Friday, February 24, 2017

Circe: Queen of the Witching Isle

Circe, by Wright Barker (1889)

Recently, I've been doing a lot of work with Circe, the Witch of the Odyssey.   Circe is one of my favorite Witch Queens; her very name, which means “falcon” bespeaks the “magic circle”.   Hesiod and Homer both say that she, and her brother Aeëtes, are the children of Perse (Okeanos’ daughter) and Helios. Some others say she is the daughter of Hekate and Aeëtes, or even Hekate and Hermes. Personally, I think she is the daughter of Helios, fostered and taught in the arts of the Witch by her half-sister Hekate.  In any case, like almost every Witch Queen, she has an inheritance of both luminance and depth.  

She is best known for her role in the Odyssey, where she is described as beautiful, seductive, clever, and dangerous. When Odysseus and his warriors come to her enchanted isle, she bewitches his companions with a magic potion, turning them to pigs. Following advice from Hermes, Odysseus counters her enchantment with the sacred herb moly.  After some sexual escapades, Odysseus and Circe become allies; he remains on her island for a full year, while she is pregnant with their son. During this time, Circe taught Odysseus to enter into the Underworld, there to seek the guidance he required to make his way home.

Her island, Αἰαία (Eëa), was magical in and of itself.  It's exact location is unknown.  Many writers, over the millennia, have tried to identify it as some particular Mediterranean island, but I think it exists only in a time and space apart from our world, afloat in the great River Okeanos, who encircles the world, accessible only from the Other Place.  I believe it to be a great center of teaching, where the sisterhood of Witches that begins with Gaia, Phoebe and Hekate, and continues through Circe, Iphigenia, and Medea continues to learn and to teach.  I have been there in my dreams, and I encourage you to seek it out as well.  To that end, I have created this mandala-esque sigil ikon for Circe, and the Isle of Eëa.  The words in the background read: "Circe, Witch Goddess of the Holy Isle, First Priestess of Eëa, I beg to learn at your feet. Admit me to your circle. Take me as your daughter."

Watch for more Circe-related work and offerings over the next week or two.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Magus Maximus Competition

Mastros & Zealot: Witches for Hire are proud to announce our

Magus Maximus competition!

While, obviously, Mastros & Zealot is a for-profit endeavor, our primary mission is Magical Poetics and the Re-enchantment of the World. To that end, we sponsor this competition, to bring out the best competitive spirit in our fellow magicians, and simply encourage there to be more magic in the world.

The current prize pool is $23 in cash, $111 in custom sorcery from Mastros & Zealot, one free Tai Chi or Magic class from Sifu Eric Randolph of The Tao Applied in Pittsburgh, a blessed "Hermes, Lord of the Game" candle, and the right to call yourself an official Magus Maximus World Champion.   Prizes will be split among all winners. Winners outside the United States will need to pay shipping on any mailable prizes. If you would like to contribute magic, cash, or prizes to the prize pool, send me a message.

Entering the content is 100% FREE but all entries must be public, except in Earth, which you may enter secretly.  You may, if you wish, enter in each category.  Winners will be announced at the Spring Equinox.

Ways to enter:

EARTH: In the Buried Heart of the Witch House, there is an earthen shaft connecting the Land Below with the Sky. Within the shaft, in a box that once held Ashanti gold, there lies a scroll. On the scroll is written a name. Tell us the name. THIS IS NOT A METAPHOR, there is an actual box, with an actual scroll, on which is written an actual name, hidden in this house. Fly in spirit to find it. Every correct answer is a winner, but the name will change each time someone wins. People who have a key to the Witch House are not eligible for this contest.

AIR: Write and publish (here on our page, on a blog, or in a run of at least 100 distributed print copies) a poem, song, short story, play, invocation, essay or other art of words about a competition between magicians. Encode within your words magic to win this competition. Winner(s) will be selected by popular acclaim.

WATER: Create and publically exhibit (digitally or otherwise) a visual work of art (painting, sculpture, photography, video, etc) that glorifies Hermes, Lord of Games. Encode within the image magic to win this competition by currying favor of Hermes, Lord of Games. Winner(s) will be selected by popular acclaim.

