Apple Modern Letter: Q Ruler of the Light Half of the Year Mayday to The Eve of All Hallows (Also shares 9th Ogham month with Hazel)
Many of the messages associated with Queirt are associated with choice. Choice is not always easy, especially when the choice is between two equally attractive things, but the choice must still be made. Being able to differentiate between choosing between what is right and what will make us happy is an important skill. Remember, not choosing (inaction) is still a choice but it is more likely to lead to an unsatisfactory outcome, particularly in the case of spiritual journeys and pathways to learning. Sometimes it is better to be a master in one thing than a jack of all trades. Either way, to be able to harvest the gifts of your experience you must be open to making the decisions laid out before knowing that if it doesn’t make sense right now it will in the future.
Who would have thought that the apple, that tart, tangy and crisp fruit favourite, was not a native of the British Isles? The first mention of apples in 885AD in relation nut it wasnt until after the Normal Conquest of 1066 that apple orchards and cider production really took off. Prior to this the only apples in the British Isles were those we know as crab apples today so for the purposes of this I will look at both species.
Domestic Apple Quick facts Common name: Apple Scientific name: Malus x domestica Family: Rosaceae Origin: non-native
The apple tree is a small to medium tree which can grow up to 10m in high. The bark of the tree is usually grey with bumps and ridges whilst the leaves are a dark green oval with serrated edges and a woolly underside. The pale pink flowers, which blossom throughout May and June, transform into fruit during the autumn months. Fruit ranges from green to red in colour and will be sharp or sweet according to specific species. Carpels form as the fruit develops, that hold dark brown seeds so that when the fruit is cut horizontally a star pattern is formed.
Crab Apple Quick facts Common name: crab apple Scientific name: Malus sylvestris Family: Rosaceae Origin: native
Ancestor of the cultivated apple can apples grow to a similar height to their domesticated counterparts, though they are hardy and can live much longer. The tree takes on an irregular shape and the bark becomes more notably gnarled and twisted, especially when exposed, and twigs develop spines. These changes give the tree a ‘crabbed’ appearance hence the common name of Crab Apple. The leaves of the crab apple are a lighter green in comparison to their domestic counterparts, and are more glossy. Unlike the domestic apple crab apples plays host to parasitic mistletoe and is more likely to cultivate lichens.
Planet: Venus Element: Water Gender: Feminine Themes: Love and Trust Stone: Emerald, Rose Quartz Birds: Grosbeak Color: green, Pink Deity: Demeter, Hera, Pomona Aphrodite, Iðunn, Frigga, Freya, Virgin Mary, Sabbat: Samhain
Queirt Queirt Queirt Quuu Eeer T Quuu Eeer T Quu Quu Quu Eeer T Queirt Queirt Queirt
Catch a falling blossom indicates good luck close at hand. Successfully catch 12 in a row and the year ahead will be a fortunate one.
Apple wands are best harvested under the light of the waxing crescent of the moon, ideally in the month of May, and use for workings associated with love and healing.
Discover the initial of your future love interest by peeling an apple skin in one peice to throw it over your left shoulder.
Use dried apple blossom in incense to increase your connection with the fairy realms.
Apples are often used in love and fertility spell but they can also be used in protection charms when included dried apple seeds in spell pouches or other charms.
Mythology and Literature
The apple appears prominently throughout Western mythology as the magical macguffin that drives a story along to the point of influencing biblical interpretation. Apples have been depicted as bestowing healing, immortality or knowledge as well as the reward for beauty or sign of a bargain struck with faery.
The apple isn’t always a positive object. The apple of beauty is also the Apple of Discord; the fruit of the tree of knowledge is obtained following an act of deception something which is repeated in Snow White with the old womans apple being one of mortality rather than immortality.
“I am the ancient Apple Queen, As once I was so am I now. For evermore a hope unseen, Betwixt the blossom and the bough. Ah, where’s the river’s hidden Gold! And where the windy grave of Troy? Yet come I as I came of old, From out the heart of summer’s joy.”
A quick post today to add a little more detail and signposts to the Cunning Folk of Leeds series of posts.
The lovely people over at Poisoners Cabinet were kind enough to take up my suggestion of the case of William Dove and the Wizard of South Market as one they might enjoin for the show. I will unashamedly admit that I was grinning ear to ear at just seeing the title of the show but was set off bouncing round the living room (leaving my podcast Friday glass of wine safely by the crochet) when I realised that not only did I get a name check but my blog did as well!!
I am so pleased that Nick and Sinead found my post on Harrison worth referencing, particularly I’ve been struggling with the energy to blog in recent months. I have pretty much got to the end of my Moot talk posts (bar all the individual Ogham entries) and with life not having fully returned to normal post Covid I have been struggling for inspiration.
The name check did my ego wonders.
You can listen to the show by following the link below. My ego aside Nick gave an excellent telling of the story and between him and Sinead I was crying with laughter in all the right places.
One thing the show did highlight is that I let people down in my original post. Sinead asked “how does a wizard advertise himself” and in the case of Harrison there is actually an answer.
When Harrison was arrested for the assault of Eliza Croft one of the items removed from his roomers was a pile of business cards which advertised his services in horrific verse.
I know I read it aloud in the original Cunning Folk talk, and the page in Owen Davies book was marked up from that, but I think my brain erased its existence at the thought of having to type it out. We can’t avoid such things forever, so I’ve done the deed – punctuation, grammar and period spelling all intact as according to my source.
So, to answer the question “How does a questionable wizard advertise his services?” – Through business cards inscribed with “excruciating verse”.
Lines on Astrology and Watercasting addressed to Dr. Harrison, no 5, North-row, South-market, Meadow-lane, Leeds. By a Gentleman.
Prince of Astrologers! For the Lies ope the Book of Destiny. Kingdoms and states, to thy keen eye, Their future history supply. And all the stars that at our birth, Are set to rule our fate on earth, Thou can’st interpret, and alright Translate the language of their light Descended from a line of Seers, Prophets for near two hundred years. Rare are thy gifts the sick to cure, Life, love, and fortune to insure. This do I know: for it was mine, To call upon thy Art divine, To own its use, its influence feel, And prove indeed that it was real. From a sick bead, raised up I cry To others. – “Wherefore will he die?” Though useless other treatments be, Try, ere too late, Astrology. To Dr. Harrison, tell your pains, And while th’ auspicious planet reigns, He will relieve, revive, restore, And you shall bless him ever more.
