Apr 30, 2015

Chiastolite, the stone of transformation and spiritual protection

     Chiastolite is a naturally occurring mineral, a form of Andalusite ( Al2SiO5 ), and is easily distinguishable by it’s black, cross shaped, inclusions of graphite. Most of the time it’s a brownish-gray in color, sometimes with dark red parts as well, and when cut in halves ( the natural specimens ) once can clearly see the cross pattern inside.

Left: rough, "slabs" of Chiastolite, right polished tumbled stones

     The very name, originates from the Greek “chiastos” which means, “cross marked”, [1] and also “cruciform” or “crosswise”. It’s hardness on the Mohs’ scale is 6.5-7.5 , the strike is white, and the luster is vitreous. It can withstand high temperatures,  without alteration,  and is for this reason used    high-temperature resistant ceramics and refractories. The faceted specimens exhibit the pleichroic effect ( “change” color depending on the angle from which they are observed )  and are for this reason valued among jewelers, and used in the jewelry. [2]

Use in magick

     This auspicious natural talisman, has been used in healing and magick, for hundreds of years, already. It was believed to be a sign, or even gift from G’d, and it was, and still is, reverend as an amulet that negates curses and hexes. Today, it’s  also frequently  used to shield from, and fence off, psychic attacks. So it’s a powerful stone for spiritual protection, or, it’s a protective agent per excellence, especially against harmful magick.
Charming Chiastolite crystal
skull  :) 

     It is also a very spiritual stone, that both, uplifts spiritually, but grounds those that hold it, preventing that the spiritual experience gets the best of them. What more, it’s said to ground a spiritual experience, or insight, making it more understandable and permanent. 

     According to renowned author and crystal-therapist Judy Hall, the stone is a gateway to the mysteries as well. It facilitates astral projection, and helps people understand and explore the immortal   nature of souls. It is related to death, and rebirth, and is believed to ease the transition of the soul form physical to other planes, thus helping those who are passing away. The stone    can provide answers to mysterious events and occurrences. [3]

     It’s an inspirational, and creative stone, which also boosts analytical faculties, and aptness in solving problems, which is connected to its use in crystal therapy.

     It has the power to turn the conflict into harmony, and to dispel negative thoughts, sensations, and energy. That’s the majestic transformation power of the stone, to turn the negative into positive.
     Additionally, it’s said to unite and draws elemental forces, due to the cross pattern, most likely, empowering thus spiritual work, and magickal rituals and spells.  [4] This is why people sometimes place it on their altars.
      It’s also seen as a stone of good luck, and is believed by many to be  an amulet against the  evil eye, or the glance of malice 
     It also has power to turn the  calm confronted people, and turn conflict situations into more productive ones. Hence why it could be useful to carry to  workplace , if the colleagues tend to argue.

     Like any other stone/crystal/mineral  , Chiastolite is also associated with planets, it “vibrates” with certain numerical value, and it channels energy, projecting or drawing it ( in this case, the stone is versatile, so it both receives and projects energies, equally well ), and here are some of the correspondences for the stone:

·        * Planetary ruler: Various, Saturn
·         *Elemental ruler: Various, or all  the 4 classical elements
·         *Numerical correspondence: 7
·        * Energy: receptive and projective
·        * Birthstone of: Libra and Virgo [5]
·        * Time of year* : Samhain and Lammas
·         *Angelic ruler: possibly ( ! )** Sandalphon or Cassiel

Use in crystal therapy
     Chiastolite has relatively broad spectrum of “prescriptions” in regards of treating  somatic and psychological aliments, and some of the suggestions are as follow:

     “Healers use chiastolite to lessen fevers, rheumatism, balance the immune system, fortify nerves, and increase lactation in nursing mothers.” [6]

     It’s also said to increase ability to solve problems, find different approaches and solutions to them , or to conquer them using analytical faculties, which the stone greatly enhances. It also dispels fear, illusions, and non-functional, old, thought-patterns. It reduces excess of acid in organism, and is said to be able to repair chromosome damages, and even treat paralysis.  [7]

    It’s empowers any chakra, if laid over it  , and it’s extremely efficient in repairing auric damages, and filling up auric holes etc.

Spells and rituals

Dispel negative elements     

     Create an elixir with spring water and Chiastolite. Add to it few drops of Holy water, and a smallest pinch of salt. A drop of Camphor essential oil may be added as well,  or a pinch of finely powdered / pulverized Vervain, If You feel so inclined, but  it’s certainly not necessary
     Now either put it in a spray bottle, and spray around the place that is disturbed with negative vibration, has “thick” air, or feels extremely “wrong” , or pour it into a ceramic lamp, light a candle and let it diffuse and dispel negative elements, replacing them with creativity and harmony.

Charm of spiritual aid

     When someone is in dire need of spiritual assistance, of the benevolent spirits, due to some misfortune, trauma or illness, combine in a purple mojo bag:

·       *   Chiastolite
·       *   Aquamarine
·       *  Altaea roots, or Star Anise seeds

     And dress the bag with “Spirit guide” or “Healing” condition oils. Any of the spiritual colognes, such as Florida water, or Kanaga water will also do just fine. Hold the bag in hands, light a white, purple or beeswax candle and pray, and ask the spirits to help. Leave the bag, alongside candle, glass of water and some fresh mint leaves on the altar until the candle burns all the way down.
     Then the candle can be given to the person in  question, or even slipped underneath their   mattress, to draw help of kind spirits.

NOTE:  This article was written and composed by myself, so If You wish to use any part of it elsewhere online, feel free, but add credits; Shadow of the Shadows magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com    or a direct link to this  post

*While  it’s only natural that certain gemstones take  special place in certain   magickal times, certain periods of the year, be it even a single day , it should be obvious that  this does not imply that these stones can be used only  in/on these  given  times.   Crystals themselves  are pretty much equally powerful all year long, If properly maintained ( cleaned and charged ), of course
** My own suggestion, I have not been able to found any association of the Cross stone, with any of the Angels or Archangels in the sources available to me. But the colors, shapes, properties of the Stone resonate with the two mentioned Archangels, strongly.

