Little Witch Magazine
Ostara Beltane The First Altar The Golden Mean Favored Tarot Decks
Interview: Linda Wormhoudt
his is a depiction of Jasper the horse. Horses were important to the Celtic people and many famous stories speak of the horse as a sacred animal. They are associated with the Goddess Epona. Within the Celtic knot work are the elements, the seasons and the universe. Everything is in cycle. The horse is deeply connected to the earth, the spirit of freedom as well as the connection of a good friend. At the top of the horses neck there are two hills. At the base of the first hill you can see a little girlâ€”symbolic of the inner childâ€” sitting atop the horse. Gathering his strength Jasper leaps with all is might, wings sprout from his back, transforming him into Pegasus and carrying the little girl to the star of her dreams.
Liza Lamberti - Horse Celtic Knotwork Liza Lambertini is a self taught artist who has graduated from the fine graphic art and fine art photography academy. You can find more of her work on http://www.lizalambertini.com, http://www.etsy.com/shop/LizasWhimsicalArt and http://www.flickr.com/photos/lizalambertini.
This Little Witch I
t’s spring and the time for innovation and change. Surprisingly, or perhaps unsurprisingly, my innovation and change came a bit earlier this year. These last couple of months have been a roller coaster of meeting people, gathering new knowledge and reinventing my ideas about the pagan world. Little Witch is growing by heaps and bounds. Besides having a lot more time to prepare decently this time around, we also have guest writers and guest artists. On the page to the left, you can find one of my personal favourites by talented artist and beautiful person, Liza Lambertini. This issue’s introduction to the season and Pagan World are written by Eruandil Ma’ateo MacDougall whom I met in these few short months and who pursues magic in a completely scientific manner. I wanted to share this insight into the Craft with our readers. The third addition to the group is Lizzie of Lizzie’s Logic.
She’ll share some of her favourite Tarot decks with all of us in a brand new segment in Little Witch magazine; The Goodie Bag. Eclectic High Priestess Lunadea shares her knowledge on the festivals. My eternal gratitude goes out to these four guests as well as Little Witch’s regular staff, Calandriel, Ragnild and Vlinder, who has changed her name to Aurelia Bellis. This issue revolves around Spring, the festivals of Ostara and Beltane which fall into this season and, of course, more on what it means to be Pagan and everything that comes with it. We discuss if it’s necessary to draw a circle, what the prefix ‘Neo’ means and Aurelia shares the confusing experience of setting up her first altar. We hope you enjoy this issue of LWM. If you want to let us know what you thought of it, if you have ideas or would like to help, page 19 will give you all the contact info you need! Blessed be, Elani Temperance
In this issue: 4 5 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 18
The Goodie Bag Tarot Review Examining the season The Magic of Spring Pagan world The Golden Mean Witchy Things The First Altar Discussion Casting cirlces Ostara Beltane Branching out What’s Neo? Practical Pagan Coming Out of the Broom Closet Interview Linda Wormhoudt By the firelight The history of Easter Visiting: Linda Wormhoudt’s Seidr-Inspired oracle themeday
The Goodie Bag Tarot Review - By Lizzie’s World
review a lot of Tarot decks on my website and I wanted to share my top three with you, in no particular order. Tarot of the Sidhe - Emily Carding As Emily states, “Trying to define the Sidhe is rather like trying to capture liquid light in a glass box, their true nature is more truly felt and experienced than expressed in words or theories”. The Sidhe are not merely fairies that fly from flower to flower. They are a distinct race, separate from human-kind, yet sharing constant contact with earthlings in daily interaction... some good, some not too good for the humans. Belief in the Sidhe is virtually as old as culture itself and Emily captures perfectly their special magic
perfectly in this 78 card deck. The card stock is wonderful and sturdy, making Emily’s vivid and striking artwork absolutely pop right out, drawing you into the mystical world of the Sidhe. Each of the Major Arcana, representing the universal or archetypal forces, can be read with--or even used as--terrific gateways to meditation and come with artist’s notes in the accompanying 96 page booklet, which also gives meanings as well as several very unique spreads. Tarot of a Moon Garden - Karen Marie Sweikhardt Beautifully illustrated, this whimsical, full-color deck depicts an enchanted garden with exotic flowers, castles, and hot air balloons. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the colors and dreamlike images and it was a real pleasure to work with. The
Lizzie is a solitary Craft practitioner, cat lover and Tarot enthousiast. Lizzie’s blog: http://tiny.cc/LizziesLogic Full reviews: http://tiny.cc/Sidhe | http://tiny.cc/MoonGarden | http://tiny.cc/Epicurean
card stock is terrific and shuffles very easily and the image on the backs are not only reversible but intricate and pleasing to the eye. Epicurean Tarot Recipe Cards Corrine Kenner Packaged in an over sized box for display in the kitchen, these are superb cards with a brief explanation of the tarot card imagery. Alongside you will find a delicious and quite detailed recipe which comes with a complete list of all necessary ingredients to complete the dish. There is a large white book that comes with this set and wonderfully details the tradition of tarot cooking and explanations for each tarot card in the deck. There’s even ways to use these gorgeous cards in a spread called the Cook’s Cross and a three card, meal planning spread. Corrine Kenner did a fantastic job on this deck and I have to say it would be an excellent gift for the cook who has everything or just a wonderful gift idea for the tarot lover...a true “must have!”
