Category Archives: Animal Spirits

Shed Snake Skin-Working with Snake energy

One of the most unique products available at Mystic Echoes is our collection of Shed Snake skin.  These shed skin come from our two loved Baal Pythons.  They shed their skins several times a year as part of the natural cycle of life.  So no worries.  These snakes are well loved and cared for.

Animal bodyparts have been used in magic historically.  Shed snake skin is no different.   The snake skin contains the essence of the snake spirit.  It is a vessel for the spirit of the snake and the snakes spiritual energy. These skins allow us to contact and communicate directly with the spirit energy of snakes.  These skins also provide an excellent physical charm to carry with you.  These physical charms allow you to access the energy of the snake spirit at any time.  Some traditions call those items fetishes.

The magic of the snake can be found across cultures.  In some cultures snakes are symbols of evil and darkness for example in Christianity snakes and serpents are associated with the Devil and Hell..  In other cultures serpents are symbols of primal energy and are considered to be highly passionate creatures.  Some cultures associate Snakes with transformation as well as growth and development.  Every culture is different.

You may find over time that you develop your own associations with snakes and serpent energy. As with any magical practices and associations it is up to you to develop your own connections to the magic within the spirit.  The more you work with the spirit the stronger your relationship will become and the more you will learn from them.

So how do you begin to work with the magic of snakes?  First you have to think about the many associations with snake spirits and their energy.   Secondly you have to think about your personal feelings on the snake spirit.  What do snakes mean to you?  What does your spirit say about working with that energy?  Finally you have to think about your magical and spiritual objective.  What do you want to get from the spell or ritual?  How deep do you want this relationship to go?    Once you have answered those questions you can begin to formulate your spell and ritual.

In order to help you start working with snake energy and the snake spirit we are going to fo through the process of developing a ritual and spell to start your relationship with serpent energy.  We will be working with the first associations that my intuition developed when I first held onto snake skin.

So let’s start at the first step.  The first step in the process is understanding several of the magical and spiritual properties associated with the curio.  As shown above there are different properties and works from different cultures.  This list is a collection of properties associated with just the snake skin.

Magical properties of Snake Skin

  • Healing
  • Renewal
  • Protection
  • Rebirth
  • Sex and sexuality
  • Hexing and or cursing
  • Power
  • Change and Transformation
  • Removal

The next step in working with snake skin is deciding what snakes mean to you. What do you think of when you hold the snake skin?  For myself the first thing that comes into my mind is shedding of old so renewal,rebirth,and removal.  The next thing that comes into my mind is Change or transformation as well as healing.

The last step is  what your personal goal is and how deep you want the relationship to go.  Since you are going to be calling on the spirit of the snake it is important to be respectful and acknowledge the power and presence of the spirit.  The magical goal is important, but its important to have the spiritual aspect understood first.

Here I am going to deal with healing depression.  I want to feel connected to myself.  I want to remove ill feelings and I want to feel refreshed and renewed.  So the goals here are healing, renewal, and removal.  Those are the magical goal.  Since the healing is related to a mental health issue this is something that is going to be continual.  So this is a relationship that you may want to develop for an extended period of time.

Let’s start with a ritual to get to know the snake spirit.  From there we can then focus on the magical work.  Its a two part process.  First is the calling on and greeting the spirit.  Second comes the magical work.  For this you will want to have a few pieces of snake skin three for the spell and one for the ritual, or you can use one large one that you break into four smaller components.

Calling the Snake spirit
Materials:
Snake Skin
White Candle
Offering of Water

Ritual:
Set up your altar with a large white candle for your spirit and a glass of water for the snake spirit as an offering

State a prayer to your spirit Guides and ancestors asking to open and connect the way to the animal realms

Place the Snake Skin on the Altar

As you place the Snake Skin on the altar pray to the spirit:
“Serpent spirits hear my prayer
I call to you,
I ask that you hear my plea
Send your blessings to me
A friend to you I will be
In my heart you will stay
open the doors in my way”

Sit there and be in the moment.  Hold the snake skin and see what comes into your mind.  When you feel that your communication has ended snuff out the candle and leave the altar.  Keep the snake skin there.  Over the next month twice a week light the candle and repeat the prayer and meditation.  This will keep the communication open to you and the spirits.

After the month of prayers and developing a relationship with the snake spirit you can start doing your first magical working with the snake.  This is where we will call on the snake energy directly in the spell and ritual.

Healing with Snake Skin
Materials:
3 Pieces of Snake Skin
3 pieces of Paper
Matches
Black Thread
Blue Candle
Healing Oil

Working:
On the candle inscribe it with the words “healing, renewal,removal”

Take the healing oil and dress the candle from the top to the bottom (you are healing and removing things so top to bottom works)

Light the candle and state:
“Candle burning bright
Bring healing with this light”

Pick up the snake skin and call to the spirit of the snake.  A prayer like this would work well:
“I call upon the ancient powers of the snake
May you help weave the web of fate”

On the first piece of paper Write out everything you wish to have removed from your life

As you write out the things you want to have removed see them gone, feel them behaviors and emotional issues removed from your life and you set clear

Once you have poured all that emotion into the paper place one of the snake skins on the paper

Fold the paper in half away from you.  Turn the paper away from you and fold the paper again.  Do this twice more and then tie it with the black thread.

When you have tied the knot state:
“I banish that which causes me ill
In their stead blessings fill”

Next write out on the last piece of paper how you want to be healed.   Talk about what you will do when you are healed and feeling a sense of being a new person.   Include things you want to do but haven’t been able to do for a while.  Be as clear as you can.  See yourself outside doing those activities.

