Modern Ways to Work with the Elements
by Elysia Gallo
Acquisitions Editor: Wicca, Paganism, Magick
Writing on parchment, brewing a
magical concoction in a cauldron over an open flame, hand-dipping wax
candles to use during ritual…so romantic. But do today's Pagans
actually have the time or inclination for such old-fashioned workings?
Coming out this month is a truly ground-breaking book on crystals, The Seven Secrets of Crystal Talismans: How to Use Their Power for Attraction, Protection & Transformation
For anyone who's ever read a book on crystals and wondered, "OK, how
did the ancient Egyptians know what to use lapis lazuli for, and does
all this old lore really apply to me?" this is the book you should
check out. Certified gemologist Henry Mason
offers thoroughly modern explanations of how crystal talismans
work—information that the ancients couldn't have known. For example,
the crystal lattice structure varies from mineral to mineral—turquoise
is triclinic and therefore acts as a barrier, which is why it's a great
talisman for safe travel. Sturdy monoclinic minerals like jade,
malachite, and moonstone are known for their protection in the physical
world and the spiritual one. Stones like rubies, hematite, and
tourmaline act as seekers and simplifiers due to their hexagonal
structure. But then Mason takes it even further, comparing crystals'
colors and chemical properties (oxides, sulfides, carbonates, etc.) to
their metaphysical functions. Finally, he supplies color charts so that
you can easily find the best mineral—among hundreds—to suit your needs,
and gives a new spin on how to empower them with your intent. This is a
great book for modern witches who do like "real world" facts and
information once in a while!
Speaking of modern witches, what could be more modern than
taking courses on Wicca over the Internet? Three of Llewellyn's April
new releases are books written for students of WitchSchool
the first truly online school dedicated to Wicca, Paganism, and magical
thought. When used in conjunction with the school and its teachers,
completion of the courses of study and the exercises in Witch School First Degree
, Witch School Second Degree
, and Witch School Third Degree
confers ceremonial degrees upon the reader. Of course, you don't need
to be a student of the online school to read these books and learn more
about the Correllian tradition of Wicca as taught by WitchSchool.
In May we have a book coming out that is very dear to my heart. As soon as I saw this proposal I knew we had
to publish it. Faith and Magick in the Armed Forces: A Handbook for Pagans in the Military
is the first book of its kind, and I am so proud of the work that author Stefani Barner
has done in bringing this segment of the Pagan community to light. This
is truly a book for the modern witch; the person who acknowledges that,
living in a democracy with a non-compulsory military, we are so blessed
to have warriors among us who sacrifice their lives and the lifestyles
of their families for our greater good. Barner is a military wife and
also a member of Military Families Speak Out
so she knows with power comes the responsibility to use it wisely. The
book gives sound advice to those thinking of joining the military; lets
Pagans know what their rights are in the military regarding religion,
sexuality, abuse, political dissent, and much more; and prepares them
and their whole families for relocation and deployment. Besides being
absolutely practical and full of resources, it also includes spells,
meditations, rituals, and altar ideas specifically designed for these
tough emotional experiences. There are also interviews with members of
the military and their families, including military widow Roberta
Stewart, who fought for the pentacle to be approved for military grave
markers. This book got a starred review in Publishers Weekly
, so you know it's good! Highly recommended for all Pagan military families. (OK, I'll stop gushing now!)
Also in May, the follow-up to Goddess Alive!
will be released: Goddess Afoot!
, in which author Michelle Skye
introduces us to 12 more Celtic and Norse Goddesses. You've probably
heard of "high magic" and "low magic," but have you heard of Goddess
Magic? In this book you will learn how Goddess Magic strives to connect
you to the divine, in a similar fashion to high magic, while creating
life-enhancing changes here on Earth, like low magic. Some of the
workings include accepting your shadow self, gaining balance, accessing
your natural healing ability, increasing your psychic power, and much
more. Each chapter includes a pathworking, a meditation, an invocation,
and three magical activities. Publishers Weekly writes about Skye, "As
in her earlier volume, Skye demonstrates a truly inspired talent for
writing guided meditations," and calls her "refreshingly original." I'd
have to agree on that one, too!
Two more notable May releases are from British witch Kate West
: The Real Witches' Handbook
and The Real Witches' Craft
. The Real Witches' Handbook
is as an absolute beginner's book; outlining what witches believe and
how they practice. However, if you're looking for something with a
little more substance, The Real Witches' Craft
offers a far
more in-depth introduction, including dozens of practical workings and
rituals to align with the elements, develop your senses, increase your
meditation and visualization skills, and more.
Next time I'll have some really groovy summer books to talk
about, so stay tuned! In the meantime, have a rambunctious and lovely
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As you may have read last time, we have a new Witchy Update
feature called Ask A Witch
. Thanks to everyone who sent in such thoughtful questions! Obviously we can't answer them all in a single Witchy Update
, but keep them coming and we'll try to get through them all!
Our first question comes from Sapphire in Georgia:
"I've always wondered why so many witches snuff or pinch out
candles instead of blowing them out (I prefer letting them burn down,
of course, but sometimes that's impossible). I've heard/read many
varied reasons behind this, but haven't found one underlying philosophy
behind the practice. Anybody want to share the wisdom?"
Great question! You're absolutely correct, there are many varied
reasons and, as with anything regarding Witchcraft, there is no one
right answer. So while some might never blow out a candle because they
adhere to their personal tradition, others will tell you…
For the next question I'd like to ask readers to chime in! A subscriber
named Trudy posed a question that is not nearly so cut and dried as the
"I have been in a married relationship for 10 years. Unhappily for
the past 5. I have found my soul mate last October and plan on leaving
my husband in the spring. I have been studying Wicca for a little over
a year now. My husband's background is Catholic, although he hasn't
practiced for years. He is not a bad person, it's just that I think
somewhere out there, is someone better suited for him. We are very
different in many ways, and I can no longer pretend to be happy and
totally in love with him. My question is, where does the Wiccan
religion stand on this type of problem? If we had been handfasted it
would be different, he tolerates my new studies, but never asks
questions as it is 'my thing' not his. I don't want to see him hurt and
he probably will be, but I do want out of this relationship. Is it
wrong to want to be happy?
Is there some way of handling this without hurting him? Probably
not. I at least need to know I am not doing the wrong thing as far as
the tradition goes…can you help me?"
Please send your answers and advice to AskAWitch@llewellyn.com
and we'll give Trudy a good selection of answers in our next Witchy Update
Do you have a question for Ask A Witch?
Send an email to AskAWitch@llewellyn.com
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Are you an experienced Witch who has been through so many rituals and spells you feel like a walking encyclopedia? Then The Broom Closet
is the place for you to let it all out! This is a place to unpack, dust
off, and share the tips and tricks that have worked for you so that
other newbies and baby witches don't have to learn it all the hard way.
Here are the first tips we've received from readers—they are both wonderful, invigorating tips for spring!
Amythyst Raine, a solitary eclectic Witch from Nebraska, writes:
"To some people, witchcraft conjures up expectations of a genie in
a bottle…wishes will be granted, wealth and beauty attained, enemies
punished, and new loves found. Witchcraft can accomplish these things,
although not instantaneously and often in ways you don't expect.
Today, let's look at 'Beauty'…to be beautiful is the desire of
most people, as is shown by the big business of plastic surgery and the
cosmetics industries. But how did our ancestors go about attaining
beauty? Those wise women of the distant past who had only themselves to
rely on for creating the products and methods they would use…
It is said that by going out early in the morning, on that
first May day, and bathing your face in the shimmering dew, you will
achieve the appearance of youth and beauty. I believe the magick of
morning dew works not only on May Day, but throughout the year as well.
I used to do this as a child, long before I ever heard the legend.
Decades later, I still swear by the tingling sensation of those
sparkling diamonds of moisture.
This common and popular herb has many uses and is a standard in
most witches' cupboards. The ability to enhance 'Youth & Beauty' is
only a small part of Rosemary's allure, but it is a popular one.
Fill a glass jar with water, sprinkle in a large pinch or two of dried
Rosemary, and let this steep for a couple of days. (You can then pour
this through a sieve to remove the Rosemary.) Refrigerate it and use it
as an astringent for your face. Wet a cotton ball and bathe your face
in the chilled dark water, reeking of the pungent odor of this
Let the magick and energy of Rosemary work for you to create glowing skin and a more youthful appearance."
The next tip, from Aurora Jet, NROOGD Priestess in California, is a "Spring Morn Spell
"Spring is a time of freshness, renewal. Plan this during a waxing
moon phase, 7 days before the full moon. Awaken at dawn. Face east.
Dress a 3" lime green pillar candle with lemongrass essential oil.
Sprinkle the outer edges of the top of the candle with 7 white
carnation petals, being careful to keep them away from the wick area.
As you light the candle, say: 'Dawn brings light; Spring brings life.'
Burn the candle early each morning for seven days; spend this interlude
in meditation. Be mindful of the white carnation petals merging into
the lime-colored candle as the wax softens. Be mindful of the hope of
Thank you both, Aurora and Amythyst!
Do you have a magical substitution that works wonders? A perfect
one-liner for nosy co-workers? A recipe for some sublime Sabbat dish?
Bring it out of storage and contribute to our community dialogue!
Send your helpful hints to TheBroomCloset@llewellyn.com
and if possible, please include your Craft name, the part of the
country you are from (you can use city, state, or region), and the path
that you follow.
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The Esbats of the Goddess
by Ann Moura
What constitutes a new moon? How should modern-day witches go
about celebrating this lunar phenomenon? Ann Moura, author of the Green
Witchcraft series and Grimoire for the Green Witch
, shares different ways to celebrate the New and Dark Moon Esbats.
Whispers from the Woods: Wisdom for Everyday Life
by Sandra Kynes
How can Pagans living in a modern world honor nature and maintain their
connection with the rhythms and spirit of the land? Sandra Kynes
demonstates how to create and use simple meditation cards as a tool for
expanding our relationship with the natural world, deepening
self-awareness, and initiating personal transformation.
Seven Steps to Self-Devotion
by LaSara FireFox
Explore how to reclaim and honor the beauty of your divine
feminine spirit with this seven step guide to female self-empowerment.
In this inspiring article based upon her book Sexy Witch
author LaSara FireFox teaches women how to bring out their inner
beauty, strength, and sexiness by employing a unique blend of feminism
Green-Spirited Living in an Enchanted World
by Poppy Palin
Walk down the green-spirited path with author Poppy Pallin as she takes
readers on a journey to the wild side of the Craft where every thought
and deed becomes an act of devotion or enchantment.
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MTV News Profiles Witch, Author, & DJ Raven Digitalis
Witch, DJ, and Llewellyn author Raven Digitalis has been profiled by MTV News
The segment initially aired on MTV on Tuesday, March 25, 2008
at 5pm Eastern and will be rerun on MTV, MTV2, and MTVU, as well as
being available online at MTV News.
to read the complete press release.
The May/June issue of New Worlds
Download the PDF file
of the latest issue of New Worlds
or click here
to sign up and have it delivered to your home!
A ceremonial fire kindled at dawn on major Wiccan holidays. It was traditionally used to light all other household fires.
literally seething. Seidr is the name of a variety of magical and
shamanic practices such as sorcery and divination and "soul journeys."
word "Wyrd" is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and roughly corresponds to the
concept of "karma" in Hinduism. Although wyrd can be personal it is
often linked to whole families, tribes, and even races. Unlike Karma,
it is not totally fixed. One can move within one's individual web of
Wyrd in accord with the amount of consciousness one commands. The less
conscious one is, the more one is subject to the seemingly random
workings of Wyrd, in contrast to "orlog" which is impersonal and cannot