Ritual Calendar – April (Belated)

I’m going to try to get caught up on the missing Ritual Calendar posts for April through August over the next few weeks, as time permits. April is a difficult one to outline in specifics, as it focuses entirely on my own work and path.  I’m just going to sketch out the generalities of what I do with some suggestions if you want to adapt this to your own practice.

April Ritual -Honoring the Work

Timing
  • Any time during the month is fine.  I usually try for the end of the month, as this is a ritual to be balanced with my work in late October.

Themes

  • Recognition
  • Rededication
  • Reflection
Purpose
  • Reflect on work done over last twelve months
  • Rededicate self to one’s work
  • Recognize any and all helpers in that work
Preparations
  • Gather supplies as needed. At minimum, offerings for the helpers, candles, etc.
  • Because this is my next-to-the-most-important ritual of the year, I tend to put a bit more advanced preparation into demarcating the ritual space, doing purification rituals, and choosing appropriate clothing and offerings.
Ritual- Minimalist Version
  • Reaffirm my commitment to do death/threshold work.  Provide offerings for deities and other helpers in that work.  (As this is one of the ‘big’ rituals for me, minimalist version will only be used in extreme circumstances).
Ritual- Full Version
  • Create  ritual space, using at both an inner and outer circle.  After closing the outer circle, set out a candle and offering for each deity and helper who has assisted with my work (or wishes to in future). Close the inner circle, placing myself within it. Light a candle to represent my work, allowing it to burn during the full ritual.
  • Invite attendees (i.e., deities and other helpers past and present) one at a time, turning to face their candle/offering vessel.
  • Declare myself and my purpose. Typically it goes something like this “I, Aisling Faa, born (name), called (nicknames/common monikers), devotee to Isis, child of (parents names), of the families of (insert family names), stand today to honor and affirm the work that has been chosen for me.”
  • Acknowledge any assistance relieved in the past year.
  • State what I believe to be my ‘work’ and await for confirmation from my patron deity.
  • Once confirmed, ask that any helpers not wishing to provide future assistance in doing this work make their feelings known.  Allow them time to withdraw.
  • In the event that there is a helper whom I’ve chosen not to work with again, thank them for their past help and ask them to take their leave.
  • Affirm my desire to continue the work with an oath and libations.
  • Thank  those still present for their continued assistance.
  • Break the inner circle and light the candle of each of the helpers.
  • Recenter self in the middle of the circle and open myself to any messages that the helpers would like to impart.  Remain in circle until the helpers’ candles have all extinguished themselves.  Break circle, carrying my own candle with me and allow it to burn until self-extinguished.

Modifications and Notes

I’m going to start by saying that, unless you’re at least somewhat seasoned with rituals involving multiple deities/entities, do not try this one at home.  Start small if this is something beyond the scope of your experience.  If you have a patron, get a feel for working with them alone over a number of rituals before inviting others into the space.  Allow them to guide you on who it is and is not appropriate to invite into circle and when you should begin doing so.  Work up to more complex rituals.

In the event that you do decide to take this one on, know that there is a lot of flexibility in how you handle this.  However, I do recommend that you make a practice of confirming with your patron deity the nature of the work that’s expected of you prior to affirming your willingness to do it.  Know that you can say “Gee, I think I’ll pass on that” but be prepared to offer up some idea of what you’d be willing to do instead.  If there is specific work that you want to do, you can petition to be allowed to do that.  You may or may not be allowed to pursue your interest (or it may be tacked on to whatever the gods already have in mind for you).

Depending on who you work with, you may not need to set up a double circle… or you may want to keep both circles closed through the entire ritual (in which case, you’ll need to light the helper’s candles prior to closing the inner circle).  In my work, I prefer to keep the inner circle intact until I’m as certain as I can be of the intent of those present.  While I’ve not had a problem with anyone refusing to leave, I’d suggest familiarity with at least one banishing ritual in the event that someone’s idea of ‘help’ might not be in line with yours.

Ritual Calendar – September

Summer has gone by in a blur and whirl of activity, mostly of the mundane work variety.  It’s a good time to begin getting back on track with the ritual calendar (or at least post the current month!).  I’ve quite happily located my brainstorming notes on these, so I have some clue now where I was going with them.

 

September Ritual – A Reaping

Timing
  • Any time during the month. For me, this is a good one to coincide with the equinox, when I usually make a harvest  celebration meal.

Themes

  • Fruition
  • Harvest
  • Gratitude
Purpose
  • Recognize the work that has been done
  • Continue positive change
  • Express thanks for any assistance that might have been given
  • Honor the elements
Preparations
  • Gather supplies as needed.
  • Before beginning, look back at March’s ritual and recall what it was that you wanted to manifest at that time.
Ritual- Minimalist Version
  • Collect whatever fruits, leaves, flowers, seeds, etc.  that you can from the plant that you put into the ground in March.  Prepare them for storage over the coming months (press the flowers, dry the herbs, etc) as you contemplate the changes that you set out to make in March.  Reaffirm your commitment to make those changes.
Ritual- Full Version
  • Delineate ritual space as preferred around the plant that you sowed in spring.
  • Enter the ritual space and call upon any deities or other helpers that have assisted you in manifesting this change.  Express your gratitude as desired  through offerings, prayers, etc.
  • As you collect the parts of the plant that you wish to use, honor each of the elements:
    • Hold the plant  in your hand and say “With air, I have breathed life into you.”  Blow gently on the plant.
    • Touch the earth at the base of the plant, saying “With earth, I have rooted you.”
    • Hold the plant up toward the sun and say “With fire, I have guided you upward.”
    • Pour water over the plant while saying “With water, I have  nourished you.”
    • When all has been done, state over the harvested pieces “With spirit, I have changed you.”
  • Spend some time contemplating the ways in which your desired change has manifested itself.  If there is still work to be done, take a moment to petition for further assistance.
  • Offer thanks as appropriate.  As per your particular practice, break the ritual space and exit the area.
  • Dry, freeze, press, or otherwise store the harvested plant for future use.  If possible, find a way to utilize the harvested pieces during each of the next six months.

Modifications and Notes

  • As common sense is not always common practice, I think I should probably say that you’ve chosen to plant a potentially poisonous plant in spring (e.g., foxglove), harvesting and storing the plant is not recommended. This ritual can be done without removing the plant or its parts.
  • Using edible herbs or plants allows you to incorporate the harvest into dishes throughout the coming autumn and winter. Rosemary is my go-to plant for this ritual, as it is a). a symbol of remembrance (important to my personal path), b). easily dried and stored, and c). one of my favorite culinary herbs.
  • In the even that you did not do the March ritual or that your plant never came up or died (it happens, don’t read too much into it!),  you can substitute another plant you’ve sowed or, in a pinch, use a purchased plant.

Housecleaning

I’m in the process of a major housecleaning, both in terms of my physical space and my digital ramblings.  In trying to clear some of the digital clutter, I realized that I still have a lot of password protected pages on this blog that either need to be shared or cleared out.

Here’s one for sharing that’s appropriate to the subject of cleaning. I think I might have been feeling a little snarky the day I wrote it. 


 

Sage-Free Smudge

Both white sage and common sage are incredibly popular for smudges.  I know I am not the only person who absolutely loathes the smell of burning sage.  Smoldering white sage, in particular, makes me want to throw up on my pointy-toed shoes.  Given the option of facing something from the Dungeon Dimensions* or burning white sage indoors, I’ll take my chances with whatever is crawling up from the Dungeon Dimensions. For that reason, I’ve worked out an alternative to sage smudges that doesn’t smell, IMHO, like cat piss.

Blend and burn** these three ingredients together to create a cleansed, calm, and positively charged space:

  • Cinnamon
  • Lavender
  • Dragonsblood resin

The herbs can be process as much or as little as you wish.  Since I usually buy both cinnamon and dragonsblood in powdered form, I tend to grind up the lavender fairly fine.

 

*On the off-chance that a new witchling (or anyone else unfamiliar with the works of Pratchett) finds their way to this page, ‘Dungeon Dimensions‘ is a reference to a fictional place.  There is no such thing, so don’t go out to some forum and start pestering people more learned than you about their experiences with the Dungeon Dimensions. You’ll look like a prat. Save yourself… and the rest of us… the embarrassment. Thus concludes my good deed for the day century.  
**As common sense isn’t always common practice: Please burn outdoors or in a very-well ventilated area in an appropriate fire/heat-proof vessel with a fire extinguisher handy.  Also, this blend is not meant for ingestion of any sort, so don’t inhale, smoke, or eat this stuff.  
 

Where Did the Words Go?

I haven’t been ignoring this blog, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.  At least once a week, I pull up a blank post and… stare at the screen for thirty minutes to an hour before throwing my hands in exasperation.  The same thing happens when I sit down to my other blogs, my personal journal, the fiction piece I started last January, and anything that requires stringing together coherent sentences.  Writer’s block has taken up residence in my brain and has refused to budge for weeks. I’m just going to plow through and try to put some words down, even if it’s just getting down a couple bullet point updates and making a few tentative plans. 

  • Monthly Ritual Calendar: It’s a project that I still want to pursue, even though I haven’t been keeping up with it.  One slight problem – I’ve lost my brain-storming notes and have completely forgotten what I’d planned to do for most months. By the end of September, I’ll have to either find those notes or start again.  In any case, there will be a write-up before month’s end.  If I can find my notes, I may be able to catch up with the months I’ve missed.
  • Gods and Such: There has been a general lack of deity interaction lately. My practice doesn’t rely on regular contact, so lack of it is not particularly concerning.  I suspect that this will change with the arrival of fall.
  • Sam: There have been a couple of behind-the-scenes inquiries about Sam and how he’s progressing.  By all accounts, he’s recovering well and back at home, but still has a way to go.  Prayers and gentle energy would be appreciated according to his daughter.
  • Temple of MSB: No updates from the trail… sidelined with an injury that makes walking or running on uneven terrain just dangerous.  Hoping to be able to get back to it this fall.
  • Thinky Thoughts about future projects:  I have vague notion that I need/want to do some shadow work over the coming winter.  I’m not sure exactly what form that will take yet or what the focus needs to be.  The notion is still very vague and unformed.  Something will come to me I’m sure. If not, I’ll scratch this off the to-do list.

That’s all for now, as the writer’s block is still strong enough that typing more than ten words leaves my brain struggling. 

Life in Absentia

I just looked at the date of my last post and gave a little sigh.  Eleven weeks since last I posted here, yet I’d hardly paid attention to the lapse and only realized it when someone finally asked where I’ve been.  I’ve been living mostly in absentia, which unfortunately is not some underdeveloped up-and-coming corner of eastern Europe.  Life has been getting accomplished but without my being present for it in any meaningful way.   I’m in the process of re-grounding myself in my own skin and becoming more actively engaged in my life again but it’s been a slow process.

I cannot recall if I mentioned here that I’d decided to seek counseling in the aftermath of Sam’s hospitalization.  After a couple of false starts with counselors who weren’t the right fit,  I found someone who has actually helped beyond my wildest imaginings.  In our second session, he suggested that there might actually be something other than wonky brain chemistry causing the dysthymia, the constant fatigue, the night time panic attacks and anxiety, the memory issues, anemia, etc.  It’s taken a few weeks to get a diagnosis but it turns out he was right.  The bad news:  a sleep disorder that’s potentially life threatening and that has likely gone undiagnosed most of my adult life.  The good news:  The condition is easily treated and I’m becoming a functional human being again.

I want to catch up on the ritual calendar posts for April through June (and very shortly July), but those will wait until another day.  Same with catching up on all the random spiritual things that have cropped up over the last few weeks.  I will be making an effort to post more than once a season, in any case, and will do my best not to let months elapse in silence.

 

 

Ritual Calendar – March

I realize that it’s no longer March, but better late than never, right?

 

March Ritual – Seeds of Change

Timing
  • Any time during the month.  Note that this one requires a commitment to care for a plant over time.

Themes

  • Change
  • Growth
Purpose
  • Manifest growth
  • Create positive change
  • Honor the elements
Preparations
  • Gather supplies as needed. At minimum, seeds and water needed, along with a suitable location to plant the seeds.
  • Before beginning, determine what change is most needed and/or desired in your life over the long term.  This working takes time to manifest, so slow changes are usually best for this working.
Ritual- Minimalist Version
  • Plant seeds in an appropriate place while visualizing the change that you want to manifest.  Imagine the elements providing the seeds with the energy that they need to grow. Envision this change any time you water or feed the plant.
Ritual- Full Version
  • Delineate ritual space as preferred. Keep in mind that the space will need to contain the spot where the seeds are to be planted, so if sowing them directly into the ground, plan your ritual space accordingly.  Within the ritual space, place any garden tools you might need, the seeds, and a container of clear water.
  • Enter the ritual space and call upon any deities or other helpers that are appropriate to your path and/or the changes you wish to make.
  • Dig a hole in the ground (or pot) in preparation for planting.
  • Hold the seeds in your hand and say “With air, I breathe life into you.”  Blow gently on the seeds (take care that you don’t drop them).
  • Hold the seeds up toward the sun and say “With fire, I guide you upward.”  Place the seeds in the earth and cover them, saying “With earth, I root you.”  Pour water over the ground while saying “With water, I nourish you.”
  • When all has been done, state over the newly planted seeds “With spirit, I change you.”
  • Spend some time imaging the plant as it grows and changes and as it does, envision the changes that you wish to make manifesting themselves.
  • Offer thanks as appropriate.  As per your particular practice, break the ritual space and exit the area.
  • You’ll need to weed, feed, and water the plant regularly to provide energy to this working.  As you do this, you can speak the words “By earth and water, by air and fire, by spirit sealed, manifest the change I desire.”

Modifications and Notes

  • Using salt to mark out the ritual space boundaries is not recommended, as this can kill vegetation.
  • Plants should be chosen carefully and can be done by using magical correspondences.
  • If beginning a plant from seed isn’t feasible, this working can be done using a small plant and transplanting it into the ground or a new pot.

Odds and Ends

I’m running a bit behind with everything at the moment, so just a few brief tidbits until I can catch up properly.

March’s ritual will hopefully be posted this week.  I’ve written a rough draft of it, but haven’t managed to polish it up yet.  April’s ritual is a work in progress. I’m not sure that it will be meaningful for most, as it pertains to specifically to the threshold work that I do, but it too will be posted soon (well, by the end of April).

Loki is still making his presence felt. I want to reflect a bit more on what’s been happening on that front before I write more about it.  Also, I don’t think that he’s quite through stirring the pot yet and I’d really like to know where he’s going with this before I either praise or curse him for it.

I’ve been feeling a bit of disconnect from my Lady as of  late, so I outright asked what She wanted of/from me right now.  The answer came in a dream.  Funnily, it was very specific – that She wanted the large ‘red and gold’ statue put on some shelves that I’d just put up, along with a canopic jar to keep the names of those who had died during the year.  I own neither a red and gold statue of Herself nor a canopic jar… or at least didn’t at the time.  I was in an antique store later that week and found both a large statue of the lady trimmed in red and gold along with a miniature canopic jar.  Needless to say, they both came home with me and a set of wall shelves have now become a floating altar.  I do like it when the gods are clear and precise in what they expect.

As for some of the sore spots mentioned in previous posts, things are still fairly raw right now.  Sam is recovering – slowly and painfully- but fully in the land of the living again.  I am just beginning to process this train-wreck of events in a meaningful way, but find that even on the nights that I can pry my thoughts away from the situation, I am not sleeping well and waking up dozens of times,  feeling panicked and choked.  Daylight hours are more manageable at least, although I’m pretty fatigued most of the time.  Recovery will take time, I know, for all involved.   In the meantime, we all are muddling through the best that we can.

That’s enough for now, as I’m stifling yawns even as I type. More details on everything later… after a few nights of uninterrupted sleep.