[3] “Crystal Bible; a definitive guide to crystals” by Judy Hall, 2005th edition
[4] According to the   “Encyclopedia of crystal, gem and metal magic” by  Scott Cunningham; pg. 87th Llewellyn publications
[5] Sources disagree; for example Gerina Dunwich, in her “Dunwich’s guide to gemstone sorcery” states it’s a Virgo birthstone, whereas http://www.healing-crystals-for-you.com/chiastolite.html ties it to the Libra
[6] Retrieved / quoted / cited from :  https://crystal-cure.com/chiastolite.html  for educational, explanatory and discussion purposes, without any ill will
[7] According to the source listed under  [3]

Slabs  of Chiastolite ( first image ) from
http://www.fossili.it/immaginiprodotti/andalusitegrezzo.JPG  used here for illustrative and explanatory pruposes without any ill will
Thumbed Chiastolite from Crystal cure http://crystal-cure.com/pics/chiastolite-tum.jpg used here for illustrative and explanatory purposes without any ill will

The skull made from Chiastolite is from,    http://www.skullis.com/ProductImage/4100124/Chiastolite-Crystal-Skull-03.jpg     and is once again used for illustrative and     explanatory purposes without any kind of ill will 

Apr 28, 2015

The power and symbolism of the Red Egg, and Paschal origins and mysteries

     As I am writing this the Easter, according to Orthodox Christian denominations that follow the Julian calendar ( old ) approaches. In fact,  the Easter is tomorrow ( 12th April 2015th ). 

     So I decided to write a little something about the tradition of dying/coloring  eggs, in Christian tradition, and hopefully to help dispel that silly, urban myth;  how it’s a Pagan tradition. Not because I have anything against Pagans, for the record; I have Pagan friends, but because I loathe the New- Age trend of watering down the tradition, and mixing up and confusing facts. On top of all New Agers and Neo-pagans then proceed to insist how it’s The (!!!) Truth, when in fact is just their own misinterpretation. In a very belligerent, and I must add spamming fashion, parroting their nonsense ad nauseum, in hope that a thousand times repeated lie will become just like the truth.
     One of the bluntest examples is related to the tradition of egg dying around Easter. Claiming that it’s related to old Germanic deity Eostre, or Ostara and Spring Equinox, they are in fact trying to appropriate, and claim authorship over such archetypical symbols such as spring, egg, rebirth, red color etc. It’s beyond reductive, absurd, and unfounded.

     Egg symbolism, and dying eggs traditions

     First off, egg is not a Pagan symbol, because as a symbol, it predates any organized religion. Monotheistic and polytheistic. Dyed eggs have been found in prehistorical graves, alluding most likely to early perception even among the prehistoric human, of egg, as a symbol of life, and vitality.
     The unearthed shells were often dyed with either red ochre, or blood, in the territory of what it’s now modern Ukraine, for example. [1]
     Eggs have reportedly been decorated ( usually Ostrich eggs  ) in Africa since the dawn of human, there.
     Egyptians have been dying eggs, mostly for use in their funerary rites, as early as 5000 years BC.
     Zoroastrian religious people have dyed eggs, on their New Year, Nowruz, which falls around Spring Equinox [2]  . Another practice of egg dying that predates Eostre cult. In fact, it’s noteworthy to mention that the first written records about Eostre, date back to the eight century AC ( Bede ) [3] while the Christians have been celebrating the Easter as early as from the 2nd century AC. Hence, all the, extremely spurious symbolism and egg myths associated with Eostre, at least in written records form, came much later.
     To sum up, symbolism of the egg is universal, so the egg is no more pagan in origin than the wheel or fire.
     Egg is a universal symbol of creation, sometimes the thing from which the life emerged; vegetative, Divine, or chthonic. Worldwide, it’s a symbol of affection, happiness, opulence, health, birth and resurrection.  It’s also associated with the springtime. In the Hebrew tradition, it’s a symbol of promise. [4]
     Finally, it’s also a symbol of Cosmic Egg, or Brahamanda ( in Vedic mythology ) and Orphis egg ( in Greek mythology ), from which, respectively, the very universe hatched and expanded, or the primordial, hermaphroditic  deity had.
     Ovoid shape, the egg shape, is a traditional shape used in occultism and talismanic to represent Akasha, the Ether, or the fifth element which is the Spirit. [5]
The Term misconception

     The only thing that, albeit very loosely, correlates celebration of Christian Easter with Eostre is the name.  And that’s only the case in Anglo-Saxon and Germanic counties and diaspora (!!). In fact, Christians will often use the term “Pascha” instead, or “Feast of the Resurrection of the Lord”.
     However to the many English speakers, Easter is a mundane word, with no connotation to Pagan’s month name, or fertility festivities;
Some Orthodox Christians discourage the use of the word Easter, believing that the term has roots in pagan rites of the spring equinox and overtones of fertility. Most English speakers are unaware of the etymological origins of Easter, however, and use it without any sense of pagan connotations, and so Easter is also used by many Orthodox English speakers.
The origin of the term Easter comes from the Germanic name for the month in which the Christian feast usually fell, and so, just as the American civic holiday of the Fourth of July has nothing to do with Julius Caesar for whom July was named, neither does Easter have anything to do with the pagan goddess Eostre, the namesake of the month in which Pascha fell. “ [6]

