Friday, July 22, 2011

Dragonfly lore

The Dragonfly

A dragonfly is an insect belonging to the order Odonata, the suborder Epiprocta or, in the strict sense, the infraorder Anisoptera. It is characterized by large multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong transparent wings, and an elongated body. Dragonflies typically eat mosquitoes, midges and other small insects like flies, bees, and butterflies. They are usually found around lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands because their larvae, known as "nymphs", are aquatic.
Dragonflies do not normally bite or sting humans (though they will bite in order to escape, for example, if grasped by the abdomen); in fact, they are valued as a predator that helps control the populations of harmful insects, such as mosquitoes. It is because of this that dragonflies are sometimes called "mosquito hawks" in North America along with the Crane Fly (which, in fact, does not eat mosquitoes).
Female dragonflies lay eggs in or near water, often in or on floating or emergent plants. Some species when laying eggs will submerge themselves completely just to lay their eggs in a suitable place. Most of the life of the dragonfly is spent in the larval, (naiad, aka nymph) form, beneath the water surface, using internal gills to breathe, and using extendable jaws to catch other invertebrates or even vertebrates such as tadpoles and fish. The larvae of large dragonflies may live as long as five years, or two months to three years in smaller species. When the the larva is ready to metamorphose into an adult, it climbs up a reed or other emergent plant at night, and when it does the breathing pattern changes inside the larvae's body. Then the skin splits at a weak spot behind the head and the adult dragonfly crawls out of its old larval skin, waits for the sun to rise, pumps up its wings and flies off to feed on midges and flies. In the adult stage, larger species of dragonfly can live as long as four months.
Ancient dragonflies ("Anisozygoptera")
Conventionally, the Anisoptera were given suborder rank beside the ancient dragonflies ("Anisozygoptera", two living species and numerous fossil ones), but it has been determined recently that the Anisozygoptera form a paraphyletic assemblage of primitive relatives of the Anisoptera. Thus, the Anisoptera are reduced to an infraorder, forming the new suborder Epiprocta (dragonflies in a general sense). The artificial grouping Anisozygoptera is disbanded, its members being recognized as largely extinct offshoots at various stages of dragonfly evolution.
The oldest known species of dragonfly is the 320 million year old Delitzschala bitterfeldensis. Another old genus is Namurotypus.
Dragonfly Wikipedia

Dragonfly Symbology
The Dragonfly symbolizes the power of light and Illusion. The dragonfly inhabits two realms: air and water and the influence of both these elements will be felt by Dragonfly people. They will be emotional and passionate during their early years (the influence of water) and more balanced with greater mental clarity and control in as they mature (the influence of air).
Dragonfly is the essence of the winds of change, the messages of wisdom and enlightenment; and the communication from the elemental world. Dragonfly medicine beckons you to seek out the parts of your habits which need changing. Call on Dragonfly to guide you through the mists of illusion to the pathway of transformation.
The number 2 is important to Dragonfly, so think in terms of two year periods when you begin a change. Dragonfly brings the light and color of transformation into your life.
Dragonflies, or damselflies, were connected to Freya the Norse goddess of love, fertility and warfare. Freya was famous for her beauty and her knowledge as a magician. It was she who taught Odin the shamanic practices known as seidr which were still practiced during Christian times. The paired bodies of mating dragonflies form the shape of a heart, perhaps being the source for that modern symbol of love. In ancient lore, the dragonfly represents transformation, adaptation and insight.

