Copy
                                                                        View this email in your browser


 

 

Message from the Editor
 

Greetings fellow devotees!

Happy Halloween everyone! (Or whichever it may be you celebrate this season!) For my family; my two sons and my eldest son's beloved, we absolutely love Halloween. We all dress up, sometimes taking months to plan our costumes, and we love to decorate everything up all spooky as well as attend a spooky event. 

I also use this time in a more solemn way in regards to honouring my ancestors and beloved dead. In Poland where I have ancestry, there is an ancient celebration called Dziady, which would occur two times a year. Autumn Dziady would happen the night of October 31st and would take place in a cemetery begining with prayers. Pomynky was the "feeding and watering" of the spirits of ones ancestors. As my ancestors are buried (or were cremated!) in provinces and even countries far away from me and I am unable to visit them there, I invite them into my home at my ancestor's altar, and offer them a good meal and something nice to drink. That is something I do often, but on Dziady I try to make it extra special.



        Veles_by_Andrey_Shishkin / CC BY 4.0
 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en)


I also have much ancestry in Ukraine, and on October 31st celebrate also, Veles night. Veles (Weles/Volos) is the God of divination, of the harvest, of wealth and wishes, and of magic, among much else! Evidence of offerings to Veles has been found in every Slavic country. On Veles night, traditionally, time is mainly spent inside with family having a festive meal and remembering the departed ones. It is a good time to ask for help from ancestors. Simply name a departed ancestor, describe your problem, and ask that ancestor for their assistance. It is also a time to have a wish granted!  One way is to sleep with an apple under your pillow after making your wish, then, in the morning, eat the apple. Another method states that you must write onto a piece of paper, "A dark night, I curse you to help me. Veles, work hard, and give me what I desire" and place this under your pillow at bedtime.

There is far more to these festivities, I barely even scratch the surface here - but I am still very new to Slavic practices. Anything passed down from my own family must be untangled from Catholicism, and information online or in books can also be tricky - picking apart what is actual tradition and what is fantasy.

Perhaps any of our Slavic members with direct experience in these traditions may like to write a piece for Noumenia News next October?


Wishing you all the very best!

Lotus x
Torchbearer & Keybearer
She/her

For more on Dziady:
https://www.yoair.com/blog/anthropology-dziady-slavic-halloween-and-its-cultural-significance/
https://witia.squarespace.com/blogeng/dziady-and-the-ritual-slavic-masks

and on Veles Night:

https://ukrainefrontlines.com/discover-ukraine/history/the-veles-night-customs-and-beliefs-around-ukraines-own-halloween/
https://slavic-girl.com/ukrainian-halloween-or-veles-night.htm

Editorial Staff:
Editor - Lotus
Assistant Editor - Deanne
Proofers this issue - Deanne, Catherine, Cece & Jen

 

                            "Dziady was an ancient Slavic feast to commemorate the dead" 
                                         Lesza Ślężyńska / www.RKP.org.pl / CC BY 3.0
                                 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en)
                                      
                                   Message From the Assistant Editor                         

                                                 Feeding The Dead

Most people really love this time of year, and I share much of that. Living in South Central Texas we actually only have two seasons, with perhaps two to three weeks in between what we laughingly call spring and fall. Because the winters are not harsh here, the step into spring feels different from those whose winters are frozen for months on end. We do experience some relief when our temperatures finally drop a bit in October. Even then those drops are only teasers. When we do finally get a briskness in the air in the wee early morning hours of dawn, when the sun rises overhead, any memory of that coolness is forgotten. This morning, at 5:30 am when I woke, it was 54 degrees. I stepped outside to smell and feel the air, so clean and cool. And yet, now it is 85 degrees and rising, it once more feels like summer. We don’t have the sudden frosts that turn our trees to vibrant reds, yellows and browns. Yes, the leaves eventually turn and fall to the ground, but we have no heavy freeze and so our colors are pale compared to those in the North and colder climates.

Many Texans think the emotional feel for our two seasons is backwards, believing that summer, with its blazing sun, is the time to withdraw. Then in winter, when the weather is mostly mild, that’s the time to come out to play. This is a reversal of pagan thinking about the seasons in North America. 

For me, it isn’t about the heat but more about the light. I used to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I know I am sensitive to how much light I require to maintain good emotional health. When I began to embrace and understand seasonal change and the naturalness of going within during the darker half of the year, anything associated with that disorder vanished. Finally understanding, I gave myself permission to retreat. It was such a simple cure.

The ancient Celtic tribes celebrated all life as beginning in the dark. The festival they honored, Samhain (summer’s end), most now celebrate as Halloween. It has ancient origins in the tribal aspects of honoring the ancestors at this time of year. They believed that this liminal time, this period between light and dark, is a time when the Veil Between the Worlds thins and that our ancestors can visit us. The ancestors were their Honored Dead and they needed their help and support to maintain prosperous and healthy lives.  And so it was that they honored their ancestors by having a celebration, much like we would throw a party. They prepared great feasts of food.  They prepared places at the table for their ancestors and offered entertainment for their enjoyment.

And so, I too, take time during this change from light to dark, to honor my beloved ancestors. In fact, I honor all beloved ancestors, not just mine. I remember one year being particularly memorable for me: a friend of mine and I decided we would take our heaping plates of food for the ancestors to the local cemetery as an offering. When we arrived at the cemetery, we found locked gates. Determined to finish this deed, we slid under those big wide gates on our bellies! We quietly slipped into the dark with our food until we found a location we thought appropriate to leave our offerings. As we left them, we offered words of gratitude and love for the gifts they offered their loved ones, even in death.

