Category Archives: Christian Magic

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.

Review: Practical Candle Burning Rituals

Practical Candle Burning Rituals

 

I have been a practicing with for 17 years. It’s only been in the last few years that I have actually started to be open to working candle magic. I really had no idea how to start and how to get working. This book provided me with everything that I needed to know. Now there are several spells in this books that I am excited to try.

This simple book is really made out of four different sections. There is the section of preparation, section for witchcraft style spells, and a section on Christian style candle magic rituals. The final section is an appendix that talks about and covers temptation in magic and ways to work magic without candles due to living situations.

The section on recuperation which opens the book really should not be forgotten. This small section talks about the various things you need to be ready to practice this magic. There are no complex theories, breathing rituals or guided meditations. Just simple explanations on tools, space, and how to work with the candle. The section closes with a few important correspondences for colors, days of the week, and colors for the zodiac signs (all of which are important for the spells and rituals in the following sections).

The first thing mentioned in the section about witchcraft spells I dont agree with which was a statement about witchcraft being a religion and magic a practice. Witchcraft is not a religion. It can have religious elements. However since witchcraft was not the focus of the book, the mention was only really to note the difference in approach between the witchcraft and pagan spells and the Christian themed spells.

The spells are written out in plain and simple language. The only materials needed for the spells are the candles and dressing oils and incense of your choice. Each spell comes with an altar or work surface set up. All you need to do is follow the words as they are outlined in the book. Every altar setup includes a space for the book to use as a reference.

The third section of the book focuses on Christian spells. Many of these spells use the Psalms in the working. The spells are very similar to the workings in the previous section. The differences really are in the spirits and divine beings that are involved. The best part about this section is that is gives Christian Witches a great starting point and reference guide for spells that can be used in their day to day lives.

The appendices honestly I think would be best located in the opening section. I say this because here there is a discussion on creative visualization and a little bit on magical ethics. I believe that these sections placed earlier in the book would allow the practitioner to have more success in magic earlier since visualization is a large part of many magical traditions.

I overall have to say that this book is a great resource and will be a reference guide for me in many years to come.

Starting Ancestral work

Starting Ancestral Work

Introduction:

What is Ancestral Veneration and Ancestral Work

Ancestral Veneration is one of the most ancient religious and spiritual practices. The respect and belief in an afterlife as well as honoring ancestors can be traced back to paleolithic mankind. It is believed that honoring our ancestors was the first religious and spiritual form of ritual work. From ways the dead were buried to views of the afterlife ancestors and the dead were never far from the mind of our paleolithic ancestors, and for some this truth remains today.

Ancestral veneration is not worshiping our ancestors, at least not in the common sense of worship. Ancestral veneration is more like honoring the dead in a respectful way. Its a belief that they are still with us in a spirit form. That they can hear us and can effect our lives from the other side. Its a belief that our ancestors like other spirits can help us become the best person we can be and to live the life that we really want and desire.

There are exchanges of offerings and gifts. This isn’t worship. In some ways I think of it like when I put a flower on my ancestors grave. Its giving something to them to signify that you remember them and care for them. These gifts can be basically anything. Though some cultures do have rules against some items being given to different spirits.
In some cultures flowers are only for the dead and it’s ok to leave offerings to the dead till they rot as this signifies they have taken everything. In other cultures and practices only water is offered to the dead. Even Christianity has mention of the value of prayer for the dead. Working with and honoring our ancestors is a powerful spiritual path and there are many ways to go about it.

The act of the gift and the offering is the important thing though. Its through these exchanges that relationships with our ancestors can develop and grow. Its believed that a gift will ensure a gift. Its also believed that because the dead and our ancestors are beyond the veil they have access to energy and powers of the universe that we don’t so by asking them to help us in our work and our lives they can tap into those energies for us. Granted they dont help us unless we help ourselves. So the gifts symbolize our part to do our work.

Many religions and traditions have celebrations and days of the dead. Halloween, All saints and All Souls day, Samhain, Dia de los Muertos(Mexican Day of the dead), The Bon Festival (Japan), and Pitru Paksha (Fortnight of the Ancestors-Hindu) are different festivals in different cultures. They have one thing in common. They are all festivals to honor the dead and the ancestors. These are only a handful of celebrations that exist to celebrate ancestors and the dead. The point is that the concept of honoring the dead is still alive and well in this world today.

