Hekate Devotion: Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice also known as Yule is the day with the shortest amount of daylight and the longest amount of night. Symbolically it marks the death and rebirth of the sun and it falls between Samhain and the Spring Equinox and due to this manifests as the darkest period of the year yet is also a turning point where the days become longer.  It symbolises the darkest time of year and marks the returning of the light due to its time of seasonal transition.  The winter solstice marks the sun as its lowest elevation in the sky and the reason it contains the longest night of the year.  This year in the Southern Hemisphere calendar it falls on Monday the 21st of June at 1.32pm. Gods such as Hekate, Persephone, Demeter, Dionysus, Helios, Poseidon, Zeus, Hera, Hathor, Sekhmet, Osiris, Horus, Neith, Nephthys, Spider Woman, Ameratasu, Saturn, Odin, Bona Dea, Mithras, Holy King, Hod, Frigga, Frau Holle, Cailleach and Baldurcan all be honoured during this time of year.

I have celebrated Yule with groups of people in a magickal setting such as a working lodge, coven and magickal order.  The one thing which I found which linked them all together was the coming together to celebrate the light and the darkness whilst sharing food and gifts.

One of the fondest memories I have during this time of year is celebrating the winter solstice through creating handmade gifts.  I spend considerable time planning on what to make and then following through by crafting gifts which are unique and special.  The first thing I ever recall making was for my first coven where I sculpted and fired a set of runes and hand sewed an accompanying bag to contain them in.  This took a significant amount of energy and effort and was placed in a sack of gifts to be randomly selected by one coven member in the middle of our coven’s winter solstice ritual.  Imagine my surprise when one of my coven members whom I was closest to (and who has become a lifelong friend) chose it at random and had been wanting a set of runes which turned out to feature her favourite colour (they were coloured green and purple).

I personally like to hand make gifts during this time of year usually involving items which feature divination, light, purification, seeds, woods and herbs harvested and collected.  I also love to cook, bake and prepare food which is consumed, shared or given to loved ones including the following: citrus preserves such as salt preserved lemons and Cointreau marmalade,  soup (lentil/beans/barley and root vegetable, Greek chicken soup), stew (barley, beans, lentil, cholent andcoq au vin), bread (Greek sweetbread, olive loaf and garlic and feta loaf), gingerbread (especially witches houses/cottages), shortbread (various Greek ones), lamb or beef roast, dumplings and baked spiced rice stuffed into vegetables.

Since this time tends to fall on my personal anniversary (we got together on the winter solstice) for me it also involves going out for an intimate meal with my partner and exchanging thoughtful gifts.  

I feel that Hekate resonates with this time of the year for various reasons. One being that this is a liminal time where she has dominion between the darkness and the light.  In this time  she encourages and enables us to turn our attention to the presence of the promise of new things to come.  As the time of growth and movement is before us Hekate beckons us to straddle the in-between time and to use this time for the power it contains.

I personally like to honour Hekate during this time and make offerings of apples, pomegranates, garlic, onions, mead, beer, wine, bread, barley, nuts, lilies, pine, mistletoe, juniper, holly, frankincense, myrrh, cedar, bay, chamomile and roots from dandelions.

I also like to make items for Hekate which resonate with the season mostly wands collected from wood during the summer, candle anointing oil blends, herb pouches for dreaming, health and wealth, candles which illuminate, soap which cleanses, incense using dried herbs from the summer, book and journal covers with locally sourced materials or upcycled materials, various art pieces with paints, ink, photography and/or several thread types (in recent years its been all about the land, sea and sky) and beaded jewellery such as ethically sourced crystal necklaces which can also be used as meditation or manifestation beads.

In the garden now is the time to plant:

Vegetables such as artichoke, asparagus, beans, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chillies, corn, cucumber, endive, kale, leek, lettuce, melons, okra, onion, parsnip, peas, pumpkins, radish, rhubarb, shallots, silver beet, snow peas, spinach, tomatoes, turnip and zucchinis

Herbs such as garlic, basil, chives, cress, curry, dill, mint, parsley, sage and thyme.