And with that we returned to the locked gates to once more slide under and go home. To our total mortification, there stood two local police officers called to the scene to apprehend reported intruders. Yes, that was us. We were lucky. We suffered no more than embarrassment. We explained ourselves, apologized profusely and they let us leave with nothing but a kind lecture! That was one Feast of the Dead I will always remember.

This is also the time of year that I mourn the passing of my closest family. My mother and only brother both left this world at the end of October. My father, whose will to live without my mother suffered, left soon after. So, my honoring of ancestors takes on its own personal message. Here is a little poem I wrote for my ancestors called the Litany of the Bones ...

Herein lay the bones of my ancestors
Even as this body grows old and changes with time.

Herein lay the bones of my ancestors
Their bones are my structure, my support and keep me going

Herein lay the bones of my ancestors
While these bones may restrict me, I choose to be flexible

Herein lay the bones of my ancestors
Their bones strengthen me and their strength becomes my own

Herein lay the bones of my ancestors
Their bones are with me still and I bless the gift. 

I find it important to take time during this season to honor my ancestors, but also to honor and remember those who worked and challenged the systems of corruption, the systems of patriarchy and oppression. They eased my work in these areas.  I am not challenged with the same struggles my ancestors lived under. However, the work is not done. We have new challenges. We have an added complacency and I see many attempts to take those same freedoms away from us, fought for so valiantly by those who came before us. With extreme right wing action and forced religious views invading government, abortion and birth control being challenged, we cannot, we must not ever forget the work done before us. I know that I must continue to stand firm in my convictions, in my work to fight that complacency and those attacks on what is right and just. In this season of death, I honor the lives of those feminists, those champions of justice and fairness and ask that they gift us with the courage and conviction they showed in their own struggles. We need the energy they carried more than ever in our work, not for just women’s rights, but for the rights of all to live without oppression from others no matter their gender, sexual identity, race, age, or ready access to wealth and health. Let us “feed” them with our gratitude and grateful hearts.

Many blessings,
Deanne (Bendis)
Torchbearer & Keybearer
"Offerings to Veles and ancestors in front of statue with Veles during Dziady jesienne in Gromada Mir,                   Silesia-Lesser Poland frontier, Silesian Voivodeship, Poland, 31st October 2018"
                                              Wojsław Brożyna / CC BY-SA 4.0
                             (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/)
                        Devoted
Into the Holy Darkness: Living Irish Samhain Traditions and Honoring Ancestors
By Jen Maree (Euparaos)

This year has cracked my heart open with my grandma and dad joining the beloved
dead. During a ritual on the dark moon a few days ago, I made an oath to Hekate. As I prepared, I heard my grandma say, “you and I are going to make some good magic
together,” and after the ritual, I heard my dad say, “I’m not sure what it means, but I do know it made you happy.” Their presence of spirit invited into ritual space is a new
experience for me. While I forge relationships, invite family I have not met, and those I have loved in life into circle, the importance of strength in connection stands out to me.

My grandma introduced me to Samhain as a tradition she wanted me to be connected
to as a part of our Irish ancestry. She was a Daughter of Danu and a Witch. Her name was Barbara Deann Stanley (born March 5, 1936). I stayed with friends in County Cork, Ireland, this past June and was able to visit surrounding areas where my family has an origin. While I wish I could have had my grandma there with me in more than spirit, I’m so grateful I did meet a distant relative who had done a tremendous amount of genealogical work in the archives. I do believe it is essential regardless of ancestry to establish a meaningful connection with the Irish people who are living in Ireland as a part of honoring Irish traditions and understanding the Samhain season.

The celebration of Halloween is a common folk practice celebrated on October 31 to
November 1st. It is necessary to understand the roots Halloween has in Samhain Irish traditions. Samhain is pronounced Sow-wen in Irish (Gaeilge) and is the name for November in Irish. Samhain is a cross-quarter fire festival with the timing being about two dark moons after Cónocht an Fhómhair, the autumn equinox (O'Brian, 2020). Samhain was also often celebrated as a three-day event marking the end of summer, moving from light into dark, and the astrological timing this year begins around November 7th through the 9th (O’Brien, 2022). An Irish pagan tradition that resonates with me is honoring the holy darkness of the Samhain season from dark moon to dark moon. Another important teaching I have learned about Samhain is recognizing that all these living traditions are valid (O’Brien, 2016; O'Brien, 2020; O’Brien, 2022).

Even in the Christianized forms of tradition, All Hallows Eve known as All Souls Day
(October 31) and All Saints Day (November 1), the theme of death and "remembering
those who have gone before" has continued (O'Brien, 2020, p. 107). This year I am reflecting on the knowledge ancestors hold about the earth, sea, and sky and want to elevate them so they can do good magic in the otherworld (LaFAE, 2020). Last Samhain I had an ancestor ritual tea in communion with Scott Cunningham who I lovingly refer to as a Queer Earth Daddy, an ancestor of magical practice who is among the mighty dead.

This year I will be gathering with a dear friend and remembering the beloved dead with a tea offering inspired by five Samhain herbs (Hopman, 2019; Riechley, 2017). I invite you to share and use this tea blend in honor of Barbara and to remember your
ancestors.

