Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor…

The question of Hekate and the Homeless is a subject that comes up from time to time and is one that can divide the community. Some modern practitioners see it as whole consistent with the wider ethos of Hekate’s role as a liminal Goddess, with some even considering it a integral part of the Deipnon rite, whilst others see it as new age and irrelevant to their practice.  

There are many Heketean Paths, so it is not my intention to devalue one persons perception by sharing my own. I personally feel that there is a connection between Hekate and various ‘liminal’ groups within society including, but not limited to, the Homeles so it something that I personally advocate. Not withstanding it is a complex connection, particularly historically, so it is worth examining like.

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Hecate – Goddess of Crossroads – by 7th-Pillar

Deipnon and the Homeless…

Deipnon is ritual used by the ancient Greeks to mark the end of the lunar cycle and is closely associated with Hekate. Traditionally performed on the 30th day of the lunar calendar modern practitioners perform the ritual on during the dark phase of the moon.

The ritual, consisting of ritual cleansing of both the self and home, culminating in a meal, the remnants of which would be places at gateways, crossroads and public shrines to Hekate.  

Modern practitioners replicate these ritual practices, either in part or in full, as part of these modern revival of Her Worship.

One particular element that causes many a discussion on these giving of aid and alms to the poor. Many cite this as a traditional element of the Deipnon ritual and refer to the words of the titular character of the play Plutus by Aristophanes where he says:

“Why you may ask this of Hecate, whether to be rich or hungry be better. For she herself says that those who have and to spare, set out for her a supper once a month, while the poor people plunder it before ’tis well set down: but go hang thyself, and mutter not another syllable; for thou shalt not persuade me, even though thou dost persuade me.”

On face value many readers interpret this section to confirm that alms giving was a feature of the Deipnon rite. The implication is that either the poor and destitute were able, allowed or at least willing,  to remove sacred offerings from Hekate’s plate or that they were somehow incorporated into the ritual itself. This is further strengthened by the idea that “whatever is thrown or dropped is lost to this world, whatever is caught is gained” * implying that if the food were snatched up before it touched the ground it had not yet passed into Hekate’s realm, meaning it was permissible to take it.

Some devotees interpret this as being an intentional element to the Deipnon ritual on and that it is Hekate’s intention that the destitute should benefit from the offerings of the ritual. This has lead her to being referred to as a Goddess of the marginalised and helpless.

Then again not everyone agrees.

… Or Perhaps Not

Anyone familiar with Greek mythology and Greek religious practice would be aware that to take food which has been dedicated to the Gods is an act which invites misfortune and miasma. It is one thing to leave an offering to the open air and for animals to consume it, it is another for a human to do. Aristophanes is a know satirist and would often use his plays to make comments about the state of Athenian society. For this reason hose who argue that Deipnon did not feature alms giving suggest that Aristophanes is making some social commentary about the depth of deprivation amongst the Athenian poor, that in their situation they had sunk so low as to steal from the Gods. This is an argument I have made myself to highlight the difficulty of relying on Aristophanes as a source for authenticity however in this case there are other sources which compliment his words.  

Then Again…

The counter to this argument can be found in this passage

“Whatever is thrown or dropped is lost to this world, whatever is caught is gained”*

The implication of food that has fallen to the floor being lost to the world is that it passed into the chthonic realms of Hekate, from where she would distribute it to the restless dead but there was an opportunity for distribution amongst the living before this could occur. Indeed there are a number of examples of here’s gaining in some way by obtaining an item before it touches the ground, and even of items being dropped to the ground being portents of death.

It is a compelling thought that on the dark Moon the poor would gather around the door of particular houses known to practice giving to the poor where they would have the opportunity to catch a portion of the food as it was laid out on the floor for Hekate. It is likely that Aristophanes’ satirical comment was based on this practice and he wished to communicate the idea that so extreme were the conditions at the time that no food was reaching the ground as Hekate’s due.

That being said, alms giving, as we might understand it from medieval Christian practices, was not common amongst the Greeks. Charity often meant an act which benefited wider society such as building public facilities. The poor and destitute were simply a future source of slave labour, and they were of no concern to higher echelons of Greek society beyond being a potential commodity. Of course there are exceptions, and there is evidence in those legal records relating to wills that people would leave money to fund projects for the less fortunate but they were few and far between.

