10 Ways to Use the Supermoon in Witchcraft

With this year’s only supermoon arriving in just two short days, powerful energy swirls in the lunar-charged sky.  Take advantage of this ultra-special Esbat to tap into your personal power.

While all full moons heighten the unseen experience, the supermoon primes the energy around you particularly well for the activities below.

For more creative ways to explore the full moon, check out 25 Ways to Honor the Full Moon.

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1.  Work with the Element of Water.   The supermoon creates an especially strong pull on the ocean tides, making it an ideal time to work with the element of water.  For ideas on how to use water in witchcraft, check out  How to Work with the Element of Water.

2. Burn “supermoon incense” on the altar.  Combine equal parts dried mugwort, lavender and cinnamon to burn on a charcoal disk for the supermoon.  I love this blend!  Burn it during the ritual or even just as a background incense to draw the energy of the supermoon into your ritual space or the home and hearth.

3.  Make a supermoon cookie. For the kitchen witch: if you’ve made moon cookies before, instead of a large batch of small ones, try making one huge cookie to share for the supermoon!  The biggest challenge seems to be getting the temperature/baking times/thickness in the right balance, but if you love working things like this out in the kitchen, this is a great project for you.  Your coven or family will appreciate your efforts!

4.  Literally magnify it.  Looking for something a little different?  Raise power during the supermoon by catching the light in a magnifying glass and charging the altar or spell elements with it.  Clever, huh?

5.  Try a gravity-based meditation.  While the supermoon exerts its curious effect on the earth’s gravitational pull, take the opportunity to try a gravity-based meditation.  Find a local spa that offers sensory deprivation or “zero gravity” tank and schedule a session.  Or, simply begin 7-night meditation wherein you close your eyes and imagine you are so heavy you are sinking into the floor.  Each subsequent night, imagine yourself getting lighter and lighter, until you are floating in the universe.  Intense!

6.  Cast, cast, cast.  If you’ve been waiting around for a good time to do some serious spell work, this is it.  Pick a goal that serves your or others in a big way.

7.  Do a dedication.  Ready to commit to a deity, cause or coven?  Doing it under the light of the supermoon gives it special significance.     As a bonus, you can opt to do a re-dedication every supermoon.

8.  Try drawing down the moonIf you’ve never participated in a drawing down of the moon, many people feel this ceremony carries an especially highly charged power during the supermoon.

9.  Get grounded.  Some people feel an especially heightened sensitivity during the full moon, and this multiplies tenfold during a supermoon.  If you tend to lean this way, take the time to get grounded.  Eat plenty of carbohydrates, tap into your root chakra in meditation or work with the element of earth to balance it out.

10.  Store it.  Perhaps your schedule doesn’t permit you to use the supermoon at the height of its power.  In that case, leave out some crystals or make some moon water to store the supermoon’s energy for later use.

Blessings!

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Harvest Moon Esbat Cakes

My new favorite kitchen tool:  the mini muffin tin.  I rarely want or need a full size cake or even a cupcake for Cakes & Ale.  Enter the mini muffin tin.  A perfect size for making ritual cakes, I constantly find new and creative ways to honor the seasons of the moon using this simple device.  This month?

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I usually provide a link to the recipe and focus on the ritual meaning of ingredients in my kitchen witch posts.  But one came about of my own experimentation and tinkering, so I’ll dish (I know, I’m full of cheesy kitchen jokes this time of year).

The Harvest Moon and the fall season in general signify a time to acknowledge our deceased loved ones’ memories (especially those who have passed on during the last year), give thanks for the abundance of the harvest and enjoy the company of those we hold most dear.

The baking process fills your space with the scent and spirit of the autumn season.

Sharing harvest moon cakes with a coven, friends or family solidifies bonds and honors our relationships with our communities.

Make your ritual cakes for the Cakes & Ale portion of your moon ritual to lend power to your spell work.  The focus and concentration of choosing ingredients especially for the occasion raises the vibrations in your home.

This recipe makes 24 mini cakes, but you can half it pretty easily.

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extrac
t
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 cup milk

Any combination of the following (I just eyeballed it):

*A whole bunch of ground ginger
*A whole bunch of ground cinnamon
*A whole bunch of ground allspice
*A little less ground nutmeg

For the frosting:

1/2 cup butter (softened)
8 oz.  cream cheese (softened)
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
splash of vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2.  Sift together flour, baking powder and ground spices.

3.  Blend butter and sugar.

4.  Combine dry ingredients and add eggs and vanilla extract.

5.  Grease your muffin tin(s) well or use cupcake liners.

6.  Spoon mixture into tins and bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

7.  While the cakes are baking, combine cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract to make frosting.

8.  Allow cakes to cool for at least 30 minutes before icing them.

9.  Optional:  garnish with soft-bake ginger snap cookies.

Enjoy at your harvest moon ritual or leave some on the altar as an offering.  They freeze well, so you can bake a big batch and use them throughout the fall during the Esbat.

