Thursday, February 16, 2012

How To Work A Novena

A novena is a nine-day period of private or public prayer to obtain special graces, to implore special favors, or to make special petitions. Novena is derived from the Latin "novem", meaning "nine". 

Why a novena and not a spell? A novena requires one to petition a specific deity, spirit or saint(s) to hear and grant your request. Novenas are a working that I will perform WITH a client. Therefore, they are doing the work as well and are also responsible for the outcome. Novenas can be considered a type of spell in themselves but have the potential to work much better in my opinion. This is a service I like to extend to my clients because of the result it can achieve. In 9 days one can change their attitude, outlook and focus therefore, replacing a bad habit with a good habit,by making better choices and changing their life.

The most important part of the novena is faith. You may not know how your request will be solved or attended to but you must believe. Just because we do not know or see the answer does not mean the answer does not exist. Many believe that novenas are the most powerful working simply because of the dedication and faith they require. In my experience I have only ever had a novena "not work" one time in 15 years. 

Say each day you devote an hour to meditating/focusing/praying on a solution to your issue. By the end of the week you will have spent 9 hours focusing on your goal! That's a lot! even if you spent a half hour a day that is still much longer than most spells are attended to.  It is key to pray for a solution instead of praying about the problem. This is what i call "praying to the problem" and lots of people do this. If you are praying about the problem, you will completely defeat your own efforts by placing focus on the exact thing you wish to be rid of. The spirits already know what the problem is-what they want to know is what you are going to do about it. 

Most novenas begin on Sunday as this is the Sabbath and is traditional. However, if you know you will be petitioning a specific deity or saint, use their day to begin on. I recommend collecting 9 separate taper of votive candles plus any screen printed or labeled novena jar candles that are appropriate in meaning as these burn for 120 hours and will last most of the duration of the working. 

This is the colour of candle I choose to use on each day;

*Repeat the days you need to depending which day you begin on.

I recommend placing a new petition paper under the taper or votive you will be burning for that day, letting the candle burn out completely while your novena candle continues to be lit for as long as you can allow. It is believed that the novenas outcome can be strengthened by performing your prayers/meditations at the same time each day. Especially when repeated both morning and night, as this doubles the amount of time dedicated to the working.

The prayers;

Sunday-Blessed is this day which I have received. Blessed are the earth, skies, and seas. Blessed is the light and the dark; day and night, birds and beasts, spirit and body. Let me use this day well and let me not wander from my faith.

Monday- Let me be guided this day to keep my heart light, my hands clean, and my mind directed toward the divine. Keep my words clear of lies and deceit. I am open and ready to receive my ashe'.

Tuesday-Let the change I ask for be slight and full of ease. Grant me strength and wisdom to handle the difficulties of the day. Let my faith and diligence be ever sufficient to carry out my goal. Let me be a fountain of strong light.

Wednesday-Restore my spirit, liberate my soul. Let my heart by filled with compassion and peace. Renew my strong spirit so that I may steer clear of troubles and help others who may have fallen on hard times. Know that my light shines for the divine, for the divine is within me.

Thursday- I ask that my prayers be heard and my faith be restored, should it falter. I have made mistakes and am willing to correct them and work on my faults so these mistakes will not be made again. Please clear my path of those who wish to block it or who do not wish me well. 

Friday- Help me to love those who care for me, be kind to those who wish me harm, and learn from those who have hurt me. Help me show compassion for those who suffer, whether I know them or not. Keep my voice gentle, my mind open, my heart filled with joy, and my spirit fueled by the blessings of the energy within all life.

Saturday-Let me receive shield and refuge, strength and freedom. Let justice be shown to the oppressed, forgiveness to faults, and healing to those who suffer. 

After each prayer for the corresponding day, state your request. Be clear, direct, and specific. Write it out before hand if you need to and read it but I recommend you speak from the heart each day. I find this to be more pure and the intent more powerful. Don't be afraid to speak to your deities or spirits, they have already heard and seen everything already:)

Lastly, burn your petition in offering to the deities and spirits.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Lupercalia; The Pagan Origin of Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is much more than candy and flowers! Our commercial holiday actually has ancient Pagan origins! What a shocker, I know;) Celebrate this truly meaningful holiday to bring fertility in the form of abundance and prosperity int your home this year. And, for those of you looking to start a family, this truly IS the day to try;)

Take time today to honor Venus, Eros, Oshun, Aphrodite, Pomba Gira, Freya, Chango, or any other love deities or spirits you feel a connection to.

