Friday, January 8, 2016

Offerings to the Sea and Water

Excerpt from the Water Magic Course... 

Naturally witches that work with water will want to give back to the ocean or body of water that they work with which
gives them so much year around. I often come home from the beach feeling so full, happy and with so many treasures, that I want to give back. However, we need to be very careful what we decide to give the ocean or other bodies of water. Often time’s good intentions can have negative effects. For example a beautiful trinket that you want to give to the ocean may be made of plastic and harmful to the waters creatures. We want to avoid giving the water anything that does not belong there. I have divided offerings into three categories.

The first category is Positive Impact Offerings. This type of offering can be given anytime you like. They include things such as beach cleanup, rescue relief, ocean conservation, and ocean and animal advocacy. Charging waters, making gem elixirs and healing teas for the ocean. There is also nothing wrong with collecting shells from the beach, charging them for a moon cycle and bringing them back to the water!

The second category is what I call No Impact Offerings. They do have an energetic impact, but there is nothing taken away and no strange, out of the ordinary offerings used. These include things such as driftwood that you collected previously and perhaps carved and have now returned to its original location. Tumbled stones such as agate or quartz that you either found and tumbled or were given/purchased etc. These types of stones are often found on the beach so bringing something similar to the location that is charged with magic will be a no impact type offering. Be sure not to use heat treated, dyed and over mine stones. Do not use paints, stains or other chemical based things. However if you wanted to make an offering out of drift wood and you do want color, consider using a natural dye that you extract yourself. For example, my henna paste is 100% organic and natural. There is not one thing in there bad for a human, animal or the environment. So if I wanted to carve a piece of wood and add some red, I could use henna; same with red ocher and traditionally prepared woad.

The last category is what I call Low Impact Offerings. These are offerings that do not in any way harm the ocean or the environment, but that do add a foreign object to the water. These include things such as flowers, stones such as amethyst and garnet that you would not usually find, hair or other taglocks and papers that are not bleached, have no chemicals etc. It is really important to use flowers that are grown yourself pesticide free, or if you know a florist that buys natural, no chemicals, no pesticide, no dye flowers then you can use them. You want natural not heat treated stones, and even papers can have bleach, or other chemicals. It is your responsibility to check what you are adding back to the water, ignorance is not an excuse! You must educate yourself on your offerings and never ever use something toxic! I use this last category for the most important things, such as my work with Aphrodite, major rites, and important rituals marking transitions in my life. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Scrying with Black Water



Scrying is gazing at an object, a black mirror, a crystal ball or a bowl of water with the intent of telling the future. Usually the practitioner will sit in a comfortable position gazing at a shiny surface until images appear in your mind’s eye or on the surface of the material you are gazing at. There are many types of divination practices out there, and scrying is probably one of the hardest. It is hard because it requires one to really let go of the mind chatter and allow the spirit world to speak to you. Many witches have a favorite scrying tool, and they can vary from a black mirror, to the surface of a lake, favorite scrying bowl, or even an obsidian ball. Truth be told any reflective surface will work! However for the sake of this blog post I will be talking about scrying with water, specifically Blk Water.
Blk water is water that is black, it is a brand name, and it is sold by the bottle most liquor stores and amazon.com sell bottles. You can also visit their website here http://getblk.com/. Blk Water is spring water that has been infused with Fulvic Acid, this creates a very alkaline black colored water. It is very fun to experience this black water for the first time! When you first purchase it you will notice that when the water is in the bottle the water is very black in color, but under certain lights it can look very brown. For a water witch who wants to learn how to scry this is the best water to start with! 

Scrying on black surfaces is very common in the witchcraft communities. Witches and fortune tellers have used everything from blackened mirrors, to obsidian balls to access messages from the otherworld. Perhaps you have tried to scry before with a bowl of water and it has left you wanting more, perhaps you already scry with a black mirror and just want to bring water in to your practice. Either way picking up a bottle of Blk water and using it with your sacred vessel is a great start. Blk water is mysterious and the darkness of it connects us to the nocturnal, the darker aspects of ourselves and shadow work. 

