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ISSN 2159-9939

“The Un-Spell Book”, an interview with author Mya Om Scentsational Lavendar Breathe In, Breathe Out, Repeat Children’s Museum Air, a meditation Breezes, Scents, Memory and Magick Air as an Element in the Pentagram of Manifestation Herbal Research

“Air My Breath” May 2011 Volume 2 • Issue 5 ™• May 2011 • Volume 2


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PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE EDITOR CONTRIBUTORS

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER LAYOUT WEBSITE ADVERTISING

Eberhardt, Personal Visions jess*ca mae Tootie Marie Dawn Sherwood Faelin Wolf Mya Om Michelle Crowskin Bond LJ Rose Ankolie Donovan Amina Racozy S. J. Drew Sister Nariel Nina Pak, www.ninapak.com Refraction Design & Creative Services Personal Visions Eberhardt, Wendy Beth

Our goal at Pagan Edge is to provide readers a high quality, timely magazine with content relevant to modern pagans’ lifestyle and passions. Our publication is a lifestyle magazine so while we may publish spells, rituals, and some magick how-to; we aim to focus on ways that pagans, wiccans, earth-based-spiritualists, and those of like mind can incorporate their values and beliefs into their everyday living. Pagan Edge Magazine & paganedge.com exist solely to offer information to our readers. The publisher, editor, and the entire personnel of Pagan Edge, Pagan Edge Magazine, Personal Visions, Refraction Design and paganedge.com cannot be held responsible for misuse of any information provided. The views expressed in the articles and ads are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Pagan Edge Magazine. Product descriptions, recipes & any how-to information: While we, and our affiliates, attempt to provide accurate information in the magazine and on the site, we do not warrant that the content on this site will be accurate, complete, reliable, current, or error-free. It is your sole responsibility for the use of the content of this Magazine or web site. For additional details please see www.paganedge.com ™• May 2011 • Volume 2

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contents 6 Dream Weaving Air My Breath 8 Divine Mind Air In Air Out Repeat 9 Life’s Wit Children’s Museum 10 Keeping the Edge Breezes, Scents,

Memory and Magick

Pagan Edge welcomes S.J. Drew to our staff as author of Life’s Wit

11Plant Vibes Scentsational Lavender

12 Elders Corner Air, a meditation 14 Pentagram Air as an

Element in the Manifestation Process

16 PE Book Review An Interview with

Mya Om: author of The Un-Spell Book

On The Cover:

18 Urban Shaman Herbal Research

photographer: EWVanderBerg Model: Jordan

VOLUME 2 • ISSUE 5 • MAY 2011 “AIR MY BREATH” PAGAN EDGE™ IS PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY PERSONAL VISIONS ADMIN@PAGANEDGE.COM ™• May 2011 • Volume 2

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Dream Weaving Air My Breath Our May issue of Pagan Edge is devoted to air as an element and all it represents in our lives within and without. We are reflecting on gentle spring breezes and cool autumn winds. Air can bring the scents of fresh rain, waking earth, and fertile flowers. But it also brings us much more. It can be a sign of change: change of weather, change of mind, change of life and its cycles. The scientific qualities of the air and atmosphere are amazing. How does my wireless internet connection work? My cell phone signals go from here to where? From where to there? There is a more tender side to these waves and vibrations experienced as one sits in a cafe listening to strumming of an acoustic guitar carried through the air and into the ear. Perhaps companions clap or tap along, creating their own vibrations via air or table top for all to feel and hear as well. A blowing wind can create waves, extinguish flames, and sculpt land.

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editor speaks

breathe in, what else do you breathe in besides air? Clarity? Inspiration? Energy? How do we use our life and breath as Pagans to better ourselves? This question will have as many answers, if not more, than the number of people who read this. This editorial and the articles in this issue cannot give all the answers. However, we are attempting to provide some, hopefully for your insight and pleasure — and the rest, is up to you. Feel free to share with me your thoughts on air, breath, breathing, and life by emailing me at chief-editor@paganedge.com. In 2011, PE creates a four-part series dedicated to each of the elements. In February we concentrated on earth; in case you missed it, all back issues of Pagan Edge are available to read online at our website: www.paganedge.com. We will light you up with our August issue on the element of fire and cool you down with our November issue on the element of water so stay tuned for the continuation of this series. But for right now, sit back with May’s issue... and remember to breathe. Happy reading and blessings,

Of course we need air to live, to breathe... but what does it really mean to live and breathe? We manipulate the air we breathe to reach a meditative state, to exercise yoga and other physical practices, and to acknowlege our connection to air in our rituals.

