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Bright Moon, Kemetic

Kemetic Bright Moon 1/10

This moon cycle, like every one this Kemetic year, I did my oracular ritual for Bast and Sekhmet, and came back with a message:

The achievements you have made in your mundane world will not be fleeting, nor are they to be overlooked. You are building for the future, and you should turn your eyes towards sustainability. Show hospitality to those near you; strengthen your community ties. These ties will support you and your deeper work, and help it to flow continuously. Do not doubt the worthiness of the work you are doing. It is enough to keep doing; there is no need to seek absolute perfection. You must overcome your own dissatisfaction and discomfort, free yourself from self-imposed limitations, and keep building.

The bit about self-imposed limitations reminded me of John Beckett’s ritual to remove “curses we place on ourselves”. We can also ask our Ancestors for help seeing and untangling the threads of this sort of accidental magic.

The next Bright Moon is 2/9/2020.

Celtic Polytheism, Paganism

Crow Folks: Do Not Fear the Dark

The Dark Moon this month brought me once again to the cauldron of the three Morrigna, and what I saw and was told I relay to you. There’s a sense of urgency here, of difficulty on the horizon, that I’m not sure quite comes through in the words below, though that is the fault of the messenger, not the Goddesses.

Embrace the night-work, do your spellwork in the gloaming, and do not fear the dark. Keep the work you do a secret among yourselves. It will prosper better in darkness. We work to topple unjust Kings, to dismantle structures of oppression, and the wheel turns slowly, but the balance is currently in our favor. It is time to fight to redress wrongs and injustices and for you to reestablish right relationship with your gods, your not-gods, your communities, and yourselves. Transform the pain of your past, and the rage of your present, into war-tools. Let the heat of your emotions be a bladesmith’s forge. You have been called by Goddesses of War!

The next Dark Moon is January 24th. Look for the next message around then.

Bright Moon, Kemetic

Kemetic Bright Moon (belated 12/12)

The Bright Moon was this past Thursday, and while I managed to take the omen and write it down on Friday, I did not manage to get back to it and publish it until now, due to a combination of spoon levels and being out of town all weekend. I did not have a spare moment long enough for me to properly get into the headspace required to take individual questions, so I will try to do those today and tomorrow. I am sorry, and in the future I will try to get things done earlier instead. With that preamble, here is the omen from Bast and Sekhmet:

You’ve felt the the seeds of new workings stirring within you, but as of yet you haven’t actually begun. Now it’s time. Begin! Act Boldly, and act not despite the shadow but with it. Know yourself deeply, and engage deeply with the teachings of your path or tradition. If you can do that, you will avoid the snares of self sabotage. Free yourself from self-imposed limitations, and rejoice in your power!

Good luck everyone! Next month’s Bright Moon Omen will be on or around 1/10/2020, so check back then! If you have a request for a personal message or heka working, please email that to the Shrine Email. And if you appreciate the work I do, please consider supporting the Shrine on Ko-Fi!

Celtic Polytheism

Crow Folks: Do the Work

Here is this recent Dark Moon’s message from Na Morrigna, as I was told and shown in their steaming cauldron.

Release the last of your fears, doubts, and insecurities. They do not serve you well. Let them shrivel and die in the frost. Turn inward, and take stock of yourself. You have been training, and you are ready. You do not feel ready yet, but you never will. It is time to take action. You are a fully formed blade, and half sharpened, but your edge will only be honed to razor sharpness by doing the work. Focus, and act. You know what needs to be done. We will join your workings together as a rope of ivy, enveloping all obstacles in our path, growing ever greener and ever stronger.

Short and to the point. If you need more direction for how to do the task before you, I suggest asking for a little more guidance in journey work or via divination. As before, I’m happy to offer my divinatory services free to those who feel unable to do their own, as that is one of my own tasks I’m oathed to perform. Be well, Crow Folks, and I’ll be back with another message next Dark Moon.

