Everyday Sun Magic by Dorothy Morrison
This book is a fascinating exploration of the power and use of the Sun as a focal point for spells, rituals and affirmations.
In addition to exploring the history of Sun worship (and I don't mean the tan-skinned surfer dudes), Morrison exposes us to a plethora of solar-oriented spells, and charms for every occasion.
I'm glad this book has been written, because it seems to me in recent years the sun has been eclipsed by the moon in terms of its position in the craft.
There is an interesting section on cocktails at the back of the book (for drinks such as a Tequila Sunrise, Northern Sunset, you get the idea) which I have studied at length and I can tell you that some of the concoctions, while they look nice, should probably carry a health warning. They should certainly get your windows nice and clean!
All joking aside, Morrison has clearly put a lot of effort into this book and seems to have covered all the angles regarding the role of the Sun in our lives, from the evolution of the Solar Calendar, to an explanation of the Zodiacal Sun signs, to the solar seals of the archangels. This is a well-researched, extremely useful addition to any library.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Copyright <http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/copyright.shtml> © 2005 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.
Dorothy Morrison says anyone can practice magic.
It all depends on your definition of magic.
"It's focusing your energy and using your mind and body to attain something," says Morrison, who lives in the York County town of Acton. "I practice magic, but you won't find me levitating."
Morrison, a native Texan, is a practicing Wiccan who has written 12 books that deal with spirituality and Wiccan ways. Some of her books have used various angles to get at spirituality, like gardening or needlework.
Her latest book, which came out this month, focuses on spirituality and the sun: "Everyday Sun Magic: Spells & Rituals For Radiant Living."
Morrison writes about how to use the energy of the sun with more than 140 chants, spells, affirmations and rituals that can help improve your life.
And though Morrison calls this "magic," she's quick to point out that this type of magic calls for people to concentrate and focus on what they want until they get it.
Q: Are there spells in the book that anyone can use? Do they really work?
A: They will work for anybody. Magic is not rocket science. You decide what you want, and you want it so badly that you are one with the effort. You have to focus and concentrate. The reason some people have difficulty with it is that their attention span is very short. They say, "I did this spell and it didn't work." But you have to hang in there and be tenacious.
Q: What exactly is a Wiccan?
A: It's somebody who follows the Wiccan religion. There are different sectors, like different sectors of Christianity: Methodists, Baptists . . .
All of them are life-affirming and celebrate the harmony of seasons. We revere the Earth, much the way Native Americans do. We believe in the duality of (God), that God is both male and female.
Q: Does Wiccan simply mean witch? Are they interchangeable terms?
A: You can use them interchangeably for me. I was taught all Wiccans are witches but not all witches are Wiccans. Magic is a byproduct of Wicca, like prayer is a byproduct of Christianity.
In today's atmosphere, some people (who are practicing Wiccans) don't want to be called witches.
Q: What convinced you to write this book?
A: There is not a lot written about the sun in connection to magic. Most people work around the phases of the moon, which means you have to wait a while for phases to come around again. The sun has five phases every day you can work with.
At daybreak, for instance, is a good time for (spells dealing with) new starts and fresh beginnings. Midmorning, the "adolescent brother" sun, is a good time for things that seem nearly impossible. The noon sun is at peak power. Afternoon sun is the "sage warrior" sun, a good time for things that take some thought.
Q: Do you practice magic?
A: Yes. The best way to explain it is that a spell is like a prayer. When Christians pray, they focus energy toward a goal. The same is true of spell. I can use magic to get a job, to get more money. It is the change of any condition by ritual means, anything repetitive, such as saying something over and over.
Q: How did you get into practicing Wicca?
A: After high school I moved to Houston (Texas) and was introduced to it by a tarot card reader. I kind of think magic may have had a hold on me when I was little - my mother actually read tarot cards at parties, and she was a devout Catholic.
Q: What exactly are tarot cards?
A: They are cards with different symbols. People think they are a fortune-telling device, but that is not exactly so. They tell you what is likely to happen if you continue on your current path, but there's nothing set in stone, you can change it.
Q: Do you feel that Wicca might fill a void for people who want some sort of spirituality in their lives but can't find it in other religions?
A: I don't think it is for everybody, but I do see a trend recently of people questioning religions they were born into and checking out other religions.
Q: Is Maine a particularly good place to be a witch?
