Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Making your Dorm Room your Spiritual Haven

Going to college is an exciting and stressful time. Your dorm room - even if shared with a stranger you now call room mate - should be your spiritual sanctuary. But it can be hard to be Wiccan in the middle of the chaos of college, especially if you want to keep it in the broom closet or at least low key.

When you first arrive at your dorm, you may be blasted by unwanted energy, especially if you are sensitive to it. This dorm room will be your home for 4 years, so just like clearing or smudging a new home or apartment, you should take some time to clear out unwanted negative energy from the previous tenants. This is especially difficult in dorm rooms though where there are often rules against having open flames like on candles or incense.

Don't worry - you can still effectively cleanse your dorm room in spite of these restrictions.

How to Cleanse Your Dorm Room

While candle flames and incense or sage smoke cannot usually be used, clearing negative energy can be done.  All you need is salt (preferable sea salt but even packets of table salt from the cafeteria can be used in a pinch!), water (the purer the better so pick up a bottle of spring water on your way to the dorm), and a small bowl.

If you can get into the room early - before your room mate (if they do not share your path or with them if you are fortunate enough and they do), and boxes fill it, cleanse it first. Otherwise, whenever you can manage it will work.

Begin by opening the windows and all interior doors like closets (you can keep the entry door closed for privacy). Sit quietly in the center of the room and do whatever blessings you have learned to consecrate the salt and water (a ritual circle isn't necessary at this point), or just hold each in turn in your hands visualizing a brilliant white or golden light emanating thru them saying something simple like "Salt of Earth/Pure Clear Water, I thank you for your service and pure energy". Put the salt into your bowl then slowly add in the water while stirring it with your finger or a wooden stick. Finish stirring by creating an invoking pentagram (clockwise from bottom left point to top and around) and saying something like "Water and Salt blessed by the Pentacle, Clear and Purify this, my sacred space. Blessed Be."

Then stand and, starting to the left of the entry door, walk counter clockwise around the edges of the room sprinkling the salted water and saying something like "I banish all negative energy from this space. All hatred and fear flee before this pure water." Continue around the room until you come to the right side of the entry door (don't forget to go inside the closets!). At each corner, also sprinkle some water into the corners of the ceiling. As you work, imagine stagnant or negative energy as a dark fog that rushes away from the pure water escaping out the open windows.

draw an invoking pentagram to seal in the positive energy in your dorm roomAt the door, sprinkle water along the threshold, then dip 2 fingers into the water and draw an invoking pentagram (right) on the back of the door saying something like "I seal this room against all negativity, fear and hatred. Let only peace and love cross the threshold. So Mote it Be". Cross to the open window imagining any last traces of dark fog fleeing out them as you close them, drawing invoking pentacles on each saying something like "I seal this room against all negativity, fear and hatred. So Mote it Be"

Return to the center of the room putting down the bowl, close your eyes and reach deep inside of you. Find the core of the Divine within yourself and let it fill you with peace, love, and pure white or golden light. See it expanding in your mind and let it overflow your body to fill the room - each nook, corner and cranny with its pure energy. Feel the peace and joy within you and revel in the feeling connecting you and this space with the Gods. Stay there as long as you want, then slowly withdrawal your aura back to your body, but see the lines of the rooms continuing to glow with it - know your room is now blessed and sacred to you. Ground and center.

If doing this with a partner or your room mate, you can join hands at the end, visualizing both of your energies flowing thru the room. If you don't want to physically do this ritual or cannot if you have a room mate that doesn't approve, you can do the entire ritual in your head or make it seem like a simple physical cleaning by adding salt and pure water to a bucket of cleaning solution and subtly moving counter-clockwise during your cleaning whispering the words.

Making your Dorm Room Magickally Your Own

Now that the room is cleansed and blessed, it's time to enjoy decorating it. If your room mate does not share your beliefs or is not at least tolerant of them, decorating can be harder, but not impossible. You might have to just get a bit more creative in the symbolism you choose. If your tradition includes elemental associations or cardinal directions, be sure to bring a good compass with you and locate each direction before making your decisions. Remember Feng Shui is pretty mainstream so few will give it much of a thought.

