Sunday, December 23, 2012

The new age in the Mayan calendar: welcome the Pacha

Dear Readers,

Before I go on a holiday break and run away to Van Diemen's Land I wanted to put to you what kind of projects/new path(s) or objectives you hold for the new year now that we have moved out of the Macha and into the Pacha.

To explain in brief: the Macha was a time of anthropocentrism and selfishness where the 'tunnel vision' of every individual man lead him towards a less ethical route for the sake of individual progress.

The age of the Pacha is a time of ecocentrism, working together, uniting forces and creating a better world: exactly what this blog aims to push for.  It's time to really speak your Truth and move forward with others.  It's time to really let your past go and start from scratch.  Perhaps you could go back and apologise to those you've hurt or neglected in your past or work on relationships that need some form of healing and encourage them to do the same.  It's time to move onward and upward but not just on your own - with others.  That needn't be in your own coven but amongst your family and friends.

Gather that energy up over this festive season and hold that close to you.

)O( Elspeth.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Return of Saturn Survival Kit.... What would I put in it???

"Gasp!"  And there comes my head out of water - I'm back!

I went to a festival last night and while I walked past security who were giving out wrist bands for those who wanted to drink alcohol I said "No I'm fine thanks" and one of the guards said "You look drunk already..." to which I said "No it's just been one of those days!"  That moment is how I would have to sum up my Return of Saturn experience thus far (and probably what the whole experience may be like in fact) as: 'Where am I?  No thanks...  Oh right....!'!

"Where am I?" What is your Return of Saturn?
Your Return of Saturn is when the planet Saturn moves one full cycle back into the position it was in when you were born.  In other words: it takes roughly 29 years for Saturn to do one trip around the sun, so once you're around the age of 29, Saturn will have spun around in one full cycle and usually brings you many messages, signs, events and a gargantuan pile of psychological upheaval!  I don't want to go scare mongering the poor Wiccan and New Age souls out there, I just want to prepare all of the under-28s for such an event and draft out vers.1.0 of a survival kit based on my experience of my own Saturn Return thus far, which has been challenging.

"No thanks" The inevitable upheaval.
If you want to get picky, it takes Saturn 29.45 years to orbit the sun, but many emphasise that your actual Return of Saturn will clock in before and around this set time as a general period of drastic change, new directions and questioning of your beliefs, habits and desires.  It's very much the time where you ask yourself the following kinds of questions:
"Do I truly want to have children?" if you don't have any already.
"Is this really the job that I want for the rest of my life?"
"Am I really living my life as I ought to?  Should I party more, or settle down?"
"What have I learnt from life thus far, and where do I plan to go into my next cycle of Saturn?"
"Who do I have in my life and why?"
"What are my belief systems and how do they govern my life?"
As you can see, it's generally a time of great questioning to put great changes into your life which have been needed for a great deal of time.

Apparently some of us get through our Return of Saturn having already dealt with a plethora of life altering experiences in our earlier adulthoods which teach us so much already that we flow off each of these experiences to not have to go through such a tough time as many experience during their Saturn Return....  I would have thought that I was one of those lucky few, yet... apparently not.  Such a shame!

"Oh right!" The epiphany of figuring out what it is that you actually need at this time and accepting that you must surrender to it...  So what would I recommend for a Saturn Return Survival Kit?
  1. Very carefully scribe down who you really value, who you truly care about and make them a valued part of your life.  If you have periods where you fall down, they will be of such great help to you.  If you feel that your Return of Saturn is affecting you in any way (good or bad), just talk about it.  Ultimately you'll only ever have yourself to truly rely on, but it's nice to have someone to talk to.  If you don't have this, remember that there are charities and other institutions out there that have beautiful people that will listen to you, such as Lifeline (in Australia).
  2. You have no choice but to surrender, so write a lot about it to path your way.
  3. Mindfulness is always key & meditation will help you to achieve this state of self awareness.
  4. If you have the time available, dedicate some of your time to a good cause such as Lifeline (above) or another charity which needs your help.  Certainly don't beat yourself up if you can't dedicate this time: you must honor yourself in this time.
  5. Remember what it means to honor yourself and others - hold this thought close to you and let it be your guide.
  6. Always remember that no matter what, you will be alright.
I hope this is of some help to some people out there.  As I said before, I make this all sound awfully drastic and what happens depends on each individual person.  For some people this is a wonderfully life affirming time, and for others it's very hard.  This is certainly what I would advise as I'm in the thick of it at the age of 28 for anyone whether you're having a nice experience or not.

