Wild Thorn Hollow Quarterly Newsletter
Spring 2017 Volume 1, Issue 1
By Jessi Malott Well, Witches and Pagans, Spring has officially sprung! For those of us who really try to live our lives in tune with the Wheel of the Year, I’m sure we’re ready for it. After the months of cold and dark, bundling up within the warmth of home and the depths of ourselves, some of us are likely feeling a little stir crazy! Spring brings so many things with it…storms, sunshine, first blooms, cold snaps…and an energy of restlessness, anticipation, and the need to “get going.” We feel called to get out and do things, which usually ends up meaning an influx of seekers and new tradition members. We’re ready to socialize, take action, try new things, and tackle new projects. We’re also ready to clear out the muck – physically and spiritually. (By the way, check this issue for an awesome purifying floor wash recipe, and a cleansing and purification spell). And yet – in typical tumultuous spring fashion – just as you plan that first warm weather picnic, you’ll be knocked down by thunderstorms and tornados in the forecast! As soon as you’re ready to get those seedlings in the ground, you’ll be hit with a late frost. The anticipation and false starts paired with the general sense of cabin fever are enough to drive you nuts! But this is spring. We begin spring with Ostara – an equinox and a time of balance. Spring comes in gently, just as it blows away winter in a violent frenzy. And all those raging winds and pouring rains serve an awesome purpose. Spring manages to blow away the decay of winter, pour life water down into the earth, and eventually reveal itself in tender brush strokes of green and soft colors across the earth. The thing to remember is that on the cycle of the year, early spring is a time of planning and groundwork. We may be ready to get things going and get things done, but spring will hit us with those not so gentle reminders to take our time, lay our plans, and do things right. At Ostara we celebrate the fertility of the earth and all of the potential lying in wait. We celebrate newness, possibility, and what is to come. By the time Beltane comes along at the peak of spring, things will be staring to stabilize. We’ll truly see all of the new growth around us, and that new growth will seem a little more stable and rooted. We’ll be able to reliably trust that if we leave the house in a short sleeve shirt in the morning, we won’t necessarily be shivering by evening. And some of the spring fever energy we ourselves have been feeling will have found its outlet, and projects will be under way. We will be ready once again to celebrate fertility, but this time, it will be our own fertility that we rejoice in – not just in terms of procreation, but also in terms of our own creations. The earth and ourselves will feel alive and ready to burst forth!
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By Randy DuCharme Have you ever had a had an occasion where your spellwork didn’t turn out as planned? Didn’t work at all? Had completely the opposite outcome? Perhaps backfired altogether? It happens. If we get careless, become unclear or unfocused, distracted or just plain don’t do it right things go haywire. There are many causes for magickal failures. There is at least one celestial event that occurs regularly however that will almost guarantee problems though and that it when the Moon is “void of course”. Were you working under a void Moon at the time? Do you know? You probably should. It can certainly cause a good bit of grief in ones casting and if one is not aware of the event, it
can be truly bewildering as to why things might have run amok. The Moon is said to be void of course during the period after it’s made its last major solar or planetary aspect within the sign it’s in and before it changes signs. The VC period ends when it enters the next sign. The Moon is busy. It traverses all 12 signs of the zodiac every 28.5 days, spending roughly 2.5 days in each sign, give or take. Thus the event occurs rather frequently. Its duration varies though, and depending on the position of the Sun and other planets can be as fleeting as a couple minutes to as long as a couple days. Again, the “aspects”, or angular relationships with the other celestial orbs determine when and how long this
on the position of the Sun and other planets can be as fleeting as a couple minutes to as long as a couple days. Again, the “aspects”, or angular relationships with the other celestial orbs determine when and how long this occurs. The aspects to consider are the conjunction, trine, square, opposition and sextile for the astrology-minded but once the last aspect separates for the rest of the Moons duration within the sign it’s in, it’s void of course.
Spring cleaning is the perfect time to freshen up your home cleansings, blessings, and wards. A floor wash serves the dual purpose of physically cleaning your space, while providing an herbal, energetic boost. To create this floor wash, gather the following dried herbs/plants: rosemary, hyssop, peppermint, lavender, pine needles, and rose petals. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons each to a large pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool thoroughly. Once cooled, strain the herbs from the liquid, and store the liquid in a tightly sealed container. Allow the floor wash to sit for a couple of days prior to use. To use, place a few tablespoons into a bucket of water and mop your floor with the mixture. This can also be used as a general surface cleaner, and can be diluted with water and used in a spray bottle as well.
What does this mean to practitioners of Magick? Well, that depends. Long standing advice has been to avoid spellwork under a VC moon since problems are common. All sorts of things go bonkers at the mundane level during this event so it only stands to reason that spellwork is affected as well. This event can however, with care, be used very advantageously if we re-think how we do things. How you say? Well, I’m glad you asked! At the mundane level from an astrologers perspective the VC Moon represents a time when people are generally fuzzy, scattered or vague. They often find difficulty cooperating and collaborating with one another and are easily distracted or disturbed. Llewellyn stated that action initiated during this time is often wasted, irrelevant or incorrect. Astrologers have noted all sorts of events during a void moon. How this manifests for an individual largely depends upon what their chart looks like and how the “transiting” Moon is aspecting the natal chart. Magically however this can be quite fortuitous. It’s often a very good time if we need to pull off something big yet have it go unnoticed or at least its impact minimized. Often times if it does get noticed it’s quickly forgotten. For work on the mundane level deception, distraction, “bait and switch” all come easier during this event. Combined with creative spellwork the effects can be remarkable. We need to craft or spells differently though. Consider an empty bag and any object of your choosing. We can see the bag as we can the object. Place the object inside the bag and the object effectively disappears. Sounds a bit silly at first but think about it for a minute. Think about how we might revise or spells in this manner. Rather than casting to cause something to happen, think of casting for something not to happen. The “not-doing” as it’s referred to in some works written on sorcery and shamanism. Say for example you find out there’s an internal position opening at your place of work and to land that position yourself would significantly improve your situation. You find out you’d be considered for it as well as a few of your colleagues. So your inclination might be to improve your odds in landing that position by magickal means yet you know the Moon is void of course. So, instead of casting toward you getting that position, cast so that no one else does. We change the way we form our intent, assemble the imagery and so on. Clarity, focus, precision and all the other elements that make an effective spell are even more important if you are to be successful during a VC Moon but it can be very effective if approached from this different perspective. So, if you’re inclined to try to work with this chaotic energy but don’t know how or don’t want to do the calculations, no worries. Professor Google to the rescue! There are numerous calenders on the web just a click or two away. Pay attention to your local time zone and that of the calendar. Again, I can’t stress enough however the importance of clarity and precision. It’s always important in spellwork but absolutely so here. Hold off on workings for love, healing, prosperity, vengeance (if you’re so inclined) until the Moon has entered its next sign. For the momentary VC events it’s easy enough to wait.
By Jessi Malott You Will Need: - A white candle (purification) - Incense: Frankincense & Myrrh (both good for purification & grounding) - A large bowl - Water (a kind of large amount, ideally from a natural source, in a bottle or pitcher you can pour from) - Salt (grounding) - Dried or Fresh Herbs: sage (cleansing), rosemary (cleanses & drives away negative energy & spirits), lavender (cleansing, protection, strength) - Tree of Life image You’ll want to do this outside, and be prepared to get wet! 1. Light the incense and take a few minutes to focus your mind and meditate on your goal. 2. Pour the water into the bowl and say: “Living Waters—ever-flowing sacred cleanser—I call forth your power. Wash over me. Flow through me. Cleanse me of all that plagues me.” 3. Add the Sage and say: “Sacred Sage, Great Purifier, bring forth your energy. Cleanse me mind, body, and soul.” 4. Add the Rosemary and say: “Blessed Rosemary, lend your aid. Cast out all negativity. Drive away the spirits that hinder me and leave me cleansed and pure.” 5. Add the Lavender and say: “Sweet lavender, I call upon your powers. Cleanse my spirit, protect me from ill-will, and lend me your strength.”
By Tiff Trocki Ah, Spring. The time of the faeries. It is said that at Beltane, the faeries travel and the seelie court become more active. As a Tennessee witch, you can spend this time outdoors, sipping on whiskey and burning incense while you talk to the Good Folk about your concerns. They enjoy a good conversation, you know. They like it even better if you leave them a libation (read, share your alcohol). Faeries are fickle creatures, and just like us, their attitude and culture depend on their location. As a transplant, I'm not entirely familiar with the needs of the locals, but I've picked up on a few things. Whiskey and conversation can take you pretty far. Take it a step further and recycle, clean up the area around you, and take care of the local animals. Music helps, too. If you're from Nashville it's a given that you should treat the faerie folk to a good musical tune. If you don't...well, you suck.
Faeries can bless or harm your home. Trust me, I know. But, you shouldn't make friends with them just because you want their good favor. That's selfish. You should get on good terms with them because you enjoy their company. You don't make friends because you want someone to take advantage of, right? No. You make friends because you genuinely want that person to be part of your life, and the same should go for faerie folk. Like people, not all of them are good, but there are a fair number of them who want someone to acknowledge them. So this Spring, go outdoors, burn some flowers & herbs, leave out an offering, and try to make a faerie friend. Drink with them, party with them, and tell them they're awesome. If you walk away with a faerie friend, that's great. If you don't, move on and keep trying. You'll know if you've made a friend just by instinct. I currently have a moody house wight who likes it when I leave out cream or beer. When I forget, bad things happen, which I am not too keen on. We're working it out, though. So, when you're ready, reach out to the faerie and write about it in your journal. I'd love to hear what you did and what happened when you tried. Don't forget to put up protection and make your interaction sincere. Also, if you need assistance, don't hesitate to reach out to a witch who has experience working with the fae. Happy Spring!
6. Add the Salt and say: “Salt of the Earth, Powerful Grounder, I call upon your aid. Help keep me rooted in this world. Grant me strength and stability.” 7. Rub the water on the candle and light it. Let it burn throughout the rest of the spell, and when you have finished the spell, let it burn all the way out if possible. 8. Place both hands in the bowl of water and cup them, bringing as much water as you can up and over your head. Place your hands on your head, letting the water run down you. As you feel it trickle down you, envision it carrying away everything you want to rid yourself, taking it down into the earth, leaving you cleansed and purified. Do this 3 times, each time saying: “Wash your powers over me. Guard me. Ground me. Purify me.” 9. After washing the water over yourself 3 times, place both hands down in the remaining water, letting any last traces of negative energy drain out through your hands into the water. Take up the bowl and pour the water out into the ground. 10. Finish the spell with a grounding visualization and meditation. Focus on the image of the tree of life for a few minutes, and then close your eyes. Now envision yourself as the tree of life. Your spine is the trunk of the tree, and from the base of your spine you have long roots growing deep down into the earth. From the top of your head, branches grow up and out, eventually bending down toward the earth, intertwining with the roots. Use these roots and branches, and their connection to the earth, to draw grounding earth energy into yourself. 11. Once you have completed the tree of life meditation and feel grounded, the spell is finished. Place the candle in a safe place so it can burn all the way out.
By Jessi Malott In the time since Paganism began its journey toward more mainstream acceptance in the mid-50s, so much growth and change has taken place. Newcomers to Paganism, or even those established solitaries making their first step into the larger community, can be overwhelmed in a sea of terminology and structure that it can be hard to make sense of. Understanding just exactly what a tradition is and how it fits into a person’s spiritual life is certainly no exception.
