Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thursday This Is Your Spell -

* De-Anna Alba's Solitary Ritual for Lughnasadh *

The Mystic Union

The idea for this ritual struck me some time ago, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since. Some of you may think I've really gone off the deep end with this one, and others of you will be open to the possibilities. I hope at least some of you will try it in some form or another. I think it has the potential to be a quite profound experience; and I don't think you'll view your relationship to the Earth in quite the same way after you have worked this ritual. It is also one that could bear repeating at Lughnasadh for years to come, should you find it of value.

The idea of a sacred marriage with the Land is found in a variety of agri-cultures throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. It was definitely a feature of the Celtic cultures from which we have inherited the celebration of Lughnasadh, or Lammas. Lughnasadh means "the wedding feast of Lugh." The name of the holiday was changed to Lammas by the early Christians in an attempt to incorporate this holiday into their liturgical calendar in an effort to draw the Pagans into their belief system. Lammas means "loaf-mass," and with the name change came a change in focus from the sexual/marriage aspect of Lughnasadh to the fruitful outcome of the union aspect--the grain harvest.

Prior to the inroads of Christianity into the celebration, mass marriages took place at Lughnasadh in imitation of the sacred marriage between the king/chieftain and the representative of the Land which also took place at this time. This ceremony took place in order to assure the birth of a new crop the following Spring, now that the harvest was beginning. It was also to assure the health and continuance of the clan or community, and the health of the relationship between the people and the Land. It is this last relationship--between the people and the Land--that is to be the focus of your solitary Lughnasadh. More specifically, the health of your own personal relationship with the Land, and hence the Goddess and spirits of the Land.

It's beautiful out now. The days are hot and the nights are warm. It's a perfect time to do an extended, even overnight, Lughnasadh ritual at your power spot. If you don't yet have a power spot out in Nature, this would be a good time to find one. Plan on an overnight campout if you can and pack accordingly. If a campout is not possible, then adjust what follows to your situation. It is important that you be outside for a large potion of this ritual, however. If it rains or something, postpone the ritual until the next weekend. In the case of this ritual it's not the date that's important, it's the action. (Choosing a time in close proximity to August 1st would add to the power of the ritual, however.)

Since the word "marriage" means different things to different people (and not all of them good), I've chosen instead to use the word commitment or covenant in describing this ritual. What I'm asking you to do is make a commitment to the Spirit of the Land, and that includes all creatures, seen and unseen, that dwell upon it, in it or around it. This commitment or covenant (promise) is, in essence, to become a more active environmentalist in the Wiccan sense of that term. It means a promise to protect the environment, work for its improvement in every facet of your everyday life and your Magical life in order to improve, or enhance, the sacred connection between yourself and the Spirit(s) of the Land. It's a realization at the cellular level of your being that your health and the health of the planet depend upon each other, and symbolically represent each other.

So, in addition to your camping gear, what you'll need for this ritual is an offering to make/leave at each of the four directions, symbolic of the four elements of creation, and an offering for the center (which symbolically represents the Spirit of the Land as a whole, or Goddess). You will also take from the Land an item that is symbolic of your covenant with the Land for your home altar. Keep that in the back of your mind as you proceed through the ritual, so that you will recognize the perfect thing when you see it.

Go to your spot in the afternoon and set up your campsite and ritual space so that everything is ready when the Sun begins to set. Don't forget the bug spray and whatever else you'll need to be comfortable. You're going to be doing some Otherworld journeying at each of the four directions and at the center, so you'll need to be comfortable and undistracted. You'll probably also want to take a notebook to record your overall impressions from the experience when you are done. You may also wish to make and take along a dream pillow to encourage significant dreams related to this work when you go to bed. Cast your circle as the Sun begins to set. Invoke the presence of the four elements at the directions, keeping in mind that you will be asking them to assist you in a journey to Their realm within the context of the ritual. At the center invoke the presence of whichever Goddess represents the Spirit of the Land/the Soul of Nature to you. If you do not have a clear sense of what Her name would be for you, invoke Her by using titles that are symbolic of Her energy or appearance for you.

Now consecrate your offerings to the Land by passing them through the four elements at your circle's altar. As you do each one, remember why you chose it, what it means to you, and what this whole covenant ceremony means to you and your future.Take your Eastern/Air offering and your comfort items to your eastern gate and arrange your chair (or whatever) so that it is facing your eastern circle marker. Standing at your eastern gate with your offering in your hands, make your offering to the East by calling the things, beings, powers, scenes, etc. you associate with the element of Air to your eastern gate. Visualize them in your head while you sing, dance, speak or in some way make your offering and your promise to what you perceive to be the primary representative of the Powers of Air. Once the offering is made, sit in your chair (or whatever) and continue your visualization.

The Representative will give you some indication that your gift and promise have been accepted. When It does so, ask to be given further insight into Its realm, and ask it how you can best help the Spirit(s) of Air in your day-to-day living. You'll receive an answer in some form. You'll be shown something(s), taken somewhere, instructed in some way. Remember the experience so that you can write it down later and revisit it in other meditations. When the Representative is finished It, and the accompanying scenes, will fade from your inner sight, and you will know it is time to move on. Take a few moments to assimilate this experience. (Write it down now, if you want to.) Then move everything to the southern gate and repeat the entire process. Make your offering and your promise and then sit down and "see" what happens next. Repeat the process at the West and the North. Then move on to the Center.

At the Center make your offering and your commitment to Goddess of the Land. Again, sit down to continue the visualization. Again, you will get some indication of Her acceptance of your commitment. She will demonstrate its acceptance in some way. She may question you further about the commitment. She may show you things and interact with you in a variety of ways. Yes, these interactions may have a sexual feeling or component to them. This component will both root your commitment firmly in your body and throw it out into the Otherworld on all its levels for acceptance and institution. If you are not ready or willing to experience this in a sexual way, you will instead receive it through an overwhelming feeling of love and sharing between yourself and the Earth. That love may feel like that between a parent and a child (with you experiencing both parts of that relationship at the same time), or it may feel like the love shared by a couple of life-long dear friends. However it comes to you, it will no doubt have a lasting effect in your life and the way you view the reality/environmentalism from now on. When the experience fades, spend some time assimilating all that has happened. If you'd find it helpful, record your experiences in your notebook.

Remember that there is no hurry with any of this. It may take you a long time to feel ready to end the ritual. When you are ready, begin by thanking Goddess for Her participation in and continued guidance of your life and the life of the Land. Return to the four directions and thank each in turn for your experience of/with them in the ritual. Reiterate your promise to each of the directions, and expand upon those covenants based on your evening's experience with Them if you wish. What you do next depends on your situation. If you will be returning home at this point, do a thorough grounding exercise and have something substantial to eat (no caffeine or sugar). Now, go home and get ready for bed. Tuck your dream pillow under your regular pillow, or place it near your face, and ask for dreams related to the experience you've just undergone, or dreams providing you with information on what you can do to protect, improve and enhance the environment.

