Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sacred Trees of the American North East: Blackhaw

Blackhaw trees

Blackhaw, Viburnum prunifolium, is an amazing witch plant native to the midAtlantic US (see map of
native range below). Here in Pittsburg, it grows as a bush, but further south it can grow into a small tree (like in the picture above, from Missouri). The bark is dark, and tends to be rough and reddish.   In the spring, Blackhaw blossoms with five-petaled white flowers in large clusters that attract clouds of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. The flowers are sweetly fragrant, sort of like honeysuckle (a distant cousin).  In the late summer, it produces small stonefruits called drupes, which look sort of like olives crossed with black cherries (which are also kinds of drupes).   The drupes overwinter on the tree, being softened and sweetened by repeated freezing.  They are a favored food of many migratory birds, as well as squirrels, chipmunks, and mice.  White tail deer brows the leaves and twigs.  Humans also eat blackhaw drupes, usually in wine or jam and other preserves.  They can be eaten from the tree in spring.  If you'd like to try some blackhaw recipes, you can find some here.

Blackhaw flowers
Blackhaw drupes















In addition to being so pretty, Blackhaw is an important healing plant, especially for women.  It was traditionally used by Native healers for all sorts of women's health issues, including calming menstrual cramps, preventing miscarriage, speeding recovery from childbirth, and easing menopausal symptoms. So powerful preventer of miscarriage is it that is was often force-fed by slavers to the women they enslaved to prevent them from aborting (for which they used the root and bark of the cotton plant). It is a powerful antispasmodic of the uterus, primarily due to the presence of scopoletin, which is a coumarin glycoside. HOWEVER, blackhaw also contains salicin (the same as aspirin is made of), which can sometimes cause birth defects. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should only take blackhaw (or aspirin) after consulting with a medical professional.

I do not know any myths or legends specifically about viburnum prunifolium, but I know legends of many other, closely related, viburnums.  Viburnum opulus (kalyna) plays an especially prominent role in Ukrainian folklore.  There, it was associated with the birth of the Universe, and its red berries symbolize blood and the undying trace of family roots.  The plant is often referenced in Ukrainian poetry:
"My love for you is filled to the brim with the bitterness of the kalyna" - Liubov Zabashta.
"My heart senses the scent of the ripened steppe, and the strong tea smells of kalyna" - Mykola Synhaivskyi.
"People! Do not burn the trees! The red kalyna heals the heart, the forest and grove heal the soul" - Stepan Kryzhanivs'kyi.

It is likely that the mythic character of Viburnum opulus arises from it's physical properties, which are quite similar to blackhaw, although the berries are red in Ukraine and blue-black on ours.  The two plants are chemically quite similar and have similar medical uses, relating primarilly to the womb.  So, by extrapolation, we can assume that blackhaw is also a powerful spirit ally for ancestral matters, and this has been my experience.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hermes: Quicksilver King incense




Most of you know that I'm a devotee of the Great God Hermes. I've written about him extensively (use the search bar on the right to find some articles about him if you want).

This illustration, from D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths
was my first introduction to Hermes, when I was a baby.
I feel immediately and permanently in love. 


The Arcadian Hymn to Hermes


Listen now, as the muses sing
of Hermes Mercurius, the Quicksilver King.
Teacher of teachers, the Universal Mind,
Arcadian child of Māyā, divine.
Mathematician, Magician, Traveler, Thief:
Make the pious man doubt, and bring the skeptic belief.
Make our words be clever and our eyes to be bright.
Grant unearned luck and true wisdom’s insight.
Let our tongues be quick; make our feet quick too.
Let our lies be convincing, but our teaching be true!
Send instructive dreams and controllable visions,
Ennoble our purpose, empower our missions.
And when, at last, our lifetimes end,
be our beloved guide, and our psychopomp friend.






For use in all Hermes related works, but especially those related to his role as Lord of Games (both trivial and very, very serious), Mastros & Zealot is proud to announce our newest Hermes incense. It includes:

Sandalwood: Santalum spicatum, a tree native to Australia, closely related to Indian sandalwood (Santalum album).  Indian Sandalwood is classified as "vulnerable" (the first step toward becoming endangered) by the ICUN , and it is difficult to ethically source.  Australian sandalwood forms the base of this incense, but it also includes a very small amount of Indian Sandalwood, which a friend brought me back from India.  Sandalwoods have a long history of religious and magical use, particularly for use in focusing the mind and transforming desires.  Sandalwood has an amazing fragrance that's hard to describe.  It's warm, soft, and creamy; like warm milk from your mother.  Sacred to both Shiva and Lakshmi, sandalwood is precious, both literally and figuratively.  



