Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sleep Protection Bags

Every year at Samhain time, on the closest full moon, I make sleep protection bags for each member of my family. These bags contain items for restful sleep, happy dreams and protection.

I start by gathering all my supplies:

Herbs (I will have a list of the herbs I use at the end.), any stones that I might be using, needle and thread, pre-made pouches or material to sew into pouches, and any items that you might need for blessing/cleansing your items or finished pouches.

I like to use colorful Halloween material to make small pouches. I always hand sew them, concentrating on my intentions with each stitch. Just turn the material wrong side out and sew up, leaving a small opening for the filling.

Next comes mixing up the herbs.

If you are like me, and don't live that close to an herbal shop, an easy way to find herbs that you don't grow is to get them in capsule form - that's how I got my St. John's Wort for these bags.

I like to give the mix a few swipes with my pestle, but I do most of the mixing with my hands while I concentrate on peaceful sleep and happy dreams.

When I add the herbs to the bags, I also add any singular addtions -- seeds or stones or the like.

When they are all filled, I sew up the last corner and place them on my pentacle to charge until Halloween, when they will get passed out, one per family member.

This year I also made an extra pouch for a friend. This one was done with the focus on preventing nightmares. I made it out of black material, for banishing. I made a slightly different mix of herbs and added another stone. I also added a ribbon loop, so that it could be hung by her bedside if that was preferable to putting it under her pillow. I covered up the hand stitching with ribbon as well.

That one will go out in the mail tomorrow, after it sits a night on my altar.

A few notes on making sleep protection pouches:

Remember that you can work with full moon energy the night before the "real" full moon, and the night after.

If you miss the full moon, use the waning moon and change your intention to increasing restful sleep and happy dreams; use the waxing moon to decrease bad dreams and restless sleep.

You can coordinate the colors of your charm bags and thread towards your intentions, or just use your gut feelings for what to use. I tend to use patterns or colors suited to the person I am making the bag for, when it comes to my family.

Picking a sabbat to recharge or create new charm bags helps you to remember exactly when they were made and need replaced. Make it a tradition! Samhain is a great time to do protection magic.

Here is a list of the ingredients I used for each kind of pouch, and the attributes that I chose them for. Many herbs have many attributes. I listed the ones that were relevant to each bag. I try to work in sets of threes. (3, 6 or 9 herbs; 3 "additions" such as herbs or stones, or 3 of each addition).

Family Sleep Protection Bags:
  • lavender (protection, love, restful sleep)
  • chamomile (easy sleep and peaceful dreams)
  • rosemary (love, protection during sleep)
  • cloves (love and protection)
  • dried orange peel (love and cleansing)
  • angelica (exorcises negativity, and for divine protection)
  • thyme (averts nightmares)
  • coriander (protection during sleep)
  • St. John's Wort (averts nightmares and for peaceful sleep)
  • amethyst (soaks up negativity, brings peaceful dreams, and for healing)
  • pumpkin seed (helps attune the bag to the season, honors Hecate, protects the living from baneful spirits)
  • sunflower seed (helps attune the bag to the season, increases happiness)

For my friend's Nightmare Provention/Peaceful Sleep Bag
  • St. John's Wort (peaceful sleep and to avert nightmares)
  • Thyme (averts nightmares)
  • Rose (protects emotions)
  • Chamomile (easy sleep and peaceful dreams)
  • Rosemary (protection during sleep, to heal emotional pain)
  • Lavender (protection and restful sleep)
  • Pine (for a peaceful mind and strength)
  • Coriander (protection during sleep and to relieve emotional pain)
  • Angelica (to exorcise negativity, for protection during sleep, divine protection and female strength)
  • Turquoise (3) (for inner strength and healing)
  • Amethyst (3) (to soak up negativity, for healing, peaceful dreams and protection against nightmares)
With access to the internet or a good herbal, you can create any type of charm bag you'd like! Mix and match for appropriate ingredients.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kitchen Blessing
(Author Unknown;)

Before performing this blessing, give your kitchen a good scrubbing and fill it with food.

Blessed be this kitchen of
Air, Fire, Water and Earth.
May it be warmed by the sacred light of the Goddess.
May all that is created here,
By means both magical and mundane
Bring nourishment,
Healing sustenance,
And cause harm to none.
With love and peace,
With joy and magic,
Be now and always filled.