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All the spices included in these cakes are traditional to the harvest season in the Wiccan religion, as well as many neopagan traditions in general.  Cinnamon in particular has many spiritual properties.

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If you like this recipe, you may also enjoy this post about yule cookies, in which I go into more detail about the meaning of the harvest season ingredients.

Feel free to leave your own harvest moon recipes in the comments or share your experience with this one!

Blessed full moon!

25 Ways to Honor the Full Moon

25 ways to honor the full moon

Do you always mean to do something for the full moon, but it passes you by unrecognized?  Or you do celebrate, but you’re tired of the same old “full moon chores”?  The following list of 25 Ways to Honor & Connect with the Full Moon includes some fresh, inspiring ideas to energize your creativity and zap the life back into your Esbat experience.

Set your intention for the month.  A full moon cycle is plenty of time to take your whole life in another direction!   Set your goal the night of the full moon.  As the moon wanes, clear away obstacles that stand between you and success, and as it waxes, focus on nurturing your efforts until they bear fruition.

Try dream magick.   If you’ve never dropped down the rabbit hole of dream magick, doooooo it!  Experiment with dream work by trying this personal experiment with your dreams, which you may begin either during the dark moon and continue to the full moon or begin on the full moon and continue to the next full moon for a full cycle of warping your dream/waking life.  You will have insights—guaranteed.

Gather graveyard dirt—if you dare.   An experience a teen witch might appreciate.  At my age, being caught in a graveyard in the middle of the night would definitely solidify my already emerging neighborhood reputation for eccentricity.  But if you’re a kid, it can be fun.  Even the most grounded among us feels a little jolt of adrenaline at the thought of wandering into a cemetery at night..  Gathering dirt under the moon in this mood charges it with the power of your bravery.

Go out for Cakes & Ale.  Instead of holding cakes and ale at the ritual site, go out to a pub or brewery.  We went to a German restaurant for cakes & ale once, it was fabulous!

Make a batch of moon water.  Versatile and infinitely useful in ritual, I try to keep a supply of moon water in my cabinet of supplies.  I frequently scold myself for forgetting when I run low and letting the esbat pass, but the full moon makes the best opportunity to craft a bottle.

Boil your cauldron.  Put a large pot on the stove, fill with water and bring to boil.  Add any combination of the following dried herbs: mugwort, wormwood, lavender, cinnamon, peppermint, chamomile.  Let your potion boil for 30 minutes to bless home or clear old energies.

Rework your altar.  If you have a working altar, it very likely needs a clean sweep at least once a month.  The full moon makes an ideal time to spruce up the mojo.  Wipe off incense ashes, polish your stones and smudge.  Or, go for a total makeover.  Paint the table or shelf where your altar sits or finally bust out your compass app to figure out once and for all which way north is.

Make a spell box.  A spell box is exactly what it sounds like.  Choose a box, simple or beautiful, and fill it with your spell ingredients.  Bless and leave on the altar for a full moon cycle.  This scavenger hunt spell box makes a great, easy-to-customize box spell.

Take a ritual bath.  Draw a hot bath, turn out the lights and use candles.  Add natural bath salts, essential oil and/or a muslin bag of herbs to the bath water.  Soak and use the time to meditate quietly or bless yourself.

Make moon cakes.  If you’re “kitchen oriented,” the internet abounds with recipes for moon cakes.  This one is especially lovely, and makes an elegant evening project—with your kitchen window open to the full moon, of course.

Try fasting.  If you’re in good health and you’ve never tried fasting for spiritual reasons, it’s an amazing experience for many people. +

Begin a long fast on the full moon, or simply do a 24-hour fast to honor the Esbat or in place of an offering.

Smoke out your house.  Using smudge or loose incense in a fire-safe dish, burn herbs and blow the smoke into all the corners and around the doors and windows.  Be sure to pay special attention to rooms where family arguments happened over the last month, as well as the bedrooms of anyone who was sick.

Bond with your familiars.  Animals tend to be connected their most primal energies during the full moon.  Pay careful attention for a glance through that window into their souls.

Practice yoga under the moonlight.  Sublimely calming, moonlit yoga soothes frayed nerves and invites quiet contemplation.  This article on how to make your mind/body practice more spiritual lists some ideas to get you in the mood.

Go for the skyclad experience.   If this is your thing, by all means, have at it while the weather’s warm.  I’m told it’s “the only way to fly.”

Try the Free Will of Fate tarot spread.  Wondering where the next month is going?  Try this tarot spread for insight into where you’re headed and how to navigate the road in front of you.

Write a list of regrets and burn it.  Don’t dismiss the power of this simple ritual.  We often torment ourselves with what we should have/could have/would have done instead.  But mistakes are essential to the learning process.  Without mistakes, there can be no progress.  If the heaviness of regret weighs you down, write it on paper.  Be brutal.  Write down all the cruel things you say to yourself and then really reflect on them.  Ask yourself if you’d talk to another person the way you talk to yourself.  If the answer is no, set that bad boy on fire and let the smoke carry away your grief.  Promise to leave it in the goddess’ hands and walk away without looking back—-literally.

Harvest herbs.  The full moon makes the best time to go looking for ritual herbs.  Even if you don’t tend a garden and it’s the dead of winter, there’s almost always something available in the wastelands around you to snatch up.  In the coldest climates, evergreens and hardwoods harvest year-round, and many other climates have a 12-month growing season.

Open a bottle of wine.  If you like wine, the full moon offers you a lovely excuse to pop a cork.  Make it magical by pairing your wine appropriately with the ritual and season.

Find a public ritual.  Many occult shops, local pagan groups and Unitarian Universalist churches offer public moon rituals that welcome anyone who wants to attend.  Particularly if you are new to paganism, these events provide a wonderful local resource to learn and grow.

Have a moonlit picnic.  While I don’t recommend public parks at night, even a candlelit meal on your balcony sets a beautiful mood.  Share with a like-minded friend and consider setting aside a portion of the meal as an offering if you’re tradition calls for it.

Host a “moon dance” for the kids.  Is everyone in your coven struggling through the Mother phase and hard up for babysitters when the full moon rolls around?  Tell them to bring the kids!  I always struggle to think of ways for children to participate that aren’t overly formal or serious, and a moon dance is neither!  All you need is a backyard or (even better) a safely fenced-in rooftop terrace.  Encourage everyone to bring percussion instruments or just load your phone with esbat-friendly music.   

Visit or call a friend in need.  Odds are, you know someone who needs you.  Maybe your neighbor raising three kids on her own will let you watch the little ones while she takes her first hot bath in a decade.  Maybe your grandmother hasn’t had anyone besides solicitors ring her doorbell in weeks.  Or, maybe you have wicked math skillz to teach a disadvantaged child at your local youth center.  Absolutely nothing on this list will make you feel better than doing something for someone else, which is the essence of spiritual gratitude.  Give yourself the gift of giving.

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10 Witchy Ways to Harness the Power of the Solar Eclipse

Even if you resigned yourself to not looking directly at the sun during the solar eclipse because you missed the boat on securing appropriate eye wear, you can still use this amazing astrological event to your ritual advantage.

solar eclipse

Charge your runes.  Runes have deep ties to solar energy.  If you have a set, leave them under the eclipse to absorb this amazing solar energy.

Call the energy of the lion.  For the eclipse tomorrow in the US (August 21st, 2017), the moon will be in Leo, supercharging this zodiac sign’s energy exponentially.  Any spells that the lion might enhance, such as spells for confidence or courage, are best conducted on this date.

Create a human sun dial.  If you will be celebrating the eclipse at a public ritual or with your coven, hold hands in a circle during the eclipse and chant to raise power during this epic astrological moment.

Gather the light.  Leave any crystal points you have to absorb the magic of the eclipse so that you can “store it” for future use.

Make sun cakes.  These are so perfect to pass around for cakes and ale or just as a solar eclipse “party favor.”  If you’ve never made sun cakes, here’s how.

Burn some sun magick incense.  While most blends available at occult shops cater to the moon’s energy, there are incense blends and potions made specifically for the sun’s energy.  This is the perfect time to explore sun magick!

Do a gold glitter blessing.  Any craft store has glitter available in gold tones.  Get some, pass it out right before the eclipse, and then let everyone scatter it like confetti.  It creates a super mystical vibe and is a great way to raise power.

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Place a piece of red jasper or garnet near your heart.  Wear a red jasper or garnet necklace during the eclipse to draw the considerable power and influence of the eclipse’s solar energy towards you.

Pass around a chalice of mimosa.  Orange juice and champagne both have strong solar associations, making them the ideal pour for sacred chalices.  Pass some around during the moment of totality.

Make a wish.  In a spiritual tradition that places so much emphasis on the power and beauty of lunar energy, the power of moon is no more evident than in that rare moment when it actually blocks out the light of a celestial body that is 400 times its size.  Stand in the majesty of her shadow and ask her to make things happen for you.

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10 Ways to Use Divination During the Dark Moon

As the moon wanes and the days begin to grow shorter, both the time of year and the lunar phase create ideal conditions for experimenting with the art of divination.

From traditional methods like the Tarot, to lesser known arts like smoke scrying, from techniques that make use of exotic ritual tools to the simple act of gazing into the clouds, I compiled a list of ways to pay closer attention to the messages of a deeper reality.

I tried to include divination systems that are readily available, as well as some more esoteric systems worth exploring.

Divination is an art form.  It takes patience, practice and concentration!  Just like anything else, the more you do it, the more you will be rewarded with new insights and clarity.

1.  Kaleidoscope scrying.  I love this idea!  Simply look into the kaleidoscope, rotate the dial, breath deeply and let yourself be mesmerized.

2. Cloud scrying.  I wrote extensively about cloud scrying here.   I love this method because with a very few exceptions (in certain climates, clouds are rare), cloud scrying is available to everyone.  Plus, laying on the lawn during a pleasant afternoon is just good for you!

3.  Smoke scrying.  Personally, I find this method extremely spiritual and healing.  Incense sticks are cheap and will do in a pinch, but there are lots of variations.  Smoke bombs in a cauldron have a theatrical quality and are great for group rituals.  For solitaries, burn herbs known for their tendency to heighten spiritual awareness, like belladonna and mugwort.

Photo: SunsparkPhotography.com

4.  Reading tea leaves.  The first records of tea leaf reading in Europe date back to the 17th century, right around the time that the Dutch merchants brought tea back from China.  Since that time, tea leaf reading evolved into a spiritual discipline practiced around the world.  Try it!

5.  Bone Casting.  Another form of fortune telling with ancient roots, references to bone casting appear in biblical scripture, Roman mythology and Chinese prophecy.  This system might be as simple as using a collection of chicken thigh bones.

6.  Ink water scrying.  This method works just like a scrying mirror, except with water and a dark ink.  You can even use the ink from a fountain pen or a ball point.  Dye the water dark enough that it almost looks black, dim the lights (candles are best) and allow your eyes to lose focus.  Wait.

7.  Tarot cards.  If you struggle to find anything in scrying techniques or systems the require too much visualization, the Tarot gives you more to grab onto mentally than many other systems.  However, learning the “traditional” meanings of each card requires a lot of dedicated memorization.  While the tarot relies on very subjective imagery and creative interpretation is usually encouraged, most readers know a basic, near-universal tarot “language.”

Photo: SunsparkPhotography.com

8. Runes make perfect additions to the crafty or artistic practitioner’s tool kit.  Easy and inexpensive to make, carve a set of runes into wood or paint them on tiny pebbles.  Much of Runic history is complex or lost, so many interpretations of the symbols of themselves exist.  Read about them, come up with your own interpretation and apply it consistently.

9.  Pyromancy.   If you’re a fire sign, working with fire as a “porthole” may really appeal to you.   Use a single candle flame or a full on bonfire.  Flash powder is especially fun for this.

10.  Palmistry.  While many systems tend to be introspective and involve very little interaction with others, palmistry is perhaps one of the most intimate, connective, sensual forms of divination.   


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Wolf Moon Ritual

Several years ago, my dog started going bonkers.  Running around the house, making a noise that sounded like something in between outraged barking, mournful howling and a bizarre, guttural growl.

I’d heard of animals losing their marbles during the full moon, but I filed it away under “Old Wive’s Tales”—-a strange thing for a witch to do, considering how much stock we tend to put in old wive’s tales, and particularly when they feature the moon.

That night just happened to be the Wolf Moon, and while the rational parts of me still insist on the purely coincidental nature of my dog’s odd behavior, the less rational side of me believes she clearly responded to the energy of that moon.  Her moon.

I am able to say without a doubt, I never saw her act that way before, and I haven’t seen it since.

Either way, with the Wolf Moon approaching in just a couple of days, that incident inspired me to honor our canine friends and familiars with this simple moon ritual for protection.

wolf-moon-ritual

You will need:

*hair of a dog (black is preferred, but any will do)
*a pinch of rosemary or other protective evergreen
*a piece of hematite
*a black drawstring pouch
*altar candle

On the night of the full moon, gather your ingredients and choose a place to cast your circle.  By the hearth fire is nice this time of year, or, if you’re feeling brave, bundle up and venture out!

Once your circle is cast in the usual way, light your altar candle and place the spell ingredients in the bag.

Take some time to focus on whatever fears you are confronting right now.

Alternatively, if you’d like to make your mojo bag a protection amulet for your dog, focus on dispelling negative energy away from him or her.

Imagine a protective energy surrounding you both, and concentrate that protective energy on your mojo bag.

Extinguish your candle, close the circle, and leave your mojo bag to charge in the light of the full moon.

Place the charm on your rear view mirror, over your dog’s sleeping area or carry it with you for peace and protection.

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