R is for Ritual



Ritual :  rit·u·al/ˈriCHo͞oəl/

Noun:
A religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order

For the most part, all religions have some sort of ritual associated with them and Pagan religions are no exception.  Some Christian religions incorporate some of the following:

Baptism
Confirmation
Communion
Penance
Last Rites

For Pagans, the rituals are as varied as each branch.  These could include full moon/dark moon/new moon rituals, healing rituals, handing fasting rituals and the list goes on and on.

Here is an example of a healing ritual and a ritual of gratitude.





I take part in a yearly ritual called Hekate, Her Sacred Fires.  This is a yearly event take takes place on the full moon of May.



Over the last few years I've taken to having a ritual on Tuesday nights.  I also try to have a dark moon ritual for Hecate as well.  This is how I do my ritual.

I start out with a cleansing bath.  This is a great way to get into a meditative state and open your mind up to allow for the Goddess to communicate with you.  I use bath salts that include rosemary and sage.  This is a link to another idea for a cleansing bath.  I also begin the following playlist on Youtube.

After my bath I move into my altar room and cleanse the space with Sage stick and call the quarters.  Here's a link to how I call the quarters.

After I call the quarters I repeat the Invocation of Hecate.  


I close my eyes and visualize my question, my desire, or just my adoration of the Goddess while the playlist continues in the background.  If it is "Hecate's Supper" I'll create a door from my circle and carry out the offerings to leave at the Crossroads.

Upon conclusion I'll thanks the Goddess for her time and bid farewell to the Guardians being sure to thank them for watching over my circle.

I'll snuff out each candle in reverse order that I lit them and end with the Goddess Chant.


Every group has some sort of ritual and in this I've found a common ground to those that would attack us.  I know that my spell is a prayer.  It's no different than a Hail Mary, kneeling towards Mecca or placing drops of water on a baby's head.  We all have our rituals and the sooner we can learn to live together and respect each other, the better off this world will be.

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(





Sunshine Award

This week my blog was nominated for the Sunshine Award.  I'm not really sure what the Sunshine Award means, but it appears to be one of those where we try to drive new blog followers to fellow bloggers sites.

I was nominated by An Eclectic Witch in Training and Bubbles & Broomsticks.  The rules for this one is that you post a link back to the blog that nominated you, then post links to ten other blogs.  That's a lot of blogs so I might not get ten in there.  Especially since I'm not really sure what this is really for.  Then they have a list of questions you need to answer.   

To help some blogs that may not have a great deal of traffic or to help others find some rare gems, I'll post a few of my finds below.

The Questions:

1. Who is your favourite philosopher?

I don't think I have one

2. What is your favourite number?
13

3. What is your favourite animal?
Cat

4. What are your Facebook and Twitter URLs?
https://www.facebook.com/sosannascloset
https://twitter.com/rreneeolson

5. What is your favourite time of day?
Morning

6. What was your favourite vacation?
Home with da hubby

7. What is your favourite physical activity?
Yoga

8. Favourite non-alcoholic drink?
water

9. What is your favourite flower?
hydrangea

10. What is your passion?
Life


Next I'm supposed to list out 10 blogs and share the award with them, here we go.





Very Inspiring Blog Award

This last week I've been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blog Award by Aoibheals LairSea Witch Cottage & The Cauldron: A Witches Journey.

I'm going to combine to the two.   The rules are you need to display the award on your blog, list seven things about yourself and then give the award to seven other blogs in their comments.

Although it's a bit chain letterish, I figure if nothing else maybe I can get the word out about some other blogs that I find interesting so here goes.

First, here's the image


Next, Seven things about myself:

1. If I were any more Pisces I'd be an actual fish.
2. I have a 25 year old daughter.
3. I am a devotee of Hecate.
4. I love native style flute.
5. I wear my heart on my sleeve.
6. I look for the best in everyone.
7. I just want to be.

Finally, I need to list out seven blogs and post a link to this page in their comments.

1. Through Thick and Thin - A couple's journey through weight loss surgery.
2. The Candy Corn Chronicles
3. The Deepest Well
4. Wendy in Wonderland
5. Ye Old Crone's Gazette
6. Witched Musings of a Witch
7. Transgriot

I hope everyone gets a chance to have a look at these blogs, and maybe give them a follow.

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(






Q is for Queen of the Witches


Queen (‘Kwen) defined by merriam-webster.com as a goddess or thing personified as a female having supremacy in a specific realm.

Hecate (Hekate) has many titles.  One of which is Queen of the Witches.  Hecate is thought to be the last of the Titans.  She was granted dominion over the Heavens, Earth and Sea by Zeus.  She is thought to be the seen as a triple goddess figure and holds the keys to the underworld.  She is often depicted at a cross roads where decisions are made and offerings to her are left there.

