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Monday, August 30, 2010

Writing in Runes

When creating a spell, runes can always be a good way to write words out, or use as symbols.

If you're using the runes for their described meanings, then there really is nothing to worry about - as you won't shouldn't be doubling them. But when you're writing a word, how exactly are you supposed to go about it?

Well, first off, go to your list of runes, their meanings and associated letters/sounds.

Depending on the Futhark that you're using, you have several options for vowels. If you're using the Elder Futhark, the letters are pretty straightforward; but if you're using the Anglo-Saxon Futhark - there's more room for variation. There are more runes that are associated with the vowels in that Futhark.

For the sake of simplicity, I'll stick with the Elder Futhark here.

The first rule, is that runes do not double!
Secondly, letter combinations like Th or Ng should use the appropriate rune. You shouldn't be using two runes for those combinations.

Be careful about mixing up "e" and "m". The runes Mann and Eh look similar (Eh actually looks like an 'm') but Mann has an extra line. So make sure you're using the correct rune.

In the Elder Futhark, Wunjo, Jera and Kenaz have multiple letters.

When using Wunjo or Jera for the letter y, think of how it's used. Use Jera for for the more vocal, throaty sound.  Giefu/Gebo can also be used for y, and is more along the lines of Wunjo's usage. If you have more than one choice, take the meaning of the word or your final goal into account and see if you can work it out that way. You can also go with your intuition about what's right.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Letters Home

If you are struggling with feeling your connection to the land I have a simple suggestion for you to incorporate into your own rituals, rites or meditations. Use what ever format suits your personal practise best.

To help draw you closer the the land you can try writing a letter. You might want to write this as you would a formal letter or you might decide to take the same route as me and write a poem. I chose the poem format because I felt the creation in itself was an offering to the land and because the crafting of a poem takes more time and therefore in the crafting of a poem you imbue your words with more meaning. A quick scribble isn't appropriate either way you chose to go forward with it; you need to put real thought into your words and when you write them out you must really feel them - make some effort to make the paper look pretty.
Tell the land that you wish to connect with it and the spirits that live with/within it and tell the land why. Tell the land how much you think of it. In my case I was telling the land spirits about the garden I wanted to create and why, and I was asking for permission and assistance. Be open and be clear in what you are saying.
When you have your final draft and it's all written out lovely (I would suggest handwriting rather than printing from your word processor as something handwritten is more personal and again gives your words more power) you are ready to use it. Begin as you would normally begin your practise, but you must be outside. If you want to make contact with the spirits of the land you must at least show willing! Where you are will obviously effect how you perform any rituals or meditations, but with this side of things you're on your own; do whatever suits you and the circumstance. The aim is to release your words to the land spirits. You might chose to read your words out loud or you may recite them silently. The nest step is to physically release your words. You can do this by either burying your letter in the Earth or by burning the letter in a small heat proof bowl.
After you've done this you must keep your eyes open! If the spirits try to answer you make sure you are listening. Watch for anything that keeps repeating in your life. Maybe a certain animal will keep appearing, either in real life or you'll keep seeing them on the t.v, hearing about them etc. Maybe it will be a word that keeps popping up, or a phrase. It might also be helpful to pay extra attention to your dreams.

Good luck,
Nellie x

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Magical First Steps - Part Six

I know it's been a while, but life gets hectic sometimes. I barely have time to breathe, and finals are coming up next week.

The "last" step for practicing magic is learning to shield.

Shielding is a way of deflecting or redirecting energy aimed at you. (Either consciously or not.)

This practice can come in handy not only for protection, but also if somebody is fairly empathic as an everyday thing.

When working with other people, especially if they're unexperienced, shielding can protect you from "nuclear runoff" or energy that's gone astray.

Okay, enough rambling... Onto the meat of the post, how to shield.

The way I learned to shield, is by putting up a bubble of energy around you, and empower it to do what you want with energy that comes your way. The most common would be deflecting it. Though some people empower their shields to ground the energy, or to reflect it back to where it came from. This will take some practice, but if you've been working with energy, then you should have a pretty good feel of how to do this.

A lot of people do visualizations with their shielding. Barbed wire, or armor are very common visualizations. Many people also put up multiple layers that protect against various types of energies, which they can "take down" and put back up individually.

Personally, I don't find a reason for shielding too often. I put up a shield to protect the vehicle I'm in whenever I go somewhere. I put up a shield when I'm in a public place with a lot of people I don't know so I don't get overwhelmed by the emotions. But when I am home or with people I care about, I have nothing to be protected from.

Some people are paranoid about other people practicing magic against them, but I am not.

There are also more permanent kinda of shields that you can put up around people or places, but these are more allong the lines of a protection spell or ward.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Communing with Deity

I've been asked to write this post (and feel free to keep the suggestions coming in - we love to know what everybody wants to hear) by the wonderful Nellie. And now that I'm feeling up to writing again, I'm going to tackle it. This is just the way I connect with Deity, but before I publish, I'll see what I can do to find other people's experiences. It is in no way the only "correct and right" way to go about forming a relationship with your Gods.

When I first started trying to "meet" my deities, I wasn't sure what I was doing. I've figured all this out by trial and error. This was about two years ago. I was researching the Norse Gods, and learning all that I could about them. (Keep in mind, that learning about your Gods really is a life-long endeavor. A lot of what was known back in ancient times was spread by word of mouth, and is lost to us now.)