Frankincense: The resin of Boswellia sacra tree, is solar and sweet. It has a long and storied use throughout North Africa and the Middle East. Biblically, it was a gift of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon, and also a gift of the Magus Melichor to the infant Jesus. I use it in almost all of my incense mixes. It is good for purification and sanctification, for healing and peace. It uplifts this mixture and ensures that, while it can be cthonic, this incense is never malevolent. The frankincense in this mixture is (like all our herbal products) ethically harvested and fair trade.

Cloves: Syzygium aromaticum is an evergreen tree related to myrtle.  The part used is the dried flower bud.  Until modern times, cloves grew only on a handful of Indonesia islands, now called the Moluccas, but historically called "the Spice Islands", but these cloves are from Bangladesh.  Many people associate cloves with Jupiter, but I think of them as Mercurial, and perhaps a little Venus-y.  They are historically noted as an aphrodisiac.  Spicy, warm, and sweet cloves smell, to me, like Greek spice cake.  

Nutmeg: The seed of several varieties of the Myristica tree, nutmeg is also native to the Moluccas.  Nutmeg is one of my favorite spices; I love both the smell and the taste. (Try it with buttered peas. Amazing! I learned this recipe from St. Theodore the Studite, the first abolitionist.)  Like all abortificant plants, nutmeg is sacred to the Witch Queens. Like all psychadelics, it is sacred to Hermes. I do not recommend nutmeg as an enthoegen, my experience was quite unpleasant. The amounts of nutmeg in this incense are not enough to induce abortificant or psychadelic experiences. Random note: I love the name Myristica. If I had a daughter, I would name her Myristica.


Saffron: The stigmas (reproductive parts) of the Crocus sativus flower, is probably native to Greece, but has been propagated by humans across Eurasia since at least the Bronze Age, and is now grown world wide (including in my front yard!).  Because harvesting the stigmas is extremely labor intensive, saffron is very expensive, and has always been so.  It takes 70,000 crocuses to produce a pound of saffron.  Saffron produces a bright yellow color when cooked, especially in rice.  Although some holy objects (like Hekate's robe) are dyed with saffron, most "saffron robes" are dyed with turmeric (I'll write a post on dying with tumeric some other time if you remind me).  Saffron smells sort of like freshly mown hay, and tastes...it's hard to explain.  Saffron tastes...well, it tastes yellow: buttery and honey-ish, without being sweet or creamy.  It's very mildly spicy, but not hot.  It's almost impossible to describe, but delicious.  Saffron is extensively used in Deitsch (PA Dutch) cooking, as well as in Greek and Sephardic dishes, so that's pretty much a trifecta for me.There is some evidence that saffron can reduce symptoms in those with major depressive disorder, and it's hard to believe anything so yellow and so delicious wouldn't raise anyone's mood, at least a little! There is a long history of saffron being used in perfumes and incenses; Cleopatra used to bathe in it Saffron in it.  particular, and crocuses in general, are sacred to Hermes.   The Saffron in this batch comes was grown near where I grew up in Lancaster, PA, which is the largest center of saffron production in the United States.  

and a number of other ingredients, including honey, cardamom, cinnamon, cassia, and dragon's blood and some other things.

$23 per half cup.  Order here

Magic to Get the Right Teacher/School




Today, a friend asked: "What's the best magic that can be done to ensure that my son gets his preferred teacher next school year? They assign teachers in a few weeks. Sigils? Petition a spirit?"  I'm going to answer that, but my advice also applies to related questions like "What's the best magic that can be done to ensure someone gets into the right college?"

The first thing to remember that you ought to work to ensure your son gets the BEST FOR HIM teacher  (or college, or etc) for next school, rather than the preferred one, because there can be a lot of behind-the-scenes things going on that can change who "the right" teacher is that you don't know about yet.