So mote it be!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Kitchen Blessing for the New Moon
(Author Unknown)

Hecate, Goddess of the dark moon crossroads,
Stay with us tonight. Be our silent witness.
Confirm our sorrow, loss and pain
With your unwavering strength and steady gaze.
Bless us with your hard won wisdom.
Guide us in new directions
As we let go of the past and embrace our future.
Blessed be!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kitchen Blessing for the Waning Moon
(Author Unknown)

Cerridwen, Goddess of transformation,
Inspire us with your bittersweet beauty
To be fierce in our clarity.
Help us to discard that which no longer nourishes us, body and soul.
Keep our hearth free of clutter and lingering bones of contention.
Help us to stir our ancient dreams into reality.
Teach us to trust our instincts and honor our intuition.
Bless our witch's path as we dedicate our home to the service of truth.
Blessed be!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kitchen Blessing for the Waxing Moon
(Author Unknown)

Brigid, Goddess of the hearth and fire,
Ignite our hearts with your poetic spirit,
Bright as flame-- courageous, bountiful and true.
Keep abundant our pantry, our friends and our generosity.
Bless our table always with gentle nourishment and a welcoming chair.
Sanctify this home with peace and safety.
Watch over this kitchen so that it may always be rich in love and laughter.
Blessed be.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Just got home from taking Tera to school. I noticed the oak tree up front has some small leaf buds on it. We've been in this house 6 yrs now and I can now read the oak trees. When they start showing their leaf buds, it means we won't have anymore freezes!! Yeah, it might get cold, but no freezes!! YAY

Thursday, February 3, 2011


The domestic cat became highly regarded by Egyptian civilization as an animal of awe and wonder. Originating between five and six thousand years ago, domesticated cats came to be praised for their excellent mouse hunting abilities. The Egyptians found cats fascinating, even regarding them as godlike. Because cats were deeply respected, they were often mummified and even buried in great tombs with their owners. Finally, the Egyptian battle of Pelusium illustrates, better than any other example, the importance Egyptians placed on cats.
Indeed, so highly regarded were cats in Egyptian society that it was considered a high crime to kill a cat, punishable by death. Families owning cats took care that they received attention and respect.
Deep respect was given to cats even after they died. Whenever a household cat died, the entire family would go through a period of grief, shaving their eyebrows to mark their sadness. Deceased cats were very often mummified and entombed with fine jewelry and treasures; a custom usually reserved for only the most powerful and wealthy. Mummified rats and mice have even been found in cats' tombs, signaling the Egyptian belief in a cat afterlife.

Bast ( Bastet, Bastis, Bubastis, Pacht, Ubast) is a name well-known in the West.
She was responsible for Joy, Music, and Dancing, also Health and Healing.
She also protected humans against contagious diseases and evil spirits.

Her cult can be traced back to about 3200 BC,
and she became a national deity when Bubastis became the capital of Egypt in about 950 BC.
Her origin is said to be in this city Bubastis,
although her association with the lion-goddess Sekhmet makes it likely that her cult was also celebrated at Memphis.
Temple honoring Bast were found at Bubastis, Memphis-Sakkara and Dendera.

Cats, as manifestations of Deity, were sacred; they protected the grain from mice and rats.
Killing a cat was punished with death.
Bast is the daughter and/or wife of Ra, the God of the Sun.
Temple honoring Bast were found at Bubastis, Memphis-Sakkara and Dendera. The center of the worship of Bast was at the city of Bubastis and, thanks to Herodotus, we have some vivid and generous accounts of her nature and rites:
Chapter 60
[1] When the people are on their way to Bubastis, they go by river, a great number in every boat, men and women together. Some of the women make a noise with rattles, others play flutes all the way, while the rest of the women, and the men, sing and clap their hands.
[2] As they travel by river to Bubastis, whenever they come near any other town they bring their boat near the bank; then some of the women do as I have said, while some shout mockery of the women of the town; others dance, and others stand up and lift their skirts. They do this whenever they come alongside any riverside town.
[3] But when they have reached Bubastis, they make a festival with great sacrifices, and more wine is drunk at this feast than in the whole year besides. It is customary for men and women (but not children) to assemble there to the number of seven hundred thousand, as the people of the place say.

