Nov 13, 2014

The lore of Synaxis of Archangel Michael and other bodiless powers


 
Crop from Orthodox Christian icon Synaxis of Archangels 
The 21st November ( in Julian calendar, that some Orthodox Christian Churches still use, the date is marked as 8th of November ) in Orthodox Christian Church calendar is reserved for commemoration and celebrations of St Michael the Archangel and all other  angels. In Catholic Christianity this day is known simply as; Michaelmas, it’s celebrated on 29th of September,  and in European countries, it’s strangely tied to gooses, at least in folklore. It is a widespread Christian tradition (across the Europe at least) to catch a falling leaf, on this day,  while walking outside and make a wish.

St Michael the Archangel,  considered the Chief of Heavenly hosts, or the “chief commander of all the bodiless powers” [1] or Archistrategos (in Greek), is a well-known and popular archangel even to those that are not Christian. He is considered fiery, and terrifyingly powerful, but also extremely righteous and quick to help people in trouble, particularly life threatening situations. He is accounted for many miracles, some are documented in the Scripture.

Theologians think that the Angel appearing before Joshua  ( Joshua 5:13-14 )  was Michael, and that he was also the Angel who was helping Archangel Gabriel defeat the Persians, even though that Michael is not named in these instances.

The pillar of cloud ( by day ) or of fire ( by night ) that led Israelites from Egypt, during the Exodus, was in fact Archangel Michael, he is also considered to be the Angel who protected Three Holy Youths, Ananiah, Azariah and Misael ( Dan 3:22-25 ), and the one who transported the Habbakuk from Judea to Babylon to feed the prophet Daniel, while he  was in the lion’s den  (Dan. 14:33-37 ) .
Michael disputed with the De*il over the body of Moses, as we can see in the scripture

“Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” “( Jude 1:9 ) [2]

There are also many appearances, and miracles of St Michael, that took place all over the planet, and were recorded outside of scripture. Perhaps the most famous is the Miracle of Collosae (Chonae )  commemorated in September. 

But on this day (November 21st ) all the Angels are commemorated and their deeds celebrated, and in Serbia and Montenegro, this is also a “feast day” ( Ser. “slava” ). And even though that the celebration of feast days in these parts of the world, was  closely tied to several traditions and rituals, among other, the baking of special cake, cooking a special wheat meal, and ritual drinking or spilling of vine, during the “Synaxis of Archangel Michael and other bodiless powers” , these rituals did not take place. For the Angels neither have body (symbolized by the cake) nor the blood (symbolized by the vine).

However Angels, particularly Seven Archangels, were propitiated on these days and favors were asked from them, prominently. Seven candles   were lit, each dedicated for one of the Seven Archangels, oftentimes each candle also being lit to represent particular wish. [3] I have provided the ritual, in details,  in another article of mine, on this blog, also dealing with Michelmas.

The very Archangel Michael was often petitioned on this day, alone, particularly in rituals and spells against evil, to cure a longstanding chronic disease, or remove a longstanding persistent curses and crossings, end persecution, for justice and so on.

Christians traditionally pray for salvation of the their souls from sin, or the souls of their beloved ones who had gone astray ( for example turned to drugs or alcohol, gambling, or any kind of addiction or sinful lifestyle ) , for the Christians firmly believe that Michael will intervene and save them from sin, and guide them back to the path of righteousness. Among the Orthodox Christians he is often referred to as “Soul-saver” ( Serb. “dusovadnik” )  for this particular reason. 

The folk tradition insists that Michael must be “paid” for his services, and that in fact, after saying
Monastery of St. Michael the Archangel, Panormitis,
Dodecanese, Greece 
prayers to him  one is to promise some kind of token of gratitude, be it giving alms, lighting a candle in the Church for him, or leaving a broom as a present to him.  According to same tradition, the promise given to the Michel must be fulfilled, or else, the Saint will get angry and oftentimes even  openly show it through miraculous acts and appearances. According to the reports of pilgrims and local people, on the small isle of Symi in Dodecanese ( Greece ) :

The Archangel Michael is famous in the Dodecanese for his righteous nature. If you have made an offering to him and did not fulfill it, he will make it clear through various miracles that he is not pleased - until you complete your promise. One famous miracle that occurs often and to this day, is the miracle of the Archangel preventing the boats from leaving the dock. This has become such a regular occurrence, that the Captains of the boat will announce over the PA to the passengers that someone on the boat has forgotten a promise to the Taxiarch. Once this promise is fulfilled, then and only then does the boat's engines work.[4]

Taxiarch, is a Greek phrase for “Archangel”

Following are a few ideas for working with archangel Michael and other archangels and angels suitable for this day

Prayer in a bottle

Another Greek Orthodox Christian tradition, originating from the Dodecanese region.
Write down Your petition on a piece of paper and place it  in a bottle. If You are afraid that someone could find, and read it, You can  sign the petition with initials and date of birth, or add a personal concern of some kind to it. Pray to St. Michael for Your need, and promise something in return. Close the bottle tightly and place it into body of water, ideally into sea/ocean.
Fulfill your promise.