If you'll be staying overnight at your power spot, just go to bed. Staying in a fairly open and awed state may increase your chances of having significant dreams. If you feel you're just too blown away to be able to sleep, brew yourself a nice sleepy time tea, drink it, and do a relaxation exercise before attempting to sleep. Don't forget to put your dream pillow under your regular pillow or near your face. Its presence will aid in your dream seeking.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this blog. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tuesday Try A New Taste - Cornmeal Shortbread

All forms of shortbread are traditional in wintertime; these sorts of dry confections are best eaten with nice hot drinks such as wassail and cocoa. Also, recipes with cornmeal in them tend to enhance the inherent simplicity of home-baked desserts. Therefore, I submit for seasonal bakers' approval a recipe that combines shortbread with cornmeal to make this nice simple after-dinner treat to enjoy during the dark days of winter. It's a nice change from the usually heavy and sweet foods that usually weigh down the table this time of year! This can also be served on a harvest table anytime in early to mid fall.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of salt
  • Optional powdered sugar
Grease a 9-inch fluted tart pan or a shortbread mold. Stir together the flour and cornmeal. In another bowl, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt on medium high until combined. Add the flour mix and beat. Put the dough into the pan and score into 12 wedges. Prick each piece with a fork three times, all the way through. (If you're using a shortbread mold, don't do this step.) Bake at 325º F for 25-30 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes.
Yield: 12 wedges


Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this blog. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Monday Make A - Seashell Soapdish


Assorted seashells

All purpose white glue


There are a variety of seashells that work great for different projects. Some of these are olive, volutes, tulips, augers, clam and snail. Arranged with patience, many crafts can be created with these seashore finds.

Using a large shell as the base (dish), glue the smaller shells in a design onto the back of the large shell, with shell top facing front.

Use 3 similar shaped shells for pedestal feet. Glue one to center back of dish shell toward bottom and two in front as shown in photo. Be certain that all feet are glued evenly to base shell so that the dish will sit even. That's it! Enjoy

From: The Crone's Cottage

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this blog. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Surprise - * Irish Fire Festivals: Lughnassadh *

* Irish Fire Festivals: Lughnassadh *
By Kym ní Dhoireann; First published in THiNK! Vol. 2, issue 3 Summer/Lughnassadh 1997); Copyright © 1997 Kym ní Dhoireann

***Updated 09/22/08 to reflect the following changes*** 
I apologize to anyone who has come here looking for this post. I received a comment from the author, indicating she (he?) wanted the post removed, I responded in the following manner, and did so...

I apologize if you feel I "stole" your work. I do everything in my power to find the original author of anything I post and link back to them, as this will in turn generate traffic for them. At no point did I claim authorship of this work. As a matter-of-fact, the authorship information I had is listed at the BEGINNING of the post, as well as links to all of Your sources - something you didn't bother to provide.

It has been my experience, in the past, that authors write articles to be read...Again, I apologize for assuming that was your intent when you wrote it, and I will remove it, with a notice indicating why it was removed." 

The comment has not been removed, so you may view it at your leisure - if you're interested...I have also left the sources, so you can still follow-up on your own if you would like. 

 "Irish Folk Tradition and the Celtic Calendar."  Kevin Danaher. (I could not find this particular book, but I have linked to some of the author's other work)
The Celtic Consciousness Robert O'Driscoll
The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy  Robert Hutton
 The Folklore of the Scottish Highlands  & The Pagan Celts Anne Ross
"Material Culture, Myth and Folk Memory" The Celtic Consciousness
The Celts  T.G.E. Powell.
Sex and Marriage in Ancient Ireland Patrick C. Power
Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this blog. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Form A Circle - Waning Moon Ritual For Letting Go

Best done at sunrise, during a waning moon phase, Saturn day and hour [this ritual is an excerpt from  "Magical Astrology Guide 2005",  © 1997-2005 Sarolta G. DeFaltay.]
This spell is designed to help release the stresses and worries of our day to day lives. Though best done during a waning moon phase, feel free to perform it anytime you feel blocked, sad, fearful, negative, angry or bitter.
Make sure your phone is turned OFF and you won't be disturbed

You will need:
  1. 2 white altar candles
  2. 1 black candle
  3. 1 pink candle
  4. Sage, frankincense or myrrh incense (for clearing)
  5. many small pieces of paper & a pen
Add salt to the water, or tie the following herbs in a small piece of cloth:
  • hyssop
  • lavender
  • rosemary.
Run under faucet. As you inhale the aroma of the steaming herbs, visualize the steam breaking up any tension in your body, and exhale. Ask your body and spirit to release any thoughtforms that are not in accordance with your highest potential, and be willing to look at where you might be harboring doubt, suspicion, or fear. With each inhale, affirm that you are breathing in the healing energies of the Universe, and that you can transform yourself through meditation, patience and faith. With each exhale, affirm that the outmoded thoughtforms are transformed into new energy that can be utilized for growth. Energy is neutral, so it is up to us to redirect it!
Light your white altar candles and incense. They are symbolic of peace, truth and protection. Meditate for a few minutes on what that means to you personally. Is there anything in your life now that is not in sync with your personal truth? Light the black candle. The color black is an absence of color, and therefore absorbs - the black candle will represent the absorbing / transforming power of the dark moon, and as we work with it, imagine the pain or anger being pulled out of you and absorbed and transformed by the energy that is symbolized by the black candle. Take a small piece of paper, and write with as much emotion as you can muster, one thing you want to release / transform. Light one corner of the paper, and immediately drop it into a flameproof / heatproof dish (a large ashtray or a ceramic pot with some soil on the bottom would be ideal). Repeat with any and all emotions, fears, resentments, gripes, angers, resentments, excuses, obligations, etc. etc. etc. Until you feel clear. If you still feel bad, keep going for a while! When you've cried, griped etc. as much as you can stand, put out the black candle. Light the pink candle. Put on your favorite music: something that makes you feel energized, happy and motivated! Now you need to focus on filling up the spaces left where the old pain was! Time to fill it in with the affirmations of your choice...Always write affirmations in the present tense! Keep repeating them over and over until you feel great! Breathe in your new truth. When you are finished, put out the pink candle, and save it and the black candle until the next time you do this exercise. For maximum effect or serious depression or apathy, do this spell 3 days in a row (finishing on New Moon day).
©1997-2005 Sarolta G. DeFaltay. All Rights Reserved.DSAS, Inc. Deep Skies Astrological Services
Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this blog. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday This is Your Spell - Bountiful Ritual

Bountiful Ritual To Increase the Good Things in Your Life

This is a wonderful ritual to do around Thanksgiving, but it can be done any time of the year that you want to be grateful for what you have and make sure that the good things, such as money, love, success and health, keep coming to you.
November is a time when psychic thoughts are strong. Doing this ritual in November brings an abundance of love, prosperity and health.
For great abundance of love, prosperity and health do this ritual on Saturday or Sunday before the full moon. This ritual should not be done more than 3 times a year.
The items you will need are:
  • The Bag of Bountiful Gemstones (or make your own):
    • Rose quartz, Citrine, or jade for friendship and love
    • Unakite or Garnet for a healthy mind
    • Agate, lodestone, onyx or hematite for strong protection
    • Garnet, flourite, or moonstone for good luck, love and money
    • Citrine or marble for success and good luck
    • Carnelian or garnet for health and money
    • Emerald, malachite or ruby for love and health
    • Smoky quartz or fire opal for energy and prosperity
    • Sodaltie or garnet for harmony
  • 3 votive candles in clear glass holders
    1 white votive, 1 orange votive and 1 green votive
  • Vase with water and evergreens
    can be ivy, holly or pine
  • 1 penny, 1 dime and 1 quarter
  • A small dish or bowl
    silver, brass or clear glass
  • 1 teaspoon of honey and a small piece of bread on a white plate
  • 3 tablespoons of red wine or grape juice in a clear glass
  • A list of 10 or more things for which you are grateful
Clean your stones:
Clean your stones in the method you like.
The night before the ritual write your grateful list and have your evergreens in the vase.

