Jan 27, 2012

Imbolc and St Brigid folklore and magick

When asked, many will tell You how Imbolc is a Pagan holiday celebrated on 1st of the February. This is, at least , in part, very true. I however believe that it definitely predates Pagan religions , for there are implications in anthropological society, that it was celebrated  during the Neolith even. Furthermore, anyone could really celebrate Light, Arrival of the Spring, and Fertility can they not? Those are rather universal concepts, figuring in so many religions  , as well as traditions. It’s also time of power for those who are eclectic practitioners, suitable for fire spells of all kind,  and divination.

Tradition suggests plenty types of spiritual workings that can be done on Imbolc; one can light candles to help the Sun  in overcoming the dark period of Year, and   symbolize the  lengthening t of daytime; or to honor St Brigid. Clothes and ribbons are left outside in order to be blessed and thus empowered by St.Brigid, traditional food is prepared, and used;  such as dairies , butter and cakes. Processions of  young girls caring “Brideog”  occur, to greet to forthcoming light . and start of the Light  period of the Year. Dianic Wiccans often perform initiations on this day.

St Brigid, butter, bed and maidens

Many folk rituals , festivities and ceremonies preformed on this day are associated with St Brigid or also with the Celtic deity Brigid. The line that separates Christian folklore, and that of the Celtic Pagans , associated with this particular time of the year, in time has almost completely faded away, leaving the scholars of all kinds
( anthropologists, theologists , historian , ethnologists etc, ) subject for futile and overheated debates. Folk people , in all their “simplicity” seem to know better, they practice what their ancestors and culture taught them, and there are no conflicts between Christian and pagan folk on Imbolc. To each it’s own, If You are in  the clear about who You honor and why, You can hardly ever go wrong about it.
One of such, traditions; interlacing folk practices,  includes making of Brideog and bed for her , which is called Brigid’s bed. The bed is then “fed” with milk and honey , sometimes with butter as well and becomes something of  a ''status symbol' of the maiden that made it. She carries it  throughout the whole house, greeted with respect and presented with gifts,from her family  members, and she even sleeps next to her Brigid’s bed. For as the belief goes;  St. Brigid herself, blesses, and protects these maidens that make beds for here, and carry it on festivity processions In her honor. Therefore appeasing the Maiden meant appeasing the deity/Saint as well , thus gaining their favors. I have wrote few lines of info on Brigit’s bed last year, on here http://shadowsmagickplace.blogspot.com/2010/02/imbolc-fire-oil-and-weather-divination.html

St Brigid ( or Brigit as one of     the many offered spelling ) is one of the Patron Saints of Ireland, who had liven  between  451-525. She was a nun, an abbess, and the founder of many monasteries.[1] A commendable soul according to many,    who had preformed many miracles. Her parents were her dad Dubhthach , a pagan chieftain of Leinster and mother Brocca, Christian , and former slave baptized by St Patrick according to hagiographers.

Saint Brigid is celebrated even today, as a great helper of the poor , for she was always, ever since childhood  widely  known  to give charity. According to  one legend    ;  as child she gave away her mother’s whole store of butter, which was later replenished miraculously as answer to St. Brigid’s prayers.
She founded a small cathedral city, starting from small oratory cathedral of Cil Dare or Kildare , that had monasteries for man and women. Oak wood is associated with Kildare and knowing that and association of Madonna’s lily ( Lilium candidum ) and Brigid’s anemone ( Anemone Coronaria ) , we can compound an oil suitable for work with her, use on Imboloc, Candlemass

St Brigid’s oil

• Piece of Oak wood
• Madonna Lily flower
• Brigid’s Anemone
• Few drops of milk or melted butter
• Olive oil as base with Vit E capsule

According to   an early Orthodox Christian legend, she was able to take her eye out of head, which  in turn ,convinced her father not to force her to marry a men she did not like, and was supposed to go for. She had than prayed to Lord and was through Divine help able to put her own eye back into her head and completely heal.
It has also been reported that she healed a leprous man who   had  brought a cow to be blessed by St, Brigid ( in some versions asked for a cow ), she cursed the apple trees at one monastery because of pettiness and parsimony of a nun that gave her basket  full of apples,  which she had gave out to poor, prompting the nun  to complain about  it  . She had also been known to bless fruit trees of those that gave away to the poor, and those trees would accordingly be healthy and bear twice as more fruit than earlier .

Her color is white, for she is depicted wearing white or black robes, holding a lamp, symbolic of purity, perpetual Divine light and Illumination. Her symbol is  Brigid’s Cross.
Her feast day is 1st February, or 14th among Orthodox Christian churches that follow Julian calendar.
On Imboloc she is often offered with butter and milk, which might have to do with legend about her childhood charity act and miracle or restoration of butter. One such example is given latter

Imboloc ideas, charms , spells and divinations

Imboloc is traditional time for divination , and  in  some of the   traditions,   also initiation. Partucularily prominent are weather divinations , and pyromancy.
For example seeing a cat scratch her ear on Imboloc was supposedly sing of storm, closed pine cones predicted  moist/damp  weather. If Candlemass weather is nice and pleasant, winter will be there for a while ( more ), and vice-versa   , If it rains and is cold on Candlemass rain is gone. If a groundhog sees it's own shadow on the  Candlemass day, it apparently means there are six more weeks of Winter [2] I have had written on association of mythical figure Cailleach and weather divination here http://shadowsmagickplace.blogspot.com/2010/02/imbolc-fire-oil-and-weather-divination.html

This is also the day associated with all sort of divinations. In Eastern Europe for example, quite popular are  some  fire divinations   ;  where the flames would be asked questions, and the bending would be inspected, for answers . Today same can be done with  a simple candle flame , minding some basic “code”  to interpret  the  answers/omens,

• flame bending left – no
• flame bending right – yes
• flame decreasing or bending down – slowly, maybe , weakly
• flame rising or bednig up – swiftly, likely to, prominently
• flame flickering often – omen of danger, approaching or passing
• flame burning strongly, steadily and bright – good fortune, presence of kind spirits

People  also like to do bone divinations, in Eastern Europe pelvic bone divination is often employed, where dots, colors and auspicious shapes are inspected. Also , often consulted is    the chicken’s wishbone. Smaller bone fraction ending  up in right hand meant “no” , while the bigger faction meant “yes”. Usually employed to see if some wish is coming true.

Milk is sometimes poured into cauldron with optional addition of butter, and chosen plants   are  dipped. Cauldron is encircled with candles, and praye d over. The plants are then taken out, dried and considered to be extremely powerful in magick and charm making, so used throughout the year. This simple ritual symbolizes another common practice of Imolc and that’s empowerment and consecration of items . Since it’s believed that Brigid or St. Brigid walks among humans on this day, people leave ribbons, fabrics , stockings etc outside, in the eve and in the morning they collect this, now charged power objects that are believed to bestowed luck and blessings. This was often done by Young maidens for the it’s believed that the St.Brigid is particularly   kind to them.

Many candles are lit, usually on windows sills, to greet the lengthening of the day. Any candle could be asked question and then through ceromancy , answer s obtained.

Here is a neat suggestions for the ritual according to Cass Eason :

Make one very large candle to serve as the main Candlemass candle, and when You light it allow everyone to make a secret wish for the coming spring.
As You make smaller candles to shine in every window , visualize each one being endowed with optimism, for new beginnings, new directions and plans, and name one for each absent family member or friend.
Prepare a feast that includes delicious seed breads and cakes, milk, honey, seeds of all kind, lamb and dairy products, and spend the evening playing party games and charades.
If You have decision to make light two candles of the same size and thickness and endow each with an option. The one to burn down first indicates the right choice
” [3]

Colors of the day are white, silver , pale yellow. Corresponding stones and gems include but are not limited on : Rubies, Sun Stone , Bloodstone, Garnet, Onyx, , Amber etc. Incenses include Frankincense, Bay, Ben zoin , Basil , Myrrh , Dragon’s blood and Cinnamon, among other, and herbs Angelica, Basil, Bay, Rosemary , Snowdrop, Daisy, Saffron, Sage and others.

