Wednesday, October 15, 2014

From Goddess to Hag: The Demonization of the Crone

A primary symbol of Halloween is the bulb-nosed, black-clad, eat-your-children-for-breakfast old witch. You’ll recognize her by her pointy hat, broom (besom), cauldron, and black cat. She’s depicted as one of two extremes: a belittling crone caricature or a fierce embodiment of dark magic. Neither image reflects her true origins.

Many cultures throughout the world once revered the triple Goddess. She manifested in three aspects: Maiden, Mother, and Crone. These archetypes matched the phases of the moon, the cycles of a woman’s life, and the Earth’s annual seasons. Halloween and its Celtic precursor Samhain (SOW-en) follow the abundant harvest period of the Mother and mark the fallow season of the Crone.

Before the Christian Church redefined and demonized the Divine Feminine and Her followers, the Crone, a word derived from “crown,” symbolized tribal leadership and/or a priestess in the old religion. The word “hag” derived from the Greek hagia, meant holy woman. The Crone was a Wisdom Keeper, tribal elder, medicine woman, Grandmother, and sage. She is the waning moon and the Gateway to Death. Her cauldron is the vessel of rebirth. Her broom (besom) sweeps away the negative past. Her black cape symbolizes the darkness of long winter nights, death, and the Otherworld. Although a pointy hat has replaced her crown, the hat symbolizes the cone of power witches raise when they perform magic.

The Crone in the Teen Wytche Saga
In Spell For Sophia (November 2014, Astraea Press), Book #4, The Teen Wytche Saga by Ariella Moon, a teen runaway finds temporary sanctuary with an aged voodoo priestess. Sophia’s survival depends upon her mastering magic and the supernatural before her lawless parents and their vengeful boss catch up to her.

Sometimes the worst scars are the ones you cannot see.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Evolution of Trick or Treating

From Samhain to Halloween 

Centuries before modern-day Halloween and its army of costumed trick-or-treaters, Celtic people in Ireland, northern France, Scotland, and Wales celebrated Samhain. The tradition of trick-or-treating evolved from this pre-Christian festival.

The Celts

Samhain (SOW-in, SAH-win, or SAH-ween) marked the end of summer. The veil between realms was thinnest, and the souls of those who had died during the past year traveled into the otherworld. But the portal worked both ways. nacestors and other spirits from the otherworld and fairies from fairy mounds could cross into the human world.
Photo: Ariella Moon. Stone carving,
Barclodiad y Gawres, Wales

The Celts disguised themselves in animal skin costumes to a drive back the spirits. They left food offerings to appease the ghosts and fay. Bonfires were lit to deflect unwanted spirits and to light the way for departing souls.

Mummers. Photo found on Pinterest

In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued an edict directing missionaries to no longer directly try to obliterate native beliefs and customs. Instead, his followers were instructed to overlay Christian beliefs. Wells sacred to the goddess Brigid became wells dedicated to Saint Bridget. The festival to the goddess Oestra became Easter. Jesus’s birthday was switched to coincide with the winter solstice. The list goes on. In the 9th century A.D. the church tried to subsume Samhain with All Saints Day/All Hallows. All Hallow’s Eve incorporated the belief in high supernatural activity. But the church claimed the Celtic otherworld was the Christian Hell, and demonized spirits, witches, and fairies as well as the Celtic priests, the druids. Mummers, people disguised as the demonized folk, would perform antics and threaten more mischief (tricks). Villagers would appease them with food (treats). All Hallow’s Eve became Halloween.


In 1000 A.D. the Catholic Church designated November 2nd (Samhain) as All Soul’s Day. In England, the poor would visit the wealthy and promise to pray for the wealthy people’s deceased kin in exchange for soul cakes. Later, children would take up the task of souling for treats or coins.

Samhain traditions have survived for over 2,000 years. For an inside look at how one American coven celebrates Samhain, click here.
Copyright 2014 Ariella Moon

In Spell Check by Ariella Moon, high school freshman Evie O’Reilly must prevent her best friend from casting a binding love spell on Evie’s secret crush, Jordan. Soon it will be Halloween, the anniversary of Evie’s father’s death. It’s also when the moon will be optimum for spell casting. Can Evie push past her grief in time to save Jordan? 
To read an excerpt or purchase any book in the Teen Wytche Saga, click below.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Moon Magic for Global Peace

Aries Blood Moon and Total Lunar Eclipse
The lunar eclipse begins on October 8, 2014 at 6:25AM, Eastern Daylight Time. 
The Full Moon will occur the same day at 6:55AM EDT.

Wednesday’s Blood Moon will be nearly the size of a super moon, appearing 5.3% larger than last April’s Blood Moon. The total lunar eclipse, lasting about an hour, will be visible over Australia, the Pacific, and the Americas.

The eclipse marks the completion of a cycle and a particularly good year for those born on October 8 or April 8. Additionally, according to Pam Ciampi, co-author of Llewellyn’s 2014 Daily Planetary Guide, this eclipse “can be a major positive influence on national or global power struggles.” Let’s hope so!

Moon Magic
Use a burnt red-orange or white cloth on your personal altar. Add a dark red candle to represent the fire sign Aries and the sun’s rays slipping around the periphery of the Earth and reddening the moon. Add a white candle to represent peace and the moon in its normal state. Consider performing personal magic for completion and global magic for peace.

String Magic
For personal magic you will need a length of red yarn or string that is long enough to fit around your wrist (or ankle) after knotting. Or you may make it 9 inches to harness the power of three times three, wrap it around your wrist or ankle, or leave it on your altar.

1.     Perform this spell the night before the Blood Moon or during the full moon before it becomes void of course (10:20 AM, EDT).

2.     Before you begin the working, thread a bead or in some other way mark the point where you will begin the spell. Then knot each end of the yarn to keep it from unraveling. For global magic, use a white or pale blue yarn.

3.     What project or cycle do you wish to complete? Light the red candle. List three things you can do to wrap up the process. Place the list on your altar and read it out loud. Holding the red yarn or string, envision completing the tasks or actions with ease and grace. As you say the spell below, tie the first knot near the bead, then the second wherever the placement feels right, then the third near the end away from the bead:

A knot of one, the work has begun.
A knot of two, I see it through.
A knot of three, so mote it be.

4.     Over the next three days untie the knots in the order your tied them.
Day One: begin the work; untie the first knot.
Day Two: see it through; untie the second knot.
Day Three: release the third knot as you complete your goal.

For Global Peace and/or Wellness

1.     If possible, perform this spell on Tuesday before the Blood Moon. Tuesdays are the best day for magic involving men, conflict, and politics.

2.     Use a nine-inch white or pale blue yarn. Thread a bead to mark the point where you will start, and then knot each end of the cord. Decide on your intent — conclude one particular conflict or more? Stop Ebola? Choose how long you wish to power the magic. Three weeks? Three months?

3.     Light the white candle. Hold the cord as you envision a global conflict or health pandemic ending. Envision the crisis as it is now, and then imagine the steps that must be taken (peace treaty brokered, creation and dispersal of a vaccine, etc.) to achieve a positive outcome. Then envision peace or wellness. Once knotted, do not wear the string. Leave it on your altar.

A knot of one, the work has begun.
A knot of two, I see it through.
A knot of three, so mote it be.

4.     The day after you perform the spell, untie the first knot. If you chose a three-week spell, then untie the second knot on the second week, the third knot on the third week. For a three-month spell, untie the first knot on the day after you cast the spell. Release the second knot at the November full moon and the third knot at the December full moon.
© 2014 by Ariella Moon

 Related article on the Blood Moon CNN
Coming November 2014: Spell For Sophia by Ariella Moon, Book #4, The Teen Wytche Saga

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

3 Most Haunted Cities In the USA

The Three Most Haunted Cities in the USA:
New Orleans, San Francisco, and San Antonio

Photo by Ariella Moon

Haunted cities aren’t the best place for a shaman. Horrific people and tragic events leave ominous or heartbreaking energy imprints on buildings, battlefields, prisons, and long-gone field hospitals. Luisah Teish, author of Jambalya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals  (Harper One 1985), identifies New Orleans and San Francisco as “psychic seaports.” In regard to New Orleans, Teish explains:

“Visitors to the city become `tipsy’ after being there only a short time. `Tipsy’ is the name given to that state of mind that precedes possession.”

I believe tourists drink heavily in New Orleans to dull the waves of psychic energy. Personally, I avoid the French Quarter even though I love its architecture. But research for my fourth novel in the Teen Wytche Saga, Spell For Sophia (November 2014, Astraea Press), compelled me to visit the Big Easy. Two months later, I landed in San Antonio for the Romance Writers of America national conference. San Francisco? After decades of living near “the city” I no longer feel its psychic pulse. But what should you do if you if you visit a haunted city?
The Alamo, as drawn in 1854

3 Tips for Avoiding A Psychic Assault

1.     Research. Highly haunted cities have violent or catastrophic pasts and a high concentration of fatalities within a narrow vicinity. New Orleans has experienced multiple battles, slavery, plagues, and floods. It has also housed some notoriously macabre personalities. In San Antonio, roughly 800 people died during the 13-day siege at the Alamo. San Francisco lost an estimated 3,000 people during the 1906 earthquake and the fires that followed. Research will warn you which buildings and areas to avoid.

1906 San Francisco Earthquake
Looking toward the fire on Sacramento Street
Photo by Arnold Genthe

2.     Shield. Do not walk around with an Open-to-be-Haunted attitude. Nasty entities and energies will react as though issued an invitation to harass, frighten, and invade you. Instead, envision yourself completely covered by a silver psychic HAZMAT suit. Then mentally pull in the suit until it becomes a second-skin superhero suit. Visualize it deflecting unwanted energies and entities.

3.     Fight Magic With Magic. Wear an amulet, a magically charged protective item. In Spell For Sophia, Breaux, the grandson of a voodoo priestess, gives Sophia a silver dime on a red string to ward off evil. Some people wear a cross. Others carry jet, a stone that protects against evil spirits. An amulet could be a symbol of your ancestors or your totem animal. I wear amethyst, a healing stone that also wards off danger.

New Orleans, San Francisco, and San Antonio are beautiful cities, well worth visiting. Just be informed, shield, and wear or carry an amulet so you can have a magical time minus the evil entities.
~Ariella Moon
Copyright 2014 Ariella Moon