But first, a note on ethics:  "Good teachers" are a tragically finite resource in American schools, and decision on which students land in which classroom are rarely made lightly.  When you use sorcery to influence those decisions, you should remember that what you're asking of the universe is that a student whom the trained professionals thought needed that good teacher more than yours get bumped for your child.  I'm not saying you shouldn't do it.  I would, if it were my kid.  But, in our country, millions of children will never see a good teacher, or a good school.  If you live in America, that guilt is upon you.    Before beginning this kind of work, you should make a sin offering to a charity dedicated to improving American education for underserved students.  Personally, I recommend the Baltimore Algebra Project, a youth-led secular project devoted to providing a real education to underserved communities in Baltimore.  The group is staffed and led almost entirely by students and recent graduates of Baltimore City schools, and provides peer tutoring as well politcal action.  You can buy the awesome shirt for $20, but I REALLY REALLY encourage you to make an offering as well.  If you're willing to pour out a $20 bottle of rum, but not give $20 to help kids get an education, maybe rethink your priorities.

Here are a number of suggestions:

1) If the child is in elementary school, call the school and schedule an appointment with both the principal and their current teacher/advisor, as early as possible.  Explain, calmly and succinctly, without asking for special treatment, your child's special needs, and why you think one teacher (or class or etc) would be better than another.  If your child is in high school, they should be making the appointment and their case by themself.  Middle school is a grey area, in terms of maturity; you know your child better than I do.  BUT, and this is REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT:  You cannot seem as if you are asking for special treatment or making unreasonable demands.  School administrators are human, and spend an ungodly amount of their time fighting off offensively absurd requests for special treatment from pushy, entitled parents.  No good administrator will punish your child just because you pissed them off, but...well...you and I both know that not all school administrators are good.  If you can't explain why your child needs special consideration that other children don't, DO NOT request a meeting, just do the magic.

2) I would assume, as a magician, that you already have a spirit engaged to watch over your children's education, but if not, you should get one.  Learned ancestors, scholar/scribe gods, and angels of the east are broadly good choices.  The person after whom the school is named is often also a good choice (but not always, do your research).  Personally, I work with Hermes, the Teacher of Teachers and Lord of Learning, for this.  You ought to be checking in with this spirit weekly, making a brief offering, and thanking them for teaching you children, and asking them to help you teach them as well.

3) Call upon the spirit in question to specifically open the way to the Best Possible Learning Experience for your child, one that opens in them a love of learning and a taste for truth.  Acknowledge that the best possible learning experience is often harder than others, but that you want your child to learn all the best things, to rejoice in their schooling, and to emerge from the year, wiser, happier, and stronger.  (or whatever it is you want for them). 

4) Find out who (an actual person) does the assigning.  Honey pot them.  It wouldn't hurt to also honey pot the desired teacher, but teachers don't usually get to request students.

5) Construct a ritual with the spirit from #2, and ask them to inspire in you a sigil representing the goal of your child having the Best Possible Learning Experience.  If you cannot, you can use the sigil below, which I received from Hermes, the Teacher of Teachers, the Lord of Learning, for you.  


Print the sigil out, write your child's name and the phrase "best possible learning experience" on the back, and then burn it.  Scatter the ashes in the school office if possible, otherwise outside near the school.

Educational and Academic magics are specialities of mine. You can purchase a consultation or custom spellwork related to these areas here.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Servitor Statue of Sabazios

This is the white horse statue that used to be our protector at the Witch House.  


I've recently upgraded the protective guardian at the Witch House, so now I can tell you about how I made the old one.  To work this ritual, you'll need a statue (a plastic toy is ok) of a horse (ideally white), a protective oil, and seven white candles (tea lights work fine).  Personally, I make my own "fiery wall of protection" oil, but you can use any protective oil that feels right.  This is relatively advanced-level magic that might not be advisable if you don't have some experience (1) traveling in the Other Place and (2) housing spirits.  If you would like me to do it for you, you can buy invested spirit homes at Mastros & Zealot.

Arrange the candles in a circle, with yourself and the horse inside.  Begin to image a herd of horses surrounding you, galloping around you.  You, however, are with the stallion, and are in no danger. Hear the hoof beats around you, drumming the sacred rhythm, the gateway to the Underworld.  Feel the taught muscles of the stallion you are riding; rock your hips in rhythm with his gallop, his thundering hoofbeats strike lightning as they hit the ground.  Earth Shaker!  Horse Lord!