ANCESTRAL ELEVATION TEA
★ 1 part Rosemary for memories
★ 1 part Nettles for healthy boundaries
★ 1 part Lavender for intuitive clarity and connection
★ 1 part Juniper for cleansing and protection
★ 1 part Elderberry for the wisdom of the dark


References:
Hopman, E. E. (2019). The Sacred Herbs of Samahin. Destiny Books.
LaFAE, P. (2020). What is Remembered Lives: Developing Relationships with Deities,
Ancestors & the Fae. Llewellyn Publications.
O’Brian, L. (2016, October 31). Samhain in Ireland. Irish Pagan School.
https://loraobrien.ie/samhain-in-
ireland/?fbclid=IwAR1AUPD6cgOvOCo39qh6XtTeQuPEbAsoCsOmpYRxrvBjRuKjkvQF
ugOC1qc

O'Brien, L. (2020). Irish Witchcraft: From an Irish Witch. Eel & Otter.
O’Brien, L. (2022, October 27). What Date is Samhain? Irish Pagan Holidays - Celtic
Fire Festivals. The Irish Pagan School.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnHO7IOM4Ag
Riechley, T. (2017). Wild Irish Roots: A Seasonal Guide Book of Herbs, Ritual, and
Connection. Dancing with the Wild.

  
"Whenever I think of Hekate, I see the night, the beauty of its mysterious calm, and the gentle light of the moon."

@eleart2019 on Instagram-
https://www.instagram.com/p/CgVe5rYK3nG/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Randall's Full Moon Ritual

Aka
The Vessel of Graces

by Randall Jerome Andrejczak

Requirements: 

 1. The full moon

 2. A chalice (glass, plastic cup, etc. Whatever puts you in the witchiest mood)

 3. A liquid that you favor most when drinking (or a libation jointly decided on by the coven).

 4. 5 white tealight candles

 5. Lavender and/or sandalwood incense.

  -Begin by finding a quiet space where you will be undisturbed. Fill your selected vessel with the libation, and arrange the candles evenly around the vessel. Light your incense.

 Take 3 deep relaxing breaths.

 -Chant:

      "I conjure thee great circle of power, in the name of Hekate. A meeting place where my power, and the highest power may meet like the shore meets the sea, and the sea meets the shore."

 *imagine yourself at your altar, but somehow isolated in the middle of the calmest ocean, the water is calm, and still like glass here, and directly above you the fullness of the moon shines in all of her glory. Below, you see the reflection of the perfect moon, encircling you and your altar at her center.

 "Hekate, most beloved of gods and mortals, ruler of land. Bless me with the temperance your earth offers."

 *Suddenly beneath you rises a circle of land, taking the place of the moon's reflection beneath you. It is rough, smooth, as well as wet and slippery from being conjured from the sea.

 "Hekate, Titaness of the skies...the cosmos...let your kiss envelope my senses, and your breath of air be-still my mind for perfect clarity, and compassion."

 *You see the incense smoke coming from your altar begin to dance around you. Taking the shape of a beautiful laughing maiden. So intoxicating is her beauty, you accept the kiss she places upon your lips, before entering your being through your nostrils. Her power fills your head, clearing and cleaning your mind.

"Hekate, Sacred fire. Gracious flame burning within and around me. You who shines in the darkness as courageously as the moon, fill me with your bravery. May all things within and around me bow before our bravery."

 *The light of the full moon now emanates from your skin like a soft white flame. You lift your hands to observe them, and feel strong within yourself and your abilities.

 "Hekate, Lady of the waters of wisdom, Queen whose justice -achieved through discernment and truth- washes away the dirt of the profane. Rejuvenate, and rehydrate us. Heal and soothe our aching bodies and spirits."

 *Sea the waters around begin to slither upwards, like beautiful tendrils of water illuminated by the light of the moon. See them journey to your chalice as if eagerly wanting to fill it. Let the visualization end just before the water reaches your chalice.

The Full Moon Hymn/ Blessing the Vessel of Graces.

 "I have courage in my heart, daring to know, and daring to will" light the first candle around your chalice.

 "I have compassion within me, to give without expectation, and to love unconditionally" light the second candle.

 "I know temperance, for I strive to walk in balance with life, death, and everything in-between" light the third candle.

 "Wisdom comes to me freely, for I accept only enlightened truth" light the fourth candle.

 "Justice is the torch that lights my path. May all things bow before the flame" light the fifth candle.
 

 Let your chalice sit in the circle of the lit candles. Absorbing their light and magick.

 *recite the ephesian letters 3 times.

 

*lift your chalice to the sky. See the circle you have cast, the elements you have called, every ethereal thing you have conjured rendering itself into what appears to be cosmological, spacial, galaxy-like spiraling light. See it enter the chalice and infuse it completely. Drink every last drop of the contents. Trusting that through yourself, all is made right. All is balanced.

 -When finished with the cup and its contents state the following "may the circle be open but never broken, and may the Graces of Hekate be ever in our hearts. Merry meet, merry part, until we merry meet again. By Her grace, it is so!"

 ***do some grounding, maybe even take a bath after this.

A Hellenic Polytheist's Musings about Halloween

by Marcel, Torchbearer

Hello dear friends. As some of you may know, my religious practise and the holy days I celebrate are usually based on the Hellenic (Attic) calendar from antiquity. Nevertheless, the celebration of Halloween still has a place in my personal sacred year, so I took the opportunity to think about why and what might be a connection between two quite different parts of my personal devotion to Hekate as the Guide of Souls.

Let us first have a look on Days of the dead from a Hellenic Polytheist's point of view.

As a Hekatean, the obvious first days coming to my mind are the monthly Deipna, the suppers or food offerings for Hekate and the dead on the last day of each lunar month. The origin of these monthly offerings were most likely purification rites and fumigations, to clean the miasma from the house so the family could start the new month fresh and pure. The remains of the fumigations and other dirt, like sweepings, were brought to the crossroads outside the city, together with the mentioned food offerings. The reason was  firstly, to keep the miasma from the cleaning as far away from the house as possible, and secondly, to keep the ghosts of the Lost Souls there as well, by appeasing (or better bribing) them to stay away.

