Hekatean Cord Cutting Visualisation

In my Hekatean Binding Spell  I made reference to a visualisation technique called ‘Cutting the Cord’. This technique is popular for severing ties with a person (or group of people) but is also useful for breaking away from bad habits,  addiction and generally anything that you wish to make a clean break with on both a physical and metaphysical level.

The visualisation is a signal to yourself and the universe that your association with the subject has come to an end. As it is not a spell in of itself it is not making a change in the world around you but empowering you to do it yourself. As such you must exercise willpower, or discretion depending on your subject and situation, in order to avoid becoming re-entangled again in the future.

You don’t need any physical objects for this kind of visualisation, however, if you would like to make it a bit more of a ritual I suggest gathering the following items

  • A representation of the subject – preferably a picture. If you are dealing with an addiction a picture is a strongly advised as having the substance or associated paraphernalia present may lead to a relapse.
  • A knife or scissors
  • Matches and a Heatproof bowl.
  • Hekatean Cutting The Cords

Preliminaries

Settle yourselves into a comfortable position in a temperate room. Body temperature often drops during meditation so you want to avoid getting cold. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting up or lying down but avoid a position in which you may fall asleep last.
Decide on how you will word your request for aid in advance, particularly if you are compleating this visualisation as part of a ritual. Your more passive request for aid will need to match the active statement of intent. For example ‘aid me in overcome my addiction’ should be rendered as ‘I have overcome my addiction’.
This meditation should take no more than 10 minutes and I recommend using a meditation track (without words) of this length which incorporates a callback. I personally prefer drums but use whatever works for you.

Visualisation

You can download the Cutting Cords Medititation in pdf form here nut for now, here is a road map of the steps involved.

  1. Prepare for meditation in your usual way.
  2. Enter visualisation
  3. Approach Hekate and ask for aid
  4. Body scanners and cut cords.
  5. With torch sever cords and wounds.
  6. Draw energy and blessing
  7. Thank Hekate
  8. Exit meditation

Ritual Element

If you are using this meditation as a ritual in its own right you will perform the ritual actions after completing the meditation.
Take up your picture and cutting implementation and make your statement of intent regarding the subject of your ritual. It should be an actualised statement, meaning that it assumes compleat success for the ritual; for example “(name) is cut out of my life for now and ever more”.
Now cut up the image into as many pieces as you want and put them into the heatproof container. Light them up and watch them burn, recalling both the resolve and strength you felt during your meditation.

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Pagan Parenting – Ages 5 to 8

Time to go to school. This milestone is one everyone who puts their kids through the mainstream education system will experience. Formalised RE, multiculturalism and Assembly time in a closed community. Yay!

I exaggerate but from my perspective, these things were all great things. The girls hadn’t really socialised widely without the buffer of a family member and in the case of YD she has a cousin in her year group. For the sake of everyone’s learning potential (and sanity), we’d consciously requested they be in opposite classes.

I was most nervous about the whole process with regard to the ED, by the time YD joined her we were old hands at it. I had prepped myself a letter, which is now in the form of A Very Brief Introduction to Paganism, and gotten myself up to date on all the law around religion in schools and was all ready to give a full explanation of Paganism but found it unnecessary. Fortunately, and despite the school being relatively new, the teacher assigned to ED’S class was an experienced teacher and she took it all in her stride.

Overall our school doesn’t really seem to have an issue with any of the pronouncements the Girls make, or the weird things that I encourage the kids to do (like send in rune cookies for party days)

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We have had a couple of wins, like ED writing about herself to a new teacher
“I like History and Maths but I don’t like RE because we do not cover Paganism.”

SCORE!

History and Religious Education

She’s not wrong; most mainstream school does not cover paganism as a general rule. There are a couple of local authorities which have taken steps to include paganism under the RE heading but it is done as a reflective view of a historical practice. More widely children are covering more and more in their History lessons, learning about pre-Christian cultures including  (but not limited to) Greeks / Romans, Vikings and the various prehistoric cultures of Britain.

I’ve found the trick is encouraging them (the girls) to look beyond what is being taught in class and to ask questions of school and me. ED has most recently been doing the Vikings and Anglo-Saxon and readers who know me personally will realise that the Norse Traditions are a minor feature of the household.  ED has had a lot of questions and whilst I haven’t gotten into the detail of modern movements with her we have discussed magical subjects such as the Runes, Volva (though we spoke of Wise Women) and the Nine Herb’s charm.

One expressly magical thing I just tied into her school work was to give the ED a first introduction to combining a magical craft with stitch and yarncraft. Her half term holiday project was a cross stitch pillow of a Vikings Boat. No only did she stitch it herself, making it her first proper cross stitch project, we spent some time discussing the possible magical symbolism of the boat, our choice of thread colour and what she should think about as stitching. Okay, so she probably put most of her brain capacity into placing stitches correctly and counting them but the concept has been introduced. We also linked the very Viking symbolism with the Anglo-Saxon 9 Herb Charm by including a tea bags filled with the herbs in the pillows stuffing with the finished product being a protective charm for long journeys.

More generally I haven’t seen any evidence of confusion in the girls regarding the various religions they have encountered through school. They take everything in their stride and as a learning curve. They soak it all up and accept that there are many religious and spiritual “Truths” and just as many paths which you can take to find them. They have occasionally been on the receiving end of hurtful and ignorant words from other children but in truth beyond a little indignation, they have been content to ignore the words and individual in question.