~jess*ca

Air can take away our anxieties and bring us peace just as the turning wheel of the year can carry away the blahs and bring us renewal. We exhale the negative and inhale the positive. When you

P.S. ~ I also want to congratulate staff writer Mya Om on publishment of her second book by Llewellyn. Faelin Wolf, PE Book reviewer, not only relished Mya’s book, but interviewed her on its process. Great job!

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EDUCATE INSPIRE PROMOTE http://paganwriters.com/ Join our Fan Page on Facebook PaganWriters on Twitter ™• May 2011 • Volume 2

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Making the Divine Mind, Mine

by Sister Nariel, Contemplative Order of Anam Cara

Air In Air Out Repeat From the first moments in which we enter the world, breathing is our singular job. I’d like to believe that the rather barbaric rite of slapping a baby on the bare rump has given way to the gentle chest rub. I’d be inclined to doubt it. Our first and primary task as a living human being is set upon us in violence. Our first interaction with the Air element is painful. Thankfully, after that one shocking airgrabbing moment, breathing becomes autonomic. Good thing too, as most of us would loathe being smacked every 24 seconds of our lifespan! Some time ago, I penned a thought that went something like this: 8

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“Even as the breath is sacred, it is also a prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude to the Great Mother and All-Father. With each breath, we receive the Love of an Infinite Universe. We gift that love back to the world around us, in our very being. Being is the result of love, thus breath, is the most natural form of prayer.” The Air element keeps us alive. It is, by its very nature, a communal response element. Meaning, if either of us inhales and then exhales, we cannot choose to not interact with one another. We become one — from that squalling first moment, and we will remain connected via Air, for the rest Repeat continued on page 23


Life’s Wit

h C

e r n d ’s l i

“So Tyler chased Kenna around the house with that tyrannosaurus hand puppet until I rescued her and took the puppet away. Then yesterday I heard him tell his aunt he wanted to be a volcano when he grew up,” Deb said laughingly. “Well, that’s what you get for taking an impressionable fiveyear old to the Natural History Museum,” Shondra replied. “You know, I hadn’t been there in years. I forgot how much fun it is.” “That’s only because you were with your son.” “I don’t know about that,” Deb said. “I used to go to the Natural History Museum a lot when I was kid. Now if I go to any museum, it’s the art museum, but I can’t take Tyler. He’s too young and will get bored. It’s weird, isn’t it? Adults go to art museums without kids but adults won’t go to natural history museums unless they have kids with them. Why is that?” Shondra shrugged. “I’ve got no idea. But you’re right; I haven’t been in years either.” “Then let’s go Saturday. No kids, just a girls’ day out. Then

by S.J. Drew

Mu s e

m u

we’ll see if it’s as much fun without a kid.”

“And it shouldn’t take kids to remind us,” Deb said.

“Yeah, sure, why not?”

“We should do it again sometime. I’d love to come see the show about the migration of whales.”

That Saturday Deb and Shondra went to the museum as planned. At first, both felt a little odd walking through the hall of fossils without any children with them. But soon they forgot their awkwardness as they stared up into the jaws of a large carnivore. They giggled like children at the strange skeletons of some of the weirdest animals that ever lived. They ooohed and aaahed over the rare mineral specimens and fabulous gems in the gem vault. They made a wrong turn into the seashell and mollusk exhibit but were quickly fascinated by the diversity of the shells on display. They went to the planetarium to see a presentation about the history of the universe starting with the Big Bang. They even stopped in the children’s area and played with some of the interactive exhibits. “I was wrong,” Shondra said as they browsed the gift shop. “That was fun, even without kids. I guess we just forget how to be amazed at how strange and wonderful the world really is.”

“I agree. Although Tyler will probably want to come back with us.” “That’s fine. The museum is fun with kids too.” “Are you going to buy a tyrannosaurus hand puppet?” Deb asked. “I’m not feeling that much like a kid,” she replied with a smile. “But I will buy a triceratops hand puppet for Kenna because I just learned a triceratops can defend itself against a tyrannosaurus, so she should be able to defend herself against her brother.” Deb laughed. “I’m sure Kenna will love that.” Shondra picked up a small, plastic, brightly colored duckbilled dinosaur. “But I will buy this and keep it on my desk as a reminder to get out and play and be amazed more often.” Deb picked up a long-necked sauropod. “Good idea.” ™• May 2011 • Volume 2

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Original Photography by Nina Pak ©2011

