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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Review: Swan Song

By Robert McCammon

· Mass Market Paperback: 960 pages
· Publisher: Pocket (June 1, 1987)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 0671741039

I had never heard of Swan Song until it was recommended to me, by someone whose opinion I valued, due to its similarity to Stephen King’s The Stand. Indeed there are several similarities between these two novels, but there’s also enough differences to make them each unique.

Swan Song starts out with a nuclear holocaust, a fear even more relevant in our times than it was when Swan Song was written twenty years ago. Like his previous novels, McCammon introduces several characters in extraordinary circumstances. Among these characters are Sister Creep, a bag lady in New York City unable to release the pain of a personal tragedy; Colonel Macklin, a decorated war hero hired by a cadre of survivalist to teach them how to survive the coming apocalypse; Roland Croninger, Macklin’s protégé; Swan, a young girl from a broken home who holds the key to mankind’s survival; Josh Hutchins a seven foot tall wrestler known as Black Frankenstein entrusted to protect Swan; and finally the Man with the Scarlet eye, an incarnation of the Devil (comparable to King’s Randal Flagg).

The novel introduces each character in an episodic structure along with other “minor” characters and as their stories progress they come together as both allies and enemies. My absolute favorite character (other than Sister Creep) was Leona Skelton, the old tarot reader who takes a special interest in Swan. However her part in the story last but a few chapters before she meets her demise.

Amidst the devastation Warlords amass barbaric armies all over the fractured country and rise up against one another to seize power and lay claim to their own territory. Fear and violence run rampant. With no authority to enforce order, rape, murder, molestation, and cannibalism are only a few of the horrors that become the order of the day. In other areas of the country peaceful communities attempt to rebuild society and regain some semblance of order.

Mankind’s destruction seems inevitable, which please the Man with the Scarlet Eye; but when Swan’s ability to regenerate the Earth’s plant life, thereby allowing them to feed themselves, is discovered he makes it his mission to find and destroy her by any means necessary.

As the novel winds down the ultimate confrontation between Swan and The Man with the Scarlet Eye comes to a head. Just when it seems that the Devil’s victory is eminent only the intervention of God himself, who fell from heaven the same day nuclear war erupted in the skies, can pull us from the pits of despair and return hope to a lost nation.

At 956 pages Swan Song isn’t a light read, however the chapters are broken up in short intervals which makes for easier reading. Believe me, once you pick up this book you won’t want to put it down. Swan Song is rich is mysticism, magic, action, atmosphere, characterization and depth. I highly recommend this fascinating story to anyone who loves a good story.

Carolina Dean

Purchase the Book

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Review: The Skeleton Key (2005)

· Actors: Kate Hudson, Peter Sarsgaard, Joy Bryant, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt
· Directors: Iain Softley
· Writers: Ehren Kruger
· Language: English, French
· Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
· Region: Region 1
· Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
· Number of discs: 1
· Rating:
· Studio: Universal Studios
· DVD Release Date: November 15, 2005
· Run Time: 104 minutes

The Skeleton Key begins as Caroline Ellis, a hospice worker in New Orleans, is reading Treasure Island to one of her patients only to discover that he has died while she was reading to him. It seems that even before the man’s body is cold, Caroline is asked to discard his personal effects in a dumpster since the man’s family didn’t want anything to do with him. Disillusioned with her job and seeking a more satisfying vocation, Caroline resigns to take a position as a private caregiver to Ben Devereux, a stroke victim not expected to live very long, on a remote plantation deep in the bayou.

Caroline’s first meeting with Violet, Ben’s wife, does not go well. Violet seems to resists Caroline’s presence, but acknowledges the pressing need to have someone there to assists her in taking care of her husband, or so it seems. Violet’s estate-lawyer, Luke, talks her into accepting Caroline. On her first day, Caroline is given a skeleton key by Violet and told that it opens every door in the house. When Caroline gets a brief chance to explore the old plantation house, she discovers that not only are there no mirrors in the house but that Violet’s statement isn’t exactly true. It seems there is one door in the attic that the key will not open.

Caroline learns that Violet forbids mirrors in the house, but senses that her reasons are suspect. When Caroline asks Violet about the room in the attic, Violet expresses ignorance stating that she’s never been able to get into that room. Discerning that Violet is not telling her the whole truth Caroline investigates the door further and is able to find her way inside the room. Here, she finds a strange assortment of magical artifacts including murky jars, twisted dolls, a receipt book (an old term for a book of spells), and an assortment of magical instruments.

