Spells and Charms * Practical Sorcery * Magical Cures
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As you explore this site, you may find links to a "page not found" instead of something cool and magickal. For this I apologize. I am very working hard behind the scenes to restore those pages along with a link to their homes on my new website where they can be viewed in full.
Volturnalia was the Roman festival on August 27 dedicated to Volturnus, 'god of the waters,' god of fountains. Volturnus was a tribal river god who later was identified as god of the Tiber river. The Volturno River, in southern Italy, is named for him. Volturnus was the father of the goddess Juturna, who was first identified with a spring in Latium near the Numicus River and later with a pool near the Temple of Vesta in the Forum of Rome. They were both honored on this day with feasting, wine-drinking, and games.
Little is known about Volturnus, although scholars have attempted to reconstruct his myth and role in the cultus deorum. Volturnus is known to have been an agricultural God, and surviving fragments show he was specifically a river God.
Like other ancient Gods, his cult was overshadowed and obscured by a religious reformation, probably in the 4th century BCE. By the time of Varro (116 BCE - 27 BCE), a scholar who collected the surviving materials, there were only traces left of Rome's earliest religion. He reported the survival of a Flamen Volturnalis, but found the God to be "obscure".
No myths concerning Volturnus have survived. A minority view among scholars is that Volturnus was a generic God of rivers, and gave his name both to the Tiber and the Volturno. Also it has been theorized that the Romans might have equated Volturnus with Vulturnus, as evidenced by this passage from Lucretious:
Inde aliae tempestates
et Auster fulmine pollens.
And other Winds do follow: the high roar
Of great Volturnus, and the
Vulturnus' Greek analog was Eurus (Εύρος), the God of the east wind, and a son of Eos, possibly by Astræus. In Italy, the Vulturno, now called the Scirocco, blows from the southeast. The Vulturno takes its name from Monte Vulture (anc. Vultur).
Those who equate Volturnus with Vulturnus believe that the Volturnalia was a festival to avert the drought caused by these drying winds.
However, most contemporary scholars separate Volturnus the river from Vulturnus the east wind, and point to the timing of the Volturnalia at harvest time as evidence that it would have been offered in thanks for the irrigation water drawn from rivers rather than as a supplication to avert drought.
Picture a traditional Witch's cottage and the chances are that you will imagine cobwebs. Now this could be because the folklore image of the Witch is as a poor old woman, possibly no longer able to clean her home.
But I like to think it may have something to do with the uses of cobwebs, for not only are they brilliant works of art and nature's highly efficient fly traps, they have been used in healing and in healing magic....
... I'm so sorry to do this to you, but this post has been moved to my new website Magickal Ingredients, and can be found in it's entirety here: Cobwebs
Here we have an impressive collection of old folk remedies using cobwebs (spider webs) to cure everything from Ague to Warts. As with all old remedies and cures, some actually work really well, others are ineffective and harmless, while some are downright dangerous. So, please use common sense before trying any of these.
In General: Cobwebs are so commonly prescribed for bleeding that I think they must work fairly well as a sort of "natural" bandaid. Most of the cures are quite simple and read like this: To stop bleeding, apply cobwebs. Others are more specific:
Bind a cut finger in cobwebs, and it will get well and stop bleeding. (Reportedly, a cobweb acts as a disinfectant).
A fresh cobweb will staunch the flow of blood.
If a person had a cut or abrasion, someone would rush under the house and procure some cobwebs which would be applied to the wound to stop the flow of blood.
Cobwebs stop nose bleeds.
You can also apply soot and cobwebs, suet and cobwebs, blackened cobwebs, cobwebs and/or cotton lint for bleeding.
This one comes with a testimonial: Make a mixture of cobwebs and ashes and apply it to the wound. This is Becky H’s grandmother’s remedy for cuts. Mrs. Ed. H. (Becky’s grandmother) learned this from her mother who lived on the Conway Pike between North Little Rock and Conway. Becky says it really works -- that her grandmother put it on her son’s upper lip which had been split in two by an flying ax head. He had only a thin scar left and the mixture sealed the wound, stopped the bleeding, and it healed very quickly.
To stop bleeding, apply a cobweb from the corner of the kitchen.
If an artery is cut, sear it with a hot iron. If it is a vein apply a mixture of charred feathers and cobwebs and bind it on the cut.
If you are really desperate there's this: To stop bleeding - put cobwebs on the wound. Put the wound in kerosine. Bleeding can also be stopped by reading Ezekiel 16:6
To stop a wound from bleeding, take the dry “snuff” from a Devil’s Snuff-box, and mix it with cobwebs. Apply to bleeding part.
Cobwebs were an effective cure for badly bleeding cuts or wounds. They were wrapped to the wound with a soft cloth.
Mash up mushrooms and apply to the cut, or apply snuff. Also apply cobwebs or soot.
Pills made of cobwebs were believed to stop hemorrhages.
Cobwebs are used in three ways to stop the bleeding of a cut: first, after they have been applied, wrap tightly about them a piece of brown paper as a bandage; second, first cover the wound with sugar, then soot, then cobwebs, and then a cloth bandage; and third, apply a mixture of cobwebs and soot. Some only use the soot, which has a reputation for healing qualities; but other reject it, separately or in combination with cobwebs, for it is said to leave a black scar. Cobwebs almost always means dusty spider webs, usually gathered from a dark cellar, and rarely clean ones.
