Thought provoking stuff… what is feeding off us? My own thoughts to follow.
There are Fae at the bottom of my garden
And their names are whispered on winds
There are Fae at the bottom of my garden
And born on gossamer wings
Make merry all night; play tricks all day
The people round here they all do say
There are Fae at the bottom of my garden
And their names are whispered on winds
© Vicky Newton
As a matter of fact I very much doubt a lot of the people ’round here’ in the big city suburbs have a lot to say on the Fae, in their gardens or otherwise. Big city living doesn’t exactly lend itself well to working with land based entities such as the Fae but it is possible to make space for them in even the smallest plot of land or high rise balcony.
Who are they Fae
Fae is both a collective noun, referring to a wide ranging collection of mythical creatures such as Brownies, Dryads, Elves etc, as well as being applied to as an alternative name for one particular group; Fairies.
Each culture has its own set of mythical creatures on which to draw on, and in England alone there are many regional variations so rather than complies my own list I direct you to this web page however in my garden, if you are going to encounter anything it will be Pixies; lovers of nature, music and dance, or some other form of garden and nature faeries.
That’s not to say that the fae at the bottom of my garden are all rainbows, light and gossamer wings. That interpretation of the Fae is firmly found in Victorian romanticism and culminates in the mysterious events surrounding the Cottingley Fairies where beautiful winged beings seemingly posed for photos with little Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths.
Often as not what passes through my garden are the Fae of the Wild Hunt, trapped tormented spirits and creatures riding the winds of storms and strife. Though over grown somewhat now, I often stand behind the safety of my landing window and watch the Hunt race across the city, or hear it scream as it rides around my house at night, calling to mind all the myths and legends associated with this magical troop.
What did the Victorians Ever Do For Us?
There is a massive disconnect between the folklore and traditions associated with the Fae and most modern interpretations.
Pick up any children’s book and the beautiful and winged fairies are the child’s friend whilst goblins and trolls are the baddies of the piece, totally separate and unrelated to their glittering counter parts. Many modern pagans are caught in the Victorian glamour of small winged creatures merrily going about their business in nature, such as minding small animals and creatures and tending to plants. Nature spirits who are safe and benign and easily contacted and communicated with.
Tradition tells a different tale. The Fae are more likely to play tricks on the humans they come into contact with. Some do so out of a perverse sense of humour, unable to see the harm they are causing as being negative. More often the tricks are played deliberately to cause trouble and strife, either out of malice or vengeance for a wrong, real or imagined.
Seelie and Unseelie Courts
The word Seelie roughly translates from middle English as meaning “happy” or “blessed”. Conversely to be “un” something means it is the opposite of the other thing so in this case “unhappy” or “cursed”. The creatures associated with the courses are separated along similar lines.
Members of the Seelie Court are light and helpful towards humans, though not against avenging a wrong or insult against them. These fairies are more often seen during Twilight hours and appear as beautiful throngs of revellers engaging in music and dance.
On the other hand the Unseelie were dark and fearsome, thought to set themselves upon any unwary mortal that may intrude upon their midnight realms. Just as the Seelie were capable of bringing harm the Unseelie could bring blessings and such household spirits as Boggart and Brownies are counted in their number.
Trooping, Solitary and Domestic Faeries
As well as being decided into courts the fae can further be divided according to their solitary or congregational nature.
Fairies which like to congregate in large groups, or Trooping Fairies, are usually gatherings may be social in nature, involving dance and music, or may represent a united purpose. The Trooping Far are often considered to be the aristocrats of the Fae and therefore any harm caused by them accidental and unintentional.
The best examples of the Trooping Fae are the Wild Hunt and the Faerie Courts. In most cases the Trooping Fae are not interested in seeking out mortals, unless it aligns with their purpose, but woe betide those who lay eyes upon them or interrupts them in some way.
For example, for a mortal to look upon the wild hunt was to become their prey or, perhaps worst of all, be forced to join their number for a period of time. The Fae Courts, on the other hand, would either lure the unwitting mortal into their number as was the case with Tam Lin or would hound them with tricks and plague for interrupting their games.