     Christian symbolism of the Egg
     For the Christians, egg has additional symbolism, aside the universal attributes. It symbolizes and empty tomb, or the tomb of Lord Jesus, whereby the hard, shell exterior symbolizes the stone which was used to cover the entrance to the Christ’s gravesite. Breaking the eggs on Pascha symbolically represents breaking off the stone on Christ’s grave, and just as the little chicken hatches from the egg, so does a new life, Christ rises from grave, defeating thus death. Hence to the Christians, egg is not merely some fertility symbol, nor is associated with the rabbits, those are things of popular culture, and commercialism.
    Traditionally Christians would abstain from eating meat (least the fish on certain days), eggs, milk, or any animal byproducts during the Lent period ( 40 days prior to Pascha ), and the eggs were thus something that was tabooed during the period, in order   to stress out the Divine symbolism embodied in them. This is still a living tradition among Eastern Orthodox Christians, as well as some Eastern Catholic Christians. [7] Hence, the first thing the pious taste, after the communion that is, on the Pascha is an hardboiled egg. Not the chocolate one lol.  
     Christians have been dying eggs in Europe from the XII century, and in Slavic countries ever since the XVI century, which was done to commemorate the miraculous and joyful resurrection of our Lord Christ, who thus saved human souls from perdition, and ensured them eternal life. This is why, the eggs are traditionally dyed in red color, even though in modern times, eggs are being dyed all sort of colors or even decorated with intricate, and meticulously created art, such as is the case of Ukrainian “pysanky” or “pisanki”.
     The oldest technique for this complex method of art decorations    is so called “batik” technique where the special tool, having a quill top pen attached to it, was used to    dispense the melted beeswax over the eggshell, creating decorative, and symbolic patterns, ranging from phytmorphic, over eternity knots to Christian symbolism and inscriptions, such as the Paschal Christian greeting: “God has risen!!!” [8]
    But the red dyed eggs still remain the most favorable, and most traditional kind for Christians. The red color on them symbolizes Blood shed by Lord Christ, life, resurrection, and vitality, also rebirth and health. The first egg dyed red, during particular Paschal season, usually whole red, or decorated with a Cross, or words “God has risen!”  is set aside and kept in home during  the  whole ( following ) year, as a powerful talisman to protect the house from lighting, thieves, misfortune, sickness and epidemics and evil spirits and spells. In Serbia and Montenegro, such eggs is referred to as “Cuvarkuca” (lit. House-guardian), and is kept in some special place in home, often on display, to protect it. After a year has passed, it’s either buried in the ground, or tossed into a running water, and then replaced by a new one. [9]     
     Eggs dyed red are also associated with the miraculous event associated with Mary Magdalene that took place when the Christ resurrected according to Christian legend. The Legend comes in a few variations, in one of them Mary Magdalene came to the tomb of Christ on the third day   after the Crucifixion, only to find and empty tomb. Upon seeing the risen Christ, the eggs she was carrying in basket turned red.
    “A different, but not necessarily conflicting legend concerns Mary Magdalene's efforts to spread the Gospel. According to this tradition, after the Ascension of Jesus, Mary went to the Emperor of Rome and greeted him with "Christ has risen," whereupon he pointed to an egg on his table and stated, "Christ has no more risen than that egg is red."
After making this statement it is said the egg immediately turned blood red” [10]
    In a third legend Mary Magdalene  encounters some Roman soldiers, and greets them with “Christ has risen!” to which they mockingly replay that Christ is risen as much as eggs are red, which results in rain of red eggs falling down on them, striking them with awe and terror, in front of the revelation.

     The power of the red egg, folklore and beliefs among the Christian folk

     Following are some beliefs associated with the Paschal dyed egges, particularly red ones, prevalent among the pious Christian folk

·         The First egg boiled and dyed red for Pascha is set aside to guard home from thunder, thieves,  evil spirits, spells, and misery and illness  ( Serbia and Montenegro, Peninsula ) Several “pisanki” are   saved for the same purpose in Ukraine and Russia
·         The same egg is dipped inside a vessel with water and freshly plucked flowers, blossom and Rosemary twigs, on Palm Sunday, overnight. The next day, the household members, and children wash their face with this water to ensure health, beauty and longevity.
·         Among the Czech and Slovak people, young men hit young women ( lightly ) with birch or willow twigs, and sprinkle them with water, and in return the girls give them red dyed eggs. This is said to confer to the girls beauty and good   health.
·         In Germany and England people dance around hard boiled, dyed eggs on Easter, taking care not to break them. This is sometimes referred to as Egg-dance, or hop-dance in England.
·         Pysanky or pisanki, with spiral motifs can be used to trap demons. A blessed Pysanky can be used to find demons hiding in dark corners of someone’s house ( Ukraine )
·         Cloth that was used ( or a napkin ) first dyed egg on Pascha ( in Balkans ), or the “Cuvarkuca” ( in Serbia and Montenegro ), or  the first “pysanky” in Ukraine, was believed to retain healing powers for the  time of year, and was used in healing rituals.
Benediction of the eggs
     The Paschal, or the Easter eggs, are traditionally blessed by Christian priest, in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, and are then exchanged among the pious, and given as alms to the poor, believing to bring blessings and health when eaten.
     In Serbia and Montenegro, an old European custom survives, and  lives even nowadays, and consists of egg  knocking contest, where the two parties knock eggs, which will result in one being broken and other remaining whole. The owner of the “whole” egg is considered a winner, and also gets the other party’s broken   egg, as a  reward, and moves on  onto the next opponent, doing so as long as his egg remains whole.
     In any case, eggs, most often chicken, boiled and blessed on Pasha, or the  Feast of the resurrection of the Lord are held in belief as powerful blessing and healing tool, as long as You don’t eat too much that is J That would merely give one   a stomachache  and possibly constipation J
    Here is an old prayer, fro the Latin Rite Romanum, used to benedict the  Easter eggs:

Lord, let the grace of your blessing + come upon these eggs, that they be healthful food for your faithful who eat them in thanksgiving for the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever! “ [11]

NOTES: This article was written/created by myself, so If You wish to use any part of it  elsewhere online, feel free but  add credits: Shadow of Shadows magick place , Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this post