In times gone by, cobwebs and brown sugar were pressed on wounds to stop bleeding. Don't have cobwebs on hand? Sugar alone is said to be a good substitute. It causes the blood to coagulate more quickly.
If you accidentally get cut, the quickest way to stop the blood is to use cobwebs to the wound and cord (tourniquet) the arm or leg between the wound and your heart When you cord the arm, that closes up the blood veins so that it can’t flow to the wound, and that gives the cobweb time to seal up the hole in the wound, and that will stop the bleeding.
Last but not least, we have the following recollection:
As a small boy I remember a colt that had been castrated, when one of the splints used to control the hemorrhage became detached. This was before veterinary surgeons, so a very old man, said to be part Indian and of whom it was said had a working knowledge of Indian medicine, was called. He began walking slowly with bowed head forward and backward behind the bleeding colt, repeating in an almost inaudible voice magic words, which had a marvelous effect on the bystanders, but the colt continued to bleed, until either the wizard Indian doctor or a bystander had the practical sense to clap a hastily collected pad of cobweb to the bleeding wound.
The rest of the cures are as follows:
Ague: This remedy was given by John Wesley, in his Primitive Physic, which also advised six middling-size cobwebs for ague!
Babies: If you put a cobweb over a newborn baby’s navel, it will be protected from illness during infancy.
Blood poisoning: To cure blood poisoning drink the boiled brew of a mixture of the white of chicken droppings, cobwebs, and water. (Yowsers!)
Boils: My grandfather had a maiden aunt Giaccomina whom the family went to for cures. She used cobwebs and discarded snake skins for curing boils.
Burns: Find some thick clusters of cobwebs, lick the burn, then wrap your hand in a thick coat of cobwebs. Or, simply apply fresh cobwebs.
Chills: Make cobweb pills and take them for chills.
Colds: Railroad grease and cobwebs applied to the chest will get rid of a cold.
Earache: To cure earache, gather cobwebs and boil. Pour the cobweb tea into the ear.
Erysipelas: Cobweb is placed upon erysipelas and tied about with a red kerchief. If you are looking for something a little more complicated, you can always try the application of this "healing" smoke: Cobweb is taken crosswise from the stable (and added to) three twigs of an old broom, crab scales, starry cerastium, dry wild-briars, and used in smoking out of erysipelas.
Eyes: Here is a prescription that uses the cobweb of the fly hunting spider which was to be applied to the forehead in such a way as to reach to both temples in some sort of compress as a cure for defluxions of the eyes. We are assured that it will work wonderfully well, provided it be a boy who has not reached the age of puberty who secures it and puts it on with his own hands. But he must have taken care not to be seen by the patient for three days during which neither of then should have touched the ground with his feet unshod.
Cancer: An old-timer declares that cancer can be healed with an application of cobwebs (1920-1929).
Cuts: To heal a cut, put cobwebs and mud on it.
Fever: If you have a fever, wrap a piece of fresh linen around your wrist. The linen should contain salt, a cobweb, and a piece of onion and must be left on the wrist for 12 hours.
Fractures: For fractures of the cranium, cobwebs are applied, with oil and vinegar. Application never comes away until a cure has been affected.
Freckles: Wash your face with cobweb dew to take away freckles.
Goiter: To cure a goiter, place a cobweb over the surface of the growth.
Itching: Cobwebs rubbed on an itching caused by a crack behind your ear will cure it.
Headaches: Cobwebs across the bridge of the nose were supposedly good cures for headaches. Railroad grease and cobwebs applied on the forehead are also said to end a headache.
Kidney problems: To make kidneys act place cob webs in the groin of the patient. Cobwebs wet in hot water and applied externally will cure diseases of the kidneys and bladder.
Kissing: In Hampshire, if a cobweb is seen, it’s a sign that the housemaid wants kissing.
Luck: If you find your initials in a spider's web you will be lucky all of your life
Nosebleed: Cobwebs will stop a nosebleed. One reported method is to snuff up Cobwebs and Sugar, other methods require that the cobwebs be made into a ball and applied to the nostril.
Malaria (tertian fever): John Wesley states that he never knew “six middling pills of cobwebs” to fail in curing a tertian ague, and they are to be repeated in a week to prevent a relapse. (If you don't believe it, see the story below!)
Mental clarity: Sneezing blows the cobwebs out of your brain.
Poisoning: My grandfather had a maiden aunt whom the family went to for cures. She used cobwebs, discarded snake skins, oil, and various leaves and herbs for curing cuts or boils or for guarding against poison.
Puncture wounds: When my paternal grandfather was small, he punctured his foot on a rusty nail. His mother immediately packed the wound with cobwebs and it healed cleanly and without infection.
Scalds: In Norfolk, England, cobwebs are used for scalds and burns.
Scarlet Fever: Cure scarlet fever by the administration of cobweb pills.
Scrapes and abrasions: Place cobwebs on scraped knees, and they will heal quickly.