The practice of honoring the dead is starting to become more common in Pagan practices today as well. Part of that is that many of us are reclaiming this practice. It was a part of ancient pagan traditions, so the practice was largely destroyed in the west. For many reclaiming ancestral veneration as a part of our practice not only connects us to our more recent ancestors and keeps our passed loved ones in our lives, but it also allows us to reach the deepest ancestors we have which can be powerful guides for those starting down pagan paths.

Personal Development of Ancestor work

One of the reasons I am writing this post today is in honor of a new ancestor. A loved one of mine has just crossed the veil. It is this passing that has once again made me think about working with my ancestors and how is really always been a central part of my practice. I haven’t always considered the contact with my ancestors and the shrines to my past loved ones ancestral veneration. I thought it was simply remembering them and keeping them alive.

Ancestor veneration is a large part of my practice and spiritual work. My ancestors have a lot to teach me. I have an ancestor altar that I pray at everyday. While it is a strong part of my practice these days, ancestral veneration and honoring has not always been a large part of my path. In fact it was at one point something I really only did on the festival of the dead (Samhain) as that was the focus. I thought that was really all that was needed, and at the time maybe that was for my best.

When I started to practice witchcraft I had recently lost my Grandmother. Many of the psychics and readings I had done at the time confirmed that she was staying close to me as a spirit guide (I was having dreams of her). So I started working with my ancestors through a single ancestor as a spirit guide. That was 17 years ago. Now I have an altar to all my ancestors as I have learned that any of our ancestors can be our guides and guardians.

Originally I didn’t offer any prayers, or much to my ancestors. I would simply say hello to them when I needed to feel their presence. I had a place of memory for them where I could see them and keep them in my life. Then when I started to explore traditional witchcraft as a religious and spiritual practice I heard of the concept of giving them offerings and having shrines and altars to them. So I created one and started an ancestral prayer working.

The practice with ancestral veneration got even deeper when I started to explore Germanic paganism and found I had Germanic ancestry. When I read how they honored their ancestors and the powers of wyrd and Oorlog I decided that I had to develop my relationship even further. So I started to work them into Germanic rites and rituals through the phrases “The Alfar and the Disir”

There was a time when I stopped practicing basically everything. Then I started to explore Hoodoo. My interest and desires to understand magic and witchcraft returned. Through this I found more focus on ancestors and honoring your culture. I found that ancestors will be powerful allies in spells as well as in meditations and trance work. So through Hoodoo my work with my ancestors started to develop further and I learned new prayers to use for my ancestors.

Now today I have a prayer I say to them every morning and I have a prayer I say every evening to my ancestors. I give them offerings when I perform rituals and I invite them into my ritual circles. They have a part of my day to day life and my spiritual life. I couldn’t imagine my spiritual work without my ancestors at all. They are always there for me and they always will be. I may not be able to physically hold them and see them, but when I need them I can feel them and I know they are always there for me.

The types of ancestors:

Being adopted my ancestors actually come in different forms and types. Not all of my ancestors are of the blood. Some are of the spirit and some are of the heart. I have legal blood ancestors and blood ancestors. I have ancestors in all of my families that I don’t know but are my allies through the bonds of the heart and the spirit. I even have ancestors that are not really in my family at all but are in my spiritual family. All of these ancestors have roles to play in my life and I honor them all.

I dont consider ancestors limited to just the blood and the heart though.This post is going to discuss the different ancestors I have through my adoption and my spiritual practices and how I can honor and work with each of them. For the longest time I didn’t engage in ancestral veneration because of my adoption. I wasn’t sure if I should honor my ancestors of my adoption, my foster family, or my biological family. Thinking about this also was painful so while I wanted to honor my ancestors I didn’t go about it until I had answered my confusion.
How I came to see the types of Ancestors

That was how I came to see the different ancestral lines. One year I went to the local Pagan Pride day. I typically attend a few of the workshops that go on. This year there was one about ancestral work and contacting your ancestors. The key component of that workshop was a meditation on ancestral lines. During this meditation I saw three lines of ancestral blood flowing from my body. There was a fourth that was some what gray at the time and today its now clear.

It was then I knew that I was to honor all of my ancestors. Those of my foster family, my blood or biological family, and my adoptive family. It was through this work that I came to see that there are many different types of ancestors and that not everyone will have access to blood ancestors. Through these meditations and concepts I came to see that there are
four primary types of ancestral allies: You have your ancestors of the Blood, your ancestors of the heart, and the ancestors of the spirit. Adoptive ancestors are actually a mixture of two types which I will get into in the next sections as well as being their own type of ancestor.

