Light & Shadows of Chalandor Book of Shadows
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Title: Sacred Foliage
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Autumn_Heather
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Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:01/25/2009 00:47 AM)
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Sacred Foliage

 

Alder

The alder tree is highly water resistant, and as such was used by ancient Europeans to build edifices near or under water.  Its power in magic is its resiliency.  It teaches us to bend but never break, to go with the flow and accept positive changes.

If you find yourself in a rut, or if you are having trouble accepting that which you cannot change or control, alder can give you the courage to move foreward.

Find, make, or buy yourself a simple alder limb and consecrate it as your wand of changes.  When you find yourself resisting that which cannot be changed, take your wand and tap it on each of your chakra centers while saying:

Alder stronger than waters flow,
Help me learn that I must grow;
Not all things can be my way,
Let me learn this lesson today.

 

Ash

The ash wand has long been a favorite of many magical people.  The power of ash is in its ability to remain strong and unyielding, and yet appear to change and bend with our magical desires.  The ash can help us see things as they are rather than how we want them to be, and this can help us to plan our next step no matter what goals we seek.

Find, buy, or make a wand of ash and spend three nights in meditation over it, asking it to open your mind to the truths that you don't wish to see.  Take your favorite divination tool - tarot cards, runes, etc. - and wave the ash branch over it three times clockwise, saying:

I call on you, old ash, my friend,
Wood that seems unable to bend;
Strong as a bull and stubborn as youth,
Help me to see in this the truth.


Hawthorn

Over a century ago, the musical play H.M.S. Pinafore debuted on the London stage.  One of the songs from the score insisted that, "Things are seldom what they seem."  These words peronify the hawthorn-a tree that, in folklore, is much more than what it seems.  Even in modern Ireland you'd be hard-pressed to find someone willing to move or harm one for fear of upsetting the capricious fairy spirits who call it home.

When you need to know what is what, call upon the spirit of the hawthorn to assist you"

Fairies of the hawthorn, I ask,
A favor and a simple task;
Show me what is false and true,
And I will give a gift to you.

When you've recieved a vision of your answer, tie a pretty ribbon on the bush or plant a coin near its base in thanks.


Holly

The holly was a deeply masculine symbol to the Celts, on that represented the God and his polarity with the Goddess.  Its magical and ritual uses are numerous, and so are its gifts.

Often we don't know what it is we really need.  We're usually pretty sure we know what we want, but when we get it we end up reminded of the old adage "Be careful what you wish for."

During the Holly Moon, approach the holly as the embodiment of your father God, and ask if you may take a sprig of the plant.  Place it under your pillow for the next seven nights.  As you ready yourself to fall asleep, pray to the God for enlightenment.  Look into your dreams for answers.  During the day, be aware of things you haven't noticed before or opportunities that present themselves unexpectedly.

Oak

The oak is as masculine as the willow is feminine.  Its solar influence covers the peak of the Sun's power-a time when the nights are shortest and the days are hot and long.

The oak tree can teach us about endurance and fortitude when we're ready to give up on something we want.

If the fight has gone out of you, renew it during the Oak Moon.  Scour the earth for acorns, collecting one for each area in which you need a boost of courage:  mental, physical, or spiritual.

Empower the acorns by holding them close to your heart and saying:

From tiny acorns the oak does spring,
Stronger each year, with each new ring;
Teach your secret of strength to me,
Each new challenge overcome shall be.

Sleep with the acorns under your pillow and carry them with you until you overcome your obstacles.

Rowan

Rowan twigs and leaves have been used as talismans of protection for at least two thousand years.  In Wales, rowan trees were planted in graveyards to protect the spirits of the dead.

With graveyard vandalism becoming a growing problem in cities, small towns, and along isolated country roads, you may want to use some rowan magic to protect the resting places of your loved ones.

Take a handful of rowan leaves, dry and crumble them, and scatter them about the cemetary saying:

I call on the guardian of this keep,
To allow all here in peace to sleep.
Standing watchful night and day,
Keeping harm and mischief away.
In peace and comfort sleep the dead,
And spirits risen from the coffin bed;
Ward and guard this place of rest,
Rowan leaves protect the best.

Willow

The water-loving willow tree is sacred to the goddesses of the night and is ruled by the moon.  We can use its power to enhance our native psychic abilities.

Find a willow and sit at its base.  Meditate on opening your psychic centers.  Ask the tree whether its willing to help you.  If it is, stand and press your forehead against the bark while concentrating on an issue or unanswered questions you have on your mind.

