Chamomile is an ancient herb that was widely used by the early Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, and it’s still as popular as ever. There’s evidence that it was also used for its healing properties in Anglo-Saxon, Viking, and Celtic societies.. It was viewed as a sacred herb because it was mixed into embalming fluids and used to wash bodies before burial due to its scent and antibacterial properties. When pressed, chamomile releases a strong, fragrant, and unmistakable scent that’s long-lasting. Throughout the Middle Ages, it was gathered in huge bunches and strewn on the floors of homes and public places. Walking over the plants served as an air freshener. It was often stuffed into, or under, mattresses and pillows and other bedding to refresh them. Chamomile was also planted around households for its scent. In addition, it was believed to promote the growth of other plants in the vicinity.
“I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter, giver of good gifts, bringer of seasons, universal Mother.” Thus start several ancient Greek hymns to Demeter, the Olympian Goddess of the Harvest and agriculture. You’ve probably heard of Demeter in conjunction with her daughter, Persephone. But although motherhood is a sacred aspect of Demeter’s identity, the Goddess is so much more than that! As we approach the first Harvest of the Year, let’s take some time to acquaint ourselves better with “She of the Grain”.
More than any other substance, gold has captured the imagination, and desire, of people the world over for hundreds of years. The sheer value we have placed upon gold, the ends we've gone to attain it, and the romanticism that grew up around it, are enough to lend gold a lot of power in the universal unconscious energy. As witches and all practitioners of magick know, we are all connected. Linking our magickal energies into the universal unconscious flow of the human spirit can be a powerful action.
Lavender petals in a sachet for the bath or shower or sleep and calm. Rose petals on the altar for a love spell. Chamomile in tea. Jasmine incense. You’ve probably not thought about the many ways flowers are used in the Craft throughout the year. Flower magick is potent and connected to nature in ways other magicks aren’t. With summer flowers at their brightest, Litha is the perfect time to learn some ways flowers can be used in and for magick, as well as how to preserve them for use throughout the year.
Learning the Tarot can be a healing and enriching journey. As far as divination methods go, it’s one of the most easy ones to muster. But learning to read the Tarot for yourself can feel very different than learning how to read for others. In this article, we’ll explain both approaches, what’s different, and what you need to consider.
In Norse mythology, there are two tribes of gods: the Vanir and the Aesir. The Vanir tribe are fertility gods, while the Aesir are warrior gods. During the Viking Age, the people of Scandinavia relied heavily on farming for their survival, so the Vanir gods played a crucial role in their worship. As the son of Skadi, a frost giantess, and Njord, the god of the sea, Freyr is a sun god who is a member of the Vanir, associated with fertility and peace. His twin sister, Frejya, is also well known for her cunning and beauty throughout Norse mythology.
As the sun reaches its zenith, Midsummer celebrations abound across the globe. People celebrate the balance of the dark and light while paying homage to sun deities in a variety of different ways. Litha is the Midsummer Sabbat as the wheel of the year turns. There are many customs, traditions, and folklore surrounding Litha.
Being able to travel and explore the world not only gives us amazing adventures but can also expand our knowledge of the Witch World. One downfall of traveling, though, is that you may not always be ready to practice your Craft, which can be aggravating if you find a perfect environment for a spell or ritual. But you should not be deterred from traveling due to being afraid of not having your magick at the ready. You can bring your magick with you when away from home, although you need to get creative on how to do so. There are various ways you can bring magick with you without it being cumbersome or a heavy load to carry. Many of these tricks you may already be doing without realizing. So let’s take a look at how you can bring magick with you anywhere you go.
Our pagan ancestors have been looking at its gleaming globe for answers for millennia, synching their lives and their magickal practices with its phases. And today, modern witches and Wiccans know that everything from our spellcasting to our mood can be affected by whether the Moon is waxing, waning, or full.
In my previous essay about Connectivity, I said, our life spark is connected to the great consciousness and therefore everything, everywhere everywhen. In theory we should be able to shift our consciousness to any point of Time and Space. In theory, yes. But in applied practice there are some nagging kinks. For about twenty years I taught classes in Remote Viewing or RV to my students and others from the pagan community. Now I hear some witch-oriented people moaning “Remote Viewing is not Witchcraft, it’s not the old ways.” I beg to differ. Think of it as a modern disciplined approach to the old skill of divining.
Mother Nature has all the remedies we need — and as witches, it’s important to know how to harness them through working with herbs and plants. Throughout this series of articles, we’ve examined some of the key herbs to work with for healing, spells, and divination rituals. After learning about the magickal properties of jasmine and clover, it’s time to look at another favorite: lavender.
