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Posts Tagged ‘Nine Moons’

Nearly a month ago, I posted about visiting a local antique shop and purchasing twin brass bowls.  I knew nothing of their previous use.  How many hands had passed them?  I did not feel anything inherently negative about them (I doubt I would have purchased them if I had), but unless I craft a tool, I like to purify it.  Think what you will of energy, positive or negative: this is what I do and believe.

In 2010, I posted about the moon with regards to Druidism.  Since then, I’ve been trying to work with its energies and phases.  Ian Corrigan created The Nine Moons discipline for would-be initiates of ADF.  The system is still being experimented with, but I’ve lapsed from practice due to the demands of college, family, and work.  The system is either not entirely for me or not meant for me now.  Despite that, I benefited from my time toying with it.  I really connected to my ancestors in a way I never had, and I started to work with the moon.  I paid more attention to it, to my feelings, to the energies around me.  I started to work with it.

The waning moon felt like a perfect time to purify my brass bowls.  Many traditions posit that workings meant to decrease or banish should take place during the waning moon – the time when the lunar wheel appears to decrease.  It is a very sympathetic magic – “like begets like”.  It’s a very symbolic way of going about magic.

With that in mind, I set about my task.  I called to my spiritual allies, made offerings, and went into a light trance.  I used ogham to divine whether this was indeed a good time for such a working and the signs indicated that it was.  I placed the brass bowls on a slab of stone I use to draw sigils of purification on*.  I blessed the bowls in the name of the three realms and the three kindreds.  I blessed them in the name of fire and water while passing them through incense and anointing them with water from my blessed well.  I declared the bowls “whole and holy” and dedicated them to the service of my path.  I let them sit on the slab with sigils overnight.

The bowls will now be put to work on my altar. They are perfect for holding incense and are just the thing I’ve been looking for.  Is there something you’ve been hoping to find for your altar?  Rather than going to a big box store, why not see what’s available at  nearby antique shops?  You’ll never know what treasures you may find, and reusing is very good for Mama Earth.  Use a ritual of purification to welcome the tools to your altar and make them your own!

*There are many ways to make sigils in rituals space.  There are woodcuts of alchemists with various sigils and conjuration patterns on their floors.  I live in an apartment and can't draw on my floors.  It would be a pain to vacuum loose powders out of the carpet.  The stone slab, which gave me permission to bring it inside for magical work, is a great way to get around that and connect to earthy energies.  I use chalk to draw oghams on it according to my purposes.  Outside, you can make sigils on the ground using herbs, differently colored soil, bird seed or twigs.
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Hello readers!  Sorry for the inactivity as of late.  Same old story, of course.  This is just a busy time for me.  I cannot wait to be finished with these grad classes.  That said, I always catch myself thinking of other classes to take down the road…  My husband likes to laugh at me and observe that I always schedule obligations for myself and hardly ever allow for a real vacation.  It’s true…  I blame my grandfather, really.  He’s always been a hard worker.  I don’t think he’s ever been officially retired and he’s in his 80’s.  When I was young, he told me that he would die when he stopped working.  He’s always had relatively good health and a very sharp mind.  I took his habits to heart, I guess…

That said, I’m developing wisdom that tells me I need to slow down.  I recently posted about having to learn when to say “no,” and this is very much related.  Sometimes we can’t say no entirely, or don’t want to.  There could be obligations very dear to us.  For myself, they are my religious obligations.  I hesitate to use the word “obligations” because that implies I’m not entirely thrilled with taking part, which isn’t the case at all…  Yet I hope you see what I mean.  They are duties I’ve taken up.  My religion is a personal discipline.  Unfortunately, my practice often varies in regards to time, depth of study, and participation.  The demands of surviving and keeping up on my education often win out – but education is very Druidic so I don’t feel that guilty.

A friend recently emailed me about feeling disconnected from her spirituality.  She asked for advice on how to rekindle that spiritual spark.  It was timely because I’ve been feeling a bit like that myself, only I haven’t felt entirely cut off in a long time.  I’ve developed little practices  – small daily rituals to keep myself bonded to the Kindreds.  Some days are better than others, of course, but the important thing, in my opinion, is to have something – even if it’s as small as saying a prayer when putting on a special charm.  Hearth magic with such activities as cooking and cleaning offer many opportunities for magic and prayer.  Not everything has to be a theatric, intensive ritual.

Once again, I’ve decided that I have to stall my progress in The Nine Moons work.  I have to focus on final projects, reading assignments, and actually attending class.  I’m so often exhausted.  I finished the sixth moon last month and had an amazing experience with the ancestors.  I’ve decided to continue working with them (in particular my ancestral teacher) this month and do my best to maintain some of my spiritual discipline.  I will resume my Nine Months progress in November.

Last night I meditated in bed before going to sleep.  Sometimes that leads to very vivid trance – others it puts me right to sleep.  I performed a devotional in my inner nemeton.  Sometimes the work we do has to be internal, introspective, and quiet.  Just like the moon, we wax and wane again and again.  Through studying the moon and working with it more, I’m realizing my own spiritual cycles.