Similar apotropaic rites were observed during the Anthesteria festival in the Attic month of Anthesterion (ca February/March of the modern calendar). This three-day festival was celebrated in Athens in honour of Dionysus and was generally concerned with the opening of the most recent wine jugs, drinking and general merry making. On the third day, however, a special offering was prepared for the dead: a meatless mix of different cooked grains (called panspermia, or All Seeds), together with libations, was poured into a chasm in the earth near the Temple of Olympian Zeus. 

During the festival it was believed that the souls of the dead would wander the streets of Athens, so all kinds of precautions were taken (like painting the door frames of the houses with tar and chewing hawthorn) to prevent them from entering the houses, temples or even the bodies of the people. To appease the spirits, various kinds of performances or athletic competitions (but no theater plays) were performed as well. All this had a strong connection to Hermes Chthonios, Hermes as Guide of Souls, who was asked to bring all the wandering spirits back to the underworld after the festival.

Lastly, the beginning of the month Boedromion (ca. September/October of the modern calendar) marked the end of the military campaigning season for the Athenians. On the fifth day of this month, they celebrated the Genesia, giving offerings to the ancestors. 

All this being said, what do I feel about the celebration of Halloween, personally?

Living in the 21st century, the energy of Halloween in wider paganism and western societies in general is too strong for me to ignore, despite its uncertain historical origin. My work and dedication for Hekate does focus on Her role and epithet of Psychopompos, the Guide of Souls, after all.

Before settling on my current Hellenic inspired path, I had quite a journey through different pagan/polytheist traditions. One fix point during those last 20 years has always been Halloween, as I always found this day as the time to reconnect with my ancestors, taking a walk in my childhood village, visiting the old graveyard. This personal connection alone makes the celebration of Halloween worthwhile for me, no matter how I describe my religious practise on all other days of the year.

Sources:

Jon D. Mikaelson, The Sacred and Civil Calendar of the Athenian Year

Sorita D’Este & David Rankine, Hekate Liminal Rites

Hellenion.org

Wikipedia.org

https://www2.classics.upenn.edu/myth/php/hymns/index.php?page=calendar

Asphodel
by Carmen Reyes, M.Div.

 

A close up of a flower

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

        I AM the way out of Hades.

 Asphodel from Aptera, CRETE, Asphodelus ramosus
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Strong support to leave our troubles behind us.

Asphodel tells us, “I light your way back from hell. I am a torch revealing your way forward, but I am also the fire that knows a new beginning after your dark journey. You had things to learn from patriarchy, but it is done. It is time to leave Hades and return to the light.”

The ancient Greeks believed that the Asphodel Meadows was the place in Hades where ordinary souls went to live after their deaths. This made me ask Asphodel what the more ancient Minoans thought of it. Asphodel said, “The Minoans knew me much better, and they included me in many events. They understood I brought light to any gathering. The Minoans were a very beautiful expression of Divinity, and I relished supporting them, just as I relish bringing my light to you now.”

Consider Asphodel to help light your way out of a dark night of the soul or a dark time in your life. Consider Asphodel if a patriarchal drama has you in its snares. Asphodel will light the way out of this drama towards a new way of being.

https://www.greenhopeessences.com/essences/asphodel-from-aptera-crete

Mythology. In Greek legend the asphodel is one of the most famous of the plants connected with the dead and the underworld. The asphodel was also supposed to be a remedy for poisonous snake-bites and a specific against sorcery; it was fatal to mice, but preserved pigs from disease.

Warning: Asphodel is poisonous

*The flower essence is safe and can be taken orally, rubbed on the skin, or added to salves and creams.

Image: Jerzy Strzelecki / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Bibliography

Arvigo, Rosita. Spiritual Bathing. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 2003.

Bereyl, Paul. A Compendium of Herbal Magick. Blaine, WA: Phoenix Publishing, 1998.

Cech, Richo. Making Plant Medicine. Williams, OR: Horizon Herbs, 2000.

Culpepper, Nicholas. Culpepper’s  Complete Herbal. UK: Wordsworth Editions, 1995. 

-----.Culpepper’s Complete Herbal, Accessed 3/28/2011, http://www.complete-herbal.com/details/lavender.html

Scott. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Woodbury, Minnestoa: Llewellyn Publications, 2005.

Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day. Pony, Montana: Hops Press, 2004.

Holmes, Peter. The Energetics of Western Herbs Vol 2. Boulder, CO: Snow Lotus Press, 2006.

Lust, John. The Herb Book. NY: Bantam Books, 1974.

Kaminski, Patricia and Katz, Richard. Flower Essence Repertory. Nevada City, CA: the Flower Essence Society, 2004.

McIntyre, Anne. Flower Power. NY: Henry Holt, 1996.

Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1997.

© Carmen Reyes. The Good Witches Herb from the The Green Lovers by Christopher Penczak, 2012

Lavender
by Carmen Reyes, M.Div.

Lavandula angustifolia, L. officinalis, L. vera, L. spica, L. stoechas

Folk Names: Elf Leaf, Nardos, Spike

Common name: English Lavender

Parts used: Flowers

Goddess: Hecate

Animal: Snake

A close up of a plant

Description automatically generated with low confidence

Lavender is a fragrant shrub indigenous to the mountainous areas of the Mediterranean.  Found on sandy coastal soil or rocky places, this hardy perennial is cultivated the world over for its aromatic spikes of blue flowers. The whole plant is used commercially but the violet flowers are valued for their essential oil.  Various species of lavender are used in the preparation of the commercial essential oil, but most is obtained from the flowers of L.  vera.  The most important varieties are spike lavender L. spica, French lavender L. stoechas and true or English lavender, L. officinalis, also known as L. angustifolia and L. vera. L. officinalis, the true lavender is used medicinally while L. spica known for its insect repelling abilities is the variety the ancient Romans used to perfume their bath.