At Home

At this age very little escapes their notice and it is almost impossible for them to miss what is going on around the house. Every shrine and altar space are there to be seen, seasonal celebrations are acknowledged in some way, even if it simply a bunch of seasonal vegetation,  and from time to time candles and incense are lit whilst they are awake and of course an explanation is demanded and in most cases given.

Now ED has hit the upper ranges of this age bracket I can see that she has spent a long time absorbing information from the things I have said and done. My shopping habits are apparently very telling. There will be more on this next month but for now, I will elaborate on some of the activities we’ve done.
Special Spaces

For a very long time, the children have had their own special space which was theirs to decorate and use as they wish. Located on a spare shelf in ED’s bedroom it represents a collection of their special items and old ritual items of mine. Everything from leaves and stones from a nature walk and shells from the beach to special awards and merits has made it onto this space.

As time has gone on the ED has used the space in different ways, including for potion making and honouring her relatives and Hekate. There is no real form or structure to what she does, and I have left her to explore how she can use the space in her own time.

One of those terms has been around developing her own spells and mostly they have revolved around having good dreams, confidence for school events and the like. Most of these consist of her talking to the statues in the space and asking for help but sometimes she gets a little more practical, and her sister likes to help. They have been known to make potions, which involves them gathering plants and flowers from our immediate surroundings (or from my flower displays) and suspending them in tap water whilst muttering incantations. It is all well and good but getting the finished concoction out of the room before it turns into a slushy mess can be challenging.

And this is the biggest problem with this idea; housekeeping. ED is not exactly a neat freak, and she can get very attached to her stuff. Establishing an understanding of the need to maintain these spaces a and not hold on to every leaf, acorn and shoe (yes, shoe) have been a bit of a challenge but we have prevailed. Were I to do this again I would establish firmer ground rules earlier on but this situation has not been insurmountable. 

Arts, Crafts and The Great Outdoors

Little legs are longer and their minds are developing all the time, so more of the same is always in order.

With YD just reaching this stage our further foraging into our local has been limited still but as you can see from our trips up Verbeia’s waterfall we are striking deeper into the Moors. They are aren’t quite our playground but we are getting there.

Arts and crafts are always perennial favourites, with the favourite summer activity being ‘stick’ painting/decorating aka wand making.

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Consent in Paganism

Consent is a huge issue in the modern pagan movement. From hugging without permission, all the way trough to ritual abuse there are many issues to be found in Paganism relating to consent. I am no expert – what follows are my thoughts and feelings about the conversation going on, or which needs to go on. If you are interested in further reading one book I recommend is Pagan Consent Culture by Christine Hoff Kraemer and Yvonne Aburrow. 

Consent as a Cup of Tea

The place to start is the best analogy for consent to date the cup of tea, a conversation tool used to discuss consensual sex and rape culture. I strongly recommend that you watch the video in full but for now, here is an abridged version.

You’ve met someone for the first time and you’ve decided that you want a cup of tea with them. You like tea but you don’t know if the person you met does as well. Do you…

A) make them a cup of tea and force them to drink it regardless of what they say?

B) make them a cup of tea and guilt them into drinking it?

C) make them a tea and complain when they say no?

D) make them a cup of tea and accept that they may not want it?

E) ask them if they would like a cup of tea and accept their response and respect it?

Sounds a bit of a no-brainer doesn’t it? You’ve only just met this person and you have no idea if they even like tea, let alone whether or not they want to drink a cup with you. The sensible and reasonable thing is obviously to ask first rather than assume and I am sure that many reading this would have gone with option E.
It all seems quite nice and civilised, there is a clear boundary of ‘ask, don’t assume’ but swap out ‘make a cup of tea’ with other concepts people start to get some very strange ideas about what is sensible and reasonable.
Let’s start at one end of the scale and work forward.

 

Sibling Terms

There are some in the pagan community that feel they simply must use kinship terms when speaking to people. Some think it a term of respect whilst others seek to establish a connection based on what they perceive to be shared interests. There are other who simply wish to acknowledge a shared connection as human beings, looking to the genetic Eve’s for some kind of commonality. These people are taking option D as their starting point. They don’t know if the person they are talking to will like being called Brother/Sister but they are going to use the term anyway.
The counter arguments to these beliefs and assumptions are many and wide ranging but regardless of the reasons a lot of people, myself included, are uncomfortable with this level of familiarity from strangers. Many reserve such words for their immediate kinship group, such as blood relatives or those acquired through marriage. Even where kinship terms are used in a religious or spiritual context it is limited to a single denomination/group where the numbers are small.
In the case of the latter it is a choice made by all parties and the terms is only used in amongst a select few. The words have meaning and imply degree of connection and knowledge regarding both parties which they value and hold dear and by having them applied to them by a strange can seem highly presumptive at times.

 

So how does consent apply?

Most people I know will simply ask the person talking to them to not use those terms. They withdraw consent, politely, and establish a boundary. In most cases people will respect this request, staying at option D. In some cases people will pout and a whine, sliding into the territory of option C but by and large they respect the withdrawal of consent and stop.
Unfortunately, it is common for the person to persists in using the sibling term, totally ignoring the withdrawal of consent. They place their preference over and above that of the person they are speaking to and settle into a category between an A and C depending on their response.
Now this issue has as much to do with about common courtesy and respect as it does consent. Someone has said ‘stop’ and the polite thing to do would be to do as requested. Continuing on with the method address once asked to stop shows a total lack of regard and respect for the other person.It may seem a small thing but in society where consent culture is in a fledgeling state and so easily overwhelmed by privilege  (real or perceived) it is an important line.