Celestial help, Angel invocation ritual

This ritual is best suited for Michelmas, though it can really be done anytime the need arises. However, this ritual should not be done for trivial things, or to fulfill our whims, instead the ritual should be done when there is objective or urgent need for help, or guidance. At least for a day before preforming the ritual fast, and abstain from intercourse. Also, if possible, take a cleansing bath prior to the ritual.

Place some metal objects (coins will do) in a larger white handkerchief, and tie the ends so that You get a nice, roomy pouch. Tie the ends with three knots. Alternatively, You can use a (previously properly cleansed) small bell.

Make some meringue cookies yourself. They should contain only sugar and egg white, though You can add cream of tartar, or salt so that they turn out nice. You will need four for the ritual.
Set four white or beeswax candles on four corners of the table, and next to each place a single meringue cake. Light the candles.
Ring the bell, or clank the coins tied in handkerchief. Some people do it on four  cardinal directions, others ring three times and so on.

State your petition, invoke angels to help and aid You with it. You can use something like this to invoke the aid of angels:

Angeli vos invoco, in hoc loco, in hoc tempore. Liberate me ab omnium malorum, adjuvate me, custodte et gubernate. Angeli, vos imploro, exaudite orationem meum! In Nomine Dei Patris, Dei Filii et Dei Spiritus Sancti! Amen!

( Hope my Latin was good there ) Once again ring the bell/clang the coins. Let the candles burn themselves out.

Instead of stating the petition, some people write it down on a piece of paper and leave it on the table, under a glass of water that they place in the center. Either way, remember You are not evoking angels, most likely You won’t actually see them, but You might experience all sort of “paranormal” phenomena.

Uriel’s Divination

Following is a peculiar little ritual I have found in a local occult magazine and translated for posting here. What the ritual is supposed to do is to invoke the Archangel Uriel, to give answers to questions. Basically, it’s higher magick type divination. The ritual is following:
Cover the altar or table with a white cloth. Place in the center a glass of pure, clean spring water that has not been used for anything else. Left and right from the glass, place and lit a white candle  ( so two candles altogether ) .  Sit, and in front of the glass, place a metal coin or metal disc that has Cross engraved* upon it. Dip the three prayer fingers ( thumb, pointer and middle finger connected with tops ) into the glass with water, and then sprinkle some of it onto the disc/coin, while saying:

Benedicto Dei Patris Omnipotens super vos, et maneat semper!”

Place the coin/disc underneath the glass, then kneeling in front of the table say the following:

All Holy Angels, White Angel, my good angel guardian, I pray to You all to remove anything that can prevent Uriel to show me what I wish to see and find out in whole truth, as it is truth, as it is true that G’d had sent You to be my guardians. In gratitude, I will read “Our Father” !”

Read/say  “Our Father” and then proceed with following text:

Holy Uriel, I beseech You, by the Living G’d, Who IS Your Lord as He  IS  also mine, with virginity and purity of St John the Baptist, and with virginity and purity I give to You through the staff of Moses, to come to this glass of water and remain there until You have responded to all the questions I will ask You. Ghalat, Ghalata, Kalin, Kala. Welcome, bring the Book of Moses with You, open it, put Your hand on it and swear to me that You will enable me to see, what I wish to see, and I will read  Our Father to Jesus Christ,  and Hail Mary to Virgin Mary.

When You start seeing something in the glass, say the following:

Holy Uriel, I beseech You by the Living G’d ; to show me what I will ask form You, I will read Our father and Hail Mary.

When You have gotten Your answer/s from  the Angel, release the angel saying these words:

Ite at pace, ad loca vostra, sit pax inter nos and vos” [5]

And that’s it. Does not really  seem to have a lot of merit J but it’s worth of trying, I guess.  If by any chance, You happen to know the source of this ritual ( I’m very curious about it ), please post in the comments bellow, or mail me.
Hope this post was interesting and that You have maybe learnt something new.
Blessings and luv
Shade 

NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself , If You wish to use it elsewhere online, feel free, but add credits: Shadow of Shadows magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this post
*Allegedly the ritual dates back to Middleage, when a coin of 5 centimes that had Cross engraved on it was used. I don’t even know if such coin ever existed, but either way any round plate or metal disc with Cross will work. St Benedict’s Medallion for example.
CREDITS AND REFRENCES:
[2] Retrieved from: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jude+1%3A9&version=NKJV for educational purposes, without ill will
[3] According to “Kalendar za srecne dane” ( lit. Lucky days Calendar ) by Jasna Jojic Pavlovski, more about the book here http://jasnajojic.com/category/odlomci-iz-knjiga/kalendar-za-srecne-dane/
[4] Retrieved form: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Archangel_Michael_of_Panormitis , used here for illustrative and explanatory purposes
[5] Original text ( in Serbian )  found in “Bakini recepti za srecu I zdravlje” #18, 5th March 2013., more about the magazine here: http://www.lekiamajlija.com/?cat=462 
IMAGE CREDITS: The first image is from :     http://www.orthodoxarkansas.com/wp-content/uploads/Synaxis-Archangels-cropped-300x234.jpg used here for illustrative purposes without any ill will.  The second image is from:  http://www.panoramio.com/photo/53001209  and is used here for illustrative and explanatory purposes, without any ill will

