Back to Back Issues Page
[Witch Way] Volume #5 Issue #11 -- The End of Spring, The Beginning of Summer!
April 13, 2013
Hi, Happy Beltane!

Ken's Korner

Get Witchcraft 101Of all the emails I get through the website, questions at my local Meetup, and in my regular life, one question stands out as the most asked: How Do I Start?

It’s the simplest, most basic question there is, and it’s the obvious first question. The problem is, it doesn’t have an easy answer. If you ask 10 Witches that same question, you’re likely to get 13 answers. Everyone has a different answer to not just this question, but any question you can think of. Everyone follows a different Path, and has different ideas, and so they give different answers.

So where do you start?

Unfortunately, all these different answers do is confuse the poor person who just wants to know where to start. There are so many books out there, each with their own ideas of what Wicca and Witchcraft is. When you get right down to it, most of them say exactly the same thing, they just use different words. Still, the person who is new to this Path, has no way to know this. Even those who have been looking at it for a while, may be unsure. One book says to do this, another says to do that, still another has a completely different way. As one confused student once asked me, which one is right?

They’re all right, but when you are new to this, you don’t want to hear that, you want someone to take you by the hand, and give you some answers. Most Old School Witches have been reluctant to do that, because that’s just not how things were done when they were trained. Yet the need is there, and someone needs to do something to help you, the person who is searching for more than what you have found.

So myself and some other Priests and Priestesses from several different Traditional Paths got together and have formed Witchcraft Academy. Our intent is to take all these people who are looking, but are lost in the forest of information, and show them a path that will allow them to explore different ideas, but always give them a safe place to return to while they digest the different ideas. Whether you are a complete beginner, or someone who has been exploring for a while, chances are, you are looking for some direction on how to become a better Witch.

Our first step was to create and publish an absolute beginner guide to what Wicca/Witchcraft/Paganism is. Because there are so many people looking for that first step along this Path, it seemed only logical to give them what they’ve been looking for. Some of these people have been looking for years, and they still aren’t quite sure where to begin. So a small group of Priests & Priestesses got together and wrote a book to be that first step. We called this book, Witchcraft 101.

Now you may have heard that term before. Traditionally a Wicca 101 or Witchcraft 101 has been a 13 week class that those who are new to this Path could take, usually for a small fee, that would teach a little bit about what Witchcraft is. It’s an overview, with examples of what they can expect, should they decide to follow this Path.

A Witchcraft 101 class doesn’t teach people how to be Witches, it shows them what Witchcraft is. It’s a window into the inner workings of what it’s like to be in a Coven, basic information on our holidays, and celebrations, Gods & Goddesses, and solid facts that can be used to decide if this really is the Path for them or not. This is how people were first exposed to Wicca and Witchcraft traditionally. It was a way to stick a toe in the water, without needing to jump in with both feet.

Unfortunately, book publishers have never been interested in marketing books that just give you a glimpse, they want How-To books. So for the last 20 years or so, in order to find out more about what Witchcraft is, you’ve had to learn how to be a Witch. This is like learning how to build a car, so that you can find out if you want to drive it.

This isn’t the way to look for your spiritual Path. First you need to find some basic information, from a reliable source, and then you can see if you want to learn more or not. You need to take the first step. Before we published Witchcraft 101, I sent a copy to a friend of mine to see what she thought. She’s been a Witch for more than 10 years, and is a Priestess in her own right, and I trust her opinions.

This is what she had to say,
Seriously, it was very informative for those who seek to understand and learn more about the Path. Well worth more than what you are asking. On a much more personal note, it made me think about some things that haven't crossed my mind. It caused a range of emotions for me as I read it, and many ideas in me. It made me realize that I haven't ever asked how I came to the choice of my Goddess, and that I have not discovered who my God is yet. There's just so much that it awoke in me, I could have a long conversation about it. I can see it benefiting beginners and not so beginners. I know you may not have intended that as its purpose, but it really gave so much!

Witchcraft 101 is available on Amazon, as a Kindle book. We chose this because we felt that it was the best way to get the information out to the people who are looking for it. You don’t need to have a Kindle in order to read the book, Amazon has a free Kindle reader that works with PC, Mac, Smart Phones, and Pads, so anyone who can read this, can read the book. Just download the free Kindle reader.