Bright blessings everyone.

)O( Elspeth

Shay Skepevski releases his book Lunatik Witchcraft: Illuminating Your Underworld

Dear Readers,

I have been tuned out of here, going through the shifts of my Saturn Return between one place and another and in the midst of all of that, I'm very happy to announce that Shay has released his first book Lunatik Witchcraft: Illuminating Your Underworld for you to get your own hands on this publication via this very link.

If you haven't already read my interview with Shay please follow this link to the interview.

All the best Shay, this is such an exciting time.

)O( Elspeth

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Interview with a Hekatean Priest - Shay Skepevski tells us about his yet to be released publication 'Lunatik Witchcraft: Illuminating your Underworld'

Shay Skepevski is a 28-year-old witch residing in Sydney who’s about to release his first publication: Lunatik Witchcraft: Illuminating Your Underworld as a proud priest of Hekate.  Every now and again I will read about people who have explored Wicca but choose to take on a new path of magick which is one of my many reasons for wanting to interview Shay.   Shay’s path is primarily solitary and he also acts as a facilitator for the global coven Covenant of Hekate or CoH as that role of ‘torch-bearer’ is passed from member to member.   As a man who likes to quote William Blake with “The path of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” I happily introduce you to the very unique path of Shay...

Elspeth: What was the first book you read on the Craft?
Shay: I was a proud owner of various books on the "supernatural" as a young child. I held an interest in the history of Witchcraft and the Salem Witch Trials. I read books on Palmistry, Crystals, Ghosts and the afterlife, as well as my favourite illustrated stories from Classical Greek mythology. It wasn’t until I was a young teenager that I had read my very first book on Witchcraft that was written by someone from inside the community and living the ways. I discovered the work of Silver RavenWolf, specifically her book 'To Ride a Silver Broomstick".  Although my practice today has moved much away from traditional Wiccan teaching, I still believe that book, and much of Ravenwolfs books I read at the time, have given me a strong spiritual foundation to build up and grow upon.

 E: How and why did you move away from traditional Wiccan teaching?
S: I guess in a big way I feel like I have not so much left Wicca, but rather transcended it. Wicca, for me, became a brilliant formula or map of sorts which I could neatly place my unique beliefs and spiritual views upon. As time went on, as I further explored numerous other pagan and occult paths, from the Hellenic Eleusinian Mysteries and Dionysian Shamanism, to Mysticism, Theurgy and even Psychology - my view on the world and of myself transformed greatly. I speak further about this in the introduction to my book. I used Wicca as a tool to my becoming, but it is no longer all that I am, and if I were to identify, I would be an Hekatean Priest, Mystic and Witch walking an ecstatic path, as opposed to one of fertility. 

E: How did you form your relationship with Hekate?
When I initiated my relationship with The Goddess at the age of 14, like many, I began working with a variety of deities from numerous pantheons, moving around from goddess to goddess in accordance to my desire at the time. As I continued along my spiritual journey, gradually I began to notice if I were ever in danger; in times of desperation, crisis and great sadness... more and more I would instinctively and intuitively call out to Hekate and Hekate alone... She became an authority and a mother figure for me. In my eyes, She conferred upon me all these great blessings. I would start having visions, signs, and inspiring dreams initiated by the goddess. It was a gradual thing for me, and then at the age of 18 I had finally accepted Her into being what it was that She wanted to be for me...and I guess, looking at it now, She is exactly where I want to go as a Witch. The aspects of magick and the universe that She is intimately associated with, I want to go towards those places... She has become my spiritual ideal... a divine consciousness to attain. It is Hekate alone who holds my deepest devotions and quenches my spiritual thirst.

E: Tell us about your book
S: Ultimately it is a book sharing my personal journey and practices as a Witch, hoping to inspire other Seekers to see their world in a whole new way. I wrote it with the grand notion that within us we hold the infinite universe, and all the powers, worlds, and light within it. Dedicated to the Hekatean Devotee, 'Lunatik Witchcraft' has become not so much a book honouring the goddess Hekate, but rather a practice on becoming Hekate. I share ways we can use the unique mystery embodied by the triple torch-bearing goddess of the crossroads as a way to view our own soul and our power. The book includes practices held uniquely under Her guidance, such as rites of necromancy, blood magick, Theurgy, visionary work and prophecy, and the use of herbs and poisons in both magick and medicine.

