Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Basics of Pagan Sex Magick

Sex has incredible power, both in Paganism and life in general. Sexual release can be a very potent catalyst for spells and rituals. The act of controlling this release can raise powerful energy that can be sent toward a specific goal. This is where sex becomes sacred sex.

Though the true study of sex magick can take years, even a lifetime, the very basics can be mastered with a little practice. All it takes is a willing partner and the desire to experiment with combining magick and sex.

Preparing for Sex Magick

Speak to your partner and decide on a precise goal for the spell. It is very important for you both to be in complete agreement. Not only is it polite to discuss the spell with your partner, but it gives the spell more power and focus.

Decide on a symbol to represent your goal. It can be simple or elaborate, colored or black and white, a symbol universally accepted to mean a certain thing or something you’ve created yourself. With your partner, make at least five copies of this symbol; more is better. Don’t use a photocopier. Take the time to place as much of your own personal energy into the symbol as possible.

You and your partner should spend several nights meditating over the symbol you have created. Do this together, linking your chosen symbol to the deepest parts of your subconscious mind. Discuss your thoughts and feelings with your partner. It is essential that your vision of the spell and its intent match your partner’s vision. This may take some time, so be prepared to work on this for several days.

Place your symbols in various spots around the room where you will engage in sacred sex. Take some time to consider the space. You’ll want to ensure that a symbol will always be within easy view. Place symbols on the ceiling, walls, headboard, or anywhere you like. Remember that you’ll probably change positions during your spell, so you may need to make additional copies of your symbol.

Engaging in Sacred Sex

Immediately before you begin your sex magick, refocus your mind on your goal and the symbol you’ve chosen to represent that goal. Then let it go. Don’t consciously try to focus on your spell while you have sex. It is incredibly difficult to experience good sex while focusing on something else, though some advanced tantric masters can do so. Tantra could be described as controlled sacred sex. However, unless you’re a tantric master, just enjoy yourself.

If both you and your partner have properly prepared yourselves, your subconscious minds will already know what to do. The symbols placed around the room will serve as a key to your inner self. As you approach release, gaze at one of these symbols. As both you and your partner achieve sexual release, the energy you have raised will be channelled by your subconscious and begin to move toward your goal.

Sex magick is a fun and vibrant way to cast a spell. However, it is important that you observe magickal ethics at all times. If you do this, you can use sacred sex as a powerful source of energy.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Faery Lineage and Irish Mythology — The Folk Tale Fairy

Mythology is not a stagnant thing. It grows and adapts with society. The Folk Tale Fairy is the result of the diminishing of the Faery Lineage from the great Tuatha De Danann to the Jacobean Fairy. In time, the Jacobean Fairy also changed, becoming the Flower Fairy and the Folk Tale Fairy. Both of these forms have endured into the modern age, but the Folk Tale Fairy evolved into something unique.

Literature and the Folk Tale Fairy

In the 18th century, the world of literature expanded. For the first time in Europe, books were written specifically for children. All manner of creatures, both good and evil, were pull from various mythologies to be adapted to suit children’s stories. From Irish mythology, the Folk Tale Fairy was born.

A great effort was made to ensure the children of the 18th century were taught proper morality. The literature of the time was used to do this, wherever possible. Fairies took on a new form — they became guardians and guides, relentless moralists who were intent on always driving their wards towards virtue.

Out of these tales the Fairy Godmother was born. Writers and poets embraced this new form, turning tale upon tale for the benefit of children.

The Nature of the Folk Tale Fairy

The Folk Tale Fairy didn’t have a single, standard appearance. These fairies could be as tiny as the Flower Fairy, quietly nudging their protégés with careful whispers, heard but not always seen. Folk Tale Fairies could also be larger, sometimes as large as humans. There was no rule.

Regardless of size, Folk Tale Fairies almost always took a direct interest in a specific individual, such as the literary Cinderella. They would hint and prod this individual onto the proper course, but they would never force. It simply wasn’t in their nature.