Solitary Witches are Witches who prefer to practice their Craft on their own rather than in a Coven. While magick can be stronger when performed in a group, it is not necessary for all Witches. Solitary Witches can be just as powerful as Witches within a Coven, and they only need to adapt to practicing magick alone rather than in a group. One of the things Witches need to adjust when practicing alone is the Deities that they chose to work with. Any Deity has the potential to help a Solitary Witch, but some seek out solo Witches more than others. These Deities help Solitary Witches more since Solitary Witches need the extra help to perform certain spells or rituals that may have better results performed through a Coven. If you are a Solitary Witch and are looking for a Deity that can help boost your magickal abilities, then keep on reading. You should be able to find or at least get an idea of the deities that will work best with solo Witches and try to reach out to the one that calls out to you the most. Let’s look at these Deities and what you can do to reach out to them.
Growing your coven membership can be difficult in a practice that does not proselytize or actively recruit. Plus, with paganism being a new religion that is often misunderstood by the general public, many practitioners don't blatantly display their faith, so others might not even know they are a practitioner. But if pagans and Wiccans don't recruit, how can they find new members? The majority of people learn about paganism and Wicca through books, online, or from close friends.
Celebrating fertility has been very important to our Pagan ancestors. It had to be, of course. Whether it was to help secure the birth of new human (or animal) life or to coax rain to fall to make the land fertile, every pagan pantheon had its own gods and goddesses of fertility — many of who are still very much celebrated to this day. As Beltane, the great Wiccan Sabbat of union and fertility, draws near, it’s a great opportunity to get to know these gods and goddesses a bit better so that you can include them in your Beltane altar and ask for their blessing.
It is often said in mysticism that we are connected to an immediate local group of spirit instances. Lifetime after lifetime, we reincarnate together. My daughter in this lifetime may have been my mother in a previous life or perhaps my military captain, or even simply a colleague in a common profession, who knows. Lifetime after lifetime, we all wear different masks-of-flesh and participate in this game of incarnate life.
Whether you are new to Wicca or have been practicing for a while, it is always a good time to brush up on your knowledge of those aspects of the Craft that are invoked frequently. In many altar setups, spells, and rituals, the four elements are called upon or used. Though Air is the least tangible and visible of the elements, we still frequently incorporate it into our practice.
Hera was worshipped in Greece way before people started speaking Greek there. She was the first deity to whom the people of that area ever dedicated a temple; she was worshipped all the way from Iran to Egypt. She's often conflated with the Egyptian Goddess of fertility and agriculture, Hathor, and with Demeter, the Earth Goddess. Hera's name probably comes from an older form of the word for "Lady" (Kera) but adapted to mean "Lady of the year" or "Lady of the season." Some historians think it's an anagram for the word for "air," as Hera was considered the Queen of the Skies, or the Heavens. Just as Freya, the Lady of the Old Norse pantheon, played a much more important part in the past before her role was diminished to not antagonize Odin, so did Hera. Prior to her marriage to Zeus, Hera was considered a manifestation of the Great Earth Goddess in all her three aspects: Maiden, Mother, and Crone.
When talking about where the origins of Witchcraft came from, many may not have a clear answer. New Witches especially may hear lore of where Witchcraft came from but may not be sure how accurate it is. There is no one answer saying where Witchcraft originated from. But, some were strong influences for the Craft. For instance, one of the biggest Witchcraft influencers was Circe. Circe, humbly given the Original Witch title, holds the strong position of being one of the first few to use and develop Witchcraft so others like us can use it today. Let us take a look at who exactly Circe is and how she influenced the use of Witchcraft.
I recently retired from Pastoral Priestess duties, including representing the Pagan community at the regional Clergy Council. There are plenty of up and coming folks who are eager to perform the day-to-day joys and rigors of doing pastoral work within the Wiccan community. It was time to pass the proverbial torch. As a mystical explorer, I have decided to dedicate my remaining years to documenting what I have learned about spirituality and, most especially, the magickal arts. Many of my planned writings will be articles here in Wicca Magazine. I have received numerous requests to write a short summary of my view and perspective of forty years of Magickal and Divining Practice. Ok, here is a primer for life on a road less traveled!
The gods and goddesses of our Pagan ancestors differ from place to place — and from pantheon to pantheon. But some overarching themes can be found throughout the world: in every pantheon, there are gods and goddesses of war, wisdom, harvest and agriculture, death and rebirth. And in every pantheon, there are the gods and goddesses who preside over the most precious of human feelings: joy, happiness, and pleasure.