Dr. Harrison, the great Yorkshire Astrologer and Water-caster, may be consulted at all hours of the day, at residence no 5, North-row, South-market, Meadow-lane, Leeds.
Seen as though I was at it I have also made an October update to the end of the post of Mary Bateman, adding the video of the Ballard of Mary Bateman and its context. You can view the amended post here or simply watch a recording of the song below.
Hazel Modern Letter: C Ruler of the 9th Lunar Month 5th August – 1st September
Coll suggests that creativity is the solution to many situations. Take advantage of your own creative gifts and talents and intuition; your ability to communicate, through your words, art etc, give you the ability to inspire others. Share your knowledge and abilities with others, and lead by example. Use art as a way to explore a spiritual journey, both as a way to honour your Gods and as a way for them to inspire you. Follow your intuition to its source to bring further ideas an inspirations to the surface. The Gods are the muse, and art is one way they can share their inspiration and wisdom with you.
Hazel is native to Britain and can be found all across Europe, parts of North Africa and parts of western Asia. In the UK it is often found in company with oak, ash and birch in lowland, scrub and hedgerow environments. Left to their own devices Hazel will grow as tall as 12m and live up to 80 years but if the tree is coppiced it can live far longer and grows as a series of bushy stems rather than a single tree.
Hazel can be identified by its distinctive catkin flowers, particularly the yellow male flowers, which appear before the downy leaves in clusters. Hazel trees also have female flowers, which are smaller and red in colour. Once pollinated these female flowers turn into oval fruits which mature into a nut with a woody shell surrounded by a cup. Hazel can be identified in winter by its smooth, gray-green bark.
Planet: Mercury (Sometimes Sun and Venus) Element: Air Gender: Masculine (sometimes dual) Themes: Wisdom, poetry, science Stone: Topaz, pearl Birds: Crane Color: Orange Deity: Hermes, Artemis, Diana
Make a circlet of pliable hazel twigs and leaves and wear them in ritual to ensure that your desires are achieved.
Nuts, twigs or bark can be used in an incense to sharpen our intuition and other psychic abilities.
Place small pieces of hazel wood around your home, particularly in windows and by doorways, to protect against fire and lightning.
Carrying a hazelnut in its shell will help ward off aches and pains caused by damp weather. Gifting hazelnuts to news brides is a wish for fertility, whilst wearing them in groups of seven hepp in communicating with the realm of faery.
Mythology and Literature
The Celtic word Coll is often translated to “the life force within you” and the tree And its nuts appear in numerous myths associated with the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. It was from the salmon fed by nine hazelnuts that Finn Mac Cumhail was able (accidentally) acquire all the wisdom that his master Finnegas had hoped to gain by having the first taste of the fish. In some telling of the myth Finn is also known as McCool.
A wand or staff made from the hazel was the implement of choice for Druid priests, in part because they would impart its wisdom to its user but also because it could be conveniently used as a divination tool to look for everything from a water source, lost treasure or the truth of a matter being litigated. More practically hazel withers were stables in construction and basket weaving for many centuries as well as making for a handy pilgrims or travellers stave aas a way to aid the steps and provide protection against anyone who may mean you I’ll on the road.
In braze, silent breeze of dreams incantations, Shiva arms sway in the forest dark, mushroom, Cloud, lord with fungi, mosses whose clinging Shades of branches, braids deep, forking stories Of old, brooding cauldron Druids, sidles Eastern Spindrift words of Sanskrit spake, told in veined Sacred hands unfound, celestial spines, moulded Green, in the windy monkish statutes of the fallen And single handed claps of the missionary leaves.
When considering divine parings and consorts in relation to Hekate a common companion mentioned is the Great God Pan. Whilst other pairings will be looked at collectively at a later date the connection between Hekate and Pan is something worth looking at individually.
Who is the Great God Pan – a crash course
To the Greeks Pan was the God of Shepherds and Hunters, residing in the meadows and forests of the wild mountains of ancient Arcadia. A son of Hermes, by various mothers both mortal and divine depending on the source, Pan was rejected by his mother but welcomed by the Gods, particularly Dionysus and the Nymphs he would grow to chase in his lust. He was a pastoral god, often described as “rustic” which seems to be at the root of his name in Arcadia. This land seemed to be one he preferred with the woodlands, mountains and caves providing him with suitable places to chase, carouse and rest with his companions. In addition to protecting and bringing fertility and abundance to various herds and flocks Pan is also credited with bringing success (or failure) to a hunt as well as being seen as a fearsome presence in the wilderness, able to bring awe and even madness to those who he encounters. TheoiWiki
The Witch Father and Witch Queen
The divine pairing between Hekate and Pan is far from being historical in nature but its modern and experiential origins are no less compelling, with the author and artist Jeff Cullen being a vocal practitioner recognising both deities in a single praxis.
As a Hellenic witch heavily influenced by traditional witchcraft, to me Pan and Hekate hold the roles of the Devil and the Queen of Elphame respectively within the Hellenic Pantheon. To me Pan is the lord of the wild, the god of ecstasy and nature, the true inverter of human normality just as the Devil is in traditional witchcraft. Hekate is the mother of witchcraft and necromancy, she who is the queen of the dead, and mistress of all human and inhuman spirits, just like the Queen of Elphame.
Speaking for myself, I have also worked with Hekate and Pan as a pair following a ritual dedicated to Pan, which was originally intended to be a one off. After that ritual, and regardless of whether or not I consciously invoked him or not, he would appear in my meditations and rituals in company with Hekate.
In my experience they were both denizens of the wild spaces but whilst Hekate was more often found stood silently waiting upon the crossroad between the town and wild wood Pan would emerge tousled and laughing from the deep wood itself. Where Hekate would preside with dignity and wisdom Pan would lead with exuberance and experience. When Pan cavorted, Hekate smiled with affection bordering on indulgence and whilst Hekate spoke Pan would make running commentary, bringing his own brand of wisdom into the conversation.