The Folk Tale Fairy was a gentle and persistent guide, always seeking the path of virtue. This image has endured into the modern era and continues to have a place in popular mythology. The picture of the Fairy Godmother has become ingrained in the minds of the populace, and will likely remain there for some time.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Wheel of the Year — The Summer Solstice and Its Lore

Sometimes called Litha, the Summer Solstice falls in the middle of summer, somewhere around June 21st. This is the longest day of the year and is often marked on calendars as the "first day of summer." It is a time of paradox, because even as the sun reaches its height, it begins to wane and the days grow shorter. Just like at the Winter Solstice, the Oak King battles the Holly King, but it is the Holly King, the King who presides over the waning sun, who wins this time.

As a part of the Wheel of the Year, the Summer Solstice sees the God move past his prime. He moves from his Lover aspect and becomes the King. The Goddess quickens with His child, still in Her aspect of Mother.

There are many symbols that reflect the spirit of this Sabbat, including:
  • Fireworks
  • Catherine wheels
  • Yellow flowers
  • Phallic symbols
  • Any sun symbols
Themes and Practices of Midsummer
The general theme of this Sabbat is change as the sun's power begins to wane. It is a preparation for the coming harvest and an acknowledgment that the season will continue to advance towards winter. This day is a reminder to enjoy the heat of summer while it lasts, for it will not last forever.
After the Summer Solstice, after the bright day of the year, the hours of daylight will decrease as the hours of darkness increase. In the northern hemisphere summer really doesn’t get into full swing until this date.
The Feast of the Summer Solstice
The colors of this Sabbat are the colors of the sun. Try to keep these colors in your feast. Try carrots, oranges, and breads shaped to resemble the sun. As summer has finally arrived and the cold of winter and unpredictability of spring are both long passed, pull out the barbeque and plan a picnic for your feast. If you tend to have a problem with barbequing, try marinating the meats and precooking them in the microwave. All you’ll have to do then is throw them on the grill to brown and heat them thoroughly.
Vegetables can be prepared by sprinkling them with herbs and a little olive oil. Wrap them tightly in tinfoil before throwing on the grill for a few minutes. Don’t overcook. Alternatively, leave the vegetables raw and simply enjoy the fruits of the season. Most foods that you would normally cook in the cover can be covered in tinfoil and cooked on the grill instead, including a children’s favorite, chicken nuggets.
There are many options for feasting at the Summer Solstice. Some of these include:
  • Green-leaf salad with herbs tossed with a little orange juice
  • Sliced tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper
  • Cucumber, olives, and goat cheese with a light olive oil dressing
  • Apples and walnuts in yogurt
  • Cooked and chilled chickpeas with olive oil and garlic dressing
  • Couscous with lemon juice
  • Potato and anchovy salad with a light tomato dressing
  • Stuffed fish
If you’re looking for a dessert, try ice cream. It’s perfect for the summer heat and you can make it yourself in any flavor you can imagine. If you’d rather buy it, but still want to make it special, let it soften a little on the counter and stir in your own ingredients. Try crushing up chocolate chip cookies or malted milk biscuits and mixing them into the ice cream. Also try adding in slices of seasonal fruit such as strawberries and raspberries. Add your ingredients and allow the ice cream to chill again before serving. This will allow any crispy ingredients such as cookies to soften as well.
Beverages for Litha
Though you’ll probably use a strong red wine or juice for your ritual, for feasting and celebrating you’ll want beverages that are a little more festive. Look for golden liquids such as cider , sweet white wines, pale sherry or even a Honey Mead. For the non-alcoholic crowd and for children, look for seasonal fruit juices and even lemonade. Just remember that the summer is hot and you’ll probably be more thirsty than normal. Have some cool water on hand to quench that thirst.
Celebrating the Summer Solstice
For many Wiccans, it is traditional to rise at dawn the morning of the Summer Solstice. Since dawn comes early on the longest day of the year, many people choose to have an all-night party and simply stay up to greet the dawn. Those who make it through the night can go to bed and get a few hours’ sleep.
There are other ways to celebrate this day as well. You can reenact the battle of the Oak King and the Holly King just as you did with the Winter Solstice. Just remember that the Holly King wins this time around. Consider also hosting several physical activities and getting everyone involved. Tug-of-wars, races, or even board games can provide hours of fun for everyone. Don’t get too serious about your games. Simple and fun is usually better than complicated and serious.
If it’s nice enough to be outside, organize a little treasure hunt. Make a list of items that can be found in your area that represent spring. A river rock, green leaf, a flower, or a feather are all common enough objects that people should be able to find them if they look hard enough. Give a prize to the person who completes their collection first.
If you have a large open space, build the face of the sun outside where the sun can shine upon it. Gather up light-colored twigs and stones and lay them out so that they resemble the sun. Get everyone involved and build it as large as you can. Don’t forget to take a picture when you’re finished.
Most Wiccans will also choose to celebrate the Summer Solstice with a ritual or ceremony. You would not generally perform magick during this ritual, honoring the Goddess, the God, and the power of the son instead.
Dressing for the Summer Solstice
Dressing in the colors of the season is an excellent way to get into the spirit. Whether you choose your ritual robes or something else, keep in mind that your dress should be special, not something that you’d wear every day. Traditional colors for the Summer Solstice include golds and bright greens. You may also choose to use golden yellows and oranges to represent the God and reds for the Goddess. Use these colors to choose your clothing or simply to decorate your ritual space.
The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, representing the heightened power of the God. It is a time to bask in the heat of the sun, to make the most of the warm summer months, and yet to acknowledge that nothing lasts forever.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Faery Lineage and Irish Mythology — The Seelie Court

