How to Create and Cast Effective Spells
by Gerina Dunwich
A High Priestess of the Old Religion and a professional astrologer who also divines with Tarot cards, has been spell casting since childhood. An occult historian, spiritualist, and founder of both The Pagan Poets Society and The Wheel of Wisdom School, Gerina is the author of 18 highly successful books on Wicca and the spellcasting arts.
June 21st the approximate date
The Summer Solstice (also known as Midsummer, Litha, Saint John's Day, and many other names) marks the longest day and shortest night of the year. At Sunrise on this day, many Witches around the world continue to carry on the old Pagan tradition of gathering magickal and medicinal herbs from the gardens or from the wild to use on potions, dream pillows, poppets, and so forth.
The types of spellcasting traditionally associated with this time of year include, but are not limited to, fertility/virility rites, protective magick (especially the crafting of amulets for protection), animal blessings, vision questing, divinations (particularly through dreams and visions), and rituals involving abundance, empowerment.
Quote from Highroads of Literature Fourth Book Thomas Nelson & Sons
Then comes evening when the day's work is done, when the merry bells ring, and youths and maids dance on the village green to the sound of music. When night falls, the cheerful man and his friends gather around the fireside, where they tell wondrous tales of the fairy queen and Robin Goodfellow, who will sometimes thresh corn in the night for those who are friendly to him. With such simple pleasures the day ends, and the happy villagers retire to bed.
Children had rested on the luscious land and used red thread to tie a sprig of rowan for protection and to enhance magic, a sprig of rue to send hexes away, and three flowers of St. John’s Wort to protect against bad dreams. The craftwork would be hung over the entrance of their residential doorways. Hailey had joined others to design lacy, dream pillows. Inspiration from the mind moved through their hands as they sewed red thread to their pattern. The pillows would later be put under our heads for an informative dream while they slept.
Many activities still went on at night. Young and old danced, ate, and played games. They seemed to have the time of their lives. Others strolled the grounds while talking and enjoying the upbeat tunes. Avril eyed some of the wise women pass by the fires and dispose old and deteriorated amulets which were no longer needed into the flames. Upon doing so, electrifying sparks shot sporadically into the open air.
Avril took a deep breath when she saw the wee children take turns at making a silent wish then leap over the dancing flames. She sighed relief as each landed safely on the other side. A few mothers walked by. A pouch for psychic vision, made earlier, hung from a braided rope around the waist of their ritual robes. Midsummer is a time of season when aids of love divination are widely used. It seemed most took advantage of the amorous energy, vibrations and rhythms.
Very powerful midsummer’s perfumes consumed the site. Lavender incense to learn the secrets of love and orchid for night love burned. In the distance Avril saw a grandmother drop a chunk of butter onto a pan that sat on a grill over a barbecue fire. She then laid a trout to fry. Steam rose over a large black-like cauldron. Each time a cob of corn was removed to be eaten another was quickly tossed into the boiling water to cook. Children stood and waited for hamburgers that roasted. Their mouths watered for a taste. To cut the potatoes’ baking time in half the ones who helped the kitchen wise woman pierced the potatoes with a fork then placed them on the grill. At the rough-hewn tables and benches, mothers, maidens, children and grandmothers sat and enjoyed the meal offered. Sliced ham, pork and beef, sweet rolls, cornbread, biscuits and an array of summer salads, homemade pies - brown and ready to serve. Ice-cold pink and yellow lemonade was in large jugs to quench a thirst.
As the hungry entered the outdoor kitchen, the enticing simmering aroma of vegetable and Scotch broth with bean and bacon as well as split pea soup lifted their expressions. The females laughed till their sides hurt and ate until their bellies looked like they would burst.
Hailey, Corena, Cortney and the twins walked in Avril’s direction. Each held their hawthorn faerie wand created in class and appeared to be overjoyed in the festival activities. They sat on the ground and spoke of how they had put themselves in tune with the season. Cortney had collected vervain then burned the herb as an altar offering to bring visions of love. Corena had joined her peers and tossed golden straw in the wind to attract the faeries. She said the straw was left where it had landed as a gift for the wee- folk. Hailey and a few of the grandmothers had burned St. John’s Wort to send negative vibrations away. At noon, Shanna and Hanna had picked marigolds. Each flower’s petals were added to spring water and brought to a boil upon an open fire.
