Week 10: Working With The Moon’s Phases

Image found at: http://rebloggy.com/post/full-moon-moon-magic-new-moon-craft-magick-waxing-moon-phases-phases-waning/39047811213
Image found at: http://rebloggy.com/post/full-moon-moon-magic-new-moon-craft-magick-waxing-moon-phases-phases-waning/39047811213

There are various ways of using the moon as a focus for magickal work. Concentrating on the phases is only one focal point. If you feel the need to be more complex, you can also look into where the various astrological signs are in association to the type of work you are doing. Then add in certain days and times. Fair warning on this: Waiting for a sign to be in a certain position on a certain day at a certain time during a certain moon phase could mean that you will need to wait a very long time to do that particular piece of spellwork. On the upside, waiting will allow you plenty of time to prepare for that spell.

Moon Phase Basics (which I posted on Week 9):

  • New Moon: (Maiden) magick for new beginnings.
  • Waxing Moon: magick for energy you want directed toward you (prosperity, fertility, happiness, protection)
  • Full Moon: (Mother) pretty much great as an all-purpose focus.
  • Waning Moon: magick for energy you wish to banish (ill-health, depression, unwanted energy)
  • Dark Moon: (Crone) magick for endings.

If you are like me and a bit impatient, you can tweak your spellwork to fit in with the current moon phase. I will sometimes try to work certain spells during certain times of the day (sunrise, morning, noon, afternoon, or sunset). With a houseful of kids and constant chores, I don’t have a lot of time to prep for spectacular rituals.

Protection is a great example of tweaking your spellwork. During the Waxing phase, you can call upon more protection to come to your home. During the Waning phase, you can banish any negative energies, thereby also creating a protective barrier.

Health is another example. Call upon good health during the Waxing phase and banish ill-health during the Waning phase.

The New Moon is the time for new beginnings. Starting a new look. Starting a new health plan. Blessing a new house. She is just a sliver of her potential. Easy to underestimate and overlook. She has the energy of youth tacked on with the inherent selfishness of youth.

The Full Moon is an excellent time to work pretty much any type of magick. The Full Moon’s light can bless your special or ritual objects. If you are able to go for a walk under the Full Moon, it is a great time to connect with the Mother aspect and what this aspect means. The Full Moon is the transition between Maiden and Crone. A little more settled than the Maiden, though not nearly as experienced as the Crone. It is during this phase in our own lives that we experience more empathy for others as opposed to the self-centeredness of our youth. I have also thought of the Mother aspect as a Warrior aspect. This is a time when a person may not biologically have children, but cares and protects for those around him/her.

The Dark Moon is a little scary. We don’t like to think of endings. We don’t like to think of death. The Crone has lived a full and productive life. She may no longer have the energy of youth, but her wisdom is vast. This is the time to meditate on your own journey. Your own learnings. We are never really done with learning. Someone very wise once told me to learn something new everyday. I try to. I am most often successful. There will always be someone out there who knows more than you.

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Week 9: The Moon

The Moon. One of the biggest symbols for most Pagans. It is a focus for magic of all types, representative of multiple deities, and one of the easily visible astronomical beauties we can all enjoy.

Moon Work|Mommy Witch's Book of Shadows

The Moon affects the tides and, it is commonly believed, our behavior.

This week was the week of the Full Moon in Libra. I had a few friends over and we celebrated in a very casual fashion. My Full Moon rituals now consist of sitting outside with incense. I will usually write a few things down that I hope to gain/lose/energy that I wish to send out. I burn that paper in my cauldron. We sit and chat and generally just enjoy being under the light of the moon.

The moon’s phases are a really great focal tool:

  • New Moon: (Maiden) magick for new beginnings.
  • Waxing Moon: magick for energy you want directed toward you (prosperity, fertility, happiness, protection)
  • Full Moon: (Mother) pretty much great as an all-purpose focus.
  • Waning Moon: magick for energy you wish to banish (ill-health, depression, unwanted energy)
  • Dark Moon: (Crone) magick for endings.

This is a seriously, super-duper simplified description. I will be adding to this as this month goes on.

I will look into the different meanings behind not just each monthly moon, but also into how the moon signs affect the moon.

 

Week 8: Living With The Elements

This month’s studies have been so much fun. And now this topic is drawing to a close. However, I did not work on these lessons just to abandon them. I will be working to continue keeping them in my daily life.

A few years ago I wrote a pretty decent lesson on Living In Sync With The Elements. I have read that essay a few times last week and feel it is a good lesson to keep in mind. As I wrote in Week 5, the Elements can be found in every aspect of everyday living. This week, I will be working on meditating with the Elements in mind. I aim to keep them in my thoughts as I go about my day.

Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit
Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit

This month has not made Fire and I super close, but we have reached an agreement. Of sorts. I can get charcoal and incense to actually stay lit. My grill’s self-starter finally worked (after having the grill for nearly a year and it refusing to NOT self-light). It is a tenuous relationship. A start toward something maybe a little stronger.