The argument for whether or not Deipnon should include alms or aid giving for the less fortunate therefore must remain open to interpretation by the individual devotee or group of practitioners. Many feel that the restless living are just as relevant to Hekate as the restless dead for their own personal reasons, but I thought I would share at least one of mine here today.

Hekate and the Statue of Liberty

Now as I was writing this blog post I was reminded of how Hekate is often likened to the Statue of Liberty, indeed, it was the inspiration for the title of the post.  These comparisons are often simply based on the fact that they both carry an upraised torch and wear a rayed crown, though the number of rays differ, It is well known that it was the Roman Goddess Libertas, the embodiment of liberty, which inspired the creation of the Statue of Liberty there is little doubt that there are stylistic similarities between it and Roman depictions of Hekate. Whether it is possible to say that the sculpture, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, was directly influenced by depictions of Hekate is open to debate. There are a number of arguments made to suggest this, and whilst many are compelling they are circumstantial and cursory, making it difficult to draw too much of a conclusion.

One suggestion I do find interesting, which is pertinent to both the discussion at hand and the political climate today, centres around the last few lines of the poem associated with the megalithic statue.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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It is a call to the restless, to those who felt without hope and who have experienced “death” (socially, economically, emotionally and perhaps actual) in their own homelands. The Statue of Liberty was the gatekeeper of the American Dream and those who sailed to America searching for hope, wealth and happiness were greeted by this giant, seemingly magical, woman who would have originally shined brightly as the sun struck her bronze body. The words of this poem resonate today as much as they did when they were written in the late 1800’s, in some ways more so, but when I hear these last few lines I hear Hekate speaking.

Whilst Hekate is assuredly the Goddess of Witches, Necromancy and the Dead she is also a Goddess of all things liminal, and what is a more liminal than the moment between one life and the next? Modern devotees often feel that Hekate is a driving force for personal evolution and development and the form that takes can be as extreme as movement between countries. Similarly, which group inhabits the spaces in between more than those who are shut out from society for one reason or another, for who death may only be a cold winters night away? The Homesless and Destitute are all “restless” in some way unique to their own situation, be that they are constantly moving between services and/or locations. I find it very easy to associate this Restless Living with the Restless Dead.

Let us not forget, Hekate does not lead solely in one direction. Just as she leads Persephone into the Underworld she also guides Her back to re-join her mother Demeter in Olympia in due time. Just so, Hekate is not only interested in those mortals who have passed from life into death; She also lends a guiding hand and torch back into the land of the living.

Perhaps Her influence was at work at some level?

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Modern Devotion

Lack of historical precedent not withstanding, there is no reason that working with or for the destitute cannot become a devotional act associated with Deipnon. Modern practitioners today often participate in a portion of any sacred meal or offering so and it is not inconceivable that all portion be reserved to one side for the express purpose of giving to the homeless. This would ensure that the intended gift was not associated with the miasma of stealing from the Gods table, but it is perhaps not as practical as it may seem. Unless you know of someone locally it may be difficult to supply the gift before it has an opportunity to spoil, one issue amongst a number I could cite.

This is not a course I would recommend. I would advocate that it would be wiser to pledge to Hekate time which you will devote, in Her Name, to work with a given group of people. If time is not possible then a similar pledge of support in the form of donations (be that money or items) can also be made. It is not a competition, and you should not be making yourself destitute in the process, so given any pledge your make should be honoured be realistic about your own situation as well.

Personally I recommend that any donation of time or money be made via a recognised charity or support service as this is far safer for you as an individual than wandering the streets alone. Ideally it should be a service which does not discriminate based on religion or sexual orientation/gender identity, though this may be somewhat limiting.

 

Notes

* this quote, which appears on the Wikipedia page is poorly attributed and may appear misleading. The quote appears in The Ancient State – The Rulers and the Ruled as part of the footer notes relating to Page 60 and are the authors own words. The ancient sources cited appear as a way of illustrating the authors, apparently valid, concept.

These sources are

 

 

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Svarog and Mati Syra Zemlya

I’ve already talked about the cosmology of Rodnovery and how all things were brought to being as the body of the primary god Rod dissolved but that was the creation matter, not order.

