Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Casting Runes


Welcome back to The Hedgewitch's Guide to Rune Magic mini blog series. Now that you know what the runes are and how to make your own, we are breifly going to talk about the different ways you can cast runes.

There are several methods used to cast runes, and which you use depends on your personal preference. Remember to check that all your runes are present before casting.

Method 1: Close your eyes, focus on what you want an answer for (past, present, or future situation) and pick a rune. Do this for as many runes are you need for your casting layout. This is the method I prefer.

Method 2: Toss the runes onto a soft surface and think of what you want an answer for. The rune(s) that stand(s) out the most to you is your answer. You can also close your eyes and choose your rune(s). Pick as many needed for your casting layout.

Method 3: Lay the runes in a grid and let your hand pass over them while thinking of what you want answered. Use your left hand if you right handed and vise versa. You will sense the rune that holds your answer. You can also choose as many as you need for your layout.

Method 4: With your eyes closed and in a neutral state of mind, draw as many runes as you need for your layout. Usually this method is only used for a three rune layout, with the first rune answering a past question, the middle a present question, and the last a furture question.

Method 5:  While concentrating on your question, toss your runes onto a soft surface. Using only the runes that land face up*, pick as many as you need for your layout. If there are not enough runes to fill your layout you can recast the face down runes, recast all your runes, or leave blanks in your layout.

*Many believe that runes that are faced down have a different meaning. This was noted in my post on the Elder Futhark Runes. If you believe you should use face down runes, refer to method 2. I personally don't believe face down runes are any different than face up runes, so I turn mine over (right to left not bottom to top).

Every site I went to gave a different method of casting. These are just the 5 that stood out to me the most. When you draw a rune, place it in the grid as it appears in your hand (inverted, face down, etc). Of course, this only matters if you believe the position of the runes holds different meanings.

Before you cast, you want to make sure you will not be disturbed and that your mind is clear of everything but your question (or neutral for method 4). When and how you cast is entirely up to you. Some suggest doing it by candle light. Others believe you should only cast outside when the sun is shining bright. And there are still others that believe casting at Midnight is best as the veil is thinnest at this time and the spirits can assist you. Do what feels right to you. The key to performing great magic is going with your instincts.

In the next post I will discuss the different layouts you can use when casting runes. Until then, what method do you use when casting runes?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Elder Futhark Runes


I have always been fasinated with divination, or the pratice of seeking knowledge of the future or unknown through magical means. However, I have never dabbled in the art before. I decided to change that, starting with runes.

Why runes? First, runes are the most popular form of dinivation, making access to detailed information easy. Second, I recently took a trip to the Great Lakes with my mother and grandmother where I collected a large number of beautiful stones. While most of my stones contain fossils (I went to school for paleontology/evolutionary biology) and will not be used, many I picked because they spoke to me. I pondered over what to use them for before it hit me like a sack of stones (ha!). They told me to turn them into runes, but I don't know the first thing about runes. Well, I just spent the last few weeks learning everything I can online about runes and how to use them. Since there is so much information available, I decided to turn my learning journey into a mini-blog series. What better way to solidify my understanding than to teach others?

Runes are the most popular method of divination. I chose to work with the Elder Futhark alphabet, which is the oldest and most commonly used runic alphabet. There are, of course, several other alphabets including Cirth, Gothic, Hungarian, Turkic, and Younger Futhark. There are between 24 and 25 runes in the Elder Futhark alphabet. Below is a comprehensive list of all the runes and their meanings.

FEHU- F: Cattle, Wealth
Sign of abundance or financial strength in the present or near future. Abundance through effort, possession won or earned, luck, success.
Reversed: Abandonment of plans, loss, disappointment, failure.


URUZ- U: Ox
Strength, speed, untamed potential. Sign of great energy and health and sudden/unexpected changes (usually for the better). Freedom, courage, understanding, wisdom.
Reversed: Missed abilities, weak willpower, lack of motivation, ignorance.