Examining the season The Magic of Spring - ByE ruandil Ma’ateo MacDougall
pring is generally seen, often with a childlike sense of wonder, as a time of rebirth and renewal, a time of natural creativity, of life bursting at the seams. For those of us who are accustomed to the world beyond the mundane, it takes on all of these meanings, but with a new level of depth. This viewpoint is the result of a completely natural process. In the spring, the natural world that was dormant throughout the winter bounces back into action like a child at play. In order to grow and begin the reproductive process that will last the rest of the year,
the entirety of the seasonal world fills to bursting with new energy. This energy can be utilized by a practitioner in myriad ways, as it is a cascade that drives all life on earth in some manner or another for an entire year. A popular method of harnessing this energy is to harvest and use freshly grown herbs and plants in one’s magical dealings. Indeed, many magical sources suggest that using freshly grown herbs is better for magical purposes than herbs that have been stored or dried because of the natural energy still contained within. Another popular method is to simply be outside more, doing outdoor rituals and using nature’s influence to ground oneself,
giving back to nature the energy that it has provided. For some, it is even rejuvenating and invigorating to simply draw energy purely from their natural surroundings; the energy drawn from nature in spring would be a greater source than at less vigorous times in the environment. The natural world, as many practitioners know, is a source for much, if not all, of the energy that can be used in magical workings. With just a little thought, it is possible to find many other methods to use the energy that comes with the newness of the year and ending of winter. Using this fountain of energy from the natural world is the essence of the magic of spring.
Activities for Spring time Spring is a time of wonder and Herbs grown in spring can be growth. It’s the perfect time to dried and stored for medicinal plant seeds and start a garden. or magical use later in the year
and there is nothing better than fresh herbs to season a delicious salad!
The Golden Mean - By Eruandil Ma’ateo MacDougall
he Golden Mean is one of many terms used to describe a specific relation between certain quantitative measurements. It is also called the Golden Ratio and by various other titles. Formally stated, it is said that ’two quantities are in the Golden Ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one’. The mathematical statement is that ‘a+b’ is to ‘a’ as ‘a’ is to ‘b’. This ratio presents itself throughout magical symbolism in many cultures, including the pentagram, as well as being innately connected to the average ratio of the human body. The Golden Ratio presents
Eruandil is a Semita Magus and father of two who approaches his chosen path as scientifically as possible. He can be reached at email@example.com or at http:// tiny.cc/realpagan.
itself most commonly through a sequence of numbers called the Fibonacci sequence. By definition, the first two Fibonacci numbers are 0 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two. This sequence makes itself known throughout nature in a form known as a Fibonacci spiral, or a Golden Spiral. A Golden Spiral is a logarithmic spiral whose growth factor is related to φ, which is the symbol for the Golden Ratio. Specifically, a Golden Spiral gets wider (or further from its origin) by a factor of φ for every quarter turn it makes. The Golden Mean is present in an astoundingly remarkable number of phenomena in the universe, including the spiral indicated by water being swirled, the arrangement of a pinecone, the pattern of leaves and branches on trees, and the seed patterns of plants. Even the arms of a spiral galaxy are presented in a manner that usually matches the Golden Spiral. Some of the greatest music of history, from composers such as Debussy,
Chopin, Satie, and various others, has also been based— sometimes inadvertently, such as Debussy’s La Mer—on the Golden Ratio. This universal ratio has been found throughout the magic of many cultures. It is often associated with dragons and serpents, and many ancient cultures also used it to represent the gods because of its perceived mathematical perfection. Likewise, the Golden Ratio is described by the orbit of Venus, which is near pentagonal. In addition, the mathematical perfection of this mode of numerical thought and its various derivatives led Pythagoras and his followers to the acceptance of the regular pentagram as a symbol of the whole cosmos. To understand this ratio’s applications in magic, one must first become observant of its presence. Then it must be understood that as it is present throughout the universe, so it is present throughout magical practice. It has been scientifically shown that people subconsciously act in manners that can be described
