Building Your Own Wheel of the Year

If you don’t really want to tie your practice to the traditional wheel, make your own! The key is to nail down the seasons or times that feel truly significant to you.
Building a WOY
If I were to create my own wheel, it would probably look something similar to this:
Yule/Christmas
Christmas has always been a significant holiday in my life.  My parents loved the holiday and it was always filled with delicious food.  You can read a bit more about it here.
Summer Solstice
I adore the summer in the Rockies.  My allergies may disagree with me, but being able to go outside and up into the mountains with pretty much no worries is the best. It’s gorgeous and green and just, alive. This is when my husband and i first got together, and when we eventually got married. So summertime holds a lot of sweet memories for me.
October/ early November
So this isn’t tied to a specific solstice or sabbat like Samhain.  I don’t actually enjoy Halloween much (I know, I have just lost any witch street cred I was racking up there for a moment). It’s fun to celebrate but I don’t enjoy being scared, I don’t work with spirits or my ancestors.  It’s a beautiful time for self reflection – but I mostly just enjoy retreating back into my house as it gets colder and start making all kinds of delicious, yummy, cozy foods. I have touched on common Samhain practices before though! You can read those here, if you’re looking for ideas.  This was written before I realized how much time and energy I just don’t have for every holiday.
And that’s pretty much it. I’m not a huge holiday doer already.  I enjoy more day to day intentional stuff than large altars and rituals. I’ve planned a few sabbat events within the Magickal Mavens facebook group, but only as an excuse to hang out. I’m a terrible sabbat follower, so don’t feel like you need to adhere to it in order to have a meaningful practice.
Assess the seasons, months, that have greatly impacted your life, bring you great joy or caused you to reflect. Use those as a starting point.
This has been a helpful video in assessing what areas were significant to me:  Reinventing the Wheel of the Year, Witch Hazel’s Cauldron 
Check out the full recommended reading list here!
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Sacred Space and Altars

Altars often get this reputation of having to be big beautiful ritual spaces. They are centerpieces, or entire rooms full of magick and intention. It can be so satisfying to put something like that together, but if you do not feel called to do so or even have the energy to upkeep it, that is totally okay.
Sacred Space and Altars
You do not have to have an altar. Unless you are committed to following a very specific path, there are no rules to what your practice must look like. Altars are a common way to assist with creating a sacred space or getting your mind and body into a space for magick making.
If you’re looking for a starting point to build an altar, I suggest using pieces of your practice that you have been using consistently or felt strongly connected too. For me, that was initially my favorite tarot deck, a little journal I had been keeping, and my sage and matches. That was it and that’s all it has to be at its core. My altar space has grown as I have and will continue to do so. Your altar should be a space that you feel at peace with. This should be a space that you frequent and it should portray the energy that you need at the time.
Pinterest is a great place to get ideas on creating sacred space. From inspiration, to layouts, to tool layouts, it’s all there. I’ve pinned some of my favorites here. I should note that Wiccan paths in particular can be quite serious about their altars. Every piece has a very specific purpose and placement on your altar. I highly recommend looking into Raymond Buckland’s Big Blue Book if you are interested in pursuing a Wiccan path.
If you like the idea of carrying sacred space with you – make a pocket altar! A tarot bag or Altoid tin are perfect for this. This will vary based on your needs, but a few key pieces to include could be a tea light, a small vial of salt, sage or palo santo, and matches are the perfect starting point. I’ve pinned some inspiration for these as well. These are great to have if you feel called to practice suddenly or while outside in nature.
If you’re still stuck, here are some quick questions to help you nail down what you may want to include:

→What element do you feel most drawn too at this moment? How can you include it?

∴     Fire: Candles, or melting wax (if you can’t really have an open flame)
∴     Water: natural water or salt water, snow water, water from the tap
∴     Earth: Salt, bark, flowers (dried or fresh)
∴     Air: Incense, oil diffuser, bells, chimes or other noise

→ What tools (if any) do you find yourself reaching for right now?
→ What crystals do you enjoy? Are there any in particular you wish to use in channeling energy?
→ Is there something or someone in particular that you would like to honor with your altar? What are their associated symbols, colors, foods, etc?

Even if you only have one or two pieces that can be specifically tied to them, by placing them with pure intention, you give them great power in your space.
Check out the full recommended reading list here!

Holidays and Altars

The Wheel of the Year that we see today stems from the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. These traditions do come from historical holiday or celebrations that pre-date Wiccans, but were made popular by Gerald Gardner’s teachings.
If you follow the Wiccan Wheel of the year, the story remains largely the same. Specific paths may have slight variation but its root is the same – birth, growth, death and rebirth.
The Goddess gives birth to a son in midwinter.  Through the spring he grows to be a young man.  The Goddess appears to him as a young maiden.  She falls pregnant and grows older, wiser, and more beautiful throughout the summer and fall. The God grows older and dies, symbolizing winter. During mid-winter, she gives birth and renews the cycle with the God.
There is a ton of information out there about the Wiccan sabbats. Its popularity in the new age and witchcraft communities makes it very easy to find resources on how to practice.  I’ve linked some articles and rituals I have come across for each of them.
Pagan Holidays and Altars
Celebrating this wheel of the year is common even among non-wiccans. It marks significant energies and the changing of the seasons which greatly influence the health and practice of individuals. I’m not Wiccan and I find these sabbats useful to ground myself which where we are in the year and season. Do they mark overarching patterns I’m seeing in my own life?  Can I utilize the energy of birth, growth and death cycle in my own life?
However, transitioning to this wheel can be very overwhelming if you are coming from another cultural set of holidays.  Within the 8 major holidays, many of us also mark the moon cycles or major astrological events.  It can feel as if you are always having to celebrate or DO something. You do not have to celebrate every single moment to have an effective practice or spiritual or religious path.
If you don’t feel quite drawn to the pagan/wiccan wheel of the year, creating your own wheel is entirely possible.  If there are a few key moments throughout the year that you wish to mark, focus on those. They can be tied to significant ancestral events, current mainstream holidays, the seasons – whatever you want.
Check out the full recommended reading list here!
Build a WoY
Sacred Space and Altars   WoY free download
 

Discovering – Chaos Magick

Every time I hear “chaos magick,” I honestly have no idea to what they are referring.  And honestly, it seems to mean something different to everyone!
Magick is all about shaping the world around us through our will or by focusing the energy of the universe or divine power [depends on your perspective].  Chaos magick is focused on that same goal – but in a completely unstructured, uncontrolled fashion [hence the chaos!].
Discovering Chaos Magick
No personal practice develops when utilizing chaos magick.  What you did yesterday in ritual, or casting, or whatever likely will never be used in the same fashion.  It’s not written down or established as tradition.
Over time, practitioners learn what causes their greatest results, but belief is what drives their practice.  Chaos magicians and witches impose their will upon the universe to fulfill their desire.  They do not commune with the forces of nature, or deity, or call power as done in traditional practices.  They rely on sheer force of will and their intuition.
It is utterly fascinating to me.
As humans we are known for liking and thriving under routine.  Even if it is not a strict routine, an expectation of what must be done and why is at most of our core needs. Chaos magick simply assesses what is available to the practitioner in the moment and then cast aside once completed.
There is a psychological concept known as a gnosis state in which it is thought that the power of magic resides. This state of consciousness occurs when an individual is solely focused on their task or goal.  Once an individual leaves this state, it is believed that the power of the subconscious begins to work on manifesting the intended outcome.
The trust in one’s power and mind is the foundation of chaos magick.  Which is striking and calls to me in such a strong way.  Yet, this practice also stresses me out! However, I plan to challenge myself with it a little.
Because this path clearly confuses me, and most people, I highly recommend you watch this video that provides an awesome breakdown of working with this practice. Check it out here.
How would chaos magick fit into your practice?   Does it make sense to you or does its lack of basically any foundation cause you as much anxiety as it does me?
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Check out the full recommended reading list here

Discovering – Santeria

Santería is oft one of the most misunderstood religious and spiritual practices. It often faces assumptions that its followers are “evil.” When we see Santería mentioned in the media, we are faced with images of animal sacrifice. That is all we are shown of this historically and culturally rich religion. When practices such as these are facing our dominant Christian culture and its media, that is all we will ever see. Context and perspective are lost because it does not align with our own engrained moral code.
Discovering Santeria
Santería is a polytheistic Afro-Cuban religion. It has become a mix of many cultures over time, but its foundation is from the Yoruba people from South-West Nigeria. These people were enslaved and transported to Cuba. Upon arrival in Cuba, they faced forced conversion of Christianity – which led to a blend of the two faiths.
As a closed faith, it can be difficult to capture the intricacies of how its followers practice and work spiritually with their gods. Initiates receive teachings from their priest or priestess [Babaloches/Santeros or Lyalochas/Santeras]. There is no written book of these original teachings. Centuries of traditions and practices have been passed down orally. These folk stories are often known as Appataki.
We do know that the original deities from the Yoruba’s faith were subsequently identified with their Christian saint counterparts. Their creator-god, Olodumare (also called Olofín or Olorún) is represented by the image of Jesus Christ. The original gods are known as oshiras, or spirits in the Yoruba language.
Olofín is a tired, old god who is concerned with the greater workings of the universe. He is unconcerned by the small needs of humans and is never called to assist in these matters. He is always mentioned before the other gods in ritual, but has no dedicated priests of his own.
Animal sacrifice occurs during ceremony and ritual as a way to provide offerings to the oshiras. Without such offerings, the oshiras will die. Sacrifice occurs for larger life events such as birth, marriage, and death. They can also be used to call the oshiras for support in healing.
These animals are cooked and eaten after all sacrifices except for those used in healing and death rites, as it is believed the sickness enters the body of the animal.
It is important to note that Santeria is a recognized religion and its practices are protected. The US Supreme Court has stated that their ritual sacrifices are constitutional [Court of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. Court of Hialeah, 1993].
I’ve been digging for the best resources to provide for this path. Because it is a closed practice that has evolved due to oral traditions, many works are academic based on anthropological study.
Check out the full recommended reading list here!
Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for every day content.
Keep an eye on our shop – new product and updates to come!
Join the Magickal Mavens facebook group!  It’s full of amazingly supportive practitioners that get it. Each week, I provide a live stream of the tarot forecast (and sometimes free short readings) and you’ll get access to special discount codes, promo teasers and future giveaways!
Hit “Subscribe” to be sure to get notifications of posts, updates, and other exciting announcements!
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