It is a member of the Mint Family, Labiateae, also called Lamiaceae, a family of plants with squarish stalks and simple opposite leaves. The flowers of this family are aromatic, bisexual and irregular.

There are many forms of the prized lavender and all are medicinal and antiseptic. Considered stimulating due to its ability to increase circulation, it is a superb cleanser of the skin and body both internally and externally. Lavender is cooling, emotionally clearing, and used to bring sleep, relieve tension and nervous exhaustion.

It is one of the essential oils that can be applied to the skin neat (undiluted), it is considered very safe for use although caution should always be used with essential oils and diluting with extra virgin olive oil is recommended.

Lore

As an herb, it has been in documented use for over 2,500 years. People in India called it spikenard because of its spike shaped flowers and it was known by this name in biblical times although spikenard is the name of a member of the Aralia family known as American Spikenard or Wild Sarsaparilla. The Greeks referred to it as Nardus after a Syrian city, and the Romans called it Lavender, possibly derived from the Latin verb “lavare” which means “to wash” or from the word “livendulo” which means “livid or bluish”. 

Although the first recorded cultivation of lavender was found to be by Ancient Egyptians who used it to make healing ointments, perfume and balm for mummification, Ancient Romans used lavender as a perfume for their hair and recognized lavender for its healing and antiseptic qualities. It was thought to restore the skin and was used lavishly in the bath. In preparation for childbirth it was used to keep away infection.

Lavender is dedicated to Hecate Goddess of the Crossroads, protectress of birth, death, and guide to travelers.

 A favorite strewing herb for floors of homes and churches during the Middle Ages, in the 16th century lavender’s antiseptic qualities were said to stave off the ravages of the plague. Wardrobes and cupboards revealed drawers of scented linens. Bundles were tied to wrists and French glove makers scented their leathers with its oil. As the plague swept through Toulouse, France in 1630, four thieves gained notoriety through a mysterious recipe now called “the 4 Thieves Vinegar,” (Vinaigre des Quatre Voleurs).  The formula containing thyme, lavender, rosemary and sage steeped in vinegar became a cure-all in the 19th century with the addition of garlic.

Throughout history lavender has symbolized purity, protection, and healing.

Lavender’s ability to purify the body and spirit of physical and energetic “negatives” has placed it atop the list of beneficial plants. Lavender can be used fresh, dried, distilled, infused and is an ingredient in foodstuffs including cookies, cakes, icing, ice cream and chocolate. It is prepared as an essential oil, massage oil, perfume, cream, ointment, inhalation, tincture, dry herb or fresh as tea, bath, and floral water. 

Uses

Inhale:

One drop essential oil on one hand, rub palms together, cup the hands placing thumbs together and inhale to enliven the senses and invite peacefulness.

Unguent:

In sacred space, make an unguent (ointment imbued with spiritual energy and used for ritual purposes or one containing a medicinal ingredient) by combining a small amount of unrefined shea butter with a drop or two of L. vera. Recipe: 10-15 drops per 2 ounces shea butter. This can be used to massage temples to relieve tension and clear unwanted thoughts as well as applied to wrists as a calming perfume

Flower Essence:

It is a Visionary Herb that balances the emotions and can enhance the effects of the herbal remedy when taken internally. Lavender supports the flow of vibrational energy, stimulates the 6th chakra for clear vision and removes blockages to spiritual growth. A fine essence to accompany divination taken directly from the bottle or diluted in water. You can enhance a bath with 5 – 10 drops of flower essence.  Bathe on the Balsamic Moon to let go of the old.

Floral Water Lavender hydrosol, obtained by steam distillation is refreshing and evocative of childhood memories. Spray the hydrosol full strength on linens or pillows for a fresh clean scent in preparation for dream work. For calming or to encourage sleep, spray the nape of neck.

It can be used full strength or diluted with pure water in a spray bottle as a personal purifier before ritual work or divination. 

Holy or Lustral Water :

As an Herb of Consecration that blesses and removes unwanted energies, Lavender as a hydrosol can be used undiluted or diluted to make an essence that purifies. Add several drops to pure water in a glass bowl, recite incantations, invocations or prayers over the water to imbue it with spiritual intent. Then asperge (from Latin asperses, to scatter and to sprinkle with water) your inner and outer temple by dipping whole lavender stalks with flowers into the water, focusing on the directions of your space and head to toe for yourself.

Bath:

Run hot bath water over a tied shut muslin bag containing several handfuls of dried Lavender flowers to soothe and unwind. It is recommended to use dried plant in the bath rather than the pure essential oil as dispersing the oil can be a bit tricky causing an unpleasant experience for some.

Florecidas:

A Mayan Spiritual Bath is a great way to start the day. Fresh flowers are used for this bath that traditional healers administer to patients for cleansing of the spiritual body. Focus your intention on purifying and gratitude to the Lavender spirit the moment you set out to gather fresh flowers. Plants used for spiritual bathing must be collected with prayer and care. I recite an adaptation of The Herb Collector’s Prayer. “In the name of the Goddess Hebe, Hera, Hecate, I give thanks to the spirit of this plant and I have faith with all my heart that you will help me to make a healing, purifying bath for (person’s name).” 

Note: Always use lavender that is grown without chemicals or pesticides, certified organic dried herb, essential oil, and flower water hydrosol or flower essence as commercial plants tend to accumulate toxic agricultural and environmental pollutants. The essential oil is potent and not to be taken internally without qualified practitioner supervision.

Divination:

Try a lavender divination at bedtime by placing a small handful of flowers inside your pillowcase to connect with ancestral memory and receive divine messages. Keep a journal by your bedside and note ideas that emerge upon waking.