Our holiday of romance has roots in an ancient Roman fertility rite known as the Lupercalia. Celebrated on Feb. 15th, the Lupercalia was a fertility rite in honor of the gods Lupercus, Faunus (associated with Pan) and the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. The celebration began at the Lupercal cave, where the wolf Lupa was said to have suckled the infant Romulus and Remus. Afterward, priests would sacrifice a goat (symbol of fertility) and a dog (symbol of protection) to the gods, anoint themselves with the blood, and run through the streets whipping onlookers with a thong made from the goat's skin. The whipping was believed to help ease childbirth and promote fertility.

During the festival, young men would draw the names of eligible girls from a an urn. These couples would be paired up until the next Lupercalia, often in intimate ways. This drawing of Valentine lots continued into the Middle Ages in Europe. The young man would wear the slip bearing his Valentine's name on his sleeve, and attend to the lady with flowers, gifts, and words of affection.

As Christianity became more prevalent, the celebration of love became associated with the patron saint of love and couples - St. Valentine. No one has verified the original Valentine to whom the day is dedicated, although two likely candidates have emerged. One Valentine, a priest during the reign of Emperor Claudius, was jailed for secretly marrying couples in defiance of orders from the Emperor that all marriages be stopped. This Valentine was jailed and died in prison for his devotion to love.

Another Valentine was jailed for helping Christians during the 3rd century AD. In prison, he fell in love with the jailer's daughter and cured her of blindness. He was executed on February 14th, 289 AD. All of the Valentine stories were finally combined, and in 496 Pope Gelasius declared Feb. 14th in honor of St. Valentine.

Fun folk lore;

-At night put yarrow under your pillow, and the first person you see when you leave home will be your future spouse.

-If you visit a cemetery on St Valentine's Eve at midnight and walk around the church 12 times, you should dream of your future husband.

-To gain the love of someone, on a night of the full moon, walk to a spot underneath your love's bedroom window and whisper their name three times into the wind.

-To meet your future spouse count seven stars on seven successive nights, and on the eighth day the first person with whom you shake hands will be your wife or husband.

Wishing you a phenomenal St. Valentine's Day! Bless!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Who is Cardea?

People often write to me, addressing me as "Cardea". They think that since this is the name of my shop, it must be referring to me. It's not:) And for those of you who do not know me yet, my name is Sarah and I hope to meet you soon:)

Cardea is the roman gddess of the door hinge. She rules all thresholds and doorways-both physical and spiritual.
She protects the family and children of the house and keeps evil spirits from crossing the threshold. Her name comes from the Latin word cardo, which means "hinge" and which also encompasses the wider symbolism of the pole or axis around which the earth spins. She is therefore a Goddess of the Center as well as the change that emanates out from that center. The word cardo was also used by the Romans to refer to the north-south axis on which a new city was founded (the east-west line being the decumanus), and from this we get our word cardinal, meaning fundamental or principal, especially regarding the directions.

Cardea has close ties with the ancient Roman God Janus, God of beginnings and endings, who also watched over doorways, and was depicted as having two faces to see both past and future (our month January, the first month of the year, is still named for Him). The tales say that Cardea and Janus were lovers; and to reward Her for sleeping with Him, or perhaps from love, He gave Her the door-hinge as Her emblem, and the power to prevent evil spirits from passing through doors. Because She could keep evil spirits out of the house, Cardea was worshipped as the protector of children, for it was believed (or at least the children believed) that at night witches transformed themselves into screech-owls and flew in the windows of the house to suck the blood of unwary children. The Latin words striga for "witch, hag, vampire", and strix for "screech owl, vampire" are rooted in this folklore.

The legends say that Cardea protected these children with hawthorn (also known as whitethorn), by hanging a small branch of it over the child's window or in the baby's cradle. Hawthorn is considered a sacred plant in legend and is famous in folklore for its magical powers of protection. There is a legend where Cardea banished vampires from a young boy's room, healing his sickness and making him well. After purifying the doorposts and threshold with a sprig of arbutus (of which the strawberry tree is one species), a sow was sacrificed as a symbolic replacement for the child. In the last part of the ritual a hawthorn branch was then hung in the window. This child was Procas, a young prince of Alba Longa, who in due time would be the grandfather of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. 