FIRE: Best our champion,  Simon Zealot, in a public contest of martial magic. Contact Simon to set the terms of your duel and make arrangements.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Statue in the River

This is a teaching I received in a journey.  I suppose it's a kind of dismemberment journey, but a very soft and beautiful one.  Close your eyes.  Feel the sun on your skin, and the earth below your feet.  The air around you is warm, and thick with the scent of forest and stream.  Imagine a bubbling river, cool, and clear, and refreshing. would be so delicious to swim in.  Stand on the bank, and imagine being in the water, letting its coolness embrace you, its buoyancy making your weightless. You might feel the mist in the air, tiny droplets cool on your warm skin.  In the middle of the river a beautiful white marble statue of a god or goddess is sitting on a pedestal.  The water splashes against it.  It needn't be a specific deity; in fact, it might be better if it's not.  The one that arose for me was not anyone who I would expect.  Just watch for a while, the river splashing against the statue, the statue sitting, unmoved.  Beautiful.  Listen to the sound of the water, the bubble and splash of it as it parts and rejoins around the statue and below, the rumbly sound of the power of the current in the deep.  Birds sing in the background.

Next, imagine that you are the statue.  Cool, still, stone.  Feel the waters rushing around you.  Just sit, and abide.  Feel the water rushing.  Hear the sound of it.  Slowly, slowly, the waters clarifies the statue, until it is as transparent as if it were made out of glass, shimmering in the sunlight.  It's ok if sometimes you forget to be the statue.  Just recenter yourself within it.  Everything will go on without you, the river will still run, the statue will still sit, whether you are there or not.

Slowly, slowly, over aeons and aeons, the water wears down the statue, the statue dissolves into the water.  Slowly, slowly your statue, your body dissolves, becoming clearer and clearer, more and more ephemeral.  After a while, you will be the river, cool, and clear, rushing and liquid.  Next, work on being the shimmer of light on the water.  And then the sound of the shimmer.  And then you are done.

House Protection

I haven't been posting here as much, you should check out Mastros & Zealot: Witches for Hire on facebook if you want to follow along with more of my day to day magic, or take a look at our website to see our professional offerings.  In any case, today I wanted to write some about a super easy, very traditional type of house protection magic, the door cross.  Here's a photo of my front door, with its new crosses:

The first step is to prepare cascarilla powder, which is simply powdered white eggs shells.  (brown eggs won't work for this)  I always save my shells in the container as I use the eggs, which means I'm pretty much always grinding up a dozen at a time, but you can make smaller batches.  No, the shells don't smell as you save them, (1) because it's refrigerated, and (2) because the little bit of raw egg inside the shell dries up too fast.   For this project, you'll probably need about 4 egg shells.  Rinse the eggshells, and then put them in the oven for about 15 minutes (to completely sterilize any membrane left inside them.  I grind mine in a coffee grinder, but you can use a mortar and pestle if you don't have a grinder.  I recommend crushing them small by hand before putting them in the grinder.  Grind them as fine as you can.  If you want, you can add baking powder and water to make a dough, and dry that to make a sort of chalk.  But, for this, all you need is the ground egg-shells.

Once the powder is made, you'll want to mix some of the cascarilla and a little bit of plain table salt into some white paint.  The type of paint isn't too important.  I used cheap acrylic craft paint, the kind that costs $1 a bottle.  My front door is under a porch and has a glass storm door.  If yours is exposed to the weather, you probably want to use exterior latex paint.  The proportions also aren't terribly important.  You want enough cascarilla & salt to make sure all the paint is "infused", but not enough to mess up the texture of the paint too much.

Awaken the paint mixture in the usual fashion, calling out to its constituents to do their work.

Next, you'll want to make a stamp.   I used a kitchen sponge (the kind that are soft when dry).  I freehanded the cross with a sharpie, and then cut it out with scissors.  I wanted mine to look "primitive", so I didn't bother with doing too good of a job with it.  You could, obviously, make a much better stamp, or even use a professionally made one, if you wanted, but I like the way mine came out.  Stamp crosses onto each corner of the door.  Personally, I think white crosses on a red door are best, but I admit that's largely an aesthetic decision.  Red, blue, black, or white crosses on a white door would also be fine.  I also put three crosses by the knob and the deadbolt, but it depends on how your door is laid out.