Fold the paper in half away from you.  Turn the paper away from you and fold the paper again.  Do this twice more and then tie it with the black thread.

Tie the folded paper with the black thread.  as you tie the knot state:
“Renewal and refreshed I am on this day
Cleansed and blessed will I stay”

On the last paper write that which you want to heal.  Include as many details as you can.  be as emotional as you can.  As you write out these healing requests see yourself healed.  See yourself feeling the way that you want to feel.  Know that you will be healthy.

Once all of that emotion has been placed into the paper place the next piece of snake skin.

Fold the paper in half away from you.  Turn the paper away from you and fold the paper again.  Do this twice more and then tie it with the black thread.

When you have tied the knot state:
” Healing Come to Me
Better health I do see”

Next take the candle and the three packets and go outside.  Place each of the packets in the candle flame.  As they burn state:
“candle burning bright
Giving me your sacred light
Burn all obstacles in my way
Health and wellness stay”

Once the packets have burned and there are ashes sprinkle those ashes at the crossroads, into the wind, and into a stream.  This will send your desire to be healed into all directions.  If there is no stream you can bury the ashes on your property or blow them all into the wind.

The materials for the spells and rituals can be obtained here:
Shed Snake Skin
Health and Healing Oil
Spirituality Candle
Healing Candle

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.

Animal Familiars for Beginners Book Review

The book  by Alexandra Chauran is an excellent book for beginners in Wicca and witchcraft.  This book while it focuses on the aspect of working with animal spirits in magic and ritual also covers most of the basic concepts in Wicca.  This book overall covers the 8 sabbats, spells, meditation, trance, and spirit work.  The only aspect of Wicca that is not covered is deity worship which was not the focus of this book.  By eliminating the focus on deity chants and the worship of deities the author was able to touch on basically all Wiccan principles and focus on the work of the book which is connecting spiritually with animal spirits.

One of the definitions of a witch is “One who has a familiar spirit”.  In the media there have historically been images of cats, snakes, spider, and bats as witch familiars.  Witches and animals who help them in their work have been a part of witch lore for centuries.  Often times today modern witches wonder if the idea of working with a pet as a familiar comes from the witch trials or if it comes from an actual historical practice and if one can work with their pets as a magical ally.

The introduction of this book provides excellent insight into what sort of materials you will find within the book.  The author first starts off by talking about her personal experiences with animals both spiritual and mundane.  The author then goes on and explains what many of the benefits found in the book will be,  Finally the author ends with providing a few different real life examples of people who have had experiences with animal familiars.  The mixture of history, personal experiences (the authors and other people) and the exercises provide powerful insight to what this book has to offer.

The first chapter of this book covers the history of witches and familiars.  The author covers stories from Shakespeare to a few tales of shape shifting in the witchtrials.  The author covers here why witches have familiars, what they are, and a few of the forms they can appear in.  This is the first time the author mentions the possibility of working not at all with physical animals but animals who may not exist such as Dragons, unicorns, Mythical serpents, and the like.  Here we are introduced to the idea that the types of spirits witches can work with are not limited to just those who live and breathe in our worlds.

The second chapter is one that most modern witches and pet owners should really look into.  This was the chapter that struck me the most.  Like most witches I am an avid pet owner and I have worked some magic with my pets.  This chapter in the book gave me new reasons to consider the possibilities of working with my pets within ritual and the home.  The key points included in this chapter were things I might not have thought about such as adaptations that a witch may need to make in their practice to have their animals p[resent such as no incense for birds and the need to move altars to places where cats or dogs wont jump on them or knock over the candles and cause fire.  The second chapter focused on animals within Pagan homes and how one can work ritual with them.  The chapter ends with a simple spell that can be used to find more pagans who are pet friendly considering that some may have allergies and the like.

The third chapter is probably where the reader can most clearly see the Wiccan elements of the book.  This is the chapter on actual rituals with pet familiars.  Here the author discusses the basic components in Wiccan ritual and how you can work with animal familiars.  The circle casting involves animal spirits rather than direct elemental spirits which can be a drastic change for most who practice Wiccan style rituals.  After discussing the circle casting the author then provided several different types of spells and rituals that can be performed with pets or other animal familiars.The author then provides two different examples of how wildlife can be used and seen as a focus for the Wheel of the Year.  There are sample rituals and concepts provided through out the chapter.

The fourth chapter discusses totem animals and how they can also be considered spirit familiars.  The author starts this chapter off with a description of a Marine who got a wolf tattoo after his service.  The author provides the story as an example of how as humans we can take on the characteristics of animals both positive and negative.  The author the provides a few working examples of how we can use totem animals for strength and courage as well as other aspects we may need to bring out of ourselves in our day to day life.  The author then goes into shape shifting as a historical practice and about how we can find our totem animals.  Finally the author touches on animals as spirit guides and guardians in meditative work.

The fifth and final chapter in this book is a book on working with wildlife.   Earlier in the book the author discussed and mentioned working with incarnate animal familiars.  These are animal familiars who we may work with that are not physically present in our lives.  Here the author talks about doing meditative practices outside in nature to connect with the animals.  The author provides a few examples of how you can work in nature to work with wild animals as familiars and how you can give back to them.

Though this is a very short book each chapter provides significant information for a beginner to get started with.  The chapters are concise while providing the needed information.  This allows the reader to have a starting point for beginning their journey and allows them plenty of room to have their own experiences and develop their practices from there.  This will allow people of any experience level to gain some insight from the book and be able to try new things.

~Loona Wynd~)0(

Please comment and let me know if this book review was useful for you or not.

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