THURISAZ- TH: Thorn or Giant
Reactive forces, conflict, destruction. Usually a sign of violent change. Purging.
Reversed: Danger, defenselessness, stubborn mindset, lies. Bad person.


ANSUZ- A: Ancestral God (Odin)
Sign of a message from within or insight. Advice from others, inspiration, blessings, chance encounter. Harmony, truth, and wisdom. Think carefully so you will know what to do.
Reversed: Trickery, failed communication, delusion, manipulation by others.

RAIDHO- R: Wagon, Journey
Sign of that you are about to embark on a journey, either physical or your lifestyle. Vacation, relocation, evolution, change in perspective. Seeing the right move for you and deciding on it.
Reversed: Crisis, stasis, disruption, dislocation, demotion, upsetting plans, or even death.

KENAZ- K: Beacon, Torch
Vision, knowledge, inspiration, revelation. A sign of opening new strength, energy, and power. Also associated with passion.
Reversed: Exposure, loss of hope, disease, breakup, instability, withdrawal.



GEBO- G: Gift
Sign of gifts from both sacrifice and generosity, thus indicating balance. Unity of self and others. Marriage.
Cannot be reversed.



WUNJO- W or V: Joy
A sign that you don't need someone. Peace, pleasure, self worth, joy, serenity, happy results, prosperity. However, it is also a sign of going "over the top."
Reversed: Sorrow, dissatisfaction, disappointment, delay, possession by a higher force, frenzy.


HAGALAZ- H: Hail, Destructive Forces
Out of our control. Wrath of nature. Uncontrollable forces, especially in regards to weather or within our unconscious. Trial.
Cannot be reversed.


NAUTHIZ- N: Need
Resistance, distress, delay, restraint. Sign to proceed with caution and that will power can overcome distress, confusion, and conflict. A time to exercise patience and face your fears.
Reversed: Improper course of action, toil, deprivation, want, poverty, hunger.

ISA- I: Ice
Frozen in time, non-action, on hold. A sign of standstill and psychological blocks to thought or activity. Time to turn inward and wait for what is to come. This rune reinforces the runes around it. Let got of your ego.
Cannot be reversed.


JERA- J or Y: A Year
Sign that the results from earlier efforts are paying off. A time of peace and happiness. Prosperity, promise of success earned. Fruition. Everything happens in its own time.
Cannot be reversed.


EIHWAZ- EI: Yew Tree
Stability, patience, endurance, dependability. Indications that you have set your sights on a reasonable goal that you can achieve. A sign of an honest man you can rely on.
Reversed: Confusion, destruction, weakness.


PERTHRO- P: Lot Cup
Signal of a secret matter, mystery, or hidden abilities. Knowledge of future matters, determining the future or your path. Initiation. Do not repeat the old.
Reversed: Events stalled, unpleasant surprises, addiction, loneliness.


ALGIZ- Z: Elk, Protection
Spirit guides, protection, making a connection with the spirit. Defense, warding off evil, shield. The urge to protect others or oneself. Follow your instincts. A sign to keep hold of success and try to maintain position either won or earned.
Reversed: Hidden danger, loss of divine link.


SOWILO- S: The Sun
A sign that the circle is complete and that your goals are going to be achieved. Honor, self knowledge, self awareness, wholeness, power. A time when power will be available to you for positive changes. Success.
Cannot be reversed.


TIWAZ- T: Tyr, the sky god
Honor, justice, authority, leadership. Rationality and analysis. Willingness to self-sacrifice. A sign of victory in any competition or legal matter. Finding yourself.
Reversed: Low energy, lack of enthusiasm. Strife, war, conflict, failure.


BERKANO- B: Berchta, the birch goddess
A sign of general fertility, both mental and physical. Renewal, birth, promise of new beginnings, new growth. Love and desire. Be prepared and cautious in what you do in regards to family.
Reversed: Family problems, domestic troubles, loss of control, sterility, deceit.


