Sunday, August 29, 2010

Double Double Cauldron Babble

"Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble."
-- Shakespeare, Macbeth

The cauldron must be on par with the swastika as one of the most misinterpreted religious symbols in history. It is a most auspicious symbol even in Pagan traditions outside of Wicca, but contemporary culture has done so much to tarnish its significance that it is now rare to find a depiction of the cauldron without bones, tentacles, ooze and evil-looking green smoke coming out of it.

The cauldron of the Welsh goddess Kerridwen is the most revered artifact in Druidism, being the source of Awen or, roughly translated, poetic inspiration. In the West African religion of Ifa, the cauldron is associated with Oggun, the lord of iron and of work. As such it represents the creative force, from which all actions are rooted from. Even in the wisdom of the Far East, in the I Ching, one should be very happy when Ting (the cauldron) comes out of a reading, as it denotes supreme good fortune.

A makeshift cauldron, with the symbol of the Awen.

Taking advantage of the moon in Aries, I managed to gather some rain water during the full moon and used it to wash my iron cauldron with along with a bunch of oregano leaves from my mom's flower pot. True to its meaning I was immediately inspired to take some 'witchy' photos of the cauldron for an online magic shop - despite having not slept for 24 hours. I had to use eight candles and a flash light to get the perfect lighting, and took me about an hour to get the right shot. But with all the toil and trouble, I'm happy with what I managed to come up with.

May the cauldron of the Lady Kerridwen continually grant us divine inspiration, and may the Lord Oggun guide our hands at its working.

Basbasan Nawa!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Personalizing a Wand Naturally

The wand is the most used among the four elemental tools, so I make sure that my wands have a personal touch.

The oak wand I bought from La Dea is already beautiful as it is. I love the grain of the oak, and I didn't want to hide its natural beauty by painting on it or attaching gemstones, feathers, metal wires, etc. as I did with my previous wands. So I decided to do no other embellishments on it other than burning my name on the wood.1

Pyrography is tougher than I expected. What I used to burn the wood was a 40-watt soldering iron (as was recommended by woodburning articles that I googled), but I wished I had a hotter one so that I could burn the wood with a single stroke. The texture of the wood makes it hard to 'write' on, and the handle of the soldering pen becomes hot after some minutes. Thankfully I managed to inscribe my name recognizably in Theban letters after some sweat and finger-burns.

Write the inscription in pencil then burn them away.  

To protect the wand, I had to treat it with a special wood finish - which is linseed oil mixed with a few drops of dragon's blood. Dragon's blood has been used by magicians for centuries to increase magic power, but here I also use it symbolically for the fire element, and to represent the blood that would 'awaken' this ritual object to life. Wood varnish would make it look too glossy and artifical. Linseed on the other hand is natural, and not so sticky so I can use my hands to apply it on.

Linseed oil and dragon's blood.

I didn't realize I would need only a few drops of wood finish to cover the entire wand, so I still had some left  for my newly-made pentacle.

Basbasan Nawa!

[1] I was about to inscribe it in Ogham, but opted to go Trad Wiccan than Druidic, so I chose Theban.
[2] Visit La Dea's website :

Friday, August 20, 2010


It has been a long time since I've been to the ile, so I was very glad to see my osha family again as we met together in an art exhibit held by our sister-in-osha at Penguin Cafe, Makati. The exhibit which consisted mainly of artful, Zen-style photographs of fire is apparently dedicated to her Baba Orisha, Shango. Baba Shango seemed to be very pleased, as later in the event a West African music ensemble came by to perform, drumming and dancing its way into the cafe, which pleasantly surprised most of us and left the artist almost tearfully happy for the rest of the night.

Fuego! Poster

Performing the Gahu of the Ewe people

UP Kekeli Drum and Dance Group, led by Royal Hartigan

The daughters of the Lord of drum and dance join in

So many people have come to the exhibit, so we took a chit-chat break outside. 

Maferefun Shango!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hallowed Hekatesia

I just had a truly wonderful time celebrating the feast of Hekate with some pagan friends. Honestly I know very little about the 'Lady of Three' nor Hellenic Paganism as a whole, but thankfully one of us was a Hellenistic reconstructionist and one's a Wiccan devotee of Hekate who both know very well about Her rituals and lore.

After some walking we found a lovely ritual spot among the groves of the UP campus in QC. It was damp, muddy and creepy, but it was perfect. There were classes still going on and people occassionaly passing by somewhere near, but the Lady kept us hidden in the mist and drowned our voices among the sounds of the creatures of the night. The sky was flashing with lightning, but I was hearing no sounds of thunder. The winds were strong enough to keep us cool, but light enough not to extinguish the candle flames. Some of us were creeped by the nature spirits watching by, but the feeling was to be replaced with the overwhelming presence of the Divine during the ceremony - in which we communed, invoked, danced and feasted. All in all it was a very magical evening.

The altar to Hekate. I particularly love the tsikuri with crow feathers.

Into the pharmakos we pass our worries.

Grains of rice, holy water, and incense smoke were used to purify the place.

The pharmakos is burnt, i.e. symbolically sacrificed.

A dark veil covers half of his face, in honor of 
Hekate Amphiprosopos - the double-faced Queen

Chicken hearts and a skull-shaped candle are among the implements of the altar.

Preparing for the feast.

Khaire Hekate!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Better Than Farmville

Many thanks to Ish for inviting me to Haribon's tree planting event. It's one of the little things I could do to give back to nature which I so revere and love. The trip to the planting site at Cavinti, Laguna would have felt long and gruelling if not for the fresh provincial air, the beautiful countryside scenery we passed by, and the company of friends who also wish to make the world a better place to live in - one tree at a time.

Planting my first seedling

Volunteers Incorporated

Ate Bet was tired but was obviously having fun.

On the way to the planting site.

 We stopped by at the Caliraya water tower on the way home for some photo ops.

Basbasan Nawa!

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Mini Magical Library

My six-foot bookshelf has arrived. I can finally clear my bed, shoe cabinet, underwear drawer, top of the fridge, window sill, and computer table of out-of-place books.

I can feel the ch'i flowing better now. Om...

Apparently even a six-foot bookshelf isn't enough to contain my books. But still I'm very glad to see some of my tomes finally prepped and organized.

Basbasan Nawa!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Macrocosmic Hexagram

(This a continuation of the study of the classical Western magical cosmology.)

"Astra inclinant non necessitant"
 (The stars incline they do not compel) by Ptolemy 
from his classical work Tetrabiblos. 
This has been the de facto quote of astrologers.1

The Macrocosmic Hexagram: As above, So below. As it is heaven so it is on Earth. The pentagram represents the below (the Earth) while the hexagram represents the above (the planets). This diagram shows how the seven planets are incorporated in the hexagram.

As with the previous diagram Sol occupies the center. The middle column actually contains the outermost(saturn), middle(sol) and innermost planets(luna).

Mars, Jupiter and Sol - the "primary color" planets - forms a triangle pointing downward, symbolic of emanation from the higher spheres (the fixed stars, saturn) into the lower spheres.

Mercury, Venus, Luna forms the second triangle pointing downward, symbolic of manifestation to the sphere of the Earth. Notice how their colors are derived from the colors of the first triad.

Tracing the lightning bolt reveals the order in which the planets appear in the previous diagram.

[1] I didn't use the more often associated motto with the planets: Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem (VITRIOL) due to its associations with alchemy and hermeticism, which would be too tough of a subject for beginners I think.

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