Lughnasadh Rituals

Its Lughnasadh here in New Zealand, the year is slowing turning from high summer to the beginnings of the autumnal season, and its raining.  The rain is a good thing as it has been a hot and dry summer, one of those summers where fires have been caused by idiots throwing their cigarette buts out the car window as they drive by, which while Lughnasadh is a ‘fire’ festival cigarette but fires are not really what it is about, but I digress..

Flowers of Autumn
A Bank of Orange Autumn flowers growing wild near by where live

This year once again I am on the hunt for a new job as my fixed term contracted job has come to an end.  At the same time I am looking at expanding my business Urban Witchery,  and launch my new label Hang It All NZ, which if all going to plan, will be in six months.  So this means that while I am hunting for new work I will also be building my stock up, (read as doing a ton of designing and sewing)  so that I have a bunch of Wall Hangings ready to sell and a Bunch of New Zealand Themed Tapestries for Hang It All NZ as  I am hoping to have an exhibition in the middle of the year, as a part of launching that lable.   I might even get a few more blog posts written and posted about the place. Things are indeed very busy, not to dissimilar to harvesting, so aptly right for the season.

Wall Hangings 013
Wall Hangings by Urban Witchery, a Stags head, Mr and Mrs Wednesday and a Boar

My Lughnasadh rituals this year involved physically cleaning and organising my fabric and studio (also my lounge) and cleansing my house.  As this was being done I was also setting the energy for the next few months, not sowing seeds as such, but more clearing away the chaff and removing a few of the overgrown weeds, so that I can use the last of the summer energy to bring bounty and blessiings into my house and home.  As I sorted out my various Wall Hanging designs, I made plans for the coming months.  As I tidied and folded my fabrics, I re-organised my days so that I could achieve balance, between looking for work, creating works of art from fabric and a little bit of time off.    As I removed the unusable fabric scraps, and rubbish from the corners, I also girdled my loins, as job hunting is difficult in these times and I know that it is easy to lose heart. As I burnt frankincense I set the intention of what type of job I was looking for, and the life I intended to make, and finally as I vacuumed, I sent this collected energy and intent out to the places that it needed to be. And you thought I was a Hedgewitch.. *winks*

IMG_0211
My Morning Walk

And lastly I enjoyed the company of some old friends, where Mead, Tea and the most excellent Peanut butter cookies was had.

I am tentatively looking forward to the coming months to see how it all unfolds.  I have set some strong foundations, made some excellent plans, and sorted out the dreck from the corners of my house, so that  the energy and magic continues to move and flow in the direction that I wish,  rather than growing weedy or stagnant.  I have blessed, planned, sorted and created intent. And sent that intent out to where it will help bring in the Autumn Harvest, so to speak.

So how did you spend your Lughnasadh or Brigid (Imbolc) for those of you in the northern hemisphere?

Ipad pics 077
Heart Hex Sigil Banner, by Urban Witchery

 

 

You Say Folklore we say Kiwiana

Altars July 2013 007 - Copy

New Zealand is not really old enough to have magical folklore as such, we were settled about 150 years ago, wait let me rephrase that, Europeans did not really settle in any great numbers here until about 150 years ago, around the late 1800’s and early 1900s with larges amounts of immigration happening after World War I and World War II, well after, it can be said, the time when magic was something other than fairy tales that you told children.

This means that Magical Folk Lore, from far of places like Europe, didn’t really make it here, and if they did it didn’t really stick.  New Zealand was a pretty harsh and isolated place to live for those early settlers.

The Maori have been here a bit longer, with their estimated time of arrival being somewhere in the middle of the 13th Century (1250 – 1300).  This is a very difficult thing to pinpoint as much of the housing, clothing, weapons and things require for living were made from very natural materials, and thus did not last the test of time so that they could be dug up by intrepid anthropologist and carbon dated to give an accurate reading.  There are a few objects, which can be found in our museums,  but for the most part there was not very much, so we have I believe relied on a combination of myths, educated guesses, geology, and the few items that have been found to give us and idea about when the Maori people arrived and settled in Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud.

The  Maori People who on the one hand, have been here longer, have a culture and tradition that is steeped in Magic and deeply spiritual lore, however we as Pakeha understand that this is not our culture so to speak, and do not want to be seen to be stealing said culture.

On the other hand Maori Spirituality is our nation’s civic spirituality, the guardian if you will of our public buildings, schools, libraries, and the like.  The Maori culture is also something that can be difficult to completely understand and the use or nonuse of it is littered with so much conflict, politics, anger and unhappy outcomes that it can be better to just mind your manners and be respectful and thoughtful all things Maori.

I know for sure that the majority of Kiwi Pagans want to be able to honour the spirituality of this land that was here before the settlers, aka Maori deity, culture and spirituality, but also do not want to go so far as to misappropriate as that would be rude. I did a study on this back for Honours when I was at university.

Also by the time that settlers arrived here Magic had pretty much been deligated to the realm of superstitions and fairy tale. 

So what this all means is that for those of us who lean towards a more ‘traditional’ style of magical witchcraft practice, there is no obvious folklore for use to use, as such, especially if we are also interested in practicing the magic of the land we physically live in.