Spell:

Lavender in any form may be used as an ingredient for spells and formulas relating to the domain of Mercury: mental outlook, nervous exhaustion, spiritual guidance, wisdom, communication, divination, self-improvement and intellectual endeavors.  “Despite lavender’s mercurial nature, it is believed capable of invoking Deities such as Hecate and Saturn” for works requiring permanence, and protection from the evil eye. 
 

Lavender Invocation

Lavandula vera

Lavare 

Unctio 

Verto 

  
This Latin invocation calls to the lavender spirit asking for its power for your magical working. Lavare means to wash, Unctio, to anoint, and Verto, to transform. 

The translation is Lavender spirit, wash me, anoint me, and transform me.
 

Bibliography

Arvigo, Rosita. Spiritual Bathing. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 2003.

Bereyl, Paul. A Compendium of Herbal Magick. Blaine, WA: Phoenix Publishing, 1998.

Cech, Richo. Making Plant Medicine. Williams, OR: Horizon Herbs, 2000.

Culpepper, Nicholas. Culpepper’s  Complete Herbal. UK: Wordsworth Editions, 1995. 

-----.Culpepper’s Complete Herbal, Accessed 3/28/2011, http://www.complete-herbal.com/details/lavender.html

Scott. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Woodbury, Minnestoa: Llewellyn Publications, 2005.

Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day. Pony, Montana: Hops Press, 2004.

Holmes, Peter. The Energetics of Western Herbs Vol 2. Boulder, CO: Snow Lotus Press, 2006.

Lust, John. The Herb Book. NY: Bantam Books, 1974.

Kaminski, Patricia and Katz, Richard. Flower Essence Repertory. Nevada City, CA: the Flower Essence Society, 2004.

McIntyre, Anne. Flower Power. NY: Henry Holt, 1996.

Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1997.
 

© Carmen Reyes. The Good Witches Herb from the The Green Lovers by Christopher Penczak, 2012

Hekate’s Cave and Stone

By Deanne Quarrie, D.Min.

From the Homeric Hymn to Demeter:

“She cried with a piercing voice,

calling upon her father [Zeus], the son of Kronos, the highest and the best.

But not one of the immortal ones, or of human mortals,

heard her voice. Not even the olive trees which bear their splendid harvest.

Except for the daughter of Persaios, the one who keeps in mind the vigor of nature.

She heard it from her cave. She is Hekatê, with the splendid headband.”

This is the only reference I could find of a cave with reference to Hekate. Not to say there are not others, just all I could find. 

In Hekate’s Tribe we travel in a journey into Hekate’s Cave. Her cave is neither above nor below ground. It is a liminal place with access to everything – above, below, and in-between. These are all her worlds. The conclusion I make from this is that from Her cave, we too can see wherever we choose to see, into our present, past or future. When we are in Her cave, we are in liminal space at an edge to wherever we wish to look.

In Her care, we not only talk with her but we release what we need to let go of into a black stone that we find there in the cave. I do not have any mythological reference for doing that. It just seems right. Black is a color that absorbs all other colors, and we use them to take any negativity away. Keeping a black tourmaline in your home works as an awesome protection stone. Hence, the large black stone within Her cave in our journey. It is there for that purpose, to take all those things we hang on to that we really need to let go of as we enter that dark season of the year. There is a reference in ancient times of a baetyl, thought to be a meteorite. It serves primarily as an altar. There is one at Delphi and one associated in myths of Aphrodite.

This is a journey you can take any time you wish to release unwanted thoughts, hurts, resentments, or memories. You will need to write this list to take with you.

You begin by taking in a nice deep breath. Make yourself comfortable. Breathe in again and as you exhale, release anything on your mind. Any cares, concerns or thoughts that might keep you from being fully present.

Breathe in again, this time deep into your belly, feeling yourself focused and alert and ready to begin.

Begin by walking down a spiral path, rocks forming steps. As you walk, you are traveling down into what feels like the belly of the earth, but it really is the in-between place. The walls next to you are made of rocks and earth. 

The sky overhead gently slips away, and we are now traveling to the cave, journeying to find Her. Each step we take, leads you closer to Her. Take note of how you feel and what you might see along the way, as you travel this path.

Off to the right you come to a door. Hekate Khthonia with Her black hounds beside Her, stands at the door. The door has a key in the lock and so you turn the key in the lock and enter. Before you, you see a temple. There are torches on the walls so that we can easily see. Your guides are with you, in whatever form they take. All are here to be your watchful protectors. 

It is warm, there is plenty of light for the torches of Hekate to illuminate this temple. Look to the walls around you. If you see any symbols, pictures, textures, anything remarkable, simply take note to remember later what you have seen. There may be stones, crystals or familiar images and symbols. Just notice what is around you. You look toward the end of the temple and there you see a large black stone.

This stone is called a baetyl. It is sacred to Hekate. It is taller than you and about the same width. Right in front of it there is a bench where you can sit down. Next to you a fire is burning, to keep you warm.

Again, look all around noticing what might be with you here in this place, on the walls, on the floor. Is anyone else in the cave with you? 

Once you feel ready, look at your list and go over the list of things you need to release – unwanted emotions, old wounds, hurt feelings, any energy picked up along the way that does not serve you, pieces of other’s emotions that still hang on.

Once you have read your list to Her, drop your paper into the fire and quietly watch it burn while you quietly whisper (9X’s), “I release it all.”  

Now stand and gently place your hands on Her baetyl. This rock is a meteorite originating in Hekate’s Upperworld and will absorb everything you give it, will transmute any negativity quickly and return clean positive energy back to you as you continue to release whatever might be left that you might have missed when creating your list. This energy will nurture you through the coming darkness.

Continue with your hands on Her baetyl until you feel your work is complete, then sit quietly until you feel ready to return.

