Midsummer Magic

midsummer-night-dream

The longest day is approaching, Midsummer, and like the missing girls from Picnic at Hanging Rock, I feel entranced by the seductive and mysterious formations of nature, day-dreaming of nothing more than wanting to escape, escape, escape. Along with the solstice, we enter the mothering, all-encompassing water sign of Cancer ending the week with a New Moon on Friday. Mercury and Mars will also be in Cancer, brave sailors navigating the soothing and turbulent waves of blue. With all this palpable lunar energy swirling around, I’ve been finding myself listening to Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys on a daily basis. It’s no surprise that Brian Wilson, who penned the emotional classic exploring the contemplative nature of summertime, is a Cancer born right around the Summer Solstice. For the rest of the month, be prepared to surrender to the lessons found in waves and let yourself be engulfed, nourished and healed by the element of water.

Midsummer is not a high holiday in traditional Wicca, yet it is universally regarded as one of the most potent times for all kinds of magic; love spells, manifestation, fertility and abundance. Everything is fecund and alive, with flora and fauna at its peak expression of beauty and bounty as Midsummer yields the second harvest. Children, and many adults alike, take a break from the mundane world of work and responsibilities to play, explore and live. Summer is a time of adventure and reflection, whether through traveling to new places, meeting new lovers or deepening the bonds among current partners. Midsummer is a time to cast spells of manifestation as well as to thank the earth for what she has already provided. The heat forces us to feel everything whether it is a pleasing sensation or not, which cannot be avoided even with modern luxuries like air conditioning. I love feeling the heat on my skin, like Maggie the Cat, I am alive in summer and enjoy the opportunity to release toxins and pheromones, my body restoring all its levels.

girlspicnic

At Midsummer, the Oak King, who is the king of the Waxing Year, battles and loses to the Holly King, God of the Waning Year, who changes the season and reigns supreme until Midwinter when he will die and be reborn as the Oak King. The cycles continue, and seasons are to be treasured for they last only for a few fleeting moments. If you live in a northern clime, this arrival of sunshine is much needed after months of perpetual darkness. The mythology of the Oak and Holly King has been synchronized over the years with the story of John the Baptist as the Oak King, whose death and legacy is remembered on June 24th, St. John’s Day, which along with earlier Midsummer pagan practices has become a universal time of bonfires and celebration across Europe, Scandinavia as well as in New Orleans where Voodoo practitioners also celebrate this as a peak time for magic. (The Holly King is of course Jesus who succeeds John and has his celebration in wintertime.)

Midsummer is both a fire and water festival, fire representing the God in all his powerful light and deep waters representative of the Goddess, as she is fully ripe, having given birth and now dances among the flowers with her lover.  A longstanding tradition is to have two bonfires or twin flames at Midsummer and either dance through them or jump over them.  As a modern witch, I’m not a purist and what I cherish about pagan practices is what we all collectively honor and celebrate. This is the beauty of spirituality at its highest good. Midsummer combines various folklore, mythology and history throughout the years. This has resulted in some fun universal practices, such as the aforementioned bonfires, rolling in a field of dew naked to attract a loved one and collecting eight different flowers and putting them under a pillow to see your future lover in dreams. St. John’s Wort, an herb used for protection, is best collected around Midsummer and should be tossed into the bonfire along with other herbs such as mugwort, lavender, yarrow, verbena, roses, male fern, cinquefoil, chamomile, mistletoe and of course any other flowers or herbs that resonate with you.

MIDSUMMER IS UNIVERSALLY REGARDED AS ONE OF THE MOST POTENT TIMES FOR ALL KINDS OF MAGIC; LOVE SPELLS, MANIFESTATION, FERTILITY AND ABUNDANCE.

Janet Farrar, co-author of The Witches Bible, wrote, “Everything flows, nothing is static. Life is a process, not a state; and the witches’ Sabbats are essentially a means of putting oneself in tune with that process.” Over the next few days, take the time to slow down and feel the air, earth, fire and water all within and around you. What elements feel out of balance and need the most attention? Spend time by a body of water or take a cool summer bath with any of the herbs and flowers mentioned. Light an orange, yellow or red candle to celebrate the power of the Sun and give thanks to its radiant light, and as you jump over the candle remember that this is a brief moment in your life and like the sun it too will wane and fade. Hold this sense memory in your heart as well as all the tales you will collect during this Midsummer season.

