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.
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
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.
I love spell boxes. Whether yours look artistic, expressive and beautiful or more like a 3rd grader’s craft project, spell boxes are easy to personalize for your purpose.
This full moon, start a spell box, but don’t finish it until the next full moon.
Start by picking a (realistic) goal. Something you can reasonably accomplish in one moon cycle. Modest weight loss, new job, starting a new hobby or deepening a skill you already have. Whatever.
Get a box. I’m a fan of the small wooden ones available at most craft stores for about $1. Like this one.
But you don’t even need to go that far. A shoe box will do.
Decorate the box. Don’t be shy, now. Really abuse it. Carve symbols in it. Scar it with a wood-burning tool. Glitter, paint, stencils, super-glued seashells. Pick stuff suited to your endgame. Choose appropriate color(s) and symbols.
Bless that bad boy. Nothing fancy. A little sprinkling of spring water and some salt will do.
Spend the next month searching. For herbs, stones, words, and symbols to add to your box. You can either start with a list of things to look for or simply improvise. You’ll be amazed when an idea strikes you. Here’s a sample list for a success spell.
*10 of Pentacles tarot card
Remember it is a work in progress. The joy is in the journey, and all that. Take your time. If not this moon cycle, than the next. Make it part of your Esbats until you get what you want.
It’s a (hopefully lazy) Saturday, and it’s a full moon! A perfect time to make up a batch of moon water.
Moon water is a simple, all-purpose blessing water you can use in almost any ritual. It’s extremely versatile. You can use for:
*Cleansing ritual tools.
*Blessing spell components.
*In ritual baths for purification.
*In baby blessings.
*During Wiccaning ceremonies.
*During marital and handfasting rites.
Keep a bottle close!
Here’s what you’ll need:
*a full moon.
*piece of moonstone. Clear quartz is an okay substitute.
*glass corked bottle.
*cast iron boiling pot or cauldron.
*a white floating candle
1. On the night of the full moon, gather your ingredients. If you want to be super witchy and mysterious, you can always build a bonfire and do up traditional with the pot on the flames. Personally, I just use my stove.
2. Bring the water to boil with the herbs. If you want to spare yourself the trouble of straining them later, you can always just put them in a cheese cloth or tie them off in coffee filter. Your call.
3. Let the whole shebang simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Or whatever.
4. Allow the pot to cool and strain the herbs into the bowl.
5. Around midnight, take it outside. If possible, place it somewhere where the moonlight reflects in it.
6. Place the moonstone in the center of the bowl.
7. Light the floating candle and send it adrift in your water. You can sit there for a few moments of contemplative reflection and extinguish it. Or, if you feel it’s safe, you can allow it to burn itself out. It is in water, after all. But for goodness sake, use your own best judgement. Either way, leave it out over night.
8. In the morning, pluck out the cold wax from the candle.
9. Funnel the water into the bottle and cork it up. It’s ready for use. Enjoy!
Spring is (finally!) upon us. The danger of frost has passed for most of the US, and warmer temperatures are on the horizon.
It’s time to knock the dust of your outdoor altar, pack a basket and head into the night for what might be your first outdoor ritual of the season.
You will need:
*Flower petals. Freshly picked are best, but store bought will do, or even some dried flowers from an old bouquet.
*Some natural altar decorations. Take the time to gather some spring greens from the forest. Moss or bright new leaves are nice.
*Dew gathered from the morning. Gathering dew is a lovely precursor to a night moon ritual, but I realize this isn’t always convenient, so spring or blessed water is fine.
*Dried chamomile. Or some other light floral.
*Cauldron or fire safe bowl.
*Lighter or matches.
Set up your altar. Decorate it with your spring greens and place the altar candle in the middle.
Begin by marking your circle with the flower petals. Walk in a clockwise fashion.
Light the altar candle.
If you have any flower petals left, ring the bottom of the candle with them.
Light your charcoal disk. Blow on it to get a good burn. You know the drill.
While it smolders, take your spring water or dew and anoint your Third Eye. Close your eyes and feel the fresh purity of the water. Imagine the newness of it radiating throughout your whole body, cleansing you of winter aches and old emotional wounds.
Place a pinch of chamomile on the charcoal dish, and picture the smoke carrying off winter, the past, and old pain. Stay there as long as you like. Don’t rush.
Extinguish everything, close the circle and welcome the fullest part of the spring season!
Being the last full moon of the harvest season, I thought this would be a great time to talk about Chang’e, an important Chinese moon goddess. Chang’e is the focus of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon festival, which just passed in late September. Participating in the festival is fun alternative to a typical Sabbat celebration, but just learning about different moon goddesses from around the world can be a nice way to enrich your own practice.
