Thursday, February 16, 2017

[Guest Article: Phaedra] Can Stuffed Animals be Familiars?


At the beginning of the year, I asked the circle I coordinate, Circle of Fountains, if they'd each like to do a guest article based on a topic that I might not be able to cover. This is a great effort by my amazing circle to give you information that you might not otherwise encounter here at Witchy Words. The following article is written not by me but another member of Circle of Fountains, with credit and notes about its author below. Enjoy!

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Say the word familiar, and most will think of animals, especially cats.  Thanks to popular culture, owls, toads and rats are on the list as well. Merriam-Webster defines a familiar spirit as a spirit or demon that serves or prompts an individual. For any excellent overview of familiars in general, please read this post by my awesome friend, Circle Coordinator and witchy blogger extraordinaire, Marietta: Familiars 101.

I have had a couple of animal familiars throughout my life. I love them still and know I can count on them to show up when I call for protectors and guides. For this particular post, I want to talk about a different sort of familiar that I have a lot more personal experience with.

A spirit, imp or daemon can, if willing to be a familiar, communicate on its own.  However, it can also take residence in an item, such as a stuffed animal. I currently have two stuffed animals that serve as vessels for the familiars that have attached themselves to me. I believe one of them has just transferred vessels as I have grown and even treasured possessions have been lost. The other is a recent addition to my magical life. Please allow me to introduce Bitty Kairy and Galaxy.


The imp in Bitty Kairy has been with me for most of my life. She started out in my E.T. stuffie that my parents gave me for my first birthday. She has stayed with me in one way or another, helping me discover my path and generally doing the things daemons do for their people. I didn’t realize until we got home the evening I picked Galaxy out of the bin at Build-a-Bear at my daughter’s birthday why I wanted that particular bear. She quickly made herself known to me and is more of a day to day familiar. I deal with social anxiety and the variety of agoraphobia triggered by crowds. Galaxy goes with me and helps me handle such situations.  Many of the frequent visitors to Witchy Words have seen both Bitty and Galaxy in pictures. 


The trio of yellow stuffies that are in some shots are belong to my beloved Laura. She has not yet determined if it is one spirit that uses all three vessels or three separate ones. Their relationship is just beginning.

My circle mate Amy also has a familiar spirit in a doll. Here is what she shared with me about her Rosie.


“When I was in 1st or 2nd grade, my school tried out a reward system called "funny money." You got so much for good grades, for participating, or whatever. And at the end of a certain amount of time, we were going to have an auction. The thing I got in that auction was a little cloth doll in a pink floral dress. I named her "Rosie." (Because when you're little, any pink flower is clearly a rose. Duh.) She joined my rotation of stuffies that guarded me while I slept, and quickly became my favorite. See, I had a lot of nightmares as a kid. (Symptom of the whole depression/anxiety thing.) While others might guard or comfort, she was the first one with MAAAAAAAGIC POWERS!!! She would flip the top of my skull up, find the nightmares (which looked like thunderclouds), and reform them into good dreams (which looked like hearts). It was a more effective method than most, and I slept with her by my side until I was...oh, 10? 11? When I decided I was too old for such things. I could never get rid of her, though. My stuffies became fewer and fewer, until about 10 years ago, it was winnowed down to just her. She still keeps me company on anxious nights. I've even taken her to work, if I was worried about a really bad day! She was the first thing that was really mine. No one else had gifted her to me, no one could say "I bought that, so really its mine" and take her from me. I earned that money (funny though it may have been), I found her, I bought her. Then I spent years with her beside me, doing an internal kind of magic. My ex could tell that she contained pieces of my soul. I still love my Rosie.”
         
Other objects that are likely to be vessels are rings, necklaces, statues or figurines, and heirlooms that can be easily held. If you think you can hear someone talking to you when you hold your grandfather's wedding ring, if you know your lucky necklace does help when you wear it, there is a possibility you have a familiar spirit that is willing to work with you. Keep your mind and inner ear open!

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The Circle Advocate who reaches out on behalf of Circle of Fountains to other groups and organizations seeking interaction and volunteer opportunities, Phaedra is a wonderful wife and mother of three beautiful children.  Transplanted from Texas to Oklahoma, then Oklahoma to Kansas City, she adores ballet and fandoms like Doctor Who and Hello Kitty, but absolutely nothing comes before family.  Phaedra describes her craft as green kitchen witchery.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Circle of Fountains Full Moon in Leo Esbat (Feb 2017)


On Sunday, Circle of Fountains and our Novices met for the next installation of their class and our full moon ritual!


The evening started with the class, where Amy and Andrea talked about energy work versus magic.


Once their class was complete, they returned upstairs for ritual.


This ritual I led.  I've been placing an emphasis on the astrological sign that the full moon is in, so I planned out a full moon in Leo.  Leo is all about drama and theatrics, so I placed an emphasis on rhyming in the ritual.

I started by handing out six lines of a rhyming circle opening to individual members of the circle in order.  I asked them to read the line as I passed behind them, cutting the circle with my athame. 

I call upon the moon alone,
Maiden, Mother, Warrior, Crone
Remove this circle from time and space
With your energy fill this place.
This house, this area, this circle, this room,
It now resides within the moon.

 Some of the lines I handed to specific members.  The second line is particularly Wiccan-influenced, so I ensured one of our two Wiccans had that line.  They were otherwise handed out to whoever wanted one.


We then called on the quarters, starting in the south because Leo is a fire sign.


One tip for making quarter calling easier is to pin or tape the quarter calls by the wall of the element you're calling.


This is something I did regularly with my last circle but seemed to have lost track of with this circle.  I'm bringing it back for the esbats.


I then left space for others to call upon any deities or spirits they'd like.

Once that was completed, we moved on to spell work!


I asked each of our ritual attendants to write down what they think courage and confidence look like.  It could be a description or a drawing - whatever they were comfortable with.


For some examples, one of our novices drew this adorable picture of a lion.  I wrote "Holding your high in the face of adversity."


One of our circle members said she was embarrassed to read hers aloud, because she wrote down that I exemplified courage and Kolika confidence.  Abby, that's probably the biggest compliment anyone's ever given me.


Once they read their paper aloud, I asked them to burn it and drop it in the cauldron.


This gave us ashes charged with courage, confidence and fire for the next step of the spell.


In each black bowl to either side of the cauldron, I placed a charged rose quartz for self-love.  I then filled it half-full with a carrier oil (my choice was olive oil, but grape seed or avocado).


I dropped in a little rose and patchouli essential oils into each bowl.  Rose essential oil is great for love and beauty, and patchouli for sexuality and physical energy.


I then added half the ashes to one bowl and half to the other, and stirred them to create a charging oil for self-love, courage and confidence.  The only reason I created two bowls was to make it easier on everyone trying to reach it.


Prior to the ritual, I asked my circlemates to bring makeup, perfume or jewelry that made them feel more confident when they wore it.  Eyeliner in particular would be great for this glamour because I think lions look like they're wearing amazing eyeliner, but anything would do.  I asked each person to take a little of the oil and charge an object of their choosing while we changed a short rhyming lyric:

Full Moon in Leo, I call upon thee
To lend me courage and bravery,
Fill this item with strength and light,
A newfound confidence I ignite.
My spirit is unbreakable,
My resolution is untakeable. 
With courage of a lion, I become,
There’s nothing I cannot overcome.
(A slightly altered version of this chant.)

With that, everyone had completed a simple glamour spell for courage and confidence!


We released our spirits and deities...


... released our quarters...


... And released the circle!  Simple, sweet and to the point.

I hope you've enjoyed this simple full moon in Leo ritual!  Until next time!

Thursday, February 9, 2017