A ritual for forgiveness

Un rituale del perdono

In her book Exploring Candle Magick, Patricia Telesco hands a few tips for when to casting a spell for forgiveness. Here is how I tried to intercept them, together with some personal adjustments on correspondences.

Elected day? Friday, as it is the day supposed to rule relationship work. Is the new moon not far away? Good. Time of the year? It is Spring, which is perfect for a fresh start. So when the hour of Venus comes, ready to go.

I placed a couple of black candles on the altar, and had let them there for the past week. On the pentacle, I charge them with intention. For the past few nights, I have let the energies of the sacred space charge some spikenard oil drops in some almond oil collected in a bottle as well.

The fragrance of spikenard is definitely peculiar. Arduous, I would say. Some kind of a wilderness in its ‘sound’, it is bitterly awakening. Though once assimilated in the skin, it releases a deep relief to the soul who needs it. Mary Magdalene used a spikenard ointment for washing the feet of the Savior. A request for forgiveness, sure, but also the anticipation of a death, and a resurrection.

The kind of forgiveness I have in mind is actually quite a rebirth, a transformation in ones’ way of being. In particular with respect to the reactions one might have towards the world itself. For its capacity to letting go the old manners for the new, spikenard essential oil is supposed to help making peace with those who have hurt us. Like in a resurrection.

So here I am, dressing up the black candle with my hands, from the middle up and down. And what is left, I rub my neck, metaphorically helping the subtle plan to start from the past, the back. I light it, and I lay down. I watch it while it burns, and I can see the flame taking the past resentment and ancient rage away. ‘I forgive you’ is some kind of a mantra I quietly repeat with a benevolent smile.

forgiveness mini-pillow

On my breast I place a new mini-pillow conceived and made for this very ritual. I crocheted in circle some pink soft cotton yarn. And a purple spiral on the board. They are the colours of heart and spirituality. Inside is dried motherwort, for helping me forgive those who hurt me in the past, and also help heal anyone I may have hurt. All around is a crown of rhodonite, for its capacity to bring emotional healing, and release blocked energy from within the fourth chakra.

The black candle burns and I watch it. And when she ends up her task, I thank her, I light a brand new white candle and turn to the future.

I let it estinguish while meditating in its gentle light. In the twilight I realize that forgiveness is about responsability. Letting go the faults of the others sets us free from the chains to those faults. Free from resentment our direction is just our own. And our heart comes back to beat again.


This post participates to the Pagan Blog Project 2014


Flora and the others

I have recently come across a very interesting thread in the Pagan Federation (England & Wales) Facebook group where a question about the cultural identity of Ostara goddesses was raised and discussed in the anticipating atmosphere of the Vernal Equinox.
Some of the discussants proposed the name of Flora as in the roman legacy.
Some others the welsh Blodeuwedd and Olwen. And a really good number of bibliographical tips were given.
I followed the breadcrumbs on Google and I came home.
In the course of the precious journey I found this 2013 post by Jess Carlson on Eostre which I believe is quite decisive on the subject.
So here is the crafty contribution I will give to the topic.
A necklace devoted to the Spring goddess wether is She british or german or roman or celtic.


This post participates to the Pagan Blog Project 2014


The expedition of a knight

L’impresa di un cavaliere

Last year I inherited a collection of vintage button. Square and shimmering, the minute I had them thunb-and-finger, I instantly fall into a knight’s tale. The horse, I could almost hear him gallop, and so did my imagination, running wild into a realm of fantasy and medieval places.

If the inspiration was provided by the scene depicted on the buttons, the creative process was stimulated by a collective handmade event organized by a friend on a social network. The invitation was to enter literature and come out with a related creation.

That is how I get acquainted with the history of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The simple and some how enigmatic plot hooked me, and I lightened up when I realized it was a deeply pagan tale. A challenge and a promise to be kept at the cost of life… of the head!

I watched the beautiful and evocative documentary realized by poet Simon Armitage for the BBC. And I let the narrative description lay down on the bottom of my soul.