E: How fascinating!  How have you found the path of the male witch? 
S: I have grown to believe that our physical gender doesn’t necessarily mean anything at all, at least, not on a spiritual level. The focus upon male and female I think has gotten a bit out of hand, if not to the point of sexism. I’m against anything which separates us. I have personally found that being a male Witch has neither been a help nor a hindrance to my path… Having said that, I have found it rather freeing as a gay man particularly. As a Witch, I not only honour myself as a man, but also as everything else. On the deepest level, we are the whole Universe. I am at once, male, female, neither, both, water, moon, fire and star… Witchcraft has taught me that my body, although sacred, does not necessarily have to entrap or limit my view of my soul, or my ability to venerate and assume the goddess, but rather, it initiates only the beginning of who I am and how I can view myself.
I honour my physical body and am proud of this vessel carrying me in this world, but I also am aware that my spirit, and my psyche (beyond the ego-face) is androgynous, omnipotent, both this and that and yet neither at the same time, both light and dark, strong and vulnerable…   An ecstatic union of all things…
E: What criticisms may you have about the Craft right now within the general new age scene & how do you think your book challenges that?
S: As a book focused on the mysteries of the goddess Hekate, much of my approach is liminal, including and beyond the notion of polarity or “balance.” The so-called notion of “balance”, I feel, gets casually thrown around a lot without anyone really expressing any further as to what this really means. There seems to be a shame applied to someone who venerates only the goddess, or only the god or any other side of duality, as though they have somehow become sick and incomplete. My book teaches that we do not need any other to complete us, that within us is all things, and that our spiritual and psychic balance has nothing to do with being energetically neutral in our practice or opening up to all powers of polarity at every moment equally. Witchcraft Spirituality is about recognizing the things in this world that we find beauty and healing in. Things we can take power from. I have come to believe that to be balanced within yourself is to find the "powers" in this world that uniquely resonate with you and your individual spirit.
E: I really like that you’re emphasising that witches out there find their own individuality amongst the Craft and you’re really making me think more about my path aswell.  Added to this: if you were able to give some really strong advice - particularly to those just starting out - what might that be?
S: Challenge everything! Never be content with yourself, keep pushing your mind and your spirit. In the end, everything you think you know is both truth and a lie. It’s how you decide to receive the wisdom that makes it your own. Don’t simply accept a so called “law” or belief blindly. Find the laws, beliefs, ethics and creeds that you inherently possess. You are your own truth. Spirituality isn’t about changing yourself to fit into a belief system or way of being, but rather, revealing and becoming aware of what is naturally within you, and then applying that knowledge towards self-empowerment.
E: What is exciting you about the Craft at the moment?
S: It would be impossible to not have noticed the rise in Witches reclaiming Darkness again. It’s beautiful to see people unafraid to explore the things of the Universe, of nature, and of themselves which much of society would consider “scary” or forbidden. There is a courageous return to exploring the dark divine archetype, the chthonic Underworld and the mysteries of death and rebirth. The Shadows have become Sacred again, and with this, I feel, will come a greater awareness of our truth and our unique humanity.
In my book I hope to show an empowering link between Witchcraft spirituality and Psychology, as we explore both the chthonic Underworld of ancient Greece, and our own personal underworld: our unconscious. We will be confronting our Shadow Self for psychic evolution and initiating the awareness of a deeper immanent power, as opposed to a higher power. With a focus on Ecstatic rites to induce an altered trance-state of consciousness in order to facilitate this communication with our Unconscious, the exercises I offer are designed to be expressive, emotionally evocative, influential and psychologically transforming. On the deepest level, ‘Lunatik Witchcraft’ teaches reconnection, becoming the liminal bridge between self and divinity, between psyche and nature, devotee and deity. A rendering of the boundary between polarities and remembering again our unity and kinship with all things.

Lunatik Witchcraft: Illuminating Your Underworld is expected to be out on the shelves later this year so watch this space for updates!

Blessed Be,
)O( Elspeth.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Interview with a hedge witch: Cat La Fura talks about her practice and grove

Elspeth: Cat and I have only met recently having been in the same coven last year but at different times.   I had left this coven quite some time before Cat and she has also since left that group, inciting her to form her own grove and take on a leadership role in the Craft.  In this interview, Cat tells us all about how she formed her path and career, how she practices her craft, what the difference is between a grove and coven and what advice she has for those just beginning to discover Wicca.  With many years of experience, I hope that readers can benefit from what she has to say and enjoy her great history and experience in pathworking.