Dragonfly Folklore and Mythology

In most cultures dragonflies have been objects of superstition. European folklore is no exception. Many old myths have been lost during the history, but fragments of these old myths are still living in old local names for dragonflies.
Only in Germany have dragonflies had over 150 different names. Some of these are Teufelsnadel ("Devil's needle"), Wasserhexe ("Water witch"), Hollenross ("Goddess' horse"), Teufelspferd ("Devil's horse") and Schlangentöter ("Snake killer"). The name Snake Doctor has been used in Germany.
In England the name Devil's darning needle and Horse stinger have been used. In Denmark the dragonfly have got such different names as Fandens ridehest ("Devil's riding horse") and Guldsmed("Goldsmith").
Different names of dragonflies referring to them as the devils tools have also occurred in many other European cultures, some examples are the Spanish Caballito del Diablo ("Devil's horse") and the Frenchl'aiguille du diable ("Devil's needle").
During the history the dragonflies even have been connected with love and female, the names damselfly (England), Demoiselle (France) and Jungfer (Germany) are some examples of those nice associations.
In certain parts of Norway, the dragonfly is also known as "oslash;rsnildra". The exact meaning of this word is unknown to me but the part "oslash", does obviously refer to the Norwegian word for "ear", as people (and especially children) often thought that the dragonfly would poke holes in their ear-drums if it got inside their ears.
The Swedish name for dragonfly is trollslända, which means "hobgoblin fly" in English. Long time ago people in Sweden believed that hobgoblins, elves, brownies and such creatures lived in our great woods. In that folklore the dragonflies was considered to be the hobgoblins twisting tools.
An old Swedish name for dragonfly is Blindsticka ("Blind stinger"), this name comes from the opinion that a dragonfly could pick out your eyes. Other people thought that the dragonfly could sew together your eyelids. The same name appears as well in Norway ("Öyenstikker") as in Germany ("Augenstecher").
Another old Swedish name is Skams besman ("Devil's steelyard"), this name probably depends on the dragonfly's body shape that, with some imagination looks like the weighting tool. In the folklore this was interpreted as that the Devil used the dragonfly to weight the people's souls. When a dragonfly flew around your head, your soul was weighted and you should expect seriously injury as punishment. It is very interesting that, despite of those ideas that the dragonfly should be the Devil's tool, the dragonfly have been a holy animal in Scandinavia. In the Æsir cult the dragonfly was thought to be the love goddess Freya's symbol.
Some of the Latin names of dragonfly families have interesting meanings: The name Libellula might have been derived from the word libella ("booklet") referring to the resting dragonfly, which wings, with some imagination, looks quite like the pages of an open book.
The name Odonata was created by Fabricius in 1793 as name for the whole dragonfly order, means "toothed".

Dragonfly Prophecy

Quote from the book Mystery of The Crystal Skulls ...
    "The Maya considered the dragonfly to be one of the symbols of Kukulcan also known as Quetzalcoatl whose spirit is said to be connected with the fulfillment of the Mayan Calendar." December 21, 2012

I did NOT write any of this! I just wanted to share this and love how this is put. For where I got this click here >Source:


Monday, July 4, 2011

How to write Rituals and Spells

How to write your own Spell or Ritual

I would like to start this handout with a simple fact, these are guide lines but there is no WRONG way to write a spell or ritual because magic is about what feels right to you! It is YOUR energy and desire being put out to the Universe and it is YOUR Will that is being presented.

Know the Basics
Know what magick is. Know different ways to raise, direct and ground energy. Know how to cast a magick circle. Know how to open a circle. Know the basic outline of a spell.

Know the Intent or Purpose
What is it you are trying to do? Heal an illness? Increase your concentration? Bring love into your life? Sell a house? Celebrate a Sabbat? Before you begin any magickal working, you should have a firm grasp on what outcome you are seeking.

Know the Best Time to Work the Spell
Do you know what type of magick should be worked during the waning moon and what type during the waxing moon? What type of magick is best worked on the full moon? The new moon? What days of the week are best for what types of magick? Learn how the moon phases and days of the week affect magickal workings so you will know when to work your spell.

Know Correspondences
Learn which colors will bring what results. Learn a little about herbalism; which herbs can be used for what magickal purposes. Learn about image magick and how it works. Learn about elemental magick; which elements can be used for what types of magick.

Basic Working Spell Outline
Ritual Preparation
Choose a time. Decide the intent. Choose an aspect of the Divine, if you wish. Decide how to raise energy (IE: dance, chanting, drumming, etc.) Choose how to cast and close the circle.
Cleanse yourself and your magickal space.
You can do this with a ritual bath/shower for yourself, or through meditation to still and focus your mind. You can cleanse your space with your magickal broom or with incense or burning herbs.
Cast the Circle
Invocation of the Divine or The Elementals or The Watchtowers
Statement of purpose
This is simply to tell the Divine/Elementals/Watchtowers why you have called Him/Her/Them to the circle; what you are trying to accomplish.
Magickal Working
Raise energy, through chanting or drumming or however you have chosen to do so. Direct or channel this energy by using candles, herbs, stones or whatever other correspondences you found to fit your specific need. Ground your energy when you have completed the working.
Cakes and Wine (optional)
Eat a small piece of bread or biscuit/cookie and drink a little wine, milk, juice or water to help restore your energy. Since I usually do my spells late of a night (near midnight) I tend to just meditate for a little while and/or have a glass of water. Be practical - don't eat or drink anything that will not help you sleep.
Thanking the Divine/Elementals/Watchtowers
The Divine, whom ever you saw fit to evoke, has been present and provided their protection or blessing, as is with the elements and/or watch towers. Some people make the evoking and releasing/thanking the most embellished part of the ritual. Here you draw your banishing pentacles or pentagrams, praise the elements/divine/watchtowers and send them on their way. For some a formal release is always said like “Stay if you will, go if you must. But Harm thee none along the way. Hail and Farewell” but it is not mandatory.
Closing the Circle
This process is a releasing of the energies you've laid to work for protection and power. You are sending the energy back to the Universe or sending it to do other things, in covens they sometimes send the energy to protect the area where the coven meets most or always.

