I have a little story to tell.

Last week, my son had to go under general anesthesia. After his first dental work, he developed a total fear of the dentist. So despite the fact that he had only minor work to be done, anesthesia ended being the final option. We looked to every possible option and it really came down to that. As an occupational therapist, I had seen plenty of surgeries gone very wrong, so naturally I was worried.

After he had gone under, I went back to the waiting room, surrounded by all the other parents who had children in there. I had read somewhere (though I looked, I couldn’t find where I had read it) that soul loss can happen during general anesthesia. Shamans use soul retrieval techniques to find missing pieces of people’s souls that can happen during trauma or soul theft. I have taken a number of workshops in shamanism, but I had no idea how to do a soul retrieval. But this was my son and I was going to do whatever it took.

I sat cross-legged on my chair in the waiting room and closed my eyes. The other parents probably wondered what the heck I was doing, but I so didn’t care. It was my job to protect my little guy. I journeyed out into the middle world. I ‘got up’ and walked right through the wall to my son’s bedside. I called my guides, I talked to him, I surrounded him with a bubble so that his soul would stay close by. I guarded without pause to make sure that no pieces of his soul wandered off.

Then, in an instant, my focus broke and I was back in the waiting room. The connection was completely severed and though I tried and tried to get back in there, I just kept bouncing right out. What was going on?

Then I understood. They had just taken him out of the anesthesia! And as I realized that, the dentist came out and told us they had moved him to recovery.

Everything went well and he woke up without problems. Relief all around.

The reason I am writing this is that we are taught to fear, to not trust our deepest instincts, to surrender control to those who know best, to follow the Establishment. I didn’t know how to do a soul retrieval. And yet, I KNEW! I knew how to protect my son. And I did! I just went deep inside and did what I thought was the right thing despite what might have looked completely crazy to all those other parents. It wasn’t crazy or irrational. The fact that I knew when it was over confirmed to me how real this power was.

You must understand that I am probably the most normal person around (well, at least, I think so….) I’ve been involved in magic and paganism for over 15 years. But I I imagine dress like a hippie, own an occult store of some kind, do Tarot consultations and workshops for a living, etc…. It is not what my life is like at all. I am the person you sit next to on the bus. I work my day job, manage my business, get my kids to school… My day to day is no different from yours.

I need to repeat this: I am no different from you.

That night, I felt greatness fill my whole being. I felt like I had honored my sacred duty to do what was right and not to follow blindly what was being told to me. I took my own power back. I had power to help my son, a power which was irrational to most and I used it. I left the doubt behind and reached within to find that power. There are many in this world who would have us believe that we are powerless, that someone else knows better. But our power is infinite, beyond belief. Your power is infinite beyond belief. You KNOW what needs to be done and how to do it. I am not just talking about magic. Magic is just a technique. What matters most is believing, reading the signs of the times, seeing what the universe is telling YOU.

May this full moon bring you a taste of this greatness that is within yourself. Blessed be!

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We have a full weekend ahead of us with the Spring equinox falling on March 20 along with a full moon. The spring equinox is the feast of Ostara which the celebration of planting and of life returning after the long winter. It coincides well with our own celebration of rebirth, which is Easter (although it is quite late this year). Also, the full moon is usually a time for magic where we put out the intentions that we want to see manifest in our lives. It is a time for growth energy-wise, so combined with the energy of the equinox and its mounting light, a lot could happen.

I thought I would give a brief description of ritual design and spell casting so that those of you who want to take part in this energy can do so. It’s a brief overview and we will get into the details of each step later. But it should be enough to get started. Please don’t be shy to ask questions if things are not clear.

Always clean your space first. If you do this outside, the space is generally clean as the earth recycles her own energy. When working indoors, physically clean your space by sweeping and putting things away. You don’t want to raise energy in the midst of chaos. Also, always start magical work with centering and grounding.

A ritual generally consists of the following steps:

1) Calling your quarters. You can call the elements by invoking them and placing a representation of each element in the corner. You can also ask the archangels or spirit animals to stand guard in those places.

2) Cast a circle. I’ll get back to this technique more in depth and that is why I asked how people were doing with centering and grounding. The way I like to cast circle is to C&G and to let the energy overflow through my steps as I walk around the circle. You can also let it flow out of your hand or let it trail behind you like a shooting star. Some people use tools, like a wand or a staff. Traditionally, the circle is cast three times around to strengthen the space. Casting a circle creates a kind of container for the energy to stay focused. It also delineates a sacred space ‘between the world’ as a sign that you are doing something special. It’s a kind of ‘Psst! Over here!’ way to alert the universe that you want its attention. It delineates your sacred space where you can meet the Sacred Ones.