So. This is Cardea. She is one of two dwelling familiars in my home. She potects my children and keeps me living between realms so that I can create and serve. She protects me as well, by keeping me away from the "real" world just enough so that I am not spoiled by it and no longer able  or willing to do my work. She  keeps me from becoming too absorbed and concerned with things of this physical world, for how easily one can be swept away into selfishness and an impossibly fast pace that no one can survive or serve in. She keeps me in the center, on the axis. she has made a home for me here and I am welcome always. To be too far one way or the other is just that; too far. 

Her power is to open what is shut and shut what is open.

She teaches the acceptance of flux because it is inevitable. She teaches to be understanding that it is not always time for us-others must have their time too. So when it seems we are being subjected to suffering, to ill fortune, it is only becuse it is someone else's turn to have an open door, for each door can not remian open or closed forever. We all get out turn on the wheel. We all have our ebbs and flows. We all turn on the axis. This teaches us acceptance, grace, justice, patience, and compassion.

She keeps our house sound and stong, our cupboards full, our beds warm, and our work joyous and prosperous. So, why "Conjured" then and not "Conjuring Cardea"? Because, she is already here with me, always has been and always will be. There is no "doing" for it has already been done and can never be undone. There is no working I could do to bring Her here-She lives here, and simply "is".


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Working for Santa Muerte

Santa Muerte is a sacred figure in Mexico, believed to be a mix of mesoamerican and catholic beliefs. Her name literally translates to "Holy Death" or "Saint Death." Mexican culture since the pre-Columbian era has maintained a certain reverence towards death, which can be seen in the widespread Mexican celebration of the Dia de los Muertos-Day of the Dead. 

Her devotees are faithful and unlike any other sect I have met. Santa Muerte can grant miracles, solve impossible problems, keep husband's faithful ,and bring you luck and good fortune.She is also an AMAZING healer. I attribute her to the healing of some cancerous cells I had. If I needed one more biopsy I was going to need surgery so the cells did not progress. White Santa Muerte is the aspect you would evoke for healing. Red aspect for love and Her Black aspect for protection or hex-breaking.

She reminds us of our mortality and morals, to make wise decisions so we will not suffer in this life. She reminds me that life is fleeting, make the most of it, and help make others lives better while you can. If you are not giving, then you are taking. Santa Muerte may remind you of this if you are "using" her for favors rather than truly following her, by taking things away from you in your life. She may also ignore your requests if she sees that they lead to misfortune in the future. She is to respected and worshiped before she is asked for any help.

Prayer to Holy Death;
Lord, before Your Divine Presence God Almighty,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
I ask for your permission to invoke the Holy Death.
My White daughter.
I want to humbly ask, that you break and destroy
all spells and darkness that may present itself before my persona,
in my home, and on my path.

Holy Death, please relieve me of all envy,
poverty, hate, and unemployment
and I ask that you please grant me________________.

Enlighten, with your holy presence, my home,
my work and those of my loved ones,
award us love, prosperity, health and wellbeing,
blessed and praised by your charity Holy Death.

Lord, I give you infinite thanks,
because I see your charity through your tests, which are perfecting my spirit.
Lord I give you thanks, because in the midst of these tests,
I will have you Holy Blessing.
It is so.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Open Your Own Awareness

Once in a while I get asked "how" I hear the deities or "how" I know what ingredients to put in a gris gris, or "how" I know I am doing things "right"...

The answer is both simple and complex; I try to be aware.

To truly live a spiritual life we agree and live with the idea that the deities and spirits are all around us, that we are connected to everything. We all agree on that part. The next step in living a spiritual life is where I find people get lost. It's just in their own perceptions really and it is pretty easy to remedy, but they forget to be aware.

If our deities are everywhere then it should be easy to be aware of them, right? Apparently, this is not so for many. I believe our culture and society has caused this. We are so far out of touch with nature and so distracted by all of the technology ruling our lives. It's difficult to see god when you are staring at your phone or computer screen all the time. It seems as if it is almost scrambling us so we can no longer even receive spiritual information.