So how did she become Queen of the Witches?  Hecate has a long history and can be traced back 3000 years.   She can be found in early writings such as Oddyssey, Homer – C9th BCE and Theogony, Hesiod C8th BCE.  Some of her titles include Hekate Desponia (Mistress), Hekate Phosphoros (Lightbringer) and Hekate Trioditis (of the three roads).  Looking through the list that I found, I did not locate “queen of the witches”, however it may be a modern term.  Since the resurgence of religions such as Wicca, groups select a deity or are called to a deity.  Since Wicca is “craft of the wise” or witch craft Hecate is often selected as the deity or Queen of the Witches.  Many in Wicca associate Hecate with the Crone Goddess.   This depiction can be traced back to Robert Graves.




This video is by Sorita d’Este discusses Hecate and the Maiden Mother Crone aspect.




In this next video, Sorita d'Este discusses if Hecate is the Goddess of modern Wicca.



For many years I was a light and love follower of the feminine.  I did not have a specific Goddess, I only knew that there was something there and it would find me.  I’m creeping up on my introduction anniversary to Hecate soon; my dedication is not far behind.  I find that all the titles that she has or all the names she is called by there are many similarities.

She helps me find the strength within myself and the dedication to keep going.  I see her in the trees and feel her in the wind.  I see her in the flames on my altar and know she is near by the smell of the sage burning there.  The candle on my ancestor altar flickers and I know that she is there standing between me and the land of the dead. 

My chants call out to her:

Hecate Mistress of the three ways
Offerings at the crossroads, you find
Hecate, Light bearing Queen
Come forth and enlighten my mind.
Hecate, Queen of the Witches
Give power to my magic this night.
Hecate, Keeper of the Keys
Unlock your power and bless this rite.
By: Sosanna


Hecate is a goddess of antiquity.  Take a bit of time to get to know the history of this Goddess.  I am a member of the Covenant of Hekate, you can find more information on this here.  We also have a Facebook page for the Friends of the Covenant

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna


Q is for Quarters


Q is for Quarters

In some traditions, spell casting is commonplace.  For these casters one typical way to get the magic rolling so to speak is to “Call the Quarters”.  Calling the quarters can be done in several different ways.
When I’m casting my circle I start by lighting some sage and cleansing the area.   I get in calm state and do the following:

Light the candle facing east and say the following:
Hail Guardians of the Watchtower of the East – Powers of Air and Wind
I welcome thee.
I then turn and light each candle in its direction and repeat as follows:
Hail Guardians of the Watchtowers of the South – Powers of Fire
I welcome thee
Hail Guardians of the Watchtowers of the West – Powers of Water
I welcome thee
 Hail Guardians of the Watchtowers of the North – Powers of Earth
I welcome thee
Welcome Watchtowers, watch over and bless my circle

That’s it…  Calling the Quarters is just that simple.  There are many other ways to do this. You can list other correspondences such as more elements or include animals as well.  For example dolphins may be related water and would be added to the line for the West. 
I found a nice video on youtube that gives a great explanation - 



Begin simply and work with the energy from the directions. 

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(


P is for Patience


pa·tience   [pey-shuhns]
noun
1.
the quality of being patient,  as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.


To me one of the hardest things to learn is patience.  At first the word may not appear to be something that would be appropriate for a  pagan inspired blog project.  However I beg to differ.  There are so many things that pagans do that really call for patience.

Let's take spell casting for example.  Now, first I'm generalizing, not every pagan casts spells.  But those that do know that there are a lot of steps within and it does take a bit to work the spells.  First steps may be to collect the components for the spell.  Some components need to be cleansed/blessed by being bathed in the light of a full moon.  That step alone can add a weeks to the spell.  Then we look at moon cycles to be sure we're looking for the right phase to cast a particular spell in.  Some require a waxing moon, some a dark.  Again, weeks could be added to the casting process.



After we have the moon right and the components right we then can preform our ritual.  Many start a circle by calling the quarters or calling the guardians of the watchtowers.



Just as the spell and the components this is very specific to the caster.  In this particular video the person calling the quarters using the words "I summon".  I always ask... I feel the "summoning" someone is pulling them somewhere that they may not want to be.  I'd like them to come because they want to.  But that's just me.  Next comes the actual spell part.  This is where we take those components and working with them.

There are different ways to cast a spell.  There are very formal rituals which include using their magical instruments to call the energy into the spell.  A spell is really quite like a prayer.  This video shows every different types of spell casting.



After you've completed the spell, then you go through the process of closing the circle.  The entire process can take hours.  For someone like me, a seasoned witch with BiPolar and budding ADHD, it can be trying.  Books on my shelf include Wheel of Life, The Druidy Handbook and assorted others recommend by friends to calm my mind and bring me into the now.



I have tapes of guided meditation and ways to become centered and still I can't walk through a store and hold a conversation with my hubby with out drifting off in the middle of a sentence when I see something sparkly.  Just as I can't stay on topic for this posting, I'd like to put out here that if there are others with problems concentrating, focusing or relaxing one of the best things I've found is an album called Canyon Storm.  The melodies are amazing and it really brings me to a calm state.

Now back to the word of the week, patience.  Working with the ritual of casting a circle, I've actually seen a growth in the amount of time I can spend doing a particular activity.  So using magic or the process of magic has shown me that I can focus on a particular thing for a little while.  I'm no where near where I'd like to be on this.  And even though I'm trying to get to a point where patience is something that is a virtue to me.  I still can't help but completely relate to this MEM I saw recently.



Just a quick note, I'm working with a group on a wonderful project coming in October.  Keep a look out for some great things come for Samhain.

Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(







P is for Peace



This has been a pretty crazy week for me.  As many of you know over the weekend not only did I break my toe (yeah I’m still going on about that) but I also had my grandmother’s 97th birthday, which I couldn’t go to and I hosted my first event at my house for Golden Phoenix Society.

The toe – yeah it’s fine, well not so much, it’s black and blue and hurts like crazy.

The party – she had a good birthday, I’m sorry I missed it.  I did take her flowers on Monday and spent some time with her.  I just thought it best to avoid any ‘drama’ with my ‘other family’ so I chose not to go.

My first GPS celebration - Great. I was nervous.  It went well though, I took a few pictures.  We had a bonfire and the next morning hubby found this:



This is a picture of the file pile, notice the one red carnation unburned.  I found it very interesting as this exact flower had been taken from the bouquet and singled out as being for Hecate, the deity I follow.  There was a roaring flame, so I can't image how it survived.  I've hung it to dry now and will put it on my altar.

The next day was Chick fil A day, and needless to say it was a mess.  There were people posting on Facebook and sharing pictures from the happy heterosexuals running around clogging their arteries with 400+ calorie sandwiches and a side of hate.  Along with lots of posts around what's actually being done with Chick fil a money.


On two different occasions over the past 2 weeks I have said the following statement:

I do not want to stop you from believing what you want.  Just as I don’t want you to try to stop me from believing what I want.  I want to live, worship and raise my family as I see fit, and you can do the same.  I do not believe in your God.  You do not believe in my Goddess.  I’m ok with that.  Why can’t you be ok with that?

On both occasions the “Christians” in question blocked me.  This leads me directly (or perhaps not so directly) to my post for the Pagan Blog Project 2012.


P is for Peace
peace noun \ˈpēs\

Definition of PEACE
1: a state of tranquillity or quiet: as
    a : freedom from civil disturbance
    b : a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom <a breach of the peace>
2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
3: harmony in personal relations
4a : a state or period of mutual concord between governments
  b : a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity
5—used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell

I’d really like to understand why, (and I’m going to use generalizations here, so please don’t be take it personally) Religions can't coexist.

Christians believe one way, Jewish people another, Muslim another and so on.  Why fight each other.  I mean really no one can prove their side is right without the “end of the world” in each of their minds, so why not sit back get your worship on and leave each other alone.  In the end, when your side wins, jump up and chant Nanny Nanny Boo Boo and be done with it.

We have so much more important things to deal with than whose God is the best.  Our oceans are being destroyed, our ground water polluted our food being turned into a chemical cocktail that’s making one in eighty eight kids born Autistic.

Look around, we are a strong species.  We’ve gone into space.  We can operate on ourselves and repair the tiniest nerve or the biggest muscles.  We can create life in a dish.  We are able to do so many great things yet we sit back, pull out our guns and knives and decide that we need to fight over whose has the biggest God.

Really?

When I was a little kid I remember the fighting and abuse in my home.  I remember the turmoil and the confusion I felt and the ultimate sadness that was my existence.  Then one year a little commercial came on TV and when I saw it, it made me feel “peace”.  Later I found that it wasn’t just a Coke commercial that it was an actual single. I’d like to share it with you now.



I would sit and plug my ears, rock back and forth and sing this song over and over in my head.  Trying to find that place where that group of people lived.  I wanted to be in that house furnished with love.

Even now as I sit here, I can’t help but think this is exactly what I’d love to have.  Tears in my eyes prove that no matter how many times I’m called a Christian basher, or a sinner; I know that deep in my heart my goal is to indeed, teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.

So this week’s post for the letter P, and my P is for Peace.



Namaste & Blessed Be
Sosanna
)O(