Cat: Being on a solitary exploration of the craft is a personal journey that is unique, potent and often natural. For me to explain my definition I have to describe the path that was laid before my feet and basically, how the goddess has guided me to where I am now. That is a long, organic story. For me being a teacher is drawing on these stories and teachings I’ve been so blessed to receive from the gods.

I had a haunted childhood and my first memories are of seeing the dead. Despite a haunted childhood with time I came to accept that I could see between the worlds. I’ve returned to the occult time and time again, reading and thirsting for knowledge, as a young witch I was starting witch clubs at school and reading gypsy cards before puberty. I later met with like minded brothers and sisters, some experimenting in shamanism, others in ceremonial magick and others still in witchcraft. I discovered Carlos Castaneda, Eliphas Levi, Budapest, Starhawk and Cunningham to name but a few, as well as experimenting in shamanic trance, magic mushrooms and sex magic. It was a potent time, and I was devoted to Aphrodite and Dionysus.

I then heard the calling to walk the life of a healer. I left art school and replaced paint brushes with acupuncture needles.  I left the wild drugs behind and I discovered Taoism, yoga and eastern philosophy. I kept growing on my path and the goddess came to me frequently, in dream, in vision and in child birth in her different faces. But the face she showed me the most was that of Hekate.  I started to focus on women’s health, pre and post natal care as well as supporting women through labour, and once again I found myself at the gates.  I am honoured to be asked to be teacher, but I can only teach that which I know.

E: Indeed, there is always so much to learn!  You’re not just a regular witch, you’re a hedge witch .  For the purpose of education our readers, what does it mean to be a hedge witch and do you have your own way of practising these old ways?
C: In times gone by a hedge witch was the old solitary woman who lived at the very edge of the village, just at the boundary between the village and the forest.  This is considered an ‘in-between place’ and holds great power.  She would know the teachings of the nearby animal and plant kingdom and pass this learning down her lineage.  These were the women you would consult for hexing and for healing.    

As a witch, I follow the wiccan reed of ‘harm none’.  Therefore I am a healer, not a curse or hex maker.  Having said that, I have known hedge witches who wouldn’t think twice about using a hex or curse, but personally this is not my cup of tea.  I believe everything we put out into the universe will return to us, it’s the natural law.   

I am a hedge witch because I walk ‘between the worlds’.   I use trance and sacred dreaming to walk between the veil retrieving information, speaking to the old ones or other such things that can be used on my earth walk or for others.  I also have many teachers among the plant kingdom, making me a herbalist, which I pass onto my charge.  My practice is very traditional in some ways.  For instance, I believe a degree should be a year and a day and to rush forward before you are ready can be foolish.  Also, I work within the cosmic law, following the course of moon and sun for my spell crafting. However, there are always exceptions to the rule.   I believe that following the wheel opens you up to the Old Ones, and it is they who reveal their mysteries and offer true initiation.  I think all hedge witches practice in their own ways, and its something I encourage everyone to do.  Follow the path that has already been laid at your feet.  Keep to the traditions and when you are ready and know your stuff, follow your intuition and find your own expression of the Craft.

E: I see on Facebook that you’re very ecologically minded, tell us about that.
C: I’m very much a green witch, I believe we need to reconnect with our microcosmic orbit and through this we are able with the macrocosmic orbit. I help my sisters reconnect with mother earth, recycle their waste, keep their impact to a minimum, raise pagans, celebrate the old holidays and remember the old gods. Grow their food & herbs... and give thanks for that which they take. I teach simple, old forgotten ways, but things that need to be remembered.

My work and my spirituality are heavily linked. I live the way of my craft; everything I do is in accordance with these rules. I care about this planet we live on, I grow my herbs, I rescue animals, I birth my children at home. My husband and I have been together 18 years, I performed our first hand fasting after six months, and last year we got married, and the high priestess Seline performed our hand fasting ritual at home, during Beltane, in front of our family and very close friends.

As a healer I am of service to my patient. As a witch I am of service to my family and mother earth. Now as a teacher I am of service to my sisters. Dion Fortune has influenced me greatly.

E: I’m overjoyed at how much you are caring both for the earth and others – if you could coin a Wiccan phrase or a sentence of your own to guide you through that kind of work, what would it be?
C: “To be of service” to be of service to your gods and your family, be of service to the earth and her myriad of creatures.   ‘To honour your work’, practice, be dedicated and patient, for this is the Great Work.   

E: What is the gender balance like in your grove?  What kind of work are you doing?
C: These days I attract more sisters than brothers who want to learn from me. I am currently working on a workshop about ‘esoteric acupuncture’. A way of activating meridians, chakras, qabbalsitic tree of life and sacred geometry as well as helping people’s ascension process. I teach my sisters the basics, but what I feel is the important stuff. How to break things down to their basic parts, their elements, how these elements affect you and your body and our planet. I also show them how I have raised my three pagan children, the oldest being 17. These are all crucial to saving our mother earth.

On a personal level to silence my mind I utilize yoga, pranayama breathing, diet and fasting, and treat the body as the ultimate tool in spiritual practice and magic. I have strong Taoist roots. And Chinese medicine with its use of elements and energetic systems of the body works in great harmony with magic.
For me being a hedge witch at the present time, is just walking my path and balancing my mundane world with my magical one. It doesn’t always have to blend; at times it needs to be kept separate. That is what I am trying to master in my life now....

The Goddess has come to me in vision and dreams many times during this journey. She calls my name. At times the journeys she takes me on are long, hard and involve much shadow work. I also work with the dying; I am honoured to be part of the passages of birth and death.  I am now devoted to the goddess Hekate and have always felt her by my side. I connect with her as midwife, cutter of the cords, keeper of the keys, shadow work and her canines.

E: I’ve always felt that the Requiem (or Wiccan funeral) is the least talked about matter in the Craft.  Why do you think that is?
C: Personally, thus far,  I have not encountered this issue.  What I have found is the witches I've spoken to  have no fear of death and hold clear vision on how they wish their Requiem to take place. We understand the cycle of life, and that life continues after the body has died.  We know the art of giving birth, the art of living life and the art of dying. In my home we get the opportunity to discuss and explore these issues in more depth, when the year wanes and we approach the harvest festivals.  Samhain offers the perfect opportunity to discuss such things.  A wonderful book I recommend on the subject is Starhawk’s The Pagan Book of Living and Dying.

E: You were also a part of the coven that I had left last year – can you tell us some more about that experience and how that’s lead you to create your own grove?
C: I perform magick, but it’s something I keep to myself and keep hidden.  I was friendly with the sisters that followed me out, but I was closer to others within the coven. Their leaving was a complete surprise to me, in my mind I had left alone, and that is how I stood for a week, but then it became a domino effect. I was actually quite mortified, and this created a very messy ending unfortunately.  I ended up leaving with several other sisters from that coven and soon found myself with  sisters asking me to teach them!

 I had a good long hard think about it and after talking with some wise council decided I could do it as I was at a stage where I needed to share the knowledge I had. I teach them to live the wheel of the year, celebrate the changing of the seasons, celebrate each Sabbat, full moon and dark moon and through this learn about the gods, their dance and their lessons.  I also teach them about their bodies, magical cooking, fasting and detoxing, how to raise pagan kids and basically just share what my life has taught me so far.  And at 42 I do have some wisdom and knowledge worth sharing. Luckily I have some wise elders who offer me good advice when I don’t have all the answers.

Soon after this, I got an email stating that the hedge witches site on Meetup was going to close down if someone didn’t take over as organizer. After consulting my sisters I decided to take it on but only with their input and support, and so our grove was born and we decided to keep our little coven closed between the three of us.  To be honest, I couldn’t take on any more into my home and life - it’s a big commitment I have made to these 2 sisters, and I want to honour it and give them my best. It’s a commitment I’ve made for one turn of the wheel.

E: That sounds both wise and realistic, I like your approach.
C: Now the grove has an interesting twist to things, but I also had three wise witches separately council me that my path was that of teacher: it was time.  So I thought I would conduct open courses to the general public, introducing them to green witchcraft ideals would be good for us, the community and mother earth. So far we do an intro to witchcraft, candle making, tarot courses, gardening bee, esoteric acupuncture, magickal food workshops and lots of fun projects to bring paganism and hedgewitchery to the general public. I hope to make contacts with those of the old traditions so that I may be able to direct seekers interested in ceremonial magick, Gardnerian or Alexandrian traditions to the right paths. I hope to network with the wider pagan community.