Breezes, Scents, Memory and Magick Keeping the Edge

by Mya Om

I am sitting here reflecting on air, intellect, wind, breezes and movement; I am having a hard time concentrating. As I write this I am four weeks away from a law degree. My days are filled with heavy tomes, case briefs, citations, pika, and file notes. I am learning how to file VAWA petitions and Asylum claims. I am learning that the world is not always fair and that sometimes even the most deserving people get screwed. I am exhausted: mentally, physically and emotionally. I am thinking too, about friends and family suffering through their own angst and hardship. My mind is full and my heart is heavy. It is twilight. I am outside. I sigh. Then the breeze picks up, and the wind blows

my hair across my face. I can smell the faintest scent of flowers — maybe it is the smell of spring, or maybe it is my hair conditioner. It does not matter. The scent carried on the breeze is enough to bring a smile to my face. All of a sudden none of these things are on my mind. I am ten years old. I am in the Jordan Valley. I can see the big jasmine bushes hanging down over the wall of the neighbor ’s house. I can see the gravel under my feet. I can see the grapes, hanging plump and green, just out of reach. I can even feel the hemp of the chair I am sitting on. This early spring breeze, takes me back to summer days, to no air conditioning, to sweat drying at the nape of my neck as I rolled vine leaves with my grandmother and aunts. It Breezes continued on page 22

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Plant Vibes

She’s the perky, pastel Princess of Purple.

by Dawn Sherwood

She’s as blue cool as Empress Violet… as soothingly soft as Sister Pink. She will restore, revive, relax and reassure. Leisurely, but never languid. Liltingly light, yet divinely deep. It is Lady Lavender of whom I speak!

Scentsational

LAVENDER L AVENDER to the Rescue! The poem seeks to describe the color lavender, yet the descriptors certainly fit the plant — which is the namesake of the beloved light purple hue. The herb Lavender has a long history of… restore, revive, relax and reassure. Most of us have likely given ourselves over to Lavender’s relaxing embrace in some manner, so I won’t bother with details on aromatic baths, potpourris and massage oils. Let us, instead, look a bit at the warrior side of this herbal soother and healer of humans and animals. Lavandula angustifolia aka L. officinalis (English Lavender) is the species that carries the fullest arsenal of soothing and battle ready compounds, and is the species of which I speak here. Among her skills is the ability to repel a variety of insects Lavender continued on page 24 ™• May 2011 • Volume 2

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ir A

From the Elders Corner by Lucille M Rose

a meditation

East intellect insight clarity vision goals cleansing purification new beginnings spring dawn “The powers of magic are real, we must be logical enough to use them wisely.” 12

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You can either sit or lie down. When you are comfortable - close your eyes. Breathe in, hold it for a second, then exhale slowly counting one two three, repeat. Take a deep cleansing breath and exhale quickly and deeply. You are ready to proceed with the meditation. It is the month of May; all the snow has melted. Spring has finally arrived in the northern part of the United States and Canada. The tender, supple, green grass is soft and cushy. You can feel the warmth of the solid earth beneath your feet. There is a gentle breeze lifting

the ends of your hair and playing lightly across the back of your neck. The sun is high overhead. The temperature is just right. You start walking, not too fast, not too slow. You want to enjoy your walk. You come to a small stream. The clear water is moving quickly over river rocks and around large boulders partially covered with algae. On the banks, along side the stream, are bloodroot plants with a single white flower, large white trillium, and tiny white lily of the valley. Meditation continued on page 26


Call for Writers Getting published in Pagan Edge is a great way to express yourself, keep connected to the pagan community, and get some pieces for your portfolio. We are currently looking for pagans to writer on pop culture and lifestyle topics: music, cooking, humor, art, advice, and more. Contact jess*ca at

chief-editor@paganedge.com For more information & column descriptions

Your Community • Your Connection

Upcoming Themes & Deadlines June 2011, theme: Handfastings & Bindings Deadline: May 5th, 2011 July 2011, theme: Gods & Goddesses Deadline: June 5th, 2011 August 2011, theme: Fire Element Deadline: July 5th, 2011 ™• May 2011 • Volume 2

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THE PENTAGRAM OF MA N I F ESTATION 4 • SPIRIT Connecting Force

2 • AIR Thought

5 • EARTH Physical World

14

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, Michigan ™

April2011 2011•• Volume Volume 22 • May

1 • WATER Emotion

3 • FIRE Transformation

©2009, Tootie Marie Imagery


AIR

Article & Photos by Tootie Marie Imagery

An Element In The Pentagram Of Manifestation

The Second Element In The Manifestation Process As promised, this is the second in a five part series dealing with the Manifestation Process as it is made whole by the five elements — Water, Air, Fire, Spirit, and Earth — and how we can trace these elements along the lines of the pentagram. Each element can be seen as an important part in the process of manifestation. Just a refresher: the elements are listed in the order in which we bring our emotions into physical being. Water is the element of Emotions; Air is the element of Thought; Fire is the element of Transformation; Spirit connects us to everything; and Earth is the element of the Physical World. The Manifestation Process is continually happening whether we are conscious of it or not. Hopefully this series of articles will make you more aware of the process of manifestation. We will also be making a deep connection with each element as we follow through this course. These articles are being written out-of-order, so to speak, so that the element being highlighted is in accordance with the topic of discussion for the month. Our topic this month is Air. Therefore the second article in our series actually coincides with the second element in the