A: I have found that people in Maine seem to be very accepting of alternative paths; when I lived in Missouri that was not the case.
Witches needn't toil over a caldron all day when today's appliances get the job done ever so much faster
By Sue Vering
Special to the Chicago Tribune Published October 31, 2004
Amy Myers works magic in her kitchen. And we're not talking about a tasty batch of voodoo chicken.
Myers is one of a new breed of witch, disenchanted with the time-consuming demands of practicing traditional witchcraft.
"We all lead busy lives!" is the favorite chant of these Wiccans, members of a pagan religion that focuses on nature and the Earth.
Even witches can't stretch a day longer than 24 hours, so it's a feat to work, run a household, raise a family and still prepare the necessary ritual tools to celebrate a major Wiccan holiday like Samhain (Halloween).
What's a busy soccer mom-witch to do?
Never fear. Today's witches are turning to kitchen appliances as a way to magically save time and effort--trading caldrons for slow cookers and coffeemakers.
Myers, a 32-year-old north suburban mother of two, always has used her slow cooker, er, religiously in the fall.
Mostly for soups and stews. But recently, she slow-cooked magical herbal oil for use as a destressing aromatherapy.
"Used to be you had to pour oil in a jar, put it covered in a dark place, then shake it every few days. Who has time for that?" she said.
Now she's a convert.
"It's good to know these avenues exist to easily incorporate magic into everyday life," Myers said.
She didn't come by this idea communing with the spirit of Julia Child. Her muse was author Dorothy Morrison, a Wiccan high priestess who lives in southeast Maine. Morrison's 12 books include "Everyday Magic: Spells and Rituals for Modern Living," and the soon-to-be-released "Everyday Sun Magic: Spells and Rituals for Radiant Living."
Now in its 14th printing, "Everyday Magic" is a well-thumbed bible for many. Two parts cookbook to one part sage advice on using kitchen appliances, the book reads more like Family Circle than advice for a witches' circle.
"The days of slaving over a hot stove are gone," reads the introduction. "Most of us don't have time to wait several weeks for magical herbs to dry or for ritual oils to fix. Even if we did, who wants to?"
Maybe it's the universal truths in Morrison's approach, maybe it's because contemporary witchcraft seems like a kissing cousin to New Age metaphysics, but witches seem pretty mainstream these days.
Clearly, witchcraft isn't everyone's cup of herbal tea. But as Morrison pointed out, "Americans have always had an approach/avoidance thing with magic." Certainly the enormous popularity of Harry Potter and television shows such as the current WBS series "Charmed" have worked like a charm to de-mystify witchcraft.
Here a witch, there a witch
"Witches are your doctors, lawyers, teachers, next-door neighbors," Morrison said. "We're everywhere. And I don't mean that to sound ominous."
Witches wielding slow cookers don't seem terribly frightening. Besides, witches believe in the law of karma: Whatever good you do comes back to you three times--but bad also comes back in threes.
"Most of us cannot stand that kind of aggravation, so we strive to work only good," Morrison said reassuringly.
Articulate, funny and surprisingly down-to-earth, Morrison has the "Glenda the Good Witch" thing going on.
"I started writing about magic because I was sick to death of people acting like it's so mysterious," Morrison said. "It's not rocket science. It's easy."
David Hendrick, who owns and operates Practical Magick, a bookstore in Frankfort, explained Morrison's appeal: "Dorothy makes magic accessible instead of keeping it in the closet."
Claudia DeMent has referenced her copy of "Everyday Magic" so frequently she had to reglue the binding to keep it from falling apart.
"I've used the barbecue grill to burn a spell or incantation that I've written," said DeMent, 39, of Orland Park. "And I use a coffee grinder for grinding herbs."
DeMent is a graphic designer who works nights, which doesn't leave much time for socializing, reading and following her favorite Chicago sports team while still casting spells and whipping up magical decoctions. So she's up for any timesavers the cosmos throws her way.
"You don't need to have pain to have gain," DeMent said.
On the other hand.
That's bunk to some traditional witches who dismiss Morrison's methods as "white light and fluffy bunnies."
Raven Grimassi, author of 10 Wiccan titles including the recently released "Witchcraft: A Mystery Tradition," is a self-described "stodgy old-timer--what the eclectics would call a stick in the mud," who personally favors a more traditional practice of magic.