Hanna raised a small cauldron and Shanna lifted a dainty brush. "It was done so that we would easily spot the faeries in the darkness," Corena explained. After Avril’s lids were coated she looked out at the sea of women, young and old, who wore black. Apart from them, children in faerie attire were having their eyes painted. The girls watched in glee when the children searched under the elder trees in hope of a sighting. None touch the offerings left by others for the faeries.
The girls, completely energized, jumped to their feet. Hailey invited Avril to join in their faerie hunt. Politely, Avril declined. She explained that for the past week she had pondered over a territory map and had chosen her own route to travel. Cortney and Corena mercifully begged for Avril to change her mind and come with the group, but Avril politely refused. Her heart was set on going solo. Respecting Avril’s decision, her sister-friends went on their merry way across the meadow, waving their faerie wands high.
Avril stood, stretched, then with one hand she grabbed her satchel filled with the elemental tools she needed and clutched her faerie wand with the other. She made her way along the horse trail with enthusiasm. She heard women from far away acknowledge their openness and connection they had with the universe. They chanted: PANTA RHEI, OUDEN MENEI. Avril knew the translation meant, “Everything flows, nothing is static.”
Avril headed for the woods. A hook at the top of a metal rod suspended lanterns high enough in the trees to illuminate the night. Sacred circles made of stones, coal, feathers and flowers remained in place, a reminder that Summer Solstice or Midsummer was an excellent time to perform love magic.
The maidens Avril passed plucked rose blossoms. She had been told, just like them, if a rose bud was laid beneath a pillow on Midsummer’s Eve, the scent would attract a faint or misty image in her dream time of her future partner. He would grace her with his presence and stay until she woke. This allowed the maiden to recognize who he was when they met in their working lives.
Avril entered the forest. The canopy of trees created a shadow overhead. With each step she felt the natural debris scattered on the dirt floor. Only muted stirrings could be heard. Avril wondered if the sound came from faeries jumping from one elm branch to another. She took no time to explore as she was dedicated to finding an ash, oak and hawthorn tree grown in the shape of a triangle.
In the center, Avril would find mushrooms which were designed in the shape of a faerie ring, an entrance to Fairyland. She planned to invoke the Faerie Goddess, “Aisling,” to bring a wish to realization. Avril hoped that the Faerie Queen would give information to further her growth. The river moved slowly close by. Large ferns brushed up against her covered legs. Avril watched a frog zap a mosquito right out of the air. She passed a flock of wood ducks asleep with their heads tucked under their wing. Near the shore, a turtle poked its head out of the surface before he dove beneath the water and swam off. Cattails, tall and stately, grew at the perimeter and blew in the light wind.
As Avril traveled, she thought to herself that there was plenty of life-sustaining foraging material in the wetlands, a natural habitat for animals, plants and birds. The wetlands was an ecosystem consisting of plants, fish, frogs, snails, birds, bullfrogs, and insects. Where everything was in its place, everything was in order, all with purpose, all with meaning.
Avril remembered the lesson from her youth; that there is a partnership of plants and creatures in the wetlands. The water drew the insects; the frogs come in search of the insects for a meal and the snakes arrive and stalk the frogs. The larger animals feed on the smaller animals and vegetation. The plants depend on the carbon dioxide and organic matter given by insects, fish, birds, and animals that, in turn, need the oxygen given off by the plant. A natural habitat of cooperation, each independent, yet eventually cannot exist without one another.
By the demeanor of Lilith’s body language, she seemed heavy in heart. The black cotton robe she wore clung delicately to her frame. Her elbows rested on her knees as her arms were crossed over her chest with hands clasped to opposite shoulders making her appear to hug herself in a solace embrace. The expression on Lilith’s face was sullen as she sat in silence. Lilith gazed on the water’s surface as if it were a mirror admiring her on features.
Avril scanned the area. She saw that a sacred circle had been erected with pebbles from the river with a small pit fire burning in the center. A bundle of herbs which resembled a smudge stick was lit in each of the four quarters of the ring. Dried corn husks lay on the ground. Avril could smell the aroma from powdered willow, oak and birch.