On the other hand the Solitary Fae are far more malicious in their intentions towards mortals. These solitary creatures go out of their way to avoid large social gatherings and humans in general but should a human stumble upon them they will have their sport. More than one unsuspecting human has been lured into the mist by mischievous spirits trailing lights, causing them to become hopelessly lost or even causing their death by drowning in lake or bog.
The exceptions to this rule are the Brownies and other forms of domestic faeries. These Fae are firmly aligned with human households and, in return for praise and presents, will keep the house hold safe and sound if not spick and span. That’s not to say they are all sparkles and light. No one should cross a member of the Fae and a domestic Fae can cause as must havoc as any member of the solitary Fae but they can at least be placated through offerings.
Keeping On The Good Side of the Seidh
How do we keep on the good side of these mercurial creatures? There are a number of ways to actively work with the Fae and I recommend checking out Emily Carding’s book Faery Craft and similar works if your are interested in perusing this. Some broad and simple ways to engage with the spirits all around you.
- Making friends with land and household spirits
- Build spirit houses
- Keep a balcony/ window ledge garden
- Talk to them
- Leave offerings
But don’t be complacent. Keeping on their good side is just as likely to get you noticed as tearing up the joint. Fae will sometimes follow you home because you have simply peaked their interest and without proper warding and protection you may find yourself with a new house guests. The same process and rules for protecting oneself home from unwanted spirits will also ward against the odd land spirit and fae but it is always worth including something specific if you don’t want them to follow you in uninvited.
One way is to avoid trespassing into their time and territory. Whilst many fae will not object to being observed from a distance, indeed even invite this kind of contact, not all appreciate it. If summoned by fairy song one may approach the scene, with caution but prevention is always better than the cure in the long run.
Avoiding being out of doors during liminal times, such as twilight and midnight, and staying in during storms will certainly help, as will using traditional charms and tokens to ward the house. Planting Rowan by the garden gate and hedging branches and berries around the home is one very traditional way of protecting the home, and carrying iron helps protect the person.
It also helps to avoid, or at least treat with respect, their spaces as well. Walking around fairy rings, so as not to disturb sleeping revellers or risk slipping between realms, is just one way to keep yourself safe from either their wrath or hijinks. Another is to treat natural spaces with respect. Ensuring that all you leave is footprints is one way to show respect, and equally taking nothing without clear permission to do so will show the same.
“They” say that roses are associated with Hekate. I am not entirely sure who “they” are but they do say a lot and very rarely give a justification or explanation. As with the association between Hekate and Heket (link) the lists and books associated with Hekate never really explain why roses are included but there are many possible reasons; some to do with the properties of the plant itself as well as the myriad of colours available in, others may be because of conflation between Hekate and other Goddesses. I am also going to touch upon the use of synthetic materials in this blog, as not everyone is able to deck their house in real flowers all the time.
Take what I write with a pinch of salt. This is my UPG, which I have based on a concoction of flower language, history, folklore and healing properties. I like to be able to justify my UPG but other devotees should take it at face value.
Flower of Witchcraft
Roses are more closely associated with Witchcraft than one may first appear. When we think of roses we conjure the image of the Rose of Sharon and Carmine Rose and other breeds common to the supermarkets and flower shops, and whilst these are undoubtedly beautiful flowers it may not be immediately apparent as to how these flowers relate to Witchcraft and indeed you would be on the wrong path if you keep those in mind.
Looking past the bred and engineered roses available on the market there are two (well three) which I personally connect with the Craft and which I experience regularly in my day to day life.
First of all is the wild or rambling rose; I am also going to include climbing roses in this discussion although ramblers and climbers are technically different plants. In the language of flowers the wild rose, with its delicate pink petals and fragrance, represents simplicity but it is not necessarily the colours that makes the association but the way that it grows and its connection to liminality. Wild and rambling roses in particular like to climb along the branches of other, more sturdy, plants particularly hedges and it is this that inspires my first connection with Witchcraft.
