What’s On Your Altar?

Let’s have a round of “what’s on my altar?” tonight.

Let’s see…two burning candles for the Blood Brothers. One candle for Loki Himself that is an autumn/fall harvest candle. It won’t burn no matter what I do to it. (I’m thinking of putting something extremely flammable on it just to see if I can make it burn because GOD DAMN IT *L* what don’t you like about that candle? I’m starting to think it’s just that the time of year isn’t strictly his domain so He won’t let it burn.) A wintergreen candle welcoming Lady Skadi (getting cold here). A piece of driftwood because it carries a calming energy with it. Another harvest candle for the Gods Who Smile on Me. Another candle for Loki Himself, a tall white candle for Odin–Loki’s Blood Brother. A sage bundle that isn’t being used at the moment. A candle welcoming bounty into our household. And a wonderful plaque a friend of mine made for my birthday. choose I love tending my altar. It’s a joyful duty, one that brings me peace and a sense of purpose.

Advertisements

Be a Rebel, Blow Out Your Candles

candles

Never blow out a candle or you blow away the magick. This was something all little, new baby witches were taught when I was coming up as a youngster. Growing up there were countless frustrations as I imagined I’d ruined a ritual completely by blowing out my candles at the end. Blowing out candles has such joyful, childlike association for me that I couldn’t stop myself from doing it. Then I’d have a meltdown after I did and remembered I wasn’t supposed to. Who doesn’t like blowing out birthday candles? Who doesn’t like controlling something with only the invisible force of their breath? At the time I didn’t question the instruction, but little by little over the years I’ve come at that from a completely different angle.

Breath is life.

Breath, divine breath, wakes up life.

When you’re making a gris-gris bag you breathe life into it, wake up the spirit of the bag, depending on how you make one, of course. They’re not as strong if you don’t.

Your breath is magic. When I blow out a candle I don’t see it as blowing away the magick, but rather using my breath to spread my intention into the universe. I’m adding to the magick. In my mind’s eye I’m spreading the gossamer strands of my intention far and wide with my breath, especially with ritual magick. Of course, there are times I don’t blow out candles. When I don’t want to sacrifice any of my life energy to an endeavor I don’t, but normally if something is worth doing on the magickal front it’s worth me putting any energy I can into it.

Like all magick though, if you just can’t get the idea that you’re blowing away the magick out of yoru head when you blow out candles you’re using in a ritual or for devotional purposes you probably shouldn’t do it. You program your intentions with your thoughts. That’s why mental control is such an integral part of witchcraft in general.

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.

Loki and Me: Poor But Fabulous

I was in a bit of a snit earlier because I wanted to do something special for Loki, as it is his month of devotion. I have no money, but my head was floating full of shopping sprees to procure exquisitely expensive soy candles made with essential oils and shat out by unicorns. Beautiful and modern candle holders or chic rustic looking pieces…basically anything and everything I can’t afford right now.

Rewind.

Earlier this week I was cleaning out my garage (which is dirty, dusty, and spider infested) and stumbled upon a bag full of trash that came from one of our cars. After being pissed off that there was a bag full of trash chilling out where it shouldn’t be I decided to make sure it really was a bag of trash. As I was digging through it and getting ready to say fuck it I found some papers that were important (tax documents) and decided I better keep digging. Further down was a brand new, beautiful lead crystal dish about 5 centimeters in radius. It was gorgeous, but I couldn’t imagine a use for it since I’m not a fan of candy dishes or ash trays. We also couldn’t figure out where it came from. I washed it and it sat inconspicuously on my kitchen counter for four days.

Fast forward to this evening.

I remembered the candy dish. Now it is sitting in an honored spot filled with water. Dropped in the middle is a solid red glass candleholder and I will be burning a candle every evening of July in this fancy, shimmery new altar piece. It is one of the most dazzling pieces I’ve ever put together for my altar area and it was for Himself, and I suspect provided by Him as well.

Hail Loki God of Thrift!…and shiny things. (I knew there was a reason we get along so well.)