Let’s move this up a scale.

 

Give Them a Hug

This is definitely more of a real life thing. Some people are hugy whilst others are more aware of their personal space. Paganism isn’t alone in experiencing this phenomenon but there is this on going assumption that if you’re at a Pagan gathering hugging is mandatory.
This is a different level to sibling terms entirely because it involves personal space and sovereignty of self and potentially unwanted physical contact.
Now again, many people will try and communicate their preference but in this case it may be a non-verbal form of communication depending on the confidence of the individual. They may step away from the hug, shake their head or even attempt to avoid the huggy person in some way such as putting other people or objects between themselves. This is often interpreted as being very ‘negative’, with people being seen as rude or standoffish and the hugger may feel rejected, if indeed they notice the avoidance tactics at all. In this case consent is established but option C like behaviours are displayed, which make for a rather unpleasant environment when there no real need (I’ll cover why in a moment).
Unfortunately it isn’t always possible to avoid a hug as physical contact is all too often initiated before there is time to react at all. When this occurs consent is completely forgotten about and the act is forced upon someone regardless of their thoughts and wishes.
At the core of this issue is personal space and sovereignty of self. So much time is spent in modern pagan literature is spent on discussion how it is important to remain true to oneself and be aware of ourselves and those around us but only one aspect of these teachings seem to be taken up. People become aware of themselves and begin to express themselves freely but completely ignore the people they come into contact with subconsciously forcing their preferences on to the people they meet without a second thought.

Undermining Consent Culture

We live in a world where consent is under almost constant discussion in regards the rape culture which dominates certain sections of our society. We see rape culture in many places today, from t-shirts and comments in the street to the legal rulings of clear cut rape cases; the idea that the will of one individual can be imposed on another in the most intimate of ways should seem abhorrent but yet we allow it to occur at all points along the scale.
People get just ad upset when you discuss hugging in terms of consent ss they do with regards to sibling terms. They don’t see these things as carrying the same weight as rape or sexual abuse but what they fail, or refuse, to see how these things are part of the drip-drip breakdown of a consent culture which is really struggling to gain a foot-hold in the face of a very entrenched mindset of ‘might gives right’.
Whether is is calling someone by a term of endearment after they have asked you to stop or hugging some even though they have pulled away once you carry on or repeat the action after consent has been withdrawn a message is sent about the worth of an individual’s right to consent to what happens to their person, and for some that message can be life defining. This is one reason that when my daughters refuse to give an older relative quality hug or a kiss I will defend their right to choose not to.  It isn’t an insult or a sign that they don’t love that older relative, but it is a process through which they are defining their boundaries and ultimately their sense of self-worth in relation to others. These lessons may not protect themselves from everything that life throws at them but they will certainly help.

Fighting Back

Consent culture is becoming increasingly important to Paganism and organisers of pagan events, particularly in relation to hugging. Those people who are uncomfortable with hugging, particularly where invasions of personal space can relate to traumatic life experiences, can find it difficult to engage in ‘real life’ Pagan events. Some events operate a ‘sticker’ system which allows people to communicate their preference on this matter very clearly like, and there have been a number of cases where events have been managed through live streaming, such as the new Live function on Facebook, which enables not only pm those less physically mobile to attend but individuals who have social anxiety in one form or another.
Another reason for its increasing importance as a discussion topic is around the central role that sex has in some traditions.

Why Consent is Important in Paganism

In some Pagan streams sex plays an integral role, whether that is the act in itself or by representation. Clear conversations about consent not only protects the prospective initiate but also the group or coven which incorporates it.
Let’s go back to our basic example, though there needs to be a bit of a wiggle round to add a few new options which I see as subsets of option B.

B/i) make the tea and present it as the only avaliable option

B/ii) make the tea and lie about the benifits

Sex and sexual activities as a form of initiation are of course perfectly legitimate pathway to gnosis but it is one that is open to misunderstanding and abuse. If the issue is misrepresented or coercion used by one group then the actions of other groups can be called into question. This can be problematic for legitimate working groups and this is why consent is so important as a conversation.
Sexual initiation isn’t the only form of initiation. It may the only route in a particular traditions but if someone is uncomfortable with the idea then that stream really isn’t for them. A responsible group will guide the seeker to a path which is better a better fit for the individual, not pressure someone into an act they are not comfortable with. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case and many find themselves being tricked into giving consent.
I also included an option around being lied to about the benefits of the tea. Frankly put, not everyone offering sex-based initiation are actually offering any form of initiation at all. It is simply smoke and mirrors designed to trick people into consenting to one act or another either expressly or by implication (by which I mean sending sexy photos, agreeing to meet for the purposes of sex or engaging in naughty chat).

Note for clarity – evidence of implied consent doesn’t make a crime less real or damaging but it does make it harder to prosecute. One of the reasons to really shout about consent and make it a topic for discussion is to make sure that the reality of implied consent is firmly in the mind of everyone.