To start, find a comfortable position and prep your work space, you may choose to cleanse your space with incense, burning sage or saining with your favorite herb. Be sure you use a sacred vessel and not just any old bowl from the cupboard. Scrying with Blk water can be done in a fully lit room, but diming the lights and lighting a candle, placing it close to the bowl and letting the light dance on the surface is a wonderful way to start scrying. Start by clearing your mind and relaxing, don’t try to rush this, and don’t get too disappointed if you don’t get any images at first. It took me a good 2 years of practicing before I got good at scrying and to be honest it is still not my strongest fortune telling medium. When you are relaxed, call upon any spirits or ancestors you may work with when doing oracular work. Ask them for clear messages and the wisdom to understand the meaning of the images you see. Then allow yourself to slip into trance and let your mind wander, as you see images jot them down in your notebook, and keep a log so you can begin to sort through ego and true messages from the other side. When you are finished thank your spirits and ancestors for their messages and connect firmly with the earth and bring your mind back to the present moment.
If you have tried scrying and it has just been too frustrating for you perhaps try scrying with inks!  Inks can be a really fun way to begin to flex your scrying muscles and learn how to become great at scrying. I actually started playing with inks in water because I wanted to become better at scrying and I’m an artist,  I just happen to have some lying around and thought “Hey! If I can’t scry with the surface of the water I will try playing with the shape the ink makes.” The good news was, it worked! Years later I am much better at scrying than I was and I love playing with the different colored inks. My personal favorites are a light blue ink in clear water and Blk water with silver ink. You may need to give the water a spin if the ink is not moving, I use a chopstick for this and I just give the water a push and then sit back and watch the ink take shape.


video





Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Persephone Dark Moon Bath

"To she who glides the silver crescent moon boat through the dark still waters of our becoming"
~Demetrius George"

 

I recently attended the Waking Persephone Dance Festival in Seattle. It was a wonderful weekend full of dance, spirituality and change. You can read all about my experience here. I am thrilled to have Persephone’s presence back in my life. I have worked with her before, but she had been silent for several years. She first began to whisper to me again when my friend first told me about the Waking Persephone festival during lunch about a year ago. I had looked at the website, but realized that there was little chance that I would make it all the way to the Pacific North West. I thought,  “perhaps I will apply to teach next year too and then I will end up there.” I dismissed this first call back into her embrace. Weeks later I began reading Village Witch by Cassandra Latham. I absolutely love Cassandra Latham! I love how she is grumpy, real and strong. I love how she has been through so much, yet has so much to offer! I loved every page of her book; it really helped me see that all the trials, abuses and traumas of my life were for a reason. In her book she speaks of Persephone’s Children, which she referenced came from the book “Mysteries of the Dark Moon” This was the second call and I ignored it again. Well the Spirits do have mysterious ways about them and when they want you to go in a direction they open doors! Time went on and in a strange turn of events we suddenly moved from Arizona to Portland Oregon, just 3 hours away from the Waking Persephone festival. I waited and procrastinated until I couldn’t anymore! I broke down, I registered for 4 witchy based dance classes. Then in an even stranger turn of events I was revisiting the Village Witch book and I decided to finally break down and get Mysteries of the Dark Moon. No coincidence it arrived right around the time of Waking Persephone! 

I opened the book and, like I always do, I flipped around devouring the information I craved before starting at the beginning and reading the whole book. I got to the section on Persephone and I began to read, it spoke of her sexual trauma which I know all too well and as I read through the book. I began to see patterns and key words appear on the page. I then slipped into trance through bibliomancy. I saw myself naked, being cleansed with water, rose and the blood red juice of the pomegranate. The scene changed as if I was now getting instructions. I saw myself in my sacred bath, filled with black salts, roses and juicy pomegranate seeds and red blood like juice covering my body. I understood that this was the healing I had been asking for. She was back in my life and that this was the dedication to her and to heal through her ways. I did not hesitate, I grabbed the pomegranate in my fridge and went to the bathroom, I cleansed myself in warm waters and rose and then without care for my hair or where the seeds popped and sprayed I covered myself in blood red juice covering the walls of the shower with red and the floor with pulp…


This is just the beginning. During the Dark Moons she has asked that I worship her in this way; with her sacred fruit and a journey to the underworld. So just in time for Samhain and of course on each dark moon I look forward to spending time in her death like embrace… 

Here is my recipe, feel free to tweak it how you feel fit. Working with Persephone can be incredibly rewarding and powerful for those that have suffered through traumatic events in their lives. Will you join me in by honoring this powerful Goddess with a healing bath in honor of the dark goddess Persephone?

You will need...
·         ½ cup pomegranate juice
·         1 apple sliced so the pentagram shows
·         1 pomegranate cut into quarters
·         1 cup Epsom or black lava salt
·         Red Rose petals

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Evil Eye

Over the last 6 months, I have recently found myself telling my students over and over, "It sounds like you need an evil eye talisman." I have said this so much that I have started to see my Roses (aka students of various mediums) regurgitating the same information back to others, implementing it into their own work, and actively shielding against it! “Well”, I said to myself, “If you keep saying this so much, perhaps it is you that needs the talisman.” So I set to work making some!
 If you have ever visited my home and paid close attention, you will see various sizes shapes and placements of different evil eye talisman, including a dinner plate sized one that faces the front door. With the recent move to Portland, we have put much of our stuff in storage while we find our forever home. With the exception of the dinner plate evil eye and one other small glass eye, they are all packed away. Recently I have begun to wear a wonderful glass eye ring that was bought in the Istanbul Grand Bazaar years ago by a wonderful and very talented dance student of mine from Japan and so I thought it was time to write about protecting yourself from the evil eye with different types of talismans, including designs made with henna on the skin, and reversing the effects via two older spells from England.  In the end, we will discuss how to use water to help cleanse your body of these negative energies, but first a little history and cultural information!


The curse of the evil eye is a cross cultural belief that has a deep and culturally diverse background that ranges from protection and incorporation in henna designs to reversing the effects of the curse. Now, let’s explore protecting yourself from the evil eye with a talisman, reversing the effects via a spell recorded by Charles Godfrey Leland and lastly how to make water to help cleanse your body of these energies, but first a little history and cultural information! The evil eye curse, or a malevolent stare, which does produce curse energy can easily be reversed and protected against using a talisman or other methods. It is believed in, used, and actively protected against in countries such as Brazil, Spain, Portugal, India, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Africa, The UK, Turkey, and most of the Arabic speaking countries. It is present in Folk beliefs of the Berbers, Witchcraft, Islam and Judaism, and is even mentioned in Greek, Roman and Biblical texts. The Evil Eye, simply put, is a jealous or evil gaze from someone who is envious. This belief is so wide that it is hard to ignore! In fact, there is quite a bit of weight to the belief. The Evil Eye is a curse; it is often unconsciously projected from a jealous person to the victim who is typically the one they are jealous of. It is the same exact thing as the “stink eye”.  We’ve all done it and we all have even had it done to us! It is when this “stink eye” is projected onto the recipient over and over that a curse takes hold. It is important to note that most often, when people feel they are truly cursed (rather than just unbalanced paranoia) it comes from the evil eye. There are those rare times when an actual Witch sends a malevolent curse to another practitioner or person; however those seem to be the exception and not the rule.  These take much more to undo than the evil eye curse.  However, the evil eye or a malevolent stare, which does produce curse energy, can easily be reversed and protected against.

There is a long folk history of using spit to help reverse the effects of an ill placed glare or compliment on a child, however the most common evil eye talisman are usually a blue glass eye, seen below, is often used to protect against this evil glare. The classic evil eye motif that most of us are familiar with uses 4 layers of blue and white to create the bull’s eye design. Other designs include the hamsa or Hand of Fatima containing an eye or eye motif and five fingers, sea horses and the very popular Peacock eye or the eye of a peacock’s feather. The hamsa is both a protection amulet and a symbol of God. It can be traced back all the way to Mesopotamia, but is used by Arabic and Berber cultures to protect against the evil eye. Specifically it is a right or a symmetrical five fingered hand that is created with the eye motif in the center to help protect from, reverse, or ward off the malevolent glare of others. In addition, raising the right hand with the fingers slightly apart can help to break or stop the curse. Today it is sold on jewelry, wall hangings and in henna art as both protection and luck bringing.

I have been working with evil eyes since I first started learning belly dance in the very early 2000s. One of the most important things about learning something new is to show its culture proper respect. To do this, I immersed myself in the Middle Eastern Dance culture. After art school my interest in henna began to grow and I began to study different aspects of henna culture and again a very important thing about being a henna artist is knowing the right design to place on the right client. What is culturally acceptable in India may not be in the Middle East and the designs will be much different than those in Morocco and the Sudan. In Morocco and Turkey, the use of a realistic eye is often incorporated into henna, jewelry and other artistic designs, but in other countries these types of symbols are forbidden. In Morocco women use henna and/or tattoo around their ears, nose, eyes, and mouth to protect from the evil eye or a malevolent spirit. In addition, Moroccan Henna art specifically uses the eye, or eye like designs featured below, in their henna designs to ward off the evil eye. However the evil eye is not exclusive to the Eastern cultures, Europe and the UK have a long history of magic and folklore surrounding the evil eye curse.

 


In Europe, we see that water plays a large factor in helping to both protect and reverse the effects of the evil eye. In England, a sea horse is often used as a protection against the evil eye.

“Seahorses; those strange and beautiful creatures, Otherworldly in their movements, would, in their appearance, be at home amongst the wonderful and bizarre entries in a medieval magical bestiary. They seem to have been employed in many parts of the world as charms and amulets against the evil- eye. Dried specimens might be carried, or hung within the home, sometimes with the incorporation of tiny glass beads. Which have their own tradition of use in the averting of evil. The image of the seahorse, made from glass might also be employed in this manner, as would images of fishes, also in glass or mother of pearl.” (Gary .84)

In Scotland “silvered water” was often used by a Faery doctor to cure the curse of the evil eye. “Silvered water was water into which silver coins had dropped; and it was prepared in a special way.” (McArthur. 119) The water was taken from a liminal place and the silver dropped in the water. After which the one afflicted with the curse would drink 3 sips of the water and then the faery doctor would sprinkle the rest around the person while reciting incantations, perhaps like the one below, thus the person was healed of the evil eyes curse. If you choose to perform a similar spell you may choose to add a bit of your own spit as both a means of curing the curse and as a taglock. Another such way to cure the curse of the evil eye is outlined by Charles Godfrey Leland below.


An eye covered thee,
A mouth spoke thee,
A heart envied thee,
A mind desired thee
(McNeill. 165)

                                                                       
To reverse the effects of the evil eye curse Leland recorded a spell in his work Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling. In this work he suggests that one go to a sacred water source, river or stream. They collect the water with the current rather than against it. Then they combine in a pot or cauldron over a flame, 7 cloves of garlic, 7 coals and 7 hands full of meal. The 7 seas can be represented here with the repetition of the number 7. The pot is then heated and stirred with a three forked twig while the incantation below is recited. This connects us directly to the trident and Neptune, though there is no mention of any trident connected to this spell. The three pronged twig, much like the stang, is a representation of witchcraft and specifically sea witchcraft. So what next? Sarah Lawless suggest simmering the mixture down and adding it to a cloth which is sew in into a talisman here. However, you can simmer the mixture down and bottle what is left in a jar with sacred or holy water, be sure to seal it tight and place it close to where you spend most of your time. You may choose to use a blue jar or even paint one with an evil eye. Or you can add a small portion of the liquid mixture into a seahorse bottle like below. If this is too complicated, and you prefer to simply work with water, you can make an evil Eye reversing water by adding special items to prepare and charge your water with the effects of evil eye reversal.


"Evil eyes look on thee,
May they here extinguished be
And then seven ravens
Pluck out the evil eyes
Evil eyes (now) look on thee.
May they soon extinguished be!
Much dust in the eyes,
Thence may they become blind,
Evil eyes now look on thee;
May they soon extinguished be!
May they burn, may they burn
In the fire of God!"


I have modified the above incantation for use by the Sea or Water Witch it goes as follows…


Evil eyes look on thee/me*
May they here dissolved be
And then seven ravens
Pluck out the evil eyes
Evil eyes (now) look on thee.
May they soon dissolved be!
Much salt and sand in the eyes,
Thence may they become blind,
Evil eyes now look on thee;
May they soon extinguished be!
May they drown, may they drown
In the depth of Neptune’s grave…


*Use “thee” when working for a friend or loved one and “me” when working for yourself.

 Working with water is also a good way to cleanse yourself from the evil eye. You can gather water from your sacred source and place it in a bottle (like the seahorse one below) and employ it to protect you against the evil eye. You can create an evil eye cleansing water with sacred water made of silver and set out under the full moon. Then add a clean glass evil eye to the water and let it soak in the energies, or even place a photo of the evil eye like the blue bulls eye in the picture above underneath the glass bowl. Be sure to spell or charge your water with the intent of cleansing and protecting from the evil eye, and employ your symbols through sympathetic magic to do the same. If you would like to make your own talisman you can follow the tutorial here and work in a similar fashion as I have outlined here.

You can buy glass evil eye beads online and they do very well if they are charged properly, but there is no reason to break the bank or even wait for a paycheck and shipping because you can start your own collection now by making your own. I happen to also believe that the more you put into something the stronger it is, so if you buy one be sure to charge it well. I am a big fan of natural fibers, but I also am a dancer, so I love just a tiny bit of metallic fibers as well! I chose to use the fibers to “trap” the energy. I selected the traditional blue and white bulls eye pattern, and 3 sticks rather than 2 sticks when creating the “gods eye” I chose three because of the 3 colors used, and to align myself with the magical number 9 which is a theme that runs in Avalonian lore and the 9 maidens, 9 waves, 9 priestess etc. After I finished making these, I took them to the Pacific Ocean and performed a ritual to cleanse, consecrate and bring life it to these protective talismans. It is important to note that really anything that resembles an eye can be employed in the same fashion; snail shells, cowrie shells and other eye like stones will have similar results.  To dispose of them you can burn flammable talisman, bury glass or other talisman that cannot be disposed of in fire or cast them into the ocean. Please note to only send shells, stones and other natural talisman back into the ocean. Do not pollute our land or ocean! 

Belief in the evil eye, while not a worldwide belief does spans multiple cultures and countries. Each country has its own belief system that is similar but different surrounding this curse. From the traditional bull’s eye and mystical Hamsa to spit, water and a few coals, many Witches and folk healers have been working with this curse, successfully breaking it and restoring ones energy back to normal. Much of the lore about the evil eye is about actively protecting yourself before it takes hold. Don’t wait till you think you have received this malevolent glare, grab your tools and start crafting! Choose your method based on what resonates with you and don’t forget to charge your talisman with intent!



Click here to visit the etsy shop and buy one of your own blessed in the waters of the Pacific Ocean!















Sources:
  • Whist Waters- Gemma Gary
  • Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling
  •