For the period of about two years, I worked actively with them both until over time Pan’s influence and connection faded. The lessons that he had to bring had been passed and whilst he would always attend the rite, he no longer inserted himself into rituals uncalled.
The commentary offered by Jeff, as quoted above, resonates strongly with my experience. The lens of Traditional Witchcraft, one which I myself have looked through when developing my own magical praxis. Associating Pan with the Traditional Witchcraft figure of the Devil, or Witch Father, and Hekate with the Queen of Elphame, Witch Queen/Mother, for the reasons outlined by Jeff reflects my own experience and continues to resonate for me today. That being said, here are some other throughs on the matter; The Great God Pan for Witches / Witch Father Mother
Pan and the Mysteries
Stepping away from direct connections with Hekate let us have a look at Pan’s role in some telling’s of the wanderings of Demeter and his connection to her daughter, Despoine.
In the words of Pausanias, when recounting an account of the myth as told by the people of Thelpusa in Arcadia;
“. . . Afterwards, they say, angry with Poseidon and grieved at the rape of Persephone, she [Demeter] put on black apparel and shut herself up in this cavern for a long time. But when the fruits of the earth were perishing, and the human race dying yet more through famine, no god, it seemed, knew where Demeter was hiding, until Pan, they say, visited Arkadia. Roaming from mountain to mountain as he hunted, he came at last to Mount Elaios (Elaeus) and spied Demeter, the state she was in and the clothes she wore. So Zeus learnt this from Pan, and sent the Moirai (Fates) to Demeter, who listened to the Moirai (Moirae, Fates) and laid aside her wrath, moderating her grief as well.”
In this I see Pan acting in a role which is counter point to that of Hekate in the tale. Whereas Hekate leads Demeter to a source of information and wisdom as to the fate of Persephone it is Pan who is able to locate the grief wrought and wandering Demeter and brought knowledge of her to the Gods. In some telling’s of the story Pan is deliberately sent by Zeus to search the wilderness for signs of the grain goddess but in others he stumbles upon her in the land of Arcadia, dressed in black and shut up in a cave. In either event, this also feels like an inversion of the earlier part of the tale where it is Demeter who locates the cave of Hekate.
Regardless Demeter was a feature of the Arcardian ritual landscape, particularly in concert with her daughter by Poseidon, Despoina. The cult of Despoina was a very important mystery religion within Arcadia and some ancient commentators claim that she was worshiped above all others. This cult was very similar in nature to that of the Eleusinian Mysteries, with Desponia revealing to her initiates secrets of the nature of life and death at the main cult centre of Lycosura. Marble reliefs found at Lycosura hint at ecstatic ritual dance to music, with figures with animal heads hinting at the wearing of masks as part of the ritual process. The construction of the megaron of Lycosura is somewhat similar to the one at Eleuis so perhaps this relief hints at an ritual element through which similar or shared mysteries were shared.
I mention this cult in relation to Pan for within the temple of Desponia at Lycosura was also a shrine dedicated to Pan, where it is said that a fire dedicated to the god is always kept burning and through which oracles of the God could be sought.
“Thence you will ascend by stairs to a sanctuary of Pan . . . Beside this Pan a fire is kept burning which is never allowed to go out. It is said that in days of old this god also gave oracles . . .”
Finally, and before I can be accused of neglecting to mention it, the title of Despoine (Desponena) is one which is used in relation to not only Persephone but also Artemis and Hekate. Despite Despoine having her own lineage through Demeter and Poseidon, and her own identity within Arcadian mysteries separate to that of Persephone, the name is also used in the context of a title meaning “the mistress”. Who is being referred to in any given text is largely driven by the context of its use in the text however it should be remembered that in the aforementioned Arcadian mysteries the sacred name of Despoine is given to initiates so this is yet another case which proves that the Greeks were not a homogenous whole. Theoi / Wiki / Pantheon
Holly Modern Letter: T Ruler of the 8th Lunar Month 8th July – 4th August
Tine reminds us there is a strength to be found in unity, together we are stronger and better able to protect ourselves. Fostering stability and trust amongst our fellows will aid in this, as will practice, practice and more practice, building an instinctual nature. Holly also reminds us to trust our intuition but to avoid allowing our heart to rule our head. It may be necessary to rapidly adapt and respond to changing situations at hand. Through preparation such changes will come instinctual and with calm but could fall apart if you let emotions rule. Don’t risk losing sight of the big picture.
Holly, or European holly, occurs naturally throughout Europe from Britain and Ireland to as far south as Bulgaria and Turkey and beyond, being found as far asNorth Africa, the Caucasus mountains and northern Iran. The holly tree is its intrinsic link to Christmas and the Christian tradition and has been transplanted into regions where it has become an invasive species, including the temperate regions of Australia, Pacific North West America and NEW Zealand.
Mature holly trees can grow as tall as 15m and can live up to 300 years. The dark green, glossy foliage provides dense cover and nesting opportunities for various birds and hibernating mammals and the bright red berries are a vital winter food source for birds and small mammals.
Holly is an evergreen, meaning that the tree maintains leaves even in the deepest winter. Younger trees and new growth leaves close to ground level are usually spiked, with older leaves or those growing higher up are more rounded and smooth. These long lived and distinctive leaves are usually enough to aid identification of Holly year round but it is possible to ide tidy the wood by its smooth thin bark with small brown ‘warts’.
Holly throws small white flowers between early spring and early summer, depending on climate, before developing its distinctive blood red berries which will remain on the tree well into the winter.
Planet: Mars / Saturn Element: Fire Gender: Masculine Themes: Truth, sacrifice, reincarnation Stone: Bloodstone Birds: Starling Color: Red Deity: Lugh, Thor, Holly King Sabbat: Lammas / Lughnasadh Tide: The Waning Year
Tine Tine Tine Tiiiii Nnneee Tiiiii Nnneee Ti Ti Tiiiii Nnneee Tine Tine Tine
Hang a sprig of Holly in your home to protect your family.