Bright Moon, Kemetic

Kemetic Bright Moon 11/12

This month, as in most months, I have completed my oracular ritual to Bast and Sekhmet, and have returned with a message. Their message is this:

To create the changes you seek, you must be willing to build. Do not expect the changes to come all at once just because you’ve told yourself you are ready for them. You’re laying the foundations of your own pyramids. Work alongside your allies. Work slowly, to make sure each brick is in its proper place, and use the strength you’ve been gaining. Working together on disparate parts at the same time will allow you to build faster and with more stability, so that the monument lasts. Different paths are working from different places, but it is all coming into parallel function. Resolve any lingering conflicts between you so you can more easily work alongside one another. Others are watching, still learning. They’ll do their own work when they’re ready. Just keep building, and do not resist the small changes as they come. Small changes pave the way for large ones. Do not despair at the time this is taking. When your fire burns low and goes out, fan the flames. The embers will flare and catch on new fuel.

Good luck everyone! Next month’s Bright Moon Omen will be on or around 12/12, so check back then! If you have a request for a personal message or heka working, please email that to the Shrine Email. And if you appreciate the work I do, please consider supporting the Shrine on Ko-Fi!

Celtic Polytheism

Crow Folks: Samhain is for Battle Sorcery

This past Sunday was the Dark Moon, and as I’ve done for the past few months, the same as I did last year, I went to Na Morrigna to ask for an omen for their devotees within my networks and acquaintance. I received the following message:

Your cup is being refilled. You’ve had setbacks, and taken some well-deserved rest, but it is time to move on. You’ve been training for battle and gathering your squadrons, and it is time to Do the Work. You are prepared to engage, despite your doubts. I will lead you in sorcery and battle magic; we will press upon the field of war our own will and vision. We will fight with fierce determination. Play to your own strengths; you know your role and your shadows. Samhain Eve is the time we will work together, and our combined power will crash in a wave over the next few days. Raise and direct your magic in accordance with what I will show you.

It is somewhat unusual for me to get first-person-singular messages back, being as I usually speak with all of three of them, but in this case the speaker was Morrigan herself, leading her sisters as well as us Crow Folks in this action.

I also have two points of clarification. First, by “Samhain Eve” she means October 31st. Halloween, for those of us who celebrate that. Samhain is both November 1st and also the modern Irish entire month of November. Secondly, that last sentence means that if you’re not already aware of your role, you need to go talk to her and figure that out BEFORE Oct 31st, or at the very least early enough in the day on Oct 31st to still have time to prep and actually do the thing.

And fellow USians: working for change on a magical scale is super necessary work, but please also follow up with some mundane work and go vote in positive change on November 5th. Do your research and make sure the candidates you pick are the ones that best align with your values.

Good luck, Crow Folks! And I’ll be back with another message on or around November 26th.

Celtic Polytheism, fae, Paganism, Spellwork, Spiritwork

Riders on a Baleful Wind, and a Charm to Keep Them at Bay

This time of year, between the autumnal equinox and Samhain, is when I notice the most activity from a loose grouping of spirits I’ve begun to refer to as Riders on a Baleful Wind. I’m referring both to the Wild Hunt ⁠(or, really, Hunts, plural) and also to some of the Fair Folk⁠—trooping fairies who travel near these dates*, and groups like the slua sí, who are also associated with wind or storms, and overlap somewhat with the folkloric Wild Hunt.

As a folklore motif and a mythological archetype, the Wild Hunt is prevalent across much of Northwestern Europe, and the Hunt of each region has its own leader. Often these leaders are Pre-Christian deities associated with war or death, like Odin/Woden and Gwyn Ap Nudd. Other times they’re figures associated with the aos sí, like Manannán Mac Lir, or they’re said to be famous ghosts, like Herne the Hunter. These folk tales came with European Immigrants to the Americas as well, and here the Hunt is sometimes known as the Ghost Riders. (Some of you will be familiar with the song, I imagine.) Besides the leader, who or what exactly the rest of the company is varies from tale to tale. Sometimes they are human dead, sometimes they’re said to be fairies or demons, but most frequently these groups seem to be something of a motley crew. The overlapping circles of the Fair Folk, the Gods, and the Dead are difficult to pick apart, and it’s especially difficult to draw any clear lines when we’re looking at the Wild Hunt and related groups of weather-riding unfriendly otherworldly beings.