The smoke from the smudge sticks and fire rose into the night then dispersed when it reached the night sky. While Lilith pondered, with Avril’s left hand she quickly composed a vertical-angled, short, upward stroke then a short slash from the middle out to the left. The symbol represents an object of power, a protection rune. The inscription would guard Avril for she knew not what was to come.
The water had a hypnotic effect on Lilith, as she dipped her finger into the water. Lilith placed a solar cross on her heart and third eye connecting the two together. Then, with her left hand cupped, she scooped and drank water from the river three separate times.
The calm water began to stir and rippled outward in continuous circles. Avril realized Lilith was attempting to invoke the Water Faerie, the Lady of the Lake. By using the smoke from the smudge sticks Lilith attempted to attract the Irish Moon Goddess, Aine, who, on Midsummer, would command the Faeries to parade around the sacred ring and grant Lilith’s wish. The Moon Goddess would bless her love with luck.
In a faint mist above the water’s surface appeared a captivating vision of a woman. She radiated with a golden glow. Avril could not make out what she wore but she heard her say, “The greatest gift given is love. It’s not all pleasant, but can be painful, too. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty depends upon attitude. See beauty within, you will see beauty in others.” Avril watched the Lady of the Lake vanish.
By Lilith’s reaction she passed over the wisdom given.
Lilith was anxious as she sat in the sacred ring in front of the fire. An orange glow emanated. Lilith tossed the powdered willow, oak and birch bark from a wooden bowl onto the flames. The fire exploded then danced at a safe height. Lilith tapped her Faerie wand three times on the ground and called the Faeries.
The smoke waffled upward. Avril watched for the faeries to come, but none came.
Right then, shock ran through every inch of Avril’s being. She realized the price of her intrigue. The visionary hour had passed and the boundary of the earthly and Faerie worlds was closed. Avril had missed an opportunity to enter Faerie Kingdom.
Avril sat and waited while Lilith cleared the energy in the space she had occupied. Lilith stopped cold and peered over her shoulder in Avril’s direction. Avril was sure Lilith had a sense of her presence. To Avril’s relief, Lilith turned and walked in the opposite direction from where she hid. Lilith disappeared into the dark woods. Avril sat and was truly disappointed that she missed a chance to enter Faerie Kingdom.
June, Avril thought, a more perfect month than any other. She laid in comfort as the warm wind gave slight relief from the burning sun. Her sister-friends discussed the Faerie riddles given on Midsummer among themselves and each given their answer.
Hanna and Shanna took turns to speak. Avril heard the twins say they had sat in the meadow to invoke the Fairie Queen. They heard strange music just before she had appeared. When the splendid woman showed herself she wanted to know what existences had no straight lines, and how must one successfully proceed to remain in existence?
“After careful consideration and discussion with my sister,” Hanna said, “I answered the Faerie Queen, ‘Life, it is full of curves.’ To proceed successfully, to remain in existence, one must learn to serve.”
Shanna interrupted, “Before the Faerie Queen had disappeared into the night, she had blessed the sisters love with luck.”
Cortney was excited. Quickly, she told her Faerie Riddle, “What is one thing of great importance that we have now which we did not have a hundred years ago?”
“I knew the answer,” Cortney said,smiling. “I told the Faerie Queen it was my unique self. And then the Faeries appeared and danced in joy to bless my love with luck.”
“The grass within my ring glittered with light when I invoked a Faerie Queen for a blessing of luck in love.” Marley stated.
Corena interrupted her siter-friend. “The Faerie Queen had requested to know the answer to a riddle I felt had been too simple, ‘You had it, you have it, you will have it’,” she explained. “I told the wondrous Faerie Queen that life was a continual process with very few true endings, the sum of a combined journey of Past, Present and Future, all rolled into one.”
Avril felt Hailey nudge her bare leg. She was curious to know what faerie riddle had been given to Avril to solve. Avril sat up and shifted her position to sit yoga style and explained that she had been sidetracked and missed the witching hour. Lilith’s eyes met with Avril’s and the flash of a message was revealed. Without words, she expressed that there was no love lost between them. Avril had no intention to reveal Lilith's meeting with the Water Faerie. The win, she knew, would serve no real purpose.
To be continued....
pictures & text copyright A.Skelhorn