Advertisements

Don’t Shoot the Messenger: The Quicksilver Truth of Gemini

twins

In Renaissance magic, aeromancy, the act of divining the future by studying cloud formations, wind currents, and all things air, was classified as one of the seven “forbidden arts.” In the sky today, a New Moon is in Gemini and I find myself experimenting with this ancient practice by watching the gray clouds morph as they release what looks like tears from heaven. It’s funny how we try to control and plan our lives around the weather, something we can forecast yet not entirely predict — much like the elusive and multi-faceted nature of Gemini. I think about recent good fortune as bombs simultaneously detonate around the globe. I feel a mixture of shame, helplessness, yet am optimistic and hopeful that the tides will turn. How can these opposing energies coexist? During Gemini season we are shown the full range of possibilities that lie between all extremes.

Gemini’s glyph shows two pillars, light and dark, masculine and feminine, and various polarities that exist in nature and within us. Along with earthy Virgo, Gemini is ruled by Mercury, whose Roman mythology originates from earlier Greek myths of Hermes. The word mercurial is commonly used to refer to something or someone whom you can’t quite pin down; an energy that can be impulsive, changeable and erratic. Mercury, like all the Geminis that blow my mind, are always in some kind of motion be it physical or mental, wearing winged shoes, a messenger’s hat, and armed with a caduceus — a staff with two entwined snakes. Not only do they deliver the goods, but do it with style. As messenger to the gods, and ruler of communication, commerce, eloquence, timing and trickery, we derive the expression, “don’t shoot the messenger.” Known for his speed and swiftness, Mercury the planet was named for its quick 88 day orbit around the sun. Like Spiderman says, “With great power comes great responsibility.” No wonder Gemini often gets a bad reputation since one of its core roles is to carry and convey sometimes uncomfortable yet pertinent news.

gemini

Gemini also represents the twins, Castor and Pollux, born in springtime from the full belly of the Empress archetype of Taurus. Like many parent-child relationships, Gemini possesses the curious nature to question authority and challenge, with the innate ability to mirror our similarities and reveal stark differences all at once. With their quicksilver tongue they can sometimes appear to be contrarian or totally blunt, but they’re simply trying to get to the bottom of it. I’m eternally grateful for the Castor to my Pollux, a warm and witty Gemini who sat me down and helped me deal with my sexuality, without shame or judgment, instead using humor and frank honesty. The quintessential “wild child,” of the Zodiac, at least in my experience, freaky genius Gemini wants to taste each flavor of the rainbow before making up their mind as part of a quest for intellectual stimulation, discovery, and truth. In this Gemini season we have to examine our truths and get radically real about the myths we’ve perpetuated and any other white lies we’ve been telling ourselves or other people. Think of Truman Capote’s character Holly Golightly in the film version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Her lithe frame, ability to exist in two worlds and maintain her social butterfly charms are all examples of the Gemini vibration. Holly insists that she cannot be trapped down by love or social norms yet her supposed free-spirited lifestyle is simply another type of trap.

DIVINATION, LIKE AIR ITSELF, IS TRANSITORY AND CAN OFFER MESSAGES BUT IT’S UP TO YOU TO RECEIVE THEM OR LOOK THE OTHER WAY.

In the next few days, find a spot in nature where you can observe the clouds and peer into the big sky. Think about the space between you and the heavens, its vast expansiveness holds many lessons. Ruminate on duality. Divination, like air itself, is transitory and can offer messages but it’s up to you to receive them or look the other way. As you take in these clouds, how do they appear to you?  Remember being a child looking up at the sky with a friend, both gazing at the same cloud yet viewing entirely different things? Keep this in mind during our variable Gemini season and stay receptive to whatever messages the clouds may hold for you in their feathery tufts.

Photo Credit: “Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967” by Diane Arbus

In Goddess We Trust

pallasqueen

I’m still glowing with the energetic waves of protest from the Women’s March here in NYC and collectively all over the world. One goddess and asteroid in particular came to me this week in meditations on activism. Pallas Athene, born out of Jupiter’s head, is the virgin goddess of wisdom. She represents creative intelligence, strategy and justice carried out with thoughtful and careful approaches rather than violent action. With the New Moon in Aquarius on Friday January 27th at 7:07pm EST, revolutionary feelings are amongst us and as witches we must be inspired by the call to action not just globally but personally.

