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September 2004 Newsletter

  1. Judith's Ramblings
  2. Product Spotlight
  3. Book Review
  4. Ritual Workings
1) Judith's Ramblings
TAROT READINGS ARE FINALLY HERE! Yep, that's right. I'm doing tarot readings again. I've been doing them now for almost 20 years on and off so I have a really good rapport with them and tend to give very accurate readings but as you all know, the readings are supposed to be for entertainment only. Since I work full time, I will not be charging my usual fee of between £45-£60/reading which lasts 45 - 60 min and instead charge what I call a subsidized fee. I do this because reading is not my full time job and so my job in a sense subsidizes the fee I charge. I have been assessed and told to charge a £30 fee for a 30 - 45 min reading and I'm happy to do readings by phone. We are also selling gift certificates for readings if you'd like to give one as a gift to someone. I even have a business card for them... I can here ya sayin' "OOoooOOooo!"

HAPPY TO SAY that I lost 1.5lbs *AND* lost over 1.25" overall! I gained an inch around the thighs otherwise I'd have lost 2.25 inches overall! I was off Atkins for about 2 weeks while I was unwell so was eating just veggies, fruit and rice to try and get well. Seems to have been OK though since I'm still toning up and losing weight as well as body fat. YAY! Mind you, I think I'm going to have to be high carbs til Christmas as the stress is driving me nuts. The sugar *really* helps - and that is worrying *grins* We all have our addictions, mine seems to be sugar... and chocolate (fine, high quality chocolate from places like Pierre Marcolini).

We are at Witchfest both Saturday and Sunday but as we cannot get a phone line, taking credit cards will be both time consuming and difficult. It really depends on how busy it is and a £25 minimum will be maintained. On a plus note, in order to make life a bit easier for those who would have wished to pay for larger orders with a card, we are offering a 10% discount for all orders paid in cash with a value of £50 or more (before discount). We will only be doing floral circlets at the Medieval Witches Ball if we can get a table but we will have tons of other stuff including the new athames, the new book on Sunday I hope, the new book stands and tons more!

WITCHY CON - The Witchy Conference with a difference. It's really a ton of fun to join in with a event where you meet people of a like mind and learn stuff. That's why we've decided to do a conference - a *MINI* conference - on Saturday April 2nd, or Sunday April 3rd 2005 with speakers, workshops including how to cast your own spells and of course, SHOPPING! What we're also hoping is that the fine woman behind Peacock Angel - where you should shop for natural incense - will give a workshop including some raw materials for you to take home with you! It would be part of a goodie bag you would get as an attendee of the conference. Looks like we may have the much-lauded Dr. Shelley Rabinovitch who just released that book on Wiccan Ethics with us as well - she also did the recent encyclopaedia. Yes, you'll get a bag of goodies just for attending - fun or what?!
However we need a venue - the place I chose is £400/50 people just for the room so if anyone knows anywhere that can take - I dunno... let's say 100 - 150 people in the Wallingford, Abingdon, Whitney, Newbury, Oxford area for.. i dunno... about £50/50 people, let me know! I want to charge as little as possible while still paying for speakers, their expenses, and treats for everyone for their goodie bags. I'd then like a float to be able to put on something bigger and better next year - I'd like to screen "The Goddess Remembered" or "The Burning Times" at the next convention - a NFB film about the modern Goddess and Witchcraft movement with great authors, scholars and more in it. They are both great films with the third "Full Circle" a more social one.
We will have more info available at once we create a website for it.

WOW... open ritual was fun! The animals were quite loud in the leaves this time but we weren't disturbed by any humans. The feast after was great with a cauldron full of hot spiced cider plus great pumpkin pie, colcanon, home-made bread, and more! We continued the tradition of burning a "fairy cake" - this time it was a chocolate chocolate chip muffin from Tescos. We found them to be more flammable than Waitrose's "fairy cakes" possibly indicating a higher sugar and fat content. We're not sure but whatever - it is now a tradition! Yule will be Dec 21st or 22nd around 7:30pm in the evening indoors somewhere I can rent a room at. I'm hoping for lots of fun and if it's in a pub, many indoor games! Everyone is welcome and while we do usually require people to be over 16 to attend, we are willing to accept minors when accompanied by a parent or guardian as lone as they are comfortable that conversations might drift on to adult topics at times just through the normal chatter after ritual.

Please ensure your orders are in to us before December 20th for Christmas delivery within the UK and December 11th for outside the UK. We will again be operating our last minute desperation service where we will meet people in the local coffee shop with gifts and gift bags for their last minute shopping but please - order early because if it's not in stock, we can't get it to you last minute.

If you are interested in creating your own natural perfumes and are taking advantage of our special offer to make yourself some perfume you can keep in the bottle you wear, I would suggest trying jojoba as a base as this wax helps preserve the scent of the essential oils longer. If you use about 10mL of jojoba oil, the following recipes make some great scents:

Lord of the Forest
2 drops Patchouli
1 drop ylang ylang
2 drops lavender
1 drop bergamot

Lady of the Night Sky
3 drops true melissa
1 drop ylang ylang

2) Product Spotlight
This month I have chosen to focus on a couple of tools that are too often confused for other things. The burin and the boline or bolline. Each of these tools has a specific use which differs from modern somewhat incorrect assumptions about tool use.