Although the southern California resident doesn't dismiss the beliefs of others, kitchen magic just doesn't do it for him.
"When I stand before a caldron I have a deep spiritual connection to the energy of magic as a living, centuries-old, ancestral current," Grimassi said. "When I stand before a Crockpot, I think about stews."
Hmm, this all the makings of a great (black) catfight.
Edmund Kern is an associate professor of history at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., and an expert on religious culture, with a particular interest in witchcraft. Most recently he authored "The Wisdom of Harry Potter: What Our Favorite Hero Teaches Us About Moral Choices."
Kern has seen this discord between witches brewing for a while.
"While there's an interest among some to return to the old order," Kern said, "the trend is toward embracing modernity and technology."
Teresa Lynch finds the brew-ha-ha tedious.
"Most people realize this is an organic, living faith that has to change with the times," said Lynch, 33, of Chicago's Beverly neighborhood.
She has studied witchcraft for 18 years, and her list of credentials is longer than the ingredients list for a heartbreak relief spell. Most notably she's a high priestess of a pagan circle called the EarthSong Sanctuary.
"What Morrison suggests is no different from the ancient hedge-witch gathering herbs from her land and throwing them in her cooking caldron. It's contextual to our lives as contemporary urban people," Lynch said.
And as Morrison pointed out: "The mortar and pestle were modern devices once too."
The proof is in the pudding, according to Cheri Dye, 47, of Bolingbrook, who mostly performs spells to bring in money.
"Whatever works," said Dye, who relies on her coffee mill to grind herbs. "We get carried away with ceremony--pomp and circumstance--when simple works just fine."
Lisa Corley, 31, of Chicago says her food processor works like a charm for creating incense she burns to purify a space and remove negative energy. But there's one kitchen appliance she won't touch with a 10-foot broom.
An appliance to avoid
"Not a microwave," Corley said unequivocally. "A lot of spell work is using the energy around you, and a microwave manipulates energy in an artificial way. That might detract from the success of the magic."
So it's convenient, but is instant magic as good as the way Mom used to make it--from scratch?
"If the intention is there, it's just as potent," Corley confirmed. "I've gotten some rock-star parking with my parking place spell."
Access to rock-star parking sounds like a tip-in. Where does one sign up?
"Anyone can work magic," Morrison said. "Start by wanting something so badly you become one with the effort, then channel that toward a goal."
But Myers offered a word of caution for those who got their heart's desire only to learn they should have listened to their head: "You have to be very, very careful what you wish for."
Bath floats idea of how to make wish come true
Today's witches are discovering that coffeemakers do the trick when brewing infusions, decoctions and washes.
But Dorothy Morrison, an author and Wiccan high priestess, cautions against using the same appliance to brew both ingestible teas and poisonous liquids. She also recommends cleaning the pot and filter with hot, soapy water and bleach between magical brewings--a good idea because mixing potions and, oh, pesto sauce can spell trouble.
For those tired of wishing upon a star, here's another option. And even if you don't believe in magic, you'll still come out smelling pretty nice.
Vervain wish bath
Place 2 tablespoons of vervain (also known as verbena) in the coffeemaker filter cup. Add a full pot of water. As the brew drips, concentrate on your wish and visualize it coming true. Chant: "Vervain, herb of wishes sweet/ Bring my wish now, I entreat."
Draw a warm bath and add the infusion. Immerse yourself nine times, saying with each immersion: "Wish fly quickly unto me,/ As I will so mote it be!"
Step out of the tub and allow your body to dry naturally.
Magic to do on the fly
In "Everyday Magic: Spells and Rituals for Modern Living," author Dorothy Morrison asserts that spellwork simply requires intent, focus and the ability to channel energy toward your wishes. That means, of course, that Chicago baseball fans need "Spellwork for Dummies." Q will rely on its lucky rabbit's foot, but we offer some of Morrison's spells and incantations for the curious.
- TO KEEP FROM RUNNING OUT OF GAS
Look at the gas gauge and visualize the needle rising from the empty mark. Firmly chant: "Gods of fuel expand my gas. Aid me now--come quick and fast."
- TO PROTECT AGAINST COMPUTER VIRUSES
Turn the computer on and defragment the hard drive. At the same time, clean the computer case, monitor and keyboard of all dust while chanting: "Mercury, Zeus, Apollo, Thor/ Protect this fine machine./ Keep its files where they belong/ And its hardware virus-free."