3) Invoke your God and Goddess. This is traditionally done by lighting candles. You can compose a formal greeting if you wish, but don’t underestimate the power of simplicity. I have always considered that the Christian tradition, when looked at from its original point, is a very humble tradition. It is a tradition of sitting together and talking, telling stories and calling God Abba, which translates most closely as ‘Daddy’. I find nothing wrong in simply saying: ‘Lord, I am here, please sit with me for a moment.’ I think that is the beauty of our tradition.

4) Focal event: This is where you use your correspondences and where your tradition and mythology takes full form. In a Sabbat, you don’t traditionally really do magic. It’s more a celebration of the wheel of the year. Magic (and spell casting) is usually reserved for the Esbats. Let’s take Ostara for example. Ostara is the commemorates the planting of seeds in view of the future harvest. The focal event could be to literally plant seeds that you may want to use for magical purposes. It might be to ritually get your garden ready for planting. It can also be the symbolic planting of intentions. What do you want to plant for yourself this year? You can use seeds to symbolically plant that intention. If you want to harvest love, maybe you want to plant some roses. Peace? Plant some lavendar. You can also write your intent on a piece of paper and plant it in the earth. Take a moment to C&G and really see what you want to harvest this year. Visualize it as best you can, feel it and taste it. Move that image into your pen and write down (or draw) this image into the very fiber of the piece of paper. Then plant it into the earth. Take a moment to go to your sacred space and to see how you need to water this intention. What is it that you need to do to make this vision grow into your life? Ask your guides for help. And make that commitment to participate fully in the grace of the universe.

The themes for Ostara are re-birth, fertility, life, growth, light. You can use your imagination and creativity to compose a ritual to represent what this means for you in your life. Other correspondences are the egg, birth of livestock and wildlife (and bunnies) and early flowers (like crocuses).

This Ostara being also a full moon, you get the advantage of getting the moon’s full growing energy to help in the manifestation of your request. It is a good time to be precise about what it is you exactly want in your life. Raising energy is part of spellcasting (which can also be done as a ritual, as described above) There are many ways to do that. We will get to that in due time. Suffice to say that if you ground well, you can draw up energy from the earth and let it accumulate within your circle. With a clear intent and focus, you can direct this energy towards your intent and vision. As you release the energy towards your vision, say ‘An it harm none, so mote it be’ to ensure that your work is not harming anyone else and that you are in the ‘karmic clear’ so to speak.

5) Thank the God and Goddess for their presence. Esbats are celebrated mostly around the Goddess, but Sabbats usually require action of both.

6) Bid farewell to the elements and thank them for their presence.

7) Take down the circle. Simply walk around the circle and absorb the energy of the circle. Send it back to the earth.

Your rite is done! Rejoice with a small feast. Eggs are traditional for Ostara. A healthy dose of chocolate can’t hurt either!

I know many people email me with fear that they might do something wrong. I think that if you work in perfect love and with simplicity and humility, you cannot do anything wrong. Things go wrong when people do magic for the ‘rush’ of feeling their own power. Keep it simple, as if you were having tea with an old friend. That is exactly how I do it and how it feels. And that gives me strength and peace. That’s what magic is all about: about feeling connected to the sacred Source. That is the meaning of baptism and the central teaching of Jesus. Connect within and straight to God, like a little child connects to his parent. We are made of the same stuff and we are co-creators in the universe. We could not ask for a better Master.

That being said, be careful and precise as to what you wish for, because you WILL get it.

Blessings of life beginning to all of you!!

In my soul, the night still belongs to the Goddess. As a Christian, I keep Jesus always close in my rituals and in my philosophy. But the moon still belongs to the Goddess, in whatever form she may take. It could be Mary the Mother or Mary the Virgin, weaving the Temple veil. It could be Mary Magdalene, the mystic and my Priestess or any of the other manifestations of the sacred feminine:  Sofia, essence of wisdom, St-Brigid, the Druidess, the Great Mother of ancient times, the matriarchs of the Bible, my old crone gypsy woman, Raven… So many faces to manifest what we are.

I’ve been awfully busy lately, busy with just stuff. You know all the stuff that gets in the way of what matters. I got into it so deep that I forgot which phase of the moon we are in. That has not happened in years. I was wondering why everything I tried to do was unraveling before me. Then I stopped, took a deep breath, centered and grounded. Then I heard a woman’s voice in my head: “You always turn to me for everything. Why have you not done so this time?”

So, I sat last night, called the archangels to guard my quarters and I cast a circle with the essence of each element. I lit my candles and I simply said:

“I turn to you.”

There was nothing else to say.

May the Goddess reveal her beauty to all of you! Blessed be!