10 Magical Ways to Use Your Chalice

There it is, on your shelf, where you’ve been neglecting it for many moon cycles.  It’s time to dust off this classic altar piece and bring it back into your ritual rotation.

IMG_1603


If you’re lacking inspiration, try using your chalice . . .

To pour libation.  Pour any liquid libations, like wine or juice, from a chalice for an elegant touch.

To collect rainwater for blessing.  Leave your chalice in the rain for pure, natural water to use in making moon water or herbal infusions.

In binding rituals.  If you have a small coven, and it doesn’t weird you out to drink from the same cup, Chalices are a lovely way to seal the bonds of sisterhood.  Choose a blended wine, pass the chalice around the circle, and have each member pledge their friendship to the people next to her.

In handfasting ceremonies.  Similarly, add a “unity chalice” in place of the unity candle at a handfasting ceremony.  The couple each pours some wine into the same chalice, and then they each drink from it.  We used this idea at our vineyard wedding for a rustic touch and it worked out beautifully.

For scrying.  Fill your chalice with water, then add dragon’s blood ink or another dark ink to the water.  Take it outside under the full moon and use it exactly as you would use a scrying mirror.

In place of a cauldron.  If your chalice has a heat-safe finish, place a charcoal disk inside and burn your ritual herbs in it.  The visual of smoke rising from the chalice adds a mystical quality that I just love!

To dress up cakes and ale.  Don’t use plastic or disposable cups for cakes and ale!  Chalices make everything feel so much more witchy.  Serve your cakes on a formal serving plate and add chalices for a classy ritual that would please Martha Stewart herself.

To float candles.  If you are working with the energies of fire and water, floating candles inside a chalice makes an effective way to blend these elements.

To cleanse gemstones.  Leave your gemstones or crystals in your chalice with water and place in the moonlight overnight to cleanse and charge them.  Just be sure you know your stones!  Some dissolve in water!

To blend potions.   Blend small batches of oils, infusions or brews for immediate use in your chalice.

mabon incense 3

Advertisements

The Role of Fire in Witchcraft

Inspired by the success of my post, The Role of Water in Witchcraft last summer, I decided to continue it as a series for each element.

creative-ways-to-use-fire-in-witchcraft

One of my earliest memories takes the form of my mother allowing me into the kitchen to watch her make dinner.   Sternly, she instructed me “Not to touch that stove, little one.”

Naturally, the moment she turned, I place my hand unflinchingly on the hot surface, giving myself a ripe little burn and a lifelong lesson about fire:

You really shouldn’t touch it.

Like all the elements, fire bears both creative and destructive force.   Simultaneously dangerous and beautiful, our respect for fire usually begins the first time it burns us!

And yes, I got a nasty burn that day.  But my mother used it to create a hot meal for us.

Same flame, same day.

I chose fire for this season because I strongly associate it with winter.  In the darkest, coldest months, fire provides warmth and light.

Let’s go over different kinds of fire and some creative ways to use it in spell craft.

Candle flame.  Easily the most convenient, common fire tool in ritual, candles are an ideal, all-purpose source of fire perfect for altars.

candles-web

Bonfires encourage groups to gather around it, making it an extremely effective focal point for group rituals and coven meetings.  Ideal for “going big” in rituals evoke empowerment or for burning spell elements in banishing rituals.

Hearth fires warm the home and create a cozy, holiday feel.  Perfect for enjoying a winter Sabbat like Imbolc or Yule.  Or, get creative and charge it with passion herbs for a date night at home.

Sparklers.  Remember how magical it was to hold one in your hands as a child, making streaks of light across the summer night.  Use sparklers to bring that same feeling to a moon ritual or night spell.

moon-ritual-with-sparklers

sparklers

Torches (as in the sticks with fire on the end of them, not flashlights) look a feel very ceremonial.  These are ideal for rite-of-passage type ceremonies, particularly involving the transition to manhood, or the ascension to a clergy position.

Lanterns work nicely for spring and midsummer festivals, anything involving faeries or woodland spirits, and garden blessings.

Flash paper is available at theatrical supply stores.  It’s usually used for stage magic, but it’s also great fun in spell casting!  Write spells or symbols on them and up it goes–in a flash!

Hope some of these ideas inspire you to use fire in more creative and fun ways during your rituals.  Blessed be!

mabon incense 3

Pairing Wine with Ritual

The inclusion of wine in ritual holds a long-standing place with practitioners of the magical arts.

We might pass a chalice of red wine to each other to solidify bonds during a coven binding, leave it as an offering on the altar for the full moon, or let it flow plentifully to celebrate Beltane.

Partly because of its significance in ritual, and partly because my great-grandmother was a wine maker during prohibition (I come from a long line of rebels), I became fascinated with the art of wine making and took a part time job at a local winery a few seasons ago.

The process of making wine changed very little in the last 5,000 years.  Mostly, nature takes care of the key phases.  This continuity makes me feel connected to my personal heritage as well as our collective human ancestry.

As anyone with an interest in wine knows, “pairings” of wine with food ideally compliment each other mutually.

But wine also carries with it a spiritual energy.  With so much emphasis on wine in ritual, it surprised me to discover that very little information exists about what types of wines work with particular rituals.

So I selected some of the most common wine varieties to give you some ideas about how to “pair” wine with the seasons, the Sabbats and the moon cycles.  Enjoy!

img_7859

Sauvignon Blanc
Sabbat:  Imbolc
Moon Phase:  Waxing (Crescent)
Rituals:  Snow rituals, white magic, healing

Reisling
Sabbat:  Ostara
Moon Phase:  Waxing (Half Moon)
Rituals:  New beginnings, Fertility

Rose

Sabbat:  Beltane
Moon Phase:  Waxing (Gibbous)
Rituals:  Love spells, attraction

Champagne
Sabbat:  Midsummer’s Eve
Moon Phase:  Full Moon
Rituals:  fairy magick, sun magick, wishing spells

Pinot Noir
Sabbat:  Lammas
Moon Phase:  Waning Gibbous
Rituals:

Merlot
Sabbat:  Mabon
Moon Phase: Waning Crescent
Rituals:  Home blessings, family ties, binding

Petite Sirah
Sabbat:  Samhain
Moon Phase:  Dark Moon
Rituals:  Scrying, divination, communication with spirits

Blessed be!

mabon incense 3

How to Host a Samhain Party

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

If you’re wondering what to do this joyous festival season, get planning and host a Samhain party.

img_9270

Decide whether or not to invite the little witchlettes.  Including children at a pagan party often changes a lot of the decisions you need to make.  If you want little feet everywhere, be certain all the parents are okay with allowing them to participate in the ritual, and plan at least one activity just for them.

Pick a main event.  Whether you hold a seance or a dumb supper (or both!), pick a main event to focus on and make it the theme of your invitations.

Consider an additional, smaller activity.  Particularly if you expect children to attend, a lighter additional activity like bobbing for apples or a pumpkin decorating contest tends to round out the evening nicely and leave everyone feeling grounded.

Honor the departed.  Remember your departed love ones.  In keeping with the spirit of the season, do at least one thing to acknowledge the deceased, particularly if you or someone in the group lost someone this past year.  This need not be heavy or too serious—a few photographs included in the centerpiece or serving a dish the deceased enjoyed during life fulfills this tradition nicely.

ouiji board

Plan a menu.  If you’re doing a dumb supper, you might want to opt for potluck.  But if you plan a ritual not centered around food, most guests appreciate a few simple, fall-themed appetizers and some autumn ale.

Try a “fire only” lighting concept.  Use only candles, bonfires and/or tikki torches to light your scene.  You’ll be amazed!  Using only flames creates a powerful, mysterious atmosphere.

img_9994

Decorate naturally.  Although many a witch revels in the availability of witch-y looking items at mainstream stores this time of year, plastic Halloween decor just isn’t my thing.  I prefer to make my own or, even better, use what nature provides.  Apples, mums, pine cones, squash, acorns and, of course, pumpkins!

img_0293

Make favors.  I love making ritual favors for the Sabbats.   There are thousands of options, but here is one to try.

Agree to meet for the next Sabbat.  With all your like-minded friends in one room on the last day of the Wheel of the Year, this moment makes for a good time to sync your calendars and plan for the next season of moon rituals and Sabbats.

mabon incense 3

Full Moon Scavenger Hunt Spell Box

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.

full moon box spell

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.

IMG_0184

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.

*allspice
*dollar bill
*mint leaves
*blank check
*high john
*patchouli
*10 of Pentacles tarot card
*cinnamon stick

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.

mabon incense 3

Litha at Moody Moons

Order now to cover all your Litha needs!

Click on the picture to view the product page.

Interested in Sun Magick?   This is the perfect time of year to try it and lucky for you, Moody Moons carries a gorgeous sun ritual kit.

sun magick altar kit

Check out Moody Moon’s Midsummer Oil, hand-blended with 100% organic essential oils and steeped in an olive oil base with Litha in mind.

midsummer oil

Long associated with the mythical world of woodland faeries, the Summer Solstice is said to be a time when delightful, mischievous spirits come out to play.

fairy incense

fairy charm

It’s also a great time to work with dreams and meditation.

dream salve

dream pillow

That’s all for now!  Get ready for the longest day of the year and plan your ritual in style.