there are many parallels between the two. Both traditions and denominations serve to more narrowly define a specific sub-set of the broader religious path they are connected to. In other words, traditions describe specific types of Paganism and/or Witchcraft, and denomi-
Very often, the Pagan tradition is compared to the Christian denomination. In many ways, the comparison is apt, as
nations describe specific types of Christianity. In the case of both traditions and denominations, the members of each come together around a shared set of beliefs, practices, and perspectives. When you become a part of a tradition, you are not only saying that you are a Witch or a Pagan, but you are going a step further to specifically align yourself with the unique beliefs, practices, and perspectives that give your chose tradition its identity. Just as a denomination may house many different types of members—large churches, small congregations, individuals who wish to worship alone, etc.—traditions may also house a variety of members on a variety of different paths. While some traditions are coven-based and only house members who are affiliated with covens, most are home to a combination of covens, groups, and solitaries. All of these people make up the “extended family” of the tradition, and this network of members can be relatively small and close knit – particularly for newer and emerging traditions – but can easily expand into a rather large web in the case of more established and long-standing traditions. The biggest differences between traditions and denominations come into play in terms of the level of active participation expected of the members. In the Christian path, it is generally acceptable to be a part of a denomination through affiliation alone. An individual can claim, for example, the Presbyterian denomination, simply because their beliefs and viewpoints align well with the Presbyterian philosophy—whether or not they ever do anything to actively participate in the Presbyterian community. On the other hand, in terms of a tradition, mere affiliation alone is generally not enough. No matter how well his or her beliefs may align with the tradition, an individual could not claim membership in, as another example, the Alexandrian tradition, just because it suits his or her style. An individual can only become a member of a tradition by taking part in the rites and procedures required by that tradition, and maintaining active involvement in that tradition. On a smaller scale, but to the same point, it is not at all uncommon for a member of a Christian denomination to claim membership in a church of that denomination, but rarely attend—and this is fine with the church. However, in a coven practicing within a tradition, the usual expectation is that all members will be present at all gatherings of the coven.
The general spirit of a tradition tends to be much more intimate and connected than that of a denomination. An initiatory tradition creates an initiatory lineage that traces how and by whom each member came to be involved in the tradition. This lineage very closely resembles a family tree, which is somewhat appropriate, because in many ways a tradition behaves very much like an extended family. The members in a tradition tend to be much more connected and involved with one another than the typical members of a Christian denomination…with the “nuclear families” (covens and other groups) and individuals regarding one another almost like cousins, who keep in touch, reach out to one another, and come together from time to time at “family reunions” (tradition gatherings). A tradition’s lineage maps out spiritual ancestry, revealing that tradition’s shared history and connections. This sense of spiritual ancestry, and being a part of a spiritual family that is chosen, generally leads to a stronger sense of bonds between members than the more anonymous affiliation that exists between members of a Christian denomination. Structurally, traditions can be wide and varied. Some are based on a training system and degree program, while others may be based more on a sense of community and
have few structured steps for beginning and progressing through membership. Those that do have a more specific membership structure laid out may range from heavily ceremonial and secretive, with very specific and oath-bound rituals marking passage through each stage of membership, to a more straightforward and egalitarian membership structure with very few ceremonial steps. Ultimately, while the comparison between a tradition and a denomination can help us begin to understand what a tradition is, it does not go quite far enough in fully describing what a tradition is. What is important to remember is that while a tradition does more narrowly describe your personal set of beliefs and practices, there is much more to it than that. A tradition is more than just a label. It is also a living entity, which can both provide nourishment, and is also in need of nourishment. It is a community that you are now a part of, full of members who you are now connected to. Your tradition membership is about your individual path, but it is also about a commitment that you have chosen to make, and so it should be meaningful to you on a personal level. Your affiliation
with a tradition comes with the expectation that you, personally, will actively take part in that tradition, and not just pay it lip service. As with any community, a tradition will be what its members make of it, and without the organized backing that you find in mainstream denominations, a tradition will tend to rely much more heavily on the individuals within it to sustain it and make it something worth being a part of.
Spring 2017 issue of Blood, Bone, Thorn & Stone - the seasonal newsletter for the Wild Thorn Hollow tradition of Paganism & Witchcraft.
Published on Apr 12, 2017
Spring 2017 issue of Blood, Bone, Thorn & Stone - the seasonal newsletter for the Wild Thorn Hollow tradition of Paganism & Witchcraft.