Spider bites: If eyes and lips are damaged by liquor discharged from spider, a cure can be made with a preparation of plantain leaves and cobwebs applied to eyes and taken inwardly two or three times a day.
Stye: If anybody had a stye in the eye, at night they would go into the barn or shed and pick the cobwebs off. When you were sleeping, they would put it on your eye, and it would cure the stye.
Travel: Seeing a spider run down a web in the afternoon means you'll take a trip.
Warts: To cure warts, wrap a small cobweb around each, and burn the cobweb. (Ouch!!) Here's another cure: When a cobweb is well filled with dust, roll it up in a ball and pile it over wart. It will burn slow, and will burn the wart out. (I'm not clear if that means to burn the cobweb, or if the cobweb itself will burn the wart out.) Alternatively, you can collect stump water at midnight. Then collect a number of cobwebs, ants, spiders and bird feathers and place them in a bag; bury the contents in the ground, and when it rots, the warts will go away
Wounds: Put cobwebs on wound to help it heal. A cobweb from a barn is an excellent remedy for wounds. Bind brown wrapping paper or flour and cobwebs over the wound. Brown sugar is also effective.
Finally, here's an interesting bit of folklore:
Cobwebs and spiders have long been in use for medicinal purposes, usually for external application, as mentioned by Pliny.
Another curious remedy, said to be very successful, is the web of the black spider, which inhabits barns, stables, and cellars. This substance has been tried on a tolerably large scale, and the testimony to its influence in curing agues is very strong.
Dr. Craigie has given this account of it. In the year 1760, a number of prisoners from the vanquished squadron of Thurot having been landed in the Isle of Man, Dr. Gillespie, who was practising there, found that many of the agues which came to prevail, both among the prisoners and the inhabitants of the island, obstinately resisted bark and such other remedies as he had recourse to. He was informed, by an old French physician belonging to the squadron, of the alleged efficacy of cobweb, in certain forms of the disease. He therefore made trial of cobweb, and found it to answer admirably. He was successful with it in more than sixty cases of different types in the Isle of Man, and he had further experience of its utility subsequently in Ayrshire.
"After this, the same remedy was tested in the West Indies by Dr. Jackson, to whom Dr. Gillespie had recommended it. Dr. Jackson's observations were made in the hospital of the army depot, in the West Indies, in 1801. Several cases of ague, on which bark, arsenic, or mercury, single or alternately, had made either a very temporary impression or none at all, were selected for experiment. In four of these cases, two pills, containing each five grains of cobweb, were given at intervals of two hours, commencing six hours before the expected time of recurrence of the paroxysm. The fit did not return.
On subsequent trials it was found not only to arrest the course of agues, but to remove various symptoms, such as pain, delirium, vomiting, griping, in ague, and in continued fever, when these symptoms were unconnected with inflammation.
"We have employed the spider's web in this manner in a number of cases, and in many of them found it very promptly to suspend the paroxysms - as effectually, certainly, as the quinia; in a few cases, however, it failed." - From Condié’s Watson's Practice of Physic, Philadelphia, 1858
Robert Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy ingenuously confesses how little faith he had in amulets made of spiders inclosed in nutshells, as recommended by his mother, until be found that Dioscorides prescribed them. The amulet is as follows: A spider is a repellent against plague when worn around the neck in a walnut shell.
Origin: Italy (Sabine) Consort: Saturn Element: Earth Festival days: August 25 (Opiconsivia) and December 19 (Opalia)
Ops is the goddess of abundance and assistance. Her name means "wealth" and derives from the same source as opulance. Ops is associated with peace, plenty, and an abundant harvest.
She was regarded as the wife of Saturnus, and was honored and celebrated with Saturn during the Saturnalia. She was the protectress of every thing connected with agriculture. Her abode was in the earth, and hence those who invoked her, or made vows to her, used to touch the ground. And as she was believed to give to human beings both their place of abode and their food, newly-born children were recommended to her care. Ops was also invoked to extinguish harmful, dangerous fires.
Her worship was intimately connected with that of her husband Saturnus, for she had both temples and festivals in common with him; she had, however, also a separate sanctuary on the Capitol, and in the vicus jugarius, not far from the temple of Saturnus, she had an altar in common with Ceres.
August 25th is the Opconsivia, the harvest festival of Ops, the Roman goddess of wealth.
Themes: Opportunity; Wealth; Fertility; Growth
Symbols: Bread; Seeds; Soil
About Ops: This Italian goddess of fertile earth provides us with numerous "op-portunities" to make every day more productive. In stories, Ops motivates fruit bearing, not just in plants but also in our spirits. She also controls the wealth of the gods, making her a goddess of opulence! Works of art depict Ops with a loaf of bread in one hand, and the other outstretched, offering aid.
To Do Today:
On this day, Ops was evoked by sitting on the earth itself, where she lives in body and spirit. So, weather permitting...