Manifestation Process: Air. The February 2011 issue of Pagan Edge contains the first article in the series, dedicated to Earth, which is the final element in the Manifestation Process. If at all possible, you should try to do this activity outside. If you are able to actually be in the outdoor Air while working through this exercise, it should greatly enhance your experience during your interaction with this process. Before we begin concentrating on the Air element, please take a few minutes or so to think of an object you have in your possession that ties you to Air. Because of this being the Air element, you may not be able to hold this object in your hands as we go through the meditative working; that is okay. Your special object may be a feather, bells, windchimes, a mobile, or flag. If you wish, find a place to hang your special Air object so it can be close to you while we concentrate on Air. If you are not already doing so, either pick up your “Air object” and hold on to it, or hang it close to you. Make yourself comfortable. Relax. Ground and center yourself. In your mind’s eye, you will concentrate strongly on the

Air element in order to manifest its energy and power. By doing this, you are producing links and channels for the energy to move through. Air: the element of thought; it is here that the process of manifestation takes shape. It is the element of harmony of the mind. As the sun rises in the east, new thoughts rise in us, and so it is the place of new beginnings. We are often at the mercy of our thoughts which can run around and around in our minds often unchecked and unable to be controlled. Meditation can offer us some direction over our mental processes and provide us a greater awareness of where our thoughts are leading. Meditation also brings a greater ability to concentrate. With practice, your thoughts (whether they are images, desires, or mantras) can be held in your mind to create positive ideas. You have the opportunity to work consciously with your thoughts through the use of meditation, positive affirmations, and visualization. Take your time as you go through the following steps, allowing what you see to develop at its own pace. Remember, this is the place of new beginnings. In your Manifestation continued page 25 2 15 ™™•• April Mayon 2011 • Volume


The PaganEdge

Book Review

by Faelin Wolf

Book Review on The Un-Spell Book and Interview with Author Mya Om Have you ever suddenly realized that you didn’t know something essential to what you were trying to do, then discovered it and had that “A-ha!” moment? I felt that way about Mya Om’s book! I never realized that there were elements to some of the spells in the many books I have that were missing — the energy work! And then, Mya explained it all in her introduction, and I had my “Aha!” moment.

The Un-Spell Book:

Energy Essentials for Mastering Magick

by Mya Om, 2010 ISBN: 978-0-7387-2338-9

This short little book is a must-have for every magickpracticing pagan out there. Mya created the book to help us understand how magick works. Yes, I think maybe we all have a vague understanding of what happens when we follow a spell recipe or focus our will, but Mya chooses to deconstruct the process and spell it out, step-by-step. The book is packed with exercises to help you develop your skills, starting with the most basic as the beginning, in the prologue, and progressing to the most complex in the final chapter. If you follow the

exercises in order and master them before moving on, you will be greatly improved, more effective, and more focused in your spellwork by the time you finish this book! The book starts with visualization, chakra work, grounding and centering. Next, Mya explores will, focus, and intent of spells. Logically, these intuitions should come naturally, but I thought it was very helpful. For spells to work, we need to be very clear about our intent so that the spell does what we want it to! Next, is working with energy from different sources, including work with elementals. Working with various magickal tools and thought constructs follows, ending with a chapter on how to bring it all together. Stories from Mya’s experiences and life are interspersed throughout the exercises and concise explanations. I appreciate her stories; it shows Mya had to learn her lessons just as we all have to learn them.

The Un-Spell Book continued on page 20 16

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Illustration by Ankolie I’m sure along the way of searching for information on basic spells, rituals, and meditations, you’ve come across the use of herbs and essential oils. You have probably seen them mentioned, and maybe even felt drawn to try them, in either teas, sachets, dream pillows, salves, wine, or for burning. Before you purchase, or use any herbs or oils, first consider these few tips for working safely. 18

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the Urban Shaman

by Michelle “Crowskin” Bond

Understand, just because an ingredient is mentioned in a spell or ritual does not mean it’s safe. Older rituals may be rewritten and altered repeatedly. There isn’t always proper care given to making sure every recipe component is fully safe to ingest or inhale. Question everytime an herb is mentioned in a spell. Is it meant to relax you, invigorate you, calm you, or excite you? What is the purpose of the herb in the ritual? If you don’t know, and it’s not explained, then how do you expect it to work for you? Realize there is a difference between traditional and medicinal uses for herbs as you will hear the two definitions come up often in herbal research. Traditional is just that: what soothsayers and folklore have associated with a specific herb or oil. “My grandpa’s greatgrandpa used this for...” This is usually fine for small or minor instances; but when it comes to anything taken internally or setting on the skin for a long period of time, it is not trustworthy.

