With the coronavirus and the bad flu season, and our personal mundane nonsense (we’re moving across town), I don’t think we’re going to have much time to really celebrate this equinox with any of our pagan community, and I was thinking on that, and feeling the need to strengthen community ties from a distance, when this prayer sort of wrote itself as I fell asleep. So I jotted it down, and made a few minor edits, and now I’m sharing it with all of you! If you feel moved to do so, please light a candle and read this prayer aloud on the equinox or at your personal celebration. I’ll be lighting a green candle (if they’re not all packed away!), though you could use yellow, or even just white – whatever feels most appropriate to you.
Prayer for the Spring Equinox
There’s a stirring in the breeze Spring is arriving on wing and leaf It is time to plant our seeds They are Hearty and Hale in their sowing As we are Whole and Well in our growing We emerge from our winter cocoons And reaffirm the connections between us Hail to the Folk around us Hail to the Folk farther away Hail to gods, spirits, ancestors Hail to the Spring, today!
You may have noticed that last month is missing! Sorry to the folks who only follow here, I forgot to post something here. I did make a note on the tumblr e-shrine about having been out of the country and then feeling too ill and the incredible whirlwind of my mundane life. Long story short, I tried to do it late and kept being unable to, and when I went to apologize to Bast and Sekhmet and try to do it quickly when I didn’t really have the energy, they told me just to skip it for a month and to get well and organized, instead. So. I did that. And now we’re back on schedule!
Here’s this month’s oracular message from Bast and Sekhmet:
You may be frustrated with how some changes seem to be coming too fast, and others too slowly. Do not become upset – let all things come in their time. Never forget that we are with you. Remember who we are! Avengers, Protectors! Mistress of Unguents, Mistress of Plagues. Give offerings and ask for our intervention and aid and you shall have it! Prepare yourselves – more disruption is coming. A new dynasty is beginning to dawn.
A few notes for clarity’s sake: 1. “Unguents” are creams, lotions, salves, that sort of thing, especially when used for healing. This is an epithet of Bast. 2. “Mistress of Plagues” is an epithet of Sekhmet, and is a reference to her both as a bringer of plagues and as a goddess one could pray to if you want to be delivered from them. 3. I’m pretty sure those first two are referring to the coronavirus. 4. I’m not sure what they mean by “dynasty”. Something like “era” I think, but also with a connotation of someone new being in charge, either an individual or a group. I asked for clarification but they insisted I use the word “dynasty”. Unfortunately I think this is going to be one of those oracular things that makes a lot more sense in hindsight.
Next month’s Bright Moon Omen will be on or around 04/07/2020, 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!
As I have from Lughnasadh til now, on the Dark Moon I went to see the three Morrigna. It was hazy and I was ill, and I was told to come back again after sunset on January 31st, Imbolc Eve. Apologies for the delay, fellow Crows, but here is what I learned.
This time the message was largely visual. I joined the Morrigna at their cauldron, they bid me to drink of it, and then took my hands in theirs, a circle around the cauldron, and thus supported I leaned forward, seeing in the waters, then with my face submerged, seeing under the waters.
I saw civil disturbance, resistance, unrest, war. All too close to avert now, but that was never the plan. Timelines are hastening, change is coming and with it, renewal. Shadow puppets of the Fomori, a comparison to today’s unjust leaders. The downfall of Unrighteous Kings. We need to ride the currents of chaos, and press forward, push the seams of our society, break the bonds that hold us back. We Crows will fly the airstreams above the battles, inciting others to join us, swooping low to turn people towards the paths that will lead us forward into a better world. Some will be at the forefront, some further back sheltering other beneath their wings. Most will move between roles, as circumstances allow. Darting back and forth, a mob of crows, difficult to tell apart, moving as one mass, one organism. Each squadron keeping perfect time with the others, balance in chaos, intuitive movements allowing us to find ourselves exactly where we need to be. Individually, we have achieved certain mastery and maturity in our craft but there is always more to learn from experience. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Don’t cut corners; there are no quick fixes. There will be temptation to give up, to give in to despair: Do Not. We are building for a long future. Trust yourself, trust your intuition, trust your gods. These will guide you true.
With this last message, the cycle of my oath is fulfilled. Unless they ask more of me before then, I expect I will continue these messages next Lughnasadh. In the interim I am still “on call” for divinatory and healing services to those joining in this great work, and I’ll be presenting a healing ritual at the Morrigan’s Call Retreat in June.
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 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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.