When you have your riding rhythm, begin to call to Sabazios.  You are Rider and he is Horse, but this is no broken mare for the plow, no gelded creature to pull your cart.  This is Stallion you ride, but you do not control him.  He takes you where you need to go; not necessarily where you want to go.  Ride with him; run with him.  Speak to him and love him, call him into being, house him in the statue, the Great Stallion, Sabazios, Lord of the Plains, Whose Hoofbeats Make the Thunder.  Call out to the Lord of Horses until you are confident He Who comes is with you.

When you have fully bonded with him, begin to anoint the statue, asking the Horse Lord to send you one of his court, a great guardian Horse Warrior, to guard over you and your home.  You may see a horse and rider; like a knight, but do not forget that it is Horse and not Rider who is your protector. Explain that you have made him a fine home, and will do him all honors.  Continue to anoint the statue until you feel it come to life in your hands.  It may feel like a warmth, or you might feel the muscles begin to twitch and slide, tense and stretch, under your hands.  Once that has happened, proceed to the charge, describing your home and its inhabitants to your new horse familiar.  Charge it to protect you and your home, patrolling the boundaries, looking over the property and protecting you from threats both seen and unseen.  Walk the horse state around the boundaries of your property as you do this.  It is best to walk the boundary clockwise.  When you have come to the permanent home of your hose guardian, install it in a place of honor near your main entrance to the property, looking out.   If the property in question is a regular house with a yard, I think just outside the front door of the house is best. At the Witch House, we put ours on the porch pedestal, where he looked out over the street.  If the property is otherwise, use your best judgement about where to put the statue, but whenever that is, try to have it face "out" toward the direction you would expect an attack to come from.  If your property is actually literally under siege, I would recommend making a statue for each entrance/direction.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Holy HookUp of Hekate and Hermes: A Ritual

There are only vague references to Hermes and Hekate as a couple in classic sources.   For example,  you would think my favorite of these would be from Pausanias, who says "The hero Eleusis, after whom the city [of Eleusis] is named, some assert to be a son of Hermes and of Daeira [Hekate?], daughter of Okeanos (Oceanus)."  For those of you who follow my work, that's basically a list of important features of my magical practice; EleusisHermesHekate, and Okeanos, oh my!

However, my actual favorite is the Roman writer Propertius, in his Elegies, says "Brimo [Hekate], who as legend tells, by the waters of Boebeis [I think this is the Gulf of Pagastikos] laid her virgin body at Mercurius' [Hermes'] side."  
Pagastikos Gulf in Thessaly

That quote first made me consider them as a couple, and the more I thought about it, the more the thought appealed.  Here was a divine couple in a kind of relationship very different from the ones we usually hear about.  This isn't rape, but neither is it marriage.  These are two gods, both of whom are not just single, but almost agressively so, coming together by moonlight, simply because they want to.  THAT is a thing I want to emulate!  Young Hekate and Hermes initiating each other.  <3

Silver Moon Photography


You Will Need:

  • A dark moon Wednesday (such as April 26, 2017) (not essential)
  • A tall white candle, and a black one the same size and shape
  • A tall red candle
  • appropriate incense.  (Mastros & Zealot Hekate & Hermes incense, for example!) . a good mixture would be frankincense, mugwort, and cloves
  • a white egg 
  • a white plate or bowl
  • oats, rice, or other grain
  • honey
  • olive oil
  • Metaxa (or other brandy, or wine) in a pretty glass
  • a black sharpie marker
  • a bell or other sound-maker, or you can just clap
  • at least 8 coins (gold Sacajawea dollars are excellent).  You will not get your coins back.



Instructions:

On the egg, write Hermes and Hekate's names or symbols.  Next, annoint the white and black candles with olive oil, and prepare the offering: in the bowl, nestle the egg in a bed of grain, and pour olive oil and honey over top.  Pour also a small glass of Metaxa.  Arrange these things in a pleasant matter, with the red candle, still un-annointed, between the other two.  Some flowers might also be nice.

Ring the bell, or clap your hands.  Say (something like):
"Begone, ignorance! Begone, sloth! Begone fear and doubt!
Begone everything that holds me back!
Begone evil, licentiousness attend to me!
Begone sin, driven out by sorcery!"

"I bless this time and place, I set them apart.
The moon is dark, on Mercury's day, and
I stand on the shore of Lake Boebeis;
Holy Mount Ossa towers above me.
Spirits of this place, attend me!

Spirits of this time, attend me!
Now is EveryWhen!"


