Protective Water Ritual

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This ritual is particularly effective for removing the effects of spite or unfair criticism or a destructive encounter that has shaken your confidence.

It is based on an old custom whereby a rag was dipped into a holy well and the water rubbed on the body part that was causing pain. The rag was then left on a tree overhanging the well to dry and take with it the illness or pain, after which the rag was left to decay, so ensuring a permanent or long-term cure. These wells, called cloth or 'cloutie' wells in the north of England, are still a focus for protection and healing in many parts of the world, surrounded by ribbons and flowers.

You will need a large crystal or glass bowl for this ritual. Such bowls, frequently used in magick, are often obtainable cheaply from car boot or garage sales.

* Pour sacred water into the crystal bowl so that it is about half-full.

* Pass over the bowl three times deosil a silver coloured knife, or a traditional tool related to Air, saying:

One, twice, three times, by this blade of Air, by the mighty winds and the boundless sky, thrice thus do I charge this water with power and protection against all who would do or wish me harm.

* Dip a small piece of white cotton or flannel into your sacred water, saying:

Wash away the sorrow, wash away the pain, Father Sky and Sister Water, let but peace remain.

* Tie the cloth to a healing tree, such as ash, birch, aspen or willow (failing this, any tree or large plant in your garden or home will do) and leave the cloth to dry naturally. As you tie it, say:

As the sacred water returns to the sky to fall as life-enhancing rain, so may my- [name your unhappiness] be dispersed and transformed into joy and reconciliation.

Place a coin in a special pot every time you use your sacred water, so that when it is full you can buy a present for someone you love, a person who is lonely or ill or to give to a favourite charity.

9 - Healing Magick

9 - Healing Magick

Herbs have been used for healing since time immemorial in cultures all over the world. In herbal medicine, the herbs whose properties alleviate a particular illness or state of mind are taken internally or applied to the physical body externally. However, in healing magick, light and healing energies are transmitted through colour, crystals, herbs, oils and incenses and used as a focus for transferring healing energies to trigger the body and mind's own immune system, through visualisation and telepathic waves. In this way, healing magick is akin to spiritual healing.

By directing the natural restorative energies of the Earth, nature and the cosmos towards a sick or distressed person, animal or place through mind or soul flow, we can stimulate and amplify their self-healing powers.

A number of witches are formally trained in the healing arts, using both conventional methods, such as surgery, and alternative therapies, such as chiropractic, aromatherapy and Reiki. Witches may also be members of healing associations, and conventional medicine is increasingly recognising the value of alternative and much older methods.

But many witches without any formal training in either conventional medical treatment or spiritual healing follow the tradition of the wise men and women, the Wicca. These practitioners passed their craft down over centuries, from one generation to the next, but we also all have an innate ability to heal, which tells us how to soothe a loved one's headache or a child's distress. If you do wish to learn more of the craft see pages 299 and 305-7 where I have listed books on herbalism and aromatherapy and healing organisations.

Unlike some modern physicians or surgeons, who sometimes regard the prolonging of life as the major purpose of their work, regardless of the quality of that life, many witch healers, like other spiritual healers, accept that sometimes decline and death are inevitable. So they work to ease the parting and the passing over, knowing that this life is not the end. Magical healing has a very gentle tradition.

You can carry out healing with the sick person present, by directing the light and energies towards them. This can be done, for example, through a candle flame set between you. Alternatively, you can circle a pendulum over their head, widdershins to remove pain for whole-body healing or to ease a painful place, and deosil to restore energies. If the subject is absent, you can visualise them and send healing light across the cosmos. Healing magick can also be used with your pets, and for more general purposes, such as healing a particular place or the planet.

Do note that I am not claiming that the methods of magick healing given in this chapter will always effect a complete cure; if you suffer from a chronic or acute condition that does not quickly improve, you should consult your conventional doctor or registered alternative medical practitioner. However, magick has successfully been used in speeding healing, partly, it would seem, by stimulating the body's own self-healing system, operating through the close connection between mind, body and spirit in a way that the medical profession is only now beginning to understand.

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