Week 7: Element Spellwork

Picture from: http://www.legionofpagans.com/element-magick?page=2
Picture from: http://www.legionofpagans.com/element-magick?page=2

I’ve been thinking about how to post about the spellwork I will be working on this week. I have felt that writing about spells can lead down some tricky roads. Some people expect instant results when working with magick. For myself, magick is a form of focus. If you are at all educated on Circle and Ritual workings, then you will know that the majority of the tools used are simply there as a way of focusing your energy. Well, in a similar way, spells work as a focus for me. A focus of energy I can take away with me and keep in my mind. Or in a talisman (or other physical token) form, if that is the type of spellwork I performed.

Preparing for simple spells is a little different from prepping for a formal ritual. Within the past year, I have found myself not needing a fancy Circle set-up as much. I have become confident in my abilities to visualize my protective Circle around me. Don’t get me wrong, the fancier Rituals can be a lot of fun to put together. Especially with a group. I feel those are one of the things that can really bring a magickal group closer together. I also feel the fancy Circles should be reserved for special days, such as the Sabbats, handfastings, and sainings. Of course, you may wish to go through the motions of casting a formal Circle. And that is perfectly fine.

So, with my explanation/disclaimer out-of-the-way, I had some fun with a little natural magick this week.

Willpower Talisman: I created a talisman to help with willpower. I called upon Air for knowledge. Willpower is an aspect of fire. Health is associated with Water. I used a stone for Earth and stability.

That was the only planned spell I did. Most of my free time was involved in planning for the Vernal Equinox. I haven’t been a solitary in a very long time. I actually felt a little lost on how to plan a Sabbat. None of my usual resource books were of any help. So, I pretty much let my Kitchen Witch aspect out and planned a full day of good food and planting seeds.
I did cut a small branch off my dogwood tree (asking permission and giving thanks), soaked the flowers with water, and sprinkled the water over my seedlings and garden area. Envisioning health and growth. That branch is now in a vase and the flowers are still gorgeous.
That tree was also humming with bee activity, which I took as a good sign. Happy bees mean a happy garden.

Week 6: Elemental Work

Picture from: http://www.tigersandstrawberries.com/2006/05/07/grubbing-in-the-dirt/

Now that I have started a relationship with the Elements (if a tenuous one with Fire), I felt it was time to up that relationship. Well, a little. I pretty much did more Elemental meditation. And it was a PERFECT week for it. It was so gorgeous outside that I was able to spend almost the entire day, all week, working on getting my herb garden set up.

I felt that sun beating down on me. Worked with that dirt. Reveled in the fresh air. I didn’t water anything, yet, but I did feel a happiness that I equate with Water.

It was pretty hard work. My arms are still sore. And admittedly, it was also the reason I fell behind on my blog posts. /sorrynotsorry

I have also been reading Earth, Air, Fire, & Water by Scott Cunningham. It is a sweet, simple read. It has some lovely little Elemental exercises and magickal exercises. A few of which I will be working on for my lesson in Week 7.

Week 5: The Elements

Mommy Witch|Element pentagram
Picture from: http://www.thewhitegoddess.co.uk/the_elements/the_pentagram..asp

 

I used this week to pretty much reintroduce myself to the Elements. We’ve been really close buds in the past, but somewhere along the way… we just drifted apart.

Now, some acquaintances are meant to drift out of our lives. The Elementals are not one that should. Someone once told me that they loved science so much partly because of the Table of Elements. That table has everything (known so far) that creates life as we know it. This resonated with me because the alchemical elements, which are decidedly more simple, are also the essence of our lives.

Most of us who are on the Pagan path can usually feel a connection to one or more of the commonly used Elements:

I also connect with Spirit, but that particular Element is set apart from the others. If you follow an Asian path, you may also include Wood or Metal. I do not know as much about those Elements, so will not go into detail on them. At least not for this session.

Reconnecting with the Elements has been interesting. I have really always had a deep connection with Water. Air has also been pretty close to me. Earth has generally been a bit stand-offish, but we get along. Fire, now. Well, Fire and I need a little help.

It seemed easiest to start by focusing on each Element separately. Spending a little time every day meditating on the different aspects of each one and how they all fit into my life. This was easier when I was doing something that really connected with that Element. For instance, I would work with Water while taking a shower. Paying attention to how the water felt and looked. Taking notice of its changeable nature.

I have done some meditation in that fashion pretty much every day. With maybe slightly more focus on Fire. I really need to work on a better relationship with Fire. I have even found a maṇḍala that has torch-like pictures to color. I think we are starting to at least come to an understanding, if not a relationship. I can at least get my grill going. That’s a start and I will take it.

Week 4: Guided Imagery

Guided imagery, guided meditation, creative visualization. All terms for a similar meditative practice. A really very enjoyable meditative practice. Just not one that I have a lot of time to do.

Image from: http://marciakatz.com/faq-santa-rosa-therapy/guided-imagery-and-visualization/
Image from: http://marciakatz.com/faq-santa-rosa-therapy/guided-imagery-and-visualization/

So, this week, I will be doing this at least once. Twice if I am lucky.