EHWAZ- E: Horse
Transportation whether by horse, car, plane, boat, or other vehicle. Change for the better. Harmony, loyalty, trust, teamwork. A sign of an ideal marriage or partnership. Move forward carefully, focusing on the tools that you will need to get there. Confirms without a doubt the meaning of the runes around it.
Reversed: Sudden, unexpected change that is not wanted.
                                          Reckless, disharmony, mistrust, betrayal.


MANNAZ- M: Man
The self and its place in the collective conscience of humanity. Personal reflection. Your attitude toward others and their attitudes towards you. Social order. Expect to receive aid or cooperation. Intelligence, forethought, skill.
Reversed: Depression, mortality, self-delusion. Expect no help.



LAGUZ- L: Water
Flow, fertility source, healing, renewal. Dreams, fantasies. Health and healing. Emotions are connected to all things.
Reversed: Not listening to your inner voice. You may be making the wrong decisions and poor judgements. Stuck, obsession, sickness, suicide.


INGWAZ- NG: Ing, the earth god.
Male fertility, internal growth, gestation, family love, human warmth, common virtues. Finish up what you are doing, tie up lose ends, and start something new.
Cannot be reversed.


DAGAZ- D:  Day or Dawn
Breakthrough, new day, awakening. This is the time to plan or embark on a new journey. Security, certainty, transformation, happiness, hope. The power to change.
Cannot be reversed.


OTHALA- O: Ancestral Property
A sign that you may inherit property or possessions. Group prosperity, spiritual heritage, values, safety.
Reversed: Slavery, poverty, homelessness, prejudice, stuck. Not letting go.




The last rune is the blank rune*. This rune was not used historically, but instead was created in the 1980's. Many believe you shouldn't use a blank rune. I haven't decided if I will use this rune or not, but is represents Fate or Destiny and cannot be reversed. If it shows up when asking a question, it usually means it is not the right time to ask. It can also represents major changes in your life, good and bad. I'll leave it up to you whether or not you wish to include this rune.

I hope this has been informative. If you already practice rune divination, do you use the blank rune or not?

 



Want to print a copy of this for your Book of Shadows? Click below for your free copy! Please note there are 5, yes 5, separate pages. 
*Blank Rune is not included.


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Friday, July 25, 2014

Herbarium: Oak


Folk Names: Duir, Jove's Nuts, White Oak
Gender: Masculine
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Powers: Fertility, Healing, Health, Luck, Money, Protection
Magical Uses and History: Oak lore fills most pagan traditions, including Greek and Roman traditions, and dates back centuries. Due to its versatile nature Indo-Europeans used the oak for shelter, warmth, and even as an early food source. Later they incorporated the oak into their religious practices, using it as a symbol of fertility, health, luck, and protection. Traditionally, the Druids would not meet unless an oak was present. They also fashioned their religious idols from oak wood (see Oak King).

The oak is a naturally long-lived and strong tree, making it ideal for protection magic. Biding two twigs with red thread to form of an equal-armed cross will protect you from evil. Furthermore, placing acorns in your home's windows will safeguard it from lightning while carrying a piece of oak on your person will protect you from harm as well as bring you good luck.

For healing magic, the oak is burned to "draw off" the illness. Carrying an acorn is also said to ward off illness while catching a falling oak leaf will prevent you from catching cold during winter.

For prosperity, plant an acorn in the dark of the moon to ensure you will receive money in the near future.

Oak can be used in a number of spells including:
     Healing Spells
     Luck Spells
     Prosperity Spells
     Protection Spells and Wards
     Fertility Spells

Medicinal Uses: When using Oak for herbal remedies, only the bark is used, especially young bark. It is best collected in April and May and must be smooth and free from blemishes. Oak bark is an effective astringent and is used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, tonsillitis, and other throat infections. It is primarily used for acute diarrhea in frequent, small doses.

Preparation and Dosage: Internally- For an infusions, put one teaspoon of dark in one cup of water and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. Can be drunk or gargled with up to 3 times a day. For a tincture, take 1-2 milliliters three times a day.  