(PAUSE)

It is time now to return. Stand up and gently stretch, preparing for your way up and out of the temple.

Walk through the door to leave. There you will see the climbing path of rocks that you came down on. Look up and see that your way is still well lit. Step onto the path and begin walking up. The path again spirals up. You climb for a while until you begin to see the sky above you. You look up and the sky is filled with stars.

This is Her Starry Heaven, where She was born and where She also rules, just as She does in the Underworld as well as in our own Middleworld. The air smells clean. It feels cool on your breath. 

When you are ready, open your eyes, wiggle your fingers and toes. Note how you feel.

I hope you enjoy doing this meditation. I find it useful quite often. That nothing negative stays around long! 

                 Regular Features 

                                              Hekate Inspires
                                                     By Stacy Mathias

Samhain is the time when the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its thinnest. This makes it easier for us to access those who have crossed the veil and for those on the other side to contact us. It is not unusual to have dreams of lost loved ones, see reminders of them of sense them around you at this time. Sometimes you may catch the scent of a loved one’s perfume of cologne on the breeze or smell a grandfather’s favorite pipe tobacco. Our loved ones send us signs all the time; at this time of year, it becomes easier for us to see those signs. 

The following is a meditation I wrote to harness the energy of this time of year. It is to meet with your loved ones that have crossed the veil.  I have performed this myself; it was extremely emotional and very cathartic. I offer here for you to use as well. 

 

Council of Ancestors

 

Create your sacred space in your usual manner.

Light your incense.

Light a candle to Hekate, while saying:

“Hail Hekate, Mother of Witches!

Queen of the crossroads

 and liminal spaces!

I seek the council of my 

Ancestral Spirits, Guardians, and Guides,

Let us cross the great divide!

Grant me admission to the most

Sacred of places.

Allow me to once again,

Hear their voices and 

See their faces!

I ask this by Your grace,

And so it is!”

 

Light your intention candle while saying: 

 

“Ancestral Spirits, Guardians 

And Guides

Those in spirit 

That I confide

Come forth, I call you near. 

From where you are, 

Come to me here!

Those who reside

Within the light

Bestow your wisdom

And insight!

Embracing in love 

That is ever sweet

Blessed be, as again we meet!

So it is!”

 

Optionally, turn on music that helps you

Relax and come into a meditative state,

And light incense if you so desire.

Take 3 deep breaths, in through your nose

And out through your mouth. 

Repeat if needed.

 

See yourself walking barefoot, outside in a 

Slightly wooded area at twilight.

As you walk through, you notice you 

Can smell the deep earthly scent of the soil. 

You feel the wind blow lightly across your face

You can hear waves crashing in the distance.

It feels wonderful, all your cares,

Stress and worry seem to melt away.

Then you see a worn dirt path.

You follow the path,

And come across the opening to a cave,

Its opening is illuminated by a 

Torch on each side of the entrance.

You enter the cave.

It feels warm, welcoming,

As if you have been here before.

You walk deeper into the cave.

You see a large altar to Hekate.

It has candles lit on it,

You smell the burning incense.

You stop at the altar, light a 

Candle to the Goddess, and continue 

Deeper into the cave.

As you walk you notice a set of stairs. 

You stop for a moment at the top, 

Listening.

You hear voices, they are soft,

Almost a whisper from where you are

You can hear them speaking,

But not make out what they

Are saying, and you know

This is the council, you are in 

The right place. 

You begin to walk down the stairs,

As you do, the voices get slightly louder.

You come upon a door. 

You stand outside of it. 

Then you hear your name called.

They tell you to enter.

You open the door, before you are your

Ancestors, guardians, and guides.

They are seated in a circle, it a room

Cut out of stone. 

The only light comes from 

Torches that are around the room.

You are told to stand in the

Center of the circle.

You go to the center,

You bow, showing your respect.

You hear a voice, only it 

Sounds like all of them speaking

In unison, they say 

My child, why do you

Come before The council of

 Ancestors this day?

How may we help you?

You may now ask any questions

You may have of them. You can

Ask them to share their wisdom,

Ask for teachings, or blessings.

You can also ask if there

Are any messages you need 

To deliver, or if they have 

A message for you. 

You may also just spend time

In their presence, feeling the 

Love they have for you. 

 

Once the meeting of the 

Council has ended, Thank

Them for their wisdom, 

Time, blessings, and messages. 

You bow once again to show respect 

To the council. 

You leave the room, 

closing the door behind you.

You walk up the steps,

You are back in the main 

Area of the cave with the Altar. 

You leave a personal token upon

The altar and walk back outside.

You follow the path back to where 

You came from. 

Each step you take, 

brings you one step closer 

To the here and now.

Take 3 deep breaths 

Open your eyes.

Write down what you 

Have learned in your journal.

                                                       The Hekatean Path
                                                      by Femmy Heqet

Ma'Nene – Keep The Dead Inside - Or Bring Them Back

For many people, the worst part about losing a loved one is knowing that we will never see them again. Once they are buried or cremated, that’s it. The person is gone forever, and the only way we can see them – if we are not clairvoyants - is in pictures, our memories or our dreams. However, not all cultures understand or deal with death the same way we do.

At Tana Toraja (Land of Toraja) for three days every year, an indigenous ethnic group and tourists from all over the world gather to see corpses out of their tombs, dressing in fashionable clothes and smoking cigarettes. 

Credit-Metro.co.uk.jpg

Credit: Metro.co.uk

In the mountains of southern Sulawesi, one of Indonesia’s largest islands, an ancient custom of keeping the dead inside their houses to take care of them lasts for a long time – in some cases for hundreds of years, and it has been defying the church’s dogmas and shocking western culture.