Ring the bell three times, saying (something like):
"Lake spirits!  Creatures of lake and wind and shore!
Feast with us!  Be with us!  Dance the holy dance!
Wriggle and writhe and swim and fly,
creatures of lake and wind and shore!
The magic is now to commence!"

Ring the bell once.

Light the black candle, saying (something like):
"Hekate Enodia; maiden of the threeway crossroads,
I call to you, across time and space.  Here, at the shores of Lake Boebeis, 
Come to me!  Inhabit me!  Abide with me!"

Light the white candle, saying (something like):
"Hermes Enagonius, Lord of Games,
I call to you, across time and space. Here, at the shores of Lake Boebeis,
Come to me! Inhabit me! Abide with me!"


Anoint the red candle with olive oil, while saying (something like):

"Gods of Crossroad, Three-World walkers,
You who know my every name,
Great Initiators, Co-Initiated,
Bring me into your embrace.
Be for me my holy teachers,
and I will be best among your students.
Make me an instrument of inspiration,
and a source of sorcery in the world.
Set me alight with your enlightenment, and aflame with the fire of your word."


CHANT:

Threeway, Fourway, Crossroads Cross, Seven Pointed Star.


Repeat the chant until you feel overtaken by you inner Magic.
You may find your tempo and volume increasing to a frenzied crescendo.

OFFERINGS:
Say something like:  "Hekate Enodia, and Hermes Lord of Games, I set before you egg and oil, grain and honey and fine brandy.  These I give freely, of my own will, to nourish you and your troupe.  I set before you golden coins; bless them and make them a blessing.  Whomsoever touches them, whomsoever spends them, whomsoever sees them, let them be awakened to knowledge and initiation, in the way which is best for them."

DENOUMENT:
Over the next week, give the coins, one each, to eight different beggars.  Should you not see eight beggars by week's end (perhaps look harder?), you may donate the coins to charity.  Ronald McDonald House, which provides succor to those whose loved ones are in hospital, is a good choice for this work, and has donation boxes at every McDonalds.





PS: If you like my writing, I've recently started a Patreon campaign where you can help support it! ANY amount of support (starting at just $3 per month) comes with access to brand new mythopoetics you can't read anywhere else.






























Here we go a'Maying...

Those of us who are students of Jason Miller, preform together a Global Juno Rite on May Day.  If you're not part of the Strategic Sorcery course, I very strongly recommend it; there's still time to sign up before the rite.  Although the ritual does not require an incense, this year I decided to compound one, and here it is!  Although I originally designed it with the Juno rite in mind, this incense captures, not the essence of Juno, but the essence of May Day, and of the May Queen, no matter what you call her; Juno, Maia, Flora, Magna Mater, She of the Wildflower Meadow, and a hundred hundred other names.  This incense is great for any work related to abundance, prosperity, fertility, fecundity, marriage, family, gardens, a happy and healthy sex life.

If you do not want to compound your own, you can order the incense from Mastros & Zealot here: http://mastroszealot.com/talismans-tools-potions for $23 per half-cup portion (includes US shipping). US orders placed and paid by Friday April 15th are guaranteed to arrive in time for May Day.



Queen Guinevere's Maying
John Collier, 1900
May Queen Incense Recipe

The proportions can vary tremendously depending on where you source your materials, how fresh they are, and your own personal taste.


4 parts rose

2 parts frankincense
2 parts damiana
1 part hibiscus
1 part hawthorn berries
1 part hops flowers
1 part red clover
honey to bind


Grind all ingredients small (but leave some flower petals whole, because they are pretty!) Mix together, and bind with honey.  (warming the honey makes it thinner, and easier to mix)








I used this (slightly modified) traditional hymn to bless the incense:



Bring flowers of the rarest,
Bring blossoms the fairest,

From garden and woodland and hillside and dale;

Our full hearts are swelling,
Our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest flower of the vale.

O Lady, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of Heaven and Queen of the May!
O Lady, we crown thee with blossoms today,
Queen of Heaven and Queen of the May!


If you want a more Maia and less Juno hymn, you might substitute "Queen of Faeries" for "Queen of Heaven".  The traditional line is "Queen of Angels", and where I have "Lady", the traditional hymn sings to "Mary".