Ancestors of The Blood

Every one is familiar with the concept of blood ancestors. These are those of your family or blood line that goes back generations. These are the strongest allies that one can have. These are the ancestors that everyone thinks about when they think of ancestors. Ancestors of the blood also include ancestors gained through marriage and long term committed relationships. When I got engaged to my fiance his ancestors joined mine and mine his. We are a family unit. These ancestors go back generations on each side. So the lines of blood ancestors are very long.

These are the strongest allies that you can have as a spirit. They are the ones that have your best interest at heart. Through the strands of Fate, and the workings of Wyrd we are always directly connected to our ancestors. Our actions reflect them as much as their actions reflect on us. So we need to honor them in our lives and we need to keep them close to us. Before any other spirit is petitioned the ancestors will work stronger for you and faster for you. There is little that is stronger than the power of the blood.

Adoptive Ancestors

For me I also have my adoptive ancestors, These are the ancestors of my adoptive family. They are the family that raised me and that belongs to me. In ancient cultures at times the roles of the blood ancestors would be replaced by the foster and or adoptive family. In my case I never considered them to replace the blood ancestors at all. I considered them additional ancestors that I was blessed to have.

We have no physical blood that ties us. However to all of the world and all legal meanings they are my flesh and blood. That is how I feel about them as well. In all honesty at times they are more my family than my blood and biological family simply because I have minimal contact and my relationship with that family is in its infancy (until recently was non existent). Which is why they are both ancestors of the blood and of the heart. The time that they spent raising me and being involved in my life can not be undone.

They gave their blood, sweat, and tears to me. They are for my my most powerful allies. They have been there for me more than the blood ancestors. They were the first ancestors I have contacted and they were the first ones to make themselves known to me. This is the ancestral line that has been the strongest for me. My blood ancestral work is focused on more ancient pagan ancestor while my adoptive ancestral work is more with Saint and angel work (Hoodoo influences as well).

It is because my adoptive Ancestors gave so much of their blood, sweat, and tears into my life and that they took me in they are also ancestors of the heart. They are of the blood because of the family ties and concepts but of the heart because there is no physical blood. Its a spiritual and memory based blood love. The bond of the heart here shows how even just being in a family for a short while can create strong family bonds.

Ancestors of the Heart

Those of the heart are the family that has passed that are not connected through marriage or blood or even legal adoption. In my case this is where my foster family lies. They did not adopt me but are still my family. I have lost several members of that family and they were all close to me. They are now my ancestors and they watch over me. Our bond is somewhat stronger than blood or law.

These ancestors are some of my more recent ancestors. It was my Uncle Cleve’s passing which made me think about ancestors. He was my foster uncle and is an ancestor of my heart. His two brothers are also my ancestors here. I have a Grandfather here as well. To them and to me the fact that I did not live with them, and was not legally a part of the family after my adoption never mattered. I never stopped being their family. That is what the ancestors of the heart are all about.

The ancestors of the heart are those that have passed on we considered family even if there was no blood between you. These can be friends you thought of as brothers and sisters, close friends and even those who you would consider “father”or “mother” figures. If you feel that they were and are apart of your family in your heart than they are your family and are your ancestors. Never let anyone else tell you any different.

Ancestors of the Spirit:

Finally there are ancestors of the spirit. For me I consider any Occultist, Witch, and Magician who worked hard to preserve the magical and spiritual arts are my spiritual ancestors. Even though I dont agree with all of their teachings and philosophies people like Gerald Gardner, Aliester Crowley, Doreen Valiente, Scott Cunningham, and many others put a lot of work into making magical spirituality acceptable and part of our day to day lives again. Those are a few of my spiritual ancestors as a witch based on the practices I have taken into my practice.

As I explore Hoodoo and other magical systems other spiritual ancestors will come into my practice. For example Marie Laveau is a famous Hoodoo worker in New Orleans. In some respects I could consider her a spiritual ancestor. Other ancestors in the case of Hoodoo would in general be any one who struggled to keep African American spiritual heritage alive through Hoodoo and Rootwork. When a teacher passes I would add them to the spiritual ancestors as well.

You can also have ancestors of the spirit when you are spiritually adopted into a tradition. There are many religions and paths where they are only open to people of a specific culture. Occasionally through the practice of spiritual adoption outsiders are initiated and welcome into that spiritual family. The ancestors of your initiator in these situations become your ancestors and guides as well. It is a spiritual family you have entered into and like all families they will help you and work with you if you honor them as taught.