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The Oak King

 

Welcome to those reading from The Pagan Blog Project! This was going to be my post last week, but as you know I was rather ill.

Of all the trees in United States, Great Britain, and Ireland, the oak is considered the king. Even today it is synonymous with strength, endurance, abundance, and steadfastness. The classical world regarded the oak as the "Tree of Life" as its roots run deep and its branches touch the sky.

The word oak derives from the Anglo-Saxon word ac and the Irish word duar. Some scholars believe this is where the term druid arose since druids revered the oak, using the tree as a place of worship and a symbol of the God. When combined with the Indo-European root wid (to know), druid may actually literally translate to "knowledge of the oak."

The oak tree litters classical mythologies, but the most notable in the pagan community is the story of the Oak and Holly King. This is probably one of my favorite stories in the pagan tradition as it corresponds directly with which tree dominates each season. The Oak King is often referred to as the "Lord of the Greenwood" or the "Green Man". He is the golden twin of the waxing year and rules from Beltane to Samhain. At Samhain he goes to battle with his twin, the Holly King and is slain, allowing darkness to cover the Earth. At Beltane, the Oak King slays the Holly King and spends the next 6 months ruling over Earth in light. The Oak King reveals himself as the Vegetation God, who must die each year so that life can be renewed. It is therefore not surprising that images of the Green Man carved in medieval churches show oak leaves growing out of his head.

The oaks connection with sacrifices rings throughout many stories, including the story of Cuchullian and Curoi (the forerunner of the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) and the Welsh story Math, son of Mathonwy. It's reputation as a tree of strength and endurance depends on its yearly death and rebirth, which is personified in these stories. In fact, its reputation is so strong King Charles II, when fleeing from the Roundheads after the battle of Worcester, took refuge in the branches of a great oak, knowing he would be protected. After his restoration to power on May 29, 1660, the day was henceforth celebrated as "Royal Oak Day."

The oak continues to be one of the most prominent figures in paganism, not only as the representation of the dual aspect of the God, but also for its magical uses. I find oaks to be my second favorite tree, as they tell the best stories. To learn more about the magical and herbal uses of the oak, please refer to the Herbarium: Oak page.

 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Home Protection Ward

 

I mentioned in a previous post on my threshold protection spell, that I also put up a new ward around our home. A ward is something that protects or defends, and when placed around a home it works like a barrier, preventing negativity from entering. However, you have to check on this regularly, just like a wall used to defend a city. How often you need to refresh your ward is completely dependant on your neighborhood and the sort of things following you home. I live in a nice little neighborhood, but right down the street is a not so nice one. Last December my car was stolen from our driveway while I was home by some kids that lived down the road. That being said, my ward needs refreshing rather often. Two to four times a year is usually good, but just remember to keep an eye on it. If you notice it needs refreshing, take down the old ward and reconstruct it.

My favorite ward ritual also comes from The Way of the Hedgewitch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock. Like her threshold protection spell, its easy, quick, and informal.


Supplies
     Candle with holder
     Dish of water
     Dish of earth or salt (you will be sprinkling this outside)
     Incense of your choice
     Matches or lighter

Directions
  1. Light the candle and, beginning at your threshold or where ever you deem fit (I started in my back yard at the fence since it was easiest for me), walk clockwise around the outside of your home. As you do say:
    "I build this boundary with fire."
    Repeat this over and over until you have walked completely around your home.
  2. Next pick up the dish of earth. Again, walk around your home sprinkling dirt as you go. Repeat:
    "I build this boundary with earth."
  3. Pick up the incense and light it. Walk around your house for the last time repeating:
    "I build this boundary with air."
  4. Standing at your threshold (or starting place), reach out your hands and visualize a shield of energy forming a bubble around your home and property. As you visualize say: 
    "Fire, water, earth, and air,
     Guard this home against all ill will and danger.
     Keep this house and those who live in it safe.
     I declare this ward to be raised and active."
And there you have it, a home protection ward! Now sometimes a ward needs to be dissolved. These times would be to refresh a ward, if you move, or if there are major changes that occur in your life or the life of the house, i.e. career change and remodeling.