Medicinal is scientifically tried and tested benefits and complications of an ingredient. It informs one of the potential physical changes and serious harms the use of certain herbs and essential oils may cause. Logic needs to be a part of magick, and common sense is an important addition to any energy work. If the medicinal information tells you a certain herb may cause problems in your body — the risk of physical harm outweighs the risk of magickal benefit. As an example; too much eucalyptus oil can cause a coma and even death if ingested. Be careful to always make sure you check an herb’s toxicity and medicinal uses before working with it. “Harm ye none”, includes not harming yourself — be it willfully or through carelessness. How do you find information about herbs and oils? Using the internet is a good resource because much information is easily found in a few pages. One has the ability to look over many different opinions and venues at the same time. Be sure to look for websites with credentials supporting them. Botanical and holistic websites are good resources.

What if you find out the herb has nothing to do with the spell it was mentioned in? This is a great time to alter a spell or ritual, or create your own with properties of the herb or oil in mind. You might even find it enjoyable to make up batches of herbal oils, salves, incense, and teas. Meditate by creating your own simmering oil with chamomile or sandalwood. Add mint leaf and citrus to oil to invigorate and wake yourself up before studying or leaving for work. Do not use herbal ingredients lightly; respect their use and potency. Once one really understands what they do, and how they interact with energy and rituals, one can start creating more effective energy work with much better results. Note about buying your herbs and essential oils: best bet is to search at local holistic and herbal stores rather than a traditional occult shop. Holistic and herbal supply stores tend to take better care of their stock because they know customers likely prepare herbal food or homemade medicines with their supplies. Due to health codes, these stores usually have higher standards and are held accountable for making sure their herbs are of quality. ™• May 2011 • Volume 2

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I was very lucky to be able to ask Mya some questions to share with you. She is one of our own, a writer here at Pagan Edge! Faelin: Welcome and thank you to Mya for sharing a bit more about herself, her book, and her writing. You’ve written The Un-Spell Book in addition to another book on energy work, Energy Essentials for Witches and Spellcasters. How is The Un-Spell Book different? Mya Om: Both books are focused on filling perceived gaps in the traditional spellbook. Energy Essentials focused on filling what I identified as the biggest hole in the spellbook model: the lack of clear instructions on where to fit in energy raising and energy work into spell working. But before I could talk about incorporating energy work into spells, I needed to explain what it was and how to use it, so that is how the book came to be. With The Un-Spell Book I wanted to provide a primer on how to create workings that were clear, focused, and powerful. There are a lot of theory books out there – these are the books that talk about the different theories of why magick works. They reference physics and psychology,

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they cite to Plato etc., but they aren’t practical. They present a ton of information but they don’t explain how to use it. I wanted to give something that bridged the theoretical with the practical, something that was easy to read and follow, and broke down some very complicated theories into usable pieces that a person didn’t need a

“...the biggest hole in the spell-book model: the lack of clear instructions on where to fit in energy raising and energy work into spell working.” degree in Psychics, Latin, and Philosophy to understand. So the two books are really similar in a way, but they focus on different aspects of spellworking. Energy Essentials is all about the energy work— learning what it is, using it in magick, adapting spells to add it in. The Un-Spell Book is about the entire process—starting with what the elements of spell-workings are, breaking them down into usable pieces

and learning how to put all of them together. F: Given that you’ve been practicing for quite some time, was it difficult to go back to the basics of visualization, raising energy, and so on? MO: Yes and No. Going through the exercises was actually very cathartic. The whole process was driven by my own desire for self improvement and connection. The actual book came afterwards, sometime around December of 2009, and was based on my notes and journaling in my BOS (Book of Shadows). When I had to go back and write about the exercises in detail, that was hard because I was taking personal experiences and trying to frame them in a way that someone else would be able to understand, appreciate, and learn from. The first draft of the book actually contained a lot more stories and experiences about where the exercises came from and how they ended up in the book. In the end though I cut most of them because they took away too much from the mechanics I was trying to focus on and I didn’t want the focus of the book to get muddied or lost.


