Saturday, 12 May 2012

Magickal Paraphernalia

Whilst searching for general info on all things pagan it is impossible not to bump into the growing phenomenon that is Wicca. The true origin of modern Wicca and who founded what is sometimes debated and what actually existed pre-Gerald Gardner is hard to pin down I guess. All I know is that Gardner and Co laid down some modern foundations and standardised some practices. At the same time they developed rituals and tools. Some of these must have had origins in the far past. Nobody could deny that the broomstick has been associated with witchcraft for many hundreds of years. The use of a sword or similar blade probably came from high magickal or hermetic practices. Again, the purification and use of water and the sanctity of salt has ancient roots. Although all the tools and paraphernalia seem valid I do wonder if they are all needed. When I think about the average wise woman or cunning man in a village in the middle ages I can't imagine that they would have been able to afford many of these tools, especially a sword! Wills made in the past testify to this - most people were lucky to leave behind the clothes they died in and perhaps a pewter spoon, knife and bowl. So I have been wondering about getting back to basics.

Reading Pennick's East Anglian Magic, I was struck by the simplicity of the ritual tools. Many were taken from everyday life, like the broom. A knife is needed for cutting and perhaps some string and hazel sticks for marking out ritual areas. A bottle of water is needed and this can be purified with salt. Other than this, an ash staff seems to be the only other essential, for drawing a magical boundary, directing power and will. The ash staff is a very magical thing, being associated with the world-ash Yggdrasil and as a conduit between heaven and earth. Ash was thought to attract lightening, drawing and directing power. So the ash staff is an axis mundi, a world pillar or centre. It is interesting to imagine that for a moment in magical time the whole world spins around a humble staff. The magical associations of the ash tree are too numerous to list here, but it has been a holy tree for millenia, long before the norse and Yggdrasil.



All this rambling brings me to my intention to make an ash staff for magical work and this will be my first and principle magical tool.

I will need to cut some wood. Before I do this I will find out how this can be most respectfully done, what I should cut with and if it should be consecrated. Can anyone offer advice in this regard?

Back

Its been a while, but I am finally back at the blog. Time really flies, especially when work an personal life get busy. But it hasn't been a bad couple of months. On the contrary its been pretty good. Work life has improved and I have actually enjoyed it for a change. And there will soon be a move to a new house with a wonderful garden and two beautiful silver birches.

Despite being busy my spiritual journey has not suffered. I continued to read, study and generally bimble about looking at all sorts of stuff. In busy periods Youtube has been particularly useful, not as a source of sound information but as a window into the lives of some of the pagans out there. I know there is a bias in this as not all pagans would go on Youtube, to preserve anonymity, they don't get on with the technology, or it's just not their cup of tea. And it's the same with blogging, not everyone can blog or wants to blog. But I think this is telling me that a next step in my development might be to get out there and meet some real life practicing pagans and get a real feel for the community and its diversity.

Freyja Again

A while ago I wrote a post about finding some amber and feeling some kind of connection to the Goddess Freyja. I am pleased to say that she is still around and my thoughts keep returning to her. I have read norse mythology on and off since a child, and although powerful and interesting she is often sidelined in favour of gods like Odin and Thor. In fact her "race", the Vanir are often masked by the much louder, brasher Aesir, so much so that even her brother Frey cannot always be heard above the din. Now she has stepped forwards and is leading me to explore the much older world of the Vanir. The Vanir probably pre-date the Aesir, they are connected to the earth, fertility, wisdom and divination. It is also interesting to note that the Anglo Saxons were identified as worshiping the Vanir during the Christian missions to England. The fact that they are older, nature gods appeals to me very much. Perhaps in Frey and Freyja I have found my Lord and Lady figures.

Patrons

Whilst exploring the web-based pagan community I have come across people who say that they have a patron Goddess and/or God and that they feel drawn to them or feel that they have called them in some way. Can anyone else share any stories about this? I would love to get comments on how people came to find a patron and what it means to them.

Freyja and Frey, Norse statuettes.