The Cauldron

He lingers near the lady’s fire soot collecting on his white shirt while he attempts to raise the courage for this endeavor. She sleeps in her small wooden home not even ten feet away, and he’s terrified to wake her. She is sure and true with a slap or an arrow, so he knows better than to anger her, yet constantly finds himself on the wrong side of her wrath. He quite expects to wake some morning as a squirmy little bug the pretty witch can stomp. He shivers. His strawberry blond hair shines golden in the flickering flames while he struggles to lift the cauldron from the hook, but he’s half her height, and his arms are still filling in with the muscle of manhood even though he’d gone through a growth spurt this past summer. The cauldron is hung too high for him to easily pull it down. The chill autumn air bites through his shirt as he sweats and struggles to lift the half full black metal pot from its resting place.

“Hurry or we will be caught,” his best friend whispers. With his dark hair and clothes he blends into the darkness much better, and he’s safer crouched behind a nearby tree.

“Help me and we shall be done twice as fast,” he hisses back. There’s a small chuckle then a boy a few years older than he is emerges in his dark green tunic, a shadow to the first youth’s light, and together they heave. The cauldron clunks off the hook into the embers.

“Ouch!” the blond whimpers brushing the sparks from his bare feet. The other boy in his boots elbows him aside fondly and braces himself lifting the cauldron.

“Quiet,” the raven haired teen groans eyes darting to the round wooden hut nearby, but no incensed witch comes screaming out after them. He pulls their treasure away from the fire and together the two teens struggle to make a fast get away with the heavy pot dangling between them.

“This is a lot of trouble to see the future,” the shorter boy grumbles to his best friend.

“Knowledge is worth some pain,” the other boy says with a sly grin jerking his head to the side to try to get his long dark hair to fall out of his clear blue eyes.

“Better yours than mine. Next time you’re not rousing me from bed for your foolishness,” the younger one grumbles with a laugh as they finally figured they were far enough away from the witch’s home to drop the cauldron to the forest floor. They were in a clearing, tall trees reaching with naked fingers to the sky. The water inside the pot was pitch in the night save for the silver of the moon vibrating in the steaming water.

“How do we use it?” the smaller boy asks his friend cuddling up to his side for warmth. They huddle there with the frost forming on the grass for several moments contemplating the cauldron.

“I don’t know. She stares inside and sees her future,” he concedes with a smile and a shrug. The younger boy sinks an elbow into his stomach and he grunts holding his side. “You’re getting strong,” he laughs. The glare he gets sends him into another peel of laughter that he stifles with a hand over his mouth. “You’re full of courage, are you not? Look,” the older one demands wrapping his arm around the smaller boy, drawing him closer.

“You want to know. You look,” the younger boy demands, but he does as he’s asked with half a smile. He leans forward and inside the moon swirls in his vision. He sees nothing in the cauldron, however, as he stands there wrapped in the warmth of the friend he loves most, the only person he’d die for aside from his dear mother, the moon shivers and trembles. Not in the cauldron, but in his mind, scenes lost from time unfold. He gasps in horror at the secrets yet to be unfurling, but through it all there is love as well. The constant presence he’s come to count on. Looking away he burrows in closer to the taller boy, pushing his face tightly to his friend’s chest, shaking his head. He doesn’t want to know everything. He certainly does not, but it’s good to know they will always be together.

“This was a fool’s errand. You are right. You are always right,” the darker boy gasps out the words after several minutes, but his hunger for knowledge keeps his eyes fixed on the endless darkness inside the battered, old, soot dark pot. For all that he claimed not to be the brave one, he hadn’t closed his eyes. He hadn’t looked away.

“Idiotic brats. I know it was you. Bring it back now.” A young woman’s irate yell sounds from outside the tree line and both boys jump in their embrace. Sharing a look they’re jolted from the seriousness of the moment. The short blond snorts out half a laugh, mischief lighting his eyes. Together, holding hands, they race as fast as they can through the darkness away from the clearing to search for a safe warm place to hide in and sleep away the little bit left of the night.

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Lady Laufey

UPG heavy today folks. Ye be warned.

***

Today is a classic fall day for the Northeast, rainy, cold, gray, and most of all, perfect tea weather. It goes well with the autumn ritual I’ve been ruminating over while I wait for the trees to burst into fiery glory near the end of September. The ritual is for Lady Laufey, mother of My Beloved Loki, Sweetest Friend and Muse.

Her presence has been strong with me lately and I would genuinely love to thank Her with more than a few simple words. She and Lady Victory, Sigyn, have been the calm I’ve needed. Laufey is the Earth. Healing. The green growth and the tap root.

A ritual for Her will be best performed near the water in the trees overlooking the surf where the sand dunes mound around their mighty toes and the stringy long grass tickles their bark. The perfect day would be one full of sun when the bright dying leaves begin to waft one by one to the ground.

Her throaty laughter chases on breezes through those trees where She dances, long hair flying behind Her, skirts bunched up in Her hands to allow Her feet freedom. Her blackish green eyes are brighter than incandescent seashells when they catch the rays of the sun.

Her ritual should be performed during the day and should be one of motion, however you can incorporate it. She is never still. Trees are constantly growing, moving, dancing, vibrating with life, and so is She.

Her personal bouquet is musky like dark earth, laced with the tang of the sea, and touched with sweet fruit. Any fruit of the season wouldn’t go remiss as an offering for Her, as She prefers foods in their natural state. She’s especially fond of fish. Flowers are a delight for Her, but only if they are potted or harvested in such a way that benefits the plant or if you intend to use the plants for some other purpose after She has enjoyed them. She doesn’t like plucked plants for no other reason than looking at them.

Her colors are green and blends of orange and red-no solid colors in the drapery she chooses for her body. She is dynamic like Her Son.

A Prayer for Laufey

Lady Laufey, whirling in your bright skirts

May we dance with You at the edge of the Earth

where sand meets sea?  

My gratitude for Your kindness

Is a drop in the tide.

You sway and dip with the shrieking winds

Smiling, always smiling.

You’ve learned to flex instead of break.

Healing dances from your fingers

Faster than your feet race.

You are a current rather than a task master, even when you are a rip tide,

Guiding never dragging.

You teach. You sooth. You heal.

Your Bright Eyes are a balm.

I shall always faithfully welcome you into my home.  

Care to Participate in a Magical Experiment?

I love experiments. It warms my Geeky little Heart. Anyone else care to participate? This should be especially interesting as the veil begins to thin.

Magick From Scratch

So, something I am doing, or have done, is causing deities to physically manifest for me, on occasion. The problem is that I have NO idea which thing it is. I am looking for a few volunteers to help me figure it out. This would entail changing an aspect of your personal practice for 30 days, and then simply reporting what occurred. IE, did you experience manifestation, and if so, where on the spectrum those manifestations fall.

Ok, so, this is not actually a controlled experiment, but the options here will constitute enough of a fishing expedition that I’ll have some clue which direction to look in, if I ever want to conduct a proper experiment.

If you are interested, answer the initial questions, and then file yourself into an experimental group.

Initial Questions

1. What spiritual entities do you work with?

2. How do you understand the relationship of these…

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The Importance of Celebration Rituals

As a Lokean working within a framework of an amalgamation of several practices (Wicca/chaos magick/Heathen-ish magick/chanting/you name it) I suppose I can simply claim to be an Eclectic Lokean Practitioner working closely with a small group of Norse Trad deities. All of that is assuming you include Loki’s family in the Norse Tradition framework, which some do and some don’t, but I firmly do because of Loki’s blood bond with Odin, if for no other reason, which I see as then passed on to His Children (at the very least) though I digress. In working with Loki and His Family my love has grown for Them, and I’ve grown increasingly fond of tending my altar. Daily, I give offerings. What I give varies depending on my mood, Theirs, and my funds, but often includes sacred smoke in the form of incense, candles, beverages, alcohol, and specific foods when the request is made. I do all of this willingly and with a deep joy in my mind and heart. My love for Them, Their love for Me, this is the energy surrounding my altar.

One day recently I didn’t get to my altar in the morning as usual because life decided to get in the way. That evening when I finally stole some time to tend my altar my husband made the peculiar comment that it had seemed “dead” all day. He’s grown used to the blossom of energy overflowing into our home even if he wasn’t aware of exactly what he was sensing.

Tending my altar for Loki puts a fierce bolt of satisfaction in my chest and lights me with part of his Divine Fire.

However, as much as We Both benefit from Our small daily rituals, I still need do ritual for myself as well. In the last year I’ve celebrated Them, Those God/desses I’ve become close to alongside Loki, daily, but haven’t been marking the seasons or doing much work for myself. I’ve started doing ritual for me again, and the difference in my internal balance is phenomenal. Often times I convince myself doing a ritual will take too much time or planning, make it seem like a burden in my mind, but with very little bits of planning I realized it doesn’t have to be that way. After the most recent ritual I’ve done in my home for myself and my family, a small blessing for fall, I felt like I’d spent a day chanting or doing something else deeply restful on a mental level.

Celebration is self care. Take care of yourself and you will be better able to live your life for you and Them.

Loki is constantly asking me to unwind and I’m finally, finally figuring out the pieces to the puzzle.

Much of my blog seems to focus on the never ending conundrum of balancing the spiritual with Mundania. Maybe because I have small children demanding most of my attention during downtime connecting with myself sometimes seems like a monumental effort, when simply tending my altar and connecting to Loki isn’t so much of a problem. Everyone has something pulling at them, demanding they stay stuck in Mundania. Sometimes obligations are good, grounding, and sometimes they are a distraction from our spiritual health. It all depends on which way you tip-too much into the spiritual or the other, into Mundania, and you find yourself unhappy and don’t know why.

