The Old Witch’s Almanac Poems and spells Rosemary Nissen-‐Wade
Published by Life Magic Murwillumbah NSW 2484 Australia © Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2011 The poems in this chapbook are copyright, and the author asserts her moral rights in them. The accompanying material is from various sources. Items by Rosemary Nissen-Wade are simply identified by the initials RNW. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part of this book may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org These poems, written in 2011, have appeared previously only in the author’s own blog posts.
Contents Poems Radiance ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ The Visitor Growing Old Disgracefully To My Dreams I Light a Candle for My Friend At Samhain Ace of Pentacles Agenda In Dreams I Return Often She Pan Getting Acquainted with My New Cards Death Beltane Night 2011 The Observer
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Making Magick To Find an Angel Love Meditation To Prevent Bad Dreams Resisting Dark Thoughts For Psychic Protection To Attract Love and Lust To Remember Your Dreams A Prayer for the Dead Remembering Our Ancestors To Ensure Having Enough Money Protecting Your Aura Invisibility Choose Your Dreams Pan Attuning New Tarot Cards to Your Energy To Experience Being Fully Alive Beltane Connecting to the Energy of the Moon Understanding the Moon’s Influence
4 5 6 6 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 12 13 15 16 17 18 19 19
Why is there no magickal working associated with the poem She (page 14)? Some magicks are bestowed unsought!
Radiance (for Sharon) Yesterday, my friend spoke of encountering angels. Such vivid detail, it seemed I was there with her seeing and understanding what she saw and understood. Still, a day later, I’m fizzy with joy.
TO FIND AN ANGEL Write a want ad, e.g.: WANTED: Angel from the celestial realm. Seeking an angel who can help me improve my self-image. Need one who can get through my stubborn streak. Or: SEEKING: Angel who is willing to help me with my money problems. Seeking loving assistance to help me create peace and prosperity in my life. Hold the ad in your hand, close your eyes and concentrate on bringing a beam of light towards you, Read your ad out loud if you like. Don’t worry about doing it right — there is no right or wrong way to ask an angel for help, as long as you use good manners. If you wish, you may also utter a prayer. Tuck the ad in your pocket or pin it somewhere on your clothing where no-one can see it. Don’t tell people — we don’t want any negative thoughts interfering. ‘Teach not the mysteries to fools’ — nor to anyone who might scoff. Angels are often subtle; results may come through other people or through apparent coincidences. The angels are guides, helpers and friends. They are waiting for you to call on them. — adapted from ‘Angels; Companions in Magick’, by Silver Ravenwolf
‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ I refrain from recalling out loud that when we were first together I bought him a card for Valentine’s Day and he covered embarrassment with anger: ‘I feel manipulated,’ he said, ‘As if you expect me to buy you one too.’ Truth was, he had no idea of the day — and I only did it as a joke anyway, not really liking commercialisation of love. Now I don’t buy cards, and he does kiss me and wish me Happy Valentine’s Day. In seventeen years, we’ve both mellowed.
LOVE MEDITATION (A recipe for a wonderful life!) Remember a time when you felt loving — towards a person, an animal, a piece of music, whatever. Re-create the occasion in vivid detail. What were you wearing? Who else was present? What were the surroundings? What objects (natural or manmade) were around you? What was the weather and the temperature? What was happening? Recall the feeling of love. Re-experience it. Then gradually let all other details fade until only the feeling remains. Project that as an energy, out into the universe. Let it be a call for the matching energy to come towards you. If energy comes towards you and it matches exactly, allow it entry. If it does not match exactly, refuse it admittance and be content with sending out love. Let the energy you generate be a gold spark that grows to fill your being; let that which comes from the universe be a radiant white mist that mingles with the gold. Let this combined energy flow from you with each out-breath. This can be done any time, and may be repeated as often as you like. Ideally, do it every morning on waking. Eventually, if you practise this enough, you will be able to think, ‘Love!’ and summon it instantly without having to go through all the steps above. — learned in Jenette Youngman’s course, The Master Game
The Visitor Dark figure, peripheral, just by my shoulder. For me? Is it time to set my affairs in order? Yet I am surprised by my own calm. Eventually I even forget him and fall asleep. In the morning, my Beloved waking beside me, says: ‘What a terrible night! I thought I was dying.’
