Monday, August 11, 2008

The Witches of Red Haw

Recently we gathered at Red Haw State Park for a Full Moon Ritual. We chose the largest shelter house at the end of a turn around loop. We were hoping for privacy, and chose this location because of its closed brick walls on two sides facing the roadway. Passers-by could see that the shelter was occupied, but could not see sufficiently inside to know what was going on. We soon realized that this was not going to work out very well when we got a visit from the local DNR officer. He came into the shelter as we were sitting at a lone picnic table, candles lit in votive holders and birdseed poured out in a circle around us. “What’s going on in here, ladies?” he half-demanded. I explained to him that we were gathered for a simple candlelight ceremony, and that we had spread birdseed as a treat for the barn swallows occupying the rafters above us. He also noticed the very small fire burning in the fireplace, and my dutch oven sitting on top of it. So I let him know that I was just baking some dinner rolls in it, and showed him. He then proceeded to take his time cleaning and squeegee the cement floor while listening to our meeting. We talked about donating money to the local animal shelter, or to the Red Cross, we spoke about the lore and traditions of the Holly Moon, and he quietly left without giving us further hassle. I prudently decided to leave out some parts of the discussion so he wouldn’t have anything to munch on.

Now we have decided to move our rituals to an open-air shelter house on a single lane driveway. This way we can avoid the cruisers gawking and straining to see “what’s going on in here”, and we won’t be interrupted by anyone seeking to mop floors at 8 pm like its an IHOP or something.

When we left that night, we drew pentagrams (using sticks and our feet) in the gravel parking lot where we had parked our cars. We worked on them so they would stand out and be noticed in the morning. I hope that DNR officer enjoyed it!

The Hazel Moon: August

The Celtic name for the hazel tree is "coll" meaning "nine", and the Hazel Moon is the ninth month of the Celtic Tree Calendar. A myth tells how nine nuts of wisdom fell from the hazel tree into a river where a magic salmon ate them. The salmon then became a prized catch, gifted with shape-shifting powers and infinite wisdom.

A time for learning

The Hazel Moon offers you an opportunity to connect with your inner reserves of wisdom and intuition. Study of all kinds is blessed during the Hazel Moon, so magic that uses ancient knowledge is most effective now.

This is also an excellent time to learn to read Tarot Cards or Runes because lunar energy will enhance your memory and psychic powers. Maintain an optimistic approach and follow your enthusiasm.

Protection and Renewal

Rods made from the wood of the hazel tree have traditionally been used for divining water and earth energies. The wood is pliant and supple and is immediately responsive to subtle change.

Fertility Charm

As well as being an excellent source of protein, hazelnuts have long been used as a magical fertility charm. Carry one with you if you wish to conceive or collect a small bag of nuts as a gift for a bride.

Good Fortune

Hazelnuts are also a symbol of good luck; if you find two hazelnuts in the same shell,eat one and throw the other over your left shoulder to make your wish come true.

Hazel Moon Magic

You can used the qualities of hazel in a variety of ways in your magic working:

* Make an all-purpose magical wand from a straight twig of hazel wood the length of your forearm. Charge under the full Moon.

* Draw a circle around your bed with a hazel stick to keep nightmares away.

* Eat a feast of salmon and hazelnuts before an exam to heighten your powers of concentration and boost your memory.

* Make an equal armed cross of hazel wood tied with ribbon as a good luck charm.

Hazel Energy in Your Life

Bring the creativity and inspiration of the Hazel Moon into your life, both at work and at home:

1. Enroll in an evening class. Now is an auspicious time to learn a new skill--try painting, learning a language or dance.

2. Keep a journal. Just writing down your wishes and experiences will help you tune into your inner wisdom.

3. Go outside at night and look at the Moon. Staying connected to nature will bring powerful insights and help you remain grounded.

4. Feed your mind: buy a book of inspiring quotes and read one each day to stimulate your intellect and sharpen your thinking.


Practicing this meditation will help you to move through creative blocks, get inner guidance and develop intuition.

+ Approach a hazel tree from the north. When you are within the circumference of its branches, introduce yourself and ask permission to come closer.

+ If it feels right to proceed, circle the trunk clockwise.

+ Try to sense the spirit of the tree and open your heart.

+ Sit with your back against the trunk and breathe deeply. Empty your mind and try to attune to the tree's energy.

Make a Divining Rod

You can use the magical powers of the hazel tree to make your own divining rod:

*Cut a forked twig, less than a yard in length.
*Give thanks to the tree by pouring nourishing water onto its roots
*Pass your rod through incense smoke and state your intention to learn about the mysteries of nature.
*Hold a fork in each hand and pull them apart so that the twig is under constant pressure. As you walk over a water source or energy line, the rod will twitch in your hand.
*Use your divining rod to explore the energies of sacred sites, old buildings and even your own home.