Also known as: Frey, Fro, Frothi; Frodis, Yngvi; Ing Titles: Lord; Master; The Generous One; Wise Fruitful
Colors: Brown; Gold; Green
Favored people: Seafarers; Lovers; Brewers
Runes: Ehwaz, Fehu, Ingwaz
Freyr is the Lord of Peace, Plenty, Prosperity, and Pleasure. Worshipped as a phallic fertility god, Freyr "bestows peace and pleasure on mortals". He rules over the rain, the shining of the sun and the produce of the fields.
He is one of the Vanir, the son of the sea god Njörðr and brother of the love goddess Freyja. The gods gave him Álfheimr, the realm of the Elves, as a teething present, and so he is the Elven King, ruler of the land of the light elves, "Alfheim". He rides the shining dwarf-made boar Gullinbursti and possesses the ship Skíðblaðnir which always has a favourable breeze and can be folded together and carried in a pouch when it is not being used. He has the servants Skírnir, Byggvir and Beyla.
He dispenses wealth, love, and fertility to adults and good luck to children.
In comparison to Thor and Odin, relatively little is known regarding Freyr. Later chroniclers of Norse myth were less interested or identified less with Vanir spirits, or perhaps the Vanir are just innately more shadowy and mysterious.
The most extensive Freyr myth relates Freyr's falling in love with the giantess Gerðr. Eventually she becomes his wife but first Freyr has to give away his magic sword, that would on its own, rise from its sheath and spread a field with carnage whenever the owner desired it ("if wise be he who wields it"). Deprived of this weapon Freyr defeats the giant Beli with an antler.
Freyr is a divine ancestor, a spirit of growth. He is venerated as a hallic deity. Although Freyr is a lover, he's a fierce warrior, too. His nature may be epitomized by the fierce, virile boars that are his sacred animal.
Freyr's shield bearer and servant is Skirnir, to whom he gave his sword, which Skirnir requested as a reward for making Gerd his wife. On the day of Ragnarok, Freyr will battle without a weapon (having given his sword away to Skirnir), and will be the first to be killed by the fire giant Surt.
Freyr was especially popular in Sweden where, in ceremonies similar to those dedicated to his mother, Herta, his sacred image was carried from farm to farm annually in a wagon. It was expected to stimulate abundance, fertility, prosperity, and good fortune. Freyr was considered an ancestral spirit by the kings of Uppsala, who may have used his name as a title. (Freyr literally means "Lord" and is a title.) Some Icelandic chiefs bore the title "Priest of Freyr."
Place: Freyr was especially associated with Sweden and seen as an ancestor of the Swedish royal house. His center of veneration was in Uppsala, Sweden, where it continued long after most of Scandinavia had converted to Christianity.
Iconography: An image thought to represent him depicts a man in a pointy cap, holding his beard in his hand. In his shrine at Uppsala, Freyr was represented as a virile man with a large, erect penis. An alternative image portrayed him as a young boy traveling across the sea. His image was featured on armor and weapons.
Attributes: A sword, which emerges independently from its scabbard, creating a field of carriage wherever its owner directs; a ship whose sails always attract favorable winds but could be folded up and carried.
Mounts: A golden boar named Golden Bristles. Freyr's chariot is drawn by two boars. He also rides a horse named Bloody Hooves.
Appropriate offerings: The Yule boar, or male pig, commemorates the annual sacrificial boar offered to Freyr in winter. Serve Freyr libations of fresh water, barley wine, ale, or mead.
A length of morning glory vine - long enough to weave into a circle
Small mirror - preferably round
A morning glory leaf
A morning glory flower
Small magnet or lodestone
Light the candle. Take the piece of morning glory vine and weave it into a circle. As you weave the vine, chant the following:
Mighty Cosmic Guardians of Love and Goodness
I call upon thee.
When the circle is complete, place in the center of it a small mirror. If your mirror is larger than the circle you made with the vine, place it on top of the mirror. Put the flower in the center of the circle, on top of the mirror. As you do, say the following:
My Magic Circle of Love is complete.
I now create the New Self-Image
of charm and charisma
that I wish to Project to the Whole world.
I now Overcome and feelings of self-consciousness
and I condition my Inner Mind
to thoughts of Self-Confidence,
Poise and Charm.
I send out thoughts of Love to All People and I Know
that people will Love Me in return.
I Know there is that within me which
all people recognize as Worth-While and Desirable,
and everyone whom I meet
Loves this self of Mine recognizes its worth.
Next to the flower place a leaf from the morning glory vine, and as you do say the following 3 times:
I know there is a Perfect Lover
waiting to Love and Cherish me.
Place a magnet, or lodestone on the mirror next to or on top of the leaf and flower. Say the following:
My Circle of Love is Complete
and I now Invoke the law of Magnetic Attraction and
Draw this Perfect lover onto me.
As I have said, so shall it be.
Allow the candle to burn down completely. The mirror, botanicals, and magnet can be wrapped in velvet and placed under your pillow, or carried with you.
Note: Thrift stores often have wonderful little compact make-up cases complete with mirror. Something like that would be great for this little spell, and will allow you to keep it intact and to carry it with you as well and also simple to slip under your pillow at night. Be sure to clean a used make-up case thoroughly and give it a dip in salt water to purify the energies. Also, if you do use a compact make-up case, press and dry the flower and leaf before the spellwork. Not sure your magnet will fit inside? Lightweight craft magnets come in many different thicknesses and sizes - some are 1/16" thick and should fit nicely into any case.