Oct 30, 2014

All Hallows eve when the veil is thin V

Not very cold and dark this year, at least here ( was 20’C yesterday and today, and sunny without a cloud in a sky ) but one can still smell that special  All hallows eve special   “scent” in the air. I guess it’s just that special energy, amassing just before one of the most magikcal, If not the  most magickal periods of the year.
All Hallows eve, or Halloween, or Samhain, starts around sunset on 31st  October and goes on until 2nd of November,  though in some places it can be celebrated even more, or later. In some parts of the Britain, the classical All Hollow’s eve Is “replaced” by Bonfire night, or Guy Fawke’s night, which even though commemorates a mundane, historical event, it incorporates many traditional elements of the Samhain celebrations like bonfires,   and  costumes.

All Hallows eve,  has even in Christianity came to be a  holiday, commemorating afterlife, and paying respect to  spirits of the dearly bellowed, or All the Saints together.   It Seems that the power of the day, when the veil between the worlds is literarily the thinnest through all of the year,  is known to all religions, or rather has been known for as long as men can recall. Some form of celebration of this day  was known even in prehistoric times.

I have written before, more excessively on significance and symbolism of this holiday, so for more information You can check out my other posts, which also contain spells, rituals and tips:


Let’s just briefly “revise” about magickal properties of Samhain.

It’s a time of great power, and all the magickal work  is more powerful when done on this day. That being said, it’s  the power of chances and opportunities, but also of great danger. Not only that the hostile magick practitioners ( humans, that is ) are more keen and apt in harming people on this day, but being that the  veil between the worlds is thin, all sort of supernatural creatures, many of which malevolent , roam the physical realm freely  on this night. It’s also the time when love divinations are traditionally done, necromancy magick performed, and longevity and power ( spiritual, magickal ) rituals are done.

Candles lit on All Hallows eve are those colored: black, pale blue ( for mind healing, removing mental conditions, strengthening the mind, releasing fears  etc . ) , dark purple, and orange ( for longevity, and immortality ) .
Herbs traditionally associated with Samhain are: Cypress, Ditanny, Nutmeg, Fern and Sage [1]
Some more correspondences You can find in my earlier post on All Hallows even 3 
Following are the ideas for two rituals appropriate for the All Hallow eve’s magickal workings

Ritual to conjure spiritual power

Cleanse Yourself and ritual space  prior to the ritual. You may burn some Frankincense, Sage and/or Sandalwood incense mixture for this. Have  a purple charm bag ready and any, or more of the items that represent spiritual/magickal power, let’s say a lodestone, a Labradorite or Spectrolite, a piece of Solomon’s seal root, Galangal root and so on.


Draw a symbol of Gnostic star, large enough  so that You can comfortably sit in the center, and on each of its 8 points, set a purple candle, each dressed with small amount of Master key oil.
Anoint Your body with the Master key, If possible the whole body, very lightly, or the pulse spots, heart area, back of the neck, and palms.

Light the  purple candles, one by one, clockwise. Hold the purple charm bag ( mojo bag ) open in Your hands, either  in fort  of You, or above You, and place the power item/s in it. As You hold it chant the following seven times ( You can also compose Your own suiting words  of power ) :

As above so bellow,
From North, East, South and West,
In this hour, I conjure the power,
For works of magick to be best,
From Earth, from Skies, and over the mountains,
And over the Sea, power come, and stay with me,
As I wish so mote it be!

Let the candles burn all the way down. Carry the charm with You for 7 days as much as possible ( preferably non-stop, hidden ) , and after that keep it somewhere safe, and hold or carry when You need some extra power.

Pumpkin and doll protection ritual

This ritual can really be done anytime, but All Hallow’s eve, is a great day/night to tap into powerful forces and deal away with some dangerous enemy’s magick wreaking havoc in Your life. And pumpkins are even more magickal on All Hallows eve. This is a traditional spell from Balkan peninsula magick system ( see credits for more ) :

Make a doll, out of old cloth, corn leaves, or wax, to represent Your enemy and dedicate it any way You find appropriate ( naming, adding personal concerns, consecration ritual etc. ).
Cut off the pumpkin’s top, and clean as much contents from it as possible, remove seeds in any case, and the “meat” from the middle. 
Then, pour some water in the pumpkin and toss the doll in. Also toss in some: salt, cayenne or chili peppers, Black peppers, Basil, Valerian root ( or whole herb ), and any other apotropaic agent If You wish so.
Then using Your athame*, or at least  a new, consecrated knife, “cut” the water in the pumpkin in various directions ( making sure not to cut, or perforate the pumpkin in the process ) as You chant:

All that You have sent;  I have covered with salt,  all that You have cast; I have burnt with peppers, From all that You have intended to do to me, I have defended myself. You could not do anything to me, You can not do anything to me, and You will never be able to do anything to me!