To disolve a ward, walk counter-clockwise beginning at the same starting point you did to construct the ward. As you do so hold out your hand and visualize it slicing through your ward. As you walk say:
"I dissolve this ward.
 You have my thanks for your protection in the past.
 I release you with my blessing."

A little word of warning about wards and protection barriers. If you are keeping something out you are also keeping something in. It is in your best interest to dissolve your barriers once in a while to let out any trapped energy.

Do you put up a ward around your house?

 



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O is for Overtired

I was originally going to make this post for the Pagan Blog Project about the oak tree, but Tuesday one of my teeth decided to freak out on me. I have a degenerative enamel disease coupled with naturally more acidic saliva and no matter how hard I try, my teeth just rot. I have been to 5 dentists over the years and many are taken aback by how well I care for my teeth compared to the amount of problems I have. Well, I have a couple very weak teeth in my mouth that I have been slowly fixing and one of these teeth became infected. By Wednesday that pain was beyond anything I have ever felt before. The best example I have is placing your hand on a hot stove for 5 minutes then running it under hot water all day. Now imagine caring for a 2 and a half year old and a 7 month old (I'm a nanny right now) while in that much pain. Yeah, it was bad.

Yesterday I finally called my dentist when home remedies and self medicating didn't soothe the pain. He called in a heavy duty antibiotic and anti-inflammatory to take care of the infection until I can come in to have a root canal done. I have hardly slept all week and the medications make me extremely sleepy. I spent the entire evening yesterday laying on the couch or floor (hey, it was colder on the floor) watching Criminal Minds.

So O is for Overtired, Overworked, and Ornery this week. To calm my nerves last night I made a hot cup of green tea. It may have hurt to drink it, but it lowered my blood pressure and soothed my aching muscles. While drinking my tea I put the TV on mute, sat up right, closed my eyes, and breathed deeply. I didn't full on meditate because I knew if I did I would surely fall asleep, but I did focus intently on the flavors in my tea and my slowing heartbeat. In the 10 minutes it took me to finish, most of the pain I was feeling was gone so when my husband finally came home to cook me something soft to eat, I was able to get some food in me. Simple, but effective.

What do you do when you are overtired and overworked? And remember to check back next week to learn about the oak tree and pick up your own free BOS page!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Herbarium: Dandelion


 

Folk Names: Cankerwort, Lion’s Tooth, Priest’s Crown, Swine Snout, White Endive, Wild Endive
Gender: Masculine
Planet: Jupiter
Element: Air
Powers: Calling Spirits, Divination, Wishes
Magical Uses and History: The lore regarding the dandelion began in ancient China during the 7th century. The seed heads are used for a multitude of purposes including foreseeing how long you will live (number of seeds left after blowing), telling time (blow three times and the number left is the hour), sending messages to loved ones (blow the seed head in their direction and visualize your message), and, of course, to make wishes.

The root of the dandelion is commonly used to make a tea which promotes psychic powers. This same tea can be placed beside the bed to call spirits.

Dandelion can be used in a number of spells including:
     Wish Spells
     Luck Spells
     Communication with Spirits
     Body Cleansing and Purification
     Dream Magic
     Divination

Medicinal Uses: Dandelion is a very power diuretic. Most diuretics cause a loss of vital potassium, but dandelion is one of the best natural sources of potassium making it a balanced diuretic that can be used safely when needed. It can also be used to treat inflammation of the liver and gallbladder as well as bring relief for common stomach problems. The milky latex from the stem can be used to treat warts. For water retention is can be used with Yarrow. For liver and gallbladder problems it can be used with Barberry or Balmony.

Preparation and Dosage: Dandelion can be taken internally as both a decoction and tincture. For a decoction, put 2-3 teaspoons of dried root into 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink up to 3 times a day. For a tincture, take 5-10 milliliters up to three times a day. Externally use the milky latex of the stem on a wart. Apply several times a day until wart is gone.

 



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