In the early 1900's children were told that babies are found under morning glory vines. Fertility charms can be charged by leaving them overnight under a morning glory vine, and requests for children can be written on morning glory leaves. For example, "My name is Sarah, please send me a child. Thank you." The more leaves you write on, the more powerful the spell.
Note: Morning glory vines love water, and an offering of water as a "thank you" is recommended when the spellworking is complete.
With it's lovely flowers, heart shaped leaves, and clinging vine, the morning glory plant is definitely something to consider when constructing a love and/or relationship spell.
In the language of flowers, the morning glory represents affection. As a gift, these beautiful flowers can be given in nearly any way imaginable – from the traditional bouquets to pressed or dried single blossoms. When given as an arrangement, you might also take color into account. That is to say, your message may generally express a feeling of affection, but that affection might be tinted with the fiery passion of a red blossom, the calm of a blue one, or the spirituality of a purple one.
In some cultures the ipomoea aquatica variety of morning glory is considered a delightful green that can be used in a number of dishes. They are frequently placed in salads, stir fries, mixed with noodles, or simply used as a garnish.
Although morning glory seeds are considered to be mildly toxic and have side effects such as hallucinations, nausea and drowsiness, many people still consider them to have powerful medicinal effects. The Aztec narcotic ololiuhqui, derived from a wild morning glory, was spread on surface of affected parts for gout, and the seeds were eaten by the Aztecs to bring visions. Their molecular structure resembles that of LSD. The seeds are sold in nurseries for planting.
NOTE: Using the seeds as a hallucinogenic is not only illegal but they are harmful when ingested.
In China, the morning glory was once considered a highly effective laxative; to the native Indians of Mexico, both ipomoea tricolor and turbina corymbosa were frequently used in rituals and medicine for their supposed soothing properties.
In folk medicine, the boiled leaves of certain species are used as a diuretic; the seeds are chewed to aid in soothing stomach pains, while the whole plant may be cooked and turned into a topical ointment to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Morning glory tea was said to be good for dysentery and diarrhoea.
According to Scott Cunningham (Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs) the morning glory or bindweed (Ipomoea spp) are masculine plants, classified as being under the influence of the planet Saturn; the element water, and with powers over happiness and peace. Cunningham indicates that one can "Place the seeds beneath the pillow to stop all nightmares." And also that grown in the garden, blue morning glories bring peace and happiness. The root of the morning glory, according to Cunningham, may be used as a substitute for High John the Conqueror root.
Grind morning glory seeds to a fine powder and add to flying incense to gain psychic sight.
If you were born between August 22 and September 22, you were born under the sign of the Morning Glory. Morning glory zodiac flower signs are thoughtful and reflective. You tend to think and plan first before you take any action. You are organized and very observant. You have a natural eye for detail, and can be very analytical...
On August 21, the ancient Romans celebrated the Consualia, a festival, with games, in honour of Consus, the god of secret deliberations.
It was solemnised every year in the circus, by the symbolical ceremony of uncovering an altar dedicated to the god, which was buried in the earth. This was because Romulus, who was considered the founder of the festival, was said to have discovered an altar in the earth on that spot.
Pour red wine into a pot or cauldron and add anise, cloves, rosemary, grond cumin, honey, and orange zest. Add two candied rose geranium leaves. (Substitute candied violets, angelica, or ginger if the geranium isn't available.)
Stir the pot, let the wine come to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently while you focus on your desires. When it starts steaming, turn off the heat and let the potion cool off.
Strain the solids out using a fine sieve. Warm up the wine once more. When the aroma is arousing, pour it into glasses and serve it to the one you love.
Must (from the Latin vinum mustum, “young wine”) is freshly pressed fruit juice (usually grape juice) that contains the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit. The solid portion of the must is called pomace; it typically makes up 7%–23% of the total weight of the must. Making must is the first step in winemaking. Because of its high glucose content, typically between 10 and 15%, must is also used as a sweetener in a variety of cuisines. Unlike commercially sold grape juice, which is filtered and pasteurized, must is thick with particulate matter, opaque, and comes in various shades of brown and/or purple.
Must was commonly used as a cooking ingredient in ancient Rome. It was boiled down in lead or bronze kettles into a milder concentrate called defrutum or a stronger concentrate called sapa. It was often used as a souring agent and preservative, especially in fruit dishes.
Reduced must is used in Balkan and Middle Eastern cookery, either as a syrup known as pekmez or dibis or as the basis for confections where it is thickened with flour. Moustokoúloura ("must cookies") is a popular Greek variety of soda cookies or biscuits whose sweet dough is made by kneading flour, olive oil, and must. They are made in various shapes and sizes, and they are dark brown in color because of the must.
There are many, many good reasons that have nothing to do with theft for why one would need to open a locked door to which one does not have a key. Of course, should one possess the right to enter, summoning a locksmith might be easier. Just in case, however, you find yourself outside a locked door without a key, without anyone willing to let you in, and without access to a locksmith...