In the time around the beginning of the new year it raised on the surface, and this is the artifact I came out with. The long rolo chain is buttoned up to a crochet chain made of light green cotton giving shape to a double necklace devoted to the expedition of young Gawain to the mysterious Green Chapel…

The double pendant is composed of a beautiful axe and a Chrysoprase pentacle made up with wire. The first one being a powerful symbol of transformation, the second one being green as the mood of the story but mainly made of a gemstone supporting the quest for the divine in the one wearing it. As a good knight…

_sir Gawain and the Green Knight_1

_a Knight's Tale _a Knight's Tale1
_a Knight's Tale2 _sir Gawain and the Green Knight_2

This post participates to the Pagan Blog Project 2014


Out dolmening

Alla ricerca di dolmen

I have been looking for this place for the past three years and something. The megalithic garden I have longed for is known as I massi della vecchia — literally, the stones of the old woman. The woman in question was a witch. Actually one of those witchy witches of the Italian folklore. And she was told to be the guardian of some kind of an hidden golden treasure.

This one day trip I owe it to a nice local archaeologist I have already mentioned in a previous post. I believe I can call him a friend by now, and I hope this wandering in the Salento country will become an habit. I will call it dolmening. While I will definitely call myself a dolmeniac. As a guide in the hunting we had his experience, braveness and kind heart, a good reading, and some luck.

The main issue with looking for dolmens and menhirs in Salento is that they are located into private properties. So it is very much indispensable to be well equipped in terms of courage, kindness, and GPS coordinates. The latter, we found them in my friend’s archaeo-senses, but also in the reading of Dolmenhir, a recently published book (in English soon) where the main prehistoric sites are collected with useful informations about their discovery and how to find them.

_LiScuSi menhir _STabiLe

The good fortune in our case was that we met the owner of the land himself. A nice old man engaged in the supervision of the olives harvest, who kindly opened his fenced area in order to let us in, and enter the sacred site from there. And it was a precious encounter because it opened a beautiful unprecedented perspective on the ancient stones. They are large blocks of limestone dating back to the Miocene.


The magic of the place, though, is not only due to its having emerged from the sea depths thousands of years ago, which is still quite something, but also to the fact that in the ages it became a ritual spot. The huge stone I climbed onto is named Il letto della vecchia, — literally the bed of the old woman, and it holds holes related to the cult of water. I have established a connection with this rock while I was there, standing in the stillness of the green, listening to the blossoming flowers and the whisper of the Mother.


They do not like to be easily found, and I suspect they do not particularly like cameras, so I will respect their will, and decide to just show the picture of the only one stone which allowed me on. Instead, I will focus on the scenario: the acanthus leaves growing on its length, as a symbol of strength, and the purple five points borage flowers among the surrounding grass blades, to strengthen courage.

_acanto  _borragine

The practice of dolmening definitely refines itself as a deep immersion in the Nature as a temple. And the act of worshipping the Goddess turns out to be watching closely to the details of the natural shapes, and catching their metaphysical meanings. It is the case of the asphodels, standing straight on the border of the sea at the end of the journey, strong in their trunks but delicate in their flowers, as the Love they are supposed to forecast into some kind of a pagan archeo-botanical lore.


This post participates to the Pagan Blog Project 2014


In the Candlemas

Less than one month ago I felt the urge to defend my sleep from bad figures coming to visit me during dreamtime. In these days, googleing in search for Imbolc related activities I realized dream pillow crafting is in the lore. I tried to find the reason for this tradition but I did not find one. So I guess I need to figure it out.

The goddess in her Brigid name is said to come and visit our houses for blessing us and our kin. She brings the fire both in the outer, and the inner worlds, and her touch is gentle. In a sense, she is still in the sleeping mood, as in her corn dolly in bed representation. Her presence is dreaming, as she protects our dreams in their desire shape.

She first came to me last year when I painted her embracing a tree, her long red hair like flames and a blue dress. Last Thursday I realized her day was approaching, so I tried to recompose that image in a new painting. Even if intimately her colors will always be fire red and pale blue to me, I inquired on the colors ascribed to her.