TO PREVENT BAD DREAMS: Buy or make a dream catcher. Hang it in your bedroom window. If you have more than one window in the bedroom, you need a dream catcher for each one. You can find them in New Age shops, or Google ‘How to make a dream catcher’. — RNW
RESISTING DARK THOUGHTS Meet them by sending love. Do not allow them to take hold. Put your hand on your heart and command them to leave you. — Channelled by Ann Adcock during a Reiki intensive.
FOR PSYCHIC PROTECTION: Put a dab of pure Sandalwood oil behind each knee, in the small of your back, and on the prominent vertebra at the back of your neck. — Advice from Ann Adcock, Reiki Master Or: Call the name of the Egyptian cat goddess, Bast. — Advice from my mentor Ridge, Hermetic magician.
Growing Old Disgracefully ‘A nude woman!’ he shouts with joy, encountering me moving thus unencumbered from bedroom to bath, bathroom to bed. ‘Aren’t you lucky!’ I say. ‘How many men of 82 have nude women wandering their homes?’ ‘Not too many,’ he guesses, and grins. ‘Yes, I am lucky.’ And I think to myself, How many women of 71 have their nudity greeted by men shouting for joy? Not too many, I think. I know who’s lucky.
TO ATTRACT LOVE AND LUST Add ground cardamom to your morning coffee. (Use it carefully!) Serve cardamom-spiced biscuits and cardamom-spiced coffee to a loved one when planning a romantic night together. — from ‘Magic: How to Harness White Magic for Health, Wealth, Wisdom and Love, by Carol Daniels.
To My Dreams Dear Messengers, You are neglecting me! I seldom see you, and when I do, it’s briefly. Aren’t you supposed to communicate? You used to show me whole movies, but now the phone line’s dead, the emails are bouncing, you’re a twitter eye-blink. Could you try YouTube?
TO REMEMBER YOUR DREAMS a) Take Vitamin B6 at bedtime. b) As you fall asleep, tell yourself to remember your dreams. c) Allow time — a number of nights if necessary — for these things to take effect. d) Have a notebook and pen by the bed. As soon as you wake up, start writing anything you remember, however little, just as it comes — don’t try to make sense of it. — More science than spell, this advice may be found on the Internet. I first learned it from poet and psychologist Doris Brett.
I Light a Candle for My Friend I light a candle for my friend while reflecting wryly he wasn’t the kind for that. Still, you do what you do. He was living more intensely, he said, with his days shortening. I spend this day, first weeping, then feeling crabby. Just on dusk I burst out of the house for a walk. I make myself notice rows of white camellias, an old lady walking a puppy, a gaggle of little children. A magpie perches on a roof grooming under one wing. Soft grey clouds rest gently on the air; pale sunset pinks come in behind them. All our days are shortening. The dark settles down. I puff my way slowly up the hill to home. Three birds suddenly erupt from a tree, almost into my face, flying at desperate speed to get away from me, squawking, surprising me into laughter.
A PRAYER FOR THE DEAD Light a new white candle. Say: ‘I light this candle for [name]. May [his/her] spirit pass through the portal betwixt this world and the next and find rest and peace. May [his/her] time spent in the land of light be profitable that [s/he] may learn the lessons necessary for the next stage of [his/her] journey towards God. May [name] be at peace and at rest. Peace be with you.’ Let the candle burn all the way down. (Never leave a burning candle unattended.)
—Taught to me by Ridge
At Samhain (Admonition to myself) As the veil thins between the worlds notice you’ve spent the month honouring the dead, recent or old. Take a moment now to reflect on what was said today by a healer: Spirit isn’t finished with you yet on this plane. You’ve been wanting to take things more quietly, you’ve been feeling tired and old. But it’s only those 2012 changes coming. Instead of this draining, summon that zingy young you that you’ve been and are. You’ve got more to teach. And as the veil thins, say hail and farewell to your dear dead, then with your hands on your heart regenerate.