Let's start with the bed. Choose sheets in seasonal colors - green for spring, yellow for summer, orange for fall, white for winter. It's a very subtle way to stay connected and in tune with the natural cycles. Add a pretty bedspread in either a subtle pattern like the Tree of Life or florals, or if you are comfortable with showing it, a pentacle or Goddess print. You can also use tapestries or curtains as wall hangings to brighten up otherwise bland white dorm walls (pin a long tapestry to a curtain rod to easily hang it on a wall without sag). If you have a table in the room, you can do the same color coordination with a pretty table cloth or runner on your desk.

Want to have a subtle altar out at all times? Get a plant in a wide dish garden. The plant and soil itself serves as the Element of Earth and the wide planter gives you a space to add items to represent the other elements - fairy gardens are in right now and most won't raise any eyebrows at the idea of having live plants in your room. Add a small bowl of water, a mirror or a blue stone for water, a feather perhaps you find on a walk thru the campus for air, a red stone or LED flameless candle for Fire, and a Gold and Silver (or Black and White) stone for the God an Goddess.  If you are near a hobby or gaming store, you might also find miniature figures that speak to you of the God and Goddess - I had a set I used for many years.  A tabletop water fountain can also be a great base for a subtle altar or used along with your planter as the element of Water. I had both on the desk in my office and no one but me knew its meaning.  This simple altar can be a great focal point for you to meditate and release the stress of college life.

A decorative box can hold simple ritual tools or get something you can slide under your bed for items you might want to use during rituals and Sabbats. A pretty picnic-style basket in your closet makes a great storage container for spell and ritual supplies and you can just take the entire thing with you to a quiet spot you find nearby - perhaps in a park or quiet part of the campus. If you have a car, you might keep a similar set in your glove compartment or trunk. Keep dorm friendly with flameless LED candles and an electric oil simmer pot instead of incense or a candle heated style. A Himalayan pink salt lamp or selenite lamp is a great addition to combat negative energy, the radiation from electronics, and can represent both Fire and Earth elements.  Baskets or bowls with your favorite magickal crystals add some sparkle and their subtle energies to your space. A crystal or wind chime hung in the window brings in more natural light and positive energy. Beautiful art can reflect nature and give you a great focal point for meditation. Yoga or meditation mats can be used to brighten up the floors.

The only limit to making your dorm room you own slice of sacred space is your imagination!

from All Wicca https://www.allwicca.com/blog/cleansing-your-dorm-room-spiritual-sanctuary

Friday, August 18, 2017

Litha, The Summer Equinox - Wiccan Rituals and Lore

The Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year when the sun seems to stand still (literally "solstice" in Latin means "sun stands still). It marks the mid-point of summer and has been celebrated in nearly every agricultural community in some way since the coming of man. Stonehenge was oriented to highlight the rising sun on the Summer Solstice. 

The Romans celebrated it as a holiday dedicated to Juno for which the month of June was named. As the wife of Jupiter (Zeus), she was the patroness of marriage which is why June is always a popular month for weddings. It is also sacred to Vesta, goddess of the hearth, and Romans would make offerings of salted meat to her for 8 days in hopes she would bless their homes.

For Pagans, the Summer Solstice is seen as a battle of dark and light. The Oak King has ruled the year from the Winter Solstice, but the Holly King, born at the Spring Solstice, challenges him and ultimately defeats him ruling from summer to winter.

The heat of the sun, so necessary for the continued growth of crops, is also dangerous able to burn and kill as quickly as it nurtures. It is only with cooling, nurturing waters that the crops can thrive.  This is why the Summer solstice is also a day of balance between fire and water. Many ancient rituals involved prayers for water to avoid drought which would kill the much needed crops before Autumn's harvest. European traditions included settling large wheels on fire letting them roll downhill into a body of water thus symbolically bringing water to cool the fires.