As you will no doubt be aware dear reader, references to hedges; hedge riding, hedge crossing etc, is a euphemisms in the Craft for the crossing of the veil between this world and the next. The art of hedge riding can be performed through a number of means, including meditation and visualisation and I find that the image of the rambling rose provides a very useful visual tool. The image of passing from one side to another by following the branches and vines of the wild rose very compelling, particularly when considering the occult nature of the Rose (more on that later). Rambling and climbing roses are often incorporated into garden features to frame gate portals such as gates and doorways, often growing to dominate walls and fences. This intrinsic link between the roses and these liminal spaces brings them firmly in to Hekate’s sphere of influence as a Goddess of Thresholds and her role as Psychopompe (guide) to the Underworld.
The next species I want to cover is the Dog Rose. This rose is just as delicate as the wild rose however it if far more protective of not only lying it’s flowers but the bright red fruit that it throws off in early autumn, protection itself with fairly vicious thorns. In the language of flowers the Dog Rose represents both pleasure and pain which is very easily translated into the pleasure of the flowers and the fruit and the pain that one will endure to gather them. I’ve given my fair share of blood to these roses, which are typically used to mark boundaries and can be encouraged into a rather formidable boundary line.
Rather than revisit the matter of liminality I will highlight some of the other connections of the Dog Rose. Firstly it’s name derives from two possible origins; firstly that is was at one time consider a rather unpleasant plant which had little value within the ornamental and formal gardens and secondly from the believe that a preparation of its roots could cure rabies / heal dog bites, an animal closely associated with Hekate in the sources. It is particularly interesting to note that in Ireland (and so called “Celtic” traditions) dogs are not only associated with witches but with healing cults, such as that associated with the chthonic god Nodens. Although I am not suggesting a connection or link between Hekate and Nodens it is an interesting facts to consider in relation to the dog rose and chthonic cults. Another common name for the dog rose is “witches briar” further drawing on the Irish folklore associations of the plant and witches. Again, I am probably teaching you to suck eggs by highlighting the fact that Hekate is the goddess of Witches and Witchcraft.
Although considered useless during the medieval times we now know that the fruit produced by the dog rose, known as rosehip are actually very medicinal, particularly in relation to winter ailments. Hips are a wonderful addition to the wild crafters kitchen, perfect for turning in to syrups, jams and can be added to alcohol such as vodka and gin for flavouring. In addition to offering the occasional flower I also offer hip based products later in the year, in the believe that if Hekate were to include any plant in her Garden, the dog rose and it’s hip’s would be among them.
I should also point out that most of the dog rose bushes I harvest from border waste ground or abandoned properties. Most of these areas are former care and nursing homes. Although I will probably lose access to all these bushes then the land is eventually developed I like to drawn on the use of the land when making my offerings.
The are many more varieties of rose which are available all year round and whilst it is nice to offer particularly symbolic species we don’t need to get too locked into them. In many ways the colour associations of roses are strong enough in their own right to drive a choice.
Red roses are possibly the most popular colour of rose available, and the colour most popular with Heketean devotees. In the language of flowers the red rose can convey deep levels of devotion, love and respect whilst as the same time drawn on the images of the whirring fires and flames of the Chaldean Oracles. The colour red also invokes thoughts of blood, death, the womb and the cycle of creation and rebirth.
On the other hand, white roses speak of innocence and purity as well as a spiritual journey. White roses are used in wedding bouquets to symbolise the promise of fidelity and for the same reason is an appropriate colour for working with a beloved deity.
Black roses representing grief and death amongst other things. Whilst the sending of black roses may indicate the death of a relationship they are still appropriate in devotion to Hekate, Goddess of the the Underworld and of Witchcraft. Black roses, natural ones at least, are not true black and are better described as being a deep red or purple. Whilst it is possible to use ink to turn a white rose black the effect is effect is not a true black, rather a blush /veined effect.
Purple roses, or lavender roses, are a personal favourite of mine. Readily available in shops in the pastel shades, purple roses are associated with all things otherworldly and magical. They also carry messages of inspiration, reactivity and an openness to new experiences and connections. Unfortunately the deeper, more Gothic, royal purples which may be more attractive are less available in the shops. You can obtain them in the form of silk roses, just as you can obtain almost every shade under the sun.