There were a few Gods and called out to me. Eir was one of the firsts. In the long run I never really formed a relationship with her, so much as an acquaintance. Thor was a fairly obvious one, when I look at my life. And Frigg came along a bit later.

The first time I went to commune with Deity, I was trying to contact Eir. Having no training or knowledge of how to do this, I meditated and called Her name repeatedly. I didn't feel the presence of any higher being, but I "heard" singing. I knew it wasn't coming from my environment, because it sounded different than if I heard it with my ears. I never hear anything in my head (if it comes from me) in a voice other than my own. This was a very light and airy (Eir - pronounced just like air) voice, and a high soprano. I didn't catch the words, and I was so shocked that I got directly out of the meditative state and couldn't get back for the life of me. I tried!

Since then, I've formed relationships with Frigg and Thor, and I'm working on a relationship with Odin now.

My experiences with these Gods are more stable, and I can usually expect what's going to happen when I'm talking with them. The first time I started meditating to talk to these Gods, a location came to my mind instinctively. With Thor, it's an open field surrounded by trees with a large rock in the middle. When I meet up with Frigg, it's in a house, right by the hearth. And I see Odin standing by a cliff looking out to sea.

A (very vague) Guide to Connecting with Deity
Learn everything you can about your chosen deity. (Pick one or two to start off with.)
Meditate while "calling out" or "inviting" the God/dess to join you.
Take note of any feelings you get from them (if they come and join you - they might not.)
Be open to any kinds of messages you get from the Gods. It might not be in words - it could be symbols, sounds or impressions.
Don't be disheartened if things don't go as planned. You can always try again later.
Keep trying to commune with the Gods. They might want to be sure of your dedication to forming a relationship with them before they make themselves known to you. Patience is a virtue.

Don't forget to leave offerings or blessings for your Gods. A bit of your meal left out for them, pouring them some of your drink or just offering them thanks or praise before a meal is a good way to let them know you're sincere.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Learning the Land - Part 4

Now this week is a fairly simple suggestion, though again it will take longer than a week to come to fruition (quite literally).

Everyone has heard the saying 'you are what you eat' no doubt, and it really is very true in quite a literal sense that goes much further than your health.
One of the things I have found to be most helpful in connecting with the land has been to grow some food and eat it. By doing this you are quite literally eating the land. It becomes part of you on a molecular and chemical level, just as you become part of the land itself when you die and the physical body decomposes (yeah I know, lovely imagery while I'm talking about growing food!) I'm talking provable science here again, and it's something you can read up on if you are so inclined :)
Everybody can do this. Sure it's best if you can actually grow something in the Earth itself, but if you can't it doesn't mean that growing your own as a method of connection is lost to you. Even if you grow in pots on a patio or window box - or even if you only grow something on a pot on your windowsill - you are still connecting to the spirit of the land. The soil is only part of the equation. You can still grow plants that are exposed to the air,and water them with collected rainwater, all unique to the place you live and therefore part of the whole. This will still bring you closer to the land and also its natural rhythms, which is also the point of the exercise. How can you expect to come closer to the Land if you don't know her natural rhythms? This isn't something you can learn from a book as each place will be slightly different. Optimum temperatures for growth will come at different times, differing length of daylight hours etc. Fruit, vegetables and leaves will be ready at different times in different places, and as part of your connection to the Land it's nothing but beneficial to know about when these things are happening.
So go get growing! Sure it might be getting too cold where you are, but you'd be surprised what can grow with just a little protection. At the least there are some salad crops that are suitable for growing during the cool times so long as you give them a little protection (cloches, bubble wrap, horticultural fleece - heck even half a plastic bottle upturned will do the trick).
If you can't grow in the Earth it's no big matter. Anyone can grow some herbs on their window. If you've got a sunny window you've got limitless choices of what to grow. If however you have window space but it's not very sunny, don't despair! Mint and sage for example will still grow for you (mint makes a lovely tea and you can get countless varieties to chose from. Sage is very useful for ritual and magickal purposes but that's a subject for another post! Again there are lots of different varieties - I grow pretty purple sage).
So grow something. PLEASE! Not only will it bring you closer to the Land in a local sense it will also help the Land in a global sense. Eating closer to home means there's that little bit of food that isn't being shipped half way around the world to your door. If you can try to source local food more frequently you really are doing the Earth a favour.
As a side note - plants are always cheaper to grow from seed and many cheap supermarkets often sell some of the more popular varieties seed packets quite cheaply. If you're looking for something a bit more unusual the best place is probably the Internet. Some seeds are difficult to germinate though so you might want to buy them as plants. Sage for example is supposed to be difficult to germinate. This doesn't mean you shouldn't try, just that you should be aware of this fact. I grew Sage from seed the first time I tried with no experience what-so-ever so difficult does not by any means mean impossible! Other plants self seed prolifically (like lemon balm) so if you can find a friend with plants you can probably beg some for nothing, and other plants are so voracious (like all the mints) that they spread all over the place, and again if you've got a friend with plants you can probably beg some for nothing!
Good luck - please give this one a go if you haven't already!
Nellie x