Creative visualization was my introduction to meditation. My high school psych teacher, Mr. F. was pretty progressive in our conservative Florida community. About twice a year, he would hold a meditation session for one class period. I kept taking his classes because of those. Meditation should be required for all high school students. I was able to focus better in class for the rest of that day. I felt more energized. I started doing it on my own. I guess Mr. F. was a bit of a meditation pusher. He gave us a sample and we went looking for more.

Guided meditation is sort of a story that unfolds in your head. Sort of. You will usually be given some sort of journey: through a forest, along a beach, in a desert, on a mountain, or on a prairie. Your guide will give you some general instructions, but it is up to you as to what or how you interpret those instructions. No two people will see the same forest path or the same mountain summit. If you are asked to swim in a river, you may suddenly become a fish or a frog. Don’t fight these. Your subconscious needs to play too. I say it is sort of like a story because what will usually happen in your head during these sessions can not usually happen in real life. In our reality, people do not suddenly morph into plants or animals. The landscapes (at least mine) are not found anywhere on Earth. They usually have some basis in my reality: the mountains in my meditation seem to resemble the mountains I know in my area.

There are a few ways to do a guided meditation:

  • Listen to a recording. You can purchase one on iTunes or Amazon, or find one on YouTube.
  • Have a person physically present to guide you. This works best if that person knows to read (a script is helpful) slowly. The reality in a meditative state moves differently. Sometimes more slowly, sometimes more quickly.
  • Guide yourself. This one is harder. It can be done with some practice using the above techniques.

As with any other meditative practice, breathing is key. I just can’t stress breathing enough.

There are too many available meditations for me to be able to actually recommend one. My absolute favorite ones are not available for purchase anywhere. I’ve looked. They were done by the above mentioned psych teacher. Ah well. I’ve had pretty good luck with a few other cd’s and digital recordings. The one thing I do recommend before purchasing one is to see if you can get a sample of the guide’s voice. Seriously. If you can’t stand the sound of the voice, don’t get it.

Week 3: Movement Meditation

Movement Meditation|Mommy Witch

Movement meditation includes activities such as yoga (Hatha, in this case) and tai chi. Both of which I will be doing this week. I already know I enjoy yoga, but would like to get into the habit of doing it more often. For Tai Chi, I will be using YouTube videos. The only experience I have with Tai Chi is Les Mills BodyFlow. I am looking forward to the experience.

Movement meditation requires concentration on placing your body into certain positions. Which keeps your mind in the Here and Now – the very basis behind successful meditation. The more complicated the pose, the deeper the concentration. At least in regards to yoga.

You can also do simple movements: going for a walk, running, exercising. I am not sure about other people, but I find it harder to keep my mind in a meditative state while doing these activities. I have done it. Jogging and swimming are  the easier ones for me. I have done it while walking, but it really took a great deal of mental work to keep my mind from wandering.

I expect the (Hatha) yoga to be a great deal of fun for the family. Kids love to imitate the positions. They think they are funny, so do them alongside the adults. Makes the exercise easier as I do not have to chase them around.

Week 2: Visual Meditation

I am a little late getting this one up. I had a hard time deciding which direction to go from here. I decided on visual meditation.

Visual meditation is basically putting all of your concentration on an object. It could be a candle flame, maṇḍala, reflection of a candle flame (scrying mirror or water). Right now, I am working on coloring a maṇḍala.

Mandala
Mandala

This is from The Mandala Coloring Book by Jim Gogarty. A really nice book with 100 pre drawn mandalas to choose from.

The idea behind drawing or coloring mandalas is that you concentrate on the image and forget the outside world. Which is exactly what meditation is.

Tonight I gave it a try. And loved it. I was still able to keep track of my kids but lose myself in the coloring. For this project, I choose the picture that felt right to me. I then decided to pick colors at random. So far, I like how this is turning out.

I will also be working with a candle flame sometime this week. That one is a little more dangerous with little ones around.

Month 1 Week 1: Meditation

I have started my solitary year-and-a-day journey, beginning with the topic I have had the most trouble working with… Meditation.

Not sure what it is, but I have not been able to get past the outside influences. Which is something that I learned to do when I first started meditating. So, I need to figure out why my mind is so noisy and get it to freaking calm down.

Three kids wouldn’t have anything to with it, I’m sure…

Image from http://www.meditationmomma.com/class.php?class=9
Image from http://www.meditationmomma.com/class.php?class=9

My goal for this first week is to brush up on my techniques and to start a healthy meditation regime. My goal will be 5 – 10 minutes everyday. It is recommended to try for the same timeframe everyday. I may have to wake up 15 minutes earlier. Which actually kind of seems like torture.

I am also going to take the advice I found from WitchSchool’s class, Basic Meditation, and start a journal. I liked the idea of keeping track of how each meditation worked for me (or didn’t) and figure out how to improve my skills.

Ok. I am a big girl. I can do this.