Prepare your altar:
Put all the items on your clean altar. Put the candles in glass holders, have the matches close by. Place the candles form left to right white, green and orange.
Place the gemstones in an order that is meaningful to you in front of the candles.
For example, if love is most important for you now, then put the love stones first starting on the left or if health is the most important, then the health stones. The order of the stones may be changed each time you do this ritual.
Put your grateful list under the white candle, put the vase with the evergreens behind the green candle and the coins behind the orange candle.
Place the small bowl to the left of the candles
Put the plate with the honey and bread and the wine or juice to the right of the candles.

Light the candles starting at the left with the white candle and say:
I have love and friendship in my life
Light the green candle and say:
I have a strong and healthy body with a clear mind
Light the orange candle and say:
I have success and prosperity in my life
Say the following lines in order as you pick up each gemstone one at a time with your right hand and place the gemstone in your left hand. After you recite each line gently blow on the gemstone and then put it in the bowl.
I deserve love and friendship in my life
I deserve a strong and healthy body with a clear mind
I deserve success and prosperity in my life
I feel the flow of love and friendship around me
I feel the flow of health in my body and clearness in my mind
I feel the flow of success and prosperity around me
I accept the increase of love and friendship into my life
I accept the increase of having a stronger and healthier body and a clearer mind
I accept the increase of success and prosperity into my life
After the nine stones are in the bowl, dip the bread in the honey and say:
I have much sweetness in my life!
Eat the bread and honey.
Take the wine and say:
I have much joy in my life!
Drink the wine.
Let the candles burn out.
Take away the bread plate and wine glass, but leave everything else on the altar for the next 3 days.

On the third day, wrap the coins in your grateful list, take this and the evergreens to a tree you like and bury the wrapped coins at the base of the tree, then place the evergreens on top and say:
So I give what I receive in abundance!
Found at Making Magic Work
They offer Bountiful Ritual Stones 9 gemstones and a bag - $16.99
Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wednesday What Herb Is This - Sage

Also called Garden Sage, Red Sage, Sawge (Old English), Salvia salvatrix, Narrow-leaved White Sage, Broad-leaved White Sage Sage is a perennial herb with grayish-green leaves that are slightly hairy. It is native to Spain and the Mediterranean coast, and is a member of the Salvia family. It is a variable species, and it's flowers can be blue, pink, or white. It can be grown in containers and makes a nice container specimen. While sage has links to many cultures throughout the world, it is thought to have originated in Syria. From there it spread throughout the northern Mediterranean and then on to the rest of the world via the trade routes. With over 500 species, from colored varieties to dwarfs to non - flowering varieties, sage is grown throughout the world (almost anywhere there is good drainage and full sun). Most of the varieties are perennials, fast growers, require low moisture and are deer resistant, making them a favorite with gardeners and cooks  Sage can be used fresh, dried, or chopped and frozen in ice cube trays. It has a lemony, camphor-like, and slightly bitter taste and it is a very aromatic herb.
For thousands of years sage has been used for a variety of culinary and medicinal purposes, and over the past 2,000 years or so has been recommended by herbalists to treat just about every known condition, from snakebite to mental illness. In fact, in medieval times the French called the herb toute bonne, which means, "all is well". It has been used in connection with sprains, swelling, ulcers, and bleeding. As a tea, sage has been administered for sore throats and coughs. Herbalists have also used this herb for rheumatism, menstrual bleeding, strengthening the nervous system, improving memory, and sharpening the senses. Even today, in many European countries sage is used medicinally as a gargle for sore throat and inflammation of the mouth and gums. Clinical studies also indicate that the substance found in sage oil may also offer antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral effects, explaining much of its medicinal activity. In Germany, sage herb is commonly used for upset stomach and excessive sweating, and one German study has found that drinking a sage infusion reduced blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, but only when they took the infusion on an empty stomach.  In England, sage is used for some symptoms of menopause. Sage has traditionally been used to promote menstruation, and there are some studies that indicate it may indeed help stimulate uterine contractions; pregnant women should not consume highly concentrated forms of sage, although using it as a culinary spice has not been shown to have this effect. Recent laboratory studies support the use of sage to guard against infection-it has demonstrated an ability to fight against several infection-causing bacteria. As far back as ancient Greek and Roman times, healers advocated sage for a variety of ailments. Charlemagne ordered that it be grown in his royal gardens. Arab physicians in the 10th century went so far as to claim that sage extended life to the point of immortality. Even the genus name of the plant, Salvia, comes from the Latin meaning "to cure."
For sore throats, try mixing a Sage tea with apple cider vinegar and salt for gargling. Sage is reported to have moisture-drying properties, and can be used as an antiperspirant. It can also be used as a compress on cuts and wounds. Clinical studies have also shown that it can lower blood sugar in cases of diabetes. Try making capsules out of dried leaves as a substitute for teas for internal use. As an astringent, Sage can be used as a refreshing after-shave, and there is some indication that an infusion of it can be used to subtly color silver hair. As with many of the other herbs, Sage can also be tried in a tea for digestive problems and flatulence.
In an exciting new study done in 2003, English scientists at Newcastle and Northumbria found that Sage oil extracts in capsule form produced markedly improved memory function in test subjects, and it is very possible that Sage may protect a key chemical destroyed in the brain by Alzheimer's disease. Better yet, no side effects whatsoever were reported by participants. Although studies are not complete at this time, this is very promising research and should be followed by anyone who has or is caring for someone with Alzheimer's. Like two other culinary herbs, rosemary and thyme, sage helps guard against depletion of the brain's concentration of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is crucial to proper brain function. A combination of ginkgo biloba, sage, and rosemary may help prevent or slow the development of Alzheimer's.
Very few side effects have been reported from the consumption of sage leaves; however, those using more concentrated forms of this herb, such as tea or extracts, may experience inflammation of the lips and lining of the mouth. This inflammatory response is probably due to a toxic chemical in sage called thujone. In very large amounts, thujone has been shown to cause convulsions. Concentrated sage oil is toxic and its use should be restricted to aromatherapy. Incidentally, you will often see Sage medicines advertised as Clary Sage. This is just another form of Sage that originates in the Mediterranean but has the same medicinal properties as the other sages.
Sage's usefulness goes beyond the confines of the medicine cabinet and the kitchen. Because of its aromatic oils, it is frequently used in making soaps and perfumes. Native Americans utilize sage for spiritual purification ceremonies in the form of smudge sticks. These are branches of white sage (Salvia apiana) which have been cut into lengths about one foot long, bound together and dried. For the ceremony, they are lit and left to smolder, producing a rich, aromatic smoke.
Purification, Cleansing Sage is used in magic for wisdom, psychic awareness, long life and protection. As secondary aspects, spells for money use sage. But, by far, its most potent aspect is wisdom and learning. Sage is often bundled tightly into smudge sticks and burned as a scent. Sage was associated with immortality and longevity by the ancients. It was also credited with increasing mental capacity. Eat the fresh leaves (in moderation) for both these purposes. Today, Sage is believed to be a purifier and a healing herb. It can be made into a tea to promote healing, and can be burned to rid a room of negative energy.
Sage is bound to Jupiter and Air. It is believed that if you place some Sage (or burn it) near an object belonging to someone in need of healing, that healing will take place more quickly. It is also said that the condition of the Sage plant itself in your garden is an indication of your prosperity. Sage is useful in magic relating to immortality, longevity, wisdom, protection, prosperity. White sage leaves are widely used as a cleansing herb, to purify the mind, body and also to purify the atmosphere & to dispel negativity. It is also used to purify sacred items. Often carried in a charm bag or even a pocket to ensure personal and spiritual safety. It is said that those who eat sage become immortal in both wisdom and years. Sage is used in wish manifestations and to attract money. Smolder to promote healing and spirituality. Use in healing and money spells. Use as incense during sacred rituals -- walk the smoke to the four corners of the room to repel and rid negative energies and influences. Especially good when moving into a new home. Heals wounds, aids digestion, eases muscle and joint pain, colds and fever.
To burn the sage -- just place a small amount in a heat proof container into which you have put a charcoal disc light it, then direct the smoke around your body and the space you wish to cleanse You can also use a "smudging feather" or your hand to direct the smoke. You could even have ago at making your own smudge sticks. Which are easy to do and very rewarding to make. Never leave lit smudge unattended and care should be used when extinguishing and disposing of the ashes.
Joelle's Sacred Grove