[1] more about Ukranian tradition of dying and decorating eggs ; http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/display.asp?linkpath=pages%5CE%5CA%5CEasteregg.htm
[4] According to “Illustrated Encyclopedia of signs and symbols” by Marc O’ Connell and Raje Airey
[5] As stated in: “How to make and use talismans”   by Israel Regardie
[6] Quoted from: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Pascha  ,  used here for educational and explanatory purposes without any ill  will
[9] According to  Dr. Vesna Marjanovic, from the Ethnographic museum of Belgrade; more here:  http://www.blic.rs/Vesti/Dodatak/183594/Jaje-je-simbol-zivota translated and paraphrased here by myself, for educational ,  explanatory and discussion  purposes, without any ill will
[10] Retrieved from:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_egg , used here for educational and explanatory    purposes without    any ill will
[11] Retrieved from   same source   listed under [10]  , for educational and illustrative purposes, posted here without any ill will

IMAGE CREDITS: Image used was taken, and edited by myself

Mar 30, 2015

Conjuring and banishing the elements, traditional weather witchery, spiritual work and magick

     The art of affecting and controlling the wind, rain, hailstorm, snow, or even the ever-so-intangible thunder and mist, with spells and rituals is extremely old. Examples of such practices can be found in almost every ( If not every ) of the world’s traditions, religions and magickal systems.

     From the sacrificial offerings to the Tethys , an ancient Greek Titaness deity, to the water swirling in  a freshly dug up small pit in the ground, weatherworking methods spun the globe , as invaluable pieces of cultural heritage, and they still do, although to a bit lesser amount. We have to thank all sort of misinformed, and clumsy practitioners for that, parroting all over the World Wide Web, how weather witchery is fantasy, distancing therefore the newcomers from the magickal history, and heritage, and watering down the knowledge. Alas, not even spirituality is immunes to such insipid things as trending and misinforming. That being said, one of the main reasons for composing this little article, is to let people know that weather magick is nothing less effective than Your love spells, banishing spells, money spells, divination, or any other  magickal methods for affecting the world around us. Unlike what You will hear on occult related social networks ( at least predominantly ), it’s not a thing of fictions, it’s  genuine magick.

     And  article like this… it’s really only befitting for the weather whimsy season  that spring is J

     History of the weather magick and rituals

     One of the very early written information on weather magick, comes from Herodotus, a V century Greek historian, as noted in his “History of the Persian wars”, he mentions sacrifices made by magi to conjure the winds. Empedocles, also mentions controlling the elements of the storm. By the XVI century, the weather working was equally alive and prominent, which we can attest even from the literature. For example, this section from the  Shakespeare ‘s notorious “Macbeth” shows the three witches boasting their weather working skills ( among other ) :

Second Witch
 11   I'll give thee a wind.

      First Witch
 12   Thou'rt kind.

      Third Witch
 13   And I another.

      First Witch
 14   I myself have all the other,
 15   And the very ports they blow,
 16   All the quarters that they know
 17   I' the shipman's card. “  [1]

     A demonologist from the early XVII century (Francesco Guazzo ), in his work “Compendium Maleficiarum” asserts that witches can control rainstorms, hail, and  “with God’s permission” even the lightning.

     Two extremely popular phenomenon of  the weather magick, that have been practiced since the antiquities, and are well recorded, are so called “whistling up a/the wind” and “wind knots”.
     Gerina Dunwich, a renowned occult books author notes this in her “Exploring spellcraft” :

 “ In the 12th century, Sumner wrote in Last Will and Testament, “In Ireland and in Denmark both, Witches for gold will sell a man a wind, which in the corner of a napkin wrapp’d, shall blow him safe unto what coast he will.” “ [2]

     According to the same source ( Dunwich )  The  “Irish times” magazine published a story on the alleged witch who sold magickal wind knots, well into 1814th .

     The wind knots, are a magickal charm, created ritually, on some elevated, windy place ( such as mountaintops  ) by “catching”, or trapping the wind into a piece of fabric, or even a rope, by tying three knots, while speaking befitting words of power/incantations. Such charms were often sold,     to the sailors and fisherman, for it was widely held that undoing these knots will release the wind, creating anything from soothing wind to power the ships, to winds storms which could sink the ship. Different traditions may  also accentuate some specific aspects of the ritual, such as specific sailor knot which was used in trapping the wind, or the rule that the hair must always be unbound when doing this. 
A man, selling wind knots to the sailors, woodcut

     Whistling up the wind, is a practice that pertains in Paganism, nature magick and superstitions even nowadays. Doreen Valiente speaks of people who are naturally gifted to “whistle up the wind” in her “Natural magic”, and this is in fact a widespread belief, not just in Europe, but also among some Native American tribes, and even in Philippines.  Whistling is believed to encourage the wind to start blowing, and to empower it, strengthen, If need be. However, it’s widely held to be a risky endavour, as it was oftentimes hard to predict the outcome, let alone control or remedy it. Hence why it’s so ill-advised to whistle while on ships, even nowadays, for the sailors are superstitious, and might make you walk the plank If You do it lol. Or more likely demand, terrified, that you stop with your attempts to bring about demise for all  who are on the ship.

     Even nowadays, some witches and people who are “gifted” to whistle up a wind, will go to the seashore, and whistle for the wind, sometimes swirling a piece of seaweed above their heads, in clockwise direction.  

    For those who were not gifted   with the talent to whistle up a wind,  there were other methods, such as making whistles from Alder tree ( Alnus spp. ) , or swirling lengthy wooden blades on a string, called bullroarers above one’s head [3]

    Even the Christian religion, which arguably condemns, but certainly does not glorify magickal practice, had in past resorted to the  rituals and masses to affect the weather,  especially in times of great need, during extremely dry periods, or to  halt  a threatening storm.

     The New York times, from the February of 1989. published and article dealing with one such  draught “incident” in Italy, on which occasion the Roman Catholic priests included an old, rarely used prayer for bringing rain in the mass. [4]

     In the Orthodox Christian Church, “The Great Book of Needs” or the “Euchologion”  ( prayer and ritual book for the clergy ), contains official Christen prayers , which are to be recited, in cases of prolonged and threatening draughts to bring up the rain. People who live from agriculture in Balkan peninsula, will even nowadays, request from their local   ministers to read these prayers, If their crops get “under the weather”, for example during the summer, excuse the pun.