by the Golden Mean, and even that this ratio dictates certain heart and breathing patterns, as well as certain types of energy flow. The I Ching and Feng Shui are two examples of systems that use the Golden Mean and harmony with it to align oneself and oneâ€™s surroundings with the natural energy flow of the world. They teach, albeit indirectly, that to live oneâ€™s life in constant balance with the Golden Ratio allows for peace, harmony, and balance with the universe. The Golden Mean can be used in other ways as well, including divination. A recent and relevant example is that, when viewed on a map, the unrest in the Middle East and the Mediterranean appears to be following two Golden Spirals. This means that it is possible to tentatively predict the next series of similar events by tracing those spirals further. This can seem imprecise and fallible, but it does not seem in the least far-fetched that events of human societies would follow the same mathematical tendencies as
much of the rest of the universe. There are many forms of folk magic that use basic flower components for magical practices. It is of note that roses, sunflowers, daisies, and lilies, among thousands of others, all grow in accordance with the Golden Mean. In addition, mandalas, which are used by many people as meditation aids, are often based on the Golden Ratio. One need only examine them in relation to the flowers they so often resemble to see the similarities. It has recently been discovered by scientists that the Golden Ratio applies directly to the human heart and mind in a subtle, yet amazing way. The human heart beats, on average, 65 beats per minute, with varying time between each beat. However, science recently found through EKG studies that for people who currently feel contentment, love, and other positive emotions, the interval between heartbeats was almost exactly 1.618, which is the numerical representation of the Golden Ratio itself. Obviously, given the places in
which it has already been shown the Golden Mean is represented, its influence can be seen in astrology, musical magic, herbal magic, in various historical symbols and legendary creatures, and in elementalism. It has also shown that this ratio presents itself as an integral part of nature, the human heart, the human mind, and the universe on a much more grand scale than that which is simply earthbound. This spring, when the various representations of this phenomenon can be easily observed as Nature herself bursts into activity, it can be beneficial to observe the connection between humanity and nature, between science and magic, all bound up in the single mathematical truth called The Golden Mean.
More information: http://tiny.cc/mean_math http://tiny.cc/mean_heart http://tiny.cc/mean_music http://tiny.cc/mean_mystery
Witchy Things The first altar
etting up an altar can be quite a challenge. Especially in books about Wicca there are various standardized setups of altars. According to the books, you could make a shopping list of sorts, get all the supplies described and put them on a table to create an instant altar. If you search the internet you will find innumerable pages with information and no two altars are the same. For those who do not have an altar yet and are having the same troubles as I had, don’t despair. It took me more than a year to figure things out. For example, I’m still getting used to the word ‘altar’. It’s not uncommon for a giggle to escape when I hear it. I know the word altar mostly from
- By Aurelia Bellis
churches and temples and trust me, our house looks nothing like those. For me, my altar is just ‘my space’. A dear friend of mine helped me research and understand some things about setting up an altar; she has a beautiful one and all the tools one could ever need. It was quite a sight when she first showed them to me. Would I need all of this? She told me that an altar is actually quite personal and that you should do what feels right to you. This sounds simple but actually it’s not. I started by putting all my Pagan stuff together in one spot in my living room. After that I added a tiny, tiny cupboard which had room for two candles. First a candle holder for longer candles, then one for shorter ones. Then I stated wondering if I didn’t like tea lights better. My first altar was shielded from prying eyes by a desk. Then it moved to the bedroom, then back to its former position besides the desk. Maybe I needed a bigger cupboard? And maybe a chest for loose items? Did I want an
altar cloth on it or not? Back to the internet I went. To my surprise I found altars the size of dining room tables as well as tiny shelves. Then it dawned on me that size doesn’t really matter. During my ‘simple’ quest of developing my altar, I have learned a lot. My altar is always flexible and always changing, just like me. When I’m happy my altar is heaped with flowers, lights and brightly colored stones. When I’m a tad more demure, my altar looks a lot more sober as well. I might just have one piece of stone on it as well as a candle and an inspirational card. In the beginning I thought: oh my, fresh flowers every day... neither my bank account or nature would agree with that. That’s easily fixed; in spring you can put a pot of Narcissus on your altar, in summer a small rosebush, in the fall a branch of the Chinese Lantern plant and in winter a Poinsettia plant. Whatever you do, don’t let me tie you down. Your altar should be an extension of yourself and your spiritual believes.