Chapter 67
[1] Dead cats are taken away to sacred buildings in the town of Bubastis, where they are embalmed and buried

  • Thousands of small cat sculptures,
    probably left with offerings to the Temple by devotees,
    have also been recovered at Bubastis.
  • sweet liquids and foodstuffs
  • mint, catnip, honey, raw meat,
  • perfumes and ointments (especially in the "bas" jars which are a pun on Her name).
  • Never offered: cats (The penality for killing a cat was getting killed !)

    In addition to her major symbol, the sistrum, Bast was also allotted one of the Divine Eyes in the form of the Uraeus, or Serpent of Wisdom. According to the one version, she acquired this from her brother Horus, but the popular belief was that she was given charge of it by Ra for defending him against Apep. Although the Uraeus is considered to be the right Eye and the Horus Eye the left, there is obviously some confusion here as Eyes were depicted under the Horus banner facing either way, which rather suggests that the ancient Egyptians themselves were, perhaps, a little unsure as to which was which.
    In art Images of Bast portray her with a sistrum (ancient Egyptian percussion instrument) in her right hand, and a small bag over her left arm, with figurines of kittens surrounding her feet. Such images are among the most naturalistic works of ancient Egyptian.
    Symbols: cat, lioness, sistra (especially later periods), Udjat-eye.
    "The Tearer" is first and foremost a protectress; specifically of the royal house and the Two Lands. According to Herodotus, Bast was a happy and benign Deity who brought good fortune, music, dance and joy to all. Statues of cats are commonly passed off as facsimiles of Bast, but this is incorrect. The cat was indeed her sacred animal and the people of the time tended to see the Goddess in every cat that walked past, but her original depiction was as a royal lady or priestess with a cat's head. In addition to the symbols already discussed, her other accoutrements were the Aegis, a kind of small protective apron, and a basket often containing kittens. Bast expressed the qualities of the lion or cat family, beauty of movement, agility, strength, caution, fidelity to the pride, etc., all of which could equally be interpreted at the spiritual level.
    During the New Kingdom (1539-1075 BC), she became equated with Sekhmet, the lioness deity of war.
    Into the Greek period, She would be equated with the virgin huntress Artemis and considered the protectress of children and pregnant mothers, musicians and a goddess of all sorts of excess, especially sexual excess.
    67.jpg  bast9.gif