REMEMBERING OUR ANCESTORS A good thing to do at Samhain, if you are meeting with others, is to bring a photo of a beloved relative who has died. They can be displayed in a place of honour, and each person in turn can tell the story of that relative. If you are alone, find a photo and reflect on it, or even write down your memories of that person — or what you have been told about them if they died before you knew them. — RNW
Ace of Pentacles (The Keys to Heaven Tarot) It is dawn. One gold star is still in the sky; its outline sizzling like neon, blue-white. The fields are sown with seedlings springing. Wild roses bloom in the hedge. The two pillars either side of the archway gate are keys opening up a path of light. From clouds veiling the boundless, a strong right hand holds up an eye in the centre of the palm. The hand is twined with leafy vines young, growing. The cup of the palm is deep. To have and hold, it says, to touch and know, to work in the earth and reach the sky. Image: http://www.occultliving.com/wp-blog/2011/06/they-keys-to-heaven-tarot/
TO ENSURE HAVING ENOUGH MONEY The Ace of Pentacles represents success in material matters, including money. It is a 5-pointed star within a circle. Draw this symbol on a small piece of card, laminate it if you like, and keep it in your wallet. — RNW
Agenda She barged in the shop door straight at me, was aware I was there, stopped short, side-stepped, ploughed on all without meeting my eye or even my face, intent beyond me. I was obstacle, thing, irritation in her way.
PROTECTING YOUR AURA In a public place like a supermarket, your aura can brush against other people’s and become polluted by their stuff. Before entering such a space, use visualisation and intention to pull your aura in close to your body. — General knowledge. If need be, surround yourself with a strong ‘psychic shield’ imagined as a flexible cocoon of bluish white light that moves with you. Know that this will let through anything beneficial but keep out the negative, dangerous or harmful. — General knowledge, expanded on by RNW
INVISBILITY Very few of us have a Harry Potter invisibility cloak! But we can use techniques to remain unnoticed, even if not literally unable to be seen. They are astonishingly effective. 1) [A Native American method.] Instead of putting your heel down first as you walk, put your toe down first with every step. (It takes practice!) — Dinah Morgan 2) Instead of having your attention focused where you are, keep most of it out ahead of you to where you’re going. Keep just enough with you in your present location to enable you to function! — Source unknown
In Dreams I Return Often In dreams I return often to my childhood garden, that vast rectangle of lawn and the bushes around the sides. When you wake during a recurring dream, you know at once it has been recurring — this one all my life, including the years I lived there. The lawn has long been cemented over. The raspberry bushes, the ferns and bamboo and the two spreading willows have all disappeared. Nothing of it exists; not the swing, not the summerhouse. My brother and I went back one day and saw. But in my dreams I return often to that childhood garden, my archetypal garden, always green. And I am at home there.
CHOOSE YOUR DREAMS As you lie waiting to fall asleep, get yourself into a state of relaxation by calming your breathing and, if necessary, consciously relaxing each body part in turn. Then let your thoughts wander in a day-dreamy kind of way to what you would like to dream about. You could even start telling yourself a little story, and allow it to continue as you drift into sleep. (You may need to repeat this technique over a period of time before it starts to take effect, but it can happen quite quickly.) — RNW
She Melbourne She sits at her desk on a Spring day. On her right is the glass door to the back garden. She is crafting a poem. She is happy. Her man and her children are about their business. She feels a strange frisson rippling her back a moment. She could be in a time-warp, caught. Or timeless: forever, in unbroken thread, sitting at her desk etc. This might be 1980, or 1985. Murwillumbah At my desk on a Spring day, crafting a poem, the glass door to the garden at my right, my man asleep, my children grown and far away absorbed in their own lives, I feel a strange frisson and here I am. And there I am. I can see that desk, that garden, that woman across time. I am in my body. I am here, I am happy. And she is in me, with me; we are two points on a thread. It is 2011. It is now.
Pan I don’t at this moment see the flute but the horns are cornucopias. He lay on a bank where willows grow and the little ones whispered in awe. Some paint him gross. He is elegant though muscular, and larger than us. I am looking at his picture on my desk, planning where it will go on my altar. He is a god of love in his own way, sensual and wild, strong and tender. He is the Nature we see around us and also the earthy nature within us. His full and shapely lips, his liquid eyes and fine aquiline nose are distinctly Greek. His pointed, fleshy ear, its whorls and folds, indicate his animal hearing, acute. He said he has come to this household to take away our pain. We trust him for that. I am no nymph but a Wise Woman, yet his presence brings new fire to my lover.