Alchemy Works

Sally's Place

The Magick Moon


Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Try A New Taste - Real Irish Stew

1 1/2 pounds Mutton, cut into pieces
Parsley sprigs
6 Carrots, sliced
2 pounds Potatoes
Salt and pepper
1 pound Onions

Place meat and vegetables in saucepan and cover with cold water. Add salt and pepper as required and flavor with a few parsley sprigs and add carrot slices. Slowly bring to a boil and skim off the top. Simmer over a very low heat for approximately 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Note: You can probably substitute lamb for the mutton and not need to cook as long.
***Personally, I think I'd substitute beef - not a big fan of Sheep...
Found at: Wicca 101 @ Red Deer's & Elenya's

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Make A - Seed & Corn Necklace (for the Witchlets)

Seed and Corn Necklaces
  • Dried beans (several different kinds and colors)
  • Dried corn which has already been removed from the cob
  • Dried corn on the cob ("Indian" corn)
  • 1 yard heavy thread or dental floss for each child
  • 1 tapestry needle for each child
  • finger bandages (just in case somebody gets stuck!)

Prepare the strings in advance by threading the needles and knotting the end. Prepare the beans and dried corn by soaking overnight in water.

Show the children the ear of dried corn (Not the corn you soaked!) and show them how the kernels can be removed from the cob. (Twist the cob firmly in your hands while holding it over a towel or blanket. The corn should pop off--once you get it started it isn't difficult to remove all the kernels.)
Show the children how to use the needle to poke a hole through the center of each corn kernel and bean. Alternate corn and beans or make some other pattern.
When the strand of strung seeds is about 24" long, set it aside overnight or hang it in the sun to dry (the seeds will shrink slightly). When it is dry, push together the seeds to cover any spaces which may have formed.
Tie the ends together in an overhand knot and cut off excess string. Slip the necklace over your head or wind it around your wrist as a bracelet.
Found at: Gingerbread Grandma's Cauldron

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Surprise -



Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Special Stones - Onyx

Image from GivethemHell

Onyx is a gemstone with alternating light and dark bands, which are colored in brown, red, black, white and gray. Onyx with red and white bands is sometimes referred to as "Sardonyx". Sardonyx is a type of Onyx with bands of Sard alternating with the stone’s white or black layers. The layers in these stones range from translucent to opaque for sardonyx. Sardonyx stones usually contain flat-banded, white and brownish-red bands. Onyx is a member of the Quartz family Chalcedony or microcrystalline quartz. Onyx is the black variety of agate, however some parts are more or less translucent, which is why it is often heated to accentuate the intensity of its color. Onyx is usually black, gray or brown with white bands. The bands are typically straight, which separates it from banded agate, because the lines in banded agate are usually curved. Onyx is easily dyed, so beware of the more "unnatural" looking colors, such as bright blue, etc. Black and colored onyx is always dyed. Onyx is found worldwide in large and small deposits. The chief localities are India and South America. Other important locales include Mexico in the state of Oaxaca. as well as deposits in Brazil, Madagascar, Algeria and Pakistan.

The myth of the origin of onyx says that the goddess Venus was resting on the banks of the Indus River. As she slept, Cupid used the point of one of his enchanted arrows to give her a manicure. The parings of her nails then fell into the waters of the sacred river. Since the nails were of heavenly origin, they sank to the river bottom and were metamorphosed into onyx. Centuries later, the Romans applied the term to black and dark brown chalcedony. Black Onyx was used in the memorial jewelry of England’s Victoria’s mourning period. The jewelry of this period was somber and reflected the monarch’s sadness. The dark Onyx was in high demand and worked well in cameos to create stark pieces. In the Art Deco period, it was popular as a foil for rubies and clear quartz. Genesis indicated that onyx was found in paradise, and thus it also became known as the paradise stone. The Epode and shoulder guards of the high priest of the Hebrews were decorated with onyx, and it was one of the twelve stones in the Hebrew High Priest Aaron’s breastplate. It is associated with the Gad Tribe of Israel and the guardian angel Gabriel. Onyx is also the Hebrew stone for July. Roman soldiers wore sardonyx talismans engraved with heroes such as Hercules or Mars, god of war. They believed that the stone would make the wearer as brave and daring as the figured carved on it. During the Renaissance, sardonyx was believed to bring eloquence upon the wearer and was regarded with great value by public speakers and orators. One myth says that reaming of Onyx heralds happiness in marriage. In classical ceremonial magic, the image of the head of the god Mars or a figure of the hero Hercules was engraved on onyx and carried for courage. Persians believed that wearing onyx protected them from the evil eye, and that placing onyx on the stomach of a pregnant woman in labor would reduce the labor pain and bring on earlier delivery. Onyx has long since had the reputation to ease childbirth pains. Often used to sooth thoracic oppressions, onyx permits a more rapid healing in infectious states. Also said to calm ear ringing and conquer deafness, Saint Hildegarde von Bingen recommended it to heal weakness of vision, infections of the lungs and stomach, as well as depression. In India, Gemologists recommend Onyx as a protective measure for harmonious relationships, thus keeping away any probability of disturbances or differences between the couple.

Onyx were used widely in the past as bases and handles for gold items, as well as for stone inlay work. Onyx seals were very popular with the Romans, who carved the pattern of the seal in negative relief to give a raised point. They often used stones with several layers, each of a different color, which were then individually carved to produce a different pattern each year. They originally used the onyx name for a variety of marble having white and yellow veins. The marble is still called “onyx marble,” being less valuable and softer than onyx. Onyx was also traditionally used for carving cameo brooches.

Onyx is linked to the planets Mars and Saturn, and the element of Fire. Onyx symbolizes the midnight hour. Throughout history, onyx has been thought to bring powers of protection and strengthen defensive magic. It has also been thought to reinforce the knowledge that there is no death, aiding in the understanding of the wheel of birth, death and rebirth. It brings about the knowledge that separation is an illusion and reunion will come. It aids psychic contact with those who have died, facilitates séances and mediumship, brings messages from the dead, and aids past-life and between-lives regression work. It helps future life progressions, and prevents and removes spirit possessions. This solid - feeling stone is excellent for grounding negativity and letting go of stress. Onyx is soothing and helps in focus, to banish grief and old habits, protecting the bearer and encouraging happiness and good fortune.