Damask Rose,  Rosa damascena, is sometimes called the Queen of Flowers, and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you about.  So, instead, here is a Roman myth of the rose's origins: Flora, the Goddess of Spring and of Flowers, one day found the dead body of her dearest and most beautiful nymph; inconsolable, she begged all the Gods to come to her aid to change the dead body of her loved one into the most beautiful flower which would be recognized as Queen of all Flowers. Apollo, God of the Arts, gave her the breath of life, Bacchus bathed her in nectar, Vertumnus gave her fragrance, Pomona fruit, and Flora herself finally gave a diadem of petals, and thus the rose was born.


Frankincense, the resin of Boswellia sacra tree, is solar and sweet. It has a long and storied use throughout North Africa and the Middle East. Biblically, it was a gift of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon, and also a gift of the Magus Melichor to the infant Jesus.  I use it in almost all of my incense mixes. It is good for purification and sanctification, for healing and peace. It provides a sunny, summery, solar layer layer to the incense. 


Hibiscus, also called rose mallow, is sacred to a wide variety of deities, including both Kali and Ganesh.  In Tahiti and Hawaii, the hibiscus is very closely associated with marriage.  Married women wear the flowers behind their let ears, and available girls and women behind their right.  In addition to their lovely color, the hibiscus flowers have a delicious fruity scent when burned.

Hawthorn Berries, the small red fruits of May Tree, have an extraordinarily rich mythology.  As is evident from the name, the tree has been associated with May Day in Britain since time immemorial. British traditions hold that hawthorn was used to make both Jesus' crown and Joseph of Aramathea's staff (from which sprung the Holy Thorn of Glastonbury).  In Celtic lore, it is said to heal a broken heart, and the Gaul's credit it as the premier flower of Faerie.  To underscore the tree's association with May Day, I am nearly positive the white blossoms in the painting above are hawthorn.  In truth, the berries do not much effect the scent of the incense, although they add a very subtle fruitiness, but making a May Day incense without hawthorn seemed unforgivable to this Queen of the Witching Trees.


Damiana, Turnera diffusa, has a complex spicy floral scent, somewhat reminiscent of chamomile. Closely related to passion flower, damiana has a great reputation as an aphrodisiac.   In fact, it's name comes from the Greek "daman", which means "to subdue" (as with a love spell).  It was used ritually by both the Aztec and the Maya, who learned her use from the Guaycura (the indigenous people of Baja). When burned, damiana has a dank herbal scent, similar to marijuana mixed with figs.

Red Clover, Trifolium pratense, is among the most common of meadow plants, and is a favorite flower of bees.  I strongly associate it with the Great Goddess, Heavy with Child, partly because it contains high quantities of phytoestrogens.  However, I include it in this incense primarily because, to me, clover is the smell of summer.


Hops  blossomsHumulus lupulus, was a great favortie of the amazing Hildegrd von Bingen, who appeared to me in a dream and called on me to "become the Abbess of Witches"; the first inspiration for the Witch House.  Most of us know it as a flavoring agent for beer, but hops has many other important qualities.  It is calming and relaxing, a tonic against anxiety and restlessness.  They are also being studies for their potential in female hormone replacement therapy.  Hops also promotes powerful dreams and visions.

Honey is the last primary ingredient. It lends a sweetness and slight floral quality, as well as binding the other herbs together. I love to use honey in incense, because it provides huge clouds of smoke, great for giving spirits something to manifest in. Bees, and thus honey, have a long association with the May Queen. If you’d like even more smoke, you can mix in a little bit more honey.  The honey in this mixture is from Braddock Farms, an organic urban farm just down the road from the Witch House.




Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Blooded Rose of Shaddai El Chai: A Love Spell

Art by BeaZinkSoya


This ritual may be used to strengthen an existing marriage, reunite an estranged married couple, to encourage an existing partnership to turn toward marriage, or to meet a person to marry.  It was designed for use by a heterosexual, monogamous couple, but it should work for any couple (or triad, etc) who wishes for a divinely sanctified life-long partnership. UPDATE: Because many people, all over the world, are now doing this ritual, I have added an element. Each night, when you count, please add the sentence "May my count empower all others who count; may my work empower the Work." That way, we're each reinforcing everyone else's magic, so that if anyone accidentally misses a night, the "safety net" will catch it. :)
You will need:
  • a healthy rose bush, red is best but any color is ok (a “miniature rose” in a pot will work)
  • A bottle of red wine
  • A razor blade, rubbing alcohol, bandages
  • Frankincense powder  (coffee grinders will powder frankincense, but cleaning them is kind of a hassle)
  • A piece of white paper and a green pen