This is the time of the year of brightness and warmth. Get outside and celebrate with a BBQ, at the beach, or in a pool - even running thru the sprinklers is a great, modern way to celebrate fire and water. It is said a witch's power is at it's peak with the inner fires burning bright allowing all spellwork to be enhanced.  If you worship any of the sun Gods - Ra, Alaunus, Belenos, Horus, Apollo, Zeus, etc - set their statues outside where they can be charged by the sun and make offerings to them.

from All Wicca https://www.allwicca.com/blog/litha-wicca-summer-equinox-rituals-lore

Danu - the Celtic Mother Goddess

Danu of the flowing waters, Queen of the fertile land - the Great Mother Goddess of the Irish Celts. Known as Don by the Welsh Celts, she is the Creator Goddess of the Tuatha de Danann, the first of the Celtic tribes to invade Ireland. She gave birth to all life in the land of the Celts and is also known as Danann, Ana and Anann.

While few stories of her survive, she is the most ancient of all the Celtic deities. She is associated with water - the seas, wells, springs, and the Danube River. She is said to give her children the magic of transformation, inspiration and wisdom.

Also known as an Earth Goddess, she gives abundance embodying the wisdom of living in balance with nature and the Earth. She is also connected with Brigid, Goddess of Healing, Poetry and Smithcraft.

Being the Goddess of Life, her counterpart is the Morrigan, the Celtic Goddess of Death. Her colors are the blue of the waters, green of the Earth, and silver/white of inspiration and Divine wisdom.  She is associated with mares, snakes, seagulls, and fish. Her sacred trees are the rowan tree, the apple tree, and the hawthorne.

Danu calls us to recognize the abundance of life lighting the fires of inspiration connecting us to the Divine spark. She helps us find our creativity and the power to transform to new beginnings.

from All Wicca https://www.allwicca.com/blog/danu-the-celtic-mother-goddess-legends

Amethyst - The Magical Stone of Divinity and Royalty

Amethyst is one of the most popular gemstones for spiritual jewelry, not just because of its mystical deep purple color, but because of its powers to stimulate, sooth and heal the emotions and physical body. Today it is considered a semi-precious stone and is not particularly rare, but at one time it was worth as much if not more than a diamond.

Amethyst is a form of quartz name from the Greek word "ametusthos" meaning "not intoxicated" based on an ancient legend that says it could prevent drunkenness. The wine god Bacchus, angry over an insult, vowed to have his tigers devour the first mortal he met. That mortal, however, turned out to be a beautiful maiden named Amethyst who was a priestess of Diana. When the tigers sprang to attack, the goddess heard the maiden's pleas and protected her by transmuting her into a beautiful clear crystal.  Bacchus, taken by the dazzling beauty of the maiden and crystal, poured the juice of his sacred grapes over the stone as an offering for forgiveness turning it a lovely purple shade.

Ancient Greeks and Romans would add Amethyst to their goblets either studding the vessel with them or placing one inside the bowl believing the wine would lose its power to intoxicate them. Catholic bishops wore Amethyst in a ring to protect them from mystical intoxication - kissing the ring was said to protect others.

Other mystical properties attributed to Amethyst include control of evil thoughts, increasing intelligence especially in business, and protection for travelers. It was also said to protect soldiers on the battlefield and grant victory over their enemies. It could guard its wearer against black magic and protect against disease. amethyst is one of the most popular gemstones for mystical and spiritual jewelry

Purple, the color of royalty and mystics, connects us to the Divine helping to open the inner eye for dreaming and divination. In Egypt, it was known as Hemag and is mentioned in the Book of the Dead as the stone which should be carved into heart-shaped amulets for burial. It is said to provide a sense of mental peace and calm. It ranges in hue from light violet to a deep, rich purple.

The most common uses of Amethyst today is to help open the inner eye, enhance meditation and divination. It helps bring focus, creativity and passion.  In healing, it is a powerful tool against headaches or other issues of the mind. I like to lay on my back with an amethyst on my forehead to relieve a headache and keep a pear shaped piece of raw Amethyst especially for this purpose.

Amethyst is one of the best crystals for meditation allowing a raise in vibration of the Third Eye encouraging the mind to surrender to that which is greater than itself to gain understanding and wisdom.  Hold an Amethyst crystal or cluster in the palm of the left hand pulling its energy thru your body infusing your aura with its power.

from All Wicca https://www.allwicca.com/blog/magical-properties-of-amethyst-purple-gemstone