E: What advice would I give inexperienced witches and those first starting out?
C: Firstly, you should always be empowered by the process, if you are left feeling disempowered then move on.  The craft attracts a lot of people looking for answers.  These answers are found within yourself.  A good teacher should facilitate that sort of learning in an empowering way.

I think the most valuable guidance IS the one you receive in the very beginning: it sets you on your path and life’s journey.  Having said that, I am always grateful to learn new things and am very blessed to have some wonderful teachers appear recently from friends, old and new but the impressionable beginnings can shape a practitioner for the rest of their lives.

Don’t always believe what people tell you.  There are many pitfalls within this practice, and some can be quite dangerous.  If someone offers you an energetic diagnosis, make sure your reach out and get another, and another.  But if in the end none of it sits right with you, then trust your intuition above all else.

A high priest or priestess from a coven should not charge her initiates.  This is not how a coven should function.  A grove is a different matter entirely as students are paying for a service.  A high priest/priestess may ask support with ingredients, food, or others, but money should not exchange hands. Our belief is that it is not ethical to derive an income or profit from what is to us part of our service in the names of the Old Ones.

Enjoy the journey and not the final outcome.  Just like food, there are many different types of spiritual practice. Ask yourself: which do you prefer? The get there quick programs that have you initiated within 8 weeks? Programs that lack all substance but give you titles without the work? Kind of like fast food chains? Or would you prefer to sit to a three course meal with just a few special friends, enjoying and savouring every moment? Dining in some fine restaurant where there may be a waiting time to get in, but the food is divine? Of course you pay a higher price for this type of learning, for the challenges are greater? Sometimes, fast and easy isn’t what is needed to help fill your spiritual belly.

In this society we live, we want everything fast, we want it now and we don’t want to work hard to get it. Now spiritual and magical practices are treated in the same way. Homogenized and watered down to suit everyone’s palate. Let me make something clear: if you decide to dedicate yourself to the easy path, don’t expect much in return. It’s the hard path, the one that requires hard work and honest dedication that gives the greatest rewards. It’s not meant to be easy, it requires patience and practice. There is a reason that a single degree usually takes a year and a day! Some things just take time to learn.  Enjoy the journey and do not worry about the destination or the titles.

This easy style of initiations are usually run by those with no direct experience with the divine, so when that connection is missing: what is the driving force? Also, if you have not crossed that river how are you to show others how to cross it? A high priestess is a connection with the divine, a human face of the goddess... Not a facilitator, or an organizer or other mundane meaning you wish to use. If you do not have the knowledge or experience it takes to be a high priestess then do not take that title and instead call yourself an organizer or just plain witch.

E: I agree, it’s a huge title to take on.  I really enjoy organising for our sisters to meet up without all of the responsibility of being a high priestess (for readers: our sisterhood is a general gathering of friends rather than a coven and is completely separate to the grove).  Just personally, I’m not interesting in a hierarchy, however, in your situation you’re a leader and a teacher and I think you’re marvellously brave for taking that on.  That takes real guts!  There are so many teachers out there who seem to skim information off the surface – teaching is a hard thing to do.
C: Unfortunately it’s a reflection of the society we live in: people skimming the surface of things, unaware of what is driving them, looking to gratify their ego and titles... power trips and all sorts of traps any beginner would fall into... to teach is a service... teachers are of service to the seeker... and that act of generosity... the one where teacher gives freely, is an act that reaps great rewards.  But it can only reap the rewards when given freely, both monetarily and spiritually... the bond between teacher and student is karmically connected ... how can you get the very best out of it and utilize it to its full potential without trust? Love? Surrender? Can these be given after 8 weeks? How can a high priestess connect with 15 neophytes and give the guidance they deserve, with minimal interaction?  Before joining any coven ask yourself all these questions.  Traditionally you would spend a few months working and learning with the group making sure your dynamic is right.  This is imperative before taking any vow before the Old Ones.

That’s some really sound advice there.  It’s hard for people to have that outer perspective to make sure that that dynamic is right before they settle on a coven.  So many people feel that they ought to be loyal to a coven the minute that they walk into it, but you have to take a step back and think about whether that coven really suits you or not – it’s a relationship of its own.  Just like when you enter a romantic relationship you have to ask yourself: does this serve me?  If I have misgivings, what are they and why?  Be really honest with yourself about whether you have a healthy relationship with the coven that you’re entering.  Cat your guidance here is wonderful for those starting out in a coven and your path is fascinating.   I hope our readers learn a lot and find new inspiration from this interview.