Enter Mr Lady Gardens again. He offered a spiritual awakening through sexual initiation. He did have a working coven, nor was he even attempting to build one, but he was claiming that sex with him would lead a great spiritual awakening. Now I didn’t have sex with the guy but I’m pretty sure he was fibbing in an effort to get vulnerable women in a position where they were even more vulnerable.

People like Mr Lady Gardens are unfortunately common, particularly on social media, and they aren’t always so blatant. Predators are not easy to spot and it is all too easy to get tricked into implying consent which is one reason to be self-aware and maintain a healthy level of scepticism when connecting with people over social media.

Closing Musings

As I said above, people get upset when the ‘smaller’ issues of kinship and hugging are brought up as part of a consent discussion, or even at all in some cases. I’ve put that in bunny ears because I don’t view them as small, I view them as the start. Ignoring the relationship these things have with consent is the point at which we start to undermine all the efforts to build a working consent culture not only within paganism but within society as a whole.
Rape is the ultimate betrayal of consent but by continuing we normalise the ‘small’ things; the little breaches which may be more thoughtless rather than malicious, we not only send messages to people about the behaviour they can or can’t engage in we also indicate what people are expected to accept in their day to day lives. We also establish moving goalposts for boundaries for any issue which is touched by consent culture when really we should be should be establishing a very clear culture of option D. Ask first, don’t assume.

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Is Deity Necessary? 

One issue that a lot of new Witches and pagans become very caught up in is which deity, or pantheon, they will align with. Whilst many will simply make a choice and run with it others spend a long time seeking inspiration or connection which does not always seem immediately apparent. Some feel this as a keen sense of ‘loss’, perhaps viewing this kind of association with deity as a necessity to a Pagan path, whilst others experience doubt at their choice to learn more about paganism.

Let me put your mind at rest.

Deity worship is not a requirement of Witchcraft.

Witchcraft is a practice, not a religion, and not ‘feeling the call’ of one deity or a group of them does not need to inhibit the exploration of a Pagan path because there are many ways through which to develop and experience the practice of Witchcraft.

Equally, making a choice based on personal preferences neither devalues the connections you build and explore nor means that you are irrevocably tied to something should your path evolve.Let’s explore some possible options

 

 

No Deity
This position may not immediately fit for someone looking for a religious dimension to their craft work but it is an interesting point at which to begin this conversation.

This may come as a surprise to some but there are actually a large number of atheist witches out there is the big wide world. The ability to use magic does not require the involvement of any deity or spiritual mindset at all. Although the basic foundations of the practice cross over with some spiritual practices, such as prayer and meditation, they can exist separate and distinct to them. Seasons can be interpreted as seasons, goals can be achieved through the manipulation of forces alone and deity can be ignored entirely.

Simply put, you don’t have to give up on the idea of practising either Witchcraft because you don’t feel you have a ‘calling from’ deity and in some ways this can be beneficial because the lines between Witchcraft and Religion stay well defined.

Other options include working with spirits and entities which are not deities per say but represent powerful sources of inspiration and involvement. Ancestor Worship features in many pre-Christian cultures as a known or suspected element of their spiritual culture in one form or another. Whether that is in the expression devotion towards a known and name member of the Beloved Dead or the veneration of the unknowable Mighty Dead, many modern Witchcraft streams honour the dead within their tradition. Another form of spirit that Witches also often honour in their work, particularly where there is a strong focus on the natural world, are the Genius Loci.

Genius Loci are the spirits of the land and place we encounter is places of power which are honoured as being sentient and present. The honouring of these spirits takes place out in Nature although people are increasingly recognising that such spirits populated urban areas as well.

Personifications
A common practice within Paganism is to work with the Gods as personifications. This may be personifications of nature and the heavenly bodies, life stages or even particular animals and plants which have layered meaning. This practice operates on the theory of soft polytheism, that is to say all God’s are aspects of a single divine godhead which exists within the universe. Sometimes this singular divine is presented in the aspects of male and female, or One God and One Goddess, which is also referred to as Duotheism.

Some of the possible representations include

God as the;

  • Sun
  • Holly / Oak King
  • Lord / Horned God
  • Warrior / Father / Sage

Or Goddess as the;

  • Moon
  • Mother Earth
  • Lady / Horned Goddess
  • Maiden / Mother / Crone

Particularly common is the outer court understanding of the Wiccan God and Goddess as the Lord and Lady. In these personifications the cycle of seasonal change is represented in the evolution of each personification throughout the year. Another set of seasonal personifications which are popular are the Holy King and Oak King, which represent the contest between two Kings to rule the Land, which is the personification of the Goddess herself, for a portion of each year.

 

 

On occasion celestial personifications are names in a more explicit manner, however this in not necessarily an expression of devotion to a specific deity. For example, the Sun and Moon are often named as Sol and Luna, which are the Latin nouns for the celestial bodies. Usually this is sufficient for broad personification however on occasion they are further named Hellios and Selene (the Greek personifications of the Sun and Moon from the race of Titans) or Apollo and Artemis (the Olympian equivalents given rulership over these heavenly objects).

There are any number of mythologies through which to drill into these personifications, which are not limited to the Sun and the Moon alone. Use of these personifications in a soft polytheistic way do not immediately declare an allegiance to a particular God or Goddess, nor necessarily a preference for a particular mythology. The Greco-Roman mythologies are seeming the most popular simply because of the breath of influence these cultures have continued to have throughout modern culture.