- TO FIND A PARKING SPOT
This chant never fails and usually provides a space close to the front door: "Goddess Mother, lift your face/ And find for me a parking space."
- FOR CHANGING TRAFFIC LIGHTS FROM RED TO GREEN
As you near the intersection, focus on the red light and inhale deeply, pulling the color in with your breath. Then exhale fully in green, directing your breath to the bottom globe of the light. It will change to green.
- TO EASE THE PAIN OF DIVORCE
Place bittersweet or lemon balm under the pillow to ease pain and bring the fresh perspective necessary to start life anew.
- TO LOCATE LOST ITEMS, IN PARTICULAR, CAR KEYS OR GLASSES
"Keeper of what disappears,
Hear me now--open your ears.
Find for me what I now seek
By moon, sun, wind, fire, earth and sea."
Copyright © 2004, Chicago Tribune <http://www.chicagotribune.com/>
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Vol. 26, No. 8
York County, Maine
Acton Woman a Witch to Watch: Local author Pens 13 books, well-known in Wiccan life
By Ann C. Fisher
ACTON-Like the Wicked Witch of the West, the old image of pagans just doesn't hold water anymore.
She isn't an ugly, toad-kissing, pointy-hat-wearing hag.
She's gregarious, perfectly coifed and gracious. She's Dorothy Morrison of Acton.
Morrison may not be well-known in secular society, but she's becoming the witch to watch. An author of thirteen books, Morrison, along with her husband Mark and their black Lab Sadie Mae, moved to Acton in 2003 on Summer Solstice (in June).
Morrison is an award-winning author of the pagan persuasion, but even in those circles, Morrison is a bit of a non-traditionalist. Called the Mistress of Modern-day Magic, her books include a primer on how to use modern kitchen appliances to prepare spells and potions.
She may be able to whip up a cure for the blues or cast a spell to deal with an irate neighbor, but as a relatively new Maine resident, Morrison admits she is out of her element. It's not for the reasons one might think.
Morrison has no problems practicing her craft and finding like-minded pagans in Southern Maine. Her problem is with the weather. The snow is really interesting to get used to, said Morrison with her ever-present smile during a recent interview.
Morrison is admittedly a warm weather person. She grew up in the Houston area of Texas and has lived in Alabama and Hollywood.
Since 1999 Morrison has been writing fulltime and is able to make her living from the book trade. If I can do it at 42, anyone can, she says firmly.
A tall, elegant looking woman with short silver hair, Morrison exudes friendliness that is characteristic of Texans. She also displays the plain-spokenness.
Morrison's journey to the religion called Wicca has roots in a very traditional upbringing. Her father became chief of police while her mother was the epitome of the Southern Belle.
If there was anything back then Morrison was not, it was a Southern Belle. In her youth she was a tomboy who was seated on a horse before she could walk. At 2 years old Morrison was featured in Western Horseman Magazine as the youngest rider in the Texas Trail Ride Association who could truly handle her own horse-even though that horse was 16 hands high!
Morrison was also raised Catholic, attended nine years of parochial school and lived to tell about it. She had an epiphany of sorts as a young teen when the parish priest asked parishioners to sign a petition against birth control and other modern evils. Rather than signing, Morrison stood up and walked out.
Ironically, she was entertaining the idea of becoming a nun at the time. Of course, that didn't last long, she said. The girl who walked out of a Christian church has come a long way since then. From learning to read tarot (the oldest existing deck was commissioned by a ducal Italian family as a birthday present-they were Catholic) from her mother when she was a teen, Morrison is now a third-degree Wiccan high priestess of the Georgian Tradition.
After graduating from High School in 1973, Morrison moved to Houston, where she was introduced to the Craft. She honed her skills in California and then moved to Missouri. It was in Missouri that she became interested in archery, and in just her second year on the archery competition circuit she held three state championship titles.
Morrison then began her writing career and was published in every pagan journal and quarterly she could find-while holding a position on the writing staff of several bow-hunting magazines.
She founded the Coven of the Crystal Garden in 1986, and has taught the Craft to students across the country and in Australia.