There is absolutely no reason that silk, and other forms of synthetic flowers, can’t be used in ritual settings. Whilst it is nice to have real flowers on your altar circumstances can mean that they are practical or possible. Pets, small children and allergies can mean that fresh cut flowers are out of the question. Silks, pottery and metal symbolic representations are just a few of the possible workarounds. Whilst they are clearly not (temporary) offerings they can become part of your altar set up and even become specially dedicated items for ritual use.
Roses in Greek Mythology
The rose has three clear mythological origins in the Greek world explaining not only the existence of the flowers but it’s thorny nature and blood red hue. The deities most often involved are Aphrodite, with the flower beig most emblematic of Her worship, Eros and Chloris (the Greek version of Flora).
It is also from the Greeks that we get particular occult phrase ‘sub rosa‘, literally ‘under the rose’. The phrases and the image of the five petalled rose has been used over time to indicate times and places where secrecy and confidentiality are paramount (as well as feminine mysteries). The myth itself involves Aphrodite gifting her son Eros a rose, who in turn have it to Harpocrates, the God of Silence, in return for the keeping of divine secrets and indiscretions, but primarily those of his mother.
These myths however do not really give any indication of why the rose may be associated with Hekate. Although she is associated with mysteries and occult secrets this does not fully explain the depth of association she has with roses in the modern mind.
I suspect the link lies hidden within a conflation between Hekate as a Queen of the Underworld and the Roman festival of Rosalia.
A Roman Connection?
Rosalia or Rosalia is primarily a spring celebration which could be celebrated through May and into mid-July. The festival is called a rosatio (rose adornment) although violets (violatio) are also used to celebrate the day. These flowers are used to decorate burial sites as a process of ancestor veneration, a popular private religious process at the time. They are specifically chosen because their colours, red and purple, mimic the colour of blood. This makes them a representational blood sacrifice, significant in a magical sense as blood was one medium used to give the dead a voice.
Roses are also associated with Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. The writer Claudian writes of the “bloody splendour” of the roses found in Proserpina’s (Persephone’s) garden just prior to her abduction. On the other hand the epic poet Vergil uses the metaphor of a purple flowers to describe the premature, bloody deaths of young men in battle; the ominous presence of the roses hinting at the bloodshed and mortality to come.
But the Romans weren’t the only ancient people to associate roses with a funerary context. The Greeks would adorn the graves of young boys and, critically in the context of our discussion of Hekate, young unmarried girls, with roses. The rose, in bud or in bloom, represented the first blooming of youth and in pairing it with the grave was emblematic of a death made more made more poignant by its untimely nature.
Focusing on the grave steles of young women there are couple of Imperial-era Greek epitaphs which compare the deaths of of young women with roses in bud and bloom. A young girl who died at the age of eight is compared to a budding rose, cut down in the season of spring, whilst a young woman buried in her wedding dress, presumably having died just before or immediately after her marriage, is described as a rose in a garden.
Casting a glance over Sarah Iles Johnston book The Restless Dead, in particular chapter 5, you can see that this class of young woman, dead before she can achieve the various socially acceptable roles defined for her in ancient Greek culture, were found within Hekate’s train.
There is usually something behind what ‘they’ say, be it a conflation, miscommunication or an actual traceable connection. In the case of Roses there seems to be a fine and tenouse thread which can be traced from the young, socially unfulfilled women of the restless dead to the festivals of Imperial Rome. This thread becomes all the stronger if we weave against it other associations the thread such as the poetic associations of youth lost in its prime and the appearance of blood both in battle and childbirth. Draw in the further connections to the Underworld that both Hekate and Persephone share alongside roses as a decoration for the grave, you begin to see a far stronger connection than might have been first apparent.
Of course I am more than a little biased; I love roses, they are quite literally my middle name. I haven’t exactly worked hard to disprove a link between Hekate and my favourite flower, and I will be the first to admit that some of the connections I am making here are tenuous and in need of deeper research. What goes above may be nothing more than some interesting justification for the unverified but shared gnosis held by the wider Hekatean community which can back up with a little research but hopefully it goes part of the way to explain why Hekate draws her devotees towards the incomparable bloom that is the rose.