Onyx is a protective stone worn when facing adversaries in battles or conflicts of all kinds, or while hurrying down a dark street late at night. Onyx is not only used for protection, but also as defense against negativity consciously directed towards you. It has also been used to reduce uncontrollable sexual impulses. The close union and yet strong contrast between the layers of black and white in some varieties of onyx may suggest its connection with romance. It can help you be the master of your destiny and strengthen your confidence. It provides support in difficult times and centers your energy in times of mental or physical stress. It also offers the gift of wise decisions. Black Onyx is invaluable when it comes to helping one change habits - these habits can be physical, emotional or mental. Onyx is said to help one sleep.

Onyx is a two-sided coin, an excellent example of a paradox when it comes to associations & uses...In contrast, it is one of the few stones to which many sleeping and dreaming myths refer. Spiritualists believe that when worn by people with exceptional Extra Sensory Perception (ESP), their dreams will be frightful but if the wearer is able to keep himself or herself from becoming too frightened, the dreams will reveal secrets of the future. These nightmares can lead to a deep melancholy in weak individuals. The stone is also reputed to have bad mental consequences that can include depression, nightmares and losses in legal matters. Also used in Necromancy to evoke the dead and communicate with them, onyx is considered a stone of mourning and received a negative symbolism because of it. It also gained the reputation of causing discord within the lives of couples. Some ancients claimed that an onyx on which was carved the image of a camel or two goats provokes horrible depression hence the Arabic name for it is the sadness stone, or `el jaza'.

Medicinal applications include the treatment of bone marrow diseases, teeth, foot, blood and bone problems, and soft tissue disorders. It is also believed to aid in ailments such as epilepsy or glaucoma and is known to have powers to rectify damage done to cells. New Agers use Onyx for treating hearing problems, heart trouble, and ulcers. They also recommend it for athletes, who should wear it on a necklace that reaches the Solar Plexus to increase vigor, strength and stamina. It is said to relieve stress, balances male/female polarities, aid detachment, enhances emotional balance and self control. The "paradise stone" also stabilizes, heals and strengthens your root chakra so that you may become more grounded and productive in the physical world. It will assist in gaining higher inspiration, and it works with chakras and attitudes according to color of stone. As onyx's energy rises to your brow, it releases whichever color rays are needed for each chakra. Good for opening all Chakras. The following colors work best with relieving ailments associated with the Chakras indicated:

Black Onyx-Root/Base Chakra
Green Onyx-Heart Chakra
Yellow Onyx -Solar Plexus Chakra
Blue Onyx-Throat Chakra

With its powers effective in all Chakras, Onyx is a very spiritual stone.

This gemstone helps to eliminate apathy, stress and neurological disorders. Onyx eliminates negative thinking and is also believed to sharpen the wits of the wearer, as well as bring spiritual inspiration. It is a great assistance in holding emotions and passions under control. Black Onyx is used to help one change habits.

Its primary function for spiritualists is as a grounding stone that strengthens the connection of the person with the earth during meditation and astral travel to provide guidance. They also say that it can make powerful memorial jewelry that can heal the spirit during mourning. It is in tune with the Earth’s energies, balances Yin and Yang, but does not respond well to energy programming. The spiritualists believe it can protect against venomous snake and insect bites, divine the future through dreams and offer general protection in times of conflict. Onyx has served as a worry stone and material for rosary beads for centuries. Crystal healers believe that it has the ability to soothe fears and worries, to control to overwhelming emotions. They say it can help a person maintain a positive outlook while awaiting the result of a source of anxiety. They also recommend it for improving concentration and devotion, calming sexual tension and ending marital disputes. It is said to return negativity to the sender. Indeed onyx as a healing aide allows us to perform multiple tasks and greater ease and manifests our creative visions within the world. Onyx is the birthstone for Leos and the anniversary gemstone for the 7th year of marriage.

Full Moon Magic Crystals

Crystal Magick

Jewelry Supplier

All That Gifts

Jewels For Me

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Form A Circle - Planetary Ritual for Lammas

* Planetary Ritual for Lammas *

©1999 Sarolta DeFaltay-Bell

(You can do the ritual any time during the first week of August.) "Every planetary alignment holds an opportunity for growth and expanded awareness, and contains symbolism that can be universally shared and understood. By meditating on current planetary themes, we can tune in to the archetypal energy inherent therein, gaining a deeper understanding of our own personal myth, integrating the planetary energies experientially through personalized ritual."

As the midpoint between Midsummer and The Autumnal equinox, Lammas (Old English, meaning "Loaf Mass") celebrates the first harvest, a festival of regeneration dedicated to the inventors of agriculture. This is the season where the Sun consummates it's union with the Earth, symbolized by sheaves of wheat and loaves of fresh bread upon the altar, along with the first fruits and vegetables from the garden. Pies made of berries are baked to commemorate the death of the "Green Man", who lives in all the green plants of the Earth, who is sacrificed each year at Harvest time, so that others may prosper.

Lammas Herbal Lore:

*Blackberry : (berries or leaves) Healing, money, protection.
*Caraway: Consecration, longevity, fidelity. Bake in bread to celebrate the Harvest.
*Corn: represents fertility, place on altar as an offering to the Great Cosmic mother, Ceres / Demeter.
*Fenugreek: Used in rinse water as you clean, is said to attract money. Make a tea to ingest or use in the bath. Focus on developing the powers of the mind. *Hollyhock: Favored by faeries to bring luck to the home.
*Mistletoe: gathered on Lammas by the Druids of old. Protection, healing, conception, consecration.
*Oat: Cakes are made with the new grain and shared with friends and family. Oat is used in money spells.
*Sunflowers: Wisdom, fertility, a strong and healthy confidence. place on altar; add seeds to feast.

The Altar
Decorate with loaves of bread, grains, ears of corn, summer
squash, zucchini, sunflowers, hollyhocks and oat cakes, blackberry wine. You will need three candles: gold, red and dark blue.


Cast the circle by visualizing white light encircling you in a clockwise motion. Honor and invite the four elements into your circle: East for Air, South for Fire, West for Water, and North for Earth.

Incense ingredients

Frankincense, Cinnamon, Blackberry leaves, Apple blossoms.
Bring any or all of the above ingredients into your ritual circle
and add each ingredient one at a time, while grinding by hand with a mortar and pestle and focusing on the properties of each herb as it is added. Consecrate your incense by dedicating it to the Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess, and once the incense is prepared, burn some on a charcoal as you focus in on your ritual.

Ritual Bath

Chamomile, Fenugreek, Goldenrod, Oatmeal.
Place any or all herbs in cheesecloth and tie well; run under tap. You can also make a strong tea from the herbs: bring pure water to a boil, and allow to cool a few minutes before pouring over herbs; strain into bath.


The gold candle represents the Sun in Leo. How can I be a better magnet for success? How can I better project love and generosity to others?

  • Focus clearly and write your intent on a small piece of paper.
  • Place note under candle.
  • Light the candle.

The red candle represents the initiative energy of Mars in the dramatic sign of Leo. Where do I choose to apply my creative impulse? Repeat steps as before.
The dark blue candle represents the Moon in Virgo, and the necessary attention to detail for the success of your goal. Repeat as before.
Spend some time meditating on the themes of your ritual, and when you feel the ritual is complete, thank the Mother Goddess, and burn each paper as you focus once again on the intention of the goal, releasing the energy to the wind and elemental helpers. Thank the nature spirits, deities or elementals, and close your circle, allowing the candles to burn all the way down, or instead, burn them for a little while for the next few days, letting them burn all the way down on the third day.

(This article is an excerpt from the book: "The Magical Astrology Guide for the Year 2000" by Sarolta DeFaltay-Bell. Sarolta is an astrologer and tarot consultant, and works with clients to create personal rituals based on individual needs and astrological cycles. She also writes Daily Horoscopes and New Moon Magic for every sign at Moon Spells

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Thursday This is Your Spell - Enchanting an Item

Enchanting an Item
The purpose of carving Runes on specific objects is to essentially bless and dedicate them to their specific tasks. The Runes are  of invocation to make their attributes purer, stronger, and more reliable. Enchanting ones drinking horn or sword was an extremely common practice. Drinking horns were carved to enchant the drink it held, or to detect poison. Usually sounding horns were carved to sound true and over long distances.
For Swords, the enchanting normally called upon its strength, sureness of stroke, sharpness, etc.. Blades were also named, for naming a thing gave it it's identity and personality. To this end we have essentially created something which is partially "aware" in the astral realm. A sword's name usually corresponded with its function or desired result. "Helm Splitter", "Ever Bright" , etc.. In the case of my ceremonial sword, I have named it "Veil Cleaver" for its ability to define and cut through the "veils" of reality and the planes on which we work.
Start with candle light, incense, and low playing music. Music for this type of work may be a Richard Wagner piece.. (that's pronounced Rikhard Vaagner). With all elements and tools within your reach, create your Sacred Space. Open a path to your patron deity and ask for their guidance. Offer up the item and call upon those you wish to help enchant it. Each deity has their own particularities and qualities -  remember the path you chose and why you are dedicating this. Next, smudge the item with the incense. This should be prepared for cleansing the item and help bias it with the properties you will later instill (i.e. Astral, Truth, Defense, Healing). Hold the object close and let your energy wash it. Fill it with the energy you wish it to have. Like the candle or the oils, what we need to possess qualities we must first place therein.
After charging the item, meditate on it. Visualize your use of it. Walk though its properties and how it helps you. Pick it up again and continue to reflect on these visions, the feelings. We are programming it, making it our own, and fashioning its purpose. Once done, paint or carve the Runes you have already designed. Unless your instinct is well defined, I strongly recommend thinking very carefully before marking any object irrevocably. Not only physical marks, but the astral marks it will bear from the energy you are etching upon it.
Upon finishing the Runes, seal it with an oil or the drop of wax. This in effect states you are clearly finished with that phase of the rite, putting the period to the binding of the Rune. Sit a while, meditate, clear your mind and feel the object. Sense it in the now, and beyond. Open your channels and see how it moves energy. After satisfactory calm and meditation, lay the object down, clean your circle, and close.
Let the object "cool" overnight.
Other Tips:
As I stated previously, all the efforts you put into something is what you
can expect back. IF you feel comfortable, you can start more complex rituals
and Rune Magics by tying them in with other elements such as Moon phases,
Astrology, Crystals and stones, group circle rituals, etc...

I'm am not sure where this was acquired, if it is yours, please contact me so I can give you credit :)

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday Try A New Taste - Brigid's Blackberry Pie

Image found at My Recipes

Yesterday's post was directions on making a potpourri pie - pretty to look at, smells wonderful, but probably not a good idea to eat! After putting that wonderful Lammas decoration/gift together, you probably have a hankering for a real pie, so here I present you with a Lammas / Lughnassadh blackberry pie. This one is pretty to look at, smells wonderful and tastes YUMMY!

Always keep in mind, EVERYTHING you do is an opportunity to work magic! Cooking is an especially good opportunity to work magic that can benefit you and everyone you cook for. Working magic, for me, isn't something to be done on "special occasions", or when I want or need something. I try to work a little everyday - be it a protection charm or "magicing" the food I'm cooking :)

As autumn approaches, the season of harvest begins. The first harvest, Lughnasadh, consists partly of the gathering of berries for jams and jellies, to store for winter. One of the traditional berries of the season is the blackberry; the red fruits of summer are starting to fade, and the more tart and more late-blooming fruits must be plucked and used before the bugs do it for us.

For a Lughnasadh party, a nice traditional dessert is a blackberry pie. It is an especially nice touch if you even home-make the crust instead of buying one, with the added bonus that you can actually make two crusts and seal the sweet blackberry filling inside.


  • 4 cups blackberries (fresh or thawed frozen)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 or 2 unbaked pie shells


Preheat the oven to 325º F. Line a deep pie dish with one unbaked pie shell. Mix the other ingredients together in a bowl. If it seems too "wet," mix in two tablespoons more flour. Turn into the shell and dot with butter. Bake as is or cover with another pie shell, pinched together on the sides and scored several times with a sharp knife. Bake for 1 hour or until top crust is golden brown.

Yield: 1 9-inch pie

Blackberries, and their leaves especially, are associated with healing, money and protection. The blackberry is (obviously) edible, but also medicinal. It is used extensively by the Native American tribes, it had many surprising uses. The leaf is more commonly used as a medicinal herb, but the root also has medicinal value. Young edible shoots are harvested in the spring, peeled and used in salads. Delicious Blackberries are edible raw or made into jelly or jam. The root-bark and the leaves are astringent, depurative, diuretic, tonic and vulnerary. They make an excellent alternative medicine for dysentery, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, and cystitis.

The most astringent part is the root. Orally, they are used to treat sore throats, mouth ulcers and gum inflammations. A decoction of the leaves is useful as a gargle in treating thrush and also makes a good general mouthwash. The presence of large amounts of tannins gives blackberry roots and leaves an astringent effect useful for treating diarrhea are also helpful for soothing sore throats. A medicinal syrup is also made from Blackberry, using the fruit and root bark in honey for a cough remedy.

Image found at Alternative Nature Online Herbal


The Sabbats by Edain McCoy

Alternative Nature Online Herbal


Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Make A - Potpourri Pie

Potpourri Pie

This is both a decorative and a functional project. This pie REALLY appears to be a freshly baked pie when completed! The large quantity of potpourri gives it it's aroma for a very long time. We feel you will enjoy having as well as making this "Potpourri Pie" It also make a great gift!


  • One aluminum foil pie pan
  • Two squares of tan craft felt
  • 1/3 yard of pale pink net or tulle (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
  • Any 1 quart size of dry potpourri in fruit or spice scent such as, apple, peach, cinnamon or a combination that you like.
  • White craft glue
  • Cinnamon spice in shaker
  • Small paint brush

Step 1

Lay pie pan upside down on netting and trace a circle 1 inch outside the pie pan border. Cut the netting on this line.

Heap your favorite potpourri in the pie tin, then lay netting over it. Using your glue gun, tack netting to rim in at least 8 places. This will secure the netting to the pie tin and keep the potpourri in place

Step 2

Cut 2 strips, each 1 inch wide, from long side of the tan felt. Then glue this strip to the rim of the pie plate.(over the netting) Pinch and ruffle as you glue to resemble pie crust edge. You may use all the felt strips, depending on how much you pinch and ruffle. If this happens cut more and continue around the edge until completed.

