Welcome fellow seekers to the monthly newsletter of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition. A collaboration of the elders, clergy and members of our tradition. Sometimes, we have entries from the extended tribe of the Pagan community here too. If you would like to have something of yours featured, please let us know!

If you missed the previous Sycamore Spirit newsletter you can still see it here: Sycamore Spirit Newsletter #2.

Happy Birthday Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition!
Happy Birthday Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition!

Our tradition became officially one year old this past month as we celebrated Ostara together with our sisters and brothers as well as our extended spiritual family and tribe who join with us at our many open gatherings held throughout the north Texas region as we traverse the wheel of the year and share in this magickal path of life.

`We celebrated with gifts for our tribe including unity candles and eggs with enchanted stones.
We celebrated with gifts for our tribe including unity candles and eggs with enchanted stones.

 

Decorating eggs for Ostara with the kids.
Decorating eggs for Ostara with the kids.
The hunt is on! The kids searching for eggs on Ostara!
The hunt is on! The kids searching for eggs on Ostara!
Beautiful Ostara ritual altar.
Beautiful Ostara ritual altar.

I’m in a group circle, now what?
By Arachne Crowsinger

Before you go to an open circle, have you read the Seekers Bill of Rights? If not, please do so. This will help you understand what you have the rights to and makes you an informed seeker of knowledge.
You’ve been a solitary or maybe you’re new to the craft of the wise, maybe read a few books, read some articles about being Wiccan or a witch online and now you’re attending your first open circle celebrating a Sabbat or even a esbat, and it suddenly dawns on you that you’re not entirely sure what exactly is expected of you.
Just in case you don’t know what Sabbat or esbat means, let me clarify them for you simply. Sabbat is one of the 8 eight Holidays that witches, wiccans, pagans like to celebrate, like Samhain, Yule, Ostara, Beltane, etc. or whatever name that particular group calls them by. An esbat is a moon (lunar) celebration and are when witches, wiccans, etc. usually gather to perform their magick with the understanding that the moon and its aspects add more punch, along with the group energy, to the magickal working. Magick gone be done anywhere at any time, so don’t think it’s only done at new and full moons.
So you’re at this lovely gathering, meeting people like yourself, maybe checking out a potential group to start working with, and you realize that you’ll be circling up these strangers to create magick. What does that mean?
To start, always pay attention to any instructions the High Priest (HP) and/or High Priestess (HPs) give you regarding the circle. Traditionally, the High Priestess is usually the final say on all magickal matters, so make sure to whoever is in charge.
Once the circle is cast, you are in sacred space. Don’t be rude or obnoxious. Treat this space and the people within with courtesy and respect. You wouldn’t go over to someone’s house and go to the bathroom in the corner of the living room.
I stress this point, because I was once helping facilitate a Samhain ritual over a friend’s house, and in the middle of circle, I looked over and saw a couple making out in the middle of circle. Now I believe one should be free to express one’s love, but that was ill timed and inappropriate for the type of circle that we were having. That’s what I remember about that Sabbat, nothing else.
Use your head and common courtesy in circle.
You are also there to lend your energy to the circle, to help make the celebration or working more powerful. Now that doesn’t mean you need to push all your energy into the circle when magic is being raised, that’s a one way ticket to a magickal hangover.
A magickal hangover is similar to an alcoholic one but with none of the drunken fun, but all of its terrible aftereffects.
Giving energy to the working is one of the reasons you came here. A shared magickal experience is an amazing thing, but you have to be careful. Don’t push out ALL your energy into the working that leads to the magickal hangover.
For the newbie, the trick is to let yourself be a part of the energy, and as you chant, dance, sing, or whatever, your will naturally lend an adequate amount of your energy to the working.
I can see the look on your face, how is that possible? Think of a lone voice in a large theater singing on stage without a microphone. You’re standing in the very far back of the room. Can’t hear anything can you? Nope, but then another voice joins in. It becomes a little clearer and then another. It builds until you can hear what is being sung and it is beautiful and powerful from the additional of all those voice. See, that was easy and not scary at all because music naturally raises energy. No extra push needed.
There are always some people who are so focused on learning the new chant or whatever for the working, that their energy isn’t 100% focused on the task and that’s okay. The High Priest and Priestess’ job is to take that energy and help focus it to the working at hand. You might be aware that they’re doing that. Good for you, some people can’t.
You can help be aware of what is being done. If your energy is being used to help cast the circle around the group, be AWARE that is what you are doing. If it’s being focused into some herbs for a money spell, help focus your energy there. Get the picture.
A good High Priest and High Priestess’ know that it’s their job to gather up the stray energy and direct it where it needs to go for the ritual and if they’re doing the job right, oh yeah, you’ll feel it. You’ve found a good group to do magic with.
However, if you are aware that maybe someone is sucking up the energy or the energy is being used in a fashion that you’re not comfortable with, then go ahead and stop adding to it. A good circle will have one or some of the group’s members monitoring for that kind of negative behavior, so they can nip it in the bud but do mention something to the High Priest and/or High Priestess after ritual privately, just in case. They and their membership might not be aware because they were busy with the magickal working at hand. You’re just as responsible as they are for the circle, as you were a part of it but let them handle the situation as they see fit. You’re the guest.
Sharing your energy with new people can be a very scary thing. For reasons that are personal to the individual, they may keep themselves shielded from others and it is so second nature, that opening themselves up in a circle is a difficult thing.
Shielding, what’s that your say? Shielding is when you create a protective energy barrier around yourself to keep your energy and person safe from harm. This is a must learn skill for anyone on a magickal path.
This is useful to thing to have to protect yourself from ‘energy vampires’. If this is the first time you’ve heard that term, I think you get what it means. In fact, I bet the term made you immediately thing of someone and you realized that you always feel exhausted after any interaction with them. Yep, they’re an energy vampire and you need to learn how to protect yourself from them.
There is an excellent book by Christopher Penczak called The Witch’s Shield. I recommend it for all new and experienced witches to learn about shielding and psychic self-defense. Working with energy and doing magick will draw others to you, some good, some not so good, and you need to know how to protect yourself, so give it a read. Do some research you can never be too informed on the subject!
In conclusion, follow these easy steps:
Listen to whomever is in charge, usually the High Priest and High Priestess
Be courteous, respectful and responsible in the circle. Be someone they want to come back to their circles not the person they ban.
Participate and lend your energy to the circle and/or working, but also protect yourself while doing so. Make sure you know how to do this.
Don’t be afraid to not go back to that particular group gathering if anything at all makes you uncomfortable. This is your spiritual journey and you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.
Have fun!!!