The Legend of Chang’e
There are many versions of the following folktale. Below is my retelling of the most common translation, but if you know another version, by all means, share it!
Long before the oldest memory of the oldest man on earth, ten suns burned in the sky. But the light of heaven was too powerful for life on earth, causing the plants and people to whither and die.
A masterful archer named Hou Yi was sent down to save humanity. He heroically shot down nine of the suns, leaving one to light the world and bring the heat of life.
In reward for his courageous deed, Jade the Emperor, ruler of the sky, bestowed upon the hero an elixir of everlasting immortality. But the archer Hou Yi loved his beautiful wife, Chang’e, too deeply to bear eternity without her.
As Yi’s fame grew like the only remaining sun that shined down, he was sought as a teacher for his wisdom and skill.
Little did he suspect that one of his students, Fengmeng, concealed a cold jealously in his heart for Yi.
One day, Yi left his wife, Chang’e, at home while he went hunting.
His treacherous and poisoned drove Fengmeng into a rage. He stormed into the house of Yi and demanded that his wife give up the elixir. But in her loyalty, she refused. Knowing she could never overpower Fengmeng, who was of strong mind and body, she knew realized that drinking the precious potion herself was the only way not to relinquish it to her kind husband’s enemy.
Rising up, up, up into the eternal sky, she finally settled on the moon, where she still looks over the Earth.
In his devastated grief at the loss of his beloved wife, Yi spent his life honoring her altar with flowers and cake.
I love the beautiful world of Chinese pagan folklore, and I am especially fond of the legend of Chang’e, who holds a special place in my heart as a moon goddess.
Chang’e is said to bestow her worshipers with charm and beauty.
Since this is “her” time of year, I thought I’d share with you an adapted beauty spell that honors this goddess.
You will need:
*1 white candle
*small bundle of flowers (any will do)
*lighter or matches
*a bottle of perfume (something with floral or oriental overtones is especially nice)
*print out of the traditional Chinese symbol of Chang’e, the moon or beauty (see Google Translate)
*a small cupcake (or if you really want to go all out, make a traditional moon cake)
*a lantern or tea candles for light.
1. On the night of the full moon, go outside in the fresh air.
2. Carve the Chinese character of your choice into the candle. Use a lantern for practical light if you need it.
3. Place the candle on the altar (or rock, or tree stump, or whatever).
4. Surround the candle with the flowers and light it.
5. Place the bottle of perfume in front of the altar.
6. Raise power any way you feel like it, but focus on the energy of feminine beauty descending from the moon and into your bottle of perfume.
7. Extinguish the candles and leave the cake as an offering to Chang’e.
8. Whenever you want to enhance your feminine allure, spritz yourself with the charged perfume. If you feel it needs a boost, light the candle and place the perfume in front for a little while.
Now that Samhain has passed, and the moon is waning, it’s a nice time to clear out unwanted people or energies from your life. This simple all-purpose banishing ritual is quick and easy.
You will need:
*cauldron or fire safe dish
*matches or lighter
*piece of paper (parchment is nice)
*bottle of spring water
Because this will produce a lot of smoke, I definitely recommend going outside.
Gather your ingredients in a basket or bag and head out to find a nice, quiet spot under the waning moon.
1. In this season, dead, dried leaves aren’t hard to come by. Gather some of them, along with some twigs or other items to create a small cauldron fire. Using the warmth of a cauldron fire in this season of cooler weather brings a nice touch to any ritual.
2. Write down a symbol that represents what you want to banish, or simply write the word. If this is a person, a photograph makes a nice substitute, but their name/birthdate/zodiac sign also works. If it is a thing, you might also use something non-toxic to burn. Trying to banish unhealthy eating habits? A paper wrapper from your favorite candy might be just the thing. Trying to kick smoking? Burn your last pack of cigarettes to start yourself on the (long, but worthwhile) road of quitting.
3. Think carefully about why you want this person or thing out of your life and write this down too, either in word or symbol form. Personally, I prefer symbols. Be creative! Is your relationship toxic? The poison control symbol might adequately represent this.
4. Start a small cauldron fire with the leaves and sticks you gathered. Take care to note anything flammable that could catch before you do! Hanging branches are particularly hazardous.
5. Once it gets going, light the paper and throw it in.
6. Sprinkle the dried rosemary on top.
7. Allow your hands to pass through the smoke. Imagine it purifying you as it rises into sky, carrying away the negative energy from your life.
8. Bury the ashes somewhere where you aren’t likely to return any time soon.
9. Bless yourself with the spring water. Sprinkle it lightly and imagine yourself cleansed of this influence in your life.
10. Walk away and don’t look back. Literally, do not turn around, but keep moving forward on to wherever you’re going.
11. Follow through! Take steps in your life to make certain you keep your distance from this negative influence.