Flowers such as aquilegia, calendula, cineraria, cyclamen, delphinium, foxglove, nemesia, pansy, primula, polyanthus poppy and viola. 

Some things you can do to honour and mark the winter solstice in your personal practice (or with a group of likeminded individuals) can be:

  1. Hold a ritual signifying the balance of darkness and light and/or liminality.
  2. Work spells and magick which involve igniting a flame, balance or brining the light into a situation, .
  3. Create and light a bonfire or light a special candle carved with symbols which signify the time of year.
  4. Inscribe and light a Yule log in a firepit or fireplace.
  5. Take a walk at dusk holding a lantern.
  6. Bake a seasonal pie, cook a roast and make mulled wine or any other food or drink which to you symbolises the winter solstice .
  7. In the evening go out star gazing and seek out your local constellations.
  8. Honour the Gods which signify this time of year by creating a shrine or altar in their name or tending to an existing one and make offerings to them.
  9. Create an ice wreath in the freezer filled with flowers and herbs of the season (use a bunt cake tin) and once set place a candle in the middle of the wreath and light it to signify the winter moving out and the spring coming in.
  10. Use this time to cleanse your magickal tools and spaces such as shrines and altars.
  11. Rituals and spells involving transitions and movement.
  12. Reflect on your inner world and take some time to just be with yourself and listen to your inner self such as meditation, yoga, going for a walk in nature or just sitting in a space which is sacred to you and just being present.
  13. Use this time to recharge yourself through honouring yourself and do what you need to, to enable that reset.
  14. Host a feast with family or friends which can include music and dancing.
  15. Light black and white candles to signify the diminishing darkness and the increasing light.
  16. Decorate a tree (such as a xmas tree) with decorations which signify the winter solstice.
  17. Exchange gifts with loved ones.
  18. Donate to charities involving the displaced such as the homeless and refugees.
  19. Do something kind for someone who is alone, in pain or suffering.
  20. Volunteer for a charity which assists the natural world or the less fortunate.
  21. Divination such as rune, tarot, dice, candle wax, crystal, magick mirror or ink scrying.  

So work your magick this midwinter, honour the light and the darkness within you and all around you and contemplate and manifest balance in your life.


(c) T. Georgitsis 2021

Resolutions 2021

Many create resolutions at the beginning of the new year.  These resolutions can include getting rid of a bad habits or introducing a good one.  Resolutions tend to be created and promises made – which usually (if not always) fall by the wayside.

This is why I as I have described before I personally do not create resolutions.  What I like to do is set intentions of what I want to undergo for the year with the focus being on what new “experience” I want to learn or immerse myself in.

Last year what quite an intense one and as such most of my time was spent on survival and self-care.

My focus for the year is listed below in bold, whilst my achievements are listed beneath with supporting lists, links or photographs.

Read and re-read books which inspire and/or move me:

GoodRead List 2020

I didn’t read as many books as I usually do due to spending a lot of time reading academic papers on Academia as well as subscribing to Medium and reading various articles there by independent writers.

Support more artists creating hand-made/self-published items born from their hard work, research, study and/or imagination:

Miss Marley Art

The Woodpecker

TitchyYosies

MUMA

LeRoux Manor

The Quirky Cup Collective

Luna Noire Creations

Rapt n Hide

B Inspired Art

Woodspinning

Fiona Ariva

Reclaimed Red Gum Eucalyptus Floating Ledges (c) The Woodpecker

Support a charity I resonate with:

Share the Dignity

Guide Dog Australia

Run For Refugees

Sister Works

STEPtember

Meow Rescue

Cotton On Foundation

Nefertiti & Ramesses (c) T. Georgitsis

Visit somewhere I haven’t been before which has a spirit of place:

Dromana Beach (been there as a child but not as an adult).

Mornington peninsular (visited various places of the area).