Caroline questions Violet about the history of the house and learns of its dark past. According to local history, the room belonged to Papa Justify and Mama Cecile, two servants who worked at the house during the 1920’s. In their day, they were feared and renowned as Hoodoo doctors, which Caroline learns is different from Voodoo and is a type of folk magic. Despite their reputations as Two-Headed Doctors, Justify and Cecile where lynched during a party one night after being caught practicing a bizarre ritual with the children of the house owners.
It is then that Violet confesses that the reason there are no mirrors in the house is because she has seen the ghosts of the dead servants in them and that perhaps Ben saw them too, owing to his present state. Caroline, being from New Jersey and not familiar with the power of Hoodoo, dismisses Violet’s fears and resolves to help Ben come out of his virtual catatonic state. Caroline tries to reach out to Ben, even letting him look into her compact, the only mirror that Violet allows her to possess. Ben has a somewhat violent reaction to the mirror, but not for the reasons we are lead to believe.

Coming to believe that Violet is working black magic on Ben, and that his symptoms are simply a manifestation of his own beliefs in Hoodoo, Caroline visits a Root Doctor in a neighboring town and learns a healing ritual which she believes will cure Ben, or at the very least improve his condition. Later, Ben gathers enough strength to write a very brief plea for help in mud on his sheets, which later disappears.
Fearing that Violet will kill Ben before he is able to recover, Caroline goes to Luke Marshall, the estate lawyer who took part in her interview. While there Caroline uncovers evidence that Luke is working with Violet. However, before she can get away, Luke knocks her unconscious and takes her back to the manor.
The action in the movie picks up pace as Caroline is held captive and struggles against Violet and Luke in order to save not only her self but also Ben. With no car or telephone to reach out for help, Caroline is forced to summon the power of Hoodoo to protect herself. Will her belief be strong enough to save her, or will her belief in the power of Hoodoo be the linchpin in her undoing?

The Skeleton Key is a movie rich in both imagery and atmosphere, capturing the magical feel of New Orleans. It is well thought out and acted. Kudos goes to John Hurt who had absolutely no lines in the movie but who gives one of the most powerful performances in his career. The director went to great lengths to give the flavor of magic presented in this film as much authenticity as possible while still telling the story that he wanted.
Most people are now aware of the twist ending, which I will not speak of here, but which will come as a major shock to viewers who’ve never seen the movie. The realization of the movie’s twist and the consequences thereof will haunt you days later and many will be compelled to return for second and even third viewings.

Carolina Dean

Purchase the Movie

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Review: The Probable Future

By Alice Hoffman
· Paperback: 352 pages
· Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 1, 2004)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 0345455916

The Probable Future is the story of the Sparrow women, each of whom discovers their own unique ability on their 13th birthday. Though many Sparrow women are mentioned, the story mainly concerns the three latest generations. Elinor, the current matriarch, can discern liars; Jenny, the mother, dreams other people’s dreams; and Stella, the daughter can see the manner in which people will die. Along the way we learn a little about their infamous ancestor, Rebecca Sparrow, who was blessed (or cursed) with the inability to feel pain which lead to her demise at the hands of a suspicious mob.

Their unique gifts and long history in the town of Unity make the Sparrow women both a source of pride as well as the subject of rumor and assumptions. Desperate to escape the burden of her heritage and an un-loving mother, Jenny runs away with Will Avery an attractive young man who could charm anyone, with the exception of Elinor Sparrow who knew him to be a liar and a cheat the second she laid eyes upon him.

Jenny sacrifices her education in order to ensure that Will receives his, only to have Will squander his opportunity at Harvard University, which pretty much sets up a cycle which the couple repeats in various forms through the years. Eventually, Jenny and Will have a daughter. It is a difficult birth, but both the child and the mother survive. Jenny swears that her daughter will never learn of her heritage, and strives to be the kind of mother that she herself never had. Jenny’s efforts serve only to drive her daughter further away. Their relationship is further strained by the fact that Jenny has left Will, and he has moved out, since Stella practically worships her father.

Stella’s 13th birthday coincides with the onset of menstruation, and she begins to have graphic visions indicating a person’s manner of death. She sees a large fish trapped in her math teacher’s throat, a pea sized sphere in the brain of a cab driver, etc… Not understanding what she is seeing, Stella confides in the only person she feels that she can trust, her father.

When Stella predicts the murder of a woman in the restaurant he takes her to celebrate her birthday Stella urges Will to warn her of impending death. When the woman fails to take the vision seriously, Stella forces her father to do more in order to prevent the death. Will goes to the police to make a report, but the police don’t take him seriously either. When the murder occurs, Will becomes the prime suspect and the media descend on him and his family to get the story.

Jenny is forced to send her daughter to live with her grandmother in her ancestral home. When Jenny loses her job due to the scandal, she returns to her home as well to make a new start. With three generations of Sparrow women under one roof and the threat of the real murderer lurking in the darkness the women are forced to deal with their issues, lost loves, and the powers that they cannot deny.

I really enjoyed The Probable Future, I felt that it could very well be the story of distant cousins of the Owens women in Hoffman’s Practical Magic as the two novels bear a few striking similarities. Both stories concern the most recent in a long line of magical women, a very unique house, and the struggle to find and accept love.

Although the word witch appears only once in the whole book, there are hints that the women are witches, or have some knowledge of witchcraft. Rebecca Sparrow wanders out of the woods with only a bell, a compass, and wearing a silver star around her neck. Elinor Sparrow is accused of cursing people by sticking an onion with black headed pins, or driving chicken feathers through a knotted length of thread.

While the murder of a woman the author didn’t expend the effort to name moves the story along, the central plot of this book is the dynamic of the mother/daughter relationship. The Probable Future teaches us that the secret to a successful relationship is like one of the recipes in Rebecca Sparrow’s ancient cookbook. All the ingredients are there, we just have to add them in the right proportion. It takes a little sour to balance the sweet, a little heat can bring out flavor, but too much can burn the stew and leave a bitter taste in your mouth, and a dish left out in the cold overnight will often spoil……

Carolina Dean

Purchase the Book 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sex Magick

What is Sex Magick?

Just like candle magick utilizes candles to cast spells, and cord magick uses cords, ribbon, or yarn, and herb magick entails the use of herbs, roots, and leaves; sex magick utilizes the medium of sex to effect change.

Sex shares many similarities with magickal practices. Both have been described as mysterious, they each involve ritual, and both have the power to sway people, influence their decision, and actions in a matter. For this reason, advertisers have long been aware of the power of sex to draw trade and business. However, witches have known for countless ages the true power of the human orgasm.

An essential part of casting spells is the buildup and release of energy. Traditionally, there are eight ways to raise energy. They are:

1. Meditation or concentration

2. Chants, spell, poetry, or invocations

3. Trance or projection of the astral body.

4. Incense, drugs, or alcohol.

5. Rhythm such as drumming or dancing.

6. Biofeedback, or blood control

7. Flagellation, light scourging.

8. The Great Rite (ecstatic sexual energy)

As you can see sexual congress (which involves the buildup and release of tension) lends itself well to the practice of magick.

Techniques of Sex Magick

Sex Magick can be performed with or without a sexual partner. It can be performed by women or men; it can be performed by heterosexual couples or homosexual couples. In addition, it may or may not involve the use of other forms of magick such as candles, Mojo bags, Cords, Runes, Crystals, Amulets, and Talismans.

To perform sex magick you must first decide on a goal. If you are performing sex magick with a partner, it is very important that you each have a clear idea of your goal and can agree on a mental image which you both will concentrate on while performing the ritual.

Once you have defined your goal, you must decide if you are going to utilize any other form of magick along with the medium of sex magick. Below I will give various examples of how sex magick can be performed to bring about change in accordance with your will.

EXAMPLE ONE: A heterosexual couple wishes to conceive a child. They have decided that in addition to following their doctor’s instructions they would like to use magick to help bring about their goal of conceiving a child. In addition, they believe that sex magick is quite an appropriate form of magick considering their goal.

Together, the couple creates a sigil (magic symbol) of their goal. To do this they write down a statement of their intent being brief and to the point. They look at their statement and eliminate all the letters which repeat more than once. The couple then takes the remaining letters and using their creativity combine the letters creating a symbol of their goal. The symbol is then drawn on a piece of paper.

The couple decides on an appropriate time. Rather than choose a time based on the Moon Phase and Magickal Day, they may decide to choose a time when the female is most fertile.

Beforehand, the couple bathe together in order to cleanse themselves and get in the proper mood for the work at hand. In addition, they may light several candles in their bedroom and play romantic music so that their child is conceived in love. The sigil is placed somewhere where it will be visible to both parties. For esthetic reasons, the sigil may be taped to a wall at eye level while the couple makes love "doggie-style" so that the sigil will be in both parties line of sight. The couple begin their love-making while visualizing their sigil and focus on their goal.

When both parties achieve an orgasm, they will turn their attention to the symbol and "push" the energy that they have released into the sigil in order to charge it. The sigil would then be anointed with both parties sexual fluids and kept in a safe place until their goal is met.

EXAMPLE TWO: A male homosexual couple wishes to attract a large sum of money in order to go on a Hawaiian vacation. They decide to use sex magick in conjunction with cord magick.

The couple decides to perform the ritual on a Thursday (prosperity) in the hour of Jupiter, during a Waxing Moon. At the pre-determined time the two lovers begin foreplay and when the penetrative partner is erect, he lies on his back. The receptive partner straddles his lover's waist and receives his lover. The receptive partner riding his lover, takes a length of cord and ties a knot in it while chanting a spell or making a statement of intent and visualizing his goal. He then gives the cord to his lover, who does the same.

The couple alternate tying knots in the cord until there are nine knots in the cord. When both parties achieve orgasm (and it would be preferable if they could time it so that the last knot is tied just as orgasm is achieved) the cord is anointed with their sexual fluids. The couple places the cord in a special box in a safe place. From time to time they add other items to the box, such as pictures of Hawaii, brochures for hotels, etc....

EXAMPLE THREE: A woman wishes to attract a boyfriend and has decided to use sex magick in conjunction with candle magick to do so.

To begin, she chooses a pink candle (love and romance) and certain dried herbs. She then determines the correct time to cast her spell. At the appointed hour, she takes a sensual bath, lights scented candles, and plays music to set the mood. After her bath, she removes the candle from her nearby workspace and lies on her bed. She arouses herself with her hands and fingers, and then using the candle like a dildo she masturbates while visualizing her goal as if it has already manifested.

When she achieves an orgasm, she takes the candle, which should be covered in her sexual fluids, to her workspace. She then rolls the candle (towards herself) in a mixture of the herbs she has chosen. Finally, she set the candle in a holder and lights it with a match. She repeats an incantation or her statement of intent in a positive manner three times and then leaves the candle to burn.

Note: In the case of a man, he would masturbate as usual and after achieving an orgasm would anoint the candle with his semen in the same manner that he would if he were using an oil. If need be, he may anoint the candle with a mixture of this semen and the lubricant he used to facilitate masturbation.

Carolina Dean

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Guess Who's Coming to Circle

In the past few weeks I've talked about how I've been depressed. Some of this was due to the only person I really know leaving Washington to return to South Carolina. I haven't talked to Kaleb in about three months and I have to assume that it's because

  1. Robert's family doesn't want him to have contact with me.
  2. Kaleb has forgotten about me.

In addition I'd been a bit lonely and initiated a relationship based on sex with an individual who was more interested in satisfying his own needs than making our activities enjoyable for us both.

For the past six months or so, I've been struggling financially and but have been able to just keep my head above water.

With the new year I received a raise and a promotion and I'm only a few months away from paying off my car, all of which promises to put me back in the black and I can soon go back to the lifestyle to which I am accustomed.

In addition, I decided a few weeks ago to be more proactive in my life and set about starting up a Pagan Study Group. To that end, I cast a spell to attract those of like mind and created a new witchvox account. Rather than place an advertisement for a forming group, I went through all the ads in and around my town and sent an introductory email to those I felt would be receptive to the idea.

While training for my new position at a different location I was fortune to meet two additional pagans and after getting to know them a little I told them about my idea to start a Wiccan Study Group, as opposed to a coven.

I envision a study group first with the possibility of growing into a coven. I believe that study group will help us all get to know each other, (re)examine our beliefs, and get us all on the same page. Though I'm being proactive in forming the group, I've made it clear that I'm not looking to be the leader, guru, expert; I want to surround myself with people who are going to be actively engaged in what we are doing, and contribute to our goals.

Fortunately, I was able to get everyone here on the same night. We got along well and we came up with some great ideas for study and application, including:

  1. Examination of Wiccan/Pagan beliefs and practices.
  2. Active Ritual
  3. Field Trips
  4. Healing Circles
  5. Pagan Themed Book Club
  6. Pagan Themed Movie Night and discussion.

Thought I have high hopes for our little group, I know how quickly things can fall apart, people lose interest, schedules conflict. I've made a promise to myself that I'm going to do whatever I can to make this a success, but I aknowledge that there really is much that is out of my hands. Ultimatly I cannot control five other people, force them to show up, talk, contribute, if it fails I won't be blaming least I'm doing something different.

Carolina Dean

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quick Reference: Herbal Formulas

Note: The herbal combinations below are not intended to be consumed. They work well for magickal powders, sachets, bath salts, potpourris, incenses, and oils. In addition, many of them make excellent foundations for Mojo Bags. The most common manner in which I have used these herbs is:

  1. Burning- Herbs are burned on charcoal, with incense or coated on anointed candles to release their energies.
  2. Carrying- Herbs can be carried in packets or added to Mojo bags as charms.
  3. Powdering- Powdered herbs can be sprinkled on carpets, under rugs, on shelves, or added to the bath or wash water.

In addition I’d like to note that the names I gave to these formulas are drawn from various aspects of popular culture including movies, television, and comic books. If anyone is curious about a particular name, or names, just ask and I'll explain the meaning.


Alchemy- Use this formula to attract money.

  • Allspice
  • Cinnamon
  • Thyme

Andy McGee- Use this formula for persuasion, to rule others and have your way.

  • Licorice Root
  • Calamus
  • Damiana

Anna Lee- Use this formula to attract love, romance, and passion.

  • Lavender
  • Yarrow
  • Rosemary

Daredevil- Use this formula to walk without fear.

  • Cinnamon
  • Allspice
  • Peony

Beatrix Kiddo - Use this formula to banish things of a physical nature, such as nosey neighbors, undesirable lovers, strong enemies, etc…

  • Salt
  • Red Pepper
  • Black Pepper

Buffy- Use this combination to banish negativity of an abstract or non-physical nature, such as anger, depression, spirits, etc…

  • Epsom Salt
  • Lemon Peels
  • Red Pepper

Domino- Use this formula for success in all that you do.

  • Sage
  • Deer’s Tongue
  • Five Finger Grass

Empath- Use this formula to strengthen a weak love.

  • Dragon’s Blood Powder
  • Rosebuds
  • Lavender Flowers

Fantastic- Use this formula to make the money you already have last.

  • Alfalfa Seeds
  • Fenugreek Seeds
  • Thyme

Flash- Use this herbal combination for fast luck, to oil the wheels of change, and bring movement on an issue.

  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla
  • Wintergreen

Giganta- Use this formula for strength in troubling times.

  • Allspice
  • Oak
  • Angelica

Haley Jo- Use this formula to contact spirits of the dead.

  • Dandelion
  • Yarrow
  • Rosemary

I Dream of Eden- Use this formula to bring about wishes and make them work.

  • Dandelion Root
  • Sandalwood
  • Elder

Jericho- Use this combination in spells to stop gossip, slander, and back-biting.

  • Tobacco Twist
  • Alum
  • Lemon Peels

Joey- Use this formula to attract and maintain friendships.

  • Cloves
  • Ginger
  • Angelica

Kitty Pryde- Use this formula for protection from violence. This combination is excellent for soldiers, and policemen.

  • Dried Olives
  • Five Fingered Grass
  • High John Root

Life Guard- Use this combination for protection from accidents.

  • Cinnamon Stick
  • Bay Leaves
  • Wormwood

Longshot- Use this formula to gain the upper hand in a situation, or control the course of luck in your favor.

  • Bay Leaves
  • Lemon Peels
  • Black Cohosh

Madame Webb- Use this combination of herbs to develop and increase your psychic abilities.

  • Sage
  • Deer’s Tongue
  • Mugwort

Magneto- Use this combination to attract your wishes and achieve your goals.

  • Five Finger Grass
  • Lucky Hand Root
  • Peony

Mount Joy- Use this formula to attract sexual partners.

  • Lavender
  • Ginger
  • Bay

Mystique- Use this combination to obtain and maintain beauty.

  • Avocado Peels
  • Catnip
  • Rosemary

Nancy Thompson- Use this formula to banish nightmares and have good dreams.

  • Linden
  • Lilac
  • Rosemary

Plenty O’toole- Use this herbal combination to attract men.

  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Patchouli

Poison Ivy- Use this formula to seduce another.

  • Lavender
  • Ginger
  • Ivy

Pussy Galore- Use this formula to attract women.

  • Holly
  • Juniper
  • Lovage

Rock Biter- Use this formula to remove obstacles.

  • Epsom Salt
  • High John the Conqueror
  • Bay Leaves

Roulette- Use this formula to win at games of chance.

  • Five Finger Grass
  • Pyrite
  • Devil’s Shoe Strings

Samuel L. Jackson- Use this formula to get and keep a job.

  • Grains of Paradise
  • Master of the Woods
  • Gravel Root

Sweet William- Use this formula to attract a gay male lover.

  • Hyacinth Flowers
  • Unicorn Root
  • Safflower

Tyler Durden- Use this combination for the return of stolen goods.

  • Vervain
  • Juniper Berries
  • Althea

Tinker Bell- Use this combination for the protection of children.

  • Wintergreen
  • Lavender
  • Mint

Unus- Use this formula for general protection.

  • Yarrow
  • Calendula
  • Yellow Dock Root

Wapner- Use this formula in legal matters to make a judge more inclined to rule in your favor.

  • Skunk Cabbage
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Bay Leaves

Wayne- Use this formula to obtain a raise, increase your finances, and to make sound investments.

  • Alfalfa
  • Five Finger Grass
  • Lucky Hand Root

Winchester - Use this formula for the return of missing people and animals.

  • Cypress
  • Yarrow
  • Rosemary

Wither- Use this herbal combination to break spells.

  • Black Walnut
  • Galangal
  • Mint

Wolverine- Use this formula to accelerate physical healing.

  • Mistletoe
  • Eucalyptus
  • Boneset

X- Use this formula to obtain and maintain mental balance and health.

  • Allspice
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary

Zatanna - Use this formula to reverse energies and send them back from whence they came.

  • Lemon
  • Sage
  • Peony Root

Carolina Dean

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


A Wiccaning is comparable to a 'christening' in the Christian Tradition. During a Wiccaning the child is formally named, and presented to the world. If possible, all members of the family, or at least the immediate family, should be in attendance with various branches of the family tree represented as well.

In addition, anyone who will love or care for the child should also be invited. Guests are allowed to bring small gifts which are symbolic of their wishes for the child, for example a rose, for beauty; stock certificates, for wealth; a book, for intelligence, etc

Before the age of modern medical care, the community would wait until they were sure they child was going to survive before performing any form of Wiccaning. For this reason, there is no specific timeframe for this ritual to be performed. However, below are a few guidelines:

  • At the first Full Moon Esbat after the child is born.
  • At the first Sabbat after the child is born.
  • A year and a day after conception.
  • Three Days to Three Months after birth.

Obviously the time that you choose to perform the ritual is entirely up to you. The only requirement is that both the parents and the child have recovered enough from the birthing experience and have adjusted enough to the changes that a new child brings into a household. The day of the ritual all participants, including the child should be well rested.

The Ritual

Place a small basin of water on top of a flat stone. Flank the basin with a pink candle on the left and a blue candle on the right, and before this burn incense. In addition, have a dish of salt on hand as well.

Light the candles and incense. Cast the Circle

Invoke Deity

Mother& Father of us all,

we ask that you now hear our call;

we invite you into this sacred space

to help us bring this child to grace.

Invoke the Ancestors

I now call forth from space & time,

honorable spirits of our bloodline;

to join with us who’ve gathered here

and help us bless this child so dear

HP addresses the crowd:

“We are gathered here today to welcome the next generation into our family. Today we will point this child down the path of his destiny, and give him not only our name, which is his legacy by birthright, but his own name and his own identity. He will be blessed by our Lord and Lady, shielded by the elements, and loved by us all.

As witches, we know that to name a thing is to have power over that thing. Therefore, in accordance with our tradition, the parents of this child have given him/her two names. The first will be the name by which the world will know him in this life. The second, known only by his Mother and Father, will be his true name.

What name have you given your son/daughter?

Parents: We have named him/her _______________.

Parents hold child facing North. HP moves to the North and Sprinkles some salt on the child saying:

I call the powers of earth and creation

to bless (N) & give him a foundation

built upon strength and health,

growth, stability, and of wealth.

Parents hold the child facing East. HP moves to the East and censes the child with the incense saying:

I call the powers of air and mind

to bless (N) that he may find;

patience, wit, intelligence,

discretion and eloquence.

Parents hold the child facing South. HP moves to the South and passes the fire candle over the child saying:

I call the powers of fire and soul,

to bless (N) & make him whole;

Grant him a spirit grounded yet free,

bless him with passion and bravery.

Parents hold the child facing West. HP moves to the West and sprinkles the child with water saying:

I call the powers of water and heart,

to now bless (N) and impart;

unto him compassion & love,

& all of the blessings thereof.

The HP and Parents Return to the Altar. HP says,

“Family and friends, I present to you (N). S/he is born of our flesh and of our spirit; and because of that we vow to be his strength when he is weak, to guide him/her when s/he is lost, to feed his/her mind when s/he is curious, to nurture his/her body when s/he is hungry, to lift him up when s/he is downtrodden, and to exercise patience as we journey together from child to adult and beyond, and finally to love and respect him/her always. So Mote it Be!

Everyone in attendance repeats: So Mote it Be!

HP: Welcome into the family (name of child).

The child is then passed around to be greeted, blessed and kissed.

Carolina Dean

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Magick of Dreams

Note: This is an article I wrote for my website, under the heading of dreams, in contrast to a scientific look at dreams.

The subject of dreams has a long history of speculation in many cultures. They have been both a topic of philosophical and scientific conjecture as well as a source for inspiration. Dreams have been thought to be the body’s response to outside stimuli such as stress; or alternately as reflections of our innermost thoughts and desires; and finally as messages from God or glimpses into the future. Mankind has always sought the hidden meaning in his dreams, and many ideas have been suggested as to how to unlock the secret language of dreams Many cultures have beliefs and practices concerning dreams, what they are, how they are interpreted, and what they mean.

Among the Hebrews, dreams are believed to be a connection to God; and dreams were incubated in order to receive guidance from God. In the Talmud, as well as the Holy Bible, God is described as visiting many historical figures in their dreams such as King Solomon, Jacob, Nebuchadnezzar to name a few.

They have a basic belief concerning dreams interpretation, that is, dreams are only subject to fulfillment according to the interpretation that is given to them. What this means is that should you have a bad dream, you can interpret it in a positive manner and in doing no ill effects of that dream will occur. The traditional ceremony for ‘making a bad dream good,” is called Hatovat Chalom. Through this rite disturbing dreams can be transformed to give a positive interpretation by a rabbi or a rabbinic court.

The Babylonians, a civilization which lasted from circa 1800 to 600 BC, believed that their world was made up of invisible powers, called spirits, which represented forces of both good and evil. Their beliefs and observations regarding dreams were therefore deeply colored by their world view. The desire for living a balanced, peaceful life, in harmony with God, nature and the spirits led the Babylonians to develop many techniques concerning the foretelling of the future, magick, and understanding the will of god.

The study and interpretation of dreams represented one path to that understanding. The Babylonians kept note of strange occurrences and odd dreams, and carefully examined events that occurred shortly after these episodes. For example, if a man dreamed of meeting a stranger on the road and shortly after a loved one died; then the next time someone dreamed of meeting a stranger on the road, then surely one of his loved ones would die as well.

Dream books which were written before the emergence of modern psychology, bear a remarkable resemblance to the notes and books regarding dreams written thousands of years ago by the ancient Babylonians. Most definitions are still written in the same style - that the dream will bring good or bad luck regarding money, romance or health.

It has been put forth that these dream books were derived from the ancient Babylonian dream books, which were themselves a collection of observations, conjecture, and beliefs concerning dreams. These dream dictionaries were studied by King Assurbanipal who had them copied and took them to Nineveh. Later, the scholar Artemidorus consulted these copies for his own education. In fact, the part of the Jewish Talmud that was written during the Babylonian captivity contains dream interpretation and ways of dealing with dreams are believed to have been inspired by Babylonian beliefs and practices.

The Egyptians divided dreams into three categories.

1. Those that happened as a result of ritual.
2. Dreams that contained warnings.
3 Dreams where the Gods were demanding some type of action.

They believed that the Gods revealed themselves in one’s dreams. People often slept in temples to receive guidance from their gods, and Priest would be available the following morning to assist the individual in interpreting their dreams.

More than any other group on Earth, the aborigines have the longest cultural history dating back an estimated 65,000 years. The Dreamtime, associated with the Aborigines, is that part of aboriginal culture which explains the origins and culture of the land and its people. It represents both their religion and their culture.

The Dreamtime consists of several parts. It tells of things which have occurred in the past, the origin and formation of the universe, the creation and function of humans in the cosmos. In addition, the Dreamtime represents the Aboriginal cosmology which is made up of God and Goddess who, like humans, are both kind and cruel.

The Aborigines believe that everything in the natural world is a symbolic footprint of the metaphysical beings whose actions created our world. As with a seed, the potency of an earthly location is wedded to the memory of its origin. The Aborigines called this potency the "Dreaming" of a place, and this Dreaming constitutes the sacredness of the earth. Only in extraordinary states of consciousness can one be aware of, or attuned to, the inner dreaming of the Earth.

The Chinese believed that the soul of the dreamer is the guiding force in the production of dreams. During sleep, the spiritual soul would leave the physical body and communicate with the dead. Dream incubation influenced politics and government policy, as high officials were required to report to dream temples in order to receive dreams that would guide them in their missions. In addition, high officials such as judges and lawmaker were also required to seem insight from their dreams.

The ancient Greeks believed that their gods physically entered their dreams to impart knowledge, and then leave the same way they entered. Through contact with other cultures, the Greeks came to believe that the soul left the body during sleep.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, theorized that during the day the body receives images, and during the night it produces them, thus we dream. Conversely, Aristotle did not believe that dreams were divinely inspired. He felt that during the sleep the body was devoid of external stimuli and therefore dreams were a representation of what was occurring within the body itself. Some physicians believed that one’s dreams held the key to diagnosing illness.

Much like the Egyptians, many Greeks would travel to temples or shrines dedicated to Gods associated with health, medicine and healing where they would perform sacred rites and then sleep in the temple hoping to have a dream which would hold the cure for their ailment, or which would predict a healthy recovery.

With the advent of modern psychology many “educated” people came to look upon dreams with a more rational, scientific view, rather than accept the cultural beliefs of their people. Sigmund Freud, considered the father of modern psychology, once believed that all dreams contained some form of sexual content. A theory he later withdrew. However, he continued to believe that every dream contained a seed of wish fulfillment. Building on Freud’s theories, Carl Jung espoused the idea that dreams are a natural phenomenon which we can study, thereby gaining knowledge of the hidden part of our mind. The images are symbolic of conscious and unconscious mental processes. Some modern scientists claim that dreams are nothing more than images resulting from random electrical activity in the brain as it “housecleans” itself during the night.

It seems that modern scientists are no longer closer to unlocking the secrets hidden in our dreams than the ancient priests, kings, and magicians were. The truth probably lies somewhere in that gray area between science and magick.

Carolina Dean

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wiggle Your Big Toe

"As I lay in the back of Buck's pickup truck, trying to will my limbs out of entropy, I could see the faces of the cunts who did this to me, and the dick responsible...."

The Bride, Kill Bill Volumn 1

So, remember that spell I cast a few weeks back to attract a lover. Well, it worked and it didn't. Basic Spell Casting Rule # 1: Be Specific; which works hand in hand with Basic Spell Casting Rule # 2: Be Careful What You Witch For.

As Samantha would say....magic got you into this mess and magic's gonna get you out of it!

You like how I went from wiggling my toes, to twitching my nose all in the same blog.....

Anyway, to get rid of this guy I "flipped" a red candle to reverse his desire. As it burned I fashioned a makeshift poppet from a rag he used to wipe himself up with after our activities. I know ewwwwww but sometimes as witches we have to work with things like this and luckily I had the foresight to make sure he was the only one to use that rag and to not discard it later.

When I was finished creating the poppet, I named it after him; anointed it with a few drops of rubbing alcohol (not for any magickal reason, but just to make sure it burned) and burned it in the flame of the reversed red candle, chanting:

"Your view of sex I find quite sick,

& do not like what makes you tick;

with this spell you shall not swell,

banished be this selfish prick!"

I left the ashes in my cauldron until the candle burned down completely and then promptly flushed the ashen remains down the toilet !

Carolina Dean

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

How to Create a Sigil (Poem)

Take a pencil
and upon a leaf,
write your wish
and be brief;
read over what
you've written down,
and if no mistakes
can be found;
let your eraser eat,
all the letters
which repeat;
take those letters
that remain,
and reassemble
them again;
into scrawling
curves and lines,
to create
a mystic sign.

Carolina Dean

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ritual to Bless Your Book of Shadows

Most witches are familiar with the act of writing a book blessing on the inside cover of their Book of Shadows, or alternatively on the first page. The blessing is written for the purpose of protecting and dedicating the information that you will write inside. The actual writing of your blessing will be performed as part of the ritual to bless your Book of Shadows.

Before you perform this ritual, you may want to take some time to think abut how you will want to word your book blessing. Write it a few times on a separate sheet of paper to make certain that you have it just how you want it, then when you are ready, you can transcribe your blessing into your book.

The ritual is performed when the moon is new on a Wednesday. Wednesday is associated with Mercury, the planet of communication and the written word. In addition, the mythological Mercury is associated with magick, among other things.

To begin, mark the four points of a magick circle with the four elements at their corresponding cardinal points. You will place dish of salt at the North, for earth; an incense cone at the East, for air; a red candle at the South, for fire; and a dish of water at the West, for the element of water. In addition, when I performed this ritual, I had my Book of Shadows resting on my book stand in the middle of the circle.

Light the candle and incense. Then, cast the circle saying,

I conjure thee, Circle of art,

The veil between the worlds to part;

Round and round the circle is bound,

That within protection shall be found.

Contain the power raised within,

Until I set it free again;

In the name of the Lord and Lady,

As I will so mote it be.

And invite the presence of the Lord and Lady, saying:

I call upon (deity) to descend,

Upon this circle & to lend;

Your energies to this rite,

And grant success unto my plight.

Take your BOS and facing North, dip one of its corners in the salt and say:

From the North, the element of Earth now cleans,

this book for positive means;

In the name of the Lord and Lady,

as I will so mote it be.

Turn to the East, pass another corner of the book directly in the incense smoke, and say:

From the East, the element of Air now cleans,

this book for positive means;

In the name of the Lord and Lady,

as I will so mote it be.

Turn to the South, pass another corner quickly and carefully through the candle flame and say:

From the South, the element of Fire now cleans,

this book for positive means;

In the name of the Lord and Lady,

as I will so mote it be.

Turn to the West, quickly dip the last corner of the book into the water and say:

From the West, the element of Water now cleans,

this book for positive means;

In the name of the Lord and Lady,

as I will so mote it be.

Return the book to the center of the circle and place it on the bookstand. If you don’t have a book stand, then place it either on a small table before you, or even on the floor. On the inside cover of the book, or alternately its first page, write your Book Blessing.

When you are done, place your hands palms down on the Book of Shadows and recite your book blessing as you feel the energy of the power of your words flow into the book.

Finally, thank the Lord and Lady for their presence. Then open the circle saying,

Circle of art open wide

The realms of man & spirit divide;

Round and round now be unbound

Energy sink into the ground.

Let us now return again,

To time & place that are the same;

In the name of the Lord and Lady,

As I will so mote it be.

Carolina Dean