Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Even More Books

Merry Meet!

The next book I want to recommend is written by Raymond Buckland. He is the acknowledged father of American witchcraft. There are several books I can recommend of his but the first one is Wicca For One: The Path of Solitary Witchcraft. It is all really good basic stuff that helps you to begin thinking about how you want to celebrate Sabats and Esbats and some good general information about magikal stones and crystals, prayer and meditation and magical terms and alphabets. It is published by Citadel and it is $15.

The next book I really want to impress upon those who are seeking a an eclectic or Christian practice of the Craft, I suggest reading Practical Solitary Magic by Nancy B. Watson. Among all of the books I have read about the magikal arts and the practice of witchcraft, Nancy really takes a strong stand on the idea that magik can be practiced in any religious faith system and these practitioners can proudly claim their place among Pagan and Wiccan practitioners. It's a great book that helps you develope a closer relationship with your concept of God or Goddess and helps you develop a spiritual bond with the craft. She also admits there may be those of us who have no bond whatever with a God type and has no use for one. Weiser Books $17.

The last book for this entry is Self Initiation for the Solitary Witch: Attaining Higher Spirituality Through a Five Degree System by Shanddaramon. It is a fantastic outline for your path of study through the years from novice to elder and discusses such topics as shamanism, divinations, meditations, healing, warrior studies and ecology. It is a great book you will read over and over again and it has so much snowledge a beginning witch really needs. Published by New Page Books $15.

That's a hefty list to be getting on with now, so enjoy these books and in couple of weeks, I'll give you some more titles.

Next time I write, I will give you some simple spells that you can cast and you don't even need a wand or materials.

Until next time,

Blessings Be
Aslinn Dhan Dragonhawk

Monday, August 21, 2006

More reading materials

Merry Meet,

The next three books I am going to suggest are books written by two fathers of the witchcraft movement. Gerald Gardner was a sociologist who studied Eastern culture and philosophy and in his later years came home to England, after World War II and discovered that the witch ways were not entirely gone. He became a noted writer and scholar of the Craft after 1951 when Great Britain repealed its ancient witchcraft laws and acknnowledged that the Craft can be a legitimate practice. The second one of the fathers is of the American witchcraft movement named Scott Cunningham. He has written over fifty books and he covers everything from divinations and crystals to herbology and potions and practices.

The first book I want to profile is The Meaning of Witchcraft by Gerald Gardner. In it he gives a serious but generous discussion of witchcraft as religion and practice. If you are a Christian Wicce you will have to bear with patience some of the remarks he makes about Christians and magik, but there are truths that Christian Practitioners must accept and that is like all conquering cultures, Christianity subborned the native practices of conquered people and demonized them. To many pratitioners of the Craft and followers of Wicca, Christians practicing the Craft are interloping in the ancient practices of pagan people. It is a sad division, just as all divisions are among faith communities are but all of us can come to some level of understanding. But, back to Gardner. Gardner also shatters some myths and misconceptions that non-magikal folk have about the Craft. Very well written and insightful book. Published by Weiser Books and costs $20.

The next two books are by Scott Cunningham. The Truth About Witchcraft Today is a really well written book that works on the same level as Gardner's book but takes a gentler stance. He gives you a basic history, modern challenges of the practicing witch, the religion of Wicca and basic ritual forms. Very good book for the older teen interested in the Craft and discusses some of the social and religious questions about Craft practices and how to judge the safety of a group or coven. Llewllyn Books $5.00

The second book is written expressly for the solitary witch, as many of us are, whether we are Christian or Pagan or Wiccan. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner discusses all the characteristics for ritual and dedications and it has a very good basic Book of Shadows and a guide to help you write your own spells and rituals. It also has a basic herbal guide and glossary of terms and index for further research. Llewellyn Books $10 and a very good value for your money!

I hope these reading suggestions are helpful. Until next time,
Blessings Be
Aslinn Dhan Dragonhawk

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Suggested Readings

Merry Meet,

I promised that I would begin giving you a book list and after much consideration, I though I would profile three books at a time in some sort of ascending order that moves you from one basic beginners level to the next. I've read all of the books and will tell you the good things and the bad things about the books and how I used them as a Christian Wicce.

The first book I recommend for those who are beginning their studies into the Craft is The Wiccan Rede by Mark Ventimiglia. It is a wonderful little book, written for the Wiccan-Pagan in mind, but filled with basic truths that all religious faiths could appreciate much of it. The rede is carefully analyzed as poetry and as creed to follow for a religious rule of thumb. It is a very thoughtful work and I recommend it to all who are interested in the Craft. It is published by citadel press and it is hard back and I think I paid $10.