Healesville Sanctuary

Dromana Beach 12/2020 (c) T. Georgitsis

Dromana Beach 12/2020 (c) T. Georgitsis

Complete a workshop/course which is connected to my interests, passions and causes I like to support:

Handwriting Course (Cursive)

Caligraphy Course 

Self Publishing Workshop

Librarian Course 

Create something magical which feeds and inspires my practice:

Painting with acrylics – submitted and accepted to Gallery Exhibit 5 x 9 (painting sold)

Photography of Spirit of Place – submitted and accepted to Optica 2020 Exhibit

Card Making with Kemetic, Hellenic, Magical and Witch Themes

Letter Writing by Hand

Typewriter Poetry

Journalling which included a pandemic diary, magical spell book, magical grimoire and poetic journal with mixed media, watercolour, acrylic and ink drawings.

Blogging – Occult/Magical and Creative Writing 

Craft Making (candles, soap, anointing oils, incense blends, herb bundles)

Cooking various new meals which includes celebratory offerings 

Created new spells utilising Greek Folk Magic practises 

Planted more herbs and focused on cultivating and preserving ones used in Greek and Egyptian magic.

“Blue” 9×5 Exhibition (C) T. Georigitsis

“Diva Connection” Optika20 (c) T. Georgitsis

Attended Conference with a Magical/Spiritual Slant :

AWC 2020

HoN End of Year Festivities – Epagomenial Days & Wep Ronpet 

LIFE is about experiences and the way I feel when I – create, visit or support something which inspires and uplifts me.  I find its easier to get energised and complete set objectives if I find personal purpose within the task before me.

Therefore my suggestion for those wanting to set resolutions who then struggle to fulfil them, is to instead write a wish list of intentions, of things you would like to do – to feed your soul and go from there.  That way there is less pressure as the focus is more pleasure in your life.

(C) T Georgitsis – all images and text 2020

Dumb Supper

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Although Samhain is celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere on the 1st of May, in the Northern Hemisphere its celebrated on the 31st of October, and some here chose to connect to those energies.  Therefore, I thought I would post something I wrote a few years back on Samhain and the practice of the Dumb Supper .

Samhain is also known as the last harvest.  It’s the time of year when the land’s fertility withdraws in preparation for the dormancy of winter.  Since Samhain is when the veil between the living world and that of the spirit world is the thinnest, I use this occasion to make offerings in the form of a Dumb Supper to my ancestors in thanks for the connections to my blood history.  Samhain is also a time of endings and beginnings for the witch, as its the start of the witch’s new year.   Along with ancestor veneration, acknowledging and honoring the Gods of this time – the turning of the seasonal wheel is also of importance.

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A Dumb Supper is a meal, which can include drink created in honor of the dead.  This supper cannot only be for your ancestors but also for friends who have passed or those whom you have a connection to and are no longer in the realm of the living.  Dumb Suppers are a time of silent remembrance so when offering a meal to them, it is traditional to commune with them silently or you can write a note to them and leave it with the meal.  Dumb Suppers can be offered in sacred space, like part of a Samhain ritual or they can be offered at a place at the set table of your Samhain meal you prepare (usually at the head of the table and served first).  Dumb Suppers can be covered in a shroud to symbolize its for the blessed dead, have a candle lit before it so its easy for them to find it on the astral, as well as saying a silent prayer in honor of them.

I like to create a Dumb Supper with things my blessed dead liked to eat in life. I personally include my supper as part of my Samhain ritual, which I use to communicate with them and thank them for their blessings of giving me life. Since candles were used to help spirits find their way home, I place a candle with images of my ancestors, a personal item of theirs and a plate consisting of their food in the North West of my cast circle.  I place a note I have written to them underneath the offering plate ensuring this plate is never used by the living (lest death take those who partake of it).  During my Samhain ritual I also burn the note of correspondence I wrote for them in a cauldron or fire pit so its released to the ether of spirit.

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Whatever you decide to create for your Dumb Supper, ensure you use what’s in season, and connect to the energies of Samhain.  Foodstuff in season can consisting of apples, pumpkins, corn, mushrooms, turnips, pomegranates, garlic, onions, potatoes, wine/mead, meat, nuts, within your meal offering for the ancestors.  Herbs which can be infused in your food and drink which resonate with the energies of Samhain are rosemary, mugwort, rue, tarragon, sage, wormwood, bay, nettle, mandrake, nutmeg, fennel (please note some of these herbs can be toxic with overuse or be incompatible with pregnant women so please refer to a material medica for further detailed information on the herbs you use).

If you would like some recipes check out my food blog:

https://madammagick.wordpress.com/recipes/

(c) T. Georgitsis 2014

Spirit of Place: My Back Garden

The wheel turns as we head into winter with Samhain just days away (5th of May at 11.34am EST Southern Hemisphere) and yet my garden is showing signs of life not dormancy as expected…got to love nature!

 

All images (c) T. Georgitsis

 

Seasonal Changes (A View From My Garden)

On the last day of April I share with you this poem I wrote about my garden last year…

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Seasonal Changes (A View From My Garden)

When the trees show their fruits heavy on the bough 
I feel its Lugh, 
When the leaves and acorns turn and fall
I feel its Autumn Equinox, 
When the earth sleeps and it turns dark
I feel its Samhain, 
When the hearth is full and the bulbs sprout
I feel its Yule, 
When the trees blossom and the light creeps in
I feel its Imbolc 
When the seedlings come up and the air is fresh
I feel its Spring Equinox
When the bees kiss the flowers and plants
I feel its Beltaine
When the insects chatter and the sun shines bright
I feel its Summer solstice

© T. Georgitsis 2015

Spirit of Place: Mummymania Exhibit

The Ian Potter Museum currently has a “Mummymania” Exhibition happening right now until the 17th of April in Melbourne for free…taken from the exhibit website:

Mummymania focuses on the figure of the Egyptian mummy and its role within the themes of life, death, resurrection and immortality. Ranging from the mummy’s original role in ancient Egyptian funerary practices to its importance in early scientific investigations into ancient disease and medicine, and its popular reception as a malevolent Hollywood monster-figure, the exhibition looks at the changing perception of the mummy over time.

Mummymania includes a small number of mummified objects that reveal the mummification process in ancient Egypt and its relationship to Egyptian afterlife beliefs. The history of the exploration of Egypt by Europeans and the export of ancient Egyptian antiquities including mummies also features, including the public mummy-unrolling spectacles that were popular in the nineteenth century. The pivotal use of mummies in medicine, and the scientific analysis of tissue including the use of CAT scanning in order to understand ancient disease, is an important aspect of the legacy that is not widely known. This lesser known history is explored alongside the mummy’s well-known role as a Hollywood horror film star.

I have taken some images I would like to share with you from the exhibition which were my favourite items displayed (no images of remains were taken due to the nature of the images being something I personally don’t feel comfortable with):

 

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Ptah holding a Was Sceptre Ptolemaic period

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Sekhmet statue in bronze Ptolemaic period

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Limestone Stela of Female Late Roman Period

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Sandstone T shaped offering Table Late Period

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Faïence pendants of New to Late Period

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Limestone Stela Ptolemaic Period

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Ushabti Late Period

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Terracotta lamps Coptic period

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Death mask of a woman Roman Period

 

All images (C) T. Georgitsis 2016

 

 

 

Organic Chinese Tea Appreciation: Glenferrie Tea House

Last year I found out the Glenferrie Tea House started to offer organic chinese tea appreciation sessions so I booked myself in as I have an obsession with tea.

The appreciation session lasted for about 2 hours and was set in the master tea makers home complete with traditional tea table and chairs.

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The different types of teas we tried were white tea (top near the small tea cups) and in order from left to right (bottom near prosperity pigs) were oolong also known as red tea, green tea and black tea.

My favourite was the Green tea which was the Green Puerh and the Oolong tea known as Red Puerh was perfect for my constitution (love it when my natural medicine knowledge can be used).  I found the Black Tea known as Hei Cha was the longest fermented we had at 10 years old which had an interesting flavour, since I’d never had black tea before.  All teas were from the same region in China – Yunnan Province and other than the loose non fermented White and Green were packed as disks.

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I learned so much about Traditional Chinese Tea I never knew before.  The things which stood out for me was the first brew of any tea is the tea wash to remove any impurities from the processing of the herbs and should not be drunk.  Also white tea and green teas only make about 5 good brews whilst red and black can make up to 10-15 and the notes change drastically with each brew.  Lastly White and Green tea shouldn’t be kept past 1 year after its been exposed to the air as its worthless unlike black or red tea which can last longer due to the fermentation (similar to wine).

The great thing is I have confirmation that my palette is still delicate as I could definitely taste the notes in the various teas (flowers in the green, chocolate in the black etc) and asked about them which impressed the tea master even though that was not my intention – just wanted to make sure I was tasting it right.

white tea trying

 

All images (C) T. Georgitsis 2016

 

 

 

Spirit of Place: Bali

I’ve been to Bali quite a few times in my life due to the beauty I’ve witnessed. Most times there I havent taken images but others have and here are some of my favorite memories.

The stunning sunset view from the Potato Head beach:

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The lush rice fields seen all through rural Bali:

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The active volcano Mount Batur:

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Temple of Death in Monkey Forest:

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This temple was dedicated to Rangda – the witch in Balinese Hinduism  who is the one whom presides over the temple of death which is also known as the destruction temple.  She is shown in the pillars above with big curves, long hair and petruding tongue. Apparently she is a very beautiful woman when she is in a good mood and turns into an ugly bitch when pissed off. This temple was near the end of the complex and was fairly deserted but it resonated with so much power and I felt Hekate there too.

Sari Restaurant Temple overlooking active volcano:

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The shrine above was attached to a restaurant that sat on one of the edges/tops of another volcano across from the active one.  We were so high up the views were spectacular.  There was nothing much else to see this high up except for the farm land on the way up and down the volcano but you could definitely feel the power of the place.

Local village temple:

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This is the first temple we visited in a local village not frequented by tourists at all.  Its their creation temple and in the Balinese Hindu traditions each village has 3 temples.  A creation temple (birth presided over by Brahma) and a protection temple ( to preserve existance/life presided over by Vishnu) which are localed on the NE corner of the village and then a death temple (destruction presided over by Shiva or Rangda) which is located outside the village and also serves as a cemetary as villages have a cremation ceremony once every 15 years due to cost.

Coolman (our driver and guide) was a practising Hindu so he told us in depth about his practice and what the symbolism of certain things meant and answered all my questions.  He was surprised about how much I knew about his faith but I explained that I’d grown up with a Hindu friend  and I’d been to Bali several times before as well as researching the Hindu faith out of curiosity.

The minute we crossed over the thresshold to the temple above Coolman said that we were in a place of power and said that he knew that as his hair stood on his arms and he had goosebumps (its his sign that he is in a liminal place).  My finace and I both felt it as well and it was quite magickal.

After that we ended up having a quite interesting coversation on Kharma and the rest of the day which followed was probably the best tour I’ve done in Bali 😀

All images (C) S. Altman 2011

 

Orphic Hymn to Hekate in Greek

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Αρχαία Ελληνική Ορφικό Ύμνο Εκάτη

Εἰνοδίην Ἑκάτην κλῄζω, τριοδῖτιν, ἐραννήν,

οὐρανίην χθονίην τε καὶ εἰναλίην, κροκόπεπλον,

τυμβιδίην, ψυχαῖς νεκύων μέτα βακχεύουσαν,

Περσείαν, φιλέρημον, ἀγαλλομένην ἐλάφοισιν,

νυκτερίην, σκυλακῖτιν, ἀμαιμάκετον βασίλειαν,

θηρόβρομον, ἄζωστον, ἀπρόσμαχον εἶδος ἔχουσαν,

ταυροπόλον, παντὸς κόσμου κληιδοῦχον ἄνασσαν,

ἡγεμόνην, νύμφην, κουροτρόφον, οὐρεσιφοῖτιν,

λισσομένοις κούρην τελεταῖς ὁσίῃσι παρεῖναι

βουκόλῳ εὐμενέουσαν ἀεὶ κεχαρηότι θυμῷ.