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Isis (Greek corruption; the Egyptian is Aset) was originally a goddess from Nubia, and was adopted into Egyptian belief very early. Her name literally means (female) of throne, i.e. Queen of the throne, although the hieroglyph used originally meant (female) of flesh, i.e. mortal, and she may simply have represented deified, real, queens. When deified, symbolic of the queen, it was sometimes said that she was the daughter of Tawaret, the goddess of royal birth.
A hymn about Isis from the 14th century BC says:
In the beginning there was Isis: Oldest of the Old, She was the Goddess from whom all Becoming of the House of Life, Mistress of the Word of God. She was the Unique. In all Her great and wonderful works She was a wiser magician and more excellent than any other God.
As the deification of the wife of the pharaoh, Isis protected the dead body of the Pharaoh, since this was seen as an intrinsic part of her job as royal protector. Thus she gained a funerary association, and was said to be the mother of the four gods who protected the canopic jars. More specifically, Isis was viewed as protector of the god Imsety. This association with the Pharaoh's wife also brought the idea that Isis was considered the spouse of Horus, who was protector, and later the deification, of the Pharaoh himself. Consequently, on occasion, her mother was said to be Hathor, the mother of Horus.
In another area of Egypt, when the pantheon was formalised, Isis became one of the Ennead of Heliopolis, as a daughter of Nuit and Geb, and sister to Osiris, Nephthys, and Set. As a funerary deity, she was associated with Osiris, god of the underworld (Aaru), and thus was considered his wife, whereas Nephthys was the wife of Set. Isis and Nephthys were often depicted on coffins, with wings outstretched, as protectors against evil.
A later legend, ultimately a result of the replacement of another god of the underworld when the cult of Osiris gained more authority, tells of the birth of Anubis. The tale describes how Nephthys became sexually frustrated with Set, who was gay (and already had a male lover - Shu), and so disguised herself as the much more attractive Isis to try to seduce him. The ploy failed, but Osiris now found Nephthys very attractive, as he thought she was Isis. They coupled, resulting in the birth of Anubis. In fear of Set's anger, Nephthys persuaded Isis to adopt Anubis, so that Set would not find out. The tale describes both why Anubis is seen as an underworld deity (he is a son of Osiris), and why he couldn't inherit Osiris' position (he was not a legitimate heir), neatly preserving Osiris' position as lord of the underworld.
Assimilation of Hathor
Beliefs about Ra himself had been hovering around the identification of Ra, a sun god, with Horus, another sun god (as the compound Ra-Herakhty), and so for some time, Isis had intermittently been considered the wife of Ra, since she was the wife of Horus. Consequently, since there was not anything logically troubling by identifying Isis as Ra's wife, Hathor unlike identifying Ra as his own son, she and Hathor became considered the same deity, Isis-Hathor. Sometimes the alternative consideration arose, that Isis, in the Ennead, was a child of Atum-Ra, and so should have been a child of Ra's wife, Hathor, although this was less favoured as Isis had enough in common with Hathor to be considered one and the same.
It was this merger with Hathor that proved to be the most significant event in the history of Egyptian mythology. By merging with Hathor, Isis became the mother of Horus, rather than his Wife, and thus, when beliefs of Ra absorbed Atum into Atum-Ra, it also had to be taken into account that Isis was one of the Ennead, as the wife of Osiris. However, it had to be explained how Osiris, who as god of the dead, was dead, could be considered a father to Horus who was very much not considered dead. This lead to the evolution of the idea that Osiris needed to be resurrected, and so to the Legend of Osiris and Isis, a myth so significant that everything else paled in comparison.
In order to resurrect Osiris for the purpose of having the child Horus, it was necessary for Isis to learn magic, and so it was that Isis tricked Ra (i.e. Amun-Ra/Atum-Ra) into telling her his "secret name", by getting a snake to bite and poison him, so that he would use his "secret name" to survive. In consequence, as well as the attributes of motherhood and fertility originating in Hathor, Isis became a goddess of magic.
The priestesses of Isis were healers and midwives, and were said to have many special powers, including dream interpretation and the ability to control the weather by braiding or combing their hair, the latter of which was because the ancient Egyptians considered knots to have magical power. Serket became considered an aspect of the more significant goddess Isis, because she was also seen as curer of poisoned scorpion stings (and so a healer, and thus patron also of magicians), and because she was also one of the four goddesses protecting the gods who watched the canopic jars, like Isis, and was also a protector of marriage.
Because of the association between knots and magical power, a symbol of Isis was the tiet/tyet (meaning welfare/life), also called the Knot of Isis, Buckle of Isis, or the Blood of Isis. The tiet in many respects resembles an ankh, except that its arms curve down, and in all these cases seems to represent the idea of eternal life/resurrection. The meaning of Blood of Isis is more obscured, but the tyet was often used as a funerary amulet made of red wood, stone, or glass, so this may have simply been a description of its appearance.
Assimilation of Mut
After the authority of Thebes had risen, and made Amun into a much more significant god, it later waned, and Amun was assimilated into Ra. In consequence, Amun's consort, Mut, the doting, infertile, and implicitly virginal, mother, who by this point had absorbed other goddesses herself, was assimilated into Ra's wife, Isis-Hathor, as Mut-Isis-Nekhbet. On occasion, Mut's infertility and implicit virginity, was taken into consideration, and so Horus, who was too significant to ignore, had to be explained by saying that Isis became pregnant with magic, when she transformed herself into a kite and flew over Osiris' dead body.
Mut's husband was Amun, who had by this time become identified with Min as Amun-Min (also known by his epithet - Kamutef). Since Mut had become part of Isis, it was natural to try to make Amun, part of Osiris, the husband of Isis, but this was not easily reconcilable, because Amun-Min was a fertility god and Osiris was the god of the dead. Consequently they remained regarded separately, and Isis was sometimes said to be the lover of Min. Subsequently, as at this stage Amun-Min was considered an aspect of Ra (Amun-Ra), he was also considered an aspect of Horus, since Horus was identified as Ra, and thus Isis' son was on rare occasions said to be Min instead, which neatly avoided having confusion over Horus's status as was held at being the husband and son of Isis.
The star Spica (sometimes called Lute Bearer), and the constellation which roughly corresponded to the modern Virgo, appeared at a time of year associated with the harvest of wheat and grain, and thus with fertility gods and goddesses. Consequently they were associated with Hathor, and hence with Isis. Isis also assimilated Sopdet, the personification of Sirius, since Sopdet, rising just before the flooding of the Nile, was seen as a bringer of fertility, and so had been identified with Hathor. Sopdet still retained an element of distinct identity, however, as Sirius was quite visibly a star and not living in the underworld.
In art, originally Isis was pictured as a woman wearing a headdress in the shape of a throne, sometimes holding a lotus, as a sycamore tree. After her assimilation of Hathor, Isis was often symbolised by a cow, or a cow's head, or, in the most common form, a woman with the horns of a cow on her head, with the sun disc (of Horus) between them. Usually, she was depicted with her son, the great god Horus, with a crown and a vulture, and sometimes as a kite flying above Osiris's body.
In the Book of the Dead Isis was described as She who gives birth to heaven and earth, knows the orphan, knows the widow, seeks justice for the poor, and shelter for the weak. Some of Isis' many other titles were Queen of Heaven, Mother of the Gods, The One Who is All, Lady of Green Crops, The Brilliant One in the Sky, Star of the Sea, Great Lady of Magic, Mistress of the House of Life, She Who Knows How To Make Right Use of the Heart, Light-Giver of Heaven, Lady of the Words of Power, and Moon Shining Over the Sea.
In late times, due to her name, and her associations, she was often confused with the unconnected Semitic goddess Astarte. Also, during the period of Greek dominance, due to her attributes as a protector, and mother, and the lusty aspect originally from Hathor, she was made the patron goddess of sailors.
Isis outside Egypt
The cult of Isis rose to prominence in the Hellenistic world, beginning in the last centuries BC, until it was eventually banned by the Christians in the 6th century. Despite the Isis mystery cult's growing popularity, there is evidence to suggest that the Isis mysteries were not altogether welcomed by the ruling classes in Rome. Her rites were considered by the princeps Augustus to be "pornographic" and capable of destroying the Roman moral fibre.