The Un-Spell Book continued from page 16

F: As someone who is not very advanced in her magick, I appreciated your focus on lack of skills instead of “there’s something wrong with me!” when spells go wrong or not as expected. Did you come to this attitude out of experience? MO: I approach magick from the perspective that it is a learned skill and as with any skill it takes time and effort to master it successfully. One of the first books I picked up said something to the effect of: “everyone should be able to close his/her eyes and visualize, if you cannot do that, I can’t help you and you can’t practice witchcraft.” The author didn’t explain what visualization was, or the mechanics of how to get into the headspace that allows your mind to be creative in that way. So of course when I closed my eyes and saw

only the back of my eyelids I freaked out. I never forgot that moment when I was thinking “Oh My God there is something totally wrong with me that I can’t close my eyes and immediately be able to do this” and the last thing I wanted to do was pass on that feeling to someone else.

I picked techniques and exercises that I felt even the most novice practitioner would be able to master For years after that I shied away from magickal techniques that required visualization. F: The book is focused on basic skills and the benefit to new

magick users is clear. How can a more advanced magick user benefit from The Un-Spell Book? MO: One of the biggest criticisms I have gotten is that the book is too elementary and simple. It is that way by very deliberate design. I picked techniques and exercises that I felt even the most novice practitioner would be able to master, and at the same time I felt would offer something new, or at least a new way of looking at things, to someone more advanced. Often times after years of practice you do things without thinking about why or how you do them. Going through the exercises in the book is a great challenge because it forces you to reevaluate the entire process and to really think about each step and each element of spell-work.

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Breezes continued from page 10

This breeze is a bridge, a time machine, a conduit between past, present and future. takes me back in an instant to care-free days. This breeze, this blessed wind, takes me back to whispered conversations, and to feet dangling off the dock. To the sight of the sun, suspended like ripe fruit just out of reach of the water. It takes me back to the feeling of holding hands and kissing lips — to a time of innocence, naiveté and a belief that all was right and good in the world. This breeze is a bridge, a time machine, a conduit between past, present and future. It is an inhalation and exhalation that is both a release and a reminder. It tells me I am alive and I have a purpose. It reminds me of happier times, freer times. And it draws me forward — for in each breath the present becomes the past and the future is manifest. It reminds me too of the fragility of life, every inhalation could be the last. All of this is accomplished by one gust of air, at twilight, on an early spring day. Medical practitioners call this scent memory. They speak of such experiences in terms of cognitive psychology. They talk about how our brains are hardwired, and how the olfactory nerve is right next to the hippocampus. They say it is interesting that the smell of apples and cinnamon, remind us of apple pie, Christmas, and Grandma’s house. They give diagrams of nerve connections, and explain how synapses fire differently in response to scent verses imagery. They even talk about how retailers use scent to get people to buy things.1 Empedocles, a Greek philosopher, in his essay On Nature, articulated the view that the world is composed of four basic elements; earth, air, 22

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fire and water. This view has been adopted in Wicca and by many modern magickal and pagan practitioners. He connects air to the soul and breath of life. Lady Sabrina defines the element of air as “the subtle material realm between the physical and spiritual planes.” She adds “air speaks to the intellect and brings forth the true essence of the individual through creative imagination.” 2 Raven Grimassi echoes this sentiment in Wiccan Magick. He states, “workings involving mental creativity or thoughts in general are best accomplished by employing the element of air.”3 Is it any wonder then that such a natural event as a scent on the breeze can transport you across both space and time? It really is a marvelous thing that a simple breeze can change the tone of a moment, that a scent on the air can refresh your entire day, and remind you of the things in life that matter. Think of this the next time you are in ritual space. Does the scent of sage and cauldron fire speak to you? Think of this the next time you are having a hard time quieting your mind and meditating What scent do you associate with peace? With magick? In a working, think, what scent reminds you of what you are seeking here? What scent reminds you of the gods and goddesses? James Gray, Total Recall, The Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol 207 iss 25.

1

Lady Sabrina, Exploring Wicca, New Page Publications 2006 pg 71 2

Raven Grimassi, Wiccan Magick, Llewellyn World Wide 1998 pg 77 3


Repeat continued from page 8 of our lives. It would seem then, that while we cannot choose who we interact with, we can choose what the quality of our contribution will be. This choice can determine the course of events for all life on this planet. Yes, the Air element is just that important. Of all of the elements that humanity interacts with, only the lack of air can kill within minutes. Governed by the Sylphs, Air is all wide-eyed imagination, youthful dreams and noble ambitions. Where would we be without this element — these qualities? How dreary a world without the poems of courage, songs of love? Air does more than allow us to survive, it beckons us to thrive. Yet, as anyone who lives in the vast areas of prairie grass, tall wheat fields and sunflowers knows, Air can also be destabilized, causing fire to spread quickly and earth to be lifted in updrafts like long, brown tails beneath green tornadic skies. Those that live in coastal areas can testify to the power of Air when combined with water. Air is to be respected for its great power. It would seem that the only thing Air gets along with is Air, but this would be an assumption that can prove even more deadly and soulcrushing than any other. It is when Air meets Air that some of the most cataclysmic damage is wrought with the untamed warhorse called—Words.