So what is a Urban Witch to do, sure some folklore made its way over here via the various settlers and where they come from, but like I said before it was less magical folk lore and more customs and culture, because by the late 1800’s and early 1900’s people no longer believed in magic in the same way.  Maori spirituality however has become New Zealand’s Civic Spirituality, it is how we open parliament, bless new public buildings, schools and public spaces.  It is pretty much what we as a nation turn to when we need formal ceremonies and that in and of itself is magical.

We do have something that we call Kiwiana, which is as I see it, a precursor to Folklore,  and something that is going to be the topic of my blogging here, along the practicalities of being a practicing Witch who is born and bread in New Zealand.    I will also be cross posting the posts to my main blog, Another Witches Blog,

Bibliography of sorts

King, Michael – The Penguin History of New Zealand 2003 (http://www.amazon.com/The-Penguin-History-New-Zealand/dp/0143018671)

Lind, Polly (yup that’s me)  The Appropriation of Maori Spirituality into Paganism in New Zealand.  2003ish also if you want a copy if could probably hunt you one down, it is not very long, it is however in the form of an academic essay.. J

Spring is Coming

Spring is coming here in the Southern Hemisphere

Dandilions

I have taken a break from intensely reading about Magic, Paganism and the Esoteric for a spell.  I am about half way through several books, Kristoffer Hughs Cauldron BornAya: A Shamanic Odyssey by Rak R Razam, and Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival, by  Melusine Draco, which was sent to me by Moon Books  Pagan and Esoteric publisher, the book is due to be published this August.  All three I would like to review, but seeing as this is not a book review blog, I figured, it was time to post about something else.    So on my train rides to and from work I have been reading novels and pondering what to write about here.

While I have taken a small break from reading about Magic and Paganism, my Witchy practice as such and as off beat as it is, has not taken a break.  And this weekend was all about preparing for the coming spring.  This year for me spring has not come early as it has done so in other years, but it is coming and it’s not far off now.  I can almost smell it in the air.  My Saturday was spent taking a part of protest against the GCSB Bill,  with about 10,000 other New Zealanders around the country, which has left me with an image of a hand full of sand being held so tightly that the sand just slips through the fingers, and the hope that because governements all over the world are clawing so tightly to the way things were that, what will be in, and the people of that future will slip through their fingers.  But I digress.

My Sunday was about spring cleaning.  It was a glorious sunny day on Sunday and apparently time to spring clean my room, dusting my various altars, picking up all my clothes from the corner of my room, and chasing the dust bunnies out the door.  I cleansed as I went, as is the witches way really, using two smudge sticks made by a fellow Witch and Artist, both work wonderfully and whats more smell great.

So for your viewing pleasure, some of the fruits of my labour.

The Goddess Altar, and the God Altar

Altars July 2013 028

A little while ago I decided that I wanted to explore masculine and feminine as such.  It is much talked about within the various pagan traditions, and comes in many different forms, Goddess and God, Lord and Lady, Brigid and Lughnasadh, Dark God and Light God, Dark Goddess and Light Goddess, the list goes on.  So in order to help me understand the masculine and feminine I decided to create two altars, which are more like shrines, one for the Goddess and One for the God.

Altars July 2013 017

Did I discover anything new about said Goddess and Gods? The Masculine and the Feminine?  Sort of yes and sort of I am still working on that.. I figure it is an on-going process like most things on this path.

Altars July 2013 001

This is my current working altar, which is new, not the working altar so much as what is on it and how this has been arranged.  You see I am going to do some exploratory work on what is known here in New Zealand as Kiwiana, which I figure one day will be our folklore.  It sort of is already but not called that. When you Google New Zealand folklore you usually get Maori Mythology and Legends, which is all very well but I feel that it only tells part of the story.  What about the traditions the Europeans brought with them when they immigrated here? It was not so long ago that I can call them folk traditions, but there were various traditions that arrived on our shores with the settlers which has evolved into something distinctly Kiwi,  hence my exploration into Kiwiana.

In short Kiwiana   is a collection of objects that have over the last 100 – 150 years or so become iconic.  Some are old, as such and others are not that old.  Some are Maori in origin, for example the Tiki of which I have two forms on my working altar. (the statue on the right, and the green figure hanging on the glass thing in the middle)   Other objects, are from the countries where the settlers came from, for example Lamingtons, a sponge cake coated with strawberry or chocolate thin icing and coated in coconut, which could be Australian in origin, or actually Hungarian, where it is called coconut cake, or coconut square but in Hungarian of course. What is important here, is that they are quite iconically kiwi, hence the title Kiwiana.  Over the next little while in amongst the various reviews and other posts I am hoping to also explore various aspects of Kiwiana and its magical application.

kiwiana

Photo taken from here

Now I am going to be using a principle that comes from American Hoodoo and root work, which is, from what I understand that Hoodoo and Root workers used pretty much what was on hand.  So instead of purchasing expensive and hard to get object and ingredients to do their hexing and root work they relied on local knowledge and a keen mind to use what was on hand.  So with these things in mind I am going to be exploring Kiwiana and with magical uses in mind, exploring the objects that I already have and their magical, spiritual and kiwi meanings.