First and foremost, the information contained within "The Greater Key of Solomon the King" or the Clavacle of Solomon is quite possibly where Gardner got the names for many tools. Indeed, L.W de Laurence's translation and compilation work to create this seemingly complete volume does seem to have had a great impact on Gardner as did "The Lesser Key of Solomon". Understanding that foundation, we can easily investigate the tools called the "burin" and the "boline" and discover their true ritual use.

The burin is a tool for the express purpose of engraving symbols or letters into things such as an athame, candle, sword, etc. The burin is pictured as a long, steel needle of a generous thickness and a bulbous handle. In fact, L.W. de Laurence clearly shows in his translation from 1203 Lansdowne MSS that "The Burin or Graver is useful for engraving or incising characters.". and yet I have found a great deal of confusion in modern pagan witchcraft sects about this tool from ignorance to the existence of the tool to confusion of it with the white handled athame or even at times with the boline - both of which are separate tools.

The boline or bolline is a sickle. It is clearly differentiated from the white handled knife by being included with a host of tools, among them the white handled knife and the black handled knife. The boline does have a small white handle as indicated by the image in the key of Solomon. Traditionally, since it is used to cut herbs, it is made of non-ferrous materials. Interestingly the bulk of the information available online indicates somewhat incorrectly that a bolline or boline is a white handled, straight-bladed knife. I have seen a boline and burin confused however this is more understandable as one ancient manuscript calls something that looks like a burin, a bolino.

3) Book Review
Occult-wise, I'm reading nothing at the moment as I'm just so busy and I haven't had any review copies I've accepted lately.

4) Ritual Workings
How do you create your own rituals? How do you know if you're doing them correctly? These are common questions that people pose to me - even those who are training through distance learning on many courses.
To a certain extent, rituals have to be experienced. That is why I run open rituals - so that when you have questions, it's easy to find answers in how rituals are run practically plus I'm always open to "why did you do that like that?" questions which I always endeavor to answer with more than "because that's how I learned to do it".

Structure is an important part of ritual. Whether a Greek play (which was ritual), a personal ritual or a public ritual for 500, certain structures are usually used.

Of course there needs to be a beginning, middle and an end but how to organize them and what order do they happen in and why? The why part is a bit beyond what I can cover here but the organization and order questions I can answer from my own experience.

Gardnerian ritual structure is the only thing from all of Gardner's writings that Doreen Valiente could not trace to an existing occult work. It is awfully close to the way I was taught to do rituals and I think that of all the things that different branches of witchcraft have to offer us, one thing seems to remain almost unchanged - the ritual structure.

Now, we have set up our ritual area before with all the altar bits we wish. Now that we are ready with a prepared space, we need to prepare ourselves.

I like to take a bath before ritual. Instead of my usual relaxing bubble bath with good fantasy book, I take a bath with three (a magic number) scoops of my own home-made ritual bath salt mixture. I take 1 cup free-running table salt and mix it with 8 drops juniperberry essential oil, 10 drops rosewood oil and 2 drops ylang ylang essential oil that have been pre-mixed. I stir those up until they are mixed right through and I then add 3 tablespoons of baking soda and mix then I leave it overnight. I always mix in a glass bowl. Once made, I store in an air-tight dark glass jar. While soaking before scrubbing, I meditate on my ritual and visualize what I'm going to be doing as well as trying to dismiss the worries of the day. Once finished, I give my skin a good scrub then run the shower as the bath drains to wash off the last of the day's dirt.

Now, I enter the ritual space leaving everything else behind. Robed or skyclad, this is the point at which you need to be thinking about only the ritual and energy movement. Other thoughts mix the mundane with the magickal which is just going to make the workings harder.

Once in the magickal space, I anoint my forehead with ritual oil (usually a Goddess blend) and relax and open my book of shadows to the ritual which I have a very cool bookmark to mark (a silver chain with amber and jet and charms my mom gave me). Once open and I am calm and centered, I start to cast the circle. To do this, I use my athame and draw a circle by visualizing a blue flame coming from the tip of the athame and settling on the ground and creating the circle of protection. Once finished, I visualize a sphere around me defined by the circle I've cast.

Next, I call the elements. I have a standard set of quarter calls I use for this purpose. At each quarter, I visualize the element before and during the call. I stand at the edge of the dome, facing out of the circle to call. I start in the East and go deosil (clockwise) around the circle.

Once finished, I call the God and Goddess to be with me in the circle. I stand to the south of the altar (which is usually towards the north side of the center of the circle) facing north and often stand with arms slightly out from my sides, slightly in front of me, palms out.

Now, there is the blessing of the wine and bread. This is a great time to reaffirm the calls to the God and Goddess and work in aspects of them to your blessing.

Once done, I do any magickal workings I had planned for this section of the ritual.

Now, I undo what I have done which is firstly to bid farewell to the God and Goddess then go backwards through the elements going widdershins (anti-clockwise). As I do this, I visualize the element going and the circle disappearing. I finally end off back in the east and return to the center and clap or stamp my foot to complete the grounding of the energy to close the circle.

As you can see, this is just the bare bones - there is much flesh which can be added by you just through looking things up online and doing research in books. Now that we have the outline, there are some great seasonal elemental calls, god and goddess calls and oils which I will get in to over the upcoming newsletters.

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