Our thought forms and words can kill the soul of others, squelching their dreams and robbing them of joy. The demand of balance within the element of Air is such, that we must always remember our duty to use our breath with love and with kindness. Is the world not filled with enough malice, anger, prejudice and pride? Do our words reflect the aspects of our gods and goddesses and of our own, higher selves? What is the quality of our contribution? Do you remember when you would blow on the white, fluffy dandelions, and what it was like when the fluff would scatter on the winds? This is a good reminder of the power and longevity of words and their far reaching effects. One of the blessings of a contemplative life is the solitude and quiet moment. We are able to still ourselves and contemplate our condition and the condition of our world. When we are lucky, the Air element will sing us along to the place where we may learn deep lessons from the world within and the world without. When we are blessed, we may find ways to use these lessons for the betterment of the world around us. When we are wise, we create the opportunity to use them. May the gift of Gentle Air, fill your life with opportunities and love coming from dedicated contemplation. ™• May 2011 • Volume 2

23


Lavender continued from page 11

Lavender Di sinfectant

2 Cups Water

1/4 Cup White 1/4 tsp. Laven 1/4 tsp. Tea Tr

Vinegar

der Essential O

ee Essential O

il

il

Combine and store in a spra y bottle. Shake occasio nally. Use whe re ever a disinfectant sp ray is needed.

22 24

™ ™•• May May 2011 2011•• Volume Volume 22

by scent alone. Strew or hang lavender (fresh or dried) in areas where you wish to repel flies, mosquitoes, moths or bedbugs to name a few. Essential oil of Lavender can also be used, full strength or diluted, for these purposes and for the treatment of head lice. Lavender is one of very few essential oils that can be applied to the skin undiluted, but you may wish to test for sensitivity if applying to a lice irritated scalp and dilute appropriately.

be sure to consult your favorite herbalist or trusted herbal tome for recommendations. For disinfecting of surfaces I recommend a spray ready dilution of lavender essential oil in water and vinegar. Adding Tea Tree oil to the mix will give double knockout power. I have used this spray myself to quickly and effectively wipe out, in my own home, the dreaded “black mold” that causes so many homeowners grief, expense and major health woes.

In the realm of much tinier “bugs” – lavender’s various chemical compounds have been proven to annihilate many bacteria, viruses and molds. For illnesses of the person, treatment with lavender is done with infusions of the herb or its essential oil in boiling water. Lavender again is one of the safer herbs, when it comes to ingesting it, but the strength of the infusion needed varies by affliction, so

As Pagans, we certainly don’t seek to obliterate every disagreeable organism that shares the planet with us, but sometimes we do have to restore a bit of balance to our physical health and/or our living space. Using lavender, rather than lab concocted alternatives, can help us take a path that truly restores balance instead of exponentially degrading it.


Manifestation continued from page 15 mind, visualize the wind and feel it against your skin… picture the flow and patterns of the air… visualize the strength of gales and wind storms… feel the caress of gentle balmy breezes… see the sky with birds gliding and traveling along the air currents… you see other winged creatures as they seem to effortlessly hum along through the clear bright blue sky: butterflies… bees… dragonflies… and moths in the air as darkness draws near. Air brings the power of thought and communication. Visualize sounds traveling: the power of music… the power of song… the power of your voice… your breath. Breathe quietly. Everything is still. It is so still, it’s as if you are in a space with no time, and you can hear the wind breathing through the bushes and trees. You can hear voices on the air, mingling with your own heartbeat… mingling with your own breath… mingling with your voice if you choose to speak. Now, breathe deep, and be aware of the air as it flows in and out of your lungs. Feel it as the breath of the life-giving Spirit… and take in the life-force, the

inspiration of the universe. As you inhale and exhale deeply, see your own breath merge with the winds… the clouds… the great air currents that sweep over land… and ocean… and the turning of our world. Give thanks to Air for its communicative energy. It is the ever-present element of intellectual and mental pro cesses… movem ent… ideas… and knowledge. The Breath of Life: you can see and understand how Air brings inspiration… new beginnings… and rebirth. Use your voice now, to verbally, audibly speak out a welcome; to honor the presence and the power of Air; to thank Air for its gifts to you and to all of humankind. Now, focus on the “Air object” you have either been holding, or that has been hanging near you, this entire time. Fix your attention to it. With all the refreshing energy and renewed movement you now have going on, take time to remember why this was the object you chose to represent Air. What makes it special? How does this object tie you to Air? How does it represent thought? How does it represent

harmony of the mind? Empower your “Air object” with the energy you feel flowing through the links and channels created from your deep connection with Air. In working through the exercise above, you have reinforced your awareness of the association you and the objects around you have with Air. This also raises your consciousness of Air as an important element in the Manifestation Process. You have an active part in the process. Celebrate Air: remember to show your love for and give thanks to Air. Your thoughts bring manifestation. Pay attention to them. Synchronize communication between your mind, your heart, and your speech. All thought is manifested in some way. Meditation can help you reign in your thoughts. Follow inspiring paths. Breathe life. Sing. Carried through the Air, your words do have power. References: Kindred, G. (2001). Sacred Celebrations: A Sourcebook. Gothic Image Publications Starhawk (1989). The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. HarperCollins Publishers