The ordering of creation is as significant in mythological cycles as its very appearance and this ordering often impacts on the social order as well. Rod’s dissolution means that he is unable to carry out this all important ordering himself and this would fall to his son Svarog. Even then, Svarog did not have anything resembling terraferma on which to complete his work and it is at this point that Mati Syra Zemlya rises, quite literally.

Svarog

Svarog is the son of Rod, left behind after the creator god finally dissipated across creation, and the God which finalised the nature of creation. Known as the God of Fire and Forge, Svarog is a blacksmith god who’s hammer forged the 12 pillars of lore which held up the World Tree and from whose sparks all the other Gods were formed. Given his association with fire and flame Svarog is often associated with the Sun though is not expressly a Solar Deity.

His realm is in the high heaven or Prav, the realm of the Gods, and this is reinforced with the Indo-European word “savrga”, meaning sky or heaven. Before his full retreat into this heavenly realm, leaving the first of his male children, Perun, to rule in his place Svarog uses his hammer and a heavenly rock to create all of the land on which all of creation would reside.

Offerings – beef, dark ale, living water, water used in smith-work, pine, dogwood, oak, vodka.

Altar – iron tools/weapons, kolovrat, hammer, metallurgy, magnetite, lead, wooden icon.

Spaces – hilltops, vistas of the night sky, bonfires, blacksmith’s forge, oak grove

Day: Saturday

Animals – ox, eagle, falcon

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Mati Syra Zemlya

Mati Syra Zemlya, the Damp Mother Earth, is the chthonic mother Goddess who is forever fertile and the bringer of blessings to the Slavic peoples. Rather than being depicted in a human form Mati Syra Zemlya, or Matka for short, was seen as being embodied in the very earth itself.

As with many chthonic goddesses Mati Syra Zemlya was a divine witness and judge and was often invoked as an oracle. She was called upon not only to witness the transfer of land and property but also oaths and statements made in legal proceedings. Mati Syra Zemlya was also invoked to protect the home.

In some renditions of the Slavic creation myths Mati Syra Zemlya is identified as the being responsible for bringing up silt and rocks from the bottom of the seas of chaos in order for Svarog to begin the creation of the land. In the myth she is named Ziva and takes the form of a duck, bringing up the silt in her beak. She attempts to hide a grain of silt from Svarog but when he casts the spell to make the land grow the grain grows and grows until it is a massive stone which the duck is forced to spit out. Svarog strikes the stone with his hammer and it is from the sparks that his children are born.

Offerings – hemp oil, harvested grains, fruits and vegetables.

Altar – Items from nature, particularly stones resembling female anatomy.

Spaces – wilderness, other places of nature

Day: none

Animals – all creatures

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Artwork

Artist – Viktor Korolkov

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Pagan Parenting – Things That Go Bump In The Night

Children are sensitive little souls. In some ways they are more in tune with the wyrd around them and are far more likely to be drawn to, or aware of, spiritual activity around them. There are many reasons for this to be the case but there are two leaning causes in my opinion. Firstly, with children being so young, and so full of life and potential, spirit are drawn to notice them. Secondly, children are more likely to both notice, and therefore reinforce, the spirit world simply through their child like state of belief and innocence.

Many children, maybe too many, loose these qualities through the process of growing up, others are able to cultivate their senses in later life. There are some who disconnect with these abilities through fear, be it their own fear or the fear projected by a loved one in those formative times.

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Bump in the Night – it had to be done

Fight The Fear

I place myself in this latter category. Although as I grew older my mother was highly supportive of my interests and practices when I was young she was, in her own words, fearful of what I said and knew. On a number of occasions in very early childhood I gave my mum messages from deceased relatives, in some cases revealing things that I couldn’t have known, and she would shut down the conversation down. It was a bad thing and although I don’t remember the words I do remember her fear, and taking on some of that fear myself.

Now, one of the biggest hurdles I face when developing and using such abilities, beyond my rational mind, is a little fission of apprehension. I think this is one reason that I don’t see spirit. I sense them on any number of levels but visible manifestation is highly rare and always linked to sleep states. My mum acknowledged, before her passing, that her fear in those early years was likely to be the barrier I was then experiencing. Rationalising that has helped… somewhat.