Some versions of Irish mythology have the Daoine Sidhe eventually divide into two groups: the Seelie Court and the Unseelie Court. Though this separation is more commonly seen in Scottish mythology, Ireland also adopted this division. The Seelie Court was considered to be the blessed or holy court. They were often said to be the ‘good’ faeries, but Irish mythology is rarely that clear cut.

Characteristics of the Seelie Court

Sometimes called the ‘Blessed Ones,’ the Seelie were often depicted as a procession of brilliant light riding on the night air. The Seelie Court, as a group, would often use these excursions to find those in need of help. However, their form of help was sometimes closer to mischief.

The Seelie Court were considered the true aristocrats of the Daoine Sidhe. They were judges, dispensing justice to the other faery when it was required, and served as frequent arbitrators of the many faery quarrels. The Seelie Court was very political, complete with cliques, factions, gossiping, and rivalry.

Those of the Seelie Court tended towards harmony and happiness. It was their way to help humans, and to seek help from them in return. They always gave full warning when someone offended them, and when a human did them a kindness, they made every effort to return this favor. The Seelie were more inclined to towards good than evil. If give the choice between the two, there was never any doubt that they would choose good. They worked together in constructive ways for the benefit of all.

None of this means that they were entirely benign. Any of the faery, including the Seelie, would seek vengeance for an insult, if an insult were perceived. Though not malicious, they would defend themselves against any threat, and even go to war if need be. The Seelie were also prone to a great deal of mischief, especially when bored. However, their pranks rarely caused true harm, for the Seelie were really very fond of humans.

The Code of the Seelie Court

Like many human courts, the Seelie Court had its own code of conduct, a code which all of the Seelie had to abide by. This code was:
  • Death Before Dishonor: A member of the Seelie Court would protect his or her honor to the death. Honor was the single source of glory for the Seelie, the only way to attain recognition. A true Seelie would rather have died than live with personal dishonor, and would never bring dishonor to another of the Seelie.
  • Love Conquers All: For the Seelie, love was the perfect expression of the soul. It transcended all other things. Though romantic love was considered to be the highest and purest form of love, platonic love was also encouraged.
  • Beauty is Life: Beauty was one of the first tenants of the Seelie Court. To belong, a faery had to be beautiful, and all beauty was to be protected. The Seelie were known to go to war to protect beauty, whether it was a beautiful person, place, or thing.
  • Never Forget a Debt: This tenant worked in two ways. The Seelie were bound by their code of honor to repay any debt owed as soon as was possible. This included both favors and insults. The Seelie would repay a favor in a timely fashion. At the same time, they would exact vengeance almost immediately.
The Seelie Court was said to be a beautiful and benevolent place. It is no wonder that the people of Ireland and Scotland often appealed to the Seelie for help and advice. In time, however, the people turned away from the Daoine Sidhe and its Courts, seeking newer incarnations of the Faery Lineage, such as the Heroic Faery.