Unfriendly and intimidating though they may seem, not all of them are actually malevolent. That’s why I term them “baleful”, not “baneful”, and each individual group poses a different type and level of danger. Malevolent or not, however, they’re generally not spirits most witches want in or around their homes or places of business, and with that in mind I’ve been working on a charm object to add a little additional protection to whatever wards you already have in place.

Warding Charm

The charm itself is fairly small and would easily blend into an autumn wreath. The ingredients are pretty simple as well: a sweetgum ball, some red yarn, and iron water.

SWEETGUM BALL: One per charm, dried, preferably with the stem attached.

Part of the work I’ve been doing with the Ogham for the past two years (or more, really, but I think it was two years ago that I really started diving in deeply in a structured way) is finding local plants that have similar energy to the plants of the tree ogham list.** Sweetgum, a tree indigenous to my area, has an energy that I think is similar in some important ways to Blackthorn. While it doesn’t have thorns, it does have spiky seed balls, and its sweet-scented sap, like blackthorn sloes, is actually very bitter tasting. Additionally, it’s a favored food of luna moth caterpillars, an insect I have long associated with nocturnal fairy beings. Blackthorn is sometimes said to belong to or to ward off the Othercrowd, and I find Sweetgum fits that niche as well. I have since learned that sweetgum balls are also used in hoodoo for protection, which dovetails nicely with both my experience of the tree, and this charm.

RED YARN: Or thread, I suppose. Enough to wrap around the sweetgum ball twice at perpendicular intersections, and tie off to leave tails for hanging.

I decided to spin my own yarn. I’ve wanted to learn to spin for a long time, but until recently thought I was allergic to wool. It turns out, I’m probably reacting to a chemical used in the commercial processing, because I did a test with a friend’s fleece-to-homespun and had no redness, no itching, no bumps, no hives! Excited, I borrowed a drop spindle and purchased some red-dyed roving from an artisan supplier. They included a sample of some other colors and I used that to figure out a technique for spinning. That way, once I started on the red roving, I could focus more on spinning my intent and my power into the yarn, instead of still figuring out what the heck I was doing. If you don’t spin, I recommend braiding embroidery floss as a good alternative for adding your intent and power to the string. Something like: I’m a badass witch and I protect this space; I decide who enters and who the wards keep out.

Iron Water: Soak some nails in water with a little splash of apple cider vinegar for a few days. When it’s ready, dip the sweetgum ball, yarn and all, into the water and let it get saturated.

I doubt I need to tell most of my readers that iron is known to ward off the Fair Folk, but just in case you need the refresher: that’s why we’re using iron water. You could also stick those very nails into this charm if you wanted, but that’s a bit stronger than I wanted for my personal charms, and it would be a little too strong for some allies I don’t want to keep out. I wanted something vaguely iron scented. Enough iron to say that I know what I’m about, but not enough iron to deeply offend those who are welcome across my threshold.

This is also probably a good time to tell you that this charm, as I’ve made it, is basically a “No Tresspassing” sign. It’s not going to do much good if it’s your only line of defense. If you have decent house wards, though, and gods or allies you can turn to in times of need, that sign will be enough to make those Riders more inclined to go around, rather than through. There are fewer obstacles elsewhere, and easier prey to be found. As with most predators, that’s usually enough, as long as you don’t provoke them.

* Though the ones who travel near the autumnal equinox may be following the Pleiades, not the equinox. See Morgan Daimler’s recent writings on that for more information.

** Nota Bene: The Ogham is an alphabet, and it’s not just about trees. Trees are one of the ogham lists. There’s also word ogham, skill ogham, bird ogham, even dog and waterway ogham. Eventually I’ll make my own local herb and bird and waterways lists, too, and maybe a modern skills ogham. But a lot of my general witchy practice includes work with plants, so trees seemed like a good place to start.