     In remote villages of Serbia,  Bulgaria,  and Macedonia,  even nowadays there are  folk ceremonies/festivities, basically the rain dances, with young women dancing, and singing rain calling folk incantations, without clothes, covered instead with plants, leafs and flowers. This custom is referred to as “Dodola” ( also Dodole, Dudulya, and few other variations ) , as is one young women, or a girl, who is anointed as leader, and leads all the other girls, from house to house, singing the songs, and getting water poured on her, by people. This dance, was believed to ensure plenty of rain thorough the year, or  to end the draught, if  performed when the need has risen. It's not too much unlike the Native American rain dancing . 

     Some interpretations link the Dodola dances to the Slavic pagan deity, wife of perun, called Dodola, who was believed to cause rain, while milking her cows.  These ceremonies have actively been done in Macedonia up until 1960. [5]

     Magick and spiritual work to conjure the wind

     Some common methods of conjuring the wind, were already discussed earlier in this article. However, there are few other, practical methods that are of interest.
     Weather magick makes use of brooms, though not so much the broom in the traditional sense, even though, ordinary cleaning broom, or the witch’s  ritual broom may certainly be used as well. It’s rather a very small broom, or technically speaking a bit larger herb bundle, made from specific herbs, which are regarded as auspicious and helpful in this particular type of spiritual magick. And the best choice for conjuring the wind, is certainly the Scotch Broom plant ( Cytisus scoparius L. ) .
     So, in order to conjure the wind, a person can get some branches of the Scotch broom, tie them up in a bundle, and head over to some elevated, less frequented place, such as hilltops or mountaintops, or even forests. Upon reaching a favorable place, one should simply wave the broom over their head, or “stir” the air with it in clockwise direction , while chanting appropriate words of power, for example:

     “To stir the air, and wind to raise,
       I call you sylphs, I give you praise,
       A breeze, or gale, or even more still,
       With Broom and You, I cause by will!”

     Should you found that what you’ve conjured is more than what you can handle, tradition suggests to simply burn the Broom You’ve used and place the ashes  into a whole You’ve dug up, and then cover it with ground.

     Magick and spiritual work to conjure the rain

     During one particularly hot summer, without rain, the Sicilian people have felt so threatened, that they could not think clear. They took the Statues of the Saints and placed them outside the Churches, and removed all the fancy decorations and embellishing from the statues, and even threatened the “statues” with lynch, If the rain does not start falling soon.   Or so the story goes, anyway.
     Yet what may seem as irrational behavior on the first sight, is merely an aspect of Christian folk magick ; as practiced among Catholics in some parts of the world. They threaten the Saints, or rather, images ( statues most often ) of them, flog them,  or turn upside  down, or even threat    asking for something specific. This is almost exclusively done in situations of dire need, but that does not make it any less sacrilegious and unsettling, though, in my humble opinion that is.
     A more “appropriate” Catholic Christian spiritual-folk practice, to conjure the rain in times of draught include washing the Statues of Saints in bodies of natural water, while devotedly praying for salvation   in form of a  timely, nourishing rain. As mentioned before, Orthodox Christians read specific prayers instead, whereas the Catholics would probably consider such prayers “unfit” as part of official Church services, masses or rituals.
     Witches, and other kind of magick practitioners, on the other sides have always had quite a few methods which have been ( and still are ) popularly used to conjure the rain.  Some are simplicity itself, at least in terms of casting the spells, physically,  but may require  a  strong, intention, and genuine need. As is the weather , volatile  and unsteady, so are the effects of weather spells cast on whim, or just  for the sake of trying out.

     One spell calls for gathering Sage leaves, after the sunrise, in the early morning, and then digging a deep hole and burying them inside.  According to the very spell, when the leaves decay the rain will come. [6]

     Another popular method is, again, like in the case of wind conjuring with a  broom.  Usually made for the Heather plant ( Calluna vulgaris L . ) , which is dipped into a water, or stricken over a  river ‘s surface, and then shaken above the head, or on all the four corner, to sprinkle/asperse  some of the water from it. This was commonly done, followed by incantations.

     Heather is considered a plant of rain and mist, and was in the “old times” mixed with Henbane and Fern and burnt as an incense to conjure the rain. [7]

      Throwing Sesame, or Rice seeds in the air, or even ( a more recent variation  ) throwing some on the map of the area, sometimes followed by the words of incarnations,  is believed to draw the rain, from sky to the land. 

     Another popular method is to dig a hole in the ground, pour some water in it and stir it. [8] Some sources insist that one must stir continuously with a finger, and if they get tired, other person may take over, but the stir motion must not be interrupted, until the rain starts.  [9] Some other schools of thought claim that the same method may be done by digging up a small hole with a knife, pouring water in it, preferably rainwater, and then stirring with the knife, while invoking the rain. One may chant something along these lines, as they stir:

     “Nereids, and water nymphs,
       Water spirits and air sylphs,
       Raise now high, and fly around,
       Tear the clouds, bring rain to ground!”

     A popular belief in Europe suggests that If one desires to bring about rain, they should pour water through a sieve on a stone. Ideally, not just any stone, a Fae’s stone, or Folk’s stone, which are large stones believed to be inhabited by or sacred to the Fae or Fairies. But You are going to have to try really hard to find one of those outside the Ireland and Scotland.  In which case, a consecrated stone, used for Your spiritual works only, or even better for conjuring rain only will do.
     Ritual to conjure the mist

     I have written this particular ritual, some time ago, but I’ve never used it myself. Some friends have though, and  they have reported    good  results.
     It’s simple. Hold a piece of Ametrine in one hand, and a lit blue-yellow candle in another. Chant:

     “To conceal and hide, and wrap in mist,
       I invoke air and water; combine and twist,
       Spirits of Air and Water, from far and wide,
       Conjure mist and fog, bring them by  my side!”

