Over the past several months, I’ve had several conversations around sacred, ritual, and safe space. Some conversation were with others, and many were with myself in deep contemplation. I think in these times of rapid evolution and redefinition, it is important to revisit our thoughts, ideas, and understanding about some basic principles. For me, this inquiry is both pragmatic and philosophical.
I’ve been taking online art classes offered by the Art of Allowing Academy for over a year, learning to paint the female face through connecting to the Divine Feminine. Connecting to the intangible happens through the allowing process, letting of the feminine form appear on the canvas and following it with your hands. In other words, going with the flow as opposed to a planned execution. And making an appearance She has been!
To create a prosperity grid, there are no hard and fast rules — these are only some guidelines to help get you started in five easy steps. Allow intuition to guide you, and, as an added bonus, the more often you work with crystals and grids, the more elevated your intuition will become.
By Nancy Ogilvie
In my article in the Jan-April issue of the Journal, I talked about the practice of “apprenticing” yourself to a particular Goddess or God as a tool for personal and spiritual development. And since we are fast approaching the March new moon, a time of new beginnings, it seems appropriate to offer a ritual of initiation that you might use to dedicate yourself to a God/dess you are working with.
As with any New Moon, the one in March is a fresh start, the beginning of a new cycle of waxing and waning. The date is March 20 – the same day as the Spring Equinox, which makes it an especially powerful one as the energies of the moon and the sun are combined on this day. The moon is invisible (from Earth) on this night, so it is often called the Dark Moon. Emptiness, receptivity, and potential are the qualities of this part of the cycle, so it is an ideal time to make new commitments or to plant seeds of intentions for what you wish to manifest in your life.
It is this connection with new beginnings and fresh starts that makes the New or Dark Moon an appropriate time for dedicating yourself to a particular god/dess, marking the beginnings of a new relationship and new growth in your own life. My original article includes several suggestions for discerning which god/dess might be calling you. Another approach to is reflect on the qualities you want to cultivate in your life, and to find a goddess who embodies those characteristics who is willing to support you.
As an aside, as a lesbian, I have always chosen to work with a goddess – and that is an individual preference based on my personal story and needs. There is no rule that says a woman must work with a goddess and a man with a god. So don't limit yourself in this way – if you are a woman wanting more assertiveness in your life, there are many gods and goddesses who could support you with this intent, and vice versa.
A word of caution: dedicating yourself to a particular deity is extending an invitation to him/her to change your life in the ways you say you want! Do not make this commitment lightly – you can negotiate what it is you want in your relationship with your deity (see ritual outline below) and you need to be prepared for two things:
- To spend regular time with him/her – as close to daily as possible – in meditation, ritual, journaling, creative expression, trance journeys, or whatever your preferred form is.
- To be surprised! Your deity will likely show up with guidance, ideas, or desires at times when you're least expecting him/her, and least open to his/her suggestions.
In short, be careful what you ask for – be sure your intent is clear and that you really do want to change your life!
There are untold forms that a dedication ritual might take... so feel free to modify the following outline as your intuition and god/dess suggest. This ritual is written for a group to perform together, and it can also be modified as a solo dedication. Because I am writing to fpr more experienced practitioners, I have omitted detailed instructions on how to purify, ground, cast the circle, etc. – if you need more support on these aspects of ritual, a plethora of resources are available online and in book form. Two of my favorite books are Starhawk's The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess and Diane Stein's Casting the Circle: A Women's Book of Ritual.
- Purification supplies (e.g., water in a bowl, incense or sage and lighter, rattle or bell)
- Circle members bring an image of the god/dess they are dedicating to – this could be a physical statue, a photo, an image they have created, etc.
- Writing and/or art supplies (eg., paper, pens, crayons, colored pencils, paints, clay)
- White candles for each member of the circle
- Prepare to enter sacred space by (1) purifying/cleansing and (2) grounding (connecting with the earth's energy field however your prefer)
- Cast the Circle, including invoking the directions/elements and the god/dess. If members of your group are dedicating to different deities, you might invoke one goddess as the primary deity for the ritual and then incorporate the individuals' deities in the body of your working. Any maiden goddess (because of the association between the new moon and beginnings) or any moon goddess would be appropriate (Wikipedia has an extensive list). Light the ritual candles here, but leave the white candles for each member unlit.
- Setting Intent for the Working – the priest/ess provides a brief overview of the ritual process, and each circle member shares the god/dess they've chosen and why. Each individual lights a white candle symbolizing the purity of his/her intent.