Daily ritual, the million small things I do with Them in mind up to and including tending the altar, helps open my mind to the Gods each day. I’ve found I want the daily connection. Seasonal ritual, on the other hand, actually seems to be a blend of grounding in “reality”, since we are marking our physical time, and the spiritual because we are often invoking the Gods or inviting Them into our midst, especially for the Holidays. I plan to set a place for My Sweetest Friend, Loki, at our Harvest Home celebrations (Mabon-Thanksgiving) this year.

There is a reason our ancestors chose to celebrate so much. Maybe it was to relieve the stress of the day to day, but it was to give us a time to Love as well. Ritual is usually a time for love, even if the love is not hearts and flowers. I cannot think of a single type of ritual with the Gods that would not involve our love for the Gods, Theirs for us, or Both. Even something historically harsh like asking the Gods for victory in battle would require the love of the God being petitioned for the petitioner because you don’t usually smite enemies for people you don’t like. Even the simple act of making offerings to the land spirits where my home is situated is still love from me because I don’t offer for any other reason.

Ritual is self love.

Self Love: Taking care of you because you love your own insurmountable spirit and would like to see it happy. Can include:

Mundane~ eating healthfully, shower, shave, tooth brushing, exercise, good friends, good wine, great entertainment, fantastic sex, loving Others and allowing Them to Love You.

Spiritual~ psychic cleansing, ritual, exploration of the senses, adoring Our Beloveds, respecting Our Own Power and energies, acknowledging the inscrutably singular essence of the Self, allowing Ourselves to be afraid but use the fear as a tool, working with our Beloveds, examining Our life lessons with an open mind, being playful and not taking every aspect of the spiritual seriously because play is special and rewarding.  

A Harvest Moon Esbat

Written on the night of the Full Moon, September 9, 2014:

I hope you’re all enjoying the Harvest Moon. Not only is it the Harvest Moon (the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox) it’s a “Super Moon” too. I’m more than a tad disappointed we’re having a rainy, overcast night in my neck of the woods. I wanted to see if the moon would actually be orange this year. I was excited to celebrate this Esbat, especially since it is such a unique one (Not that they aren’t all special in their own way, but half the time I forget what day of the week it is and, well…my track record for hitting an Esbat on the actual date of the moon is dismal, so I was excited for and proud of myself.), and I chose to do a Harvest Moon blessing to do so.

I wanted to use the Harvest Moon blessing I’d read in Seasons of Witchery by Ellen Dugan because it was pretty, not too long, and not overly flowery, but the blessing calls on “The Lord and Lady”. As I’ve become more comfortable with hard polytheism vs. the vagaries of Wicca/general paganism I see problems with this invocation I possibly wouldn’t have in previous years. If I call on “The Lord and Lady” Anyone can show up, which honestly, with a blessing, so be it. Whomever would like to drop some good stuff on my head this year, please do (No, really, PLEASE.); however, on the other hand it seems like calling Someone I work with often would be best to call upon.

BUT, if I call on someone I work with all of the time for a blessing I feel greedy too since, if I work with Them often, They’re already blessing my life. Asking Loki for more things seems like calling up my best friend and begging twenty bucks. (And then I get the Divine Head Slap because the Gods WANT to help with our Daily lives when They are Our Beloveds.) The last thought on this conundrum, the Divine Mystery of Who to Call for a Simple Freakin’ Autum Blessing, is this: Okay, if I shouldn’t call just Anyone, then I should call Someone specific, but if I call Someone, and say I even use a particular kenning, maybe They won’t want to show up or the area-the autumnal blessing-really isn’t their prevue, or maybe they’re just otherwise engaged.

In the end, I called on Angrboda and Loki (sort of-in a way-I still left it vague when I spoke the blessing/prayer, but I KNEW they where the ones on the line tonight, so it was kind of like calling Them mentally because They were the only Ones I could think about while I was saying the prayer). Calling on the Hagia of the Ironwood may seem strange, but I was getting the push from Her, so I didn’t question the decision.

In the end using the general Lord and Lady call for a blessing, allowing Whomever would enjoy blessing your life to come through, isn’t a bad call if you’d like to do a seasonal blessing, even though I chose not to. Sometimes specific calls for ritual and spell work may be limiting. I still work with general, universal energies for spell work and prayer of all sorts. (Prayer being spell work of a different variety in my estimation.)

My small ritual was lovely and involved a short blessing and lighting two taper candles, one orange and one white. I thought to perhaps include the blessing here, but if you could snag a copy of Dugan’s book you could easily find it for yourself or, better yet, write your own. The idea behind the blessing is that we are entering a time of thankfulness, prosperity, and abundance before winter sets in. I usually start my rituals with a Hail to Loki and they always include an offering to the gods these days, where in the past they perhaps wouldn’t have.

Bright Harvest Moon Blessings on You All! May you all find what you’re looking for as a season of introspection begins.