May 10, 2020
It goes without saying that these are difficult times. The world has changed in the last few months, and most of our daily lives have been affected in one way or another by the pandemic.
Now more than ever, it’s important that your home is a space full of creature comforts and calming energy. Here are a few ways that you can create a home sanctuary for yourself and add a touch of magic to everyday life.
Candles, Incense and Essential Oils
Aromatherapy is a powerful tool for bringing a sense of calm and relaxation into your home. A beautiful candle or oil burner serves a dual purpose of helping make a space look snug and cosy while filling the air with therapeutic aromas.
We have a number of lovely candles in stock, in both votive and chime designs. Our scents range from traditional calming fragrances like lavender and vanilla, to special symbolic blends for happiness or protection.
Essential oils are one of the most versatile aromatherapy tools. They can be burnt in lamps or diffusers, added to your evening bath, or even utilised in beauty products. From cinnamon to bergamot, rosemary to peppermint, you’ll hopefully find your favorite scent in our selection.
Lighting incense is another powerful way of bringing the magic of scent into your home. The heady, smoky scent of incense is used in cultures the world over to heal, cleanse and open spiritual faculties. We’ve got a variety of incense sticks, cones, resins and even our new unique backflow incense to suit your needs.
Sage Smudges and Palo Santo
If you’re looking to create a space free of negative energies, sage smudges and Palo Santo wood are ideal tools for cleansing. Sage is well known for its cleansing properties, while mystical Palo Santo wood from South America is widely believed to calm and heal both the mind and body. Burning sage or Palo Santo sticks will help purify your home and keep bad energies at bay.
Tibetan or Himalayan singing bowls are commonly used throughout Asia in Buddhist ceremonial and spiritual practices. They work similarly to a bell, emitting a rich tone and deep vibration when played correctly. The sound and vibration have been known to abet feelings of stress and to balance the body’s energy.
The harmonising effect of singing bowls can be useful during meditation, yoga, and other home rituals to summon clarity and calm. The singing bowls we currently have in our collection here are made of brass and come with a wooden mallet for use.
Our hanging crystal prisms are a beautiful way of projecting light and colour into your sanctuary. When hung in a window, they capture light from outside and cast the room in a splendid spectrum of rainbow colours—perfect for bringing the outside world in! Prisms are also powerful symbols of spiritual energy, creativity and mysticism.
We have several different sizes of crystals in our collection, with diametres ranging from 20mm to 50mm. All crystals come complete with a brace and string for ease of hanging.
We also have a gorgeous Chakra 'Flower of Life' glass crystal set - a stunning centrepiece, adding light, colour and chakra energy to your home.
And lastly...we can’t forget our glorious puzzles! Puzzles have had a resurgence lately, with families and friends all gathered at home looking for a relaxing, mindful way to pass the hours. Puzzles help to gently work your mind while easing away your worries. They also give you a sense of quiet triumph when you’re finished, and you end up with a beautiful piece of art to brighten the room.
In typical Dragonspace fashion, the puzzles in our collection are all fantasy, mythology, spirituality and nature themed, from dragons to goddesses. We’ve even got some fun pop culture sets, with Harry Potter and Game of Thrones themes.
A Guide to Pagan Altars
January 11, 2020
Whether or not you believe in New Year resolutions, January always brings with it a feeling of promise and transformation. The frenzy of the festive season is over, and there are twelve pages of the calendar ahead to fill with magic and memories.
This is a time where many people set goals or resolutions for the New Year. But the problem with concrete goals and resolutions is that they can be restrictive, and leave us feeling disheartened if we stray or don’t achieve what we set out to.
Intention setting is a more holistic way of mapping out the year you want to have. While similar, intentions are different than goals. For example, a goal might be “I want to lose x amount of weight.” While an intention would be, “I want to be healthier in mind, body and spirit.” A goal is focused on doing, while an intention is focused on being.
Intention setting can be explored through ritual, divination and creativity. Below, we explore some ways you can set your intentions for the year ahead.
Types of Intentions
Firstly, here are some example intentions you might want to work with:
I intend to practice kindness, forgiveness and empathy
I intend to be more present, conscious and mindful
I intend to focus on and nurture the important relationships in my life
I intend to open myself more to creativity and playfulness
I intend to be kind to myself and practice self-care
I intend to be strong and healthy in my body, mind and spirit
I intend to be bold and explore new horizons
You can make your intentions briefer or more expansive than this. An intention could even be one word: kindness, positivity, focus, gratitude, courage.
Rituals can be a nice way to activate, record and explore your intentions. Here are a few ritual ideas to think about:
With its cleansing and transformative energy, fire is an important element in intention-setting rituals. Candles are great summoner of fire, and are a key tool in most magical altars or just everyday homes.
To use candles in your intention-setting ritual, light a candle with a particular scent or colour that corresponds with your intention. For example, rose is a scent of self-love and relationships, while green is a colour of new life and fresh beginnings. Focus on the energy that the candle and its flame are emanating. You may wish to close your eyes, meditate or repeat your intention in your head. Next, write down your intention/s on a piece of paper, and then burn the paper in a fire-proof vessel using the candle flame.
Burning the intention doesn’t destroy it. It imbues the fire’s transformative energy onto the intention and sends it out into the universe. It’s a powerful way of bringing your intentions to life.
Crystals are some of the most powerful tools you can use in your spiritual practice. They have a variety of properties and energies - healing, spiritual, protective and otherwise. Do some research and figure out what crystals best correspond with your intentions. We have a number of books on the subject in our Reference collection here.
For your simple crystal ritual, you can choose to hold the crystals in your hand, arrange them in a circle around you, or create a crystal grid. Make sure you’re in a quiet place and that your actions are deliberate. As you work with your crystals, focus on your intention/s - you might like to speak them out loud like a mantra, or recite them inside your head. Use the crystal energy to set and strengthen your intentions.
As intention setting is all about the state of being, meditation is a perfect way to connect with your intentions. You might have your own preferred way or meditating, or it might be something new you’re exploring in 2020. Meditation for Beginners is a good book on the subject if you're new to the practice.
Once you settle into your meditation and find your inner space to focus, call on your intention like a mantra. You might hear it in your head, see it written in words, or even imagine future scenes related to your intention unfolding in your mind. Once you figure out what works for you, you can use meditation throughout the year to reconnect with your intention and refocus your energy to stay on the right path.
Divination and Intention Setting
Divination can help you refine and set your intentions if you're not sure yet what your focus will be for the year. By taking a look at future possibilities, you'll gain a better idea of what intentions will help get you there. Here are a few divinatory methods you might want to try:
Tarot readings help give us a holistic view of our past, present and future. There are various tarot spreads you can do, which we outlined in a previous blog post here. In particular, a Celtic Cross or Past-Present-Future spread can work well for intention setting. These spreads help illuminate future pathways and possibilities, and you can use the results of these readings to set your intention for the year ahead.
Using oracle cards is a way of calling on the universe to help set your intentions. Simply sit quietly with your cards and think about the year ahead - perhaps envision the things you’d like to see happen, or the way you’d like to feel at the end of the year. Pull a card, and the message on that card can be your intention for 2020.
Similar to oracle cards, runestones can be used quite simply for intention setting. While focusing on the year ahead, pull a runestone out of your collection. The symbolic meaning behind the rune will help light the path for your year.
Lastly, creative activities are another great way to explore and set your intentions for 2020. Transferring your intentions into words or images is a beautiful way to manifest them into the physical world.
If you have a journal or Book of Shadows, write down your intentions in there. You could also write them on a piece of paper and place them on your altar, another special place in your home, or carry them with you in your bag or wallet.
If you’re more visually inclined, you might choose to draw or sketch scenes that relate to your intention. Vision boards are also extremely popular - create a collage from magazines, newspapers, postcards, craft materials and more that visually encapsulates your vision and intentions for 2020. Keep this in a special place, so that you can refer to it throughout the year and draw on its energy.
Whichever way you choose to set your intentions for 2020, we hope your year ahead is one of magic, exploration, fulfilment and joy. Always feel free to drop us a line if you want to know more about a topic related to myth, magic or spirituality, or come visit us to see what we've got in store. Happy New Year!
April 04, 2019 1 Comment
Image: The Wheel of the Year at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall, UK
The above ‘Wheel’ or calendar might look familiar to you. Maybe you celebrate some of these seasonal festivals yourself, or you might recognise them from popular culture or stories. Perhaps you’ve read about them in some of our previous blog posts, like Beltane Blessings and Sacred Samhain. Even if you don’t recognise these particular words, chances are that you’ve honoured these festivals in one way or another by different names - Christmas, Halloween, May Day, Diwali, Easter, Moon Festival and more.
The Wheel of the Year is the annual calendar of eight seasonal festivals (also known as sabbats) observed by Wiccans and other neo-Pagan groups. From the midwinter festival of Yule to the midsummer festival of Litha, these holidays are centered around celebrating the changing seasons and the cycles of the natural world.