Casting Circles- By Elani Temperance
ven though we all fall under the same umbrella term, there are very few things every single Neo-Pagan agrees upon. One of the major point we all lovingly disagree on is when we should draw a circle for our magickal workings. Some say we always have to do so, others say there is never a need. Some others say we should only do so when we perform High magick. In order to understand the various positions, we must first look at the definition of magick. Magick, for the purpose of this discussion, is the utilization of energy through the use of Will. High magick is any magick cast for spiritual or divine purposes or, for some, magick cast to enlist or demand the help of Gods or other entities who are receptive to us. It’s practice is often ceremonial in nature and typically standardized. Practices typically associated with High magick are meditation, channeling and evocation. Low magick is typically used to
attempt a change on the physical level. Rituals performed in the Low magick realm can often be described as spells or charms. Practices belonging to Low magick are divination and warding. Those who take the position that only High magick requires the use of a circle have a point; for most, a circle is a Sacred Space, a space worthy of receiving the aid of Gods or entities. Alternatively, drawing a circle ensures that whatever comes into our circle from other planes can not roam freely on this plane once summoned. This is especially prudent when we take into account that the entities summoned aren’t always friendly. As High magick is often involved with these types of practices, the argument that High magick requires the use of a circle is easily made. Your standpoint on circles in Low magick practices depends on a couple of things; if you believe in Gods or other entities, if you believe these entities will offer aid when asked or forced and, amongst others, if you believe it’s these entities that power spell
work or divination you might cast a circle. If you believe Low magick is powered from inside or the energy surrounding us all, a circle to accommodate entities might seem redundant. If you believe Low magick is powered by entities, it would appear logical a circle is drawn as a sign of respect or a place to bind. As anything in the Pagan faiths, it comes down to your views of divinity and magick as well as how ritualized your practices are. Those who perform magick on the fly and with whatever tools they have available for them are probably less likely to cast a circle for High magick, let alone Low magick. Those who practice Traditional Witchcraft and perform magick in covens that pass their standardized rituals on to new initiates tend to cast circles for most—if not all—their magickal practices. Deciding your view on this issue can take some time and may sometimes only be set after testing your options. One thing is for sure; the debate on this issue is still alive and well.
stara is the spring festival named after the Goddess Eostre or Ostara. In pagan times, the Springfest was celebrated fiercely. A straw puppet was often made to resemble winter and then burned or drowned to signify its ending. King Winter and King Summer sometimes play duelled. King Winter was ceremonially defeated and chased off. The people almost always journeyed from field to field in order to transfer the life force of spring onto them. The chosen Spring King would hit the fields with a staff or stick to imbue them with fertility. On the tops of hills, spring fires were lit. Many Easter customs, like the Easter fires, find their origin in pagan traditions. New life starts below the ground, hidden away from prying eyes. Life inside an egg develops much the same way and the egg has logically become the symbol for fertility and new life because of this likeness. The Easter bunny, who brings the eggs, is an old fertility symbol like the egg and tied
to the life force that springs up as spring drives away the memory of Winter. The forces we generate in a Spring celebration aren’t meant to jump-start spring. Spring will come to the lands whether we help it or not. We simply use the growing energy that’s released in the process for our rituals. Like we use the energy that’s set free as the wheel of the sun starts spinning again at Yule, we can use the power that’s set free by nature as spring begins. All we have to do is tap into that latent power. The ritual to the side is an excellent and easy way of doing so.
Ostara ritual This Ostara ritual is meant to power a new endeavour with the energy generated at springtime. Think of something you want to enforce and find something to represent this. Office keys for a new job, for example.
Find, preferably outside, a ritual spot where you can be alone in the middle of the day. An Ostara ritual is strongest on a sunny day between 11 AM and 15 PM. Use a besom to sweep the ritual circle and cleanse it of unwanted energy. Visualise your chosen place being charged with your energy or that of the spring. Summon a circle if it fits into your rites. Put the object you chose in the centre of your sacred space or cirlce and add a candle to it. Jumping is one of the prime ways to summon the growing powers of Sping. Burning a candle adds to this energy. When ready say something like: Ostara, Goddess, hear me, As I stand in the circle to see Power with your force of Spring This item I did bring. Jump over the object and candle three times while keeping the goal in mind. Meditate for a while and close the circle.
Beltane - By Elani Temperance
he big feast of fertility and pleasure. During the festival of Beltane, we celebrate the wedding and marriage of the Goddess and God as they enter the prime of their lives. Beltane was traditionally celebrated by lighting huge bonfires which were jumped over to enhance and celebrate fertility. Cattle was driven between two bonfires to ensure milk production and fertility for the coming year. Druids traditionally lit the bonfires with the nine, sacred, types of wood. Beltane is also famous for its traditional May weddings. In olden days, couples retreated into the woods to make love before returning the following morning with a branch of May blossom or hawthorn blossom to seal their marriage. Children conceived this night were considered blessed by the Gods. In another tradition a May queen was chosen to dance around a May pole or specially selected tree while wrapping different coloured ribbons around it. This is another ritual performed to
stimulate fertility. Beltane is also notable as being the favoured time for handbinding or handfasting. To protect children born as a result of the May weddings, marriages were sealed for a year and a day. This way children who came from these weddings were ensured of paternity and were generally taken care of, even if the marriage ended the following year. Even now, Beltane is a time of unions, for us Neopagans, this can be either to each other or to a partner. These modern day unions are often set for a longer time. Even if you don’t celebrate Beltane, Mother Nature will dress herself in her finest summer cloak and carry fruit. It is important to remember the May celebrations are more than a thanksgiving for the coming excess. Neopagans can use this time to stimulating the life force. This way we can stimulate nature as well as use this life force to turn issues within us or around us for the better. Beltane can give you just that push you need to sort out your life.