Look for the next article in this series in the August issue: Fire — An Element in the Pentagram of Manifestation

Hummingbird, 2007

Bee on Water Lily, 2010

Sphinx Moth, 2007 Photos © Tootie Marie Imagery ™• May 2011 • Volume 2

25


Meditation continued from page 12

Their fragrance is delicate, yet heady, and very intoxicating. Slightly to your left is a little wooden bridge straddling the small stream and leading to a quiet, well-tended city park with several large, old shade trees: oaks, maples, beech and elm. You can see a gazebo, a water fountain, and a flagpole with a flag moving slowly back and forth. You walk over the wooden bridge to the park. The sounds from the stream and the fragrance of the flowers have made you drowsy. It is such an effort to walk, you feel lethargic, and very sleepy.

You decide to lie down on the soft, tender young grass for just a few minutes. The wind is much stronger and you can see the flag whipping back and forth. It is now very windy and the flag is a blur on the flagpole. You get up with some difficulty and realize you need to hold on to something. The wind is so strong you have to bend forward to stay upright as you fight your way against the wind to the flagpole and wrap your arms tightly around it. 26 22 26

™ ™•• May May 2011 2011•• Volume Volume 22

The wind is whipping furiously against you, going through your clothes and your hair. You can hear the wind as it whistles around your ears and goes deeper into you.

are there in front of you, crystal clear. You know exactly what you want and exactly what to do. You know exactly how to accomplish your goals.

The wind is pushing and pulling at all the negative feelings you have buried deep within your body.

You open your eyes. It is no longer dark. You see the wispy fingers of pre-dawn creeping up from the horizon.You release your hold on the flagpole and straighten your body. Your shoulders feel lighter, you feel stronger and inspired.

You realize the harder you try to hold on to the negative feelings — fear of failure, anger at yourself and the people around you, frustration, greed, envy and jealousy — the stronger the wind becomes.

You can smell the fragrances of bloodroot, trillium and lily of the valley and see the stream gently flowing over and around the rocks and boulders.

It seems hours have passed. You can no longer see the old shade trees, the gazebo, the water fountain or the flag. It is completely and utterly dark. You can only feel the coolness of the flagpole and wind tearing through your body but you are determined to hang on to your negative feelings. Just as you reach the point of exhaustion, you realize the wind is only a light, gentle breeze. Gone are the negative feelings you have stored in your mind and body for such a long time. You feel cleansed and purified. You feel refreshed and energized. The goals you have set aside

It is dawn and the sun is peeping over the horizon. You are aware of a very, light gentle breeze. The tender green grass is providing a natural cushion under your feet — perfect for walking barefooted — you remove your shoes so you can feel the warmth of the solid earth. Breathe in, hold it for a second, then exhale slowly counting one two three, repeat. Take a deep cleansing breath and exhale quickly.

You are refreshed, energized and ready to accomplish your desired goals.


Airey-Force Valley

------NOT a breath of air

Ruffles the bosom of this leaf� glen.

From the brook’s margin, wide around, the t�ees Are stedfast as the rocks; the brook itself, Old as the hills that feed it from afar,

Doth rather deepen than dist�rb the calm

Where all things else are still and motionless. And yet, even now, a little breeze, perchance

Escaped from boisterous winds that rage without, Has entered, by the st�rdy oaks unfelt, But to its gentle touch how sensitive

Is the light ash! that, pendent from the brow Of yon dim cave, in seeming silence makes A soſt eye-music of slow-waving boughs, Powerf�l almost as vocal har�ony

To stay the wanderer’s steps and soothe his thoughts. ~William Wordswor�h, 1842

photography by Mascha Zhuk • www.fotoart-nouveau.com • maschaw.deviantart.com • Stuttgart, Germany ™• May 2011 • Volume 2 27


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Envisioning Spiritual and Climate Wise Living

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May 2011 "Air My Breath"  

Contents: 6 Dream Weaving - Air My Breath 8 Divine Mind - Air In Air Out Repeat 9 Life’s Wit - Children’s Museum 10 Keeping the Edge - Br...

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