If you think I spend all my free time sitting around crocheting you wouldn’t be far wrong. Crochet is central to my calm down / wind down routine of a silly basis and I will admit to carrying mini projects with me if I think I will be in a stressful situation. This means that most nights I have a hook in my hand but it isn’t the only thing I am doing at the same time.
Yes, I am one of those people how crochet and watch TV at the same time. It’s not always possible with a more complicated pattern but Woodland and most blanket patterns are usually straight forward enough to get away with it. I don’t really watch a great deal of TV, mainly the Discovery and History channels for documentary repeats and the like, but my favourite shows has to be TNT’s The Librarians .
More often than not I am plumbing the depths of YouTube for favourite vlogers and podcasts such as the The Modern Hermeticist and RuneSoup. Both of the RuneSoup members courses (link) were completed along side a blanket project and I actually find the process of busying my hands allows me to clear my mind and make it more receptive.
I really like reading a good book, a new book smells nearly as good as a really old one, but I have yet to find a way to read a physical book and hook at the same time… or have I.
Well no, I haven’t, but I have found away to have my books read to me without signing up for an Audible account or paying the Kindle top up prices through my Android devices accessibility settings. It’s not perfect, you wouldn’t want to listen to anything with dialogue and I have yet to find a voice option that doesn’t grate on my nerves just a little, but it is a great option for the handy hooker.
I also discovered an app called Prestegio ereader which not only displays pdf’s, ebups and other ebook formats but will read them out as well. I tracked it down after purchasing a couple of books from Scarlet Imprint and discovering these benevolent gods of great knowledge also provide their customers with electronic version alongside physical books. Prestegio reads them perfectly, if you forgive it struggling with barbarous words and words uncommon to the English language presumably because they have been created to interface with assistive technology well. Unfortunately not all pdf’s are created equal, so anything which contains footnotes or has headers and the books details at the top of the page can result in a broken read back. Sometime it is bearable. other times it is not, and of course it cannot read scans of books. Still that means a substantial amount of my academia.edu back catalogue will interface with Prestegio, which has a far more palatable voice set than TalkBack.
I’ve also been exploring the crafty side of my own fair city after being put on the trail of a fun and unique jewellery course. Run by a local medieval reenactor and hosted by Leeds Hackspace, I have recently been learning how to cast pewter.
It really is easier than it might first appear, and the effect is amazing. The design is etched into stone using very simple tools, remembering of course that you will be working in reverse and creating impressions. Whilst I didn’t cast this myself, for insurance purposes the person leading the course needed to do this, but I etched the design in using a variety of purposely made tools from nails of various sizes. I’m so pleased with this finished design, which will eventually be hung as an adornment on my statue of Hekate, that I am making arrangements to attend Leeds Hackspace again and work on creating my own set of tools so I can make more designs… if various arts will give me permission to copy designs for my own personal use that is…
In the meantime my Woodland Blanket is progressing nicely. I might be on a part four blog piece but Lucy has issued the 6th and final section of the blanket proper. There is a catch up week to come but after this I will be bordering.
I can’t quite post a full length photo as I am a) still working on it and b) the kids are vegging out watching Tad the Lost Explorer on the TV. Okay, so this movie doesn’t hold up in terms of animation if you want to compare it to things from Disney/Pixar but for an independent kids animated movie it is a pretty good one. Given the kids already love the Librarians and I want to introduce them to Indianan Jones (the first three, not the fourth *shudder*) its going to get them into the right head space in time for the school holidays. More crochet time for me.
- Pronounced IM-bulk, IM-molg, or imb-OLC
- Also Oimelc, Candlemass or Brigid’s Day
- 1st or 2nd February (Northern Hemisphere)
- 1st or 2nd August (Southern Hemisphere)
- Winter / Beginning of Spring
- 15 degrees of Aquarius
- Hearth and home
- Return of the light
Although spring equinox is usually considered the end of winter and beginning of spring it is during Imbolc that the first signs of life returning to the world. Snowdrops and Daffodils begin to emerge from the frosty earth reminding us that the season of renewal is fast approaching. The days have noticeably lengthened in comparison to Yuletide and sunlight, and it’s terrestrial companion fire, are important elements in this cross quarter celebration.