Beltane rhyme Step into the Grove with me A year ‘n day too short. Step into the Grove with me And I will give you more. Step into the Grove with me And we will be as one. Step into the Grove with me And be where we belong. Step into the Grove with me A new bond will we forge. Step into the Grove with me A year ‘n day begun. Step into the Grove with me And you will have me whole. Step into the Grove with me Until the Beltane mor’n.
Elani Temperance, 2007
Lunadea is High Priestess of coven Salix, priestess of Diana, practitioner of the Old Religion, herbal healer, reikimaster and most of all: herself! www.lunadea.nl
Branching Out What’s Neo? - By Elani Temperance
any of our Pagan traditions claim to be a continuation of a way of life practiced by our ancestors, even if these claims can rarely be supported by researched facts. Pagan writers with these claims are often challenged, and for good reason. Margret Murray, the woman who wrote the world famous ‘WitchCult in Western Europe’ is a prime example. In her book, Murray factualizes the confessions of those tortured during the witch trails. These ‘confessions’ were, of course, notably untrustworthy as it has been proven torture victims will often say anything to end the pain. If you can lay factual claim of ancestry to a Pagan (group) of old then you are one of the lucky ones. Not many of us can these days. What we can lay claim to is the spirit of living in olden days. We can (try to) imagine what our lives would be like, how dependent we would be on our society, our cattle and our fields and how
we would deal with the changing seasons or the birth of a child. The insights gathered from this can then be integrated into our modern life. The prefix ‘Neo’ then refers to any Pagan practice adopted from the past into the present. Neoshamanism, for example, refers to the modern reconstruction of ancient shamanistic practices. Even those who can lay accurate claim to Pagan roots have to adapt these practices to our current way of living. This raises two questions; when is the claim accurate and, even if the claim is accurate, can anyone living in modern times claim the tradition has survived the years unchanged and is still being practiced exactly like it was in olden days? There is great debate on both these questions. Some even question the use of the prefix for a whole different reason; instead of claiming heritage, these people claim that, as every Pagan reinvents his or her belief system in these modern times, the prefix becomes unnecessary as there simply aren’t any actual
Pagans, only Neopagans. With this reasoning, the term ‘Pagan’ would be accurate, again, as the consensus defines any Pagan as a Neopagan by default. At Little Witch, we use the prefix, simply for the sake of clarity. It allows us to refer to the inspiration of our spiritual believes and those who practice it with the term ‘Pagan’ and to identify modern day practice and practitioners as ‘Neopagan’. We mean no disrespect to anyone who is able to lay claim to ancient traditions nor do we mean to indicate that Neopagans are somehow less invested, less attuned or less pagan because of their modern practices. A religion needs to grow, change and adapt to current living or they will be abandoned in favor of a way of life more attuned with the current needs. Dogmatic religions like Judaism or Christianity are struggling because they adapt slowly and with great difficulty. Neopaganism can change much faster and more readily, as it should. Nature and divinity are eternal; we need simply adapt our practices.
Practical Pagan Coming out of the broom closet - By Calandriel an Cuiileur
oming out of the broom closet is a tough moment for everyone. Especially when coming out to your parents. That’s why I’ll share my journey with you. When I was around fifteen, I came into contact with the different Pagan believes through Elani who shared a couple of things with me and loaned me a book or two. After that I visited local bookstores and went on the hunt for more information and other witches, finding wonderful people online to share my believes with. As my online friends started organizing offline events, I found myself having to ask permission to go to a witch’s meeting. I decided I needed to talk to my dad about different religions first so I could find out what he thought about them. As it turned out, he had heard about natureworshipping religions even though he wasn’t sure about the details. He even knew about Samhain and Imbolc.