Soak holly leaves in water under the light of a full moon to created water to use for blessing people and belongings you wish to protect.
To dream of a lover, gather nine holly leaves silently on a Friday night. Wrap the leaves in white cloth, bind with cord knotted nine times and place the package under your pillow. Do the same process with seven leaves and knots for prophetic dreams.
Mythology and Literature
Holly has been traditionally associated with protection and defence, such as guarding against evil spirits and bad luck. Holly was also associated with peace, goodwill and the drawing of good luck so it wasn’t uncommon for Celtic Chieftains to wear holly wreath crowns, or for new mothers to hand them over the cribs of new-borns.
It was most commonly during the winter months that Holly was brought into the home when protection and a memory of more verdant and fertile times is needed. The Christian church found in the Holly’s prickly leaves, blood red berries and bright white May flowers much that reminded them of the Mysteries of the Birth and Passion of Christ. This is why Holly is brought into churches during December, usually as a wreath to serve as a setting for the Advent candles.
Although the taking of cuttings is acceptable, and even encouraged, the full destruction of a tree is considered unlucky. Particularly where a tree forms part of a boundary is is thought to make the perpetrator vulnerable to negative influence from Witches, goblins and various “bad” fairies.
A ROSE has thorns as well as honey, I’ll not have her for love or money; An iris grows so straight and fine That she shall be no friend of mine; Snowdrops like the snow would chill me; Nightshade would caress and kill me; Crocus like a spear would fright me; Dragon’s-mouth might bark or bite me; Convolvulus but blooms to die; A wind-flower suggests a sigh; Love-lies-bleeding makes me sad; And poppy-juice would drive me mad: – But give me holly, bold and jolly, Honest, prickly, shining holly; Pluck me holly leaf and berry For the day when I make merry.
But Give me Holly, Jolly and Bold – Christina Rossetti
I wrote this ritual a number of years ago, partly as a devotional act and partly after somehow imagining I had found online a Hekatean ritual based on the well-known Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. I suppose it is bad form to take a ritual and cram it around to fit your purpose but I had experienced a moment of mental synthesis. I could see the ritual outline of Crowley’s original ritual overlaid by Eleusinian, Orphic and Ephesian concepts and over a period of three years I researched and experimented until I found a ritual that not only made sense but worked for me.
I have shared a portion of the ritual on this blog before, as a quick palatal cleanser to be used ahead of ritual but the full ritual is a magical procedure in of its self and it is time it was brought to light.
For reasons of brevity I will not delve too deeply into the nature and form of the LBRP beyond what is necessary to illustrate any similarities and differences. Much has already been written on the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and one should be familiar with the original ritual in order to perform this evolution. The ritual progression of enacting a Cross, establishing a Circle and Invocation of Powers followed by Affirmation remains, as does the core visualisation however much of the context has been changed, as has the associated cosmology.
Lets start by outlining the ritual in full.
The (Lesser) Banishing Ritual of the Crossroads The Ephesian Cross Facing the East enact the following; Touch the forehead and say Askei(Shadow less/Darkness) Touch the breast and say Kataskei(Shadow/Light) Touch the right shoulder and say Lix(Earth) Touch the left shoulder and say Tetrax(Season/Year) Hold your arms out in the form of a Cross and say Damnameneus(Unconquerable Sun) Clasp your hands before you and say Aisia(Knowledge) The Construction of the Eleusinian Circle With active finger of dominant hand, or some other ritual object, such as wand or knife, make in the air towards the east the Banishing Pentagram of Air and, bringing the point to the centre of the Pentagram, vibrate the word Legomena(things said / to Know).
Go to the South, visualising a connecting thread from the centre of the first pentagram to the point at which the second will be made. Make the Banishing Pentagram of Fire and vibrate similarly the word Deiknumena(things shown / to will).
Go to the West, make the Banishing Pentagram of Water and vibrate the word Dromena(things done / to Dare).
Go to the North, make the Banishing Pentagram of Earth and vibrate the word Aporrheta(the unrepeatable /to Keep Silent).
Return to the East and complete your circle by bringing the point to the centre of the first Pentagram.
The Orphic Invocation of Hekate Stand with arms outstretched in the form of a cross and say: Before me Ourania. Behind me Einalia. At my right hand Phosphoros. At my left hand Chthonia.
The Affirmation of the Crossroads With arms still in the form of the Cross say;
About me stand the Orphic Queens and within me shines the Crossroads of Hekate.
In the LBRP the purpose of the Qabalistic Cross is to establish the magician as the centre of his or her own Universe and the same is true of the the Ephesian Cross. The largest difference however, is that the Ephesian Cross does not draw on the concept of Adam Kadmon to represent the Micro and Macrocosm in either the human form or Tree of Life. Instead it uses the cycles of night and day in order to allow the operator to place themselves at the centre of a seasonal cycle and even time itself.
As with the LBRP the operator is instructed to draw a cross of light upon their body but instead should use the oration of the Ephesia Grammata Askei Kataskei Kataskei Tetrax Damnameneus Aisia
Although the exact meaning of the Ephesia Grammata has been lost to time, and was likely never committed fully to written record as is so often the case in “known” magical operations of the past, an explanation  does exist from which it is possible to reconstruct a meaning. Whilst it is possibly better for the individual to seek their own understanding of these barbarous words the one constructed for the purposes of creating this ritual reads as;
“Turning light into darkness to light once again; from day to day and season to season all things on this Earth are driven forth by the light of the unconquerable sun. Under the light of Heaven this is understood and known to be so.”
In essence, the Ephesia Cross establishes the operator at the centre of the universe by placing them within the cycles of both night and day as well as the season whilst also highlight the presence of the Sun and the other heavenly spheres as a way of obtaining divine knowledge. Thus the operator is also able to locate themselves within the neoplatonic cosmology.
Whereas the original LBRP Qabalistic Cross draws heavily on the establishment of the four elements of existence in the form of an Elemental Cross; the Ephesian Cross draws an equal armed cross which will eventually be encased within a circle, thus forming the alchemical symbol for the element of Earth. This, in a neoplatonic sense, focuses the operator’s awareness of their location on the material earth. The planetary realms emanating above, recalling the Theurgist to travel the realms in order to make a genuine connection with the Divine with the vertical bar of the Ephesian Cross facilitating this journey. The horizontal bar connects them to the material plane allowing them to be conscious of their place at the centre of all things material.
So to recap – When performing the Ephesian Cross, the operator not only identifies themselves as the centre of the universe but also at the centre of time as reckoned by solar procession. The Cross confirms their location upon the material place, that being the centre, and their desire to achieve a more direct form of communication with the Divine.
The Construction of the Eleusinian Circle
In most magical traditions to establishment of a magical Circle allows the operator to define an area which they both control and is protected by. In this sense, the Circle becomes a method by which the operator is able to keep unwanted influences away from their area of operation. In the LBRP the process of use of pentagrams and names of God purify the space ahead of magical workings and this function has been retained. The Eleusinian Circle also retains the use of Banishing Pentagrams and vibration of holy words in order to visualise the process of banishing unwanted energies and establishing the circle, allowing the operator to cleanse the circle of all element energies in preparation for when they will be invoked using the Orphic Invocation of Hekate.
This, however, is only part of the intention associated with the Eleusinian Circle. In addition to preparing the space the Eleusinian Circle allows the operator to encapsulate the Four Powers of the Craft; alternatively referred to as being the Powers of the Sphinx, Magus or Witch. These core principles of magical practice resonate with the three elements of initiation in the Eleusinian Mysteries and the concept of the Mysteries themselves allowing the operator to symbolically complete the initiatory process.
Here is where some operant preference comes in. There is some discussion (as I have encountered it in my research at least) as to whether it is best practice to use the individual elemental banishing pentagrams or only the Banishing Pentagram of Earth. In my personal practice I perform the latter but I have included all forms for reference.
The Mysteries and the Circle
Although much has been lost regarding the nature of the Eleusinian Mysteries the core process of initiation remains to allow some level of interpretation and attempted reconstruction. The Lesser Mysteries of Eleusis consist of the re-enacting the descent of Persephone as told in the mythic epic. Only once a candidate had been inducted into the Lesser Mysteries could they participate in the Greater Mysteries, which in turn related to the Wanderings of Demeter. There were three degrees of initiation associated with the Mysteries in which greater understandings of mythos could be reached. These are Legomena, Deiknumena and Dromena.
Firstly, in the order chosen for the Eleusinian Cross at least, are the “things which are said”, or Legomena. This relates to the oral transmission of the mysteries from initiator to initiate and is associated with the first of the four Powers; to Know, which is associated with the element of Air. This Power relates to the operator’s ability to know not only their subject but themselves as well. Taken with the initiatory concept within the Mysteries this point in the circle reminds the operator that as a devotee they are called upon to learn many things and that it is their calling to listen to the lessons that are presented to them.
Second are the “things which are shown” or Deiknumena. This refers to the presentation of cult items to the initiate along with explanation as to their meaning within the Mysteries. This process has been associated with second Power, to Will which is associated with the element of Fire. This power is often related to the use of personal will in magical application and the element in question is associated with gnosis and understanding of occult or divine matters. Taken with the initiatory concept within the Mysteries this point in the circle reminds the operator the spark of divine wisdom resides within the Fire and that there are many paths to understanding. They are reminded that in order to witness such things they must will themselves to step within the light of knowledge and see by the light of the Divine Fire.
Next come the “things which are done” or Dromena. This is often taken to refer to a ritual play or act which is carried out for, or by, the initiates in a final explanation of the Mysteries. In this ritual act a descent into Hades is undertaken with the initiate being reborn into the Mysteries with the return of Persephone. This has been associated with the third Power, to Dare, which is associated with the element of Water. The magical operator must take that which they have willed themselves to know and dare to put it to use. Taken with the initiatory concept within the Mysteries this point in the circle reminds the operator what in order to achieve any desired outcome they must dare to participate in processed which may appear unacceptable socially or apparently dangerous. Only by daring to reach out can gnosis be achieved.
Finally comes the “things which cannot be repeated” or Aporrheta. The Eleusinian Mysteries were a closed initiatory tradition and the understanding bestowed upon them during initiation was not to be disclosed to anyone outside of the tradition. This accounts in part for the lack of clarity about the actual content of the Mysteries, although like many Mystery Traditions of its day allegory was the language used to discuss such matters in open company. This concept has been associated with the fourth Power, to Keep Silent which is associated with the element of Earth. This final Power relates to the operator’s ability to not only know what to say and how, in relation to their practices and beliefs, but also whether it is appropriate to speak at all. It also directs the operator towards a process of introspection, where knowledge, experience and outcomes are assessed and understood before proceeding further in their learning. Taken with the initiatory concept within the Mysteries this point in the circle reinforces to the operator that as well as taking the time to understand their pathways of learning but that they also require the discretion of the ancients in knowing when and how to discuss their practice.
By completing the Eleusinian Circle the operator achieves two things. Firstly, they cleanse the operative space of energy in ahead of the next stage of the ritual. Secondly, they symbolically participate in an initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries. This initiation is matched to the Four Powers of the Sphinx both in terms of understanding and elements. Those initiates who completed full initiation into the Mysteries reach a state of telete, literally “to be made perfect”, which is the state that the circle achieves through the use of Banishing Pentagrams to establish and cleanse the circle of energy.
The Orphic Invocation of Hekate
After the circle is constructed the operator extends their arms to form a cross and invoke the four Orphic epithets most closely associated with the four elements.
Of the many epithets associated with the Orphic Hymn to Hekate those selected are;
Ourania – of the Sky/Heavens Einalia – of the Oceans Phosphoros – Light Bearer Chthonia – of the Earth
The invocation of these names of Hekate are associated with the visualisation of Her presence in these forms. As with the LBRP, the name of the Goddess should be vibrated and her presence visualised in a way in keeping with the element represented and on a scale which is too great for the human mind to comprehend. Here are some suggestions as to the correspondences and associations you may want to association with the Orphic forms of Hekate.
Colour of Robe
Yellow / White
Blue / Silver
Red / Gold
Black / Silver
The cross that is formed by the arms and body of the operator is symbolic of the Crossroads of Hekate. The Crossroads of Hekate represent the operator’s connection between the realms of existence and across the earthly plane but also shared the classic LBRP association of the balanced four elements leading to the creation of Spirit in the centre. In this another Orphic form of Hekate is invoked for the operator’s consideration, that of Hekate Angelos.
Taken from the Chaldean Oracles, this epithet relates to Hekate as a mediating force and directly translates as “messenger”. The word Angelos is the route of the modern word for Angel, although this is limiting in the original sense of the word. Hekate was the rule of the daemons, messenger spirits whose purpose it was to carry the messages of Gods and Mortals alike. The terms may appear misleading in a modern understanding. Such spirits were without distinction, being neither good nor bad as the modern use of Angel and Demon may imply. Instead these spirits would act as directed by the gods and whilst their messages may seem capricious or evil in intent they were but acting upon instruction. The phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” is more than appropriate here.
Overall the invocation of the elemental Orphic aspects of Hekate remains consistent with the original LBRP. The circle has been cleansed and cast through the use of banishing pentagrams and holy words and has now been rebalancing and re-energising through the vibration of the Orphic epithets. Four elements and their summation, the Spirit, are now present within both the ritual space and the operator themselves. Thus, the process brings the operator is in line with all of these energies as well as Hekate herself.
The Affirmation of the Crossroads
The final point of the ritual is the statement “About me stand the Orphic Queens and within me shines the Crossroads of Hekate.” This places the operator at the centre not only of the microcosm of the ritual but also within the macrocosm of the neoplatonic world and their own cosmos. They are unified with these two extremes of existence through the Crossroads, a unification which is facilitated by the mediating and liminal qualities of Hekate.
Furthermore, the banishment and re-invocation of the four magical elements in the name of Hekate brings the operator not only within aligned with Her energies and the four elements that are implicitly represented but also with the fifth element, Spirit, and mediating force of Hekate Angelos. As with the LBRP there is no need to ward the space above or below the ritual area because the focus of the ritual carries the energies of warding to an infinite point in either direction. Should the operator choose to, the Banishing Ritual of the Crossroads then places them in a position to communicate, to a degree, with all levels of consciousness and creation as it forms a representation of the Axis Mundi.
In contrast to the LBRP, where the Affirmation is accompanied by the re-visualisation of the pentagrams and the unicursal hexagram in the centre of the body, the operator performing the Banishing Ritual of the Crossroads should visualise the circle protected by the visualised presence of Hekate whilst the shining Crossroads viewed as dissecting the body and out into infinity.
 “ Androcydes … says that the famous so-called Ephesian letters are ordered as allegories: askion signifies ‘darkness’, because darkness throws no shadow (skia); kataskion signifies ‘light’, since it casts shadow with its light (kataugazei); lix is an old word meaning ‘the earth’; tetrax means the ‘year’, because of the (four) seasons; damnameneus means the Sun, which is overpowering (damazôn); the aisia means ‘the true voice’. The allegory intimates that divine things have been arranged in due order, for example, darkness in relation to light, sun to create the year, and the earth to make possible every sort of natural coming-into-being”
Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 220.127.116.11–3, p. 356 in Stählin’s edition, as cited by Richard Gordon, Witchcraft and Magic in Europe, p. 239.
Oak Modern Letter: D Ruler of the 7th Lunar Month 10th June – 7th July
The root of the word Duir is often given as “door” and and this is reflected in its divinatory meaning. An unexpected fortunate encounter or piece of good look open new possibilities and you should be ready to take full advantage of them. The energy of Duir is a very practical, hands on energy and indicated a process of learning/achieving by doing. Once knowledge is gathered, it is something which can be shared with others. Duir also reminds us of our inner strength and resilience, of our ability to withstand all sorts of changes that may come our way. Be strong and steady, well rooted in the world around us, and even an unknown and unexpected event can be overcome and turned to a positive advantage.
Common names: English oak, pedunculate oak Scientific name: Quercus robur Family: Fagaceae Origin: native
The mighty oak is the second most common native tree in the British Isles and has come to represent the nations identity at large. The broad spreading crown and might trunk has provided strong, load bearing wood for construction of both houses and ships and materials for dying leather and wool more recently.
A large, deciduous tree; a mature oak can grow between 20 to 40m tall but reduce in height as they age in order to extend their life span, which can last for hundreds of years if left unharmed by tool, damage or disease.
The leaves of the oak tree are about 10cm long with 4-5 lobes breaking up its surface. The leaves emerge in mid May with long hanging catkins appearing shortly after. After pollination acorns develop in their little cup shaped bases, growing up to 2.5cm in length. As the acorn ripens it turns from green to brown before falling from the canopy. The arcorn is an important winter food for many animals but is also a good source of protein and carbohydrates and make an excellent flour substitute.
Planet: Jupiter / Mars Element: Water Gender: Themes: Rulership, power, strength, endurance, virtues of knighthood Stone: Aventurine Birds: Wren Color: Gold Deity: Zeus, Thor, Hecate, Pan, Diana, The Green Man, Oak King Sabbat: Summer Solstice Tide: The Waxing Year
Duir Duir Duir Duu Ah Iiiir Duu Ah Iiiir Du Du Du Ah Iiiir Duir Duir Duir
Carry an acorn in your pocket when you go to an interview or business meeting to bring you good luck.
Catching a falling Oak leaf before it hits the ground will grant you good health for the year ahead.
Burn oak leaves to purify your home.
Drill a small hole in an oak gall and thread it with red thread to wear as a necklace or carry it as a charm to being prosperity and protection.
Bind two twigs of oak into an equal armed cross with red thread to make a charm to protect against all evil.
Mythology and Literature
Throughout the major cultures of Europe, such as the Greeks, Roman’s, Slavs and other Tutonic tribes, the oak tree has been held in high esteem and associated with the highest of deities. Many of these deities are the Kings of their pantheon, such as Zeus/Jupiter and Dagda, or associated with thunder, as in the case of Perun and Thor. Though other deities are associated with the oak tree these prominent examples are all associated with thunder and lightning, with dominion over rain. This connection may have much to do with the fact that oak trees frequently suffer from lightning strikes, both due to their height in the landscape and high water content.
Ancient kings, who had both responsibility for the fate of the land in battle and its fertility, were particularly drawn to the symbolism of the oak for its association with victory and strength and fertility. Oak leaves have been worn as crowns by ancient kings and Roman generals alike, and continue to represent military distinction.
The Druids are said to hold the Oak in particularly high regard. In part this is because it was the epitome of male divine energy within the landscape but also because it was the tree in which the sacred All Heal, Mistletoe, would grow. A parasitic plant, Mistletoe prefers to grow in the branches of the oak because of the high water content of the tree, leaching water from the host to aid its growth. A potent magical plant the white fruit were associated with the generative seed of the God, placed there by the hand of the God in the form of lightening.
In Greece the oracular oak grove of Zeus in Dodona was a site of pilgrimage for many years. The rustling of leaves, and the pattern in which the leaves fell, along with the cooing of doves, were three ways in which a prediction of the future could be read. Priestess of Zeus would offer explanations of these messages, or interpret the dreams of those who slept amongst the roots of the trees, for the petitioners and was often considered only second to the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi.
Sing for the Oak-Tree, The monarch of the wood: Sing for the Oak-Tree, That groweth green and good; That groweth broad and branching Within the forest shade; That groweth now, and yet shall grow When we are lowly laid!
Hekate has a long association with doorways and the boundaries of properties and cities. There are numerous references to Her in reference to household shines within doorways and entrance porches which is reflected in epithets such as Propylaia (One before the Gate) and Prothyraea (Before the Gate). Shrines would be built into entrance areas both domestic and public and offerings to both Hekate and the restless dead would be left at such shrines at the end of each lunar calendar.
We find out about the ancient forms of the Deipnon from a number of historical sources which generally focus on the celebration as it appeared in the Athenian Calendar. According to Plutarch, in his Moralia, the main purpose of the ritual was to honour Hekate and placate the spirits of vengeance believed to ride in her train. The secondary purpose of the ritual appears to be a cleanse the household of various forms of miasma, including offences committed directly against Hekate, in order to ensure that she does not withhold the many blessings that she is able to bring to life. Some of the main causes of Miasma are outlined in Plutarch’s Moralia
If hasting in fear from a hanging corpse, If near to a woman in childbirth pain, If come from a house where the dead are mourned, Polluted you entered the holy shrine, Or if from the triple cross-roads come Drawn to the place by cleansing rites For the part you bear to the guilty one.
Hekate’s Deipnon, meaning Hekate’s Meal, was mainly an act of purification and celebration, thought there were rituals of expiation with the sacrifice of a black puppy/dog made on those occasions where the family felt they had particularly incurred the wrath of Hekate already. Modern practitioners like to concentrate upon, and replicate in their practice, the rituals of cleansing involving fumigation and the removal of debris and detritus from the house and other household shrines. These debris might include incense ash, other sacrifices, waste blood, remaining food, particularly that which had fallen to the floor, from that evening’s meal. All of this, along with other foods such as raw eggs, barley small cake, garlic and fish would be left with past ritual offerings at the junction of the main entrance to the property and the public road. The ritual is very clear that the offering should be made and not be looked at again, with the house being closed up for the night as soon as the deposit is made. It is also clear that the household should not touch the offering after it has been made for fear of enraging Hekate.
It is not clear what happened to the deposit once it had been made but it is implied by a number of writers that there was a known way for those who were homeless to safely acquire the food without incurring the wrath of the Goddess. Aristophanes in his comedy Plutus says;
“Ask Hekate whether it is better to be rich or starving; she will tell you that the rich send her a meal every month [food placed inside her door-front shrines] and that the poor make it disappear before it is even served.”
Whilst Pausanias in his Description of Greece notes
“Whatever is thrown or dropped is lost to this world, whatever is caught is gained”
This implication that the extreme poor would eat the food left in the offering, either because they were exempt from the strictures of the ritual (not being a member of the household) or simply that they were so low and steeped in miasma already they did not mind risking incurring more.
Hekate’s presence in a doorway or within the walls of the city was seen as a protective one. In a domestic setting Hekate was called upon to protect the household from negative influences as well as negative intentions such as theft and robbery. At the civic level the Goddess was invoked as protecting the city and its inhabitants from the negative forces that lay beyond the city limits, be is an enemy or evil spirits.
In recognition of these ancient practices modern practitioners still use the crossroad created at the point where the domestic property and the street meet, the practice being just as “true” as the practice of visiting a crossroads in the woods or some other remote location away from the home. Further still practitioners create small working shrines near to the main entrance to their property, both inside and outside, as a place to worship rather than locating it within a central point with in the home where other Gods might be worshiped, such as the hearth.
Hawthorn Modern Letter: H Ruler of the 6th Lunar Month 13th May – 9th June
In divination Huath can indicate fertility in a very practical sense, but also general sense of increase and good health. The appearance of Huath is a good omen, which reminds us that our own mental and spiritual reserves bring us strength to whatever is to come. Huath can also suggest that it is time to look to our physical health in order to reach a resolution – a healthy body equals a healthy mind. Open your mindset so that any self-imposed ignorance is challenged, freeing your thoughts and mind so a solution can come through. All this requires strength of mind and heart, and where this strength exists it can be shared. Support others and find yourself supported and protected.
Common names: common hawthorn, hawthorn, May tree, one-seed hawthorn, whitethorn, quickthorn Scientific name: Crataegus monogyna Family: Rosaceae Origin: native
A native of the British Isles, though now often hybridised, the Hawthorn is a denizen of the English hedgerow and woodland copes, where its fragrant May blooms announce the coming of summers warmth. Though happy in most soils it flowers and fruits best in full sun, with mature trees reaching a full growth of 15m either as a single massive tree with full dome or as a dense thorny mass, comprised of slender twigs covered in thorns.