Spending too much time with these distractions, inhibits your awareness and messages you could receive. I don't know anyone who heard or saw god on their Ipad.

It also comes from trusting your instincts, something we must get back to. There was a time when we used the moon, the wind, and animals to decipher what we should do next or what was coming. Sadly, we have lost this. Organized religion has taught us to depend on doctrine, not on what we feel in our hearts, know in our brains, and root in our guts. Trusting yourself and building your self esteem is the first step to being aware. You will never trust the messages you are receiving if you can not trust your own heart and brain to interpret them.

It is not only gurus and clairvoyants who receive messages, they are not much different than you or I. The difference is those who set aside time to be aware-to receive and trust the messages that reveal themselves. This is where the practice of ritual, meditation, and workings comes into play in a spiritual life. It is a skill you must hone just as any other skill. The more you practice the more adept you will become in this area. It only makes sense. If you do not set the time aside or make room in your life, then spirituality will never fit.

Don't let anyone fool you-living a spiritual life is work. But the gods and your own liberation and salvation are in this work.

The most vibrant stories I have of messages I received happened to me while outside. Not to say you can not receive messages inside, certainly I listen to the gods every day in my home. But, the most memorable experiences will take place standing directly on our mother underneath our father, I can guarantee you this. My point; get yo ass outside!

This happened several years ago. I came to know Maman Brigitte about 10 years ago, she found me through a spirit doll in New Orleans. It was several years later I came to know her Orisa counterpart, Oya. I am now a daughter of Oya. A couple of years after getting to know her well enough I felt ready to wear an ide (bracelet) for her signifying I one of her daughters. So I made one and started to wear it but then I felt it necessary to wear a symbol of her on my ankle as feet are very important portals for energy in our tradition. So that day, after we went downtown to the Water Festival (a festival to celebrate our Great Lakes) I was going to go look for beads to create the anklet-I wanted to get a rainbow bead as it is one of her symbols. My children were dancing in the fountains and running around while musicians performed in the amphitheater and I was thinking about Oya and enjoying my children. My son ran around behind the amphitheater so I went after him (he was 2) and as I whipped around the corner I looked down; there was an anklet with a hand-made glass rainbow bead on it. Nothing else adorned it, just a simple, imperfect tube of the 7 colors. I was aware and I received a sign.

I have many stories like this, from the time I was about 7. Most of them involving whatever I was searching for being at my feet or within my reach after I had spent time and effort thinking of it, relating it to god, waiting and watching in awareness for it to come. That is the trick. You must simply allow yourself to receive and be aware-you can't plan it or you will miss it when it floats past, looking nothing like what you were expecting. If you are only looking for one way, you will miss the millions of possibilities floating by you in the realm of awareness. This is how I found each deity and spirit I work with-they found me I was simply open and aware. I wanted nothing more than to be a vessel from the time I was a child. The point of being a vessel is to be filled but I believe many of us are empty and when our time comes to be filled we miss it because we weren't aware it was our turn. We were too busy with work, our TV programs, or a computer game.

The other trick-believing the signs and messages will come. You can call this instinct, faith, confidence, whatever-they are all related. These are all layers of the same cake. If you have one of these you can achieve the others. If all things are all made of the same chemicals and minerals then, from the ground up, you have as good a chance as anyone else to receive signs and messages. You are as much divine as anything else in this universe-you have as many connections to it as everything else. But you must be aware of these connections and make sure they are plugged in and in good working order. If you don't plug yourself in by being aware and take care of yourself it will be near impossible to hear the deities and spirits speak to you. Consider awareness being your "on switch" and your "on switch" being your awareness.

Start with setting aside 20 minutes a week to do that working you've been reading about, meditating, sitting outside, taking a walk, visiting a cemetery, reading a spiritual book, making an altar, sew a mojo bag, harvest or plant, dress a candle or better yet, learn to make a candle! Get involved to be involved! If you want  a spiritual life, you can only achieve that by filling it with activities that lend to your spirituality and if you have an activity that takes away from it, start cutting back or end it all together. Don't grow old wondering what you missed in your spirituality because of your society and culture dulling you. You are bright, shine like the universal divine that is within you.