At that moment, I was already celebrating the wheel of year celebrations on my own or with a friend. I told my father about my latest celebration and my dad asked if he could see me perform a ritual so he could get a feel for my believes. When I’d told and showed him a couple of things, we decided to tell my mom. We spoke about my religion, how it shaped my life and that I wanted to go to meetings to meet other witches. We agreed that I could go but that my mom would accompany me the first few times so she could see what it was all about. So said and done and since then, my parents have lovingly accepted the fact I’m a witch. Although I never had a deep conversation about the subject with my brother, he has accepted it as well. It’s hard though, sometimes. For example, a while back, my brother was in the habit of joking about witches and witchcraft at parties and to our mutual friends. He didn’t mean anything by it but It made me realize he didn’t really know what I was doing. In itself it
wasn’t so bad but the people he was joking to could get the wrong image of witchcraft and of me. I asked him if he could lighten up on the jokes and offered to explain what I was actually doing. Instead of Christmas I celebrated Yule with my family last year. The sole reason my family celebrates Christmas is so the whole family is together for the day. Because of that, my family was all for it. We burned a Yule log, told stories around the fire and took a walk outside to enjoy Mother Nature. As you can read, I am fairly out of the broom closet, even though I sometimes realize people around me still don’t really know what it’s like to be a witch. I have to admit it’s hard to explain sometimes what I practice to others as it’s such an individual way of life; being pagan means something completely different to everyone who practices it. In my experience it’s best to be open about your believes and, if you have the idea others misunderstand, offer to explain your believes to them in greater detail. It saves you a lot of trouble.
Linda Wormhoudt - By Elani Temperance
In Little Witch magazine we put remarkable people in the spotlight. This issue it’s Linda Wormhoudt. She’s been working with Shamanism for over 28 years and was a student of Maria Moonlion and Daan van Kampenhout. Linda has tra-velled a lot and focuses on Northwest-European Shamanism. She writes books and gives workshops. LWM’s Elani was at one of these workshops. You can find her experiences on page 18. Why specifically European Shamanism? Like many who start out with Shamanism, I started out reading about Native American Shamanism. But Shamanism is tied strongly to the land. You have a natural connection with the ground you walk on, where your ancestors lived and the entities who belong to it. I tried to work with energy fields from North America and realized it wasn’t working. Then I found a plea on the internet from the guardian of the original peace pipe, Orvil Looking Horse. The plea was co-signed by a large number of tribal heads. It came down to a simple question; westerners, would you please leave our rituals alone? They belong with us and are part
of our spiritual heritage. The tribal heads had condoned westerners coming into their reserves for decades. Westerners came, stayed for two weeks and learned some of their rituals. Back home these people would go on to teach traditional Native American Shamanism. The energy of these practices influenced the rituals of the Native Americans and they felt like they were being robbed; it felt like spiritual colonialism. When I read this I was truly ashamed. I wondered if any of the practices of my ancestors had survived. For those who look for it, there is a treasure trove of information to find. The traditions I have found, I have tried to bring into practice but I have adapted them into the now.
Did it bother you to have to leave behind Native American traditions? No, it was the right thing to do. It’s good to start fresh. There is a lot in Shamanism that transcends specific branches, the wheel of life, for example. There are four seasons here in Europe while, in North America, there are sometimes only two. You literally have to reinvent the wheel and that’s a lot of fun! It’s a treasure hunt. A lot of information was written by conquerors of people who celebrated these traditions. The Romans have documented Germanic rituals, for example. This image is distorted but there is a lot of knowledge to gain from it. Why is it important to you to publicize your findings?
These are our roots and I want to return that knowledge to the people living here. We study Greek and Roman history but we know nothing about our own ancestral traditions. Do you know the name of the Goddess of the Northsea? North-western Europe has strong magical traditions! You have started a Shamanistic institute, Ceremony, what was your goal? Ceremony started from the need to build a tribe, a framework to come together with other people as well as the entities we work with. Ceremony offers the possibility to research the Northwest-European traditions together. Everyone is welcome to get involved. The exciting thing is that you never stop learning. The more you experience, the more layers you add to those experiences; you keep getting closer to the core. It’s like walking a labyrinth, you go deeper with every turn and come close to yourself and your roots.
Do you see this in the workshops you give? Definitely. My workshops attract people with a lot of experience as well as people with little experience. I notice that those with a little less ‘mileage’ add a lot of power and creativity to the group but often seek safety when entering the group. They have read in books what a ritual should look like and they want confirmation. How you should protect a ritual space, for example because there might be ‘negative’ forces that disturb your work. I think that what you send out, you get back. If you’re scared of negative entities, you end up drawing them to you. I’m hardly ever afraid and I’ve only had three negative experiences in all those years. Those experiences happened when I was alone, never when I was in a group. Those are the moments you learn from. Everyone is safe during my workshops. I think your next journey was already planned?