The Sun God is seen either as a newborn, or as golden child. His growing strength is represented in the lengthening days as well as the sense of renewal in nature. The Goddess is considered to be moving from her chthonic aspects, usually referred to as her Crone form, and resuming her mantle as the Maiden of Spring. The decay and stagnation of the winter months is slowly being shaken off and a sense of life renewed fills the air.
The word Imbolc is usually taken to mean ‘in the belly’ whilst the alternative Oimelc means ‘milk of the ewe’. These are pastoral references to the beginning of the lambing season, when farmers begin to closely watch their herds for signs of the new arrivals. Even arable farmers begin to take action at this time; checking to see if their homes and tools have weathered the winter before making repairs as needed. The damage caused by deep winter storms are cleared away, and more often than not burned, to make way for the new growth of spring.
As with the other cross quarter days fire plays a significant role in celebration. Bonfires are just as significant during Imbolc as they are at Beltane but the smaller flame of the candle is equally appropriate, hence the alternative name for the festival Candlemass. The candle flame represents both the burgeoning powers of the returning Sun God and the renewed Goddess in her Maiden form. The altar is decorated in candles and new spring growth if available.
This theme of Imbolc is purification both physically and spiritually. This is the start of spring cleaning and taking a moment to address the things we have in our lives; what we need, what we want and what is entirely superfluous. Clearing our space is a necessity. The physical you things we clear away can be passed on to others through car boot sales and charity donations but our spiritual detritus we shed needs to be carefully disposed of and fire can be an appropriate tool. Even if you cannot jump the balefire in person fumigation with incense and the processing of a flame around your home are just two ways to incorporate flames into your purification ritual. Other methods of purification include meditation, spiritual baths and showers (I prefer the latter) and egg cleansing.
The Goddess most closely associated with Imbolc is the goddess Brigit. A Celtic goddess of craft and poetry she is strongly associated with the fire of both the blacksmiths forge and the home hearth. Tradition holds that Brigit would visit the home of those families that honored Her and would bless them with good fortune for the year ahead.
One simple way to honour Brigit, and one that older children can be involved in, is the making of a Brigid Cross. Sometimes called Bridget’s cross, after the saint into which Brigit was conflated, this charm is best constructed from the last sheaf of the wheat harvest or reeds from the river bank. We modern following may struggle for these things and craft straws are the most commonly used alternatives.
Pagan Parenting Idea
Younger children may find the Cross a little tricksy for little fingers so a good mainstay for Imbolc is the toilet roll candle. Many nurseries and schools have the humble toilet roll on the excluded list along with egg boxes but they are really versatile. Adding kitchen roll tubes and gluing them together allows you to make little arrangements of candles and using electric tea lights makes them ready for a child friendly altar space.
Now not all toilet roles tubes are created equal. You may not be able to insert the electric tea lights as illustrated in the above method video. You may be able to sit them on the top of the tube, and I suggest using the trusty glue gun to build a little lip up and out from the top of the tube for the candle to sit in. Don’t glue the plastic tealight to the tube as it will make it very hard to turn the candles on and off later.
If you don’t have access to electric tea lights then there are other methods of creating a child friendly flame. Capping the top of the tube with a small circle of card and using red orange and yellow tissue paper poked through a central hole will create a lovely flame effect, as will colouring in a circle of card appropriately and gluing it to the cap as illustrated here.
I thought it would be fun to look back over some spell work that I did early on during my Craft journey. The plan was to repeat the spell, or at the very least revisit its nature and try and improve on it and then I realised – not only am I terrible at record keeping but the few records I did keep are missing. This means I have to rely on imperfect memory. What joy.
I remember a love spell involving lunar visions captured within a silver ring, a spell to turn an ex boyfriend from high school into a toad and the by now ubiquitous mirror spells to deal with bullies. None of these are particularly relevant to me in this moment and lets be honest, they are all pretty shallow in nature.
Then I remembered my first encounter with the Spirits of the Key of Solomon.
Why This Spell?
The experience I had during this first foray into goetic works is still very clear in my mind as one of those ‘ this shit is real’ experiences. Not only did I have a spirit manifest itself but the results were immediate and tangible. To be honest it was a working for a really asinine request, I believe it was for a boyfriend or something similar, but a result is a result and we’re all shallow when we’re young.
Sadly I have long since misplaced the book which introduced me to the working. I like to think of as my Little Big Book of Witchcraft, though this is not the title of the book. It was a small maroon coloured book which I picked up in a discount book store such as the Book Depository or The Works. It covered a range of subjects from the history of Witchcraft to spells and charms and whilst it was far from perfect, as a teenager I found the information regarding the Spirits of Solomon captivating and the ritual was accessible to a young budding witch. If I could remember the actual title of the book I would buy it but unfortunately the description of ‘small but thick maroon book about Witchcraft and the occult’ doesn’t cut it either for Amazon or any reputable book shop. This has meant that I have had to recreate the ritual process from memory.
The few details I can remember added to the knowledge I gained on the course meant that reconstructing it was possible. The process use a standard Lesser Key of Solomon spirit list, it involved summoning the spirit into a triangle within a circle (sometimes called a thaumaturgic triangle) and the ritual was to be conducted in a clear, concise and respectful way.
As it happened I did a trawl of the internet for inspiration and came across a blog posting which outlined a very similar ritual to the one I remembered. Not only did I not have to reinvent the wheel but I could makes changes to the ritual which would make it more relevant to my own situation. My recent completion of the RuneSoup Grimoires course really drove home how cut down this ritual process is in comparison to a full ceremonial working however, I am honest enough to recognise that the bells and whistles of Ceremonial magic and I don’t mix. The requirements for working space and environment are just too far beyond me and the thought of spending hours at a time reciting lengthy petitions over and over again sets my sciatic nerve a twitching, never mind what the actual process does to me. I am not above shortcuts where necessary, especially if they work, and my previous experience gives me confidence this is still a workable ritual for me.
The Big Changes
The biggest changes between what I remember from my first ritual and this one is firstly the use of astrological timing. I have only really been using astrological hours consistently in the last two years or so but particularly since the beginning of last year. Although the original blog makes no comment on timing so, and it is rare to find spirits from the Key associated with astrological days of the week, it is possible to make these associations. Planetary association are made alongside spirit names and from this extrapolate an optimal time and hour on which to complete the ritual. For example a spirit associated with the Sun could be invoked on a Sunday during the hour of the Sun, a spirit associated with the Moon on Monday and so on. This can be further adapted to account for the subject of the request, or to avoid or incorporate inauspicious / auspicious hours accordingly.
As I have decided to work with Purson on matters of finance and personal development I have elected to perform these rituals on a Sunday during the waxing moon, thus incorporating the symbolism of a growing moon and giving me a nice little timetable to work within. I also elected to swap out power oil for money oil as my dressing oil of choice because of the chosen focus of the work I intend to undertake with Purson.
Another change, although this is for me rather than the new ritual source, is the incorporation an Enns into the ritual. The ritual I performed all those years ago does not stand out as being included and I don’t believe I had ever encountered the concept until reading Queen of Pentacles.
An Enn is the personal invocation of the spirits of the Key of Solomon and is incorporated as a form of attracting the attention of the desired spirit in in a short, concise way as opposed to endless repetitions of wordy petitions and conjurations. I don’t think every system in the grimoire tradition has this kind of short cut but I have found that the spirits from the Key each have their own individual line which can be chanted.
There was tweaking to be done however. The original blog suggests that the enn should be repeated 108 times based on this number being particularly significant in numerological terms because it represents the relationship of the Earth to the Sun and Moon;
- Earth’s diameter at the equator is 7926 miles and the diameter of the Sun is 865,000 miles, approximately 108 times the diameter of the Earth
- The average or midpoint distance between Earth and Sun is 93,020,000 miles which is 108 times the sun’s diameter.
- The Moon’s diameter is 2,180 miles whilst the average distance from Earth to Moon is 238,800 miles, approximately 108 times the Moon’s diameter.
Awesome facts and figures aside counting 108 is not really practical for me and decided that a lower number was far more achievable. I theoretically settled for 27 repetitions (3×3×3) alongside the with the use of a singing bowl struck gently in its place. The resonance of the bowl, even with a gentle strike, would increase the ‘audibility’ of the enn to the chosen spirit. In practice I ended up chanting the enn whilst I was setting up the ritual space and then combining enn and singing bowl after lighting all the candles until I felt like I had gained the attention of Purson.
More by good luck (or ritual bleed) than good management I managed to time the ritual for bang in the middle of the hour of the sun on the day in question. This was about half seven at night and the plan / hope had been that the kids would be asleep and I would avoid being disturbed by the hubby’s return from his late shift. Unfortunately in addition to signs of a demon called Purson being present there were also signs a small child with an equally demonic name (aka the youngest). Given it was school the next day I was forced to hurry the ritual to avoid grumpy Monday syndrome. She was probably awake before I even uttered my first Enns but she claimed it was my voice that worked her up.
Still, I am confident that I had the attention of the intended spirit despite this. I experienced similar phenomenon during this ritual and on license to depart as during my first all the those years ago. Additionally my dreams were more active than I would have expected under normal circumstances. This is apparently usual in . As I have set a month for the completion of my task I need to allow that time to elapse before being able to fully comment on how well it worked. Disruptions aside the ritual worked in terms of the amount of space needed and the time I should have had.
Given the ritual was rushed and disturbed I don’t really want to make a call on the process either way. Although I am confident that I was successful in my summoning I want to allow sufficient time for the relationship to develop. I also need to allow time for results to manifest. I allotted Purson one moon as a period in which to begin manifesting my requires and whilst early signs are indeed promising I want to allow things to develop before calling it.
One of the insights / messages I had during the ritual was that this ritual needed to be repeated for at least six months, and in hindsight I should factor in some time to allow communication with Purson. The rushed ritual took fifteen minutes and involved no communication at all. The original plan for a half an hour ritual should definitely allow plenty of time for conversation. It makes sense to commit to performing the ritual for at least the next six months, if not longer. In part this will allow me to honour my agreement with Purson but also to develop the ritual practice and relationship. I will probably give planetary hours a complete miss and perform the ritual much later in the evening to avoid disturbing the night owls in the family.
In the meantime I will write up my own notes and ritual plan and upload them the next month when I come back to talk about the results so far and how take two proceeded. I will also include the preparation sheet and large printable thaumaturgic circle (with instructions for anyone who may be interested.
I like to express my sense of wyrd by making things that are more than a little off beat. There are all sorts of possibilities out there if you know where to look and I would be lost without The AntiCraft to keeping me up to date with the wyrd side of yarn craft. Ravelry is also a really good source for odd ball patterns such as a Cthulhu plushy for those little girls that need the Old God in their lives.
Just some of patterns I’ve made include a Pan, crochet goddess dolls, dragon scarfs and a Krampus Hat. I do occasionally make ‘normal’ hats and scarves but if you want to go big there’s nothing better than dragon scale gauntlet gloves.
The wyrd isn’t only limited to the patterns I make, some of my equipment is wyrd and wonderful too.
My living room is a homage to my various craft interests and as regular readers know I don’t shy away from decorating my spaces with animal remains such as antlers and skulls so when I spotted a hoof pin cushion at the vintage fair at Leeds Market I snapped it up. I am also really fond of my hand carved crochet hook, which proves the point that not all magic wands are pointy sticks.
There is nothing better than mixing up your creative craft with your magical craft, a subject that I have touched on the subject before on this blog. For the most part though I just like weird knick nacks and if they can be used to make things for people so much the better.
Week two is completed and I’m ready and raring for Week three. Woody has behaved much better this week, nesting down in my yarn bag and blanket whilst he was waiting to get started on the next phase.
I was planning to darn in all the ends for the proceedings rows over the course of last week but it didn’t come to pass. I better do it soon or it will turn into a massive chore. Some people who are participating in the CAL are filling mason jars and other containers to make keepsake memories. I’m not sure if I will do anything like this myself but I do have some glass baubles which would look lovely stuffed full of little yarny bits.