Cover the pumpkin with the top ( “lid” ) You’ve previously cut off, and store it somewhere safe, where it will last longer, for the spell lasts as long as the pumpkin does. [2]

Be safe, and have  a happy Halloween !  ;)

Love, Shadow

NOTES:  This article was written and composed by myself, hence If You wish  to use any part of it elsewhere online, feel free , but add credits: Shadow of the Shadow’s magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this post.
CREDITS AND REFRENCES:
[1] Candle colors and  Herb correspondences according to Cassandra Eason’s   “Encyclopedia of magick and ancient wisdom”
[2] The original ritual is described in “Tradicionalno Balkansko vjesticarstvo”  by : Radomir Podunavski, page 177th, ID Esoterhia, 2007th, Belgrade; and is translated, edited and adopted for use here by myself, for  educational purposes. The whole book is available in English as of few years ago, it’s called “Balkan traditional witchcraft” and I warmly recommend it to anyone interested in either folk magick and witchcraft, European witchcraft , or both, and You can get Yours here  http://www.amazon.com/Balkan-Traditional-Witchcraft-Radomir-Ristic/dp/0979616859
IMAGE CREDITS:  witch on a pumpkin is from http://thegraphicsfairy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/halloween+witch+vintage+image+graphicsfairy002b.jpg used  here for  illustrative purposes without any ill will, Pumpkin with vines is from : http://thegraphicsfairy.com/wp-content/uploads/blogger/-ItthnRZX3jE/TpYggZM-bYI/AAAAAAAAOX0/2KLbE6H5C_w/s1600/pumpkin%2Bbotanical%2Bvintage%2Bgraphicsfairysm2.jpg used for illustrative purposes without any ill will

Sep 28, 2014

Incense in spiritual work


Incense is a form of aromatic biotic material burnt for its aromatic fragrance.  The very word comes from Latin : “incendere” ( verb, infinitive, lit. “to burn” ), and humans have been known to use it for at least 4500 years, according to written records. It’s widely believed that the Ancient Egyptians were the first to use the incense , in form of combustible “bouquets”[1]
Incense is used by all sort of people from spiritual people to atheists, for range of reasons, from deeply spiritual to profanely pragmatic. Some people burn incense for plain sensory enjoyment, that is because they love the fragrance of it, or to mask bad smalls, like tobacco smoke etc. There are incenses that are burnt as insect repellents, or for health purposes, for the smoke of some incenses is bactericidal, and even antiviral, and can treat psychosomatic conditions.
In this article, however, we will deal with the uses of incense in religion and spiritual work.
Incense burning plays an important part in Hinduism, Taoism,  Buddhism, Christianity,  Judaism,  and Neo- paganism . Eastern religions ( Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism ) use incense as a sort of praying tool and  an offering at the same time, and You can see people in Taoist and Buddhist temples waving with incenses,  that is with lit joss sticks ,  and later placing them in a censers which  often stand  in front of specific deity images. Also, oftentimes coiled incenses hang from the ceiling. This incense is used to cleanse the area, and as an offering to their  deities.
In Judaism, the Ketoret ( also Quetoret ) incense was burnt  daily ( twice a day ) in the Temple, during the Tabernacle time, and the time of the First and Second temple. It was compounded according to  Divine instructions given to Moses, and only by specially appointed people for this task. Recreating the incense in home, or by non-appointed was considered heavily sacrilegious , more so If used for profane purposes. The Good Book  ( Bible says )  says:
Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to theLord. 38 Whoever makes incense like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from their people.”   [2]
However, this can also be understood as prohibition to use the incense in mundane life, and for profane uses such as air freshener. The Bible lists 4 ingredients, but the Talmund adds more.
The incense, as its name implies, it served as burnt offering, considered equal to the Blood sacrifice in the Temple.
In the Christianity, the smoke of incense symbolizes the prayers of the faithful rising to the Heaven. It’s also burnt in temples both to purify area, as an offering,  and to bestow blessings on the   faithful.  The most frequently used ones are Frankincense and Myrrh, though oftentimes Benzoin is also used in Christian temples.  These are burnt in special censers, called thuribles  ( or braziers ), which hang on chains and are swung towards the   faithful in series of  three swings.
Native American had always held smudging rituals to be sacred and beneficial. They believed that the smoke, contains concentrated wishes and desires of the faithful being carried to the Great  Spirit. The incense smoke was also used as a healing medium, taking away bad and bringing in the good to replace it.  But the ritual was to be done in specific way.  The herbs  were burnt  in some container, most commonly a seashell, and the botanicals most commonly used ( often combined for this purpose ) were
·         Sage
·         Sweetgrass ( Hierochloe odorata )
·         Cedar, and
·         Tobacco
The smoke was wafted towards oneself or towards the “client”, starting from their feet over their head and back to their feet again. When the person who censed them would reach the top of their head ( crown chakra ) they would make a  widdershins ( counterclockwise ) circle around it. This was repeated 6 times total, symbolizing the four cardinal directions ( N, S, E, W ) and the “above” and “below” dimensions. If using smudge sticks, one can use a banishing one  ( let’s say Sage ) to make a widdershins circle around a person, and around their head, and then follow up with smudging using a drawing one ( let’s say Sweetgrass, or Cedar ) in a deosil ( clockwise ) direction. This would be done 3 times with each smudge stick.   [3]
Compounding incense
Incense comes in few forms. I myself would differentiate three types:
1)      Natural resins and woods – The incense which is not self-ignitable, nor man-made ( least harvested and packed etc. ) and which occurs naturally in the same form in which is burnt.  These are the commonly found resins, saps, or wood chips, which are often burnt  alone, such as: Frankincense, Myrrh, Benzoin, Copal, Dragon’s blood, Camphor, Pine resin, Sandalwood, Cedarwood etc. These type of incenses were burnt in ancient temples, and continue to be burnt during modern magick rituals and spells. They have a variety of purposes, but each can be used for  blessing , purification, consecration, and raising spiritual vibrations. Some can also be used for drawing positive things, like Myrrh, a strong drawing incense or exorcism, like the Frankincense or Dragon’s Blood. Obviously, these type of incenses, must be burnt on charcoal discs, as they are sticky and will not burn on their own. They are very fragrant and aromatic, and produce a lot of smoke.
2)      Compounded, self-ignitable, or  self-lighting , commercial, or combustible incense -  The incense composed/made by humans, with addition of minerals, such as saltpeter, and wood charcoal which enable it to light and burn,  on its own, with a more-less equal tempo throughout. These types of incense often use Tragacanth or gum Arabic glue ( solution in water ) as binder, and resinous + wood incense as a base.    Compounded incense comes in forms of cones, joss sticks, or coiled spirals,    which can be easily lit  .This type of incense, can be used in spiritual work, as long as it does not contain synthetic fragrances and unnecessary additives, which while they may have their uses in mundane life, have no place, role or need in spiritual work. In fact, use of such substances would be sacrilegious and probably insult the spirits. Therefore, If You are not certain of the composition of Your joss sticks, rather resort to non combustible incense.
3)      Non- combustible, or as also called “loose” incense, which is plainly and basically hand blended mixture of botanicals which are burnt on glowing charcoal discs. The scent is less predictable, more variable, the incense cannot be lit or burn on its own,  like in the case of combustible incense, but contains far more energy and  is far more appropriate in use in magick. The practice of burning herbs to release their energies and cause spiritual effects  is at very least as old as Egyptian culture, but the archeological findings suggest that the practice may as well trace back to Paleolithic times.
Additionally we could, arguably, claim there are also  mineral incenses, compounded of minerals  alone such as sulphur, saltpeter or alum, or powdered crystals (  Jet for example ).  Finally some people ( although  quite rarely ) burn organic compounds such as sugar or honey alone .
For the sake of illustration, here are  two examples of instructions given for making self-ignitable or combustible incense, one meant for creation of incense cones, and one can be used for both cones and sticks
The following is a recipe for self-lighting incense, as given by Sir  Scott Cunningham in his “The complete Book of incense, oils, and brews” :
·         6 parts ground charcoal
·         1 part Benzoin
·         2 parts ground Sandalwood
·         1 part ground Orris root*
·         6 drops essential oil**
·         2-4 parts of mixed, “empowered” incense*** [4]
To this one must also add 10% of saltpeter  ( for example on 50grams of incense,  5grams of saltpeter ). Finally the resulting mixture is mixed with Tragacanth glue, which can be substituted with Gum Arabic glue, and both are solutions of approximately teaspoon of proprietary   gum material in a glass of warm water. Of course, the solutions must “sit” until You get a rather thick, gooey, mucilage, which is then used in small amounts to bound      the incense  ingredients.
Another formula, which is used to make “incense cones” is given by Judika Illes in her amazing book “5000 of spells” :
1.      Dissolve gum Arabica in water, approximately one parts powder to two parts water
2.      Allow the material to soak for approximately three hours
3.      In the meantime, pulverize the herbal material to be used,  until it’s finely powdered ( using mortar or pestle or other grinding tool )
4.      Mix the powder into the liquid until it can be shaped into small cones.
5.      Allow it to dry completely in a warm area. [5]
This formula however, does not contain saltpeter, nor charcoal and without it cannot be lit on itself.  It’s meant to be lit on charcoal blocks, so it’s really a cross between self lighting and loose incense.
Some occult  suppliers offer basic , self-lighting incense powder, to which You  then add occult oils ( for example a specific  condition oil )  and botanicals,  according to intention, and shape it into cones, using paper cones or molds, like candle tappers and then when they are well , dry burn them as specialized incense . This is often case with the Hoodoo incenses .
Magick of the incense
In magick incenses are used to  cause change, such as bring money, chase away or dispel evil, honor spirits,   or make them appear etc.
Burning incense in magick is a sort of act of transformation. Botanicals and material used, when burnt release the   energy naturally contained within ingredients,   combine it with practitioners energy, thoughts and prayers, and with energy of sprits and entities which are drawn by incense, or correspondent to  them.  Burning the material releases those subtitle vibrations, aligning the energy of the ritual with correspondent plains and deities , which really is  likewise any  magick spell and ritual   basic mechanism.
Incense in magick, does not have to smell fine, or even be harmless. History of magick records all sort of dangerous and noxious incenses ,  which were used for example to invoke  evil   spirits,  cross or even cause rain to  fall. So regardless of what wonky-brain newagers say, the power of incense does not lay in plain fragrance, although the smell does have its role, and is not useless. But the effect of the smell alone is psychological. Using synthetic fragrance may induce psychological effect, to some point, but will not really create spiritual effect, least  it’s annoying  moody spirits ( like some of the Loa lol ) .
Incense is correspondent  to the element of  Air,   or rather the smoke is  , for the very incense contains herbs and/or minerals, which correspond to the element of Earth and were nourished by Water, it’s burnt  with the help of fire,  and turned into fragrant  smoke. 
So in a nutshell, incense is burnt in magick to induce following  type of basic effects:
·         Raise spiritual vibrations and prepare for ritual
·         As an offering or honor to spirit or deity
·         Magickaly draw, or conjure something
·         Banish , cleanse or remove something
Incense burnt in magickal work can range from a herb alone to the intricately complex combinations having many ingredients, some  of which are extremely rare or exotic. Like the Sage or, often neglected yet traditional Fumitory, Frankincense , Sandalwood and so on.
Each herb, as we know is correspondent to  an element , and planet which  helps define its use.
According to Agrippa **** to each of the Seven planet there is corresponding incense, either with addition of gruesome  contents like animal organs, or  specific plants and resins.
And here are some botanicals  appropriate for Planetary incenses according to Agrippa:
·         SATURN ( odoriferous roots ) : Pepperwort root,  Frankincense tree
·         JUPITER ( odoriferous fruits ): like Nutmeg and Cloves
·         MARS ( odoriferous woods ): Lignum Aloes, Lignum Balsam, Sanders, Cypress
·         SUN ( all gums ) : Frankincense, Mastic, Benjamin, Storax, Ladanum, Ambergris and Musk
·         VENUS ( sweet flowers ) : Roses, Violets, Saffron
·         MERCURY ( all peels of woods and fruits ) :  Cinnamon, Cassia, Mace, Citron or Lemon peel, bayberries and all odoriferous seeds ( like Parsley, Celery, Dill for example )
·         MOON  ( leafs of all vegetables ) : leaf indium, leafs of myrtle,  and bay tree [6]
These are of course, just a few of the many suggestions, he used in composing planetary incense formulas. Agrippa’s  planetary formulas, however, are not limited to a type of botanicals ea. Root, peel, flower etc. they often contain those mixed, with some, rather unsavory formulas, for example:
For Jupiter, take the seed of ash, lignum aloes, storax, the gum benjamin or benzoin, the lazuli stone, and the tops of the feathers of a peacock; and incorporate them with the blood of a stork, or a swallow, or the brain of a hart.
For Mars, take euphorbium, bedellium, gum ammoniac, the roots of both hellebores, the loadstones, and a little sulphur; and incorporate them all with the brain of a hart, the blood of a man and the blood of a black cat.”  [7]

However, most modern practitioners simply  reproduce his planetary incenses, sans the animal parts, combining few of the botanicals from the original formula.
In essence, any herb correspondent to a planet, could be burnt as a planetary incense.
Finally, there are some classic, traditional mixtures,  imported from religious practices uses in  magick, such as the famed Egyptian Kyphi, or Hebrew Ketoret.

Following are some examples and suggestions for incense formulas, both traditional, well known and formulas composed by myself that I wrote intending to use, or actually use in my works

Incense to expose liars ( Copal )

Copal. Fumigate the area where they might be or speak. Liars or  manipulators will give themselves out . [8]
You could optionally  add  some Deerstongue, for the extra “oomph” although this is not necessary.

Incense to break curses ( Galangal root )

Powdered Galangal is  traditionally burnt to break curses. 

Incense to exorcise spirits ( Fumitory )

Burn dry Fumitory to exorcize evil spirits. This is a very traditional and powerful incense ( at least in Europe ) , which is rarely mentioned in occult literature and it was used as commonly as Sage.
EXTRA TIP : The infusion of the plant is also a potent  money  drawing floorwash.

Evil Eye dispelling incense

Fumigate people who are under the influence of the Evil eye to dispel it and cleanse them of any adverse effects it may have causes.
·         Rue
·         Basil
·         Benzoin
Fumigate whole body, feet included J By lil old me

Spirit guide incense

This one   I have  used to call forth helpful spirits in rituals, to draw benevolent spirits, and for guidance:
·         Anise
·         Bay Laurel leafs
·         Mugwort
·         Mimosa
·         Gardenia

Crossing incense

Combine and burn
·         Sulphur
·         Asafoetida
·         Cayenne
NOTE: It should go without saying that this is not safe to be inhaled, and should be burnt either outside or in a highly ventilated area, with the practitioners face protected

Reveal thief’s identity incense

This ancient Egyptian incense is said to reveal You the identity of person who stole something from You, either in vision or in dreams
·         Alum
·         Saffron [9]

Double help  incense

Combine:
·         Camphor
·         Frankincense
·         Mint
Use this as an exorcism incense, or to strengthen Your psychic powers. By lil old me.

Fern Incense

Burn Fern indoors to exorcize evil spirits and demons, and outside to cause rain to fall. It can be combined with Heather and Henbane, for the latter.   [10]

Hope You’ve found this article  interesting and helpful. Many Blessings , Shadow J

NOTES: This  article was written and composed by myself, so If You wish to use 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
CREDITS AND REFERENCES:
* Orris root is commonly used in perfumery ( or at least it used to be, today they use all sort of aggressive, unnecessary, and often skin-irritating chemical, because they are cheaper, and more easy to use  ) as a fixative, to bind the scents and  make them  more stable.
** Essential oil, while listed as one of “basic ingredients” in Sir Cuningham’s formula, is in fact entirely optional ingredients,  that, truth be told does intensify or modify the very scent, as needed
*** This “mixed “empowered incense” is plainly combine herbal material, as described in this article, under types of incense, type 2. For this type of formula, it’s better to be finely grinded,  or  best yet finely powdered. This is the part that makes combustible   incense do it’s magickal work , the “heart” of the incense
**** Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Netteshiem  - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Cornelius_Agrippa

[3] According to/ as suggested by Cassandra Eason in her  “Encyclopedia of Magic and Ancient Wisdom: The Essential Guide to Myth, Magic and the Supernatural” , paraphrased and  adapted for use here

[4] Retrieved from “The complete book of Incenses, oils and brews” , by Scot Cunningham   , used here for educational, explanatory and illustrative purposes without any ill will

[5] Retrieved from: “The encyclopedia of 5000 spells” , page 31st , by Judika Illes, used here for educational, explanatory and illustrative purposes without any ill will

[6] According to “The philosophy of Natural magick” by Agrippa

[7] Retrieved from http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/pnm/pnm53.htm , used here for educational, illustrative purposes without   any ill will

[8] According to Judika Illes, as stated in “The encyclopedia of 5000 spells”

[9] According to the source listed under  [4]

[10] According to the source listed under [4]

IMAGE CREDITS:  Image is from ; http://akafkaesquelife.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/frankincense-smoke-istock_000003278665medium.jpg  edited for use here by myself, for illustrative purposes  without any ill will

Sep 20, 2014

Verbena, the Herb of Pure magick

Verbena is  the common name for any of the plants from Verbena genus, in  the Verbenaceae family. This article, however deals with Verbena or Vervain, which is used in magick and will therefore deal with Verbena officinalis, frequent  common name also being Common Verbena. Other names include:  Herba Sancta, Holy Herb, Devil’s bane ( Welsh ), Enchanter’s plant, Tears of Isis, Tears of Juno, Herba Veneris, Altar plant and more.
Verbena officinalis ,
botanical illustration

It’s native in Europe, though it has been naturalized in States, and is found abundantly both in Europe and Americas, particularly on lime soils, and in urbanized areas.
It’s a herbaceous, perennial plant with an upright habitus, and  deeply lobed leaves, oppositely arranged, with toothed edges, and spike inflorescence bearing   many small flowers, with five petals,  ranging in color from pale blue to purple. While inconspicuous, regardless of being rather tall and growing up to a meter high, it’s  quite easy to memorize, and usually when people see it once, they are able to recognize it easily.
It has been used enough in folk herbal medicine to know that’s safe to ingest even in larger doses,  and there are some evidences to support its use as anthireumathic, diaphoretic, and galactogogue, and anti-inflamatory agent .[1]  A teacup on 150ml of boiling water is standard dose for tea/infusion, which is taken 2-3 times ( cups ) per day. It is however, highly contraindicated for use during pregnancy as it may cause miscarriage!  Folk herbal medicine use it for a wider range  of condition, including respiratory infections, and wounds that heal too slow, or skin ulcers topically.

Verbena in magick

Verbena is one of the most profusely used herbs in magick, and it’s uses range from purification and protection, to  transfiguration, the last at least mythically, with all the plethora of uses in-between.
It corresponds to planet Venus and the Element of Earth [2] It’s allegedly* a treasured Druid plant, used by Druid bards for inspiration, in initiation rituals. It is however, a speculated ingredient in Celtic goddess Kerdiwen’s Cauldron of Knowledge.

Verbena is ( again, according to Druidic teachings ) collected when the Dog star ( Sirius ) is on the rise, that is during the “dark of the Moon” when neither Sun nor Moon can be seen on sky. Either then, or on Midsummer.  Folk would dry Verbena over Midsummer fires and then spread them over the fields to ensure fruitful crops, and healthy plants, and even nowadays, it’s scattered throughout the gardens to ensure that the plants in it thrive. However, it can more than likely be equally efficient, If /when collected any other time really, though one should always approach such powerful plant with respect.

It’s a herb associated with knowledge, even in modern magick, particularly magickal knowledge or studious success. In Hoodoo, children are often bathed with Verbena infusion, or Verbena is placed bellow their pillows to help them memorize lessons better and be more  proficient in their studies ( kind of like Smartweed ), however the adults can use it the same way.

It’s juice, which is used often in magick, is sometimes smeared on palms and/or forehead prior to magick spells and rituals  for extra strength. Smeared on the body, the juice is said to make people soften towards You, and be more prone to agree with You and do You favors.  Smeared on the body, the juice of Verbena is also reputed to:  cures diseases, entices precognition,  turns enemies into friends, attracts lovers, and guards from enchantments.  Drunk, in a specific ritual, the juice is reputed to induce chastity;

To remain chaste for long periods of time, rise before the sun on the first day  of the New Moon. Gather Vervain ( still before Sunrise ), press out it’s juice and drink it down.  According to ancient instructions, it will cause You to lose all desire for s*x for seven years” [3]

A tea is drunk to induce prophetic dreams, inspire to write ,   strengthen magickal powers and bring magickal knowledge, or halt nightmares and dreams. In fact some say that verbena infusion, drunk prior to bed ensures sleep “without” dreams.

Verbena is widely held to be magickaly curative,  and to holds the power to seal the wounds and stop bleeding, much akin to Lemon Balm. In Hoodoo, it’s believed to be able to cure “unnatural diseases”   that manifest as fever or poisoning.

A packet of Verbena worn on the body is said to help those suffering from fever, or poisoning as a result  of  a curse” [4]

It’s also the herb in some Christian myths, that was used  to staunch Lord Christ’s wounds upon removal from the Cross.
But it’s greatest  spiritual value perhaps lies within its  splendid apotropaic powers, that enable one to defy the most powerful of evil spirits, and enchantments.  A crown of Verbena may be worn on head to protect the Conjurer that invokes spirits to come.  A infusion of the plant sprinkled in home, or dwelling will clear negative vibrations and  evil from it, including evil spirits, it’s a proper demonifuge. A nineherb blend  , including Verbena is said to uncross and protect from baneful witchcraft. In fact,  when combined with Trefoil, Clover and St John’s wort   in a charm bag it’s believed to make witches utterly powerless against one, and there is an old proverb about it ( see post about St John’s wort on here, to learn more about it ).  It can turn bad luck into good one, and help in times of dire need, if only carried on person, for the latter.  You can use it in a ritual to Turn the tables on bad luck  , where a double action candle is rolled in Verbena for this purpose.

With Eclampane, and Mistletoe leafs, it was believed to form a true love Middleage powder formulae. [5] It’s a powerful love herb even today, and is ingredient in lust and infatuation inducing infusions ( cooking a teaspoon in a glass of wine, for example ). It’s often mixed with 8 other Venus plants,and used in a love charm bag 

It’s also said to re-kindle a lost love, repel vampires if drunk, protect the home from bad weather if placed in it, and bring money when leafs are burnt as incense [6]
Following are some practical advices and tips

Bath to sweeten Your enemies up

The following bath is said to induce affection for You in Your enemies.
Pour infusion made with Verbena and Orissroot, in a basin ( tub ) with water, and add some essential oil of Myrrh and Sandalwood to it. [7]

Charm to find something lost, or to find direction

In a charm bag ( like mojo bag ) combine:
·         
       Verbena
·         A piece of lodestone, or a magnet
·         Blue Tourmaline

If You have lost a specific item, You can write something about it, or better yet, draw it,  on a piece of paper, place the paper on the saucer, or in some bowl, place lodestone on it, and then sprinkle it all abundantly with Verbena.  Place it on some elevated place in home until You find the item.

Sachet to hinder evil dreams

Whether they are plainly anxiety-induced nightmares that deplete You of quality sleep, or spiritual shrapnel of a curse or hex sent to torment You ( or any form of “attack while sleeping” psychic and occult attacks ), the following combo, placed in a sachet under Your pillow will do  with them terrifying nightmares away:

·         Verbena
·         Wood Betony
·         Chrisoprase crystal

Potion to restore magickal powers 

If someone has caused blocked condition in You, bound or blocked Your spiritual prowess, replenish Your skills with the following potion:

·         A teaspoon of Verbena, dry
·         A teaspoon of Alder leaves, dry
·         A small chunk of Ginger rhizome

Put all in 300-500ml  boiling water,  stir few times, remove from heat,  cover, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, that strain and drink every day  ( for few days, or week, until You notice the results ) a cup or two. You can sweeten with honey If You wish .

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

CREDITS AND REFERENCES:
* Being that Druidism is tradition which is spread orally ( and very discriminatively ), the little we know about it must  always be taken with a grain of  salt, more so if it comes from Roman scribes, who had been prone to misunderstanding or  intentionally twisting  the information they had been gathering  and writing down about Druids
[2] According to Scott Cunningham, as stated in his “Cunningham’s encyclopedia of magickal herbs” 252nd page
[3] Retrieved from same source as listed under [2], quoted here for  educational purposes, as a brief quotation, with no ill will
[4] Quotation from “Hoodoo Herbs and Root magic;  a material magica of African American conjure” by Catherine Yronwode, quoted here for educational purpose, without any ill will
[7] According to Judika Illes, as stated In her   “Encyclopedia of 5000 spells”, paraphrased here

IMAGE CREDITS:

The image is from  : http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Illustration_Verbena_officinalis0.jpg  , used here for    illustrative and explanatory purposes, without any ill will