Allow yourself to fall into as deep a meditative state as you safely can, and open yourself to the power of the willow.  You will get answers.  You should also ask the tree to show you what you need, not just what you want.

The willow governs creativity, and it can help you finish that sonata you've been composing, overcome writer's block, give you fresh ideas for a painting or sculpture, or show you a new way to move as you dance.

Hazel

The Hazel Moon comes as summer wanes and the God and Goddess are entering their elderhood, bearing inside themselves the knowledge that comes from experience.

Fix yourself a Celtic-style meal of wisdom during the Hazel Moon.  Gather nine hazelnuts and place them around your plate.  Cook yourself the largest, juiciest piece of slamon you can find (salmon is symbolic of wisdom in Celtic lore).  Pour some apple juice (apple is the fruit that guards the entrance to the realm of the deities) in a chalice or wine goblet.  Be sure to keep your gola of knowledge in mind as you prepare this meal.

Before eating, call call on the blessings of the deities to help attain their knowledge:

With apple wine so golden ripe,
With salmon speared in one great swipe,
With hazel nuts for wisdoms that be,
Send the blessings of wisdom to me.

Vine

The Vine Moon heralds the harvest of fruits; apples, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, pears grapes, and peaches.  Some of these are made into jams and jellies, others are dried to last out the winter, and some are sugared to be placed in pies and strudels.

For the Celts, this final harvest of the year foretold how the clan would fare during the lean winter months.  The wines made from the fruits were central features of the harvest celebration.

Make a wine or fruit juice the central feature of your convivial harvest feast.  Invite family and friends to share in the bounty while you take turns making toasts of thanks to the gods who granted you a bountiful harvest.

Blessed be the God of the vine,
Blessed be the Goddess devine;
Bless all those who come now to dine,
And drink deeply of the sacred wine.

Ivy

Ivy can take over once it starts to grow.  It can bind itself to anything, and shove out of the way any other growth that tries to hinder its progress.  You can use it to do the same.

If you have something you wish to bind to you-for example, a piece of heirloom jewelry you're lending-tie the vine from it to you and say:

By the vine, what's mine stays mine.

Visualize your item coming back to you saf and unharmed.  If you have something you wish to banish, such as a bad habit or a bill, tie the vine from it to you and say:

By the vine, you are not mine.

Cut the vine with scissors or a sharp knife and visualize the unwanted thing breaking its hold on you.

Reed

There is an old saying in Ireland that the reed can stand where mighty oaks have fallen.  Slender, sturdy, and sharp, the reed reminds us that it's not always the biggest guy who withstands the storms of life, but the smartest.

Call upon the energies of the reed during its Moon to help you stay calm-and to help you remian standing through whatever storms life throws your way.

Gentle reed, slender and tall,
Mo gale or cyclone makes you fall;
Tip as sharp as an arrowhead,
Fells your enemies, blesses your dead.
Grant to me your steady calm,
Be unto my soul a balm;
Keep me standing, keep me strong,
Through wind and calm, and right and wrong.

Elder

The Celtic lunar year ends with the Elder Moon, representing a cycle associated with death and renewal, prosparity and healing.

Before the year turns to its next cycle, allow the elder to help heal your body, mind, or spirit with its energies.  Either in the physical world or in deep meditation, find the biggest, strongest elder in the forest.  Ask if you may use its regenerative powers to heal yourself.  If you don't know of anything that you need to have healed, ask the elder to protect you from illness.  You may be rewarded with a falling limb, leaf or piece of bark to take with you as a talisman of health and well-being.  Be sure to thank the elder for its gift:

Elder tree of ancient rhyme,
Standing strong in winter time;
Healing tree of body and mind,
Thank you for your gift so knind.

Birch

The Birch Moon begins the cycle of a new lunar year, falling near the time of the Winter Solstice when the solar year begins to wax again.  One of the birch's major properties is the ability to purify and cleanse the spirit.

Place a medium-sized birch limb on the center of your altar.  To the left place a bowl of water, and to the right place a bowl of salt or sand.  Call upon the deities of the new year, or upon your patrons, and ask them to help purify you in spirit as you enter a new phase of spiritual growth.

Dip the top of the limb in the water and then in the salt or sand.  Lightly tap the limb against your bare skin while chanting:

Birch of purity, white and clean,
Rid me of ill and malice unseen;
Take me into the lunar year,
Pure of heart and free of fear.

Edain McCoy 

Llewellyn's Witches' Datebook 2004

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