The palette I came up with is composed of a pale yellow and a light green, a dark, woody green for her cloak, and the flaming red I remembered from her first visit. As I proceeded in the pleasure of disclosure, a new set of symbolism revealed. And from the heart of the tree some serpents and a bird like face came to live.

In the words of a witchy art therapist friend of mine: it is a phoenix caressing your head, reassuring you with strength, while what you mean to be a tree is your spirit animal, the elk, watching over you… you seem to be and not to be there, shy as if you did not want to come out into the sun, and the cloak is heavy, while you timidly look into the future…

The inner taste of Imbolc is the opening to a new beginning. I believe this is what is now happening with the gentle caress of Brigid, in the dream light of a timid glimpse.

This post participates to the Pagan Blog Project 2014


A blended belief

Last week I went out for a day trip at the Leuca cape.
I got off the train in Ruggiano, an hamlet of Salve.
A very smart kid of the local Archès association was awaiting.
I got on his car and all of a sudden I was catapulted into a stream of tales.
First stop-over, Santa Marina sanctuary on the ancient line of the pilgrims’ path.

Heir of the goddess Iris, the cult of the saint from Antioch is as much an excellent, as a very little known example of blended belief, or syncretism. Margaret the Virgin — not to be confused with the saint from Bitinia and her story as Fra Marino, was the daughter of a pagan priest who fought his whole life for keeping the maiden into his faith.

The eastern iconography depicts her holding a hammer in her right hand and a chain in the left, while defeating a dragon — symbol of the Evil, under her feet.

DSCN1858 DSCN1859 DSCN1860

Not far from the sober church — where a basin still holds the marks of an ancient use as a water tank, another cultual site with a fresco devoted to Marina is to be found. The cave of Miggiano. The primitive symbols on its walls are the geometrical signs of a rather mysterious numerology.

4 meaning the pillars of the Mother Earth.
3 meaning the arch of the Father.
7 meaning the sacred union (lecamentu) of Earth and Sky.

The neolithic women observed the Seven Sisters in the sky and conceived a propitiatory ritual. A female practice which has been in use and alive in the area until not long ago. The women of the village bowed their bodies as arches in specific locations in order to accomplish the sacred union of the male and the female (3 + 4 = 7).
As Luigi Carbone explains in his book, the devotional habits related to the cult of Santa Marina are strictly related to this neolithic legacy.

Messenger of the gods and embodiment of the rainbow (arcobaleno), Santa Marina was worshipped as the healer of yellow jaundice. On July 17 the worhippers used to come to the place and under the arch (arco) they urinated invoking a plea. And then bought coloured laces to be rubbed on the statue of the saint and wored on the arm or the neck, or in the hair.

Her name seems to be related to Mater Iris or Mother Arcobaleno.
And here is where number 7 discloses its connections.
7 are the colours of the rainbow.
7 are the saturdays devoted in Miggiano to Santa Marina during Lent.
7 are the time passages related to the colours as into an itinerant (pagan?) rosary to be recited in 7 different spots.

This post participates to the Pagan Blog Project 2014


Visiting the goddess

Last week I paid a visit to the goddess in the shoes of Isis.

Not far from where I live is the location of an ancient cultual spot devoted to the egyptian deity in the roman period.
Palazzo Vernazza in Lecce hosts in his basement a subterranean chamber where a basin stands. The only remain of a purgatorium.
The latter meaning a sacred room where the waters of the river Nile were collected for purification rituals.

An exhibition hold at the local university archeological museum presents a plastic model of the ceremonial site which had to be contained in a colonnade. And also a tiny little fragment of the labrum. The plate on the vassel made of african marble representing the goddess holding the sistrum.
Surprisingly enough the ceremony was ruled and attended by men.

plastico placchetta_Iside

The visit would not have been complete if I had not given an astonished glance at the Venuses preserved in the prehistoric section.
They are copies of the original minuscule statues found in Parabita, but I always feel like I am staring at the woman who made them.

DSCN1848 DSCN1849