Why Do Witches Cast Circles?

The purpose of casting a circle is to create a safe, sacred space in between worlds for Witches to do their magickal workings. When casting it, you are also doing so to prevent any negative energy, spirits, or other nasty little entities who want to meddle in your magickal workings, from being able to enter it. And trust me, they're real, and they can really screw up a spell if you don't cast your circle properly. And if you're careless in your workings, these nasties can slip through your circle, and take up residence in your home. With that in mind, please take great care when casting & releasing your circle.
As always, the key to creating a strong circle is your personal power, and using your visualization skills so you can actually see the circle. When you cast a circle it is not just a round space on the floor. It is like a bubble that rises high above you, and below your floor. The energy of circles can be so strong that dowsing rods can even detect them.
While some books say a circle must be 9 feet round, they never say why. So I say do what feels right for you, and make it as big or small as you wish. Just make sure the circle is large enough to contain your altar, magickal supplies, and be able to walk around without hitting the edge. If you live in a place where this isn't possible, for example, you can't move your altar from against the wall, or other location, make the entire room into a circle. You are free to visualize what your circle looks like. I visualize a big bubble and see a circle of flames surrounding it. Depending on the spell or ritual, I may visualize the flames in different colors. For example, I'd see a pink fire if doing a love spell, a green fire for a money spell, and blood red when doing high magick like lifting hexes and curses. For everyday things I find a blue flame very helpful for some reason.

Can I Leave The Circle Once It's Cast?
Leaving a circle once it's cast is highly frowned upon as it can give negative energies a chance to get in while you're going out and back in, but you can do it...if you must! Don't just go wandering out as though the circle isn't even there or all heck can break loose. If you are smart, and using the salt water string method I'm about to teach you, you can over lap the string at the ends and just open it enough for you to quickly slip out, and slip back in again. If you cast a circle without using a cord or string, then use your athame, wand, or finger to 'cut' a door. Go through it and seal it. Come back and do the same thing.
Some Witches choose to fast on the day they perform magick so the body is focused on your magick instead of digesting. If you can do that, go a head, if not, try to eat light meals, and don't eat at least two and a half hours before you perform a spell or ritual.

Why do you have to do so many things to cast a circle?
The reason is to get your subconscious, and conscious mind in the proper state, in order to perform what ever spell or ritual you're going to do. If you just walk up to your altar, dirty, in the clothing you wore to work, possibly carrying negative energies you picked up from other people, light a few candles and read something, do you really think it would amount to anything? Of course not! You aren't putting any effort into it. And your effort is the most important thing in any spell or ritual. It is most important especially when it comes to beginners, who are new to all of this. Who haven't yet felt the cone of power one builds in their magickal circle, or the fact that after a while, you can literally feel if you get too close to the end of the circle. All these actions add power and substance to your magickal workings, so don't try to cut corners or rush through the process. Once you have cast circles enough times, it won't feel like so much to do. You will get used to it, as well as the feelings and energies you feel within yourself and your circle.
Now it's time to begin casting the circle.

First, sweep the circle clean to rid the area of any negative energies. As you do so, think of some kind of chant to say as you sweep. Just a simple saying like "Sweep, sweep, sweep away, any negativity here today." is fine. Just think of your own chant. That one's mine.
Place your element candles in the 4 directions, North, East, South and West. This is where your compass comes in very handy.
Ring your bell 3 times, or clap your hands 3 times to signal the beginning of the spell or ritual.
Moving deosil pronounced Jes-ul or Dee-a-sil (clockwise), begin by outlining the circle with your cord or string making sure to include your altar and all your materials inside. Make sure you have plenty of room to move around. If you don''t want to use a cord, just use your wand or athame to outline the circle. But I find it best, especially for beginners, to be able to actually see the circle. If possible, outline it with salt or sand.
Depending on what book you read, the author will suggest beginning in one of the 4 directions. As North represents the Gods and Mother Earth, and is the direction of the element (Earth), I feel the biggest connection to, I choose to start in that direction. You should start in whatever direction feels right to you, and if you can't decide, then just start in the direction your altar is facing.
Using your athame, slowly trace the circle in the air while visualizing a colored flame emanating from your body, down your arm and into your athame and around the circle. As you trace the circle visualize a protective bubble growing around, above and below you.

Invoking and Banishing Pentacles:

In casting a circle, many Witches, including myself, like to draw invoking pentacles in the air in each element direction at the beginning of the ritual and banishing ones at the end when releasing the elements. This is optional. Always do what feels right for you. Starting with Earth (North):
To draw and invoking pentacle :

To Close the Circle:
To close the circle, start with the guardians in the West and proceed to the South, East and finally the North. Then you say farewell to any deity you invited to join you in the circle. Not forgetting to draw a banishing pentacle in the air with your wand, athame, or your power finger (the one you write with).

To draw a banishing pentacle :
Quick Note: Always remember to NEVER discuss or brag about a spell you've done with anyone ,other than people in your coven or closely trusted circle. If you are a solitary Witch, then simply keep it to yourself. The reason for this is that if you do, the energy of the person you are telling it to (that may not believe you, or have the same faith in your power as you), can connect with the energy of the spell and interfere with all the hard work you just did. They could ruin your spell entirely just with powers of disbelief. This ties into a lesson about To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Keep Silent. We will cover this in time.
Spells are part of Ritual as well, though most of the time Rituals are elaborate celebrations and are in worship of the Moon/Goddess/God/Sabbat/Esbat etc. While spells are things as simple as burning a piece of sage over a candle for cleansing before walking out the door each morning.

A spell is a prayer using objects to enhance that prayer.
You can use a small variety of items, something as simple as one candle and a piece of paper, or you can have a full altar set up and perform a spell. Because it is ritual in nature but simple in practice you don't have to caste a circle and the evoke the spirits for a spell, Though spells are part of a ritual has a whole. Just take the time to clear your mind and focus on what your are praying for, go through what need to than be on your way. Some spells need refreshing each day, some spells can be one shots where you ask the Universe for it's answer and leave it at that, it will or will not happen.
Know what you are asking
Just like with Rituals, know what it is you are putting out to the Universe. Don't just pray for something that you haven't tried to receive by your own means first. Take the time to think out what you are doing. Try even writing down a step by step process or plan and the spell will be the last resort.
Make sure you know what tools to use even if you are using something simple. White candles are the catch all color but if you really want to focus on what your goal is look up the colors that match your desire, the right incense, the correct oils and stones. The correct Deity to pray to is also a big thing, if you need love you don't ask Kali-ma for guidance when Aphrodite is dancing in the corner trying to get your attention. Also make sure you ask around the right time, the phase of the moon holds so many different energies that you need to know what you want is being heard at the right time.
It is a good to cleanse yourself, take a nice bath with herbal all organic products if you can, if not it's okay! We won't come find you and hex you for using Suave or some high priced shampoo to cleanse away the negativity of the day. But make sure you are clean. Smudge or sweep around the area you are working in, make sure the tools and altar are cleared of negative energy. I personally had a small space to live in that meant that the normal every day energy filtered into my tiny corner where my religious stuff was and I had to cleanse it constantly. Take the time anoint your candles and tools (Using oils or incense to cleanse the tools, if you haven't consecrated them you can do this as well at this time, this is when you ask for the blessing of the Lord and Lady and all the elements on the tool.)

Note: Before I move on to Rituals I am going to point out that I put spells here because they are incorporated in Ritual's.

Basic Ritual Outline
This is my personal Ritual outline. It can be modified and changed to meet you own needs and wants, it will always be mentioned and acknowledged that magic is about what feels right to you.

  • Call the Quarters/Elements (some people do this as the second step. You don't have to call the Watchtowers, some people just call the elements or animals associated with those directions.)
  • Evoke the Goddess and God (Or just the Goddess depending on what you need and/or believe)
  • Caste Circle (some people do this first)
  • Main part of Ritual (This is the spell, this is the worship, you may sing a song to a god or goddess, work on healing someone, or communing with the divine.)
  • Cakes and Ale (for some there is a separate blessing for the Cake than the Ale. For Chalice Circle and TLO we have toast and boast where everyone shares their thanks and sorrows, others, like in covens, share the cakes and ale has part of the ritual with the High Priestess and High Priest presenting the Offerings to each coven mate than proceeding back to the center. In a Coven Cakes and Ale can be part of the main ritual itself not separate.)
  • Some people write a last song or chant here.
  • Releasing the Goddess and God (this can be done while releasing Quarters/Elements after Circle is released.)
  • Releasing the Quarters/Elements (this can be done while releasing Goddess and God after Circle is released)
  • Releasing the Circle (this can be done before releasing the Goddess and God and Quarters/Elements)

    Keep in mind this only MY personal way of writing out a ritual. I do use books and the internet to learn more and figure out outlines. I write rituals for the sabbats based on what corresponds with that festival and find that someone has already written a spell or ritual that FEELS right to me to use in an open group. There is no WRONG way to do this.