We also decided to price the book at just 2.99 because while many people have told us that it is worth much more, we wanted anyone to be able to afford it. This isn’t about making money, it’s about helping people like you, to get the information you need to reach your full potential. As subscribers to Witch Way, you already understand the benefits of first hand information from those with years of experience to draw from. As loyal readers, I wanted you to have the chance to get a huge discount. If you download Witchcraft 101 in the next week, you can have it for the pre-release price of only .99 this is 2/3 off the cover price.

All we are asking in exchange for this 66% discount, is that after you read the book, you post a review of it on Amazon. Reviews are how people decide if they should buy a particular book on Amazon or not. Give us your honest opinion of the book. Tell us what you liked, and what we could have done better. Give us the information we need to do a better job on our next project. This is after all, just the first step, and we plan to provide that Path for you to explore your spirituality, so that you can learn everything you want about Witchcraft and Paganism.

I don’t want this to look or sound like a sales letter. I simply want to make you aware of this book that no matter if you’re completely new, or if you have been exploring for a while, could benefit you in your spiritual journey.

You have only one week to get Witchcraft 101 at this discount price. The price rises to 2.99 on April 20, 2013, so get your copy now!

Witchcraft 101

Amazon Free Kindle Reader

Blessed Be,
Ken

Ken Biles



Plants, Petals, & Potions

by Julie Andaverde

April showers are upon us. Unfortunately for the Denver Metro area, we’re getting more snow showers than anything. Though it’s still cold and the last few breaths of winter continue to nip at us, the life of a very common “weed” stirs beneath our frosty footsteps. Soon, the hills and horizon will be lush and green with familiar yellow flowers that are all too often overlooked...
Red Clover White Clover
Herb: Dandelion
Latin Name: Taraxacum Officinale, Taraxacum Erythrospermum
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Taraxacum
Synonyms: N/A
Common Names: Dandelion, Lion’s Tooth, a common weed, fairy clocks
Parts Used: Roots, leaves, flowers
Gods and Goddesses: Hekate
Magical Uses: divination, love, evocation/invocation, alraun magic, solar magic

History and Folklore:

Where is Dandelion not found? With its fluffy seeds easily carried by the winds, Dandelion has spread across the world with its deep roots helping it to evade weeding attempts. You can intentionally grow them from seed, or by transplanting, to more easily keep track of the age and size of the roots as well as for lettuce greens. If you transplant, don’t be alarmed if the leaves die. The root is still alive and the leaves will come back once the root is used to its new home. This speaks to Dandelion's ability to adapt to its environment, no matter how challenging. Dandelion magic is the magic of adaptation. The healing ways of dandelion spread as quickly as its seeds parachute in the wind. The Chinese were the first to describe dandelion's medicinal virtues in purifying the blood and increasing the immune system. By the eleventh century, Arabic cultures were sharing its use to treat troubles of the liver and kidneys. Soon all of Europe was using dandelion in their kitchens and storing it in their medicine cabinets.

Dandelion's bright yellow flowers open in the morning with the sun's first light and close again in the evening, giving it a strong sun affinity. As a result, it has been given the name “fairy clocks” as their flowers open and close predictably. Dandelion is one of the first to flower in spring and one of the last to go dormant in the winter. It prefers cooler weather, flowering more profusely in the spring and fall than in the summer. All of this speaks to Dandelion's sensitivity. Dandelion asks us to be equally aware of the conditions under which we can best use the power we have. Collect the bright yellow flowers before they go to seed on a sunny day to make sweet Dandelion wine. Instead of tossing Dandelions you dig up into the compost pile, save the leaves for salads or cooked greens and save the roots to dry for magic or roast for a delicious coffee substitute.

Dandelion has also been used as a tool for divination. Children can make a wish then blow on the seed head to have the winds carry their wishes into existence. In Victorian Flower language, Dandelion symbolizes Love. It has also symbolized wishes, welcome, faithfulness and divination, grief and bitterness, and the sun.

Dandelion is more than an adapter; Dandelion is a transformer. Loosening compacted soil by growing deep roots, creating a micro-climate that draws earthworms, it is symbolic of the kind of magic that gently and firmly changes those conditions that no longer serve its environment. Dandelion magic is the magic of practical, gentle, and intentional transformation.

Magical Uses:

Dandelion belongs to Hecate and is mainly a chthonic plant associated with the underworld and necromancy. It is beloved by bees, goats, pigs and is considered a toad plant (all have a certain underworld nature), with bees sometimes acting as psychopomps in old folklore. Dandelion is also a very Mercurial weed associated with the air element explaining its use in aiding in communication with the dead and increasing psychic ability. Drink an infusion of the dried and roasted roots to enhance your psychic abilities before performing divination or summoning spirits of the dead. Medicinally, Culpepper writes that Dandelion has an “opening and cleansing quality… it openeth passages”. This can be applied to sympathetic magic, meaning this weed is excellent for walking between realms and communing with the spirits that reside there.

Drink Dandelion wine, made from the flowers, to aid in communion with deities and spirits of the upperworld. Both the root tea and the wine make good offerings to Hecate. Pour some in a small hole dug in the earth and cover it, walking away without looking back (an ancient Greek custom when offering to underworld deities). In folk magic the seeds are blown to make wishes. Imagine all those little seeds you blew germinating and growing – your wish sympathetically growing and coming into being a hundred times over. Large Dandelion roots are also a very fitting and traditional root from which an alraun (root poppet) can be made.

Medicinal uses:

Dandelion is a wonderful food as well as a beneficial medicine being rich in vitamins and nutrients. It is also excellent for cleansing the skin. It is one of the best weeds to incorporate into your regular diet. It supports overall health by gently working to improve the functioning of the liver, gallbladder and urinary and digestive systems. It is most well known as a diuretic to help the liver and gallbladder, but it is also popular for cleansing the blood. Home brewers love to joke about how drinking Dandelion wine doesn’t count as drinking as the properties of the Dandelion fix any problems the alcohol causes as you drink it. Dandelion makes a great detoxifying tonic and eating the fresh greens can actually aid in bone health and growth. The leaves are bitter so be sure to mix them with sweeter greens when eating fresh. To make a tonic tea, harvest the plant whole before it flowers or just the leaves while it’s flowering and steep them in boiled water just as you would a tea. Drink daily or just for a short period of time, especially before changing your diet. Dandelion is also a great flower for honey production as it flowers in the fall as well as the spring allowing bees to have one last mad honey-making dash before winter. Dandelions produce a dark rich honey.

Liver related conditions aided by the dandelion include jaundice and hepatitis, gallstones and urinary tract infection, painful menopause, PMS and menstruation. Dandelion has also been proven to aid with problems in the pancreas, spleen, skin and problems with eyesight.

It is the bitterness in dandelion leaves that makes them so good for your digestion. The bitter taste stimulates secretion of the digestive fluids, including stomach acid, bile and pancreatic juices. Dandelion promotes the appetite, and is recommended for those who have been ill or have lost their enthusiasm for food in advanced age.

I urge all my crafty and witchy readers to stop and consider the benefits of using this common weed in your magical practice. We witches can sometimes be cast aside, unwanted, overlooked and at times even eradicated. The dandelion has suffered a similar fate yet is one of the best weeds for witches out there!

Love, light, and blessings!
Julie Andaverde

Resources:

DISCLAIMER: It should be understood that Julie Andaverde is not a medical doctor, nor is Witch Way a medical journal. Some of the herbs and ingredients discussed in this column can be dangerous or even deadly if misused. Proportions and ratios discussed are based on personal observation and experience. Use of any herbs or ingredients is at your own discretion and risk. None of the information contained herein should be construed as medical advice. Always consult a trained medical professional.





The Witching Hour

by Marcus Leader

The Secrets of Teotihuacán
The beginning of a Sorcerer’s lineage Part 2

The following is the second half of last month’s article, The Secrets of Teotihuacan, The Beginning of a Sorcerers Lineage. If you did not read last month’s newsletter then please go to the archives and read the March 2013 offering of The Witching Hour.

The difference between conventional libraries and that of Teotihuacán is in the way the information is recorded. Most libraries consist of a multitude of books or scrolls, but without a written language books were not an option for the Toltecs. Instead, the Toltec Priests found a way to encode the entire collective body of knowledge given to them by the “Gods” into the stones of the Pyramids of Teotihuacán using human intention as a tool to manipulate the stones on a molecular level. Today we do the same thing with silicon and rare earth materials in the form of microchips.

In order to “read” the stones of Teotihuacán you must first know where the 9 keystones are located in each pyramid. Then it requires that the shaman reading the stones enter into an altered state of awareness through a very specific shift in the assemblage point of the shamans energy body. Once that happens, the shaman can reach inside the stones with his awareness and instantly receive or “download” the information contained. Yes, I do know where the key stones are and No, I am not going to reveal that information to the public, sorry.

Before moving on with this origin story I wanted to point out an interesting fact contained in my direct shamanic lineage as well as another that evolved simultaneously. Both lineages contain a Toltec prophesy which states that a Toltec shaman from our current age ( now), will awaken the stones of Teotihuacán at a time when that knowledge is needed by humanity and he will share this ancient knowledge with the modern world for all that are willing to accept it. This is the only Toltec prophesy that I am aware of at this time. Consequently, I am not sure how accurate they were in such matters. One thing I know for sure is that none of the shaman/priests including Kaana k’uch foresaw what was about to happen to their magnificent city.

Kaana k’uch stood at the top of the Pyramid of the Sun staring intently into the star filled skies as he often did when he was searching for answers. It was as if he would look to the stars for the answers to the problems of the mirrored city below. Normally he would find the knowledge or wisdom after only a few moments, but tonight was different. Either he was not “connecting” with the Cosmos or he did not like the solution to his dilemma.

The year was 754 C.E. and for months now one faction of the shamanic priesthood was pulling more and more away from the principles taught by the “Gods” through the ancient shamans. About one third of the governing shamanic priesthood had been using their abilities to gain control and influence over other people for their own personal benefit. These acts ranged from sexual pleasures to murder by summoning dark forces.

The people of Teotihuacán began to distrust the priesthood because they could not tell the good from the bad and Kaana k’uch knew he had to take aggressive action before it was too late since debates on the use of power were falling upon deaf ears. He finally realized that he must call an emergency council meeting of the “good” shaman/priests so that he could inform them of his plan of action against the “evil” shaman/sorcerers.

The meeting took place the next day in secret, but the shaman/sorcerers got wind of what was being discussed and had a meeting of their own. They decided that when the moon was dark in 3 days, they would mount a coup and take control of the city even if it meant using deadly force.

When the night of the dark moon arrived, the shaman/sorcerers gathered behind the pyramid of the moon to discuss their final plans. They knew they were outnumbered by the shaman/priests, but they had the advantage of surprise as well as the veil of darkness. They decided that they must go ahead with their coup since the entire shamanic council was calling for a confrontational meeting at sunrise.

The plan formulated by these shaman/sorcerers was to set a sorcerers trap intended to capture the awareness of the shaman/priests by paralyzing their assemblage points in somewhat of a quantum phase locked loop. This is accomplished with the use of a specially ground and polished obsidian mirror that has been programmed on a subatomic level with shamanic intention or in more familiar terms, it was magickally charged and enchanted. By placing this obsidian mirror in a strategic position inside the Pyramid of the Sun the shaman/priests would be trapped and helpless once they focused their attention on the mirror. Like an insect stepping into flowing tree sap, they would be suspended between worlds forever!

With the black obsidian mirror in place, all 6 of the shaman/sorcerers step into their strategic positions around and within the Pyramid of the Sun. Once the leader of the coup was certain that all were ready, he set the bait by summoning the elemental of fire causing this entity to manifest within the main room that contained the mirror knowing that it would immediately draw the attention of the shaman/priests. What they didn’t know is that while they were running around in preparation to attack, Kaana k’uch had been standing at the very top of the Pyramid of the Sun in one of his contemplation moments under the stars observing their actions.

Kaana k’uch was not in a position to warn the others by conventional means so he shifted his awareness and sent out a telepathic warning to the other shaman/priests. However, in order to keep the shaman/sorcerers from picking up on the telepathic distress call, he had to send the messages individually to each shaman/priest numbering 13 in all. He only had enough time to reach 5 of them before the shaman/sorcerers launched their attack.

Within less than 30 minutes 8 of the shaman/priests became victims of the black mirror and just when the shaman/sorcerers were starting to believe that victory was imminent, the remaining 5 shaman/priests took their own strategic positions outside the Pyramid with Kaana k’uch still observing from a place of power at the top of the Pyramid. When the shaman/sorcerers realized that the remaining shaman/priests were not falling for the trap they rushed to one of the plazas in front of the pyramid along the Avenue of the Dead in order to activate the backup plan if the first phase of the attack was not successful. Their back up plan was to use their elemental allies to destroy the remaining shaman/priests through fire and electrical plasma like discharges and their plan might have worked had it not been for Kaana k’uch observing their every move from his place of power on top of the pyramid.

Kaana k’uch made the first move by summoning the power of the Earth Mother from the sacred cave below. Magnified through the pyramid he blasted it out in a single electrical discharge toward the shaman/sorcerers. It hit its mark killing one of them and injuring another. The Sorcerers countered with a blast of power through their allies directed at Kaana k’uch. The blast missed Kaana k’uch and gave the other shaman/priests a chance to attack with their own elemental allies as the battle continued for almost two hours moving to the Pyramid of the moon and then to the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. By now most of the sacred part of the city was on fire with stones toppled and statues destroyed or damaged by the magickal exchanges between the sorcerers and priests. Casualties had been light considering the massive destructive nature of the battle with Kaana k’uch and 3 of the priests left to face the remaining 3 sorcerers.

It seemed that the shaman/priests might end up victorious in stopping the coup, but when the battle moved to the Temple of Quetzalcoatl something very unexpected happened. The ground began to shake and from out of the skies came a large fiery orb that hovered over the Temple motionless and silent. Then a loud voice began to radiate out to all the remaining shaman/priests and sorcerers proclaiming to be their God Quetzalcoatl and condemning all of them for their acts of destruction and abuse of the power given to them. The voice from the orb said that Teotihuacán would be no more and that all the priests and sorcerers were to be exiled along with the 200,000 plus inhabitants of the city.

The orb then proceeded to finish the job the sorcerers and priests started by systematically burning the rest of the sacred city leaving the residential area untouched and the other innocent people unharmed. The sorcerers, seeing that the residential part of the city was to be spared began to flee for safety while Kaana k’uch and the remaining priests watched in disbelief and shame. They did not want to go against the commands of their God. They had no choice but to leave the once great city.

Within a few weeks the sorcerers who escaped into the population had remounted their authority and convinced the population that they were the good guys and the priests had been exiled from the city. The citizens of Teotihuacán bought the lies and turned to the sorcerers for guidance and it was decided that a mass exodus to build a new city was their only choice. Fearing the warnings of Quetzalcoatl the sorcerers and people of Teotihuacán left and eventually built another great city not far away called Tula. This city was ruled by the descendants of the sorcerers and therefore unlike the great city of Teotihuacán leaning more toward a warrior environment than an artesian. This city also fell for reasons different from Teotihuacán in 1170C.E.

The fates of the exiled shaman/priests were a bit different. It is believed that one of them went to the city of Cholula and then disappeared in obscurity. Two others teamed up and left together to live out their lives trying to make amends to the Gods by helping in some unknown way at Chichen Itza. As for Kaana k’uch, he felt responsible and harbored so much remorse that he traveled to Oaxaca to live in solitude while perpetuating the great body of Toltec shamanic knowledge so that it would survive the centuries into modern times when Earth changes foretold by his Gods would begin to manifest and humanity would need this knowledge to survive. He felt it was the only way that he could make amends for his failure as the great leader of Teotihuacán.

During the remainder of his life he taught two others to carry on the lineage and perpetuate the sacred knowledge thus becoming the Father of the shamanic lineage that I am directly connected to through my mentor Dr. Carlos Castaneda.

The only other event of any importance in this lineage happened approximately 500 years ago when the shaman of the lineage had some concerns about the use of power knowing that power can corrupt as it often does. Consequently, he shifted the way they taught their students by only teaching them what he consider to be important with the focus on perception and awareness rather than summoning and energy manipulation. However, in order to do this and still retain the core knowledge of the Toltec shaman, they chose one student that they felt would be the purest of heart and made him or her the shamanic record keeper so to speak. This student was taught everything in a second attention or altered state of consciousness so that the information would always be unchanged and pure.

Carlos Castaneda who was considered a transitional shaman, was one of these record keepers who took the knowledge out of the protective secrecy of the shadows of time and slowly presented it to the world. The main difference between Carlos and myself in this light, is that his purpose was not to bring the knowledge itself, but to make the general public aware that the knowledge even existed thereby laying the foundation for the dissemination of this sacred body of knowledge. My task, being the secret shamanic record keeper of his group, is somewhat more difficult and presents many personal challenges and obstacles to overcome as I begin to fill my own shoes as directed by the lineage. This article is part of my first steps toward filling those shoes and disseminating the knowledge as indicated by Spirit.





Betwixt & Between

By Gwynalda Shadowalker

Celebrating the Year of the Snake

Snake of firtility

The Chinese Year of the Snake began back at the New Moon on February 10th. At that time, I recall reading about how those born during Snake years are considered the wisest and sexiest folks of the Chinese Zodiac. That made perfect sense, seeing as how so many people of various cultures have associated snakes with wisdom and sexuality. For example, Kundalini yoga practitioners refer to the vital energy coiled at the base of the spine as “Serpent Power.” When that sexually-based energy rises up the spine, it energizes and activates each chakra in turn—until it blossoms from the crown— resulting in enlightenment.

Snakes dwell throughout the world in deserts, forests, oceans, and streams. Some live on the ground or in trees, while other live mostly in the water or in entirely subterranean habitats. As cold-blooded reptiles, they prefer warmer climes, such as the tropics. However, snakes can live just about anywhere—except at high elevations or in polar regions where the ground remains frozen for most of the year.

Some islands—such as Ireland and New Zealand—have no native snake population. And as far as the story that has Saint Patrick driving all the snakes out of Ireland goes, well, there weren’t any to drive out. Some occult scholars claim that this was an allegory for the saint’s successful effort in wiping out the remaining vestiges of the Druids. One of the Druids’ emblems of wisdom WAS the serpent, which could be found in their native England (the adder) and throughout Gaul.

Snakes are believed to have evolved from prehistoric lizards, which lost their legs to make them more effective burrowers. Some species do have poisonous fangs, but only 25 species out of the total of about 2,900 are responsible for killing humans. The most notorious killers include the Indian cobra, the black mamba and saw-scaled viper in Africa, and Australia’s tiger snake. However, most snakes are harmless to people and are useful in controlling rodent populations.

Throughout the ancient world, the snake’s ability to shed its skin one or more times a year made it a symbol of rebirth and immortality. When a snake molts, it first becomes lethargic, loosens the old skin from its head by rubbing its nose on a rough surface, and then slithers out—turning the old skin inside out. The creature’s once dull scales are all shiny and new. This transformative process led people to believe that snakes were immortal. Indeed, the Greek word for old age is “geas”—the same as that for a snake’s molted skin. And the Melanesian term for eternal life means “to slough one’s skin.” Among the Chinese, those who were resurrected after death were believed to split their skin and emerge young again—just like snakes did. An ancient superstition says that snakes cannot die except by violence; those that remain uninjured can live forever.

Many people of the ancient world worshiped deities that took the form of a serpent, long before the snake became synonymous with the Christian “Devil.” The ancient Egyptians even had a cobra Goddess, Buto (also known as Udjat and Edjo), Who represented the sovereignty of Lower Egypt in the Northern Delta region. She also served as the Pharaoh’s defender. Her symbol, the Uraeus, was that of a hooded cobra raised over the brow of the Sun God Ra and His earthly representative, the Pharaoh. As the God’s left eye, She personified the Sun’s burning heat; Her titles included “Lady of Heaven” and “Queen of all the Gods.” In later Egyptian mythology, Buto became foster Mother to Horus the Younger, the Son of Isis and Osiris. As Buto garnered more clout in the Osirian sect, Her depiction evolved to that of a Woman wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt and She became known as the “Lady of Spells.” A famed oracle of Isis dwelt at Her temple in Buto.

The connection between snakes and divination recurs among the ancient Greeks in their famous Delphic oracles. These priestesses of the dark God Python, known as “Pythonesses,” sat suspended in a tripod above a pit from which issued strange effluvia that inspired their prophetic utterances. Live pythons twined around the tripod, and the tripod itself was fashioned in the shape of writhing, twisted serpents. In a later era, the Sun God Apollo vanquished His dark rival Python; and the latter was consigned to the depths of the pit. (Incidentally, the Greek word “delphi” means “womb”—yet another reference to snakes and rebirth. And pythons are the ONLY snakes that actually guard and incubate their eggs; the females coil around their clutch, alternatively tensing and releasing muscles to create a constant warm temperature.)

Snake veneration extended into North America, where these creatures are closely linked with the sacred Earth Spirit. The Hopis of northeastern Arizona still conduct their Snake Dance during August. This nine-day ceremony entails gathering a large number of rattlesnakes from the surrounding area, and then blessing them by ritually dancing with the snakes in their mouths. The snakes are then released, to carry the tribe’s prayers for rain, good harvests, healthfulness, and peace into the Earth.

As mentioned earlier, snakes also frequently represented the concept of sexuality. (I suspect that the phallic nature of their shape might have a little something to do with this.) Pliny the Elder reported the belief that snakes mated when the female consumed the male, head-first. Actually, though, snakes reproduce sexually; but since males have double-penises, that tends to more greatly enhance their sexual mystique, rather than diminish it!

Erhm—anyway—the ancients also believed that snakes could swallow themselves, which, according to Manly P. Hall, connected them with the “Supreme Creator” that every now and then reabsorbed the entire universe. This was symbolized by the Ouroboros—a snake swallowing its own tail—and became a symbol of eternity. With the head and the tail representing both the positive and negative poles of existence, respectively (at least according to the Hermeticians), the circular body of the serpent had neither a beginning nor an ending. Indeed, Hermetic initiates were often called “serpents,” which referred to the infinite, timeless wisdom that these creatures were believed to possess.

Happy Beltaine, everyone! And Blessed Be—Gwynalda )O(

Sources: Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall; The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker; World Book Encyclopedia by Albert F. Bennett; Egyptian Mythology by Veronica Ions.





Recipes for This Month's Herb

Dandelion

Dandelion Picture

Recipes:

Dandelion Root Tea (Coffee Substitute):
Dig up larger two year old roots and scrub them with an old toothbrush or a potato scrubber to clean. Then chop them up into medium dice and place on a baking sheet in a 250°F oven for about two hours – maybe giving them a shake or a toss now and then. When they turn a milk chocolate brown and have shrunk in size, they are ready. Grind the dried toasted roots as you would coffee beans and either run through a coffee maker or place in a tea bag or ball as you would infuse a cup of tea. Try plain or add cream and sugar for a caramel tasting treat. Toasted Dandelion roots also make a great addition to chai recipes and can be substituted for the black tea leaves.

Dandelion

Dandelion Wine:

  • 2 cups of freshly picked Dandelion flowers (no stems)
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 orange
  • 7.5 cups (4 lbs) brown sugar
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 tbsp of yeast on a piece of toast
Add the water to a stock pot with flowers and bring to a medium boil for 20 minutes. Strain out the flowers adding the liquid back to the pot and then add the sugar. Peel one lemon and the orange adding the rind to the pot and then juice them and add that too. Remove from heat when the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool to a lukewarm temperature and then add the yeast on a small piece of toast. Cover with a dish cloth and leave on your counter to ferment for two days. Skim off any foam and take out the peels. Pour into a 1 gallon carboy and add just the peels of the remaining two lemons. Cap with an airlock and keep an eye on it the first couple days to make sure it doesn’t leak liquid everywhere. Allow to ferment for six months before bottling – be sure the yeast is dead before doing so!







If you have an article you'd like to submit as a guest author for Witch Way, or for CyberWitchcraft, go to the Contact Page and click Submissions in the drop down box. Let me know what the article is about, and I will reply back to you so that you can attach it in an email.

Articles for Witch Way should be at least 500 words, and those for CyberWitchcraft should be around 2000 words.

If you have any comments or suggestions, you can go to the Contact Page on CyberWitchcraft, or simply reply to this email. This newsletter and the website are created for you, your thoughts and ideas are important to us.

Until next month, may you be blessed in all that you do, or as we usually say,

Blessed Be,
Graphic Signature

Ken Biles


Back to Back Issues Page