Alternate Spellings: Portunes, Portumnes, and Portunes
Iconography: A man (possibly two-headed) with a key in his hand.
Presides over: Keys, gates, doors, harbors, fords, warehouses, and livestock
Holy day: August 17 (some sources cite August 16), the Portunalia, when one throws a key into a fire to ensure good luck.
Portunus protected the warehouses where grain was stored. Probably because of folk associations between porta "gate, door" and portus "harbor", the "gateway" to the sea, Portunus, who also believed to have influence over the timing of waves and thus could dictate the moments and events in the lives of those on or near the sea. He later became associated with Palaemon and evolved into a god primarily of ports and harbors.
In the Latin adjective importunus his name was applied to untimely waves and weather and contrary winds, and the Latin echoes in English opportune and its old-fashioned antonym importune, meaning "well-timed' and "badly-timed". Hence Portunus is behind both an opportunity and importunate or badly-timed solicitations.
Linguist Giuliano Bonfante has speculated, on the grounds of his cult and of the meaning of his name, that he should be a very archaic deity and might date back to an era when Latins lived in dwellings built on pilings. He argues that in Latin the words porta (door, gate) and portus (harbour, port) share their etymology from the same IE root meaning ford, wading point.
His festival, celebrated on the seventeenth day before the Kalends of September, was the Portumnalia, a minor occasion in the Roman year. On this day, keys were thrown into a fire for good luck in a very solemn and lugubrious manner. His attribute was a key and his main temple in the city of Rome, the Temple of Portunus, was to be found in the Forum Boarium.
Portunus appears to be closely related to the god Janus, with whom he shares many characters, functions and the symbol of the key. He too was represented as a two headed being, with each head facing opposite directions, on coins and as figurehead of ships. He was considered to be "deus portuum et portarumque praeses."
The festival of Nemoralia (aka Festival of Torches) was celebrated by the ancient Romans either on the 13-15 August or on the August Full Moon, in honor of the goddess Diana. This festival was later adopted by Catholics as The Feast of the Assumption.
Ovid describes the celebration thus:
"In the Arrician valley, there is a lake surrounded by shady forests, held sacred by a religion from the olden times... On a long fence hang many pieces of woven thread, and many tablets are placed there as grateful gifts to the Goddess. Often does a woman whose prayers Diana answered, with a wreath of flowers crowning her head, walk from Rome carrying a burning torch... There a stream flows down gurgling from its rocky bed..."
On this day, worshippers would form a shimmering procession of torches and candles around the dark waters of Lake Nemi (Nemi, from the Latin nemus, meaning sacred wood or sacred grove), Diana's Mirror. The lights of their candles join the light of the moon, dancing in reflection upon the surface of the water. Hundreds would join together at the lake, wearing wreaths of flowers.
According to Plutarch, part of the ritual (before the procession around the lake) is the washing of hair and dressing it with flowers. It is a day of rest for women and slaves. Hounds are also honored and dressed with blossoms. Travellers between the north and south banks of the lake are carried in small boats lit by lanterns. Similar lamps were used by Vestal virgins and have been found with images of the Goddess at Nemi.
Requests and offerings to Diana may include:
small written messages on ribbons, tied to the altar or to trees
small baked clay or bread statuettes of body parts in need of healing
small clay images of mother and child
tiny sculptures of stags
dance and song;
fruit such as apples
In addition, offerings of garlic are made to the Goddess of the Dark Moon, Hecate, during the festival. Hunting or killing of any beast is forbidden on Nemoralia.
Presides Over:seasons, change, plant growth, gardens, trees
Powers: shapeshifting, metamorphosis
Favored People: Orchards (apples in particular), gardeners, farmers, growers, botonists
Feast day: August 13
Appropriate offerings: First fruits or vegetables from the garden or orchard, garlands of budding flowers, any fruits or vegetables in season
In Roman mythology, Vertumnus was the god of seasons, change and plant growth, as well as gardens and fruit trees. Like the seasons and the fruit trees, Vertumnus was a shapeshifter, male spirit of the shifting seasons and consort of Pomona.
Vertumnus, is said to have been an Etruscan divinity whose worship was introduced at Rome by an ancient Vulsinian colony occupying at first the Caelian hill, and afterwards the vicus Tuscus. The name Vortumnus appears to derive from Etruscan Voltumna. It was likely then further contaminated in popular etymology by a pre-existing Latin word vertēre meaning "to change", hence the alternative form, Vertumnus "the god who changes or metamorphoses himself." For this reason the Romans connected Vertumnus with all occurrences to which the verb vertēre applies, such as the change of seasons, purchase and sale, the return of rivers to their proper beds.
In reality the god was connected only with the transformation of plants, and their progress from being in blossom to that of bearing fruit. Hence the story, that when Vertumnus was in love with Pomona, he assumed all possible forms, until at last he gained his end by metamorphosing himself into a blooming youth. Gardeners accordingly offered to him the first produce of their gardens and garlands of budding flowers. But, the whole people celebrated a festival to Vertumnus on the 13th of August, under the name of the Vortumnalia (Vertumnalia).