Instructions:
  • Sometime before Tuesday April 11:
  • Write, speaking from the heart, a description of exactly what you want.  Decorate the paper with hearts, flowers, and any other pictures or symbols that seem appropriate to you.  If being done by a couple, each person should write their own petition.
  • Mix about 3 Tbsp of frankincense power and several drops of your own blood into the wine.  If the rite is being done by a couple to strengthen their marriage, both people’s blood should be added.
  • Bury the petition under the rose bush.  Alternatively, you can burn the petition and sprinkle the ashes at the base of the plant.  Pour out about an ounce of wine at the foot of the rose.  Speak directly to the rose bush, asking it to bless and sanctify your love, in the name of Shaddai El Chai.

Each day, for 49 days, count the omer (use the calendar) sometime after suset, but before you go to bed..  Say a single sentence relating the day’s gate and your goal.  Then say "May my count empower all others who count; may my work empower the Work." 

Here are quick summaries of the meanings of the gates; each gate combines the meaning of two sefirot:

Chesed (Tuesdays): Compassion.  Grace.  Forgiveness.  Peace.
Gevurah (Wednesdays): Power.  Justice.  Martial Passion.  Protection.
Tiferet (Thursdays):  Beauty.  Cosmic Harmony.  Sunlight.  Happiness.
Netzach (Fridays): Victory.  Love.  Friendship.  Harmony Between People.  Amity.  Growth.
Hod (Saturdays): Brilliance.  Intellect.  Wit.  Humor.  
Yesod (Sundays): Sexual Passion.  Fecundity.  Dreams.  Subconscious.
Malkuth (Mondays): Home.  Health.  Family.  Community.

Every Friday, light shabbat candles, and then pour out wine at the bush.  The seven fridays are as follows:

Friday, April 14th:  Today is day four of the Omer, the gate of Netzach in Chesed.  Holy Rose, mother of compassion, in the name of Shaddai El Chai, awaken compassion and grace in my heart, and in the heart of my beloved.  “May the wine go straight to my beloved, flowing gently over lips and teeth.  I belong to my beloved,  and his desire is for me.”  [change genders as appropriate]

Friday April 21st: Today is the 11th day of the Omer, one week and four days, the gate of Netzach in Gevorah.  Holy Rose, red as flame, in the name of Shaddai El Chai, awaken passion and power in my heart, and in the the heart of my beloved.  “Place me like a seal over his heart, and he like a seal upon my arm; for love is as strong as death,    its passion unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire,  like a mighty flame.”

Friday April 28th:  Today is the 18th day of the Omer, two weeks and four days, the gate of Netzach in Tiferet.  Holy Rose, of surpassing beauty, in the name of Shaddai El Chai, awaken harmony and joy in my heart, and in the heart of my beloved.  “Awake, north wind,  and come, south wind!  Blow on my garden,  that its fragrance may spread everywhere.  Let my beloved come into the garden and taste its choice fruits.”

Friday, May 5th:  Today is the 25th day of the Omer, three weeks and four days, the gate of Netzach in Netzach.  Holy Rose, source of love, in the name of Shaddai El Chai, awaken love in my heart, and in the heart of my beloved.  “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for love is more delightful than wine.  Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;  your very name is like perfume poured out.”

Friday May 12th: Today is the 32nd day of the Omer, four weeks and four days, the gate of Netzach in Hod.  Holy Rose, source of poetry, in the name of Shaddai El Chai, awaken mirth in my heart, and in the heart of my beloved.  Let our tongues drip words of love.  “My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh  resting between my breasts.  My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms  from the vineyards of En Gedi.”

Friday May 19th: Today is the 39th day of the Omer, five weeks and four days, the gate of Netzach in Yesod.  Holy Rose, perfume of dreams, in the name of Shaddai El Chai, awaken dreams of longing in my heart, and in the heart of my beloved.  Let us yearn for each for the other.  “Listen! My beloved!  Look! Here (s)he comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.”

Friday, May 26th:  Today is the 45th day of the Omer, five week and four days, the gate of Netzach in Malkuth.  Holy Rose, creature of Earth, in the name of Shaddai El Chai, bring my love to me!  “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine!” PS: If you like my writing, I've recently started a Patreon campaign where you can help support it! ANY amount of support (starting at just $3 per month) comes with access to brand new mythopoetics you can't read anywhere else.