditional form of petitioning prayer, where the same prayer is repeated over a number of days. The 'nov' bit in 'novena' is the Latin for 'nine', so originally the spell or prayer would be repeated over nine consecutive days or weeks, but your novena can be as long or short as you prefer, or as makes sense for your particular working.
     There is a saying in Witchcraft that 'three times is the charm' and in many traditional spells or magical workings you will find that it is recommended that the spell, or a phrase within the spell, is repeated three times. These repetitions are used to strengthen the spell, to add to its power and thus to ensure that you have a successful outcome.
    I was told that we use repetitions of three as the first time we are working with the conscious mind, the second repetition awakens the subconscious, and the third repetition sends the power through into the magical realms. So it is the third repetition which activates the spell and really gets it going. An alternative idea is that we use the number three as this is sacred to the Goddess.
     Novenas are particularly helpful for pursuing long-term goals, or for dealing with an on-going situation. For example, if trying to lose weight then a novena will help keep you focused on your long term goal of losing weight, you can use it to help you find a new home or job, or to get a business started and encourage growth.
     A novena does not have to be complicated. Light a candle and simply ask the gods for help with whatever you need, but remember to do this a certain number of times.
     As I said earlier, you can choose how many repetitions you do, you might choose a sacred number such as three, five, seven or nine. Or you might choose to do your novena every night while the Moon is waxing, to help something grow and flourish, or while the Moon is waning to get rid of something or diminish the influence of a person in your life, or even to diminish your own weight!
     Novenas are a very simple yet effective way of making magic.
     And they also encourage you to work magic regularly, which will increase your effectiveness, and thus the success of all your magical workings.
     I think it was Aleister Crowley who said: 'Conjure often!'

Friday, 15 November 2019

Frankincense and Myrrh

This is an article which appeared in the latest Raven Newsletter:

I can remember the first time I smelt Frankincense.
     I had opened an envelope from an occult supplier, Margaret Bruce (now that is going back some years) and there was a waft of an exotic, magical perfume, and out of the envelope dropped a tiny nugget of resin.
     I didn't know what it was, so I asked my dad and he said that it was Frankincense and he thought he had a tin of it somewhere. He had been an altar boy at his local Roman Catholic church in his youth, and one of his jobs had been to swing the incense censer and top it up with the fragrant resin, to fill the sanctuary with an odour pleasing to God.
     When he found the tin, and happily some charcoal, he showed me how to light the charcoal and blow on one edge to get it going, then dropped a teaspoonful of the resin onto the glowing coal. The house filled with smoke at an alarming rate and we ended up having to open all the doors and windows to get rid of it.
     'Yes, well,' said my dad, 'I did have to use enough to fill the church, which is a bit bigger area than this.'
     We had another go, using just a few grains of the resin and the smell was amazing.
     I love the ceremony of using this natural resin, the lighting of the disc, positioning it on the sand in my burner, then the dropping of the first few grains on the coal. All of these preparations help to start building the atmosphere, ready for magic or ritual.
     I had, of course, heard of Frankincense. Every christmas we were told the story of the birth of Jesus and how the Magi had brought him gifts of gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. And having experienced Frankincense, I was now eager to try its sister resin, Myrrh.
     Whereas Frankincense is a bright, soft amber colour, Myrrh is a darker resin in every way. It is dark brown, and its perfume is darker and more sensual. The two resins together harmonise and enhance one another, and make a very powerful perfume for spells and rituals.
     Myrrh is known as the perfume of the Underworld, or death and spirits. It smells earthy and sexual, and is a perfume for rituals of seduction and sexuality, or to awaken demons and spirits.
     Both of these resins were well known and highly valued in ancient rituals. The ancient Egyptians wrote their incense and perfume recipes on the walls of their temples and these recipes included Frankincense and Myrrh.
     Now a days we tend to use joss sticks and cones for our rituals. They are easier and more convenient to use, and come in a wide variety of flavours.
     But when I want to make a special ceremony, where the air tingles with magic, and you can feel the powers ramping up, I go back to the natural resins of Frankincense and Myrrh.

Incidentally, we did pop a pinch or two of Frankincense and Myrrh resins in with our latest Mail Shot, so I hope our customers liked it.