Bright Moon, Kemetic

Kemetic Bright Moon 10/13

Slightly delayed this month, sorry. Apparently I’m highly allergic to some kind of plant pollen I encountered on Saturday. Earlier today I finally managed to do my ritual, and here is this moon’s message from Bast and Sekhmet:

Pay attention to the edges. To your boundaries, to political borders, to people at the margins. Defend and strengthen those boundary areas. In doing so, stay true to your own ethics; follow your heart’s pathway through ma’at. You may be tempted to take a short cut, and to choose the way that seems quickest and easiest, but that will not give you the best outcome. You feel frayed but you are not broken; you are much stronger than you believe. There will be more conflict along the way, more obstacles to surmount, but you can trust your inner resilience and knowledge to guide you. Reject the negative structures that bind you; claim your personal power and move forward.

The next Bright Moon is 11/12/19, so check back then! If you have a question you’d like me to ask Bast and Sekhmet, I take a limited number of personal requests each month. Send them via email (eyes.of.ra.oracle AT gmail DOT com). If you’d like to support the work I do and the shrine upkeep, you can do so on Ko-fi. Thanks for reading!

Celtic Polytheism, Paganism

Crow Folks: Don’t Resist Change

Those of you who pay attention to moon phases are probably aware this is a week late. This has been a week of intermittent omens and conversation between myself and Na Morrigna, while I was drowning in migraine symptoms. Yesterday was my first day without blinding pain. Today, the wisps spun together into a yarn, and the message became clear to me.

It is close to the time of your awakening. We will fight side by side, working in harmony and cooperation across the whole of the battlefield. You must stand your ground and hold fast. Stay calm—you have the mastery of self and skill that you need to prevail. You may think you are unprepared, or not strong enough. Silence such thoughts! You are ready, and you will learn by doing. Do not resist the coming changes. True growth is never comfortable. Awaken, and join us.

Gods willing, the next message will be more on schedule. And do be careful out there! The Hunts are riding. Stay safe, and stay grounded.

Deck Review, Reviews

Tarot Deck Review: Tarot of the Hidden Realm

Deck: Tarot of the Hidden Realm
Publisher: Llewellyn Books
Writer: Barbara Moore
Artist: Julia Jeffries
Overall Rating: 10/10

image (c) Llewellyn Books

Cardstock: It’s supple and very shuffly, but doesn’t feel like I could tear it quite as easily as some of the other decks I’ve reviewed.

Artwork: I LOVE the artwork! The facial expressions are clear and the backgrounds are detailed. There’s plenty of symbolism for intuitive reading. I also really like that these are borderless!

Book: This deck comes with a full paperback guidebook, not a LWB. I like the book – there’s plenty of detail in it to jive off of without it feeling heavy handed. The writer describes the activities of the people in the art, too, to clarify some of the artwork and symbolism. There’s a whole chapter in the front if you’re new to divination, and a chapter in the back with a few spreads.

Likes: Um, Everything? I especially like that this deck is Fairy Themed without being really twee. (Spoilers: most Fae aren’t twee.) I also like some of the renamed Major Arcana (like Life Renewed, depicted above, to replace the very Christian “Judgement”). By far my favorite part is really just the amazing artwork, though!

Dislikes: Ummmmmmm a couple of the cards have artwork reminds me of a celebrity who may have been used as a reference and it’s a tiny bit distracting? That’s a bit of a reach, though. Otherwise… There’s no tuck box, just a large box that fits the book, so I had to find a bag for the cards to keep them in, because the original cardboard bit wasn’t going to keep the cards undamaged, long-term. I really can’t think of anything major.

Overall Recommendation

Now that I own this deck I am astonished that I let it linger on a wishlist for so long! This is quickly becoming one of my favorite decks, and probably my new go-to when dealing with any random personal spiritual nonsense in my life. If you like the artwork you might need this.