Vertumnus' cult arrived in Rome around 300 BC, and a temple to him was constructed on the Aventine Hill by 264 BC, the date of the fall of Volsinii (Etruscan Velzna) to the Romans. A statue of him stood in the vicus Jugarius near the altar of Ops. It was decorated according to the changing seasons.
Collected from various sources including Wikipedia
The Vertumnalia, observed on August 13, is the festival of Vertumnus, the Roman divinity of seasons, changes and ripening of plant life. He is the patron of gardens and fruit trees. He could change his form at will, and used this power to trick the dryad (wood nymph) Pomona, the patron of orchards and gardens, into becoming his wife by disguising himself as a crone.
The story is as follows:
The Fauns and Satyrs would have given all they possessed to win Pomona, and so would old Sylvanus, who looked young for his years, and Pan, who wore a garland of pine leaves around his head. Pomona was determined to remain independent and rejected every advance. Vertumnus loved her best of all; yet he fared no better than the rest. He tried many disguises with no success. One day, however, he came to her orchard in the guise of an old woman, her gray hair surmounted with a cap, and a staff in her hand. She entered the garden and admired the fruit. "It does you credit, my dear," she said, and kissed Pomona, not exactly with an old woman's kiss.
She sat down on a bank, and looked up at the branches laden with fruit which hung over her. Opposite was an elm entwined with a vine loaded with swelling grapes. She praised the tree and its associated vine, equally. "But," said Vertumnus, "if the tree stood alone, and had no vine clinging to it, it would lie prostrate on the ground. Why will you not take a lesson from the tree and the vine, and consent to unite yourself with some one?
He spoke to her about the benefits of the right alliances "...if you are prudent and want to make a good alliance, and will let an old woman advise you, who loves you better than you have any idea of, dismiss all the rest and accept Vertumnus, on my recommendation. I know him as well as he knows himself. He is not a wandering deity, but belongs to these mountains. Nor is he like too many of the lovers nowadays, who love any one they happen to see; he loves you, and you only.
Add to this, he is young and handsome, and has the art of assuming any shape he pleases, and can make himself just what you command him. Moreover, he loves the same things that you do, delights in gardening, and handles your apples with admiration. But NOW he cares nothing for fruits, nor flowers, nor anything else, but only yourself.
Take pity on him, and fancy him speaking now with my mouth. Remember that the gods punish cruelty, and that Venus hates a hard heart, and will visit such offenses sooner or later. To prove this, let me tell you a story, which is well known in Cyprus to be a fact; and I hope it will have the effect to make you more merciful.
Vertumnus goes on to tell the story of Iphis and Anaxarete, a narrative warning of the dangers of rejecting a suitor. And, when he had finished with the story, he revealed himself to Pomona:
When Vertumnus had spoken thus, he dropped the disguise of an old woman, and stood before her in his proper person, as a comely youth. It appeared to her like the sun bursting through a cloud. He would have renewed his entreaties, but there was no need; his arguments and the sight of his true form prevailed, and the Nymph (Pomona) no longer resisted, but owned a mutual flame.
Collected from various sources including Wikipedia
August 12 is the Egyptian "Blessing of the Boats." At least, so they say. I've found this date listed on quite a few pagan and Egyptian feast day and festival calendars. However, when I researched it, I did not find anything else other than those brief mentions.
What I did find was that most of the Ancient Egyptian public religious ceremonies traditionally included plenty of beer drinking and revelry. The populace as a whole became involved during the festivals, which were a time of indulgence for the ordinarily frugal Egyptians. For example, at the Ramesseum during the three week long Opet festival 11,400 bread loaves and cakes were baked and eaten, 385 measures of beer were consumed as well as considerable amounts of meat, wine, fruit. The Sokar festival lasted ten days with a consumption of 7400 loaves of bread and cakes and 1372 measures of beer.
Heroditus, in his histories, has this to say about one Egyptian Festival day:
Now, when they are coming to the city of Bubastis they do as follows: they sail men and women together, and a great multitude of each sex in every boat; and some of the women have rattles and rattle with them, while some of the men play the flute during the whole time of the voyage, and the rest, both women and men, sing and clap their hands; and when as they sail they come opposite to any city on the way they bring the boat to land, and some of the women continue to do as I have said, others cry aloud and jeer at the women in that city, some dance, and some stand up and pull up their garments.
This they do by every city along the river-bank; and when they come to Bubastis they hold festival celebrating great sacrifices, and more wine of grapes is consumed upon that festival than during the whole of the rest of the year.
And so, with that in mind, here's a YouTube video from New Orleans with what they claim is a boat blessing the way it "should" be done.
Most boat blessings, however, are taken more seriously.
Creating a solar charged mirror is very simple, and is also potentially quite dangerous. If done incorrectly, it can have tragic consequences. It must not be attempted by children. Adults: remember the cautionary tale of Icarus, who underestimated the power of the sun.
On a bright sunny day, hold a small mirror in the palm of your hand, tilted to catch direct sunlight.
Maintain this position for no more than a few seconds. Nine seconds is the maximum.
That's it: the mirror is charged. The sun is so powerful that nine seconds is all it takes, and half of that is probably more than sufficient.