This was very much at the forefront of my mind as the girls were growing up. Fear, mine or theirs, was likely to be the biggest barrier they would face in developing in any area of their lives living so I’ve tried not to let it get in their way. As someone who has reoccurring bouts of anxiety this isn’t always easy but I can usually confine my jitters to when they are out of sight and doing the thing I am worried about. It drives my OH spare but it seems to work.

Whenever we’ve had incidents of spirit activity I’ve avoided flapping where the kids can see me and I’ve spent my time talking them through their experiences, either getting them to open up to me about it or giving them the skills to deal with it themselves as they have gotten older.

Half the trick is working our whether or not what they are experiencing is true spiritual activity, imaginative play or simply the figment of imagination of a child on the edge of sleep. For this reason I take a two pronged approach and in addition to the things I openly discuss with them there are my standard Warding practices which they don’t know about.

Standard Practices

Cleansing

It is good practice to regularly cleanse your home environment in order to keep the energy flowing and moving. In most cases it doesn’t need to consist of heavy and elaborate rituals or full environmental resets but from time to time it is necessary to clear out and start again simply because something unwelcome has taken up residence in the home.

The most effective method for doing this is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, and of all the Golden Dawn rituals it is one of the most accessible to all. The downside of this kind of hard reset is that it creates and energetic void, and this can open you up to all sorts of trouble. Nature arbours a vacuum and will always seek to fill it and it doesn’t discriminate as to what it draws in, which may leave you in more of a pickle than when you began. For this reason it is important to draw in exactly the kind of energy you are looking for. This may be through placement of appropriate crystals around key areas of the house, bell ringing or other similar methods intended to encourage positive energy flow.

It is also important to make sure that you immediately ward the property after completing the cleansing, to better protection against future incursion.

Warding

Whether or not you have children Warding your home is a must for all Witches. In terms of good energetic housekeeping it is better to stop things at the door rather than be fighting a rearguard action action plan the time.

When you have kids it is even more important to have sufficient and effective boundary wards in place because children are spiritually ‘sticky’. Until I started layering regular protection with permanent wards we would regularly have bouts of shadow people, voices, bed shaking, unexplained bangs and crashes. Most would dissipate of their own accord but after performing the LBRP for the third time in as many months I decided to up the anti.

Now my biggest problem comes when something is carried in over the threshold. No amount of warding can protect against some high that is invited in by being brought physically into the house and given that we are big on second hand items and collecting stones from places we visit it still does happen.

For this reason I find it necessary to have a second layered of wards around the bed. A lot of bed wards are based on visualisation and whilst that’s all well and good for me and older children youngsters may struggle with the process. For this reason I would physically ward the beds, critically making sure they were unaware of what I was doing in order to help identify which experiences ere being driven by nightmares and those that were spirit activity.

Warding Charm for Bedside Protection

  • Birthday stone / Sigil / Sample
  • Jet or similar grounding stone
  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Rosemary
  • Pouch

In terms of process I suggest that you personalise it to your child and situation as much as possible. I usually proceed with a dowsing session to try and identify what we are dealing with and this will inform my structure of the spell and identify if I wanted to complete a full house cleansing first but I always include an element of protection and space for ancestor spirits to visit and protect where it is appropriate to do so. The most important thing with this charm is to a) make sure it is well sealed b) ensure it is hidden around the bed (I recommend under the mattress) and c) the child in question is unaware of its presence.

I find this charm has a six month life span though this my vary. I don’t renew unless we have a sustained period of nightmares (5 days plus) and by not discussing it with them I am able to better gauge what is psychological / attention seeking and what is spiritual activity.

Where things are a little more psychological there is always the good old Monster Away Spray, also known as Flick the Fairy’s Good Dreams Spray after the fairy story my sister made up to get ED through an overnight stay. This kind of spray can be made up using any number of relaxing scents but I particularly suggest these three as the are Lavender, Chamomile and Rosemary as they are generally safe for all ages and very relaxing.

Stay Away Spray

  • 100 ml Spray Bottle
  • 3 drops each
  • Lavender, Chamomile, Rosemary EO

Fill spray bottle with water and add EO. Shake well before each use. You may want to involve your child with the blending process but they should be the one to ‘shake the magic awake’ and spray their pillow area saying something akin to;

“Monster, Monster stay away; stay away and don’t come back another day.”