ORIGINS OF THE WHEEL OF THE YEAR
Celebrating the solstices, planetary shifts and changing seasons is an ancient custom. Civilisations from prehistoric times recognised the cycles of the earth and created rituals to honour them. They adapted their lifestyles, their work and their eating habits to align with the changing seasons and the offerings of the natural world - e.g. autumn has long been a time for harvest and preparation for the winter, while spring has been a time for sowing seeds and celebrating new life. In this way, the concept of the Wheel of the Year is as old as the Earth herself.
However, this clear separation of the year into eight distinct festivals is actually quite a modern manifestation, commonly observed in Neo-Pagan and Wiccan groups. While the Wheel is heavily derived from the old traditions of Celtic, Germanic and Viking cultures, this neatly divided structure is evocative of a more modern trend towards order and organisation.
THE EIGHT SABBATS
The eight Wheel of the Year festivals, or sabbats, take place roughly one and a half months apart, splitting the year into defined eighths. There are two solstices (summer and winter), two equinoxes (autumn and spring) and four cross-quarter days that sit roughly in between the solstices and the equinoxes. The solstices and equinoxes are influenced by the sun’s position, and are sometimes referred to as ‘Lesser Sabbats’. The cross-quarter days are referred to as ‘Greater Sabbats’ or ‘the fire festivals’. While each sabbat has a long and rich history that could fill whole books, here’s a quick summary of what they symbolise and celebrate.
Note: Naturally, these festival dates are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Winter Solstice
Mid-end of December
The Promise of Spring
Beginning of February
Imbolc is a cross-quarter day that celebrates the first signs of spring. It actually aligns with the modern North American tradition of 'Groundhog Day', which is based on the belief that groundhog behavior on the 1st February can prophecy when spring will arrive. In Pagan tradition, Imbolc is a time for spring cleaning and purification in preparation for spring's impending arrival. It's also an ideal time for reaffirming one's intentions for the year ahead.
Varies between 19-22 March
Ostara is the spring equinox, celebrating the coming of the light. It's named after a Germanic goddess Ēostre, which is also where the word 'Easter' comes from. While Easter is traditionally considered a Christian holiday that honours the resurrection of Jesus Christ, both festivals are a time to celebrate new life and the reawakening of the natural world. Buds start to sprout, baby animals appear in the fields, and the days become warmer. It's a perfect time for planting seeds and spending time out in blossoming nature.
Beltane is another cross-quarter day, also known and celebrated as May Day. This is a festival of flowers and light, joy and fertility. Common traditions include dancing around the May Pole and crowning the May Queen, the personification of spring and summer. Homes are bedecked in flowers and greenery, and rituals relating to fertility and vitality are commonly performed.
The Summer Solstice
Varies between June 20-22
Litha is the summer solstice, or Midsummer festival. It marks the longest day of the year and the pinnacle of the sun's full power. As such, it's a festival to celebrate the sun. Bonfires are often lit to symbolise the sun's energy, and candle magic is strong at this time of the year. Summer fruits, flowers and plants are eaten and used around the home and in ceremonies. This is a time of abundance, growth and strength, before the days begin to shorten once more.
The First Harvest
Beginning of August
Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas, is the cross-quarter day celebrating the first harvest. While summer is still going strong, this is the time of year when the first peeks of autumn start to become visible - trees begin dropping their fruit, and the first grains of the season become ready to harvest. Bread is an important symbol at this time, and a common tradition to celebrate Lughnasadh is to bake bread from the season's first grains to eat or to use in ritual.
Varies between 21-24 September
Mabon is the Autumn Equinox, celebrating a time of harvest and the impending winter. It's a time of balance, just like the Spring Equinox, when light and dark are equal. Traditionally, days were spent working out in the fields, harvesting crops, feasting and preparing for winter. Rituals that help to protect and prepare for the colder months are also popular at this time, and talismans and amulets might be created to ward off the dark energies that might come knocking during winter.
October 31st/November 1st
Samhain is the cross-quarter day that celebrates the transition between autumn and winter, and also the thinning of the veil between worlds. It's traditionally observed as a time to honour those who have passed into the afterlife, which is where the popular holiday of Halloween comes from. It's common to perform ceremonies to celebrate the lives of the dead and honour one's ancestors. It's also the last chance to dry and preserve autumn's bounty for the winter ahead. Mischief and revelry are also common at this time, with parties and feasts being held. For some neo-Pagans, Samhain is considered the Witches' New Year and is the most important of the eight sabbats.