Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pagan Blog Project- O is for Osiris


King of the Dead

Supreme God and Judge of the dead, Resurrection and eternal life.  Provider of fertility and prosperity to the living.

Osiris is an Egyptian God and also ruled and lived on the Earth with his wife/sister/consort Aset/Isis. This couple was very popular and much loved. They were so loved that their brother Set was extremely jealous and he wanted to be king himself. So he devised a plan to get rid of his brother Osiris. Osiris decided to have a dinner party (some say to celebrate his birthday perhaps) and Set being his brother was there. He told Osiris he had a fun gift for the party. He had a sarcophagus made and who ever could fit perfectly in it, would own it. The sarcophagus was beautiful and everyone had their eye on it. Of course it was a trap set for Osiris. One by one, each guest laid in the sarcophagus to see if they were a perfect fit. Finally it was Osiris' turn and of course he was a perfect fit. However once he laid in it, Set slammed the door down entrapping Osiris within it. He then took the coffin and hid it so no one could find it, especially his wife Aset/Isis. She was heart broken and searched the ends of the earth for her beloved husband. Finally with the help of her sister Nepthys and others she was able to find the coffin. Set was furious. He stole the coffin with Osiris body back and this time had the body dismembered into several pieces and scattered across the globe. Aset/Isis was not one to give up. Finally she was able to recover all the pieces of her husband except one, his phallus. So she fashioned one from magic and then proceeded to impregnate herself with the child of Osiris- Horus. Because of this story and many others, Osiris became the god of the dead and the underworld. And because of the fact that he was able to impregnate Aset/Isis, he is also seen as a god of rebirth/resurrection. (This is just one interpretation of the myth, as there are many many more).

Osiris is the son of Geb (the earth) and Nut (the sky). His siblings include his wife/sister Aset/Isis, Nepthys, Set and Horus the elder. His son Horus was born of Aset/Isis. He also fathered (it is said) Bast and Annubis as well.

He is usually depicted in mummy wrappings, wearing what is known as the Atef crown. This is similar to the White Crown of Upper Egypt, with the addition of a feather along either side, and a small sphere at the top. He holds the crook and flail, symbols of ruler ship. In some depictions he has black skin symbolizing the underworld and rebirth and also symbolizing the black fertile soil deposited by the Nile every year.  In other depictions he has green skin-Lord of Vegetation- which represents life, death and rebirth of the cycles of grain and other plant life. His skin may also appear white as in reference to his bandages.

His cult was originated in Abydos where it is said his tomb resides even today. His associations with burial rites were also established by the 5th dynasty. He had absorbed the funerary gods of Abydos.

Osiris brought civilization to the barbarous cannibals of the first people of Egypt. He taught them how and what to eat (and not each other!), raise crops like corn and vines. He also taught them how to worship the gods and made laws for them. He ruled by persuasion not by force. And because of this he was greatly loved. With his death by Set, he became God of the Dead and Underworld.

Due to his resurrection from the dead he is also considered a fertility god. This title is also attributed to the fact that he taught the people agriculture and how to take care of them selves. Osiris was at one time an ancient corn deity, identified with a pastoral deity called Andjeti. His cult object is the djeb column which is thought to represent the 4 pillars seen one behind the other or a man’s backbone.

The Nile is probably the most important natural resource to the early peoples. Osiris is seen as the god of death due to his own death and his death is associated with the drying up of the Nile or the drought season. It is said that when he dies, the Nile dries out. When the induation of the Nile happens, it is then said that he was returned from the dead to bring rebirth to the people by flooding the Nile again.

Osiris also has the job of Judge and he presides over the ceremony of the weighing of the heart and feather. He is the one who gives final judgment to those who have died.

He is the equivalent of the Greek Dionysus and Hades.


Cult Center – Busiris, Abydos
Chief Festival - July 3
Main festivals
Feast – February 15, April 10, July 26 & 28;
Festival of the resurrection – July 3
Statue – a bearded man wrapped as a mummy holding the flail and crook
Family – Son of Geb and Nut, Brother/Husband of Isis, Brother of Set, Nepthys and Horus the Elder.  Father of Horus, Father Bast and Annubis
Cardinal Point – North
Element - Earth
Herbs – Anise, Apple, Banana, Carnation, Cypress, Dogwood, Foxglove, Garlic, Holly, Honesty, Iris, Juniper, Lemon, Lettuce, Lime, Marigold, Mugwort, Oak, Orris, Peach, Peppermint, Red Clover, Summer Savory, Sunflower, Sage, Tansy, Turmeric, Violet, Yarrow
Crystals – Amethyst, Aventurine, Azurite, Citrine, Elestials, Labradorite, Lapis Lazuli, Moldavite, Moss Agate, Onyx, Ruby, Sugilite, Sunstone, Tektite, Yellow Topaz,
Metal – Copper, Gold
Wood – Elder, Oak
Color – Black, Green
Incense – Frankincense, Sandalwood, Sage
Day(s) – Sunday
Time(s) – Midnight and Dawn
Season – Winter and Spring

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pagan Blog Project- O is for Oak Tree Magic

The Oak Tree has long been associated with ancient peoples and has been seen as “magical” or “sacred”. For example the Druids. These “priests of nature” worshiped their religion under the Oak Tree or in sacred groves. Fred Hagender writes in his book, The Meaning of Trees, “our ancestors recognized that there is a vital balance in life: you take and you give. So they celebrated the forces of nature by offering them gifts, songs, prayers and blessings to revitalize the natural world – a world in which they felt themselves to be an intimate part.” It is certainly the tree I use most in my magic.

As pagans we are taught that nature is an important part of us. We need to respect it and learn from it. Humans and nature have a symbiotic relationship. We depend upon each other for survival. We offer nature our energy through prayers and blessings (and other offerings) and in turn nature (in particular trees) offers us a vast array of gifts. Wood from its trunk and limbs are used for shelter from the elements: heat, cold, rain, snow, etc. This wood is also used in crafting magical tools such as athames, wands and staffs. From its wood we also get fire to heat our homes , cook our food (kitchen witchery) and for cleaning ourselves (ritual bathing). Fires are also used as vehicle for offerings made to the gods.

The Oak Tree has many magical associations including: strength, endurance, durability, longevity, stamina, prosperity, will, protection, good luck, fertility, cleansing, success, wisdom, status, self confidence, masculine god energy, inner strength, bravery and leadership to name a few.

Oak trees come from a genus of more than 450 species. They are associated with weather gods due to the fact that the oak tree is the tree most often struck by lightening and survives the ordeal. The tree itself is a conductor of electricity. Because of this, ancient peoples would often call upon the weather gods, such as Zeus, Odin or Thor, to strike their enemies down with their lightening and give victory to their people.

The Oak Tree is a doorway of opportunity and is considered the doorway for shamanic portals. It is a symbol of “as above, so below”. Its limbs and leaves reach up into the skies/ heavens (as above) and its roots reach deep with the earth (so below). This makes it an ideal portal to use in connecting to the other-world.

This tree produces acorns which are a great tool for making magical charms. Acorns have the attributes of immortality, fertility, nurturing and sustenance. For prosperity, hang acorns in your home, get creative, make a wreath or other craft project. Acorns hung in windows are said to be a way to ward off evil. In ancient times, acorns were used as food and sustenance. Still today some peoples still roast and grind the nuts for bread or the making of beverages.

The leaves are just as magical. Use them in a bath for its cleansing properties. You can also used the leaves in magical spells. One of my favorite uses is to write my needs upon the leaves and then offer them to the gods through fire.

Oak chips can be used as a type of incense to burn away negativity. Oak chips are also used to cook meat as well. You can bless the chips before lighting them and infuse their magic into the food you are cooking.

The bark of the oak tree is said to have astringent properties. It has been brewed as a tea for help with congestion, hemorrhoids, fever, diarrhea, dysentery, inflamed gums and to treat wounds. In hoodoo practices, the tea is also used to remove jinxes.
Correspondences for the Oak Tree:

Celtic Year of the Oak Moon is June 10th through July 7th

Latin- white oak = quercus alba
red oak = quercus rubra
black oak = quercus velutina

Celtic word for Oak is Duir meaning door. Pronounced (dur) or (doo-er)

Parts used are the wood, leaves, bark and acorns

Folk names- Tanners Bark, Jove's Nuts, Tree of Jove, King of the Forest, Tree of Endurance

Animals associated with the oak tree are stag, squirrel, wren, white mare

Gods/Goddess: Dagda, Oak King/Holly King, Green Man, Cernunnous, Morrigan, Cerridwen, Rhiannon, Epona, Odin, Thor, Herne, Wodin, Jupiter, Cybele, Rhea, Pan, Hecate, Janus, Brigid

Gems- granite, amber

Element- earth, fire

So how do you use the magic of trees in your practice?


Sources used:
The Meaning of Trees by Fred Hagender, ©2005 by Chronicle Books

Mickie Mueller’s Class on Celtic Tree Calendar-The Oak Tree Month (www.voiceoftrees.com)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pagan Blog Project-N is for Nuit

The Sky

Pronounced Noot , Noot-it, New-Eat. It is believed her name came from the English words for night, nocturnal, equinox and the French terms la nuit which means the night.

Nut (Nuit) was the personification of the sky to the Egyptian people. She was originally a goddess of the sky only, but evolved into a goddess of the heavens and sky, whose body symbolizes the vault of the sky. She is the daughter of Shu and Tefnut, the granddaughter of the sun god Ra. Her husband was also her brother Geb. She is considered one of the oldest deities in the Egyptian pantheon, with her origins found in the creation story of Heliopolis.

“A scared symbol of Nut was the ladder, used by Osiris to enter her heavenly skies. This ladder-symbol was called maqet and was placed in tombs to protect the deceased, and to invoke the aid of deity of the dead. Nut is considered an enigma in the world of mythology because she is direct contrast to most other mythologies, which usually evolve into a sky father associated with an earth mother or Mother Nature.”

Some of Nut’s titles include:
Coverer of the Sky-She was said to be covered completely with stars
She Who Protects-One of her jobs was to protect Ra
Mistress of All or She Who Bore the Gods- She gave birth to her five children, probably the most familiar of the gods today.
She Who Holds a Thousand Souls-Because of her role of re-birthing Ra each day and because she helped with the resurrection of her son Osiris, Nut became associated with the afterlife.

Ra cursed Nut for her love of Geb and forbade her to bear children during any month of the year. Thoth outwitted the curse by playing draughts with the moon and winning 5 extra days, days not attached to any month. In these 5 days, Nut produced her 5 children. The days on which each of these deities were born are known as the five epagomental days of the year and were celebrated all over Egypt. The days were considered either lucky, unlucky, or neither. For example: The day of birth for Osiris was considered unlucky, the day for Horus the Elder was neither lucky nor unlucky, the day for Seth was unlucky, the day for Isis is lucky, and the day for Nephythys was considered unlucky.

Originally a Mother Goddess who had many children, Nut plays an important role in creation legends. In one myth Nut gives birth to the Sun-god daily and he passes over her body until he reaches her mouth at sunset. He then passed into her mouth and through her body and is reborn the next morning. Another myth described the sun as sailing up her legs and back in the Atet (Matet) boat until noon, when he entered the Sektet boat and continued his travels until sunset.

She is shown in profile, naked over the earth god Geb and may be supported by Shu and with her arms and legs bent down so she touches the horizon with hands and feet. Her body is usually covered with stars and because of this she is sometimes associated with the Milky Way. “There are some astronomical indications of this. It has been shown that at the winter solstice before dawn, in Pre-dynastic Egypt, the Milky Way would have looked very much like a stretched out body with arms and legs touching the horizons in the same manner as Nut was frequently shown in later times.” In zoomorphic form she is a sky cow or sky sow. Her 4 hooves were cardinal points and the sun god and stars are show sailing across her underside of her body. Because of her association with the cow, she is sometimes thought of as Hathor.

Nut is associated with rebirth through the renewing of the sun every day, but she was also a favorite funerary deity, in which she helped to give rebirth to the dead pharaoh and she became connected with the underworld, resurrection and the tomb. She was seen as a friend to the dead, as a mother-like protector to those who journeyed through the land of the dead. She was often painted on the inside lid of the sarcophagus, protecting the dead until he or she, like Ra, could be reborn in their new life.

In the Valley of the Kings, there are many tombs that have the ceilings painted blue with 5 pointed stars on them. These paintings reach down the walls of both side and end with Nut’s feet on one side of the passage and her upper body on the other side.

There were many festivals to Nut through the year. But, despite being a protector of the dead, she was a personification of the sky - a cosmic deity - and no temples or specific cult centers are linked to her. Some of her festivals were:

6th August – 19th Thuti – Festival of Nut and Ra
27th August – 10th Paopi- Birthday of Nut
30th August- 13th Paopi – Day of Satisfying the Hearts of the Ennead
4th January- 20 Mechir- Day of Nut and Raet proceeding southward
1st February- 18th Pamenot- Feast of Nut
2nd February- 19th Pamenot- Birthday of Nut
26th February- 13th Parmutit- Day of Nut
5th May- 21st Payni- Day of the Living Children of Nut

*taken from www.philae.nu/akhet/NetjeruN.html#Nut


Cult Center
– Throughout Egypt, although she had no physical temple specifically to her
Birthday – August 27
Statue – portrayed as bent over, stretching from horizon to horizon.
Family – Daughter of Shu and Tefnut, twin sister of Geb, wife of Geb, Mother of Osiris, Isis , Nephythys, Set and Horus the Elder
Cardinal Point – East
Element - Air
Herbs – Anise, Bean, Bromeliad, Clover, Dandelion, Fern, Goldenrod, Lavender, Maple, Marjoram, Mint, Oak, Parsley, Pine, Sage, Summer Savory,
Crystals – Ammonite, Angelite, Aventurine, Azurite, Bloodstone, Citrine, Diamond, Emerald, Garnet, Quartz, Selenite, Sodalite, Tektite, Turquoise
Metal – Copper, Silver
Wood – Oak
Color – light Blue
Incense – Jasmine, Sandalwood
Day(s) – Friday
Time(s) – Dawn
Season - Spring
Magic/Responsibilities: Sky and Heavens, Mother and Guardian, Death and Burial, Demi-Animals, Immortality, Physical Prowess

How can you bring Nut into your life?

Nut is known as a funerary goddess. If you have a loved one who is deceased, you can call upon Nut to watch over them and to help them transition into the next life (world).

She is also the great mother/creator. So if you need help with nurturing, whether it be people or projects, Nut would be a good choice to ask for help. She can give you the nurturing you need to see thing through to the end. As a mother, she does not give up on her children and will help them to succeed.

Nut is the barrier that separates chaos from the ordered cosmos. She helps to keep the universe in order so that all life goes on as it should. If chaos reigned, life would cease to exist (according to the Egyptians). If you ever feel that your life is getting out of control and that chaos is starting to rule your life, call upon Nut for help.

As a mother goddess, she is also a protector. Protection can encompass many ideas. For example if you need protection from evil, harm, illness, etc. Anything you can imagine that a mother would protect her child from, Nut can protect you from.

If you want to feel a connection to Nut, the simplest way would be to simply stare into a dark night sky and star gaze. Meditate on Nut and what she means to you. Feel the energy grow between you.

Prayer to Nut:

Great Mother Nut, Sky Goddess, Mother and Creator, hear my prayer.
My life has become chaotic, help me to restore order.
You, Great Goddess, are the barrier between chaos and order.
I beseech thee to lend me your energies. Help me to find order in my life.
Of my own free will, with harm to none. So mote it be.

(You can add correspondences such as blue or white stones, Sodalite would be a good combination of both colors. The night sky is usually depicted as blue or navy, so colored candles would also work well here.)



Temple Ankh research notes (www.templeankh.com)



The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard H. Wilkinson

Shamanic Mysteries of Egypt by Nicki Scully and Linda Star Wolf

Circle of Isis by Ellen Cannon Reed

The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines by P. Monaghan

Friday, July 6, 2012

Pagan Blog Project-N is for Nature Religion

If you ask ten different pagans what the meaning of nature religion is, you will probably get ten different answers!  Religion is a very personal idea. Each person has their own way of celebrating it and follows their own unique path. For me, walking a nature path means celebrating all life, not just human life. It means honoring the earth and celebrating the seasons as our ancestors may have done in the past. I do consider myself Wiccan, although not a fanaticJ. So I do celebrate sabbats and esbats as well as give honor daily to my personal deities. I try to be respectful of all nature and take care of our planet.

As a Wiccan and witch I also follow a magical path. To practice magic you really do not need physical tools, although they can be helpful in manifesting the energy you need to accomplish your goal. Most pagans I know are not wealthy and cannot afford expensive tools or toys. Some of the most powerful tools I have ever used were those from nature itself.  Mother Nature is quite generous in her gifts to us. So why not use them for your magic.

The following are examples of items found in nature that can be easily adapted for magical purposes: (the items listed are those found in my particular area)

Tree limbs or branches- can be used to make personal wands. Wood can also be used to make fires.  Branches can also be used to make pentacles as well. They can also be used in making besoms or brooms.

Acorns or other nuts can be used in spells and as amulets.

Leaves- you can research the different types of trees in your area and find out their specific attributes. Leaves are a great tool to use in magic. You can write your needs upon its leaves then burn them as offerings to the gods.

Pine needles-can also be used in spells or mojo bags and burned as incense.

Pine cones-I have used pine cones in many different types of crafts. They are wonderful decorations for Yule and other sabbats.

Plants/herbs- collect those grown in the wild or grown from your garden. Herbs can be used in kitchen magic, mojo bags, spells, rituals, etc.

Water- collect from different types of sources for use in magic. Storm water can also be collected to add power to your magic. Water can also be used in cleansing rituals or spells.

Earth/dirt-use in fertility magic. Graveyard dirt can also be used; however I do caution that you not take dirt from an unknown grave. You never know what kind of energy you will get if you do not know the background of the person who lies there.

Air-utilize windy days to help manifest air magic.

Rocks and stones can be used to make magical divination tools, such as runes.

Seashells also represent west and water and can be made into powerful amulets.

Sand can be used in the same ways that dirt is used in earth magic. It can also be used in fire magic by making candles out of sand. Search the internet, there are many sites available on how to make sand candles. There was also a great article in Family Fun magazine this summer on how to make sand wands for the kids.

Feathers-great tools for cleansing and air magic. Be careful however not to collect feathers from birds that are on the endangered lists. This can cause legal problems for you.

Egg shells-ground up and use in protection or fertility magic.

Shed snakeskin- can be a very powerful tool esp in healing magic.Just make sure the owner of the skin is long gone before taking :). 

***Anytime you take anything from nature, always ask permission first and then offer nature something in return.

These are just a few examples of nature items that can be used in magic. So what is your favorite natural item to use in your own practice?

May your magical endeavors always be blessed.