Tacitus writes that after Julius Caesar's assassination, a temple in honour of Isis had been decreed; Augustus suspended this, and tried to turn Romans back to the Roman gods who were closely associated with the state. Eventually the Roman emperor Gaius Caesar abandoned the Augustan wariness towards Oriental cults, and it was in his reign that the Isiac festival was established in Rome. According to Josephus, Gaius himself donned female garb and took part in the mysteries he instituted, and Isis acquired in the Hellenistic age a "new rank as a leading goddess of the Mediterranean world."
Roman perspectives on cult were syncretic, seeing in a new deity merely local aspects of a familiar one. For many Romans, Egyptian Isis was an aspect of Phrygian Cybele, whose orgiastic rites were long naturalized at Rome, indeed she was known as Isis of Ten Thousand Names. In the Golden Ass (1st century), Apuleius' goddess Isis is identified with Cybele:
Behold, Lucius, I have arrived. Thy weeping and prayers have moved me to succour thee. I am she that is the natural mother of all things, the Mistress and Governess of all the Elements, the initial Progenitrix of all things, the Chief of powers divine, Queen of Heaven, the First of the Gods celestial, the light of the Goddesses. At my will, the planets of the air, the wholesome winds of the Seas, and the silences of hell are disposed; my name, my divinity is adored throughout all the world in various manners, in various customs and in many names, for the Phrygians call me the Mother of the Gods.
Among these names of Roman Isis, Queen of Heaven is outstanding for its long and continuous history. Herodotus identified Isis with the Greek and Roman goddesses of agriculture, Demeter and Ceres. In Yorùbá mythology, Isis became Yemaya. In later years, Isis also had temples throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, and as far away as the British Isles, where there was a temple to Isis on the River Thames by Southwark.
Some scholars argue that aspects of Isis worship have influenced the practices of some Christians in regards to the Virgin Mary, and especially her relationship with her son, Horus. There is a strong resemblance to the depiction of the seated Isis holding or suckling the child Horus and the seated Mary and the baby Jesus. It has been suggested by these scholars that the reason Isis worship abruptly ends, despite the vast number of its adherents, is due to her having been identified as Mary, and her temples having been merely renamed in consequence. If this is true then Isis is still worshipped today, and has been for at least 5000 years, and if it is not, then there has still been a recent revival of explicitly Isis based worship, among neopagans and feminists who are attracted by the matriarchal notions of goddess worship.
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