The high priestess is also related to royalty. Her genealogy is as impressive as her pagan title-Morrison is a direct descendent of William the Conqueror. She's also tied to Robert the Bruce of Scotland, a Kentucky governor, the first poet laureate of Texas, and a charter member of the Texas Rangers.
Clearly, there are many sides to Morrison besides the magical one, but she doesn't mind being best known as a witch.
I call a spade a spade, she said with her character directness. I'm a witch and I don't find that to be a derogatory term.
Shedding Light on a Magical LifestyleMagic. For some, the word conjures visions of a genie in a bottle, a wand with endless powers and maybe even a cackling old hag stirring up a pot of who-knows-what beneath a moonlit sky. But for the modern practitioner, the word evokes an entirely different sort of image: a practical lifestyle in which the mystical and mundane not only flow together seamlessly, but do so in a fashion easily suited to today's busy pace.
By Dorothy Morrison
That's all well and fine, but doesn't the magical lifestyle call for a certain amount of spell-casting? And doesn't that create a time management problem - especially when there already aren't enough hours in the day? The answer is no, and that's because a magical lifestyle relies on the available resources. Of course, this often means substituting something from the kitchen cabinet in lieu of that time-consuming search for a missing ingredient, or maybe even working up a new spell centered around the things already on hand. But that's not a cause for worry either. Why? Because those who live the magical life know that successful magic relies more upon personal mindset than some list of ingredients. In short, they know that the practitioner is the magic. It's as simple as that.
Because many practitioners depend solely on the energies of the Moon when it comes to spellwork, they go to great lengths to plan efforts around Her phases. While there's nothing wrong with that, waiting around for the Moon to cooperate can be more than a little exasperating. When we need something, we need it now. And though we can certainly adjust our intent and wording to suit Her current mood, that takes time. Time we don't have. Especially in today's busy world.
But that's where the Sun comes in. Rather than offering opportunities that can take several weeks to manifest, the Sun presents us with five different phases every single day. Phases that either meet or beat the Moon's power, and all we have to do is apply them toward our efforts.
So, what are these Sun phases and when do they occur? More to the point, though, how do we use them?
While there's not enough space here to go into each one in depth, the following descriptions will get you started.
Dawn: Infant/Young Child Sun
Because this phase lends itself to anything connected to fresh starts, beginnings or change, use it for all efforts where new is key (jobs, love, relationships, perspectives and even life decisions). Rejuvenation efforts involving hope and trust, a reclamation of personal joy or a recovery of good health or physical energy are also good bets. In fact, even a broken heart can benefit from this energy, for nothing has mending or refreshing abilities like those of the Rising Sun.
Morning: Adolescent Brother/Lover Sun
Since any project requiring growth or expansion works exceedingly well during this phase, it provides an excellent time to build upon the positive aspects in your life, resolve situations where courage is necessary, and to bring warmth and harmony to home, family and relationships. But that's not all. It also offers the perfect conditions for efforts involving romance, sex and that all-too-often-lacking flow of unlimited cash!
Noon: Father Sun
Along with the more complicated matters normally reserved for a Full Moon - love, finance, justice, protection and so forth - this energy is unsurpassed when it comes to charging crystals and metal ritual tools. It also provides an excellent time for health magic; bringing that extra burst of vigor, strength and personal energy; for matters of study and knowledge retention; or for those which require extreme illumination and magnification.
Afternoon: Sage/Warrior Sun
This is a good phase to handle projects which need clarity and resolution, but require a strategic approach with a soft touch. Professionalism, business matters, communications and all interactions with other people fall into this category. Rituals concerning new ideas, adventures and travel are successful during this time also, as are those which involve wisdom, tenacity and the skills to cut through deceit. A very versatile Sun, the Sage/Warrior even provides a good time to balance the checkbook.
Sunset: Grandfather/Sacrificial Sun
Because the energy of this Sun phase is much akin to that of the Waning Moon, His appearance makes it a good time to simplify or tie up loose ends, and provides the perfect atmosphere for work that involves dieting; getting rid of bad habits; and eradicating stress, confusion and poor health. Efforts designed to uncover deception work well at this phase too, as do those related to divinatory skills and psychic activity.
Since the phases outlined above are just a small reflection of what the Sun can bring to your magic, you'll want to read Everyday Sun Magic for all the illuminating details. Be warned, though: Once you do, you'll never see the Sun - or magic - in the same light again!