- Working (the core of your ritual work) – includes 4 parts:
- Individual meditation on the god/dess you are dedicating to – begin with a soft gaze on the image of your deity and allow the process to unfold. You may find a dialog ensues between you, or a strictly emotional/spiritual exchange without words. Ask questions of your deity, or describe what you want in your relationship and see how he/she responds. When the time for this part is almost up, the priest/ess may want to suggest that each circle member exchange gifts with his/her god/dess (in meditation, not physically) to bring a close to the dedication.
- In silence, each circle member writes or creates a representation of what unfolded in the meditation to serve as a tangible symbol of the commitments made.
- Circle members who wish share their symbol and/or what transpired during their meditation.
- Raise a cone of power to charge the symbols and the dedications with chanting or whatever form you choose.
5. Ground the energy by sharing food and drink.
6. Open the circle, including releasing the god/dess and the directions/elements.
Nancy L. Ogilvie is an initiated priestess who primarily practices Dianic Wicca (honoring all forms of the Divine Feminine). She is available to lead ritual/ceremony (including weddings, baby blessings, and any ritual of transition), to train or mentor budding priestesses, and to teach classes on Wiccan practice. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 825-3125.
I hope the winter and this hard chill finds you warm and contemplative. I find winter has a way of drawing me into the quiet, fulfilling a deep need to find ways to be creative and keeping the hearth of me stoked and burning. How about you?
How about that Moon? Spectacular. My cat, Bebzz, was beside himself for a couple of days. He certainly had his story going on — one where he filled the house with yowls of urgency as he made pace through the house at all hours. I joined him in my dream stories (when I wasn't kept awake by his nocturnal meows), with some yowls of my own, during those couple of days as the Moon had her way with the tide of me, rolling me here and there on some beach of my subconscious imagination.
Whew, we made it through Mercury retrograde. How’d that go for you? It was at first a very inner chatty, fumbling time for me, and then I went on a writer’s retreat in the middle of it.
The New Moon is passing out of our reach, and the night sky has a crescent sliver of light as the Moon returns to Her fullness. Spring has at last brought the full-on of green to the trees, rain feeds the coming hungry seeds, and some days already feel like summer heat, though summer hasn't officially arrived.
Spring has sprung with the renewal of life. The seeds we plant will come to fruition in the summer and fall. Are they seeds of love and inspiration; are they seeds of work and prosperity, maybe a seed of possibility, a seed for forgiveness, a few for joy? It is a time to celebrate the re-birthing and return from winter’s long dark sleep and ponder what it is you will plant. What will you nurture?
For those of you who read my last blog post, how was the foolishness of the Fool’s energy these last couple of weeks? What did you notice as you explored the idea and feeling of being the fool, or acting foolish, or maybe just letting the innocence of creative exploration have you for a little while? I fell back in love with the little dog, and that feeling of loyalty and love that leads and follows me as I leap into life and it’s possibilities. Dog — God spelled backwards.
April brings in its first day with a little foolin’ around. Welcome The Fool, and let the invitation of his/her energy begin the Journey of the Major Arcana. Out of all the 78 cards in a traditional Tarot deck, The Fool (0) begins the journey. Over the next few weeks, in tandem with whatever other inspirations the cards and numbers invite us into, I will be taking you on the Path of the Major Arcana. What better way to begin this trip than April Fool’s day.
Let’s take a big inhale… and let that all out. Again. Aaaahh.
This is the first of my regular blog posts; I’m excited. Thanks for your visit and support.
This first entry will give you some of my feelings and thoughts about what I imagine this blog to be. And what it might be for you, as you follow and engage with it. Though I have a poet’s heart and a storyteller’s ramble, I won’t be making this ramble again in the same way.
I will reference this first blog to newcomers so ya’ll get an opportunity to know how the Spirit moves in and through me. I will be adding things in as time unfolds: like books to read and Tarot cards to buy from Crazy Wisdom Bookstore; ways to lay out the cards for your own readings; information on numerology and elements; classes that might interest you, and so on. I am interested in what inspires you and what you might like to discuss here and feel comfortable discussing in this parameter. I would love to hear your feedback, questions, and comments.
My intention is to invite the wisdom of Tarot cards, their elemental nature, their numbers, and stories into an inspirational experience that calls up your wisdom and awareness. Let’s stir up the pot of creative possibilities! Let’s be reminded of what we hold most sacred in our daily lives: love, joy, family, friends, sensorial experiences, peace, well-being, more love, more joy. . .