The Toraja people, approximately 1,100,000 in number, are quite distinct for their traditional culture of cleaning corpses and keeping them inside their households. They are also known for elaborate death rituals which involve preserving and exhuming the dead, and sacrificing livestock. Torajans invest vast sums of time and money on the funerals and later on rites for their beloved (dead) ones.

Every year after their harvest period, at the end of August – yes Hekateans, it is in AUGUST – a festival called Ma’Nene is performed, when the ceremony of cleaning corpses and exposing them outside takes place, during which the bodies of deceased family members — long after their elaborate funerals were held — are exhumed, cleaned and left in the sun to dry before being dressed in new clothes. Then, they are given a cigarette if they were smokers and their family members even take pictures with them. According to the tribe, it is a great way to remember the good moments they had with their deceased family members.

Credit - Andri Tambunan.jpg

Credit: Andri Tambunan

The activities are not just limited to tidying them up. People of the tribe “talk” to the corpses and even “feed” them during this time. And if the dead are already buried, their relatives will dig their bodies up to clean them (or cleanse them?), and leave the bodies to dry in the sunlight, before dressing them nicely. This custom of caring for their deceased family members also involves saving up money for a decent burial ceremony because it is an important aspect for the Torajan people. The bodies exhumed every year do not decompose easily because they are preserved in formalin.

In other cases, the bodies of recently deceased are kept in the household and preserved by family members until they consider themselves wealthy enough to perform a proper funeral. The Torajans believe that during the wait period, the spirit lingers and only finds rest in Puya (land of the spirits) when a funeral ceremony takes place. This waiting period can last weeks and even months, so the family keeps the body wrapped up like a mummy in a special room, feeding and tending to it, as if the person were merely “sick.” Then, when there’s enough money saved, the family proceeds with the funeral, buries the body in the same land of the house, and awaits to “bring them back” and “hang out” with them every year, in the next Ma’Nene ceremony. 

Credit - Reddit.jpg

Credit: Reddit

The intention behind this interesting practice is to bond with the dead. Their corpses are dressed up, coffins are changed and during the ritual, the bodies are paraded around the community where they once lived following a straight path. The straight path symbolically means that they can spiritually connect to Hyang, a spiritual being believed to move in straight lines. This animistic belief is ‘AlukTodolo’ or “The Way of The Ancestors”, also recognized by the Indonesian Government.

The procession of the Ma’Nene ritual begins with family members coming to Patane (a building that has some room to store several bodies) to retrieve the bodies of their deceased family members. Patane is a family grave that looks like a house. Then, after the ancestor’s body is removed from the grave, it is carefully cleaned and the clothes worn replaced with new ones. According to the belief, performing the Ma’Nene rite will result in a better harvest in the following year.

 Mythical Origins

According to local legend, the ritual of Ma’Nene originates from the story of a hunter named Pong Rumasek, who, hundreds of years ago, found an abandoned corpse in the Torajan jungle. Moved by the stranger’s misfortune, Rumasek took care of the dead body and dressed it up in his own clothes. From that day on, he was said to be endowed with good luck and bountiful harvests.

The Meaning

This ritual has a very profound meaning for the Torajans, reflecting the importance of the relationships between family members and their relatives who have passed away beforehand. Torajan society shows an unbroken bond between family members who are not separated by death. The Ma’ Nene Tradition in Tana Toraja is also used to introduce young family members to their ancestors.

Credit - Dead and Alive Project.jpg

Credit: Dead and Alive Project

The Rationale

“The dead never leave us. Thus, we worship them.”

For Torajans, death is a gradual and social process. They believe the spirit of the dead will continue protecting their families. The bodies of people who have recently died are kept at home and preserved by their families, sometimes for years, until the family has enough money to pay for a funeral. The spirit of the dead is believed to linger in the world before the death ceremony is held, and that is why their family needs to “take care of them”. The longer the deceased person remains at home, the more the family can save for the funeral — and the bigger and more expensive the ceremony can be. Elaborate funeral ceremonies can last for 12 days and include the sacrifices of dozens of buffalos and hundreds of pigs. Such ceremonies can cost as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Credit - Dead and Alive Project 2.jpg

Credit: Dead and Alive Project

From a western perspective, the Ma’Nene ceremony – a real life “day of the dead” - is definitely a lot to take in because it goes against everything we have been taught to do or how we behave regarding death. However, even if we would never like to practice it or even witness it, we can still look beyond the (shocking) images and think about all the emotional and spiritual elements involved. Who would not want to see and hang out with our beloved ones for many years after their departure? And how about you? Would you keep your dead inside or bring them back?

Merry Samhain and Merry Day of the Dead dear Hekateans! May Her Torches always guide us and our beloved ones, the living and...The living.

 

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/14/travel/torajan-death-rituals-indonesia.html 

https://culturacolectiva.com/history/manene-death-ritual-indonesia/

https://guardian.ng/life/the-ceremony-of-cleaning-corpses-by-the-indonesian-torajan/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torajan_people

          "Neopagan celebrating Samhain"  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)
                                   
                                               Comix by Powder


 
         
       
   
                     
           
Deadline for the next issue of Noumenia News will be December 2nd!

Just a little note to all!
For many members of the Covenant of Hekate, Noumenia News is the only place where they can get news of what is going on within the Covenant, and what it's members are up to. Noumenia News is both a place for creative submissions, and a place to share news! Do you sell witchy wares or divination readings? Are you hosting a workshop? Have you written a book, updated your blog or have sanctuary news? Send your submissions here: noumenianews@gmail.com

And of course, as always, we welcome creative submissions of hymns, rituals, essays, art & more!
Twitter
Facebook
Website
Copyright © 2022 Covenant of Hekate, All rights reserved.


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.


Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp