Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Samhain and rolling toward Thanksgiving!

Ugh! Well, so much for my goals of posting a lot more about Samhain. It really is a busy time of year for me. Not only because of all the pagan parties and events and rituals but because I work at a domestic violence project, and October is national dv awareness month. So I had tons of late nights and a really wierd schedule getting through the whole month.

Our Samhain ritual at our local temple (the Temple of the Feminine Divine) was really good. My priestess class planned the ritual. We met for three hours every Sunday for a month beforehand to plan it. In the end, I was the priestess who invoked the goddess Morrighan into the circle for the ritual, which was cool for me. She is one of the goddesses (though she's a triple goddess so I don't really think of her as one) whom I relate to very strongly.

Morrighan means "Great Queen" or "Phantom Queen" in Gaelic. The Morrighan is commonly thought of as a triple goddess, but the names of the three vary from telling to telling. The Goddesses whom I relate to as part of the Morrighan are Macha, Badb, and Nemain.

The Morrighan is often boiled down into a "war goddess" but I see this as over-simplification. She is a Goddess of protection, of birth and of death. I see the overarching theme of her powers as "transition" rather than "death."

The Morrighan can be a guide between the realms, and it was in this spirit that we invoked her for our ritual. We then lit votive candles in memory of our ancestors. Everyone in the circle called out the name of one ancestor, as well as one quality of theirs which we admired. For instance, I called on my Grandmother. I named a quality of hers that I admired as creativity. We put our votive candles in sand trays on the central altar. Once about sixty votives lit the table it was a very impressive sight.

After this part of the ritual, we did a spiral dance. We had some drummers and the pace was fairly slow. Some people found it too slow for their taste but I think the energy of it matched where we were as a room.The dance concluded at our ancestor altar, where we had a cauldron filled with spiritual affirmations that our class had made ahead. Everyone took one before we reformed the circle and closed.

It was a very well recieved ritual. One of my coworkers attended for the first time and we had our photo taken together. When whoever took it put it on facebook we could see a huge round aura or orb encircling the two of us. It was a cool affirmation.

Back to the Morrighan. I did say earlier that I planned to write more about how to do neutralizing or binding magick in ways that do not create a ding in your "karma" (the pagan rule of threes, whatever you send out you get back times three). My idea for this ritual work includes working with the Morrighan, particularly in her identity as Macha.

A verbal tradition that I recieved from Laurie Cabot is that English witches carried forth the ritual of the black feather...that leaving a black feather for an "evil doer" (think child abuser, rapist, etc.) calls Macha to come and judge that person's deeds. This is an attractive concept because calling the goddess to judge the situation seemingly keeps your personal judgements out of things, which is more in keeping with the rule of threes.

As an animal rights vegan I think about our ability as pagan vegans to work toward neutralizing (eventually ending) the abuse done to animals. While a neighborhood animal abuser may certainly be the issue, I myself was thinking about factory farming as an industry, rather than any individual. So I was thinking about how to do a "black feather visualization" that does not have to do with actually sending/leaving a black feather for one individual.

Just always remember to call on Macha with respect, and remember the rule of threes when sending out any magicks. No neutralizing/binding spell should be done lightly or as an impulsive response. And when applicable, activism/mundane responses to the abuse should also be taken (calling animal welfare, supporting animal rights work, etc.).

Black feather visualization:
Cast a magick circle according to your own practices.
Get into a comfortable position and get yourself into a meditative state by your own practices. At the very least take several deep breaths and be still for a moment or two to get yourself into "the zone" (which is the alpha state).
open your hands in front of you and visualize a black feather there. feel it's weight. since it is a spiritual feather connected to the goddess Macha, feel it's aura and notice anything else about it.
Thank Macha for granting you this feather.
Say something like the following:
"Goddess Macha, protector and fair judge of our deeds, I respectfully ask for your intercession. I invoke your feather as a call for you to look at (name the individual or the institution). None of us are perfect, nor do we always act in perfect accordance with the laws. Yet I feel that (name) is doing great harm. I know I am not worthy to judge it myself. I therefore gratefully ask for your intercession. Please neutralize all harm in this situation, in the correct way and for the good of all. Let healing replace woundedness. Let justice replace victimization. Let justice and good reign in this situation, and in the world.  I release this feather to go forth and do your will."
feel the black feather floating upwards out of your hand. notice how fast or slow it goes, where it seems to go, and how it feels.
Thank Macha again for being present and hearing your request.
Come out of the alpha state and open your circle according to your own practices.


  1. By coincidence I came here .... I'm not into magic ... but I'm vegan and I'm so amazed by your efforts and all the good work for the animals ... thank you so much !!!