You Can Choose…
Sometimes we over think things and it can be as straight forward and as simple as choosing a particular Deity or Pantheon to work. There are not ups nor downs to taking this route and many find it rewarding in the long run as it can be a useful route to identifying their personal connections.

I do have a couple of hints and tips regarding that method.

  1. Pick a set of mythology and deities that resonate with you. There is no point trying to develop a relationship with a set of Gods that you really have no interest it just because they feel appropriately pagan. Look for things that inspire you and capture your imagination.
  2. Don’t settle for just the information that appears in your modern new age books. Unfortunately new age author’s aren’t always the best of scholars and can both misinterpret (or regurgitate misinterpreted) information or even twist it to fit their own agendas. I would urge you to explore the history of the culture that these deities emerge from and the wider mythologies in orher sources. A good starting point is always a big table book of mythology, as are the Oxford series “A Very Short Introduction To….”, particularly if you feel daunted by more academic works. In the case of the Oxford books they are written by people familiar with the given subject beige discussed and it is presented in in a bite sized and approachable way. There is also academia.edu, a brilliant community based website where academics and scholars post articles of a vast array of subjects. Again, they are generally short texts which are largely accessible, just don’t feel guilty for passing up the more technical pieces (I don’t). The aim is to gain a wider grounding in the origins of the context of the chosen deity or pantheon and this should always be tempered by experiential practice.
  3. Don’t even limit yourself to just exploring information on just one pantheon or culture. As said above, new age pagan books sometimes present a very distorted view of ancient deities, Hekate being a prime example. Reading around can lead you to discover things about deities you may not have fully appreciated when reading your Witchcraft 101 book.
  4. Finally, don’t feel locked into a particular Deity or panrhaeon just because it is where you started. Your journey will evolve and if something doesn’t fit don’t hold on to it as it will hinder your growth. Some people find the right fit straight away, others don’t. One good thing about option three is that you become familiar with deity energies and this may help you realise your perfect fit.

 

 
… Or You Can Be Chosen
Sometimes, you will just know. A deity will reach out and place a hand on your shoulder and, like a Pokemon Trainer, proclaim “Hey there human, I choose you”. Sometimes it can be the beginning of a life long association, in other cases it may be a brief connection to facilitate a goal of you, or their, design.

Such things should not be ignored. By all means be cautious, and it is not an offensive to seek confirmation and clarification from the beings you encounter. Spirits can be mischievous little buggers, and not above posing as Gods to get their kicks. I see it as a necessary course of action at times, especially in the early stages, and I’ve never felt that the being I was dealing with felt slighted in any way. I employ the Rule of Three, that is required it to speak it’s name three times, provide three forms of collaboration etc. As you build a relationship with a given deity the need to do this lessens, though I do feel that it is always useful in confirming that I have understood a direction correctly.

If you have been working with a particular pantheon or deity in the lead up to this check in with all concerned if they want you to break from working with them to work with the deity that has called you. It is not always necessary to make a complete break but it is dependant on the deities involved. If you do decide to continue to work with both I recommend that, unless they are the same pantheon, you offer separate devotions. For example, if you are working with the Olympiad and you suddenly feel drawn to work more closely with Persephone you can incorporate specific devotions in your existing ritual set. If you are working with the Egyptian Gods and you suddenly feel drawn to explore the Norse I would be inclined to make a clean break between your devotions.

Whayever reaches out to you, explore it. Find out about the deity through research, through experience, through communication both great and small.

Finding Your Fit
Personally, I started my journey by dedicating myself to Isis when I was a tweenie witch. I got nothing from this because despite my love of all things Egyptian it wasn’t the right fit for me. I eventually progressed to working with personifications of the Female and Male divine at seasonal rites, if at all as I began a process of separating deity worship from my Craft. If I did call on deities they would be selected for a purpose from with the British or Romano-British pantheons, preferring to work with deities attested to in the archaeological record of the Isles. This all changed when I felt the call of Hekate.

My path has evolved over time, lead not only by my research and reading but my experience as well. It is likely that you will experience your own evolution of practice, understanding and interaction with deity and if a connection is meant to happen it will happen in its own time.

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Heketan Binding Spell

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In the last few weeks, I have found myself drawn to spell writing.Not necessarily because I have needed the spell in question but because I have seen so posts asking for spells or really bad memes containing really bad spells. I’ve seen them and spells of my own have popped into my head and demanded they get written down.Sometimes they have been modernizations of older spells that I learned about years ago but mostly they have been totally new to me at least.

So, rather than letting them languish on my hard drive I am going to post them. They are untested so if you like them and/or use them I would love to get some feedback.

A Heketean Binding Spell

You will need –

  • A Red Candle/ Tealight
  • Something of the intended target which is flammable- ideally this should be a sympathetic element such as hair but a picture, example of handwriting or full name including date of birth will also do.
  • A piece of paper – 2″-3″ square. You can forgo this item if you are using a paper-based item to represent the focus.
  • A heat proof dish

Location

The ideal location for this spell would somewhere the spell remains can be disposed of via the elements Earth, Air and Water. Such a location may not always be practical in which case identify which of the three disposal methods best suit your situation. For example, if you are working in the home choose disposal by water and flush the remains down the toilet. The toilet is technically living (moving) water and it will carry the remains away from your house quickly and effectively which is the main thing.

Moon Phase

Bindings are best performed during the waning and dark phases of the moon. Given that the Dark Moon is associated with Hekate this would be an ideal time.

Timing

Saturday during the hour of Mars. Saturday corresponds to Saturn, a god and planet associated with delays and slowness. It is also a day when cleansing, protection and banishing rituals are best performed. The hour of Mars is a time at which magical actions can be boosted, particularly if they are confrontational in nature. The combination of this day and hour would be the most effective for this binding spell.

What to Do

Invoke Hekate in your usual way and light your candle

Take the item associated with the intended target and either fold it three times away from you or fold it within the paper and fold that three times away from you.  As you fold say…

Hekate Hekate Hekate; thrice named goddess I bind (name) in fire and light.

 

Set the paper to the flame and allow it to catch fire.

By the light of your fires all of (names) actions are brought into the light, a torment of truth is theirs.

 

Allow the paper to burn down, using the dish to catch the ash.

Consumed by your flames (name) is cleansed from my life, all bonds and severed and purified.

 

Dispose of the ashes in one or all of the following ways.

For scattering to the winds say;

Cast to the winds; (name) is scattered and without power, no harm may they cause now or in the future.

 

For disposal in water say;

Cast upon the waters; (name) is carried from my life, no harm may they cause me now or in the future.

 

For disposal by burial say;

In the deep darkness of the Earth; (name) lays buried and forgotten, no harm may they cause me now or in the future. 

 

After all the ashes are disposed of end your spell by saying

Until all deeds reversed and lessons learned this binding remains; in the light and name of Hekate.

 

Extinguish your candle and gather it and your ritual items. Leave the location without looking back.

At this point you could choose to call the ritual complete. If so cease to dwell on the bound individual any further and avoid future dealings with them if at all possible. If not remain distant and aloof from their behaviour and actions and allow the Goddess to do Her work.

In the interests of good energetic health, it would be advisable to return home and perform a cleansing ritual. I suggest either taking a shower and dousing yourself from head toe in saltwater or complete a Cutting the Cord visualisation. Once complete your chosen method avoid the individual in question or have as little to do with them as possible.

The visualisation which I have included here is a standard, top Google example of the Cord Cutting visualisation and itsn’t something I would use myself. I have my own Heketean version which I will add to the blog at some point later this year.

Image Credit
https://pixabay.com/en/fire-combustion-flame-ash-1260720/

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Pagan Parenting – Ages 3-5

Duckies Cookies

Most parents worried about their child’s first day away at nursery or school, and in that respect I was no different from any other mother stood at the Gate those mornings. What was different was that I wasn’t worried about them, the girls were so self confident and quite independent, although the skipping off into the distance without a single goodbye stung a little, I was worried about how they would react to an education system which leaned heavily towards Christianity. 

Quite a lot of pagan parents have similar concerns, worried that their child will either be confused by mixed messages or be unduly influenced in some way. These are just some reason that home schooling is popular amongst pagan. Apart from being an unequivocally unqualified as a home schooling parent this route didn’t fit with my desire for the Girls to mix and learn about other cultures and religions. My worries stemed from the fear that my strong willed daughters, particularly the ED, would say something that would really stir the pot.

At these ages children tend to speak their mind, lacking the skills to filter information to their audience and ED had a knack for dropping me in it. Fortunately anything said at nursery were generally accepted under the heading of ‘kids say the funniest of things’ and swept under the carpet. 

We also found that there was no confusion or conflict. Whether it was because they were too young to really appreciate difference or that they accepted it when we said ‘people do things in different ways’ I am not so sure. I certainly had no need to make any bald statements either to them or anyone they came into contact with.

I think the best advice here is to be led by your child and their development. You really don’t need to explain your patenting methods to every person you meet if you don’t see a need to. If anything comes up just be ready with some general, open responses about modern paganism. I prepared a little document / cheat sheet for the ED entering primary education which I will add to my next parenting post looking at ages 5-8 but for today I want to concentrate on the fun stuff and throw out some fun activities I tried with my girls. 
Activities and Ideas

I didn’t really get in to arts and crafts in my last post but of course anything I mention here could be moved up or down the age scale. To find other posts on the subject search the blog for the pafenting tag, or any that appear below the post. I am pretty consistent in my tagging structure… usually.
In Nature

Woodland walks are magical in themselves but can be great at providing materials and inspiration for thinks to do. Dead fall branches and sticks make great wands and can be left barked, and decorated with ribbons and glue, or striped and painted. Leaves can be used to make rubbings, pressing into clay and then turning them into bowls or even turned into a collage in autumn. If you have never seasonally foraged in your local area I highly recommend, but getting on a good guided walk it a must. You will be surprised at all the sweet and savoury treats you can make and older kids can get involved with the preparation and cooking. Rosehip and Rowant berries are a particular favourite of ours and are avaliable in our suburban setting.
Baking and cooking 

This brings us neatly onto the next set of suggestions – Baking. Cookies, cakes and beads can all be great activities ahead of seasonal celebrations. As well as providing snacks for gatherings you may be attending later the process of preparing the food and the time it takes to cook it gives lots of opportunity to talk about the ingredients and their magical associations as well as why you are baking it in the first place. It   is a good opportunityto talk children through concepts such as the Wheel of the Year however don’t get too caught up in trying to do the activity on the day and think or abandoning the plan if you can’t manage the timing, the closest weekend will do. In most cases a simple cookie recipe can be ‘sasonalised’ by adding minor ingredients such as seasonal fruits and herbs. There is a plethora of recipes out here on the world wide Web, with Google being your friend, but at some point his year I will create a full list of seasonal recipes for you.
Arts and Crafts 

Sticking with baking Salt dough  modeling is a good standby for pretty much all seasons. It can be used for model making and hanging decorations which can be adapted for the season. It can also be whipped up in a pinch. All you need is;

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup salt 
  • 1/2 cup water

Combine the salt and flour in a large bowl and slowly add the water until you have a dough like consistency (you may not need all the water). Flour your work surface well and away you go. If you find the dough gets stick add more flour.

Once you have your creations you can put them in the oven on a low heat. If you use a higher temperature make sure you watch it to avoid burning. Alternatively zap them in the microwave for around three minutes. 

Of course anything flat shape you make can be modeled using something more edible than salt dough and bread is also a really good idea too.

I’ll be doing a post later in the year around craft ideas for the Wheel of the Year so save the pots and pains till later.

Imaginative Play

The most magical thing about children is their imagination. It is a double edge sword sometimes, my kids can come up with some really imaginative ways of getting in to trouble, but it should definitely be encouraged. This could be anything from making up stories about magical creatures, dressing up and fairies tea parties. Our family favourites were dance interpretations of the sun and Moon, closely followed by lesson on planetary progression (aka the ‘Spinny Round Dance’). 

The Sun and Moon stand as the most obvious things in a child’s awareness to represent how nature and the world change. With the Sun we can discuss the changes of the seasons. In our dances the speed and motions changed depending on the season; bold and strong for hotter months and slower for when it was colder. The Moon helped the ED understand that change can occur on a smaller scale than the seasons and her dances were generally slow and measured but the size of her gestured changed to show the waxing and waning. Each child’s interpretation will be unique to them but again it a perfect time to simply talk and throw around ideas which can slowly seep in.  
Goodnight Sun Hello Moon

At this age I didn’t pursue any format of ritual involvement, despite the begging of the ED, but we did have a bit of a night time/morning salutation which they enjoyed up until the Year turned four. It was inspired by the CBEEBIES bedtime hour song ‘Goodnight Sun Hello Moon’ which the ED insisted on singing on her way to bed each night. We tweaked it a bit and then adapted it to create a morning version. So as we were going to bed we would sing…

Goodnight sun, now the day is done it’s going to  be night time soon. 

Goodbye sun we’ll have more fun tomorrow now it’s time to say hello moon. 

Goodbye Sun, Hello Moon. 

… and as we were getting up we sang …

Morning Moon now the night is through its time for play and having fun. 

Goodbye Moon there’ll be more dreams tonight now it’s time to say hello Sun.

Goodbye Moon, Hello Sun.

We would sing the songs as we were getting in and out of bed at the appropriate time and it only stopped really when they decided that it was too babyish for them. Despite that they still love to Moon spot at either end of he day and on more than one occasion the ED has made ‘Moon Wishes’.

With a lot of the things we have done as a family I have let the children’s interest need. I broadly operate a policy of ‘if they are old enough to ask they are old enough to know’ but not everything extends to ‘do’. 

In the next instalment I will be talking about entering mainstream education and some of the Issues that can be encountered during that process.

Images

Duckies Cookies 
Whoops

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Axis Mundi and The Spindle of Necessity

What is the Axis Mundi?

The Axis Mundi (also cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar or world tree) appears in many cultures and religions around the world. Although it may be expressed in different forms and images it is consistent in its usage. The axis mundi is the connecting point which unites the Heaven and Earth, and sometimes Underworld, around which cosmology and mythology circles. The axis mundi can take many forms; they can be natural high places such as Mt Fuji or Mt Olympus, buildings both religious and secular such as pagodas, they can also be plants such as trees or man-made constructions such as wooden poles.

The axis mundi is both masculine and feminine in appearance. It is a phallic symbol, as are many of the forms that the axis mundi take, but it can also be seen as a feminine symbol in the form of the nourishing umbilical cord.

It is a shamanic tool for travelling between realms of existence and for transmitting energy and communication through the realms.

 

Finding The Centre

The axis mundi can be found at the centre point of a number of different shapes and symbols.

For example, we can find it in the centre of the compass, or equal-armed cross. As the centre point rises and descends the universe is connected, as occurs in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

The centre of the spiral can also a representation of the axis mundi, with the universe rotating around a central point or pillar. We can see this when we look at the North Star and the way that the stellar skies spiral around this single point in the night sky.

When a sacred space is cast, a separate and distinct cosmology to that of the world around us is created. When we stand at the centre we become out own axis mundi, connecting heaven and earth with our body and intent.

 

Ken Christison captured these glorious star trails around Polaris, the North Star.  He wrote,

Star Trails Around Polaris by Ken Christison

 

 

The World Pillar

The axis mundi appears in many ancient cultures, some of which are familiar to us as modern practitioners but there are other which emerge from cultural past of the Abrahamic religions.

The most recognisable is Yggdrasil, the World Tree. Yggdrasil connects the nine realms of Norse cosmology through its roots, trunk and branches and it is through these that the “shaman” is able to travel between and communicate with these different realms.