Working with your ancestors

Now that we have covered the types of ancestors out there and I have mentioned the importance of working with your ancestors its time to actually start thinking about how we can work with them. Why do we work with them, and what the best ways of working with them are.

There are three primary ways aside from meditation and spirit travel work that a person can work with their ancestors. These three forms are the altar, prayers, and offerings. They work well together and serve as a starting point for building power with your ancestral allies. Unless one is experienced in astral travel and spirit communication using those tools right away to work with your ancestors is not the best of ideas. Prayers and altar work are all you really need.

The altar

Really when it comes to working with your ancestors the only real must do I have found is having an altar of some sort where you can offer prayers and other items to them as you get to know them. These altars can evolve and change over time. The point of the altar is to serve as a focal point in your work. The altar is a place for you to offer your prayers and your gifts to them.

Your altar doesn’t need to be fancy. Many people start off not knowing any of their ancestors. In which case a candle, a cup for water, and a plate for offerings is all you would need to contact them. If you know your passed on loved ones and you have photos of them you can and should add those photos to the altar.

The altar also serves as a place of remembrance of the dead. So its a place to put items that make you think of your ancestors as well as their photos. You want it to look nice and appealing. This is going to be their home for you in your house and their place in your life. So its also important to keep the altar neat looking.

Here are some examples of my own ancestral altars and how its changed over time:
Ancestor altar alpha

Ancestor Altar 2

Ancestor altar

As you can see by looking at these altars they have changed over time. As they have changed so has my relationship with my ancestors evolved. The reason I wanted to show you the evolution of the altar is that I want you all to know that you can let your altar change over time. Its not meant to be a static thing! Its meant to be something that evolves with you and with your relationship with the spirits!

There are no limits on your ancestral altar. Let their spirits come through. There are reasons for the symbols I have placed on my altars. They grew as my focus and my relationships grew. One thing has always been common though-the focus has been on remembering them and keeping their memories alive in my life.

Ancestral Prayers

The best way to work with your ancestors even before starting an altar is simply to pray to them. Prayers to your ancestors aren’t really any different than prayers for gods and spirit guides. You are simply having a conversation with your ancestors. Prayers are how we can communicate with them directly and its our best way to communicate with them. They can communicate with us in different ways (dreams, scents, meditations, sudden insights etc) but we can really only speak to them through prayers.

The easiest prayer is simply:
“Blessed Ancestors I welcome you into my life. May you bless and guide me and may you teach me what you yourself can”

That’s all your prayers to your ancestors need to be. You dont need to praise them. You don’t need to have a fancy invocation. You simply can address them as your ancestors and they will listen to you. You dont even really need to ask for a blessing. You could simply say something along the lines of:
“Good Morning Ancestors. I welcome you this day”.

All you are doing with your prayers is acknowledging that they exist and that they are apart of your world. By giving them a simple welcome everyday you will start to feel their presence build up. You will begin to know them and feel them like you do can with other spirits and beings that you work with. The more attention you give them the more you will notice them.

Prayers can be more complex and verbose. My personal prayers evolved from a simple Hello and welcome to a full blessing and daily petition for them to be here. There is a bit of praise and there is a bit of thanks. These prayers are offered twice daily. I feel that they flowed from me into the written form when I was channeling spirits and writing prayers for them. My ancestors let me know what they wanted.

Offerings and Gifts

The final way that we can work with our ancestors is in offerings and gifts. These gifts are ways that we say thank you and show our appreciation to them. There are many ways types of gifts that can be given to our ancestors. You can give your ancestor basically anything you would give yourself or a person. They are still family and they are still people.

For myself I consider flowers on graves a gift to them. I also place flowers on the altars every so often as remembrances of them. I try and give them their favorite flowers. I also try and give them their favorite things. For my grandmother I will think of her when I go bowling and send her some of that energy as play and a memory of our times together.

On holidays I will set aside a portion of the food on my plate for my ancestors. I will let it sit till the end and eat that last. They eat the essence of that portion while I eat my meal. When I have finished the portion for me they will have had their fill and I can take nourishment from the food. Other cultures burn food offerings to ancestors and spirits. Some burry the food in the yard. Other throw it into the woods for animals to eat.

There are some taboos in various cultures about what can and can’t be given to ancestors and the dead. If you belong to a specific culture, religion, and or tradition I suggest that you look into ways that they honor the dead. By honoring the traditions of your culture, your religion and your tradition you are honoring your ancestors in that way as well. These traditions after all were ancestral in many cases.

Conclusion:

This post has covered my own discovery into the importance of ancestral veneration. It has covered the types of ancestors and a few of the ways that we can work with our ancestors. Your ancestors are part of who you are. They are powerful allies that can teach you things you wouldn’t imagine and who can be there for you in ways none else can. Your ancestors are still here in this life and in this world just in a different form.

There are many ways to work with them. Once you start working with them you will find that there are many more ways and reasons to work with them. I’ve been working with my ancestors actively for several years and my relationships with them continue to grow and develop. I am constantly learning new reasons to honor them and new ways of working with them. The more I learn the more I realize there is to learn.

These allies seem to be the ones that develop the most as I develop spiritually. The more I understand spiritual and magical practices the stronger they seem to become and the more things we seem to be able to so together. Its my hope that any one who has read this will start to develop their own relationships with their ancestors and start to find the power and comfort in ancestral grace and guidance.

Review: The Magical Powers of the Saints-Evocation and Candle rituals

Magical Powers of the Saints

The book The Magical Power of the Saints: Evocation and Candle books was an interesting read. It was just what it states its about. The book focuses on Saints and candle magic and nothing else. THis book never claims to be Hoodoo or anything than working with saints which is excellent. Its a great introduction guide for working with saints and gaining spiritual knowledge from the practice of working with saints.

Before I read this book I knew about maybe two or three saints. I knew of Saint Joan of Arc, Saint Jude, and Saint Paul. This book while not providing detailed information about the saints provides information on 74 different saints that can be worked with for spiritual and practical gains in our lives. The information provided is direct and to the point.

This book contains 11 different chapters. Each of the chapters focuses on a different aspect of what the author calls “popular religiosity” or the working of religio magic or magic with the saints. The topics of the chapters are varied but provide a cohesive system for working with saints.

The book gets started right away in the first chapter by talking about working with saints and deities. The author begins by telling you a bit about how ancient pagans gave offerings to deities and spirits when asking for something. The author then goes on in to how the saints started to have the same roles and practices used with them. This is popular religiosity. From there he gives a list of saints some with images and some without with their associations, colors, and what they are patrons of. You can start formulating your work right away.

The second chapter deals with the practice of divination before doing any sort of working. Now this is not just about telling things based on as they appear with the cards or tool used. This discussion of divination includes finding out what sort of offerings to give, blocks in the way of the working, and the proper saints and spirits to work with. This chapter also discusses the importance of the diviner priest to know magic and divination.

The third chapter focuses on ancestors and the dead. The author explains how prayers to the ancestors can work with a biblical verse. The author then talks about a concept called the “Mighty dead” which is found in various traditions of witchcraft. He relates this concept to working with saints and ends the chapter with a prayer you can offer to your ancestor for working with them.

The fourth chapter is all about working the candles. Here we get our first taste of the type of work that is ahead of us. The author goes into the history of candles in magic and prayer. The majority of the chapter focuses on several different types of candles and their uses for work. The chapter ends with a “ritual of transformation”

The fifth chapter is really three chapters together. This chapter focuses on reading the signs in the candles as they burn, several different candle spells, and oils for working the candles. This is the spell and correspondence section of the book and provides different spells and rituals for basically every need.

The sixth chapter focuses on the use of the psalms in the bible. The author doesn’t go into a discussion about the use of the psalms merely states that they are a historical magical use. The author then provides a list of the different psalms that can be used in spells and candle work for various needs. They are grouped by need or use in numerical order.

The seventh chapter focuses on aspects of ritual. Here the author talks about incenses, baths, and washes. These are components of different magical practices that can be obtained and add benefit to the other workings. Here the author introduces the concept and how to be ware the costs of those selling washes, baths, and the like.

The eighth chapter is all about putting the practices together. Here the author talks about working with planetary hours on the days. The author also includes arch angels and the hours and items they can be petitioned for. The author also includes ideas on how to make prayer beads and work effective magic that way.

The ninth chapter is about becoming a diviner priest or priestess. Here the author goes into the training that is required to become a diviner priest or priestess. the author also provides a simple but also diverse divination style that a diviner priest or priestess may need to be familiar with in order to complete their training.