     Alternatively, one could try pouring some water in a ceramic/aroma lamp, mixed with dried and powdered Heather plant, and as the fumes rise, invoke the fog.
     Visualizing fog and mist filling one’s head/mind, is said to effectively render  powerless people to penetrate and read mind of one who’s using the simple technique.

     Magick  and spiritual work to protect from, and banish, the storm

     Storm is a destructive and formidable force. One to be feared of, respected, harvested, and perhaps most importantly, protected from.  Protecting from the bad weather is the whole idea behind weather divinations and meteorology.
      People have used all sort of herbs and charms to protect from bad weather.
      Houseleek, St John’s wort, and Feverfew are among the best choices to protect from lighting.  Particularly the Houseleek, which is said to be the most powerful charm against the thunders and lightings.
       Rowan tree planted in front of the home,  and Elder tree   behind  the home, are said to also confer safety from electric atmospheric discharges. Very powerful is a nice sprig of Mistletoe hung on the front door.
       Nettle and Oak tree’s wood, are carried on one’s behalf, as charms  against the lightning.
       A sharp object, such as knife, an axe, or   a    pair of    scissors , pinned in a ground, at the edge of one’s property, is according to the widely spread superstition, a way to break the upcoming wind, hurricane, tornado, or storm, split it , and spar your home of it. 
      Blue Chalcedony, as well as Heliotrope stones were used to protect from bad weather, and even help  control in, in the “old times”. [10]
       The "Malleus Malleficarum", suggestes reciting the following to halt a storm:

“I adjure you, hailstorms and winds,
By the five wounds of Christ,
Arid by the three nails which pierced His hands
and feet
And by the four Holy Evangelists, Matthew,
Mark, Luke, and John,
That you be dissolved and fall as rain!”

     Also, three hailstones would be, in turn, one after another thrown into a fire, while reciting the Our Father prayer and the Angelic   salutation, to achieve the same result,  finished by reciting Gospel of St. John, and saying: “By the words of this Gospel may this tempest be stopped!” [11]

     In Austria, there’s a custom of throwing wheat, outside the window,   to hinder a storm magickally. The  belief probably arises from the notion that storms are embodiment of some lower level evil spirits, that due to their obsessive compulsive nature  get interrupted, and distracted   by seeds  thrown on ground. 

NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself, so If You wish to use any part of it elsewhere online, feel free, but add credits: Shadow of the Shadows magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this post
[2] Quoted from: “Exploring spellcraft” pg. 136th  New Pages books, 2008th,  by Dunwich, Gerrina , used here for educational and informative purposes, without any ill will
[6]  “Witches potions and spells”, 57th page, Kathryn Paulsen, 1971. Peter Pauper Press
[7]  According to the :  “Cunningham’s encyclopedia of magical herbs” , by Scott Cunningham, Llewellyn publications
[8] According to the  source listed under [3]
[9] According to the  source listed under [6]
[10] According to the   Judy Hall, as stated in various of  her books on Crystals
[11] According to the same source as under: [2],  on 138th page

IMAGE CREDITS: First image is from    http://etinspires.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/storms.jpg  ,   digitally edited for  the use here, by myself, used for illustrative and explanatory purposes without any ill will

The second is from   http://www.inst.at/trans/17Nr/4-5/images/4-5_donecker_clip_image007.gif  Likewise, this image is also used for illustrative and explanatory purposes, without any ill will

Mar 20, 2015

Birds in magick and divination

     The birds almost deserve a separate branch of magick, a system If You will, dedicated to solely to them. Like  the Fairies ( Fairy magick ) or magickal gemology ( crystal magick )… Many beliefs and folklore about them, spin the globe, and connect the cultural heritage of diverse ethnic and national J
groups, transcending thus the physical, and fictive,  boundaries, we humans had set. They can fly after all

     And it’s the very ability of flight, that had earned the birds almost instant association with magick, in human mind, according to anthropologists. We can easily understand, and agree with this.

     However, there is always something more, something intangible, and subtle, delicate and inconspicuous to the “unwary” eye of a non believer. Birds were guides of shamans, witchdoctors, and witches through human history. 

     Birds   were ominous to humans, and predicted either catastrophes or successes of civilizations, as well as individuals, as far as human memory goes back.  Also, birds were held to be   messengers of deities, and sometimes deities themselves in disguise. Examples are many. Sparrows and swallows, and sometimes doves, were considered sacred to Aphrodite. Owls are told to always accompany to the Judaic demon Lilith, and she would often morph in one of them. Hence the name, “night owl” , which was often used as synomum for Lilith. Native Americans firmly believe that the Eagle carries on his imposing wings, prayers to Wakan Tanka or Maitou ( name varies in tribes ) that is the Great Spirit. Ravens, although almost universally seen as bad omens  in the world, is also a bird that had feed the St Elijah the prophet , in Judeo-Christian lore. The white Dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit in Christianity and omen of blessing, empowerment , and salvation.

The four feathers

Native Americans, hold particularly sacred these four species of birds:

·         Eagle ( most often Bold eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus ) – Native American people consider Eagle a chief of    the bird tribe, and is believed to carry prayers of the people  to Great spirit.  It’s a symbol of strength and courage, and his feathers carry some of  that power, hence their use among Native   American people, as a fetish, or amulet bestowing courage, while also being a medal of honor of a kind. Direction associated with the Eagle is East, and season is spring.
A White headed Eagle

·         Hawk ( subfamily Accipitrinae, various genus’ and species ) –  Native American people held that the Hawks were messengers of spirits, and that they were associated with  the mystical Thunderbird.  The feathers of the Hawk were consequently used for invocation of the rain  in some tribes, and were widely used  among various tribes  in healing  rituals.  Direction associated with the Hawk is south, and the season is summer.

·         Owl ( many of the genus’ from the family  Strigida, and from the order Stigiformes ) –  Owl, as a night-bird is in Native American though associated with the Moon, unlike the Eagle and the hawk who are associated with Sun. It’s also associated with the knowledge, and sometimes magick and transformation. Direction associated with the Owl in North, and season is winter.

·         RavenCorvus spp. ) – Raven is believed to be a messenger of the Great spirit according to Native American people,  guardian of the Sacred laws,  the theft who had once stolen the Sun, trickster and a bird of transformation.  Direction associated with the Raven is west, and the season is autumn.[1]

     Here are some additional Native American beliefs associated with the Owl:

     “Some Native American cultures link owls with supernatural knowledge and divination. In the Menominee myth of The Origin of Night and Day, Wapus (rabbit) encounters Totoba (the saw-whet owl, Aegolious acadicus) and the two battle for daylight (wabon) and darkness (unitipaqkot) by repeating those words. Totoba errs and repeats "wabon" and daylight wins, but Wapus permits that night should also have a chance for the benefit of the conquered, and thus day and night were born. The Pawnees view the owl as a symbol of protection; the Ojibwa, a symbol of evil and death, as well as a symbol of very high status of spiritual leaders of their religion; and the Pueblo, associated with Skeleton Man, the god of death and spirit of fertility. On a warm afternoon in August 1985, one of the authors (DHJ) observed Ojibwa peoples at a weekend cultural celebration in Duluth, Minnesota using dried wings of Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianas) as hand-held fans to cool themselves after participating in native dances.” [2]

     Read about some more Native American legends,  associated with the Owl,  on the Owl pages 
In any case, the four feathers of these birds were placed on four cardinal points of the wheel inside Wigvams of those starting spiritual journey, for the sake of illumination, vision quest or   initiation. As we have seen earlier in the text the position of the feathers was following:


Birds in divination, ornithomancy and avimancy ( also ornithoscopy )

     The divination by observing birds, and hearing their singing is called   ornithomancy. There are many methods and variations, depending on the culture, tradition, and even the bird species. But there are general guidelines for  what should be observed in a  typical “reading”  via birds , if we can call it that.

     After the practitioner had asked the questions, in many traditions three times, aloud, somewhere outside, he/she/it observes for appearance of bird, and some other specific thing.

Aspects important in divination via birds that seem universal in the world are following:
a)      Direction - in which the birds appear and are seen, when the diviners spots them. For example, the birds moving towards the diviner, foretell about the happy times awaiting the questioner.
b)      Direction change – sudden or abrupt change of the direction was also “diagnostic”. For example, a large flock of birds suddenly changing the direction was indicative of, sudden intense change in emotional life of the diviner , emotional instability and doubt.
c)       Color – was an important aspect too. Majority  of the flock consisting of light colored birds, was a sing to take action, while the majority of the flock   being made from  the black or dark ones, was a sing that more planning is due, and probably, that the questioner should ask someone for  an advice.
d)      Height – When it comes to height of bird’s flight, the simple rule of thumb applies, when it comes to interpretation.  Plainly, the higher the better. On the other hand, horizontal, up-down and zigzag flight, is  a warning   of the forthcoming obstacles on  diviner’s road to success.
e)      Singing – Bird’s song is interpreted differently depending on the species, but  generally,  if the bird/s are squawking a lot and flying in circles it’s a very bad omen. If a  whole flock is doing it over a specific town, area… it can be sing of a natural catastrophe of some kind.

     Later in the article, we will touch upon the divination with specific bird’s such as Cuckoo bird, and others,  upon discussing these particular birds. The variations are so many that it would hardly be possible for me to explain them all in a blog post like this.  Follow the given  guidelines, in general divination and experiment with them. Teach Yourself to observe birds and pay attention to them more, they have a lot to teach, those that are ready  to listen, according to the words of the wise people.

Birds in folk magick and divination of Balkan Peninsula

     I decided it’s best to approach the animal magick from the perspective I am most familiar with, here. Its traditional Balkan witchcraft, folk magick and lore. I  have also  observed animal magick, from perspective of Hoodoo,  but that’s a topic for some other post/s. If fact, I hope I will  have the opportunity to write about chicken as a magickal bird, in more detail in a separate post. I will save Hoodoo insight on the issue of bird magick for such occasion.

     In Balkan peninsula, birds, as ominous creatures  and folk medicine source, were always held at high regard. Even by people who are not superstitious. They might not believe, but they are at least cautious and open-minded, about the possibility that birds indeed carry messages from Higher Power.  Or that they know something. It may have to do with the rich body of folklore, which is a cultural heritage of people in this part of world, and that dealing with birds is extremely large. It can, alone fill tomes and tomes of books. Here I shall deal with  those extremely popular and well known, as it’s only appropriate for this type of work ( blog post ). I will give the species* of the bird spoken of, or at least that which is most commonly identified as such. So let’s begin.

Raven ( Corvus corax , Ordo Passeriformes, Fam. Corvidae )


     According to one legend, raven was the first bird that the Noah had released to seek the dry land, but the bird got too distracted by eating carcasses, so the Noah had  to send the dove, which brought back the olive branch.
     For the Balkan peninsula people, especially in Serbia, Montenegro and some parts of Bulgaria, the raven is purely and exclusively a bad omen.  Seeing it, hearing it, flying, sitting on a tree,  on a chimney, it matters very little. It’s a sign of a great misfortune, either way.  In fact raven is plainly seen as a sign of great misfortune. There are even various incantations that are to be “said” ** upon seeing eitheer a flock of ravens, or a single one on Your rooftop in Your yard, flies over Your village etc. to negate the power of this omen. The only positive thing about this bird is that it had various applications in folk, ritual medicine, and was a powerful, according to the folk “probatum” cure for many, otherwise hard to  treat or incurable conditions. For example, salt poured through the dry head*** of the Raven was a cure for poor memory, it restored the memory faculty, and could even activate immune system in some cases. A few drops of raven’s blood, slipped (  ritually ) into the vine of a drunk, would gradually or instantly ( sometimes it had to be done few times to take the full effect )  them of alcoholism, and the reckless behavior associated with it.
     Raven is  also associated with the Celtic deities Bran the blessed, and Lugh, whose name  actually derives from the Celtic word for “raven”.

Magpie ( most often Pica pica, also O. Passeriformes, Fam. Corvidae )

     Another one seen as exclusively or almost exclusively as a  bad omen, depending on  it’s behavior, in some areas of Balkan Peninsula. It might have been seen as omen of upcoming news, on rare occasions.  But the Magpie, was much like Raven, ironically used in  ritual medicine profusely.  Among others, it was a definite cure for epilepsy when   “prepared” in specific way.  If someone was stuttering badly, or had lost the ability to talk, due to some kind of nervous system blockage, even those magickaly induced, they were cured by means of feeding them ten pulverized magpie tongues, in a glass of milk on a New Moon night.
     Magpie feather, in Europe is widely held to be a magickal charm ( or talisman ) that can help one retrieve and locate lost items and people.

Crow ( various species Corvus sinatus, C. frugilegus, C. cornix and others, also O.Passeriformes, Fam. Corvidae )

     A crow, landing on a tree, in front of Your house, or a lone one sighted in nature,  according to the Balkan folk  foretells of a arrival of some guest.  One  heard squawking, while flying over Your house  or resting near it foretells of some  important news.  Just for precaution, upon such occasion, Balkan folk would say, in their mind’s voice:

If it’s a good voice/news, let them squawk, if it’s a bad one, let them fly away and carry the misfortune with them

     The crow was not used much in ritual medicine, but there are some indications that it was sporadically used as a sacrifice to some deities of pagan Slavic pantheon. [3]

Cuckoo bird (many species from the Cuculidae family, particularly of Cuculus genus )

     Balkan Peninsula folk, have always considered Cuckoo birds to be prophetic birds, often harbingers of death even, but an utmost friendly harbinger.  Whatmore, they were treated as godsend omen! But mind You, Balkan Peninsula folk believe that a cuckoo bird singing on the house chimney, predicts dead of some of the house inhabitants.  But unlike with Ravens and magpies, cuckoo bird’s singing is rather a friendly warning, about unnatural death (premature, not destined), that can thus be stopped. Hearing the Cuckoo bird’s “song” coming from the east, was ominous of lucky, successful year, whereas the singing coming from the west was a warning to “slow down”,  dela y  all unnecessary journeys, and think things through a bit more. If you hear the Cuckoo bird for the first time some year, on an empty stomach, that is before you ate, it would be a sign that you will be troubled with insomnia and fatigue, throughout the upcoming year. To prevent the “fulfillment” of such prophecy, simply say as many times as the bird sounded the following: “For life and health”.  There is a curious dream incubation recorded being done here, upon seeing a Cuckoo bird for the first time in the year. This simple rite, is said to induce prophetic dreams.  On such occasion one is to dig up some earth from where they are standing with their right hand, and wrap it in some white or red paper. This “sachet” is then to be placed bellow pillow.  In some parts of Balkan Peninsula spotting Cuckoo bird on a tree, was a chance for diviners to get some answer. They would sit down below the tree, asking YES or NO questions aloud, and counting the  bird’s “replies”,  even numbers would mean YES, and odd number of cuckoo sounds would mean NO. The tree where the bird had spent some time, or rather the very branch, was considered to attain special healing powers afterwards.  Particularly in helping the hair growth, and becoming beautiful in Young women.

Divination by rooster’s choice, or alectryomancy
     This type of divination, common among rural areas of Europe, was/is particularly often done with roosters, but in ancient Rome, where from the divination originates, it had been done with white chickens, or “holy birds”, which were hens, used solely for divination, and carried around in luxurious cages, by Roman soldiers.
     The very method is rather simple, the diviner/s draw circles on the ground, mark them with symbols ( answer  options, or even letters of the alphabet ) and then cast a few seeds of a kind, oftentimes wheat on each. The birds are then released from the cages, and it’s observed and noted, which seeds they ate first, second etc., that is from which one of the marked circles, and what where the symbols/meanings behind it.

Divination by Magpies

A Magpie

     An old nursery rhyme, popularly referred to as “One for sorrow” is actually an example of apantomancy,   combined with numerology, and folklore superstitions.
     In short, the little poem, first time recorded around 1780. (in John Brand's “Observations on Popular Antiquities on Lincolnshire” )  it consisted of four lyrics, attributing ominous meaning and symbolism, or accidental encounter with Magpie birds; one was indicative of sorrow, two were foretelling  mirth ( sometimes also births ), and so on.

One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a wedding,
And four for death” [4]

     Which latter evolved into a tad more lengthy poem, having ten lyrics, and therefore observing the symbolism of accidental encounter with one, two, three, etc. up to ten Magpies. In parts of the world where magpies are not that common, the same symbolism may apply to Crows, or Ravens.

One for sorrow,
Two for luck; (or mirth)
Three for a wedding,
Four for death; (or birth)
Five for silver,
Six for gold
;Seven for a secret,Not to be told;
Eight for heaven,
Nine for [hell]
And ten for the d[evi]l's own sell! [5]

NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself, so If You wish to use any parts of it elsewhere, feel free, but provide credits; Shadow of the Shadows magick place , Shadow-333@hotmail.com , or a direct link to this post

[1] According to Cassandra Eason as stated in her : “Encyclopedia of magck and ancient Wisdom”, adopted  and edited here by myself.
[2] Retrieved from:  http://www.owlpages.com/articles.php?section=owl+mythology&title=owls+lore+culture&page=3 posted here  for educational purposes without any ill will
[3] Various sources, mostly : magazine :”Bakini recepti za srecu” #11 , 5th August  2012., pg. 36th and 37th,  ( see more about the magazine on here :  http://www.lekiamajlija.com/?page_id=58     ) also  “Srpski Rjecnik” by Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic“, and:  Mit I religija u Srba” Veselin Cajkanovic, all dealing with cultural anthropology, religion, superstition and myths in Balkan peninsula inhabitants
[5]  Retrieved from:  same source listed under [4] Originally quoted from: I. Opie and M. Tatem, eds, A Dictionary of Superstitions (Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 235-6

 All used here for illustrative and explanatory purposes without any ill will