The Djed, or Spine of Osiris, represents the axis mundi and reminds us that not only do we carry our own axis mundi at all times but we are the centre of our own cosmology whilst in the sacred space. Another expression of the spine as our own personal axis mundi can be seen in the placement of chakras over the body, through which life energy, or prana, can flow.

The Asherah Pole is the physical representation of the mother-goddess Asherah, consort of the Canaanite god El. The Pole, which is most likely to have been made of wood as the instruction from God to Gideon in Chapter 6 of the Book of Kings explicitly states that the Asherah Pole by the altar to Baal should be “cut down”. This makes it highly probable that the pole is a stylised tree, strengthened by the fact that places associated with the worship of Asherah are referred to as ‘groves’ in many biblical texts.

Jacob’s Ladder is the name given to the stairway described in Genesis 28: 10-19 and has several interpretations within Christian, Islamic and Jewish texts. In addition to being a literal and figurative bridge between heaven and Earth, it is taken to represent the figurative and literal path towards acceptance into heaven through the strictures of that faith. Not only could the human soul travel towards the Heavens but Heavenly Beings such as angels are able to descend to walk alongside the prophets of God.

 

“The Ash Yggdrasil” (1886) by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine

 

 

The Spindle of Necessity

The Spindle of Necessity from the Myth of Er is another example of the axis mundi. As well as representing the cosmos as understood by the ancient Greeks the Spindle and the thread it spins forms one of the many axis mundi found within the Classical world.  To make it easier to understand I will approach this explication in two elements.

The Cosmos

The Spindle and the scene of Necessity represent the observations of Natural Science and the understanding that the ancient Greeks held about their observable universe.

> The Rainbow represents the qualities of white light when broken down through refraction.

>The Spindle represents the visible rotating movements of the seven classical planets and the ‘fixed’ stars or constellations, placing the Earth at the Centre as is common in natural scientific observation.

> Each ring is also described as having its own rotation and individual speed which reflects the time it takes for the planet to rotate fully around the Earth or, by modern understanding, the Sun. The colours associated with each ring matches the observable colour of the Planets.

> Upon the spindle sit seven singing nymphs, representing the seven notes of the musical scale.

> The three Fates Lachesis (past), Clotho (present) and Atropos (future) joining in this harmony with tales of the past, present and future even as they guide their mother’s spindle. Here the Fates represent the nature of observable time being a linear progression.

The Axis Mundi

After the description of the Spindle itself comes the explanation of its function in the rebirth of the soul.

Each soul is allowed to choose the nature of his next life, be it that of a man or an animal, based on the experiences of the life, which have either been rewarded or punished based on the divine judgment. After affirming this with Lachesis they approach Clotho who guides them into the spindle itself, setting their chosen fate firmly within their soul, from where they become part of the thread of Necessity as spin by Atropos from where their assigned fate is assured and they are carried down the thread to travel plain of Forgetfulness to drink from the river of Unmindfulness before their rebirth in the mortal realm.

(Er himself avoids this fate by being prevented from drinking the waters of the River and thus finds himself returned to his own body)

 

From My Own Practice

The Spindle becomes an effective method of transmitting the soul from one state to another and, by extension, a method of connecting the realm of spirit and that of man. Although the myth only refers to the spindle as a vehicle of rebirth I have drawn a connection between it and one expression of the Neoplatonic World Soul, the Heavenly Chi (X).

The Neoplatonic World Soul is far more complicated than the Chaldean World Soul in the sense that it relies on complex (for me at least) mathematics and special relations. Sufficed to say that in Timaeus Plato describes the World Soul as being reflected in the appearance of a stellar conjunction known to appear in the heavens over Greece twice a year. This conjunction, referred to as the Heavenly or Celestial Chi (X) reflect the alignment of the entrances of the celestial and chthonic entrances through which the spirits may travel.

I find this form of the World Soul also in the Myth of Er, although it is depicted as two openings in the Earth and two openings in the Heavens. These two portals function as an entrance and exit for the soul as they experience their judged punishment or reward based on the life they last led.

The Heavenly Chi (X) is almost certainly the appearance of the zodiacal light in the spring and autumn skies over the precincts of Eleusis. Some scholars posit that the appearance of this heavenly event contributed to the timings of both the Lesser and Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, particularly as that within the ceremonial landscape of the mysteries sits the Cave of Hades, a semi-circular cave held to be one of the descents into the Underworld.

For myself, I see descending through these portals the Spindle of Necessity, the axis mundi through which it is possible to ascend to the realms not only of Heaven and Underworld but to that of the spirits of those who have gone before us. Although this is not in keeping with the original application of the Thread in the Myth of Er I have found it useful in my own practice, particularly as I see Hekate Triformis stood around the Thread itself. In this setting Hekate is both the Guardian and Gatekeeper of the World Soul and is the agent through which communication across the Three Reams is possible.

Another way I like to envision this role of Guardian of the axis mundi is in the depiction of Hekate Triformis stood around a central pillar, occasionally with the three Charities. This form of depiction is often referred to as a Hekateion. In my view the central pillar is the axis mundi, either in the form of a simple pillar rising and descending into the realms around us, or as the Thread of Necessity. Again, I have found this image a useful tool in walking the realms in the company of Hekate.

 

 

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