The tenth chapter of the book is all about the church that the author is a reverend of. The author includes photo copied images of his certifications to prove he can teach what he teaches and is what and who he says he is.

The last chapter in the book is a final set of advice. Here the author gives a final bit of advice for when seeking the help of a professional root worker, witch, or what ever. Not everyone who offers these services is what they say they are.

All in all the author provided a good basis to start delving into your own work with saints and angelic spirits. While there could have been more lore provided for the various saints and more information about the herbs and incenses and oils, the book will get you started on the path of working with saints and angelic forces. When you combine this work with the recommended reading list the author provides more then enough sources and information to begin feeling comfortable in these practices.

Incenses: Crafting a Magical Incense

Last week we explored the concept of how and why people work with various types of incenses. We even discussed the various types of incenses that exist in the world today. This week we are going to discuss and talk about actually crafting and making your own magical and spiritual incense blends. That’s right. Incenses can be their own magical spells and tools. Today we are going to talk about creating them for ourselves.

Incenses

Crafting magical and spiritual incenses for your personal use

Working with natural and handmade incenses is one of the easiest magical practices a person can engage in.  There are very few tools required to craft incenses and there are very few tools needed to make the incense spells manifest and become reality.  By creating and crafting your own magical incenses you can also be sure that they are all natural incenses and that only items that you want to have in the incense are there.

Now you can use commercially made incense sticks and blends effectively for magical work.  However those incenses are not always going to be only herbs and oils.  Many of the commercial and large orders of incenses that you see for sale are made with synthetic oils and scents.  For people who are sensitive to synthetic scents and smells these sorts of incenses don’t really work well.  So its important to know what is in your incense before you use them.  By crafting the incenses your self you know for sure what is going to be in the incense and you can guarantee that any allergies or sensitivities that you or your friends and family have will be taken into consideration.

The supplies needed in crafting incenses are minimal unlike working with oils which can require a lot more time and effort depending on if you are collecting your own essential oils or if you are mixing oils and herbs.  In order to make an incense blend you need: a grinder (a mortar and pestle works fine for individual/one time use batches), a censor and charcoal (to burn the incense on), a jar or bag of some sort to hold and to mix the incense, and the herbs optional-essential oils.  Many people use essential oils in their incense blends as well as dried herbs.  Here at Mystic Echoes we only use herbs in our loose powdered incenses.

The first step as with any spell or ritual work is to decide on what exactly it is you want to get out of the work being done.  In order for magical incenses to be effective in manifesting the goal of the spell or ritual a clear intent needs to be given.  Magic can not work without a specific intent.  You can have a vague idea of what you want and work from that if you’d like.  However by working from a vague concept and vague ideas you will get vague and questionable results. So its best to have a clear concept of what exactly it is you want before you start working on the spell.

Once you know what it is that you want to have as the outcome you can start gathering supplies.  Now is the time to do research.  Say for example you wanted to do a spell related to gaining money or employment.  This is the goal of your spell.  This is what you want.  Now you need to research herbs and oils that are related to that intent and outcome.  Write down and make a list of all the herbs associated with money and employment.

Now you have your herb list.  The next step is to choose which herbs that you want to work with for this incense.  When it comes to magical incenses its not really the scent that is important.  In magical incenses it is more important that the incense is charged with your intent and desire.  So while you could focus on creating a really nice scented incense, the scent doesn’t matter so much as the intent being a part of the entire process of creating that incense blend.

So in choosing your herbs you don’t need to focus on scents.  What you need to focus on is the properties of the herbs.  The list you made earlier should include a rather large variety of herbs that have associations with money and or employment.  The process of choosing the herbs should really be intuitive.  In this situation you would look at the herbs on the list and the herbs that really jump out at you are the ones that you should work with.

By letting your intuition guide you in your choice you are basically allowing your higher self to really program in the intent and desire for the incense.  This means that your intent has become a part of you and a part of the process.  Your intent is speaking out through the actions and thoughts.  Your intuition and intent meld together in the crafting of the incense when they let you know which herbs to work with for that particular incense blend.

Now that you have your herbs chosen its time to actually get to the crafting.  I have found in my own incense crafting that there really is no golden ratio of the herbs for the scent to balance and the incense to work.  So I have found that choosing one of the herbs to be the base or the main powerhouse really helps define the exact focus of the incense.  As you start to craft more and more incenses the process will become automatic for now in choosing your base look at the herbs you have chosen and the one that screams “Me me me” is going to be your base.