Night Terrors / Shadow People – self rescue

As a family we have a lot of trouble with talking in our sleep and night terrors. I can sometimes take control of a night terror and turn it into a lucid dreaming experience, but only if I catch my signposts early on and I have only reached that point through hard won experience. Getting to that point wasn’t fun, mainly because I didn’t learn it from a book but by experience, but it was worth it in the long run.

Given that shadow people are a common feature of night terrors, at least for us, it can be a little hard to tell what experience is a nightmare or a spirit not quite manifesting itself. It is doable through confrontation and signpost recognition, for example I always know when my Mother is appearing as a spirit of a dream figment depending on some key signals, or their lack. I’d prefer it if the Girls could achieve this ability earlier than I did so I’ve been trying to get them to employ some methods of control that I use myself.

Both Girls can be incredibly strident at times; they are the epitome of the statement “dear strong willed child,  I know you are practising to be a world leader but right now you are an arsehole”, so they can absolutely order anything around regardless of which side of the veil it originated from. The trick is getting them to realise that they are in fact dreaming and can take control. It is a little hard to explain he process of lucid dreaming and the possible signposts they may experience to a 5 year old so I boiled it down to always confronting anything in their room with the demand for identification or departure.

In sounds a little more wordy than it is but essentially they are to unleash the pointy finger wand and say “tell me who you are or get lost”.

A week long period of night terrors,  which involved waking in the early hours with the screaming meamies,  dried up overnight and haven’t troubled us since. Every now and again they report a return of the shadow people but we don’t have full blown terrors anymore.

More Notes

This may not work for all children, and is entirely dependant on their waking world situatuon. Try a combination of methods to support your kids through difficult times and if you have persistent concerns contact your Doctor.

 

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Light-Bulb Moments

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Sometimes we can’t see the wood for the trees. I’ve been in a funk the last six or so months for a variety of reasons but a big one has been that things haven’t quite run in my direction when it comes to rituals.

A number of furniture reshuffles around the house slowly but surely ate away at my already small ritual space. I went from having enough space to at least stand, if not cast a circle, to having to sit on the edge of my bed at shrines placed on bookshelves. I basically had enough room to get in and out of bed and that was it.

To say no one was happy with the arrangement would be putting it mildly and all my Gods were letting me know that they were not happy be it through dreams or the things going on around me. The final straw came when I lost a data stick which contained almost all of my research, including some time critical work. Despite much searching, pleading and begging it didn’t turn up so, at my wits end, I resolved to start over.

No more tired old rituals and processes, all those resolutions I had about weaving the Ancestors into my praxis I would make happen. So I got to writing and researching and the Hekatean magic happened.

My furniture issues evaporated almost overnight … well two weekends, and we didn’t actually get rid of anything,  just rationalised. Now I have more than enough room to swing the ritual sword, real or proverbial, and with a minor tweaks I might even be able to cast a fully circle, something I haven’t been able to do since having kids!

I also found the perfect ritual (link) to use as an outline to base my new rite on. Although the content been entirely reworded the outline of invocation and the type of offering used gave me enough of a push in the right direction and everything just flowed from that point.

Then ideas began to really flow.

Folding the washing one day I wondered if I could get my phone to read my kindle books to me and low and behold this is exactly what Google TalkBack can do. Now I could make my way through my backlog of Rosicrucian Digests and other eBooks I had collected over the years. I couldn’t quite get it to read PDF’S smoothly (I am working on it) and the voice is a shade irritating in the way it handles some unfamiliar words but generally speaking I am impressed. So I started with the Eleusinian Mysteries, a perennial Hekatean favourite, and it was part way through this that I found the missing element of a ritual rewriting of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

This ritual was one which was on my lost USB stick and whilst I could remember it clearly from when I had used it as a regular devotion there was a section that had never really worked well and had ‘clunked’ in comparison to the rest of the ritual. Now it just all slot into place and I have a neat little ritual which functions as a daily devotion and ritual preparation. I immediately jumped on the PC and started typing and again, the words flow from my fingers and onto the screen as I wrote up the ritual, and the rational and justification for my changes. So pleased with it am I that I am considering submitting it to an anthology later this year so keep your fingers crossed for me.

A Change Past Due

My ritual was, by necessity, brief. Despite the late hour and the sun being down the Girls were wide awake so my window of opportunity small and subdued and I skipped on a meditation because I was (rightly) concerned about interruption.

Still, the ritual just flowed. Even the new elements to my devotional, which I have returned to daily practice with, flowed far better than expected. The Ancestors clearly heard me and family members log since past visited my dreams that night. It was all I could have asked, and more given the brief nature.

Things, as they say, can only get better.

Musings

I know many devotees of Hekate talk about experiencing periods where Hekate felt distant, or they felt their link to her diminish in some way. Some felt a sense of  abandonment or even rejection during these times whilst others recognise that her distance can mean other things. In my case, and in retrospect, I think she was trying to force a change in me and I was simply slow in getting the message. Every roadblock and problem I was experiencing was an attempt to force me to act on the sense of stagnation in my ritual practice. If I had acted on it sooner perhaps I wouldn’t have lost that USB stick, then again maybe maybe I would have done.

Although I lost some very important research it is nothing that I can’t repeat and, knowing how this works, the second  effort can only be better than the first.

The effect of making these changes has been invigorating in a spiritual sense and hopefully next time Hekate feels that things are getting a little stale I won’t be so slow on the uptake.

 

 

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The Things You Find

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I like walking in nature, even if my body doesn’t and having two kids in tow makes it harder to appreciate the signs and sounds. One reason I enjoy these walks is the foraging; whether it is edibles, interesting rocks or the occasional twig you can always guarantee we will find something to bring home.

This past May bank holiday weekend visited the North Yorkshire coast, in particular, Boggle Hole, for a spot of beach combing. I am never going to stack out an Etsy shop with curios and creations but I like finding things that I can incorporate into the witchy household environment and maybe even my practice. There were a couple of finds on this trip which underlines why this kind of thing can be very ‘profitable’, particularly for a budding witch who is on a budget.

Pentagram Rock

The striations in this stone are what made it stand out to me. It may not be perfect but this is defiantly a pentagram. This stone is pocket sized so it would make a perfect addition to any of my travel altars either as a focal point or elemental representation. I’ve been seeing a trend towards themed altar kits so for inspiration, this stone would also be a wonderful addition to any sea themed altar space.

Other Ways To Use Rocks

There is a massive emphasis on the use of crystals and semi-precious stones in new age circles but you can build some very real and meaningful relationships with more prosaic stones. When taken from a particular location the stones carry some of the energy of that location with them. Whilst you should never remove a stone from an ancient monument (not even if it has fallen from the monument) taking one from the surrounding area will allow you carry some of the places home with you, something that is particularly relevant if you regularly work in a particular place on a regular basis.

Even if you don’t work with genius loci stones can be incorporated into your practices as markers for altars and circles. The size you use will depend on the purpose; larger stones for marking out outdoor circles, smaller stones for marking particular components of the altar set up. Smaller stones are also useful for making divinatory sets be that runes or some other tool.

Your chosen stones should be as flat as possible at least on the side you are going to draw your design on. Prepare your stone by washing it and cleaning it well, ideally with a toothbrush to remove any in the ground dirt. Any rough patches can be smoothed out using sandpaper, using finer and finer grades to create a smoother finish. Acrylic paints, fine point markers and marker paints are the best mediums for drawing your design on your stone, though it is also advisable to prepare by drawing your planned design in pencil or chalk. Once you have the design finished the stone needs sealing such as mode podge or similar. A good option for smaller stones or when you are in a pinch is clear nail polish, particularly chip-resistant polish.

Something A Little More – Jet and Hematite

Amongst the granites, sandstones and slates that you often find on the beach, it is also possible to find something a little more precious. Because they are knocked about by wave action it can be a little hard to compare them to the ones we find in the shops but they are there if you know how to look.

The most common find possible on any beach in North Yorkshire are quartz based. Ranging from pure to off-white in colour it is possible to find carnelian and citrine but they aren’t all that common, or evident. The region is more famous for its deposits of jet, the fossilised remains of the monkey puzzle tree. This very light, black ‘stone’ is can easily be mistaken for coal but it can be distinguished by rubbing it up against sandpaper or sandstone. Coal will leave behind a black streak whilst jet will leave a reddish brown mark.

There are no laws about taking Jet from any of the beaches between Staithes and Runswick, at least that I can find, but discretion is advised. Jet is still an important commercial resource in the area so please bear this in mind.

The other thing I found on my recent visit was this interesting stone.

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Based on the sheer weight and sheen I am hesitantly identifying it a hematite,  an iron-rich stone regarded amongst healers as providing grounding and stabilising energies. I found it mixed within a deposit of other stones in a rock pool just below the cliff face and it was the rainbow sheen of the wet surface that attracted my attention. I’ve been doing some research and it is possible the stone is naturally occurring, rather than a previous ritual deposit and the fact that I was strongly attracted not only my its appearance by the feeling of it in my hand and pocket indicates to me that even if it were, this stone was meant to find me. I am planning to wire wrap it so I can wear it in the future.

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Perun and Veles

All good pantheons contain adversaries. Two powerful deities which are in conflict with each other over power and prestige or some other reason. The Greeks place Hades in opposition to Zeus, one being the God of the Underworld and the other being God in the Heavenly realms, one feeling outdone by the other when it came to the apportionment of power and prestige. In other families, a trickster god, such as Loki, is set against all other deities in a combination of hijinx and malice against another God of power and prestige.

It is a combination of these two dynamics which is at play in the story of Perun and Veles.

Veles is both outcast and trickster, forbidden from the realm of Prav whilst beguiling God and Man alike with his shapeshifting and wiles. Perun, on the other hand, is a supreme deity of war who protects and rules over both Prav and Jav at the behest of their father Svarog, a deity which I will post about next time.

Perun

Perun is the supreme Slavic Deity and is known as the god of thunder and sky. Unlike his Norse equivalent, Thor, his thunder and lightning were caused by his war bow and arrows. He also wielded a battle axe. The root word per- in proto-Slavic means to strike or to slay and the Lithuanian word Perkūnas both refers to the God and the phenomena of thunder.

In addition to meeting out punishment to mortals who took oaths in his name Perun was charged with protecting the gateway to the heavenly world of Prav, and the associated World Tree, from the onslaught of his brother Veles. It was thought that thunderstorms represented this cosmic battle and that Veles was overcome and returned to the Underworld, Nav, where he would prepare for his next attempt on the Gates of Prav.

Perun is the god of justice and punishment of the wicked and is particularly venerated by modern Rodnovers as he is considered to have control over who can and cannot enter the realm of Prav.

Offerings – meat, ale, mead, golden apples, red/gold candles

Altar – axes, arrows, hawthorn, juniper, sage, nettle, apple, storm water, amber, thunder-stones (flint arrowheads), wooden icon

Spaces – hilltops, mountains, oak or yew groves, home

Day – Thursday

Animals – goat, rooster, eagle

 

viktor_korolkov_2Perun

Perun

 

 

Veles

Veles is another major God within the Slavic pantheon and stands in opposition to his brother Perun as the trickster God of the Woodland. Veles was originally charged with protecting the World Tree from encroachment from the Underworld of Nav, however, he soon became jealous of his brother’s holdings and stole his cattle. This resulted in Veles being banished to the Underworld where he plotted his return. 

Veles is a shapeshifter and is alternatively said to take on the form of a serpent, black bear and other animals in his attempts to regain his place in Prav. When seeking to escape the thunder and lightning of Perun Veles is said to change his form into both plants, animals and even hide behind people to escape his brother’s rage.

Though his association with trickery and wild places Veles was often associated with matters of commerce and long distance travel. He is associated with herd animals, particularly sheep and the root origin of his name is shared with words meaning wool and hair.

Offerings – chicken hearts, cooked corn, basil, barely, wheat, mistletoe, bread, mead, music.

Altar – black animal motifs, ram horns, black wool/fur, cow bell, herb bundle, musk, wooden icon

Spaces – forest crossroads, riverbanks, woodland groves

Day: Wednesday

Animals – black bear, black ram, black dog, black sheep, snakes

 

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Veles

 

 

Artwork

Artist – Viktor Korolkov

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Pagan Parenting – Having Friends Over

I’ve found myself increasingly having to consider the ‘what ifs’ of my children having friends over to stay. Although we have had parties and play dates at home the parents of said children are either family or friends that know that I appreciate that we are a ‘non-Christian’ household. Now, as the children are getting older and developing strong friendship bonds with children outside of our circle I have had to review the kinds of things that are out on display, especially as I expand my statue, skull and book collections.

The core of my position is that it’s my house and I’ll have out when I jolly well want, but actually there does need to be a bit of giving ground on my part.

General House Rules

The rules for guests would be the same as for the children; Do not touch without permission. The added caveat would be ‘the children cannot give permission’. When considering items out on display I am somewhat relaxed. I’d be a fool to believe that the kids, who get up way earlier than I do, don’t rummage trough crystal bowls or manhandle objects on the sideboard. Generally, anything on display is the equivalent of an ornament so as long as there are no breakages I turn a blind eye.

Boxed items are another story. If something is in a box and I see tampering then there is big trouble. Boxes are where I keep my tools, herbs and ritual items which I do not want touching. Most of these are in my bedroom so there are no excuses but there a couple are on display in the living room (mainly divination equipment so it is close to hand).

The other biggest rule, particularly with overnight guests, is that my bedroom is off limits. Not only because that is where I keep the really illicit stuff but also because I have no desire to be working up at 6AM on a Sunday morning.

Divination and Magical Tools

Any object which is sacred or, for energetic reasons, shouldn’t be handled by anyone but me. As such they are stored in boxes and out of site. As noted above boxes are off limits regardless of where they are in the house. Occasionally I have ‘retired’ objects from active use and they have been incorporated into shrines around the house. In these cases, the items are to be treated as any other ornament though the girls know I would strongly prefer them to leave well alone.

Skulls and Other (MM)

Death isn’t a subject I feel needs to be hidden from children. Whether it is the death of a beloved pet or relative they need to share the experience with their family, at a level appropriate to their age group. The presence of skulls and other remains, and (mm) in general is something that I don’t believe should be shirked from and my policy is that those skulls which are on display remain on display. There have been a few goggle-eyed looks but never more than that.

I am starting to include some trance work involving animal skulls in my personal practice. These skulls will be dedicated items with their own rituals and spirits attached. As such they will be an off-limits item to all except myself, as is the case with any form of divinatory tool and will be stored appropriately.

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Icons and Statues

I don’t have a lot of ‘sexy’ icons but some of my Pan statues are more than a little… phallic. My OH isn’t exactly comfortable with these images as it is so they are confined to the back of a bedroom cupboard and are only on display during ritual work.

This is not my preference.

Whilst I am happy to keep such things confined to the bedroom, particularly when it comes to considering the feelings of visiting family members and guests, but I dislike like hiding them from the Girls but I am content to respect my husband’s wishes… for now.

In a more general sense, I have things out on display as shrines and altars which are not moved or redressed for visitors.

Herbs and Consumables

Young children explore their universe through their mouths. If it fits it ships as the saying goes. I’m not entirely convinced that this gets better as they get older it’s just the ‘I wonder…’ thought process has greater imagination and possible trouble behind it.

Whether the item may be considered ‘not great’ or ‘extremely NOT’ for human consumption I take no risks. All herbs and loose incense are in a box within a box which is located in my room. The few that aren’t are kitchen herbs.

Teaching Some Lesson

Most of our rules are based either in so-called ‘common sense’ or good spiritual practice. Magical, sacred or divinatory items should only be handled by the practitioner and/or designated individuals unless invited. Equally sacred or spiritually significant objects really shouldn’t be on general display. One of the reasons I have and enforce, these rules with the girls is that they are something they may need should they take their practice forward and in recent months it has become very relevant for ED.

The ED has been collecting bits and pieces of ‘ritual’ items for years. Some are things she has inherited from me, others she has made herself and she’s even asked me to buy items from charity shops from time to time. She keeps her items in her bedroom on a special shelf but she had found that play dates would rummage through and pick things up and ask permission second. She found it a little frustrating so when she started to collect the Hatatchet Partworks Mind Body Spirit magazine she asked for a box of her own to keep all the crystals and cards out of sight. Gradually more of her items moved in and now she has a well-developed beginners altar box (sans oils and herbs).

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She does have the candles, but we’ve had a long long long fire saftey talk

Not only is she better organised she can keep things separate and special. Admittedly, it’s hard for her to access because she refuses to keep her cupboard tidy buy at least the intent is there. Now her things are out of sight out of mind and now she is the one who decides if and what can come out.  

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