Step 3

Next, cut 3/4 inch strips from long side of felt. Begin the lattice top for pie by laying first strip across middle of pie. Glue down both ends. Trim off any excess and save. Lay next lattice piece over top of first piece and perpendicular to first, and place off center by I inch. Then glue both ends down.

Step 4

Lay next strip 1 inch over from first lattice strip that you placed down and weave over and under lattice already in place. Do not glue.....It is easier to continue weaving and alternating lattice before tacking down the remaining strips. You may have to cut more strips.

Step 5

Dip a wet paintbrush into thinned white craft glue and very lightly brush over lattice top and crust. While glue is wet, gently shake cinnamon over top to give the pie a "browned" appearance.

Note: Place your finished pie in a glass deep dish pie plate. Keep it on your stove top, the pilot light or oven vent will spread the delicious aroma

Copyright © 2000 WinterTexans

Found at:

Crone's Cottage

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Surprise - The Fairy Witch

Are you a witch?

Are you a fairy?

Are you the wife of Michael Cleary?

The Irish nursery rhyme memorializes Bridget Cleary ( February 1867 - March 1895), often described as the last witch burned in Ireland, and popularly known as the fairy witch of Tipperary. Although Ireland had among the mildest witchcraft persecutions in Europe, it is often credited with hosting the first and last witch burnings of Europe. Books sometimes chart the entire witchcraze from Pertonilla of Meath, as the first woman officially burned as a witch, to Bridget who died at the tail end of the nineteenth century, aged 28. In neither case is the parallel exactly accurate: women were burned as witches prior to Petronilla and continue to be burned today, although now in different parts of the globe, Furthermore, Bridget Cleary's death was not typical of a victim of the witchcraze.

Witchcraft was a crime during the Burning Times. Whether or not individuals were indeed practitioners of any sort, they were officially charged with crimes, tried according to an official process, convicted, and condemned to capital punishment, Their deaths, however horrific, were legal. No one was charged and punished for these deaths,

Those convicted as witches were considered the guilty parties.

Bridget Cleary, on the other hand, was killed by her husband in the process of what he described as an exorcism: he allegedly believed that she was a changeling and was attempting to get his wife back. Michael Cleary was subsequently arrested and charged with the murder of Bridget Cleary, He was convicted and served a prison sentence.

It is probable that what happened to Bridget Cleary was not unique: what was unique - and remains so in much of the world - is that someone was held responsible and punished for causing the death of a woman many believed to be a witch. Her story pulls the blankets off the suppressed subject of the Fairy Faith -both it's genuine practitioners and those intensely opposed to it. Her story is also very revealing regarding the perceived blending or interchangeableness of witches and fairies, The ordeal that she underwent at the hands of her husband, neighbors, and family is certainly reminiscent of witch-trial ordeals.

Her maiden name was Bridget Boland. She attended school, off and on. until she was 14. At the age of 20 she married Michael Cleary, a cooper, on August 5, 1887, He moved into the house Bridget shared with her parents. The two couples lived together in that house until the death of Bridget's mother, one year before her own death. Bridget's mother, Bridget Keating Boland died on February 1, 1894, leaving Bridget Jr, alone in the house with the two men who would both be implicated in the death. 

According to her father's court testimony. Michael Cleary asked him "Don't you know it's with an old witch I am sleeping?" Whether this meant Michael believed her to be a changeling or whether this meant he opposed her forays into the Fairy Faith is subject to interpretation.

Both Bridget's and Michael Cleary's mothers were reportedly fairy doctors. It is possible that Bridget was training to become one as well. She had a strong independent streak, noticed and resented by some, She had a reputation of being haughty, proud, and "fine" and was disliked by some of her peers - young women who mostly lived a very different existence from Bridget. She was independent and enterprising: she owned a Singer sewing machine and kept chickens; thus Bridget, unlike most other women in her community, had an independent income. Keeping poultry was among the very few ways to evade complete male control of the purse strings: she sold eggs and also took in sewing.

Also unique among her female contemporaries, after eight years of marriage Bridget was childless and rather than seeming to mourn this, she seemed to relish her freedom. With no children, Bridget could come and go as she pleased and she did. She sewed and sold eggs, earning her own money, giving her a measure of economic independence.

In the wake of the scandal following her death, Bridget's neighbors and family were interviewed about her. According to reports, she had a defiant streak and wasn't easily cowed by authority. Joan Hoff and Marian Yeates, authors of The Cooper's Wife is Missing, describe Bridget as possessing what neighbors perceived as a "disturbing habit" of looking men in the eyes a trait allegedly characteristic of Pagan women.

Bridget's mother had a reputation as a "fairy expert" and bore something of a reputation as a witch, Perhaps Bridget inherited her interest in the Fairy Faith from her mother. Certainly she displayed a fascination with fairies and, especially in the last year of her life, following the death of her mother was often observed visiting two local fairy forts, leading to gossip by neighbors who speculated as to her motivation for the visits. Among the reasons suggested:

  • She was trying to make contact with the soul of her dead mother
  • She was rendezvousing with a lover
  • She was irresistibly lured there by the fairies

Michael Cleary had his own personal history with the fairies: as a boy, his mother (also named Bridget) had allegedly run off with the fairies, disappearing for three days, Following her return, she allegedly began operating as a fairy doctor, Michael had strong feelings about fairies, too: he feared and hated them, and was obsessed with the notion that they would abduct Bridget - or that she would willingly join them.

The first known indication of dissension between Michael and Bridget occurred around Yuletide 1894. Michael allegedly feared she'd been abducted by fairies, and he ordered Bridget not to go to the fairy forts. She defied him and continued to go. (After her death, witnesses came forward saying that Michael had threatened to burn her if she went back.) She was observed visiting a fairy fort on February 1, 1895, the first anniversary of her mother's death.

On March 6, 1895, Bridget returned home in the late afternoon, ostensibly from delivering eggs, complaining of feeling unwell. (Witnesses suggested that she had been observed at the fairy fort that day.) She exhibited signs of fairy-related illness: aches. pains, and chills. She was irritable, described as "distant" and demonstrated some memory loss. Changes in temperament and appearance are among symptoms of fairy abduction, (In other words, a fairy is believed to have replaced or be impersonating the person believed to have been abducted.)

Initially, the family requested conventional medical attention. A local physician was requested to pay a house call. It took the doctor four days to respond following repeated requests. He examined Bridget, and determined nervous exhaustion and slight bronchitis. Despite requests for the doctor's arrival, Michael allegedly suspected that his wife had been abducted by fairies, who had replaced her with a changeling. Michael perceived that Bridget was now two inches taller than previously and that she seemed, in his words, "more refined."

For nine days, Bridget lay ill with a mysterious ailment, During these nine days, assorted friends, neighbors, and relatives came in and out. Her husband, convinced that his wife had been abducted by the fairies, searched for help from two sources - the Church and fairy experts. He was heard arguing with Bridget who was allegedly heard to cry out "If I had my mother, I would not be this way."

Nine was a magic number; one theory allegedly subscribed to by Michael, suggest that if the return of the abducted person is not affected within nine days, they are lost forever, although this contradicts the many tales pf changelings returning after seven years in Fairyland.

On at least three occasions requests were made for a priest's assistance. Priests were traditionally called in to exorcise fairies, considered akin to demons. This is "folk Catholicism" and was not standard practice even then. Theoretically it was not permitted, although allegedly it was common practice. A priest met with Bridget twice, Father Ryan spoke to Bridget for over 20 minutes, later describing her as coherent and intelligent. He said he thought her behavior might indicate the onset of "brain fever" and so decided to administer the last rites, just in case...She allegedly did not swallow the communion wafer: one witness claimed that she spat it out surreptitiously. this further confirming suspicions that Bridget Cleary had been abducted and that what lay in her place was a changeling.

Shortly afterwards, with the participation pf other neighbors and family members including her father and cousins, Bridget Cleary was killed by her husband and another relative, John Dunne, a local "fairy expert." Dunne was not a fairy doctor in the traditional sense. Two types of "fairy experts" existed:

  • Fairy doctors, practitioners of the Fairy Faith, who were enthralled by fairies trained by them, and practiced arts associated with them
  • What are essentially fairy exorcists, whose techniques drew heavily on Roman Catholic rites of exorcism and witchcraft trial ordeals; fairies were believed by these practitioners to be akin to demons; those allied with them were akin to witches.

Bridget was prescribed an herbal formula created from bitter herbs called "Seven Sisters Kill or Cure." It did neither. Michael then purchased an herbal cure called "Nine in One Cure," more potent and more exceedingly bitter than the Seven Sisters mixture. In these nine days, Bridget had not been permitted to leave her home, she was in a weakened condition from her mysterious illness and perhaps from lack of nourishment: attempts were made to starve out the changeling, She was apparently afraid for her safety and requested that the police be called. This was not done.

Witnesses described the final ordeal of Bridget. A sixteen year old neighbor stood in the corner of the room holding a candle for illumination. John Dunne sat on the bed gripping Bridget's hair. Two other men held her body down, each pinning down one shoulder, while another man pinned down her feet. Michael attempted to force Bridget to swallow the Nine in One herbal cure in new milk, yelling at her to "Swallow it, you devil!" and "Take it, you old witch!"  Her mouth was pried open: Bridget fought back, only confirming the belief that she was fairy-possessed. It ultimately took six men to pour the liquid down her throat.

After Bridget was forced to swallow the Nine in One Cure, the family waited three hours for a "change." When none was forthcoming, the "exorcism" escalated and the threat of fire was introduced. At midnight on March 15th, Bridget was dressed in her finest clothes including a red petticoat in order that she could "go amongst the people" - however one interprets this. ("The  People" is a euphemism for fairies.)

Urine was then thrown over her. She was choked, force-fed urine and herbs and pushed to the ground, her head knocking against the floor. Her clothes were stripped off, Bridget was shoved over the grate into the four-foot by four-foot fireplace, like some fairy-tale character (the witch in Hansel and Gretel for instance) in a fetal position with her legs sticking out. According to a witness there was a low fire burning in the fireplace, hot enough to heat an iron grill but not hot enough to boil water, She was threatened with a hot iron poker. ( Fairies allegedly fear both iron and fire so the combination was perceived as doubly powerful.)

Michael Cleary poured the contents of a can of paraffin oil over his wife and set her on fire. A witness claimed that the two women present attempted to put out the fire but Michael pushed them away, threatening to "roast" them as well. He proceeded to pour more oil over her burning body. According to a witness, Michael Cleary said he wasn't burning his wife; he was burning a witch who would go up the chimney.

Another witness, (Protestant neighbor Minnie Simpson) later asserted to the police that the family members believed that the person was not Bridget but a witch, although she claimed that she herself (Minnie) did not. She did not explain, however, why in that case she didn't help Bridget, nor did she point out that she was among those who supplied the urine thrown on Bridget.

At this point, people allegedly thought Bridget was "cured" and left. Michael asserted that he wasn't sure and wished to remain with Bridget for further observation, promising to meet up with family members later at his father's house, although he apparently never arrived,

Based on the testimony of witnesses, Bridget was still alive when they left, It is unclear exactly when she died, however her dead body was discovered on March 22, 1895, 1,300 yards from the Cleary home, wrapped in a sheet and buried in a shallow grave. Her entire back and lower abdomen had been burned; roasted clear to the bone, her internal organs visible. Her right hand was severely burned but her face, hair. breasts, shoulders, neck, legs, and feet remained unscathed, There were marks about her face and mouth and bruises on her neck, believed to be the result of choking, Death was caused by extensive burns, with the official cause given as "shock due to burns."

Eleven people were arrested in connection with the murder of Bridget Cleary, including the 16-year-old neighbor who stood quietly in the corner, holding the candle. There are two ways to understand the saga of Bridget Cleary:

  • There is no possession, there's no such thing, therefore it's deadly superstition or an excuse for fatal spousal abuse. ( And local gossip alleged that Bridget had a lover.)
  • Regardless of whether Bridget was or was not possessed her husband and family feared rather than understood fairies, The Fairy Faith was not charming to them. Fairies were considered devils to be exorcized; the "changeling" was considered a witch to be burned as were perhaps practitioners of the old Fairy Faith.

Bridget Cleary's mother was locally rumored to be a witch, If one believes that Bridget was attempting to follow in her late mother's and mother-in-law's footsteps and become a traditional fairy doctor herself, perhaps she was burned as a witch to prevent achievement of her goals. The methods of exorcism to which her family resorted were not typical of the Fairy Faith, whose practitioners openly derived their skills from fairies, Instead the herbal cures and rituals were heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic rites of exorcism and also by published accounts of witch-trial ordeals. Trial testimony indicated that invocation of the names of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost formed a significant part of the exorcism ritual.

Although Michael Cleary was mocked for believing in fairies, his actions were not those of a practitioner of the Fairy Faith but were grounded in folk Catholicism, Bridget's screams were ignored because they were considered the screams of the invading spirit (fairy and/or demon). Lying in bed, Bridget told a visiting cousin that her husband was "making a fairy of me now" and that "He thought to burn me about three months ago." How to interpret these statements? Did Michael Cleary genuinely believe she was a fairy, or beneath the mask was this just a case of spousal abuse, or both? Was the goal to break the fairies' charm or to break the spirit of an independent woman?

The crime was a major public scandal; the "fairy murder" was popular with the media and drew international attention, much to the displeasure of the local authorities who felt it made the region appear primitive and ignorant. Although Michael Cleary and Bridget's family were arrested for her murder, there was ambivalence toward Bridget as well. She had not been generally beloved; whether "abducted" or not, she had clearly been dabbling with fairies. Attitudes toward Bridget may be demonstrated by her funeral, or lack thereof: In a macabre denouement, Bridget's body could not be released to her family, all of whom had been arrested and were confined on Clonmel Goal, Police called for the clergy but no priests in the district responded: Roman Catholic priests were strictly charged against performing sacraments where fairy-craft was suspected. Those who died under suspicion were refused Church burial.

The body of Bridget Cleary was finally buried at night by four policemen who read part of the burial service over her body. They obtained a simple coffin for Bridget and brought her to the Roman Catholic cemetery at Cloneen. where she was buried outside the church walls beside the unmarked grave of her mother near an oak tree. Bridget Cleary and her mother lie together in unmarked graves outside the church walls. No headstones exist but two stones mark the site.

During the trial, absolutely no discussion of fairies, or even any reference to them, was permitted. Michael Cleary was found guilty of manslaughter, not murder, and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, of which he served 15. Other defendants received lesser sentences depending upon perceived involvement.

Further Reading:

The Burning of Bridget Cleary

The Cooper's Wife is Missing  

Information obtained in entirety from The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft