Book extract: The Coven – Making Magic Together, by Fiona Horne

Goddess Gatherings

Magical gatherings don’t necessarily have to be intense Coven gatherings of Wiccan initiates to raise power. Events like Goddess Gatherings are a great way to mix socialising and magick and to let non-Wiccan friends share our enchanted lifestyles! 

Recently I have been having a lot of fun organising Goddess Gatherings. A gathering is pretty much a dinner party for Goddesses only, with a ritual and some spellcasting thrown in!

Anyone can attend: the only pre-requisite (other than being a chick – although, of course, blokes can have their own God Gatherings!) is an open heart and an open mind.

It’s lovely, because people who are not sure about being fullblown Witches can experience some magick-making in a safe and fun environment. Even if there is only one Witch who is really adept (or even just a few beginners), it is amazing how much positive energy can be conjured and the kind of transformation that can be initiated when like-minded people gather together.

My Hollywood Goddess Gatherings came about when my good girlfriend Coral and I were chatting one afternoon. She is a brilliant garden designer with an amazing appreciation of beauty in nature, and is very in tune with the earth, the seasons and the phases of the moon. We were discussing how a full moon was coming up in a couple of weeks, and that it happened to fall on the Witches’ sacred Sabbat of Mabon – the Autumn equinox when day and night stand equal.

We both agreed it would be nice to have a girls-only dinner party under the full moon at Coral’s lovely home in the Topanga Canyon above Malibu. It would be a good way to catch up with acquaintances and make some new friends.

Then we agreed to take it one step further: we decided to have a Goddess Gathering, and, as I explained to Coral, use the auspicious time of a full moon on the Equinox to empower us and bring around any desired transformation and change in our lives.

The plan was for the (mortal!) Goddesses to arrive at 8 pm, conduct the ritual at 8.30 pm and then eat, drink and be merry until the Witching hour!

The first step was to invite the Goddesses. Most of Coral’s friends didn’t know much about Witchcraft but were open to new experiences and loved the exotic sound of a gathering. I also needed to create an outline for the ritual we would be doing, so we could let everyone know what they needed to bring. I decided to keep it fairly simple with the main focus being transformation and having great desires realised.

Coral and I sent out emails to the Goddesses in our lives:

Goddesses!
It is time to Gather under a Full Moon
To bewitch and share good cheer.
A night of empowerment and enchantment awaits
Be at Coral’s at the stroke of eight!
Our Full Moon Magick starts at 8.30 pm with a spellbinding supper afterwards.
Come dressed opulently in lush pinks and reds, like the luscious Goddesses you are! Bring with you on a piece of paper a list of your deepest desires – for this is the night that your dreams come true!

Next step was to create an appropriate menu. I explained to Coral that Mabon is a festival of the Harvest – in the distant past it was this part of the year that food would be stored away for the coming cold and dark of winter. In the world of magick it is a time to acknowledge the rewards of our hard labour and rest secure in the knowledge that the Universe always provides if we accept it.

Partnered with the conjuring power of a Full Moon, our menu needed to feature foods of the harvest: dried fruits, nuts, root vegetables and grains.

We also needed food and beverage to honour the Goddess: apples for love, berries for abundance and sweet mead, fine champagne and sparkling grape juice (for the non-drinkers like me!) as libations to her.

Now, Coral and I can cook, but we’re certainly not the long lost sisters of Nigella Lawson! For this special night we brought in some help from Coral’s neighbour, Nancy, who is a brilliant cook. She loved the idea of a ‘magickal menu’ and together we created our feast:

FULL MOON GODDESS GATHERING MENU
Everything on this menu is created with magick in mind!

Entrée

  • Dried fruits and nuts – symbolic of the successful Harvest as experienced on the land and in our lives.
  • Brie and strawberries – passionate and romantic, these foods are sacred to love.

Main

  • Moroccan vegetable stew with couscous/brown rice – this rich and hearty stew celebrates the Harvest and blesses our endeavours.
  • Breads – sacred to the Harvest – remind us that trusting in our dreams and desires and honouring our efforts and experiences guarantees a unique and richly rewarding life.

Dessert

  • Blackberry and apple tart – berries are the fruits of passion and apples are sacred to Aphrodite.

Libations

  • Moët & Chandon – a heavenly beverage!
  • Sparkling grape juice for abundance.
  • Honey mead to toast the Moon during our ritual.

Blessed be*

When you are planning the menu, research the magickal meanings of foods using books and the Internet, but don’t be afraid to use your intuition and imagination too. For example, if berries are in season and looking lush, ripe and sweet and you have decided your ritual will be for fertility,
then they will be perfect as they obviously evoke an appreciation of qualities of fertility.

Remember: It is your comprehension of the world around you that allows it to manifest and speak to you in an enchanted way. Look for magick and it will make itself known to you. On the night I arrived early at Coral’s and she had already made everything look lovely. The dining table was outside and decorated with white and pink flowers, fairy-lights and shimmering glitter; overhead hanging from a tree was a candelabra lit with small scented candles.

A little distance away behind some trees was a circular stone table and benches. I set about transforming the setting from a picnic area into a mystical grove. First I set up symbols of the four elements on the table. (Please note these correspondences are for the Northern Hemisphere – for
the Southern hemisphere you would need to put Fire in the North and Earth in the South, but you can leave Air in the East and Water in the West.)

In the North quarter I placed a big piece of quartz crystal for Earth. In the East, I placed a clay dish filled with heat absorbing sand and charcoal discs to burn incense on for Air.

On this night I had made a beautiful blend of resins of myrrh and copal infused with essential oils of jasmine and neroli.

In the South, I set up a big white jasmine-scented candle for Fire. In the West, I placed a crystal bowl of water with a seashell in it and a pinch of salt to make a mini-ocean.

In the centre of what was now our altar I placed a large cast iron cauldron and an altar candle. I set out twelve glasses (we would be toasting the moon and pouring libations to the Goddess) and alongside these placed twelve little red rose-scented candles for love. Next to the cauldron I set a
vase in which were twelve long-stemmed roses. I scattered tea-light candles in glass jars in the surrounding plants and trees and the whole area looked liked a fairy grove, potent and ready to make magick in.

By this time the Goddesses had started to arrive. Everyone was laughing and smiling and looking divine. The dress code of opulent and Goddess-like was definitely honoured!

When everyone was assembled, I gave a little speech about what we would be doing: a ritual to honour our efforts over the past year, and then we would invoke our new dreams into reality. I asked everyone if they had their list of what they wished to bring into their lives in the coming year; two people realised they’d left theirs at home and there was a mad scramble to find paper and pens! But soon after we were walking single file towards our altar.

I was so impressed with the way everyone embraced the proceedings. I was really the only Witch there who was familiar with what we were doing, but every ‘Goddess’ had at some point in her life been in a church or perhaps on a spiritual retreat and could relate to the sacred and serious
nature of what we were doing together.

We gathered in a circle around the table, eyes bright and full of expectancy. Firstly I talked through the details of what we would be doing. It’s important to familiarise everyone with the general outline so you can all relax and focus on the feeling of being in the space and not worrying about having to remember things and what comes next.

FULL MOON GODDESS GATHERING RITUAL

I started by chanting my favourite Sanskrit chant. It is very euphoric and always unites everyone’s energy psychically and emotionally. Then I sprinkled some incense on the burning discs, and as the air filled with an entrancing scent, I cast Circle by formally acknowledging our sacred space and invoking the elements.

Then it came time to declare the Goddess present in Circle as a part of the Circle-casting ritual. I asked everyone, in turn, to take a rose from the vase and pass it to the woman to her left bestowing a kiss on each cheek and saying,

‘(Name), Thou art Goddess’.

This was a beautiful moment as some of us were strangers but in this moment we were all intimate, united as Goddesses. A warm feeling of love and acceptance filled our Circle so strongly that it brought tears to my eyes.

We then joined hands as I declared:

Tonight we Sisters gather, under a Full and Harvest Moon
On this sacred night of the Equinox.
We honour what we have and what we yet have not;
We celebrate our challenges and rewards of successful schemes;
And on the wings of magick, we fly towards our dreams.

Then, one at a time, we each lit our little red love candle from the large altar candle flame and then read our wishes out loud. As accompaniment at first I alone sang the Wiccan Goddess Chant,

‘Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna’,

but it didn’t take long before the other Goddesses joined in. When her list was read, each Goddess threw it into the cauldron with a sprinkled pinch of incense fanning the spirals of smoke to the sky, carrying her wishes with it.

After the final list was read, we all joined hands and really started chanting to raise power. As our voices grew in intensity, tingles went up my spine and I could tangibly feel our cone of power extending into the heavens. All the animals around us could sense it too, because all of a sudden dogs started howling, birds started calling and crickets chirping. All of nature was joining us in intent and desire. It was truly amazing!

At the peak of the cone, we ceased together intuitively and I called out:

By one our spell is done,
By two it shall come true,
By three so mote it be,
By four for the good of all,
By five our dreams come alive.

Then we all clapped our hands once in unison and quickly rested them on the ground to let the energy drain out. We were all silent for a moment and then, all of a sudden, there was an eruption of voices: ‘Wow!’, ‘That was amazing!’, ‘I could really feel that!’ We had certainly cast a powerful spell together.

We raised a glass of mead each to toast ‘To the Goddess, To Us!’ and then poured a little on the ground as libations to her and to ourselves.

Then it was time for our feast. Coral and I had both decided to play Witchy dinner music, which in our taste amounted to Kate Bush, The Mediæval Bæbes, Australian enchantress Wendy Rule and ambient trance music. Soon Kate was serenading us as our own voices rose in shared discussion.

Our dinner conversation was not the usual fare – it was deep and thoughtful, hilarious and revealing. United we drew strength from each other’s sharing of experiences, triumphs and tragedies.

As the evening finally drew to a close after midnight, I reminded the Goddesses not to speak of what had transpired on this night: spells that are cast are best served with silent respect, trusting them to whisk away and do their business.

Gossiping and constant going over the events would be like planting a seed and then digging it up to see how it’s going.

We left the Gathering changed – reinvigorated and renewed.

As I was putting away my ritual tools and preparing for the trip home, I reflected a little on the night and was really touched – what brave, special creatures the women of this night were, ready to leap off the precipice of fear, cynicism and doubt into the arms of trust, wisdom and empowerment together!

Well, as I’m sure you’re dying to know . . . did the spells work? I can tell you mine certainly did! I normally never do spells for myself – at this point in my magickal evolution it is more appropriate for me to serve and assist others – but on this night I needed a shift and some clarity in a situation relating to someone who seemed to care for me but was constantly sending mixed signals. Within a day of doing the spell all of a sudden that person was very clear with their intentions.

The shift in their attitude was so remarkable I could only put it down to the spell. I then had to decide if I wanted to return this person’s clear intentions. (Once I knew what was going on I actually decided it would be better not to.)

The other Goddesses all experienced results, ranging from job promotions, to love restored, to being confronted with the very difficulties they sought to avoid (but instead of being thwarted by them, they had the energy to blast through the problem and resolve the issue that was blocking them from happiness).

The wonderful thing about creating something like a Goddess Gathering is not just the results of the spells cast. You realise that, when joined with others in a magickal mindset, your whole life is a work of magick, an expression of your unique creative essence. When you experience the divine and mystical in a tangible way initiated by your efforts rather than, for example, that of a priest at the front of a church, you are empowered as a whole being, spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally.

The more Goddess Gatherings and other magickal moments you create in your life the more wonderful life becomes.

GODDESS GATHERING CHECKLIST

Here is a checklist to help you plan your own Gathering.

  1. Decide on an auspicious date.
  2. Write an appropriately charmed invitation.
  3. Email or post it out to fellow Goddesses.
  4. Plan the ritual. Do some research and write up the intent, the process and the incantations. Decide what input each individual Goddess should make.
  5. Decide what props are needed for the ritual and organise their availability. For example, candles, feathers, flowers, shells, incense, cauldron, etc.
  6. Plan the magickal menu. Again do research and choose foods that relate to your magickal event and goals. And while you are deciding on food, you may like to also decide on the music that will add an extra dimension to the evening’s entrancement.
  7. Once the RSVPs start flooding in, send out another email informing each Goddess of what she will personally need to provide for the Gathering. For example, her wish list for the spell, an object she would like blessed, etc.
  8. Shopping and cooking. Do as much cooking as you can in advance of the day. You need to be feeling relaxed and ready to make magick too on the night, not absolutely trashed from a hell day in the kitchen!
  9. Perhaps plan a gift for each of the Goddesses. After our gathering everyone left with the rose they were given and the candle they lit.
  10. Type up the Goddess Menu and a clear outline of the ritual in large bold print that you can keep on hand to help guide you throughout the proceedings. Having said this, though, it’s important that you try to memorise everything, so the proceedings can go smoothly and to maximum magickal effect.
  11. The day before, rehearse your ritual and memorise the words you need to.
  12. On the day, relax and go with the flow; let spontaneous things happen, but as much as possible stick to the planned ritual so that the power raised is focused for good and maximum effect.
  13. Delegate any chores you can so that you don’t have so much on your plate that you can’t be a Goddess on the night!

A tip: The trick to guaranteeing a special and successful ritual is careful planning and practice. This means running through the proceedings in your mind before the event and learning all the invocations and incantations off by heart. When you are actually doing the ritual people can repeat
after the person who leads, but at least one person needs to be very familiar with what is going on.

Another tip: It is better that no one drinks too much before the ritual. One glass of wine perhaps is fine, but if everyone is sloshed there will be more giggling than granting of wishes.

GOOD OCCASIONS FOR A GODDESS GATHERING

Full Moons and New Moons are always a good excuse, as are solstices, equinoxes, and Sabbats. Also, gatherings don’t only have to be at night: dawn, midday, sunset and twilight are all special, evocative and atmospheric times.

Birthdays, anniversaries and other events such as these are generally not a good idea as they focus too much on an individual and not enough on the collective. The key to a successful Goddess Gathering where both magick and merriment are invoked is a unified purpose and egoless state in
each individual.

WHAT ABOUT A GOD GATHERING? 

Sure, you can have a God Gathering. Pretty much the same instructions apply, but there is a warning: No chicks means no help cooking (or cleaning up)!

One response to “Book extract: The Coven – Making Magic Together, by Fiona Horne

  1. Pingback: Fiona Horne: rock star and screen goddess in a patriarchal world | | iGoddess.comiGoddess.com

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