Uranus, all funny jokes aside, rules Aquarius; it is an explosive, unpredictable and groundbreaking energy that can be harnessed in constructive and destructive ways. How are your actions affecting your community? What can you do to best express your true self with integrity? Aquarius time asks all of life’s “big questions” out loud so all can hear. How can one live confidently as themselves when the act of being yourself seems dangerous? The personal, now more than ever, is truly political. Now is the time to act as Pallas Athene would, as wise warriors listening to others and weaving a web of united problem-solvers and active participants. We’ve got to have each other’s backs.

aquarius-glyph-2

Pallas Athene is the embodiment of the Queen of Swords in the Tarot, full of precision, bestowed with gifts of critical thinking and the gift of gab, which all Air signs possess. Her astute mind is symbolized by her sharp sword of clarity, able to envision the future and slice through delusional cobwebs clogging up our thought processes. Her animal guides include the serpent full of knowledge and magical prowess as well as the owl that knows what secrets are spoken within the trees.

The mythology of Pallas Athene always reminds me of my brave and beautiful partner. A fearless and proud member of the queer community, she always uses strategy and compassion in her arguments, never losing sight of the bigger picture of social inclusion for all, even when a crazy person shouts obscenities and follows her home. My heart broke this week thinking how terrifying this is and yet how many people of all colors, orientations or of different opinions are being targeted as the enemy. What a perfect Goddess to channel as we enter Aquarius, symbolized by the “water-bearer,” an image of flowing waves, dispensing truths and egalitarian concepts. Aquarians famously walk to the beat of their own drum and now is the time to listen closely to psychic beats for they will guide us through the last stages of winter’s darkness and keep us focused on our important missions. The New Moon in Aquarius beckons us to be ourselves, boldly, and to take a shot in the dark because it’s filled with stars, isn’t it? And aren’t we all made up of the same cosmic matter?

1399386764653

 

Originally published on Slutist

Maiden to Mother: Fertility as Creative Magic

 

yemaya

The darling buds of May are cautiously making their grand debut. As the sun brightens up my living room this morning, I feel a sense of restoration. Despite my gothic pallor, I’m an eternal girl of summer armed with SPF 50 and jet-black shades. As New Yorkers shed their clothes in an act of liberation, more and more women around me reveal their pregnant bellies. As a tarot reader and a woman about town, I’ve been getting asked about my own potential motherhood more frequently and the other day it finally hit me; goodbye maiden hood and hello motherhood. Welcome to your thirties.

Fertility magic, is traditional this time of year for witches; the Goddess and God have frolicked under the Maypole, delighting each other with sexual experimentation having found a perfect marriage of bliss, trust and passion within each other. The Goddess is fertilized during the month of May and her pregnancy is celebrated during Midsummer (June 21st.) A lot has been written about the mythology of The Triple Goddess, which can be interpreted as three phases of womanhood. First there is the Virgin Maiden, eyes wide open and enthusiastic representing the waxing moon. Next we enter the Full Moon and there is the Mother, sexually ripe, fertile and giver of life. Finally as the moon wanes, the elegant, deep and noble Crone emerges from the shadows, bestowing precious gems of knowledge if we are wise enough to put down our smartphones and listen. Never did I think I would get to this place but here I am in my early thirties grieving my carefree maidenhood more than I expected. Finding grey hairs, not on your head, would wake anyone up, but what’s actually challenging at this stage in the game is finding yourself smack in the middle of supposed motherhood, but to whom? Or more importantly, to what purpose? What do you want to create and be known for? Becoming a parent isn’t for everyone, yet fertility energy is unavoidable as we are all alive and vital beings. The question is how to use it. This is the time of year where we should all get in touch with our own fertility regardless of the gender spectrum.

“Diana in Repose,” by Paul Jacques Aime Baudry

Use the energy of spring to engage in acts of conscious fertility. In the poetic words of Susun Weed, the expert herbalist and author of “Down There, Sexual and Reproductive Health,” psychic healers view ovaries as a “basket of collected wisdom or creative potential, including but not limited to childbearing.” She also writes about how important it is to “unstick your rage” from your ovaries with conscious exercise. For men, the testicles hold the potent life force and they too need to keep it moving. Whether it is kickboxing or vogueing, the key to creativity is flow. I live by Sunset Park and if I’m up early enough to catch my older neighbors practicing the art of Tai Chi, I’m reminded of the daily, seamless practice to keep one’s flow of life moving regardless of obstacles and life’s interruptions. The biggest misconception with both creativity and fertility is that it comes in unexpected bursts and you have to wait for that wave to happen and then jump on and ride it out. You can cultivate the fertile process daily, so you can expect waves much more frequently. A ritual I do this time of year is for the orisha Yemaya, the Sea Queen and goddess of the ocean. She represents fertility, motherhood, and a warm salty sea embrace. She is a spirit that has been at my side before I had words to describe and identify her energy. Perhaps when I was a Catholic child it was the energy of the Virgin Mary with her similar maternal smile, draped in blue and white colors, but either way, swimming in shades of blue has always felt like the Divine essence of femininity to me. As a child visiting family in Portugal, my cousin told me to jump the waves 7 times for protection and luck.

“A Mermaid,” John William Waterhouse

To this day every year I bring to the ocean white flowers, a bit of melon and try to wear either a blue or white dress and walk into the ocean. I give Yemaya 7 flowers, (her sacred number) and a bit of melon or lettuce and jump the waves 7 times, thanking her for courage despite rocky waters and breathing in the foamy scent of her waves. Try to do this ritual early when the sun is rising so you have optimal privacy and find your rhythm in the waves, honoring your health and fertility. Creative juices are charged and it’s time to create, something or someone. Lilacs, Pansies and Roses are all a bloom and so are you.

Originally published on Slutist

5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Psychic Vampires

1) Have a Daily Spiritual Practice: Be it daily meditation, chants, or prayer, some form of daily spiritual practice will not only ground and focus your own energy, but it will open your levels of awareness, sharpening your own intuitive skills. With deeper awareness, it’s harder for vampires to enter your space and it’s easier to spot their unbalanced and often charming yet ultimately harmful nature.

2) Sea Salt Baths On the Full Moon: An old and soothing tradition that will help cleanse your ethereal body. Once the Moon is full, she begins to wane, an excellent time for cleansing and removing negative energies, known and unknown. Fill your bathtub with sea salt and lunar herbs such as lavender and wormwood. Imagine all negative energies, people or situations being absorbed by the water and then going down the drain. If you only have a shower, you can pour the salt and herbs into a bowl, wash as usual, and then pour the mixture over your body following the same ritual/visualization.

3) Glinda’s Crystal Ball of Protection: Remember in The Wizard of Oz, how Glinda sails away in her pink protective ball of light? Before you leave your house, imagine at the top of your head a small globe of white light illuminating at first your third eye, then your throat chakra, moving down towards the heart center, solar plexus, lighting up your reproductive zone and continuing down to your feet, so that you are completely engulfed in healthy protective white light. Imagine this light expanding into an invisible sphere that nothing negative can penetrate.

4) Symbols of Protection: Every culture has unique and powerful symbols to ward off negativity such as the pentagram, crosses, hexagram, ankh, Hand of Fatima, Runes, the list goes on! Find one that has a special meaning to you and either wear it or carry it daily.

5) Banishing Rituals: Letting go is often hard when you’ve been under the spell of a particularly seductive vampire. Create a circle with salt around you and set up an altar for your ritual. Take a white figure or plain candle to represent the person and carve their name into the candle. Dress the candle with oil for banishing (olive oil can also be used). As you light the candle, watch as the wax drips down and imagine the person disappearing from your sphere of influence. Write a letter saying everything you’ve been thinking, saying goodbye, never wishing them ill will, but clearly stating that they hold no emotional/spiritual/physical power over you, that your paths are clear and will never cross again. When the candle is almost finished, burn the letter and then discard of the ashes and wax somewhere far from your house or bury it in the ground. Burn sage, cedarwood or frankincense to cleanse the space and move on with confidence.

Originally Published on The Numinous