You can find out more about Cat's grove here and connect on Facebook here.

Blessed Be,
)O( Elspeth.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fire and ritual: is it ever good for the environment?

Here in Australia, burning off areas of land is a natural process required to help particular flora germinate into the next season - so long as the fire is controlled.  That was certainly much easier for the Australian environment to take before the bulk of its landscape - particularly here in Victoria was deforested.  Before Europeans settled in Australia, the aboriginal people used to burn off areas of land in order to easily track down animals to eat and thus, fire was part and parcel of how the environment rejuvenated itself each year.  Seeds would benefit from this heat and then germinate in the ashen soil.  Naturally, with the environmental concerns of releasing carbon into the air that we don't need I will - on occasion - find myself guilty of just wanting a good old fashioned bon fire to celebrate a Sabbat.  So: do I post this article to make me feel better about burning a good fire and even a candle?  Maybe a little bit!  It has to make you wonder about the magick of ritual and whether we did use this over the years across cultures to 'put heat under' the germination of our seeds for our crops and trees.

A 4,000 year old fire ritual conducted in the remote village in Kerala in April this year has a positive impact on the atmosphere, soil and other environment effects, according to scientists who are now ready with their findings.

The “Athirathram” ritual held on April 4— 15 at Panjal village in Thrissur district was the focus of a detailed study by a team of scientists led by Prof V P N Nampoori, former director of the International School of Photonics, Cochin University of Science and Technology.
The scientists had focused on the fire ritual’s scientific dimensions and impact on the atmosphere, soil and its micro—organisms and other potential environmental effects.
The yagna seems to have accelerated the process of seed germination and also the microbial presence in air, water and soil in and around the region of the fire ritual is vastly diminished, according to a statement released by the Varthathe Trust, who organised the ritual.
Read more at The Hindu

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wicca now four times more popular than Scientology in Australia

EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: It's been a tough week for the Scientologists in Australia.

One of the church's most prominent figures has resigned and denounced the church's leadership.

Meanwhile, figures released to Lateline from the Australian census, shows that membership of the Church of Scientology's in such decline that its numbers are nowdwarfed by people who identify as Jedis and Wiccans.

Read more and watch the video here

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ancient Indian performance art: Yakshagana & Kathakali

During a very recent experience with Hanuman I started to look into his history and found these two incredibly beautiful arts.

Yakshagana is 200 years old fusing an operatic style of performance with dance and musicians and Kathakali is a 300 year old form of dance drama - both of which differ greatly.  Rather than attempt to read up on all of their history in one night I thought I would leave you with the following beautiful pieces.  I feel inspired by their costumes and feel as though it may influence my artwork...


Above: An artist dressed as Hanuman


Above: Kathakali dancers

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Witchy Outfit of the Week XXVIII

Imagine strolling around your home picking your lavender and rosemary in this number - beautiful.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Attempt to find the oldest witch image II -Albrecht Dürer: 1497

Albrecht Dürer
The Four Witches

Albrecht Dürer
Witch riding backwards on a goat

"The relationship between witches and goats dates back to the early centuries of witch mythology, especially within the Catalonian culture. Witches would often use goats as their companions and in this case, as a means of transport. Below this dramatic scene dance a series of cherubs scattered throughout the composition. The witch is portrayed atop the ram, holding a scepter in one hand and one of the ram's horns in the other.
Created in c. 1500, this work is a Meder State I (b) impression featuring the 
monogrammed initials of Albrecht Dürer (1471 - 1528) engraved in the plate in
 the lower right."
Information from Master Works Fine Art

Strega! Witches 800 year old remains found (2011)

These are the 800 year old remains of what archaeologists believe was a witch from the Middle Ages after seven nails were found driven through her jaw bone.

The grim discovery was made during a dig on what is thought to be a 'witches graveyard' after another woman's skeleton was found surrounded by 17 dice - a game which women were forbidden from playing 800 years ago.
Experts say they believe the women are aged around 25 - 30 years old and were found buried in a simple shallow grave in the ground with no coffin or shroud.

The macabre remains were found during a dig close to the sea at Piombino near Lucca in Italy's Tuscany region and the woman had seven nails through her jaw as well as another 13 nails surrounding her skeleton.

Archaeologist Alfonso Forgione, from L'Aquila University, who is leading the dig, is convinced that the women were suspected witches because of the circumstances in which they were buried.

Read more: