Virtually any item can be used in the practice of Witchcraft. The uses of the item depend upon its correspondences, that is, the properties or traits that that item naturally possesses. For example, dirt has a number of uses to a Witch. It is the ground beneath our feet, the foundation upon which all things are built; it is fertile, nourishing the plants and trees. So, a Witch might carry a bit of dirt on them when they need to feel grounded, stabilized, or when trying to conceive a child.
To figure out the correspondences of any object, first look at what it is and how it is normally used; this will give you hints to its magickal properties and how you can use it. Another example: a cat uses its whiskers to keep itself safe; they let the cat know whether or not it can fit into a tight place. So, cat whiskers can be used for protection, especially when traveling (in this or the Otherworlds; cats are said to “walk-between-the-worlds.”) Since they are quite thin and hard to spot when not attached to the cat’s face, they also have properties of luck and good fortune, since finding one can be difficult.
This next series of mini-articles will cover the various tools used within the religion of Wicca and the practices of Witchcraft and Divination. However, the tools mentioned are not the be-all-and-end-all that can be used to these ends. As previously stated, anything can be used –with the proper intent and focus.
In a previous article, Ritual Construction, we covered the basic steps common to most Wiccan rituals, be they celebratory or magickal. These steps can be used as the basic framework or outline for crafting your own ritual. But, before you can begin fleshing these steps out and working on the details, there are a few things to think about to ensure greater success in your ritual.
The first thing to ask yourself is what type of ritual are you trying to write. For example, is this a Sabbat or Esbat celebration, a magickal working, or a Rite of Passage? This factor will set the tone of the entire ritual, so it helps to be certain of what you are trying to achieve.
Consider how much time you have to devote to this ritual. If you’re unable to spend more than an hour, it may be more practical to forego an elaborate outdoor altar setup in order to devote more time to communion with your Gods or the magickal working and proper grounding afterwards.
Next, you want to figure out who will be attending the ritual. If you are composing a solitary ritual, then this isn’t a concern, but when composing a group ritual, what you can successfully do with a group of four varies greatly from what you can do with a group of 30.
For larger groups, and smaller groups where you aren’t familiar with everyone who will be attending, expect to have varying levels of experience and ability within the group. It will make things more comfortable for everyone attending if the ritual isn’t overly complicated and if the intent is clear.
Also, a great way to make the ritual meaningful to everyone present is to have everyone involved and participating. This can be especially hard to achieve with larger groups where it’s easy for someone to stand in the back and be silent and thus overlooked. So something that requires everyone to participate, like the Spiral Dance, is a great way to avoid that and make everyone feel comfortable with being an active player in the ritual.
Keeping these four points in mind, you can now work on the details of the ritual, e.g. manner in which the Circle will be cast, what spiritual entities or Gods you will be working with, etc. While it’s good to use tried and true ritual components, don’t be afraid to be creative and try something new. You may find something that works really well for you or something that really helps the others attending make the proper spiritual and energetic connection and thus attain the most from the ritual. And, in the end, that is the most important thing about a ritual, not how well you incorporated all the traditional steps, but that the people involved, even if it is just you, recognize their connection to Spirit and leave the ritual forever changed.
The mood of the Earth now is like that of satisfied lovers after union: content, open, and loving. The earth is ripe. Life boldly flaunts itself; flowers abound, trees are full and leafy and begin to grow fruit. There is heightened activity in Nature, best seen at Midsummer, when it is so great that even the faeries allow themselves to be seen. The veil is thin and all are One.
The days are long; the Sun dominates over the Night. But, as nothing may remain stagnant for long, this too wanes. The fruit continue to grow; the grain ripens and must be harvested.
This is the prime of life, of heightened power, strength, and relates to that of the Full Moon and adulthood.
aka Beltain and May Day
Summer is here! The Earth is warm and bursting with life. The scent of flowers fills the air and all of Nature is busy with creating more life. Fitting, that the theme for this day is fertility and reproduction. What better way to celebrate life than by celebrating that which creates life!
Common Beltaine Traditions
These are a few traditions that many Pagans and Wiccans enjoy as part of their Beltaine celebrations.