Ingwaz

Rune of the Month: Ingwaz

By Aquae Gealbhan

Meaning:Harmony. Approval. Unity, agreement. Love. PeaceCharacteristics
Ingwaz is named for the Norse hero-god Ing, who came from across the sea to unite his people of Viking Jutland, and returned whence he came leaving peace and harmony. Ingwaz representing Ing therefore symbolises peace, unity, harmony, agreement, togetherness and undying love between romantic partners.It portends completion, the certainty of a conclusion. This could include the male orgasmic force, or birth as the conclusion to pregnancy. Ingwaz is associated with healthy, wholesome sexuality, a strong, affectionate family, and a safe, secure hearth and home. It also symbolizes protection, and contains the idea of a beacon, a light shining in the darkness, and therefore, spiritual inspiration.Runic Number: 22Color:  YellowElement: Earth and WaterPolarity: Male

Associated gods: Ing, Frey

Astrological Correspondence: Cancer, the New Moon.

Prayer & Blessing Requests

We receive many requests throughout each month for prayers and blessings as members of our tribe and extended spiritual family struggle through the challenges of life as well as share in their triumphs and new journeys on their paths. Here, we ask that you add a candle to your altar or otherwise send energies to the following people who have requested prayers and blessings:

Cianaodh, an elder of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition and HP of Temple Of the Standing Stones shares:

I would like to ask for prayers and healing energies for our sisters and brothers of this tribe and those whose lives touch ours including priestess Olivia of Temple Of the Standing Stones who has been struggling with back pain for quite some time now and recently found out through an MRI that she suffers from arthritic conditions which are causing bulging discs and a narrowing of the nerve passages in her lower back. She will be undergoing physical therapy and other treatments. Also Wahya's friend Corie whose husband is battling leukemia for a second time. He is in need of a bone marrow transplant and is in Houston for treatment as they try to find a match. Please keep these people in your thoughts and prayers.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

TOSS = Temple Of the Standing Stones hosted events
MWC = Mystic Willow Coven hosted events
SOS = Spirit Of the Sycamore tradition events

TOSS - Temple Day - Candle Crafts and Musical Experimentation- Saturday, April 2nd 3pm til midnight.

Our temple days are days of crafts, lessons, board games, music and general communing with our tribe. Sometimes we watch a movie together, other times we play board games, sometimes we have impromptu music jam sessions, poetry reading or story telling. The point is to have an opportunity to get to know one another and build the bonds of spiritual family. Won't you come join in with us?

This Temple Day will be held at Cianaodh's home in Arlington, Texas. The address will be given upon request to those who plan to attend. The focal points at this Temple Day gathering will be Candle Crafts and Musical Experimentation - Please Bring Instruments, Voices and/or Ideas that you would like to share or just some appreciative ears to listen, hands to clap and feet to tap or dance. :-)

What to bring: (Optional)

Camping chair
Craft Items - Taper candles, glitter, glue gun, lighters, decorative items to attach to candles like stars moons, suns, vines, flowers, etc.
Your favorite game that you might like to share with the tribe
Instrument For Music and Dance
Item For Potluck Dinner
Cash Donations for Cancer Care Services and/or Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition

See event on Meetup - http://www.meetup.com/Temple-Of-the-Standing-Stones/events/229739909/

MWC - Meet & Greet- Sunday, April 3rd 2pm til 5pm

Panera Bread
1804 Precinct Line Rd, Hurst, TX

This is a meeting with the HPS and one or more of the coven members to determine if you are a good fit for the group.

See event on Meetup - http://www.meetup.com/Mystic-Willow-Coven/events/229934874/

TOSS - Clergy Day - Saturday, April 9th

Temple Of the Standing Stones clergy takes the weekend nearest the New Moon off to spend time with their families and friends beyond their spiritual family as we see these bonds as very important to our growth on our path and we seek to maintain these connections.

MWC - New Moon Ritual - Sunday, April 10th at 4pm

Getting together for a New Moon Ritual. Must have prior approval from the HPS to attend.

Address will be sent privately to attendees.

See event on Meetup - http://www.meetup.com/Mystic-Willow-Coven/events/227319118/

TOSS - Pagan Chants and Beltane Preparations- Saturday, April 16th 3pm til midnight.

We will be spending an evening around the fire sharing many chants of the greater Pagan community, talking a bit about the history of some of the chants, what cultures they originated from, who wrote them, what energies they help in raising, grounding or directing, etc. This event is hosted by Temple Of the Standing Stones and will be held at Cianaodh's home in Arlington, Texas. Address given to known attendees upon request.

Also we will work on preparations for our upcoming Beltane camping weekend at Tanglewood Forest.

See event on Meetup - http://www.meetup.com/Temple-Of-the-Standing-Stones/events/229740164/

TOSS - Full Moon Esbat- Saturday, April 23rd 5pm til midnight.

Our apologies, but Esbats are open to Initiated Clergy, Spouses and Candidates ONLY as these are the times we do our personal magickal workings and hold temple business meetings. Please feel free to attend our next open event though!

MWC - Full Moon Ritual - Sunday, April 24th at 4pm

Getting together for a Full Moon Ritual. Must have prior approval from the HPS to attend.

Address will be sent privately to attendees.

See event on Meetup - http://www.meetup.com/Mystic-Willow-Coven/events/227319231/

MWC - Beltane Baby!- Saturday, April 29th til Sunday May 1st.

Camping and celebrating Beltane.
Hosted by Mystic Willow Coven

Directions from Dallas:
Take I-45 South to Corsicana Business Exit, follow Business 45 into Corsicana until you come to an overpass. Take the road to the right side of the overpass, and take a right at Hwy 31. Follow Hwy 31 west through Corsicana. After Hwy 55, the next right is FM3050. Take a right on FM3050. Take a right at intersection, FM3055, and go about .5 miles, Tanglewood Forest will be on the left.

Directions from Austin:
Take I-35 North to Hwy. 31 in Waco, going east. Take a left on FM3050, near Silver City. Take a right at intersection, FM3055, and go about .5 miles, Tanglewood Forest will be on the left.

See event on Meetup - http://www.meetup.com/Mystic-Willow-Coven/events/227319335/

You can always check our upcoming events on Meetup:

Mystic Willow Coven - http://www.meetup.com/Mystic-Willow-Coven/

Temple Of the Standing Stones - http://www.meetup.com/Temple-Of-the-Standing-Stones/

If you would like to help support our efforts please consider chipping in through our Meetup Groups:

Temple Of the Standing Stones: http://templeofthestones.org/chip-in/

and

Mystic Willow Coven: https://secure.meetup.com/Mystic-Willow-Coven/contribute/
What are we up to? Find out each month (Usually first Saturday morning) by signing up to receive our newsletter by email:

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May the kindred bless and keep you,

The tribe of Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition