Book Review: Pictish Orthodox Druidism

Pictish Orthodox Druidism

This is is very interesting book that covers and obscure religious and spiritual practice.  This book is not like anything else on the market related to Celtic traditions.  This book is very unique, and while it does cover Celtic spirituality and Druidry it does some from the tradition of the Picts.  Most books on Celtic Paganism or Druidry cover Irish or Welsch traditions.  Very few touch on the Picts and their tradition.

The author covers this tradition from the way it was taught in his family.  In places where his family tradition had gaps the author did his best with research into history and lore to complete the tradition.  This book is his way of preserving his view and style of Pictish Druidry.

This book is not really broken into chapters but parts with related sections.  Aside from the introduction there are eight sections in the book.  Each section focuses on unique aspects of this tradition providing information on lore and history as well as theory and practice of ritual and magical workings.

In the Introduction the author starts by presenting several common terms and definitions used within the book and Pagan traditions and spirituality.  Next the author explains his approach to reconstructing religious and spiritual traditions.  This is essential to understand as the practices in the book are a mixture of reconstructed practices and traditions passed down in his family.   The introduction concludes with a summary of principles. Here the author also outlines what exactly he considers Pictish Tradition to entails.

The first section of the book is entitled Pictish Orthodoxy.  This section begins with an overview of Celtic spiritual traditions and the different forms out there.  The author presents an argument for Pictish Tradition origins and how we does have information to build a base on.  This section here is also where we are introduced to the Gods.

The section on the Gods covers a basic introduction to the world view.  It covers several of the spirit concepts as well as the type of Polytheism that Pictish tradition followed.  Here the author introduces the idea that the Picts would have adopted some Norse traditions.

Here the author covers information on the various Gods of the Pict tradition.  He gives their names and attributes.  The author covers three different “tribes” or types of Gods worshiped.  There are the Greater Gods, the Brethren Gods (Norse Gods), and the Tuatha DeDannan.  Through the categorization of the Gods we get a view for the complex syncretic path that is the Pictish Tradition.

The section ends with a discussion on the concept of the trinity and the sacred three.  Here we learn about the Celtic three other worlds and the Celtic Knot.  The author also explains through this sacred three why certain deities are seen as a Triad.  To tie in the Norse tradition with the exploration of the Celtic other worlds (3) the author lists the Nine Norse Realms.

The section part in the book is called Awen.  This section is about taking action and how worship is through action.  Here the author covers the sacred Holidays.  The section on the holidays is rather small.  It does present a few examples of how those sacred days could be honored through actions and activities rather than ritual.

The third part of the book is one of the most interesting.  This is the section on the Faerie faith.  Many spiritual traditions work with beings called the Fae.  This section is about the Pictish tradition and their take on the Fae.  Here we get a taste for ritual work and how the Picts dealt with contact with spirits.

This chapter had some of the most useful information.  It starts out by explains what the faerie spirits really are and how the modern view of fairy’s is actually quite far from the historical perspective.  The author explains that he believes this would have been the practice of the common folk and was less to deal with Gods and was more animistic in nature.

After giving brief examples of offerings and how the Faerie Faith may have been practiced the author begins to discuss the different types of Fae.  Here we see the variety of spiritual forces found within the Pictish tradition beyond the Gods.  The author gives several different types of fae including descriptions of Norse Fae.

Once we are familiar with types of Fae we get into the first practical bit of spiritual work within the book.  Here we are learning how to set up an altar to suit the practice of the Faerie faith.  The author covers three different types of altars to the Faerie people and the types of fae best honored at each.

The chapter ends with ideas on how to make contact with the Fae.  Here the author covers plant talismans and flowers in your garden that could attract the fae.  The author also presents a detailed guided meditation to use meditative techniques to meet fae and work with them.    In all reality the section on the Faerie faith could be a book in its own right.  The author does a great job of presenting information that gives an introduction to the practice within the context of this particular cultural view.

The fourth section of the book is about the priesthood.  Here we find out the authors view on Priesthood and why its not a mantle to be taken up easily.  The author covers the different types of priests and Druids in this chapter.   With each type of druid or priest the author covers the roles they had and how they worked for the Gods and the community. Here the author also covers the various Norse Priests that would have filled similar roles to the Druids.  The author makes it clear that for him priesthood and ministry are the same thing.

The fifth section is where we first get introduced to the practice of magic.  The practice of magic is one of the main draws to practices like Druidry, Shamanism, and witchcraft.  The idea of being able to perform rituals and take specific actions to create change in ones life is very appealing.  So it is important to cover the use of magic and the theories behind it.

In this section the author covers the hows and whys of magic.  Before getting into magical laws and theory the author outlines the phases and steps involved in spell casting.  He explains several magical laws and magical theories.  This gives you the basis to start exploring the magic discussed later.

The majority of the section on magic focuses specifically on the Druid practice of magic.  The author gives examples of types of magic he calls Low, Middle, and High.  In each section of low, middle or high there are examples of types of magical workings and practices that would fit within those concepts.

The chapter ends with a discussion on Druid rituals, tools and the organizations.  With the information on ritual and tools the reader now has enough information to create simple spells and workings within this magical paradigm.  It is here that we have really begun to be able to piece together a practice from the material presented.

The sixth section in the book is on Magical languages.  Here the author introduces Ogham and symbols that are used in magical ritual.  The author covers tattoos and scarification rituals as ways that the Picts used magical symbolism on their body.  The section on magical languages ends with a brief introduction to Runes and Runic magic.

The seventh part of the book is dedicated to Runes.  This is one area of the book that is entirely dedicated to a Nordic aspect of the tradition.  Here the author covers the Rune poems and the three different Rune systems.  He covers the use in magic and the use in divination.  The author even covers creating your own traditional Rune staves and doing traditional Runic readings.  This section and the Faerie faith chapter are the two section of the book with the most practical information and the most unique information.

The author ends the book covering a variety of related spiritual traditions.   The author begins the section by covering different Druid and Celtic traditions and organizations.   Here the author covers traditions like Shamanism, Wicca, and general Witchcraft.  This shows that the author not only respects these other spiritual traditions but he also sees how they are connected and possibly related to his own traditions and practices.

Overall the book provides great insight into this spiritual tradition.  There is enough information that the reader could decide to explore the practice for themselves personally.  The author gave enough information to form a workable practice without doing all of the work for you.  He allows the reader to start with this information and work with the spirits and Gods through personal work to develop their priesthood and their practice.

I would recommended this book to people interested in both Celtic and Norse Pagan traditions.  While I may not agree with all of the information presented on the Norse traditions, I feel that the author did an excellent way of presenting how the Picts would have adapted the Norse Gods and practices into their traditions.

Witchdo Money Jar Spell

Materials:
Small Glass Jar
(Money draw powder)
Green Witches Salt
Coins/small loose change picked up over the course of day to day life
Money Bath and Soak
Fast Cash Oil
Optional:
Succsess Aromatherapy candle

Spell:
Wash the jar seeing it filled with money and succsess. Add 1 tbs of the Money Bath to the wash.
Walk around your home picking up any loose change. As you see the change if it is heads up state “Hi Hunting money you found me” and put it in your pocket. If it is tails flip the coin thrice stating “hunting money ,hunting money, you found me hunting money” Pick it up and kiss it before putting it in your pocket.
Once you have the money gathered put it in your jar.
Cover the jar with the lid
Shake the jar chanting:
“Prosperity flowing free Money and wealth come to me”
See yourself with all your financial needs met and having money to spare for entertainment etc. Shake until you feel it full of that energy.
Uncover the lid. Sprinkle the money powder and the salt over the cash. Add three drops of the Money oil.
Cover and repeat the shaking and chant.

Shake the jar two to three times daily with the chant as above.
At the end of each day put any and all spare/loose change in the jar. Repeat the edition of the oil and powders. Shake here again.

Important note:
Every time you pick up spare change use the “hunting money chant” and that will help bring you wealth and succsess in general.

When the jar is full take the money out and buy yourself something. You can use the same jar over and over again.

Optional:
If you decide to use the candle dress the candle with Fast money oil, Luck gain oil, and The Green salt as well as Money draw powder. Burn it near the jar but not on top of the jar unless you plan on burying the jar to create a permanent charm.

A Mystic Echoes community

In order to serve the community better Mystic Echoes has added a discussion board and forum to the website.  The moderators of the forum are not members of the Mystic Echoes staff.  They are simply people who have given their time voluntarily to help make our community a wonderful place for everyone.

You can find us at:Ancient Echoes

 

Pagan Business Network Swag Bags- Good for business Good for customers

Today I am going to write a brief blog post about the importance of these swag bags and how they can really help your business grow.  As a member of the Pagan Business Network I happily supply samples of products with my business card for these bags.  I know that they can bring me in customers that I would not meet otherwise.  I know that these bags can extend the reach of my business by being at events that I can’t attend and much more.

PBN swag bagsPhotograph of swag bags courtesy of Terrie Brookins Canadian Swag Coordinator

 

What is swag?  What can I make as swag?

Why is swag a good thing?  Can I participate?

Swag are bits and bobs that you send out attached to your business cards.  Swag is essentially something with your business name on it.  This allows you to get your business name into the hands of many other people.  These are items given out as promotional freebies at events all over.  Many different types of events have door prizes, raffles, and or free stuff.  Swag is that free stuff.

Now you may be wondering what sort of things you can send as swag.  You can really send anything.  It all depends on what your business is and how creative you can be.  For Mystic Echoes I have typically sent out small packets of herbs, packets of our incense blends, our powders, and the baths.  I have not yet sent any of the oils or tinctures because I lack the sample dram bottles to do so.  When I have some of those available I will start to send out samples of my oils for people to have as well.

I’ve gotten a key chain as a swag piece before.  If you make jewelry key chain charms are an excellent way to produce swag.  This is actually an area of swag I am starting to get into.  I know for myself when I make jewelry I often times have a few left over beads that wouldn’t be enough for a pattern of any sort.  Keychain charms as swag are a perfect use for those excess charms.  Just throw them in a small bag with your business card and you have some swag!

Do you make leather work?  Leather sealed Bookmarks would be an awesome bit of swag.  Rounders that could be used as heat pads would also be great swag.  Braid a few pieces together and tie it to a key chain.  These are all awesome ideas for leather working swag that can be made out of left over or scrap leather.

Do you make bath teas or salts?  How about incenses, and powders?  For myself when I package my products there is always a bit left over.  I used to just keep it all for myself and personal use.  Now I bag it in a small sample bag and send it off as swag.  The same goes for my herbs.  Often times I have some left over that is not enough for a full package.  I bag it and tag it in sample bags.  Boom.  Its ready for swag.

The same concept can really apply to basically any sort of herbal product.  If you make soaps, or lotions get small sample sized jars and place any left overs into those packages.  The idea is to have something of yours that can get the attention of potential customers all over the country.

I’ve gotten wax melts as swag from candle makers.  I’ve gotten tiny vials of homeopathic oils and remedies as swag as well.  They have all been ways for me to get products in my hand that I might not otherwise I received.  Its how I was introduced to Sages Aromatherapy as well as Charissa’s Cauldron.

For psychics and readers or healers a coupon card on your business card would be a great way to get attention.  If you work with runes you could make mini runes and send them out.  The idea is to represent yourself and what you make or do.  Its up to you and your creativity to decide what works best.

For me as a business owner I see it as a chance to have free publicity in locations that I would not normally be at.  I’ve had swag at events all over the country now.  I’m personally currently limited to Maine, New Hampshire, and some places in Massachusetts and Connecticut.  While that is a decent range I’d like to have customers in Nevada, Texas, Washington State, Florida, and many more.  One of the ways I can reach customers in those locations is through the swag bags.  They get a sample product in their hands as well as my contact information.  This extends my reach as a business owner.

For me as a customer I love seeing all the different things that people put together.  One author who specializes in family and children had mini bottles of bubbles in the swag bag.  Other authors had put in a postcard flyer with their e-books and a book mark with book titles.  This was where I got a sample of body butter from Sages Aromatherapy and Oils as well as a bottle of an essence blend from Charissa’s Cauldron.  It is because of the swag bags that I have many more new businesses to look at and spend my money at.

So in essence swag bags are a minimal to no cost way to promote your businesses.  You’ll reach customers in places you might never be able to get to and many more people will know your name.  Word of mouth is a very powerful thing. Just be sure that anything you send has contact information (website, e-mail, facebook etc).  You want the customers to be able to find you incredibly easily.

To participate check out the PBN website: Pagan Business Network Swag Oppertunities

 

Product review: Meadowlark Botanical Pain relief balm, Headache balm, Foot balm, & Hand cream

Product Review:

Holistic Balms from Meadowlark Botanical

Meadowlark full set

 

One of the resources I have been taking advantage of as a member of the Pagan Business Network is the use of trades.  I will trade some of my products with members of the network for some of their products and or services.  The other part of the exchange is that I write a review about my experiences with the products and then share it around.  The products in the above photo are some that I traded for and this is my review.

Customer service

Before I get into how the products worked for me and my experience with the products I want to spend some time talking about the customer service this company provides.   One thing I asked about was if they planned on getting different labels that included the ingredients on them.  They responded happily with a thank you for the suggestion and that it was something they had in fact been thinking of doing.  When I mentioned to keep the information insert as well they were happy to know that the information on the sheet was useful in educating people about the reasons behind why the herbs worked for this product.

The best experience I had with this business was when I asked about a specific product.  I get headaches frequently while I am working.  Its not just from the stress but also from my eyes, anxiety, caffinee and or lack of water.  So I wanted to have the balm with me at work.  When I opened it for the first time this balm was essentially liquid.  It exploded basically everywhere.  I lost a bunch to my clothes and the counter.

I asked the owner about this.  She was shocked to hear about it.  As soon as she was able to she sent me another batch of the balm.  This time when I opened it I could use it and it was solid.  The fact that she sent me a brand new free batch was great.  I was thrilled.  I tried it later that night and was happy with the results.  So I have to give them two thumbs up on customer service.

 

Pain Free Balm

Meadowlark Pain releif cream

At first I was disappointed in this balm.  It did not have immediate effect which is what I am used to.  A similar holistic product I use has an almost instant relief to it without needing a deep massage.  I decided though that I would give it an extended try.  During this extended trial I applied the cream with a massage to the very specific location rather than the general location.  Once I started applying it with a massage and to specific points rather than general points I was able to get the relief that I was used to.  It lasts for me about 4-5 hours.  After that I need to apply it again.

My issue with this item is that it stains.  Before I used this cream I had no yellow stains on my blanket.  This cream left stains on the blanket.  This was with me rubbing it and massaging the balm into my skin and the effected areas as much as I could.  Even then the little oil left on the top layer of skin still stained my blankets.  It also stained my underwear long the edges where my legs would have touched it.

The other issue I have was the strong menthol scent.  It was overpowering.  One day I applied it to my knees before work so I could be comfortable at work.  My fiance’ commented that the scent was too strong and to not use that again.  I have tried to use less, but the scent is still overpowering.  Yes it is effective but its stronger than the almost pure menthol product I buy for my fiance’ from the store.

You can get your Pain Free cream here

Foot Cream

Meadowlark foot cream

With my day job I am on my feet all day.  I run around the store helping customers find what they are looking for.  When not putting away stock, putting away put-backs /unpurchased items, or helping customers find products I am standing in place at the register.  My feet are sore after a days work.  This product here is a wonderful treat for my feet.

I have found that this helps relax my muscles after a day of working.  It doesn’t relieve the pain persay but it does help my feet to relax.  By rubbing my feet with this balm after a long day of work I also relieve some of my stress from the shift.  A lot of stress is held in the feet.

In order to relieve the pain I am feeling in my arches I typically add a small batch of the pain free balm that was mentioned earlier.  I’d actually like to see the two combined so you have stress and pain relief that can be applied to all muscles not just the feet.  Perhaps they will take that into consideration.

Get your Herbal Foot cream here

Headache Balm

Meadowlark Headache balm

This year I have started to deal with headaches far more often than I ever did before.  One of the main headache issues I have had have been sinus related.  This balm when I tried it in a liquid form was the only thing that has worked for my sinus pressure and pain without congestion. I applied a small drop to the bridge of my nose and felt instant relief.

The menthol and mint oils are high in this mixture so my eyes did water a bit.  My suggestion would be to find a variation on this recipe that uses a little less mint and menthol and maybe add a few congestion or sinus oils.  That way you can have a product for sinus headaches and sinus pressure as well.

The only other thing I have to say is that it works just as well for day to day headaches.  I apply a bit to my temples, the base of the neck, and my third eye.  For me this helps me release all my pressure for my headaches.  Often times they are in the front of the brain which is why I use the third eye chakra as a position to place the balm in.  I only use a little bit though as too much wil make your eyes water from the mint and menthol.

You can get yours Headache balm here

 

Lavender Hand Cream

Meadowlark lavender hand cream

This is an item that was actually a surprise for me.  It was not an item that I had asked for in the trade.  She included it as a free gift sample for which I am very thankful.  I will probably be ordering a batch of this for myself when my sample size is done.  I’ve had this sample for months and I am still working with it.  Its hard for me to find hand or body lotions that I can actually use due to my sensitive skin.  This is one of the ones I can use.  I’m glad I have it.  I will use it for a while longer.  Like I said it is one of the few lotions I have been able to find for myself that works and I enjoy the scent and feel of.

Get your Lavender rich Handcream Here

Conclusion & Remarks

Many of the issues I had are my own for not reading the directions as best as I could.  The owner of this business did send paper work on each of the products given to me.  While it doesn’t mention that the Tumeric in the pain relief cream can stain, it does mention its best applied to specific points rather than a general area.  Had I paid more attention to the entire paperwork I would have had faster results with the Pain Free Cream.  They also warned about the peppermint in the headache balm and not going near the eyes for that reason.

This business owner is very well educated on their products and services.  The information sheet goes into detail about the herbs chosen for the products and why they work.    In some cases they even mention this history of the herbs use in medicinal practices and from which cultures they were used in.  They know not only their products but their particular service well.  They are very professional and work hard to get their business seen and known.

If you are looking for vegetarian organic homeopathic products then this is the company for you.  Its well made and the containers are perfect for the product.  Packages are neat and professional looking.  Everything works as they say it does, just be sure to read the directions carefully or you may miss information like I did.

Check out the rest of their products here: Meadowlark Botanical

Ancestor Oil- a few ancestral workings and a prayer

Ancestor Oil

Ancestor Oil

Today I am going to talk to you a bit about my ancestor oil and a bit about ancestor veneration since they are connected.  This oil was crafted to be a tool in ancestral veneration. This oil was created to be used as an offering to your ancestors.  Its a perfect daily offering.

The herbs that create this mixture all have associations with the underworld, the dead, and or funeral rites.   Funeral rites and working with the dead is a powerful spiritual practice that crosses many cultures.  There were a lot of herbs and oils with those associations. It was hard to make my choice on which oils and herbs I could have used.  I personally couldn’t make the choice of which herbs to use.  I didn’t bother fighting it either.

I simply asked my ancestors and the ancestral spirits what they wanted to have in the oil.  It was meant for them so they should have choice in what goes into the blend.  So in essence I was simply the vessel for this ancestral working.  The spirits guided me to make this oil, from the herbs chosen to the prayer used and the way it was charged.  All of the creation of this oil was directed by the ancestral spirits.

This oil like all of my oils can also be worn as a perfume.  I use it when I want to feel close to my ancestors.  Its literally a way you can honor your ancestors in daily life with out a lot of ceremony.   As you inhale the scent you are inhaling blessings of ancestral spirits.  If you apply it with a prayer you have  This oil was charged on my ancestral altar for a month before it was bottled.  So for this reason its a perfect oil for daily workings.

Ancestral veneration is a major part of my spiritual paths and practices.  Ancestral veneration is the practice of honoring your dead.  Your ancestors are those who have gone before you the recent dead and the long lost dead.   In essence ancestral veneration is working with the dead, but it is also the most basic and earliest form of spiritual practice known to man.

In many cultures the dead are not really gone from this life.  They are still present in a spirit form.  The practice of ancestral veneration in some cultures keeps them here.  In some of these cultures there really is no difference between the world of the physical and the world of the spirit, so its easy for spirits to be both in their world and in our own world.  By offering them water, and food from our plates we provide them nourishment and the energy that they need to keep us protected and to watch over us.

In death like in life our family is always there for us.  We give them offerings and gifts and they help us out.  The relationships we had in life do not end at death.  They simply change forms and require a bit of a different approach.  It is for this reason that the first spirits many paths teach you to work with are your own ancestors.  They will help you out when no other spirit will.  The powers and ties of the blood and heart are that strong.

Ancestral prayers are a very simple way to have a daily practice.  This practice not only builds your own connection to the spirits and the spirit world but will also help you start to develop a sense of your own power and energy.  The more you pray the more energy you build up.  The more you will be able to reach spirits and the easier it will be to sense when they are there.  Its a very simple thing to pray to your ancestors.

Daily practice helps us become more aware spiritually and helps us to become our true selves and be full of our own power.  Daily prayers to our ancestors help us deal with the losses we face when loved ones die and it helps us to remember that they are still here still with us even if we can’t see them.

Here is a simple ancestor prayer that you can use in your daily practice.

Ancestor Prayer

Blessed ancestors

Those who have gone before

I welcome you this day

May you guide me, protect me and may your love be free

May you open the roads before me and may your wisdom guide me

Blessed ancestors

I welcome you this day

Simple ancestor working:

Working with ancestors does not have to be complicated.  You do not need to set up a formal ritual circle and invoke gods or spirits.  The prayer mentioned above is really all you need to start working with your ancestors.  If you have space an altar and candles with that prayer is all you need.  It does not need to be formal.  No head bowing, no feelings of unworthiness.  Just you, the altar, your ancestors.  That’s all you need.

Here is a simple ritual for working with your ancestors:
Materials:
White candle
Bowl of water
Ancestor Oil

Ritual:
Take the ancestor oil and dab a drop or two on the candle.
Rub the oil from the bottom to the top thinking about your ancestors
Light the candle
State the prayer from above
Fill the bowl with a bit of water offering them a cool drink
Sit there and feel the love and power of the ancestors
After a few minutes extinguish the candle
Either keep the water in the bowl so your ancestors have fresh drink or pour it into the earth as an offering to the earth our central ancestor

You can get your ancestor oil here:

Ancestor Oil by Mystic Echoes

Working with the Happiness Incense

 

A Happiness Working

One of my favorite products is my Happiness Incense blend.  It became a major part of my cleansing rituals and workings for a long time because of how effective it is in magic.  Its also a very uplifting scent.  I’ve found that the potent spirit powers in this blend make it work with very little needed for a single working.  Which means the half ounce packets should last you a while.

Happiness Incense and PowderSo how do you work with the happiness incense and powder?  I personally like to use it sprinkling it around my home after a full house cleansing to invite happiness and peace into the home.  I go through each room stating a prayer for happiness and peace as I sprinkle the powder.  I make sure to get windowsills and into the corners of the rooms.  Sprinkling it on the base of the floor to ensure that the room is charged.  Often times I also fill the room with a pink light and call on the spirits of the plants to bring peace and happiness to the home.I then draw an invocation and sealing pentacle over the room with my hand to seal in the power.  I repeat this in every room.

This simple working has brought happiness during some of my most stressful and most depressed days.  You could also walk around your property and sprinkle the powder outside as well.  This like other powders and oils would double the effect of the working bringing is to be both in the home and out of the home.  This working can also be modified for work spaces and single rooms as well.  Its all about filling the place that needs the mood lifting with an energetic transformation.

There are other ways you could work with this powder as well.  You could sprinkle a little in your shoes in the morning with and affirmation or prayer along the lines of :”With every step I take Peace and happiness is my fate.”  This is a simple charm which would be practical and effective.  Its also one that is hidden and would be based on working with what you have on hand.  The goal is about actively bringing and attracting those energetic forces into your life.

In many ways this powder is the opposite of Hot Foot Powder which is a working to remove negative forces and force them to leave.  This brings about peace and love through an energetic transformation.  It is about attracting something rather than removing it.

You can get your Happiness Powder at Mystic-Echoes on Etsy: Mystic Echoes Happiness Incense

Book Review: Candle and the Crossroads by Orion Foxwood

The Candle and the Crossroads:

A book of Appalachian Conjure And Southern Rootwork

Candle and the Crossroads

This is one of the most powerful books I have read in recent history on spirituality in general.  While yes the book focuses on Rootwork and Conjure as the author knows them, the book is highly spiritually focused.  For me even if I don’t put all of the information into practice, the components of the book that made me question spirituality and what it means were well worth the investment.

So to begin my review I have to say that even if you don’t follow any magical spiritual path as a guide for spirituality any one of any path can get something out of it.  I would even recommend this book to Christians who are looking to deepen their personal spirituality and connection to their religion.  Everyone on any path in life can get something out of this book.  The connection to your own spirit that this book teaches us to develop is important for everyone and everything.

If you are looking for a book on spells you wont find them in this book.  There are several workings discussed but actual spell work for money, wealth, love, etc are not really seen in this book.  There are magical techniques for baths and creating mojos as well as connecting to spirits in this book.    So there is magic with in the book but not necessarily spells for luck, love or mney drawing as most people are familiar with.

The focus on this book is the spiritual component of Hoodoo and Conjure rather than the spells.  Too often people want to jump into the spells and workings of magic without the spirit component and thus they miss a huge part of the Southern Conjure traditions.  This book provides that spiritual information.  It is that focus which sets this book aside from others.

This is one book I am going to be referencing again and again.  There are several exercises, meditations, and self questions that I am going to be looking at periodically.  There are many things in this book that made me think and start to evaluate my personal path and practices.  For this reason I am going to be using this as a reference and guide to develop my own connection to my spirituality and my own personal spirit.

The first chapter in the book is all about the foundation of this practice.  Here we learn the authors experiences and his history with the practice as he knows it.  This is where we see how his experiences and lessons in life and explains the reasons why he wrote this book.  He mentions what the foundations of his personal magical practice are.  By knowing this information you can better understand the worldview and practices presented in the rest of the book.

The second chapter is about the starting of finding your paths to the spirit that is you.  The core teaching of this book is that humans are spirits as well.  We are spirits having a physical existence as humans.  In the teachings of this book and worldview if you start to realize this you will not only come into your own power but also start be be more whole yourself.    This chapter starts a basic discussion on types of spirits that walk with us as well as types of spiritual paths.  After talking about the paths there are also descriptions on how we are called to find our paths including symptoms of the different calls.

The third chapter is short but very important.  Here is where we get into the history of the actual practices that formed Southern Conjure as the author knows it.  The author mentions slavery and African traditions and their importance in the tradition.  Here we see what Conjure really is about and how it survives over the years.  There are warnings in this chapter about working with the spirits of Conjure and how powerful they are.  There is a quote that illustrates the power and spirirt of Conjure work very well that I am going to share with you here.:

“If you are not willing to cry for, be angry for, pray for, and ask help of its spirits, then stay away from this work.  These spirits went through hell when they first came to America in boats of flesh.  No one can change this root, and why would we want to?

If you want to find the root that cannot be bound, then then root spirit of conjure is for you.  If you want to grow your spirit from a place of truth and spirit power then conjure is for you.  If you want to reach deep and pray high, then welcome to this deep well of spirit and spiritual nuturance.

But come through the door blessing and praying for the ancestors that suffered.  This builds a bridge of grace to the spirit world and begins to establish the essence and flavor of the spirits that come when you conjure.”-Orion Foxwood Conjure and the Crossroads

The rest of the chapter focused on what the Root of conjure and the cultural mixtures that made up his conjure.  The author mentions honoring his own Roots and how he works with them.  After mentioning the spirits of African, Native American, and European folk practices who settled in that area he goes into the roles that Conjure played in that culture and still continues to play to this day.

The fourth chapter is about the Nature and Power of conjure.  Here the author gets into the fact that Conjure does have ties to Christian spirituality and Christian religions.  He addresses that many conjures use words like God and Creator and occasionally Maker.  Here we see the power in conjure comes from the source of creation and the power to create which resides in our own personal spirit.  The author gets into a few types of spirits that are connected to this power.  One of them being the God of Christianity and divine beings.  The author is specific in that for the reader and seeker that it doesn’t have to be the God of Christianity but it is the Source of all creation and all essence which is a spirit of sorts.

This is where we first start to actually get introduced into some of the techniques in this practice.  The author goes into several different ways that conjure works with spirit.  These include prayer, baths, blessings, healing, and cleansing.  After starting the basics on techniques we are introduced to a few of the different types of spirits that are worked with in conjure.

Chapter five was probably my favorite chapter in the book.  Its for me really the most important chapter in the book.  This is the chapter that focuses on growing our spirit.  The author had previously mentioned that working with ones own spirit and knowing ones own spirit was the most important thing in conjure.  Here we finally learn to address the spirit and work with our spirit.

The best part of this chapter was the checklist on the attumement to our spirit.   Not only does the author give a list of questions and symptoms of disconnect with our spirit but he provides remedies to help fix the situation.   For me this was really the way for me to start to see how connected I am to my own spirit and what I can do to fix it.  The author does mention that some of those ailments are actual symptoms of health issues (depression, anxiety and other mental health issues) and if you answered yes to many of them that you should seek professional help.  For me that disclaimer and statement shows the connection between the mind, the body, and the spirit and how mental health can effect spiritual health.

This section provided me with the most enlightenment.  It gave me tools to adjust and start working on my own personal spiritual path and development. One of the reasons I had started to explore Conjure and Rootwork was for a spiritual connection and a way to deepen and develop my spirituality beyond the basic 101 books.  Here I have tools to find what I was missing and develop my path.  The chapter ends with providing you with the steps to growing in your spirit which is what you need to do after you start the work of attuning to your own spirit.

Chapter six is about maintain spiritual health.  The main focus on this chapter is spiritual cleansing and cleaning.  The author explains how important is is to cleanse ourselves from the different forces in our lives that can cause spiritual clutter.  He told a story of a client that his mother had to illustrate the issue.  The author ends with a working for spiritual cleansing.   This provides the start of our practical conjure spirit workings.

Chapter seven is about fixing or attracting good spirits to you.  Here we learn how actions we take and the way we live our life sends signals to spirit.  One of the first lessons in this chapter is that often we focus on our lack of something when we want something then more often than not we are going to be stuck with more of what we do not have.  The author then begins to go into how we send images and messages to spirit so we can attract what we actually want.

The author then starts getting information on working on attracting the right spirits.  The first real focus is on a prosperity spirit.  The author provides a recipe or a ritual working outline to attract a prosperous spirit.  One thing this working outlines is that in Conjure everything is spirit and everything has spirit.  If you can accept that view and work with it then you are going to work conjure.

After the pot the author talks about maintain the spirit and provides steps and techniques to keep spirit alive.  The first part of this practice is the establishment of an altar.  The author continues with a ritual working for the altar set up and the consecration of the altar, yourself, and your home.  While the workings are not exact they provide you an outline to make the conjure your own.  In the end you must be the one to do the work.

Chapter eight was probably my second favorite chapter in the book.  One thing I have personally been interested in for years has been working with graveyards and various forms of graveyard magic.  This book is the first book I have seen that addresses this practice.  Its considered Taboo in many modern magical traditions yet many acknowledge that there is strong power in the graveyard.  Finding this chapter thrilled me to the core.  It started to lift the veil on these workings.

There is so much in this chapter that covering the techniques and information would be a review in itself.  I will say the author provides information on the power of the graveyard works and why we should work with graveyards.  He provides information on working with graveyard spirits as well as how to gather graveyard dirt and work with graveyard dirt.  The author spends the other half of the chapter talking about working with our ancestors and providing ways to honor them and work with them in our home and life.

Chapter nine is an interesting chapter.  It covers ways to enter into the spirit world as well as working with a spirit unique to his tradition and practice.  The technique discussed I found most interesting and will most likely try myself was the concept of tapping or knocking.  Its essentially like you are knocking on the door to the spirit world like you would a regular door.    After tapping and knocking he covers river magic as well as fire and candle access to the spirit world.  Here there is a working for river magic specifically outlined.

The last part of the chapter includes a ritual and a poem I am likely to work into ritual work.  Here is where the author teaches us about the Dark Ridder and gives us a way to introduce ourselves to him and work with him.  The spirit known as the dark rider had been mentioned earlier in the book as a traditional spirit but not much was told about him until now.  The author does make it clear that what he shows us is not the full formula for encountering this spirit.  The working he provides is an introduction to the spirit and nothing more.

Chapter ten is the final chapter in the book.  In some ways it works very much like a conclusion focusing on working the Root or working the spirit which is the force of Conjure and Root work. This is how the chapter starts anyway.  It is here we see the final outline of the techniques and practices covered in the book to develop and connect with our spirit.  The chapter ends with talking about a few specific plant spirits and with a formula for making a spirit bag.

This book provides several powerful tools for any spiritual tradition.  In the end this book illustrates not only the power of Conjure and Southern Rootwork but also the power of working from your own spirit.  The author provides an excellent introduction to the spiritual components of Rootwork and Conjure while also providing a few practical workings in the magical sense.

 

 

 

 

 

Great Give away chance!

The group Samhain Sirens is hosting a bunch of give aways all month long!  The first give away is from the Pagan Business Network!

Follow the direcctions on the page:
http://samhainsirens.blogspot.com/2015/10/welcome-to-samhains-sirens-celebration.html

And you enter to win all of these items!

There are some incense and tinctures from us available in this give away!

pagan business network giveaway

Book Review: Trolldom: Spells and Methods of the Norse Folk Magic Tradition by Johannes Björn Gårdbäck

Trolldom

Over the last year and a half my magical practices have started to take a change towards more folk magic systems.  To me the lack of formalized ritual for spells is much more appealing than the need to invoke deities for every spell or magical action I perform.  In many ways folk magic traditions relate to me more than most of the modern witchcraft practices as they do not make magic separate from day to day life.  Magic in this instance was a tool for life nothing more or less.  Folk magic simply was and is The Magic of the people.

I’ve been focusing on Hoodoo which is an American system of folk magic created during the slave era and deeply tied into African American culture and Southern Culture in general.  I figured as an American I might as well look into a system of magic that was born here in this country.  Often times I get mixed views on my interest in Hoodoo as I am not Black nor am I from the south. I am a Northerner.  I am from Maine and I have never lived outside of Maine.  So for some of them I was participating in cultural appropriation.  Not being from the South or Black how could I understand all the intracices of the culture?  How could I honor those ancestors?

One common theme of advice I was given was to look into my own personal heritage and see what sort of folk magic traditions I could explore.  I’d be honoring my ancestors and I would be staying within specific cultural guidelines.  For this reason I looked up and did some searching on Germanic or Norse style of Folk Magic.  Trolldom was the topic that came up.  So when I was given an opportunity to read a book on my own ancestral practices and traditions I was all over it.  It felt right to be reading that book and to start looking at adding some of the workings into my own practice.

If you are expecting spells and forumulas that deal with the Norse Gods you wont find a lot in this tome.  Most of the spells either deal with a land spirit or they call on Jesus, God,Mary,The Holy Spirit, or the Devil.  Like most folk traditions alot of the pagan elements are still there but you will have a hard time to find specific workings with the Norse Gods.  There are plenty of books on the market for Nordic witchcraft and magic that deals with those deities.

This is the magic of the people.  We are lead to believe that all the magic died out when the Norse Culture became Christianized.  That is simply not the case.  In fact many of the old workings which dealt with the old gods were simply modified to deal with the spirits and the religion of Christianity.  Knowing this now I am still quite happy with the material in this book as I feel it still connects me to those ancestors.  Afterall my most recent ancestors would have been Christian.  So if they practiced this craft or if they  had a family style of Trolldom it is the Christian spells and spirits they would have worked with.

For the reasons above I have read and enjoyed reading Trolldom.  It took a long time to read.  This book is intense and full of information.  I spent a lot of my early days with the book just going back and forth with the glossary at the beginning of the book.  There were so many new terms and phrases to learn and understand.  The language component in this book is one of the most important elements but it is also one of the most difficult components to deal with.

The language barrier involved in this project is the reason there are two sections based on language.  You have a glossary (which is right after the dedication) and then you have a section on different terms for different practices within this particular set of workings and systems.  Trolldom encompass more than just Norway and Icelandic magic which is why the language issue is present.  This book actually ecompases quite a few different “Nordic” cultures.  It covers Norway, Iceland, Sweeden, and Finland as well as having a bit of Anglo-Saxon and some Lore preserved in Powwow or the Pennsylvania Dutch traditions.  For this reason the section for the glossary and on the terms is not only important to mark and return to throughout the book, but is an essential part of understanding this practice.

This book is broken into a few different sections.  First is the glossary which was the most difficult to get through.  The second section is about the History. Here the author showed how and where Trolldom survived.  I find it interesting to note one of the places visited and mentioned in the book is in my Home state of Maine.  Its not a town I have been to or near but it in some ways brings this book and its workings closer to home.  I feel better knowing that there are places in my home region where this practice was passed on in some manner.

After history you had the terms.  This section was about how different regions had different names for the practice of Trolldom and the practitioners of Trolldom.  Here we also got into the discussion about how one learned Trolldom and how you could become a professional in the art of Trolldom.  In this culture Trolldom was not just a practice it was an honored profession that many people would take advantage of.  You had your specialists and a few generalists each with unique skills and practices as well as a unique term for their practice.

The next section was on divination on the two different terms and styles mentioned.  For me the importance divination plays in Trolldom shows me a relationship with Hoodoo.  Trolldom has infact been called the Norse Hoodoo, so I would say that the use of divination in magical practices and how they dictate the works to be done is a key component in folk magic.  It seems today more and more people are just doing what ever type of working seems to be the best for them and their situation without taking the time to check the source of the problem or situation.

Finally we get into the workings or the methods.  These spells are called Formulas.  The book has many different sections from Health and healing, to hunting, protection, curses, and even a group of miscellaneous spells.  What I liked best about this section of the book was the fact that there was the English spoken components translated but you could also see the original language as well.  For me this shows just the amount of work that went into this tome.

I will say there are several spells and workings that are basically included only for historical accuracy.  Some items listed in spells like animal parts or human bones are not as easy to get a hold of as they may have been at one point in time.   There are some spells that mention digging up and harvesting things like bones of dead men or going to hanging sites.  Many of these practices are not readily acceptable in the world we live in today.  However if you wish to understand a tradition that has been around for centuries you really need to understand these historical spells.  There is enough material that you can find spells and formulas that are suitable for today’s society.

I hope that the author will continue the work and write a book just on the herbal charms and herbal uses in this book.  While you can find several herbs mentioned in the folk name as well as botanical and a common name, only a small selection of the possible herbal charms are even shown in this work.  For many people who practice folk magic Herbal magic is a huge part of the practice.  So I would encourage the author to work on an herbal trolldom book.

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