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I’m back from my sister’s lovely wedding and back to feeling out of sorts.  This is just not my year with regards to health, is it?  In addition to a cold or allergies, I’ve been experiencing some stomach discomfort. Before heading to the wedding, I was lucky enough to get an appointment with my doctor who thinks the cause is due to the medications I was taking after my oral surgery.  Oh hurray!  The wisdom teeth fun continues.  (It’s been over a month and I still can’t feel my lower right lip or chin.  I guess you can’t go into any surgery, no matter how minor, and expect to come out of it like before.)  I have to do some tests to make sure it isn’t anything worse, and in the meantime my diet’s been restricted and I’ve been instructed to rest as much as possible…  Difficult to do, but necessary.  Unfortunately, I’ve felt compelled to rescind my RSVP for my grove’s Autumn Equinox ritual and a folk-only camping trip at the end of the month.  My schedule is so hectic right now thanks to grad classes.  I feel that I barely have enough time to do homework.  I’m stressed and uncomfortable…  The last thing I need is to rush off after weekend classes all the way to Syracuse or the Adirondacks before having to rush back for another week of work and night classes!  I’m sad about it, but I have to prioritize my health and college this month.

In the meantime, I can focus a bit more on my Nine Moons work while I’m relaxing at home.  The last quarter starts this week and I’ll be using it to catch up on the previous week’s ritual, some journaling, and reading.    I’ll also celebrate the turn of the seasons in my own little way.  I brought a few potted herbs in since the temperature is dropping dramatically.  The hag of winter is waking up and shaking the icy dust from her blankets.  Last night I witnessed frosted fields.  The farmers are starting to mew their cornfields.  Tonight I heard some Canada geese heading south for the winter…

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As usual, my schedule makes doing the Nine Moons as prescribed by Ian challenging.  Often, I’ve had to alter things to fit my needs.  This week, for example, I’m once more taking college courses at night (twice a week) and have a wedding to attend over the weekend.  A busy time to be sure!

This week I’ve decided to spread my retreat out.  I suppose that makes it less retreat-like in that I’m not dedicating a day to it, but I’m finding it harder and harder to do that what with the demands of work, school, and family.  My wonderful husband, patient and supportive though he is, misses me when I’m away for classes, and another day apart, even while physically in the same location, seems to mildly depress him.  It’s much easier for both of us, at this time, if I take an hourish out of our time together to spend on magic, meditation, and the like.  I’ve started to use my mornings alone for my shrine devotional and that’s also working out really well.

This week I’ve been focusing on the ancestors.  It’s hard not to given all the memorials going on for the victims of 9/11.  It’s as if the veil was thinned due to attention.  And, of course, Samhain slowly approaches.  Images of the dead are showing up everywhere.  The veil is naturally thinning as we approach that sacred time.

Yesterday, between running other errands with Weretoad, we stopped to gather some graveyard dirt.  I didn’t want to get it from an unfamiliar grave.  I felt more comfortable asking an ancestor.  Thankfully, I have such connections in Watertown!  I’ve been meaning to once more visit my ancestor, Susan, and this felt like an excellent excuse.  I filled a basket with supplies to gather the dirt and gifts to give her.  My husband, bless his patience, waited under a tree while I meditated over her grave and whispered my intentions to her.  I very clearly felt/heard her approval so I filled a jar with soil, left my gifts, and built a wee cairn on her stone.  I enjoyed our short visit.  The grounds are well-kept despite the fact that it’s a very old graveyard that is no longer being added to.  It’s in a lovely, shaded spot guarded by generations of chipmunks.  I felt welcomed as soon as I arrived.

What is graveyard dirt for?  It’s a common ingredient in many spells such as goofer dust.  There are different methods for obtaining it which often depend on your relationship to the grave, your intent, and tradition.  I’m going to use it in some ancestral workings.  Nobody really bothers me so I’ve no need for goofer dust right now.

 

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Sometimes, honoring the nature spirits can seem like a chore.  In the winter, one must don warm clothing and boots.  In the summer, it’s long pants and sweatshirts – despite the heat – to combat mosquitos.  Streams of sweat will run down your body as you make the trek to the shrines because you built them away from prying eyes.  Sometimes you have to go in the rain or snow. You may step in a puddle of mud which splatters into your face.  You may pass through tall plants and cringe, hoping a tick doesn’t land on you.  No matter what you wear, some mosquitos will find a nice patch of flesh.  Today, one bit my fingertip.

Yet this is worth it.  It is a sacrifice necessary to gain the trust and wisdom of the wild spirits.

The more I go, the better in touch I get with Deer Spirit.  I move more gracefully and silently across the twigs, old leaves, and mossy stones.  This way of movement is mastered through practice,  The birds seem less wary of me.  Perhaps they recognize my scent from the offerings?  The chickadees, who are generally very brave and curious song birds, seem to follow me to the shrine.  A white-chested nuthatch let me watch him closely.