In addition to their highly scented flowers Hawthorns produce bright red berries known as haws, which are an early and fulfilling food source for a number of species and foragers. You can distinguish hawthorns from black thorns based on the placement of the spines, which in the case of hawthorn emerge from the same point as the bud.
Planet: Mars and Venus Element: Fire Gender: Male and Female Themes: Stone: Lapis lazuli, blue calcite Birds: Blackbird, Owl Color: Midnight blue, purple Deity: Blodeuwedd, Olwen, Hera, Virgin Mary Sabbat: Beltane, May Day
Huath Huath Huath Huuuu Ath Huuuu Ath Hu Hu Huuu Ath Huath Huath Huath
If a young woman collected dew from the leaves of the Hawthorn on May Day morn and used to wash her face it was said her beauty and ability to attract a love match in the year ahead was increased.
On the other hand, a wash made by soaking fresh leaves and flowers could be used to protect the home from negative influences.
To help ‘fix’ an issue or resolve difficult situation take seven thorns from a Hawthorn and whisper your problem/s to each in turn. Wrap all the thorns in a single leave and bury the under the bush/tree along with an offering of thanks.
Wands made from hawthorn are best constructed whilst the wood is still green so it is easier to remove the bark.
Incense made from the dried flowers, berries, and leaves of the Hawthorn can be used to raise the spirit out of depression and protect against psychic harm. Charms made out of the wood of the tree can also be used to the same effect.
Mythology and Literature
A lone hawthorn growing atop of high hill is believed to be a portal to the realm of faery and strongly associated with the disappearance of mortals for seven years and a day. It should be no surprise therefore that the famous Glastonbury Tor, once crowned with a descendant of the Holy Thorn, was the hill associated with the legendary Avalon.
The original Holy Thorn was said to have miraculously sprouted when Joseph of Arimathea struck the ground with his staff. A number of descendants of this legendary tree exist, notably in Kew Gardens and in the grounds of Glastonbury Abby but the most direct descendant was believed to grow on the top of Tor until its destruction at the hands of vandals in 2000. Although a number of attempts were made to encourage the original tree to recover and even replant a sapling cultivated from a tree in Kew the tree was repeatedly vandalised.
Associated with a number of different deities, in particular with the Greek Goddess Persephone as the pale hawthorn flowers are a hopeful herald of her return. Other goddesses include the Roman Goddess Flora and the Celtic Goddesses Aine and Brighid. As part of traditional May Day celebration the Maypole, as a symbol of the male generative principle, is garlanded with hawthorn branches and flowers to unify it with the female generative principle.
The fair maiden who, the first of May, Goes to the fields at the break of day And washes in dew from the Hawthorn tree Will ever after handsome be.
Ash Modern Letter: N Ruler of the 3rd Lunar Month 18th February – 17th March
In divination Nion reminds us that for every action we take there are consequences for not only ourselves but the people around us. It is important to weigh up our words and deeds as our interconnectivity with the people around us can lead to far reaching consequences. Being connected with others works both ways, and the problems we face are often not ours alone. Gather the experiences of others in the same situation and look for solutions within a wider context and conversation – pool your resources. Nion also encourages us to find balance, both within and without; to strike a balance between our individual spiritual needs and the natural world around us.
Common names: ash, common ash, European ash Scientific name: Fraxinus excelsior Family: Oleaceae Origin: native
Ash trees are a tall and graceful pale grey/brown, growing to a height of 35m when fully grown. In winter it can be identified by velvety black buds and flattened twigs whilst its distinctive leaves, which fall green, and ‘key’s shaped fruit help identify it in summer and autumn.
Ash trees are another colonizing species, appropriating new land almost as quickly as hawthorn. It likes lower elevations and slightly acidic soils, but is more sensitive to hard frosts, which will inhibit its growing season. It’s leaves sustain a number of different caterpillars.
Planet: the Sun / Neptune Element: Fire / Water Gender: Masculine Themes: Mastery and Power Stone: Turquoise, Lepidolite Birds: Common Snipe Color: White, pale blue Deity: Frigg, Hel, Odin, Poseidon / Neptune, Athena / Minerva
Nion Nion Nion Niiii Onnnn Niiii Onnnn Ni Ni Ni Onnnn Nion Nion Nion
An ash wand represents the gift of the Tree of Life and is best used in rituals associated with birth and passing. Such a wand should be harvested during the full moon and dedicated by anointing with healing oil from base to tip, then passing through the smoke and flame of a white candle and finally touching to the base to the bare earth (soil).
Gather ash leaves and tear them into shreds before scattering them at the four corners of your home as a protection against negative influences.
Include ash bark shavings in incense to bring prophetic dreams in meditation
A staff made from Ash will give the bearer strength, protection, courage and eloquence in any journey undertaken or in any ritual in which it is used.
Mythology and Literature
The most famous example of the ash tree in mythology is in the form of the Norse World Tree – Yggdrasil. Sometimes called the Tree of Life, Yggdrasil connects the 9 realms of Norse Mythology and was inhabited by a number of magical beasts such as the Niddhog. It was from the Yggdrasil that Odin hung himself, for nine days and nights, in his quest for the wisdom of the runes. Other northern traditions, such as those emerging from Slavic lands, also generate the ash tree as being the axis mundi of their worlds.
Ash is also associated with great magic and power, with the wand of Gwydion being made of Ash and three of the five Irish Chieftain Trees being ash. The spears of both the Norse men and Greek heroes were made of ash, most notably is the spear given to Peleus to mark his marriage to Thetis, which became an object which allowed the bearer to both enter and leave the underworld.
Trunk and branches are smooth and grey; (Ash-grey, my honey!) The buds of the Ash-tree, black are they; (And the days are long and sunny.) Each with its seed, the keys hang there, (Still there, my honey!)
When the leaves are gone and the woods are bare; (Short days may yet be sunny.) And the keys in bunches hang on high; (To call them “keys” is funny!)
Each with its seed, the keys hang there, (Still there, my honey!) When the leaves are gone and the woods are bare; (Short days may yet be sunny.)
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