Loki, The Gambling Miracle

So, for…OH, I’d say a few months now Loki has been insuring that He gets His devotionals from me (which I think are just as helpful to me as to Him).

How?

Well, with what I consider to be a Lokean miracle, perhaps dubious, but something I contend is a miracle. It makes my life better, and anything that makes my life better, yeah, I’ll clump that in with divine intervention.

Let me back up.

I’m kind of low on funds, chronically, because I’m a writer, editor, temp job worker (when absolutely necessary) and parent. (Parenting is expensive, in case you missed that.) I like to burn incense and candles for Loki, daily. You can see where the problem comes in.

About three or four months ago I was out if incense, feeling pretty low, bitching to myself on the way to the store to pick up a newspaper. When I got there I got this PUSH to go to the scratch off machines (you know, waste a dollar get a ticket to scratch off). Loki was telling me to do it, go get one, and I was arguing about wasting the money. When I actually got over there? There was a fly trapped in one of the plastic covers, and the name of the game had Fabulous in the title.

Long story short, I won enough money to get Him His incense and was really, really happy about it.

I haven’t been low enough on cash since to worry about it, but after the holidays it finally happened, and my incense stash ran out, and there I was feeling like crap about it and not even realizing how much so. I went to the store, again to get a newspaper, and there it was again. A tickle. A Loki tickle. So, I paid attention and He was telling me to go to the machines again. Now, the first time I thought might have been a fluke, and I was arguing with Him (possibly myself, I’m willing to accept that I could be a wee tad crazy, but I’m good company) and when I get there to the machine there is a holiday game with a Santa who looked suspiciously like Odin.

…2 dollars in the machine. 25 out. Loki got His incense.

So, that’s the story or my solstice miracle, and it means so much to me.

Hail Loki!

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.

Sage Sticks or The Most Amazing Pagan Supply Kit Find This Year

Sage is one of those useful purification herbs that almost every pagan everywhere from every walk (at least in the U.S.) seems to have adopted into their own practice. It is useful to purify both physical spaces, body, and the aura. Over the years I’ve found sage will also drive off almost any oogidy boogidy or negative energy lingering in an area, though if you don’t get up a good ward or personal protection after a time things can slink back in. I can’t say too much about how wonderful a purification herb sage is.

However-

Anyone who has used a sage bundle knows the trouble with a sage bundle. You have to keep relighting it. It sheds embers if you wave the bundle instead of using something to fan the smoke (my old apartment has holes in the carpeting to prove it) and you need a very fire proof container to ensure it is under control and to have a place to rest the smudge bundle, and may the Gods help you if you have cats. I’ve never met a cat that doesn’t want to play with and/or set themselves on fire with the sage bundle. I found myself using a mini caldron with a lid to keep our four legged friends out of it while I was doing ritual. All in all, if I’m at home it isn’t too much of a pain, but I certainly don’t want to haul it around with me, since it is only pristine the first time I use it and the rest of the time it is a shedding, falling apart, half burnt mess. One bundle might last for about a two months in our house. They’re worth the investment and they do a wonderful job, but…all those things I mentioned make it a bit unwieldy for travel or use when my children are awake.

Yesterday my significant other and I had one of those rare, child free days that come along every once in a blue moon and we decided to make the most of it and travel to our local herb shop. We can’t go there with our small children because it is a small, overcrowded haven of goodies that my children could start a chain reaction of destruction in. It’s about 20×20 feet of space packed to the gills with herbs, candles, incense, books, and all manner of jewelry and interesting odds and ends. We could spend hours picking through everything. They even utilize the storefront window for retail space turning it into an interesting little Buddhist alcove of books and treasures. Walking in is like coming home surrounded by the sweetest smell of wild plants and exotic musk.

We leisurely perused and found some Indian temple incense (no one else carries it), and not having much money to spend we were going to call it a day, and then I found them. Sage resin incense sticks. They look like compressed sage on a stick, light on the first try, and burn for over an hour-and all that for $3.99 for a pack of ten. I only sage my home about once a week, so this little package of hassle free joy was well worth it for me. I lit one this morning and ran around the house cleansing the space and laughing like an idiot. These sticks would be ideal for large gatherings, travel, ritual, and just all around any time you need to use regular sage. I found no difference in the cleansing properties of the sticks vs. the actual sage bundle, and if you desired you could easily put out the stick, it’s very sturdy and wouldn’t snap, and use it several times.

The company that produced the incense sticks I bought is Nature Nature. It seems they’re selling them online for more than the herb shop was selling them though. It might be worth it to browse locally.

Dirt Cheap Altar Candles

I wanted to share for any of my fellow practitioners who are also on limited funds. If you travel into your Spanish/Mexican/Southwest section in your local grocer to the place where they have Goya products you will find candles in glass-sometimes with Mary and Jesus on them-but if you dig through the candles there will most likely be white, green, blue, and red ones that are without decoration. They are cheap. Here they are $1.99. They don’t smoke like some cheap candles do. If you only burn them for a short time a day they may last for a month or more OR if you’re like me and you like to burn candles for your deities all day long they last for almost a week. That’s my fantastic, pagan find of the week!