When I speak to the spirits, I feel more confident yet humble.  The mosquitos make sure you feel humble.  I greeted the shagbark hickory I identified last week and thanked it for that lesson.  I gladly accepted the gift of a fallen ash branch and thanked the tree.  I stooped to admire minuscule mushrooms and tiny bones.

The ridge is one of my favorite places in the forest.  It feels like a crossroads, of sorts.  One must travel upward, gradually moving away from the comfort of home.  From the ridge one looks down into the thick forest where I encounter more wildlife.  It was there that I’ve chanced on pheasants, hawks, owl pellets, a porcupine, the largest tracks, and the most skeletons.  Today, as I stood silently, a flock of turkey hens with their poults.  Either they didn’t notice me or they weren’t bothered.  Either way, I am always happy not to disturb the wildlife.  The little ones are so adorable.  I chuckled to myself as some decided to jump over a log like their mothers while others opted to duck and crawl under.  They make gentle clucking noises.  I silently watched until the clucking vanished in the distance.

Gifts like that make my offerings to the mosquitos worth it.

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Hello everyone!  Terribly sorry for the infrequent posts this months.  As always, I’ve had a lot going on.  I’m taking one class at the moment and preparing for my sister’s bridal shower.  I’ve spent a majority of my free time cleaning my art room (it was a terrible mess, really…), crocheting, watching “Firefly” with my husband, and reading the Harry Potter series.  I’m a bit (ok, quite a bit) late to Harry Potter mania, but the important thing is that I’ve finally gotten into them!

Of course, I’m still gardening.  The patio garden looks much better this year!  My echinacea flowers are more numerous, my tomatoes more robust, and I seem to be having success with my eggplants and even a zucchini!  I harvested the first batch of bush beans the other day.  I got a good fistfull from one pot!
bush beans

I had a pair of mystery plants growing in my garden.  I didn’t have the heart to rip them out, especially when I noticed  massive buds forming.  I really wanted to identify the plant so I remained patient!  I knew they were growing where my bird feeder used to be and, sure enough, they turned out to be  beautiful sunflowers!  The bees are in heaven!  I love the spiraling pattern in the center…  Mother Nature is a spectacular artist!
sunflower

Thankfully, I’ve also had time to keep up with my Druidic studies.  I completed the Full Moon portion of the 4th Moon of the 9 Moons this week.  Wow, say that five times fast!  Anyway, I felt it was very successful.  Since getting a kindle, I’ve been using Ian’s ritual scripts which is a little odd for me…  I’ve never fancied myself much of a technopagan during ritual…  I’m not sure how comfortable I feel using it.  It certainly saves me some time, though…  That said, I don’t think it’s detracted from my rituals anymore than reading a printed page.  Do I always intend to use a kindle?  No.  In fact, most times I prefer to speak from the heart – it feels stronger that way.  But, as I’m one of Ian’s guinea pigs, I wanted to keep the ancestral ritual focused and I really liked the language he chose.  It involved obtaining a skull fetish, making offerings to various ancestors, and inviting them to use the skull as their eyes and ears during any workings we do together.  Crafty Pagan that I am, I decided to make a skull with clay.  I didn’t think it right to use an animal skull to represent my human ancestors.  It seemed disrespectful to the skull’s original inhabitant.  I don’t fancy myself as much of a sculpture, but I think it turned out pretty well.  I decided to paint the features red to reflect blood ties.  The stains on it are from offerings during the previous night’s rituals.  It’s currently sitting on my ancestor shelf.
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Otherwise?  It’s been very hot.  The whole lot of us have been lazing around trying to beat the heat.  If I weren’t so darned busy with classes, homework, and other obligations, I would have gone to the beach this morning.  I hope everyone reading this is staying cool!
Esmerelda

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After the debacle of a schedule that was June, I am finally getting back into Ian Corrigan’s Nine Moons.  For those of you just joining me, it’s a regime of spiritual retreat days that emphasizes ritual, meditation, and trance as well as strengthening ties to the Three Kindreds.  It is supposed to compliment ADF’s Initiate Program, fulfilling the magical and trance-related requirements.  While some of my cohorts are on the 5th Moon in July, I’m working on the 4th.

I’ve already gone through the New and 6th Moons.  I can’t tell you how good it felt to get back into long rituals again.  Not feeling stressed and overwhelmed has really helped.  I do feel that I have to make up for the scant offerings of June, though.  It’s not that I feel the Nature Spirits or Ancestors are angry – I just feel that we grew apart a bit and I want to make it up to them.

Meditation and visualizations are going well.   I haven’t had any intense trances recently but I felt I could have had one during my last ritual.  I forgot to turn my phone off and heard it ringing in the other room.  Still, the wine I drank before made me feel more inclined to slip into that other state of being.  I will have to try that again!

Tonight is the full moon and, while it is technically when I should be doing my retreat, I’ve been doing them on Mondays this month.  My schedule just works out that way.  I am supposed to focus on the ancestors this moon and create a fetish for them to inhabit.  I’ve decided to make myself a little skull with clay.  Wish me luck!

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