Friday, August 31, 2012

Happy Blue Moon!

What is a Blue Moon? The most current use of the term defines it as the second of two full moons that occur within a calendar month, and seems to have cropped up no earlier than the 1980's.

Another older definition has to do with the Christian Ecclesiastical Calendar, which purportedly defines the 3rd Full Moon in a season that has four Full Moons to be the Blue Moon. This seems to just be an attempt to disregard a Full Moon in order to keep dates straight in the twelve-month calendar.

Modern pagan correspondences and interpretations proceed from there. The main literary interpretation is: unusual. It doesn't happen very often: once in a Blue Moon.

It is a Full Moon in any case and therefore a time of maximum power and fulfillment.

The Blue Moon as previously defined is a wholly human construct and therefore is a human-use holiday entirely for human systems, not natural ones.

The rarity of the event suggests that it be used for magic of an unusual, special-request nature.

The color Blue has certain associations: Peace, Healing, Truth, and Throat Chakra.

Therefore, I channel and organize the Blue Moon phenomena to be a time of power for the speaking of Truth, the articulation of Magic for the purpose of Peace, Healing, Truth, Petitions and Special Requests.

In honor of the Blue Moon of August 31st, 2012, tonight I stayed up all night and created Blue Moon Oil. Blue Moon oil is made...once in a Blue Moon! If you love the Full Moon oil, it is the same recipe (since the Blue Moon is a Full Moon) with nine drops of a special magical blue ingredient. Blue Moon magick is a magickal concept still in the development phase, but I use it for Special Requests and Wishes on the night of a Blue Moon. Since the next Blue Moon event is not until 2015, I have captured this one in a few bottles. You could pull it out if you have an unusual request in between now and then.

Blue Moon oil is dedicated to the memory of Neil Armstrong. Truly the Man in the Moon!

Illustration yoinked from The Secret Society of Happy People. How is it I have not met them? Oh, yeah I meet 'em all the time!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cleansing Magickal Items and Tools

I regularly get questions on how to cleanse and attune or charge magickal tools. There is SO much information out there, in books and on the web, I have wondered why anyone would ask! My views do vary from most so hopefully I will add to the magick teque toolbox with these prescriptions.

First the orthodoxy, (with a few field-tested qualifications thrown in), then my own recommendations.

Many references will tell you to cleanse stones and other magickal tools by letting them soak in salt water (using sea salt dissolved into a bowl of water.) You would not want to do this with some items, including anything that is made of ferrous (iron-based) materials, because salt water would cause it to rust. Some metallic stones, like lodestones, pyrite or ordinary iron objects are particularly susceptible to the corrosive effects of saline solutions. For these, or any items you are unsure of, I would recommend any of these techniques:

1) Allow it to absorb cleansing Sun light over the the course of a Sunday when the Moon is waxing. A hot sidewalk is fine, or you could make a little altar of yellow or gold cloth to set your tool onto. This would be especially appropriate for items with a Masculine, Fire or Solar property. One of the traditions of Litha or Midsummer is to cleanse your tools in the noon sunlight of this longest day of the year.

2) Allow it to absorb cleansing Full Moon light over the course of the night of the Full Moon. You could make a little altar covered with white or silver fabric, set your item on top at sunset, then collect it first thing the next morning. Any Feminine, Water or Moon purpose tools would benefit from this ritual.

3) Pass the item through the smoke of a Purification incense, Sun incense, or Full Moon incense or Water incense. This might be employed as an adjunct for either a Sun Bathing or a Moon Bathing cleansing ritual. Other options would be a Van Van oil, or Full Moon or Purification oils, or a bath of Purification herbs.

4) For worst case situations! - Bury it for the night of the Dark Moon. It is difficult to detach energies from some highly contaminated magickal items, and especially metallic and magnetic stones. The nature of these tools is to capture and hold energies, both positive and negative. For things like this, it is traditional and more effective to bury from one Dark Moon to the next, to use the grounding gravitational power of Earth to draw away impurities. I would think a single night is plenty. If you decide to go for a month, you would certainly want to protect your tool from moisture that could cause rusting, so you can put it into a ziplock baggie or jar with an airtight lid. I've used a nylon fishing cord to tie around my buried goods that  is left above ground, so I can find it when I want to dig it up!

The extent you go on any of these treatments will depend on what the nature and history of the object is, and the purpose and longevity of service needed. A knife I bought at a pawn shop, (criminal history possible) but it is exactly the kind of knife I want to use for my athame? I'd bury it for a month, then attune it with a full on ritual circle. A knife that belonged to my great grandmother who loved me and had great magick? Who would want to "cleanse" that granny witch energy off your ritual knife? I would just attune it in some way, and Grandma will offer advice on how to do it in your family tradition. A chalice I made in ceramics workshop, well it already has my attunement, since I made it with hands and thought and intention, and no purification could match the fire of the kiln! How about  hematite stone that you are using to absorb negative energies that you encounter from day to day life? No need to attune it, since it is not your energies it is grounding out, and when it collects a toxic dose of ikky, is it worth burying for the month, or could you just toss it and buy another for a buck from the rock shop?

This leads me aside. So much of the magick teque developed for cleansing originated with the metaphysical stones extraction industry. We are mining crystals and minerals out of the Earth at an unprecedented and unsustainable rate. In many cases this is being done at peril to human life and even widespread ecological destruction. Could it be that the need for all this cleansing is because we are trying to wash our guilt for overconsumption from the crystal? A lot of this is being done in the name of "Earth Healing" but might the Earth be better able to heal if we left the minerals where they are instead of creating more strip mines? Can this lustful craving for pretty shiny things be purified by putting the rare Apohyllite crustal in a salt bath? Better to put the Witch into the salt bath instead!

My other big challenge to this area of magick is: why do we need cleansing so much? Are we coming into contact with THAT many nasty energies? Is it the power stone that needs purification, or it is the wearer? There are basic standards of cleanliness that protect from disease, but! Remember, we humans can get downright obsessive about this sort of thing, and especially where the concept of "purity" is involved, we are especially adept at an avoidance technique called projection. This is where we perceive a problem, but can't accept that the problem is caused by the Self, so we fabricate a story that the problem exists in an external agent. Presto! Not My Fault!

Perhaps all this vicarious cleansing could be done more gently towards the Self, and loving and tending our Shadow Selves. Our magickal tools, used properly, can take care of themSelves. We might find we don't need so many shiny crystals to cope with ordinary life, and we might not gravitate to people and situations that cause harm.

My last recommend: To keep your magick tools clean and healthy, use them! Magickal energy is naturally cleansing. It is the movement of energy that sustains life.