An Ye Harm None: Magical Morality and Modern Ethics by Shelley TSivia Rabinovitch and Meredith Macdonald. This book takes up where Ventimiglia leaves off. It seems a bit heavy handed, but really, everyone could do with making things last and using up what you have and controlling your buying and wasting. Some of it may be a little difficult to do, but you can get a lot of real insight about your rights and responsibilities as a witch. I urge any young person to read this book and really think about what it really means to be a witch. Ithink I paid $15-$17. It was published by Citadel Press.

The Elements of Ritual by Deborah Lipp. This is a fantastic book that helps the learner think about the rituals or spell work they want to do. It is a very open hannded and generous book that explains the use of the pentangle and candles and casting circles and the eight Sabats and the seasons and some things you can do to celebrate in your own unique way. She also dicusses how to build a relationship with the four elements. $17 from Llewellyn Press.

Of all of the expense you will have, books will be your greatest expense of all. Some of these will be available at your local library and you may be able to check them out or read them and make notes. You should get a journal or notebook anyway to begin writing what you learn. This notebook will be basis for your Book of SHadows or personal spell book.

I'll profile three more books next time and give some basic castig advice to get ready to teach you to cast spells that were written by someone else or how to write your own spells.

Until then, Blessings Be,

Aslinn Dhan Dragonhawk

Friday, August 18, 2006

Oils and the Craft

Merry Meet,

Oils have been used as curatives for thousands of years and they have been used as a part of religious practices for just as long. Oils were used as preservatives to keep the body until burials could take place. They have been used in medicines as lubricants, muscle relaxers and laxatives. Scented oils are very important in cures and ritual as well. Many times oils were made of botanicals and purified animal fats and oils collected from plants. It was time consuming work to extract purified oils from the source and the herbs and flowers and resins used to perfume them were rare and costly. That is the point of the tale of the fallen woman who anoints Jesus feet. Judas tells Jesus off for allowing the woman to use the oils because they are costly and he feels that Jesus is indulging in some selfish vanity by allowing her to anoint him. Oils were mostly used by the wealthy and Jesus was supposed to be living the life of poverty and suffering.

Today, there are many types of oil that we call perfumed oils. Witches and Wiccans and Pagans of all traditions are renowned for the purity of their oils and the materials they are made from. Even if you are not a practitioner of any magikal art or tradition but you enjoy making wax candles and soaps and lotions with wonderful scents in them, then buy your goods from metaphysical shops. There are also the kinds that you find in art and hobby stores and even at your local shopping center or grocery. These are usually just fragrance oils that you put in simmer jars or on sachets to perfume a room. These are often artificially scented and use a petroleum oil as a carrier. Petrolium oils are like mineral oils or oil for your car. They are made of the same oil that is pumped out of the ground and refined to run our cars. It is not natural and is not good for mystical purposes in most regards.

There are some mass produced brands of essential oils. Spiritual Sky is a popular one and can be found in most "head shops" or hippy stores. It simply takes time to find those dealers who sell the real deal. The most important are Myrrh, Sandalwood, Amber, Dragon's Blood, Lavender, Peppermint, and Cinnamon. The corresponding incenses are great to have, as well. If you need to make potion and need a carrier oil, use sweet oil, or almond oil. If all else fail, use extralight, extra virgin olive oil or corn oil or sunflower oil. They may have a bit of an odor but they work well. Sweet oil can be found in pharmacies or grocery oils.

Now, I know that you see people drink potions all of the time in movies and shows, but do not drink your potions. The potions you make are to be used in the following ways: You may anoint candles with them. The way to anoint is that if you want your spell's desire to come to you. you anoint from the top of the candle to the base of the candle. If you want to the spell's desire to get away from you, you anoint from the bottom up. You may anoint a person with them. If you are bringing them into the Craft, for instance, you would want mix a potion used for dedication. Or if you were healing them, you might want to gently massage the afflicted area. You can use it as a fumigant. You can thin the potion by adding a teaspoon of whisky (or if you are a minor, rubbing alcohol) to every two ounces of potion and sprinkle or spray the potion in a spray bottle around the room to bless or exorcise or to bring healing, whatever you happen to be doing. You can simmer the potion in a simmer pot to incense a room. You can also add herbs and flowers to you potion as they are called for or if they match the energies of the oils you are using.

This is by no means comprehensive, in fact it is pretty basic. So, the next time, I will give you a book list that will help you study into your second and third degree. Some are written expressly for young people, which are still good for the adult novice, and some have a revolving value that comes with reading and rereading the books as you advance in your studies.

Until then,
Blessed Be

Aslinn Dhan

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More working with Herbs

Merry Meet

To continue with the herbs. Thyme is another great herb. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are true and real love herbs and can be used to make a love bath and sachets for the love bed. Thyme is also good for physical and spiritual healing in teas for sleeplessness and anxiety and head aches and in baths for aching and sore muscles and as aromatics for congestion. Thyme is good for meditations and clairvoyance as it does open the mind.

Ginger, preferably in root form but good in powdered is great for seasoning Asian food and pork some fish. It is also good in a tea for menstrual cramps along with cinnamon and nutmeg. It works well, especially in root form, sliced in a coin sized slice, to draw success or to increse personal power.

Rosemary is good for chicken and fish in cooking. It can be added to teas especially floral teas. Rosemary can be used in ritual annointings to dedicate someone or something. It can be used in blessings like a wiccaning or hand fasting. Used in wisdom and inspiration spells and potions, it can open the mind. It can be added to catnip and used as a beauty wash. Its fragrant scent can be used to chase away negative energy.

There are all sorts of ways to use common kitchen herbs and many of them are extremely easy to grow. You don't need a lot of room and you don't need really great soil and once they are established the herbs do okay if they aren't watered everyday like flowers. They are great to grow in containers, you should especially grow mint in containers because they spread and are invasive.

Learn all you can about herbs and flowers. Many times, archaic and exotic herbs, plants and roots are members of more common families that you can find easily. When you harvest your herbs, harvest in the full moon so you get the most of the plant's energies. Learn how to dry the herbs and how to clean and store them. If you can't grow your own herbs, do the best you can with the herbs you can get at the grocery store. Magik understands.

Next time , I will discuss oils and aroma theraphy and massage as magik and spell work.

Blessings Be,
Aslinn Dhan

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Working with herbs

Merry Meet!

So, here we are and I thought I would begin some instructional things on basic herbs and their uses. First off, be careful with herbs. Some folk may be allergic or sensitive to the herbs you use. Second of all, herbs are pretty basic and many of them can be easily grown or bought, sometimes fresh, at your local grocery or Asian or Ethnic food store. Some can even be bought in Health food stores, so don't let the idea of herbs bother you.

There are basic herbs. Lavender is a great all purpose herb for nerves, anger, fear and any type of calming. You can get lavender at your local florists, or at art stores where you can buy sachets of lavender. You can get lavender oil, but I will talk about oils a little later. There are some teas that contain small amounts of lavender in them. Lavender is used primarily in sachets or mojo bags or as a bath packet. You can make a herbal bath packet by gathering the leaves or spices you want and folding them into a coffee filter and stapling the filter shut so the herbs don't come out.

Chamomile is a another great herb. It is a soother as well. It is also great for stomach complaints and headaches and tired eyes. You can get this in a tea form. Drink for stomach complaint just as you normally would. Headaches the same. For tired eyes, make your tea but do not add milk or sweetner and when it cools, take a clean wash cloth and soak your cloth in the tea, wring it out and place on the eyes.

Mint is great for many things. Mint can be used as a tea to drink for stomach complaint or indegestion. You can use it as a muscle relaxer by soaking in it in a tub of water. It is good for chest colds and complaints, and good for skin trouble if strained and used straight as a facial rinse (no milk or sugar, please) Esoterically, it can cleanse the house of troubles and quarrels and be used in love rubs or potions.

Garlic has been an old time herb for health. Just seasoning food while it cooks or making garlic butter, whatever you like in garlic makes the dish healthier for you. You can use it as a muscle rub...but brother do you smell afterwards. It is also sovereign against evil spirits, ghosts, and monsters of all sorts. Wearing a piece of it in your mojo or having it at your door protects you and your house.

Salt, humble and common is great as a gargle for sore throat, cleanser for mind abrasions, wash for the face, add savor to any food, preserve meats, vegetables, even breads. It is also sovereign against evil spirits and if you believe in the faery folk, it will keep them out of your house.

Sage is great for all fowl and fish and dressings and pork. It is also good for clearing the mind for careful thought, just sprinkle a little in some tea. It is good for smudging, which is burning like incense. If you don't have a sage wand, take a small square of paper and place a half teaspoon in the center and twist the sage up into the paper and place in a heat resistant bowl. Light the paper and waft the smoke toward your room or the person you wish to bless. Caution, sage has a very strong grassy smell, almost like marijuana, so be careful if you are practicing in secret.

I'll quit for now. My next blog, I'll talk about more common herbs and what they may be used for.

Blessings Be!
Aslinn Dhan