Right, to Iceland again. I’m leaving the first week of July. I went to Iceland last year but had too little time. This time I want to visit the Witch museum and study the Elves, amongst other things. These aren’t Elves like we know them from the movies. These are beings of nature as described in the Icelandic Edda. In Iceland they take the Elves into account with everything they do. There is even someone in the parliament to keep their best interest at heart. The whole of Iceland is charged with magic. It feels like you’re constantly being watched! I’ll write a book about this journey as well but I think this one will be a novel. I’m a storyteller at heart this way of writing is drawing me. In this format I can find the line between fantasy and fiction and that’s very interesting to me. Linda’s books: http://tiny.cc/A3Boeken Her website: http://tiny.cc/Soulritual Her Twitter: twitter.com/lindatweetraaf
By the firelight The history of Easter - By Ragnild
o you still remember that time, many moons ago, when you still had to stand on the tip of your toes to peek over the edge of the well? You do? Ah, good. Then you must also remember the times you were looking for eggs. What is that you’re saying? Chicken eggs, no my friend, they were most certainly not eggs lain by any bird. Hm? If it wasn’t a bird, then what was it you’re asking? Well my child, let old Bear tell you a little story. I may be an old man, but these tales I won’t soon forget. Here, join me by the fire, my old bones don’t take the cold as well as they did, all those moons ago. Come a bit closer or you won’t hear a thing. Yes, that’s good. Now, I shall begin the tale of Ostara and the hare who laid eggs. A long time ago, before you or even I were born, in a particularly cold winter there was a bird. What’s that? What kind of bird? Hmm, it may be whichever bird
you prefer, for they have never been specific as to its kind. I’m partial to think of it as a Great Grey Shrike myself though. Cold had swept across the Lands, covering it in a thick blanket of snow, unlike you or I have ever seen. Many creatures suffered greatly, as did our friend the bird. Having to fly high to spot his prey, he hadn’t thought of the cold and how it would affect him. The sky wasn’t kind most days and the cold only made her more cruel. The cold and wind worked their wicked way and the bird’s wings froze mid flight. Panicking and unable to move, it plunged to the solid frozen Earth beneath, crashing painfully into the hard soil. He survived the fall but both his wings had been broken when he hit the ground. A bird’s pride and joy and his means to survive, taken away from him. When he thought all was lost and that he would perish in these snow swept Lands, fate intervened in his life; the little bird was found by the virgin Goddess of Spring, Ostara.
When Ostara saw the bird she couldn’t help but take pity on the poor creature. She bent down and scooped the bird up in her hands. It blinked at her wearily, its eyes clouded over in pain. “Poor thing,” the Goddess said as she held the bird close. “What pain you must be in. I, Ostara, shall help you.” Then she gently lay the creature down, on what in the summer had to be a soft patch of moss, at the foot of a tree. “I cannot have you regain your wings little one, but let me gift you with another form. One in which you can live out the rest of your days without the fear of harsh Winter’s breath throwing you out of the sky.” The snow on which the bird had been laid started to melt as a bright golden light surrounding the creature. Tiny flowers sprouted up around the patch of moss, which was now a brilliant shade of green once again. The bird had no idea what was happening; warmth was seeping into its bones and he could feel his sinews and muscles shift and
twist. When the golden glow faded, there stood a show white hare where once the bird had lain. “I could not grant you back your wings, however you now possess the gift of speed when you cross the lands. Your white coat will offer you protection in the harsh cold months that come before I breathe new life into these lands”. The bird, who was now a hare, shakily hopped around a few times, trying to get used to his new form. “I know you will miss being a creature of the sky, which is why I also grant you the gift of laying eggs. This, however, may only happen on a sun’s passing of my choosing. You may choose which colours you will give them and of what size they may be. Be well now my little friend, as I have much work to do before the sun’s rays may warm the lands.” As animals do, the hare soon became used to its new body. Winter’s hold on the lands weakened and Ostara returned to the lands, giving all living things a new beginning by bringing along
the gentile time of spring. When she found time, she visited the little hare and ask him how he was. “I see you have become accustomed to your new form, my friend.” She said, as she stroked the hare’s soft fur. “Do you remember what I told you when I granted you this form? I believe that now the time has come, for you to go and remember what it once was like to be a bird.” The hare did as the Goddess had told him and he lay many brightly coloured eggs. With the hare’s unnatural speed, he managed to travel quite the distance and surprised many people with his coloured eggs, bringing not only joy but food to families who had been struggling through winter. This was how the tradition started, my friend. These eggs you and I have sought as children and many will continue seeking these eggs in time to come. So when you hunt for your eggs this year, remember the bird who became a hare and thank Ostara whose gentile nature saved a little bird so you may know joy year after year.
Pagan agenda Activities by the Silver Circle (NL) http://tiny.cc/SilverCircle Activities by the Cirkel van de Godin (NL) http://tiny.cc/CirkelvandeGodin Beurzen en fairs (NL) http://tiny.cc/MagicalFeeling Cursussen Linda Wormhoudt (NL) http://tiny.cc/LindaWormhoudt Pagan Coming Out Day http://pagancomingoutday. com
(Your Neopagan schedule or activity here? Contact us!)
The Beltane Rituals of Glastonbury - By lunadea
had the distinct pleasure and privilege of attending one of Linda Wormhoudt’s special theme days; this one on oracle techniques in relation to the Seidr. As you have been able to read in the interview, Shamanistic rites, rituals and religions from Northwestern Europe are Linda’s specialty. During this theme day, Linda shared with us, a group of eight, some of the wisdom she has gathered and combined into her Dutch book, Seidr, het Noordse pad. We were, or course, treated to Linda Wormhoudt has been involved with Shamanism for 28 years. She studied under Maria Moonlion en Daan van Kampenhout, Linda’s books can be found here: http://tiny.cc/A3Boeken Her website: http://tiny.cc/Soulritual Coming classes:
theory. I have to admit this is always my favorite part but I won’t convey everything here. After all, Linda wrote a wonderful book where anyone who would like to learn more about Norse Shamanism can learn anything they’d ever wanted to know. I will explain that this type of Shamanism is different from the wild and fiery Native American Shamanism. This type of Shamanism is more subdued, more powered by the will. It’s heavily connected to ancestor worship and the Tree of Life. It works with a pantheon where Gods are not gentile beings and magical work is not to be taken lightly. Linda’s workshop started at 10.30 AM and lasted until 5 PM. A full day for anyone but for me, as someone who originated from the Wiccan school of thought, simply exhausting. Exhausting in a good way. If you have never been into contact with Shamanism before, Linda’s classes are a great starting point. She’ll introduce you, gently, to the intuitive touch that powers Shamanism and even if you can’t let go completely—like
me—you are guaranteed to learn. In her theme day, Linda broached a multitude of oracle techniques from the mundane and simple to the ancestral and involved. One of the major divination techniques we broached was ‘under the mantle’ divination. A Vala, a wise woman, would go to a burial mount and sit on it, covered by a cloak and try to commune with the dead in order to get answers. Bards would go to burial mounts of other Bards for inspiration. We tried this ourselves as Linda played the drum. It was an unique and confronting experience, hidden under the mantle. Other divination methods involved brass rings which acted like gateways between here and now and the other worlds and other times. We also did a very simple divination with objects found in nature. This very basic technique I’ll most definitely be using more often. We held a group meditation on the rune Perthro where we sang and came together beautifully. All in all, it was a fantastic day that has given me much food for thought!
Next in LWM colophone Little Witch magazine was launched in November 2010 as an initiative to bring a personal and universally Neopagan magazine to Neopagans and those interested in the Neopagan paths in both the Dutch and English language. Little Witch magazine intends to be a grounded, modern take on a life with Neopaganism and hopes to inspire and enlighten. Feel free to contact us with any questions, tips, remarks, or to just let us know what you think. CONTACT US AT: www.littlewitchmagazine.com Twitter.com/LWMag Contact@littlewitchmagazine.com EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Elani Temperance (Elani@littlewitchmagazine.com) Art DIRECTION: Elani Temperance ARTWORK: Maaike Kramer (www.maaikekramer.nl) All images copyrighted WRITERS: Calandriel an Cuiileur (Calandriel@littlewitchmagazine.com) Ragnild (Ragnild@littlewitchmagazine.com) Aurelia Bellis (Aurelia@Littlewitchmagazine.com)
une 21th rings in the Summer months of 2011 and this is also the date the third issue of Little Witch magazine comes out. Midsummer, or Litha, rings in the prime of the God, sun filled days and for most, a little time off from college or work. We’ll discuss the summer, the festivals of Litha and Lughnasadh and everything that comes with these two powerful and positive festivals. Eruandil will be back, this time with inspirational ways to use flower in magical work and an article on how Neopaganism goes together with being a parent, build on personal experience. We’ll review more items of interest to the Neopagan community and we’ll discuss practicing in a coven. We hope you liked this issue of Little Witch magazine. It’s been a wonderful yourney again and we’re already excited about the third issue. For more information about Springtime, its festivals and it’s rituals, check back on
www.littlewitchmagazine.com. If you haven’t been back to the website for a while, you might be surprised about the changes. The two languages are now seprated and the blogs and Books of Shadows are moved off-site so you can easily find the information out there. If you have any topics you’d like us to discuss, any artwork, rituals or stories you’d like to share or simply want to get in contact with us, please use the general contact e-mail or use the writer’s personal e-mail, most of their e-mails are on the left on this page or with the articles written by guest writers. We would all love to hear from you! Until the next magazine, we bid you Brightest Blessings. Thank you for reading this issue and for your continued support of Little Witch. If you’d like to get e-mail updates on Little Witch, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll keep you informed! Until next time and enjoy the sunlight!
The second English LWM, Spring 2011