For measurements as I said I have found that there is no golden ratio of herbs to herbs in the incense blends.  I have found that a teaspoon is a good size for a single ritual batch.  If you are making a batch that you intend to use in multiple rituals I have found that a table spoon is a good size.  So start with one or two tablespoons or teaspoons of your base.  Once you have that measured out start to grind the herb.

The process of grinding the herb is one of the aspects of charging the incense.   So as you grind the incense you need to focus your intent into the action of grinding the herb.  Put all your emotional desires for the money and employment to come your way into the force of grinding.  If you are using a grinder rather than a mortar and pestle you will hold your hands over the grinder as it grinds  and focus your intent through your hands into the grinder and into the herb.

If you wish you can say a chant along the lines of: “herb of the earth I ask of thee to send the money I need to me”.  Saying this chant as you work the grinder and as the herbs grind along with the physical energetic force charges the herbs for the process at hand.  This may also trigger your own mental and emotional focus deeper into the process of casting this spell.  The more you charge your energy into the incense the more powerful the incense will be for you.

Once the first herb is ground you will need to place it in the container discussed earlier.  For the rest of the herbs follow the same process of measuring the herb and grinding the herb.  This charges each herb for the process at hand.  Once all the herbs are together in the container its time to blend them together into a mix.  This action here will further charge the incense blend.

Shake the jar and fill it even more with your intent and desire.  If you said a chant while you were grinding the herbs individually you should repeat the chant here again.  See the money and the employment you seek manifesting in your life.  Put this energy into your shaking.  The more vigorously you shake the container and mix the herbs together the more powerful the mixture will be.  Your intent has been charged in the mix through the chant, the grinding of the herbs, and the shaking of the container mixing the energetic forces together.

Now the incense is blended and made ready to use.  You just need to label it now and you can use this incense any time for this magical intent.  The incense you have just crafted is now a magical incense ready to use.  There is a spell contained in this incense that you have crafted and charged through out the entire process.

To cast the spell you simply need to burn the incense on a charcoal disc in a heat safe or heat proof censor.  Simply by burning the incense you have released the spell that you created when you crafted the incense.    As the incense is burning all the energy that you built up in the incense through the process of crafting the incense is released and the spell can be cast.  The smoke rising into the heavens sends the intent to the universe allowing the universe to manifest your desire.

The above process is the process that we here at Mystic Echoes use in the crafting and creation of the magical incenses that we sell.  All of the incenses that have been crafted by Mystic Echoes are essentially spells ready to be used.  All you need to work the spell in the incense is a censor and a charcoal disc.  Once the incense is burning the spell is released and the magic can take effect.

You can use the magical incenses crafted by other people just as effectively as you can use your own magical incenses. This is why stores like Mystic Echoes can craft and sell pre-made incense blends. The incenses that are crafted by those who make and sell them for other people make them so that any one who needs to cast a spell can cast them and manifest their desires. In the end magical incenses are one of the simplest ways that you can work magic and cause changes in your life.
Mystic Echoes Magical Incense Blends

Pagan Blog Project: A is for Angels

What are angels?  This is a question I have found myself asking myself recently.  I once believed that I knew exactly what angels where.  Then I heard conflicting stories of them being servants of only one specific God, the God of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism and there for bound to only help and work with those who follow Yaweh/Allah/Jehova.  Other people claim that they are simply servants of divine forces and are not limited to a specific set of religions or religious beliefs.

I personally believe angels to be servants of the God Jehova/Allah/Yaweh.  Other Gods do have servants or minor Gods that work as messengers and intermediaries between them and humans but I don’t necessarily believe they are angels.  That being said I believe that so long as there is a connection in your life to those three religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism) they will help and work with you.  This connection could be continuing family celebrations, a belief in them, and or a belief in Jesus or that God as a God just not the only God.

I have always held a belief in angels.  Though I have not worked with them since the early years on my path as a witch.  I knew others still worked with them magically through enochian magic, ceremonial magic, and at times Hoodoo.  These three magical traditions are associated with Christianity and angelic magic and angelic work for spiritual practices as well as magical practices.  Now I have started to work with angelic forces again.

If you want to work with angelic forces and angelic spirits you simply need to be open to their force.  The force that angelic spirits are made up is pure unconditional divine love.  If you have any sort of connection in your life to the three paths of Abraham you can work with these spirits.  You just need to open yourself up to working with them.  They will make themselves known to you.

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