PAN is god of Nature, also associated with music, prophecy and virility. (His image was remade by the early Church into that of the Christian Devil or Satan.) In honour of Pan, you could meditate to the music of a Pan-flute, and/or outside in natural surroundings. — RNW
Getting Acquainted With My New Cards (pulling one card from each new deck to describe my present path) The Celtic Oracle offers me a ride with the Lord of the Underworld, King of the Wild Hunt pictured horned and giving chase. Change is promised and chaos. I should think before drinking from his cauldron. New life — but am I ready? The Wildwood Tarot gives me Page of Stones, the Lynx, and I warm. Lynx is a favourite totem, telling me now: ‘Pay attention to the physical realm, the effects you generate.’ A strain of wildness may need balance. There are new beginnings. My pathway is one of apprenticeship. The phantasmagorical Vampyre Tarot presents me with The Fool: the original creative seed. Change and chaos again, and infinite possibility. ‘A renewal in any or all of our human domains.’ Great leaps of faith like moonbeams from dark clouds. He is the god Pan, drunk with passion. And he is perfectly balanced. I shall win! (Even when no quotation marks are used, many phrases derive from the texts of these oracles. Not entirely a found poem, but....)
ATTUNING NEW TAROT CARDS TO YOUR ENERGY When you first get them, sleep with the whole deck under your pillow for three weeks. — Source unknown To get to know the cards, pull a new one every morning as your ‘card for the day’, see what images or ideas leap out at you, and in the evening look at that card again to see how it played out in your day. — James Wanless, creator of Voyager Tarot™
Death He has become such a well-known figure that even the scary hood and cloak seem somehow reassuring now, even that scythe he carries. In his chess games, his grin seems almost benign — I am so sure it’s not me he’ll check mate.
TO FULLY EXPERIENCE BEING ALIVE Carlos Castaneda said that his teacher Don Juan taught him to be keenly aware that his death was always at his shoulder.
Beltane Night 2011 All week he’s been full of passion and play. Tonight his back hurts. I go out to see the moon but it’s still a wet Spring — she’s cloud-hidden again. But I can write poems in the fertile season, warm offerings to Life.
BELTANE is a fertility festival, so lovemaking is an appropriate and traditional way to celebrate. If that is not possible for you, you might like to indulge some other passion and/or pleasure —eating chocolate, for instance! Any act of creativity is also appropriate, and indeed anything at all that is life-affirming. It’s a fire festival. Light a candle! (Make it a pink one to draw love to you or a red one to draw passion to you.) While it burns, imagine what kinds of joy and fufilment you would like in your life for the next three months; picture them. As you extinguish the candle, say ‘According to free will, for the good of all and harm to none, so shall it be!’ Never leave a burning candle unattended! — General knowledge, adapted by RNW
The Observer Pale in the afternoon sky the moon’s three-quarter face leans over, as if she turns on her side to gaze down at us. I think she looks bemused.
CONNECTING TO THE ENERGY OF THE MOON Wiccan author Silver Ravenwolf recommends going outside every night, blowing a kiss to the moon and saying, ‘Greetings, Lady Moon!’
UNDERSTANDING THE MOON’S INFLUENCE You might try keeping a moon journal. Record every day what phase the moon is in, and then note what is happening in your life and your emotions. There may be a correlation. — RNW, inspired by Maggie Strongheart (originator of ’30 Days of Moon Reflection’ on facebook)
Tasmanian-born Rosemary Nissen-Wade, who now lives in northern New South Wales, fell in love with poetry as a child and has been making it ever since. She is the author of three collections of poetry, and of a series of chapbooks of which this is one. Once best-known as a performance poet, nowadays she is an inveterate blogger of both verse and prose, creates micro-poetry on Twitter, and moderates haiku and tanka groups online. In recent years she has preferred to publish in online literary magazines rather than in print, except for her book Secret Leopard, a “new and selected” volume of poetry from the Alyscamps Press imprint, which is available through Amazon and from the author — and except for her chapbooks, such as this one, which appear as e-books and may be printed in hard copy.
Published and printed by Life Magic Murwillumbah NSW 2484 Australia