This mirror must be reserved for magical purposes, and should be covered when not in use. If it is accidentally used for another purpose, it must be cleansed, reconsecrated and the ritual repeated.
The mirror can be used for divination, banishing, spiritual communication, and any spell that calls for the use of a mirror.
Be sure to follow the safety measures listed below:
Do not look into the mirror until the ritual is complete and the mirror is withdrawn from the sun. You must not watch the reflection within the mirror.
Keep your eyes averted.
Do not perform this ritual in the vicinity of dried paper, dried leaves or botanicals, or anything else that could potentially catch fire.
Make sure no one is nearby who could be inadvertently blinded or burned.
Festival of Sol Indiges, the Roman sun god was celebrated on August 9. In Roman society the sun was worshipped in many forms. An epigram quoted by Cicero shows that the rising sun was greeted each morning with a prayer that was spoken while facing east.
Sol was the sun god of ancient Roman religion and mythology. Sol originated in Mesopotamian mythology and was introduced in 220 CE as Sol Invictus to the Romans by the emperor Heliogabalus. Sol was worshiped in Rome until Christianity took hold.
Under Greek influence, the image of Sol driving a quadriga, a four-horse chariot was derived from his equivalent Helios. The Greek sun-god Helios rode a chariot drawn by horses through the sky, bringing light to the earth. According to the Helios mythology, the journey of the Sun, naturally, began in the East and ended in the West, at which point Helios completed his daily rounds and floated back to his Eastern palace in a golden cup.
Sol was worshipped as Sol Indiges (the Native Sun). Another aspect of the sun, Sol Invictus (the unconquered sun) was a powerful symbol for the Romans of the late Empire: each evening he is forced apparently to submit to the powers of darkness, but he reappears each morning as the eternal victor.
One day of the week was named after Sol, the sun. However, there was no observance of any of these days in the way that the Jews observed Saturday or the Christians Sunday. The first Sunday closing law was enacted by Constantine in 321 AD, and refers to dies Solis, the "day of the sun". It forms the basis of subsequent Christian legislation in this area.
Here's the decree:
On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.
From Llewellyn's 1994 Magical Almanac, we have the following description of this summer holiday:
"A beautiful city was once believed to have risen gracefully off the shores of a small French village in Brittany, France, only to have been washed away in a high tide. Every year, on the first Sunday in August, the priests go to this fabled spot and ...
... I am so sorry to do this to you, but this post has been moved to my new website, The Pagan Calendar, and can be found in its entirety here: Blessing Of The Sea
Invoke Thoth for success with games of dice. After all, he invented them and won the very first game. Place a pair of dice atop the Magician card pulled from a tarot deck and light a candle beside it. Ask Thoth for skill, luck, money, whatever it is that you need.
Consorts: Ma'at and Seshet are identified as Thoth's wives
Spirit allies: Hathor, Ma'at, Isis, Seshet
Days: Thoth rules the equinoxes
Thoth, Lord of Books, Lord of Divine Words, is primeval. He is from before Creation. In some Egyptian myths, Thoth is the supreme creator. He created himself by speaking his own name. Even when he is not supreme creator, Thoth still does his fair share of creating. Thoth invented writing, gambling, star-gazing, engineering, geometry, botany, medicine, mathematics, and magic spells. He is the founder of alchemy and is the author, according to Egyptian myth, of the world's very first book called The Book of Thoth, a collection of magic spells and rituals so powerful that it had to be hidden away.
Thoth taught veneration of the spirits. He invented rules of sacrifice and composed hymns and prayers. Thoth is credited with writing some of the Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day.
Thoth is Ra's right-hand man. Without Thoth, Isis and her siblings would never have been born. Thoth may have taught Osiris the arts of civilization that Osiris then taught to humanity. Thoth, a master magician, taught Isis everything he knew. She is perhaps the only one who surpasses his magical knowledge, although, according to myth, even Isis still needs his assistance and advice once in a while.
Thoth is kind, benevolent, patient, wise, and generous. He is what is considered a "cool" deity. He calms and soothes impassioned situations. In one legend, only Thoth can safely subdue a rampaging goddess threatening to destroy Earth.
As befitting a shaman, Thoth lives in many realms at once:
He travels among the living, teaching his magical skills.
He serves as the official scribe in the Hall of the Dead.
He rides in the solar barque beside Ra and thus lives in the realm of spirits.
The English name, Thoth, is based on the Greek pronunciation for the Egyptian Tehuti. His name is related to Egyptian words indicating "moon," "measure," "ibis," and "crystal." The Greeks identified Thoth with Hermes and Hermes Tristmegistus.
Manifestation: In his guise as patron of scribes, Thoth has an ibis head. As a master magician, he manifests as a baboon. Although ibis and baboon are his most common forms, Thoth is a master shape-shifter. He could be anything or anyone.
Hazel wood is excellent for making all purpose magickal wands, it is one of the most powerful wands for divination. Wands made of this wood symbolize white magick and healing. Dowsing sticks (forked sticks) are used to find water, buried treasure, and locate lost objects.
If you are outside and in need of magickal protection quickly draw a circle around yourself with a hazel branch. For protection while walking, wrap hazel twigs or branches around your walking stick or cane....