Have a bright, Blessed Imboloc
Blessings Shadow

NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself, so If You would like to use any part of it elswhere, provide credits, Shadow of Shadows magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this post.CREDITS AND REFFRENCES:[1] www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigit_of_Kildare
[2] paraphrased from, Doreen Valiente “Natrail magic” and “Folklore in Adam county Illinois” by Harry Middletone Hyatt, used for educative and explanatory purposes here
[3] Quoted from Cassandra Eason’s “Candle magick” , for explanatory and discussion purposes, without any ill will
IMAGE CREDITS:IMAGE CREDITS : St Brigid’s image is from , Wikipedia site, as listed under [1] above, Candles image is common Microsoft word application, slightly edited by myself, and both are used here for illustrative and explanatory purposes only, without ill will

Jan 23, 2012

Archangel's root in Hoodoo and herbal magick

Angelica Archangelica, commonly called Holy Ghost, or Holy Ghost root in Hoodoo, is a species of plant form formerly known as Umbeliferae family, now called Apiaceae.

It’s a tall plant that can grow more than six feet ( 2m ), with leaflets formed of numerous minute leafs, arranged in three main lobes, which the divide on three lesser ones and so on. Leaflets are slightly toot edged, or serrated sometimes. Flowers are multiple, grouped in large globular umbels or cluster, as typical for the Apiaceae family. The plant flourishes in July, with a lot of greenish and yellowish flowers, that bear very pale yellow, and oblong fruits . It’s mesophytic normally and skyophitic , so it can usually be found in shade near water deposits of all kind.

In Hoodoo ( and most of other systems ) we use Angelica Archangelica / officinalis ( syn ) as magickal plant most often root which is also called Root of Holy Ghost or Angel/Archangel root. It’s correspondent to Sun and Fire, making it logical to conclude use of in all sort of Apotropaic work, but also celestial contact work. It is alos used in Hoodoo in peaceful home work , for which often combined with Lavender, Rosemary, Motherwort and such, and carried in conjure hands dressed with suiting oil.

In powdered form, it’s frequently ingredient of Healing and Blessing mixtures [1] though as such Is commonly found in “Fiery wall of protection” powder or gree gree of similar use.

People use it in mixtures to bless children and/or adults and items and here is one such combination suitable both for use in oil and conjure hand

• Angelica root
• Flax seeds
• Rose hips
• Caraway seeds
• OPTIONAL : Styrax

They can be often found in healing unnatural diseases conjure hands, that tend to be sewn in mattresses of the sick or in infusions that are to be sprinkled on their bedposts, room , or even to be used in baths. Example of good Mojo to fight long standing , chronic or unnatural diseases as I would compose it may look something
like this

• Angelica root
• Strain of hair of the Patient
• Small Crucifix blessed in Church , best If wooden
• Boneset
• Wood Betony
• Sampson Snake root
• Goldenseal root thread

Optional, possible additions ( not exclusive list ) may be Master of The Woods, Camphor ( especially if mental condition is treated, in which case Mint could be added ), Cascarilla and Saint images or Medallions. Mojo can be dressed with variety of oils, including Run D***l Run , Blessing oil, even Psychic vision and of course Healing oil and Cast off evil oil. Plain Whiskey and Florida water will do as well.

All sort of powders congaing Angelica root powder are used as Peaceful home powdr or Blessing home powder such as following example as paraphrased from work of famous Hoodoo authority:
Mix Angelica with Peaceful Home powder, and Sea salt to purify house> Sprinkle in four corners inside and in center of the room/house inside , and four corners outside. [1]

Angelica roots are often hung together ( tied with string or yarn ) with De*il shoestrings or alike plants, or even chicken bones painted black or whitened to make powerful “ward of evil” hang-chimes or Ju Ju. Such unique “door guardians” can be commonly seen in New Orleans and are said to prevent evil from entering , much like red brick lines, that are often used together, as complementary methods of protection, or rather protective limitations :)

Mexican curanderos use Angelica to cure so called “susto” which I have mentioned writing on dream sorcery before on here

It is reputed to be a very powerful hex-breaking *[3] and Uncrossing agent, also powerful in repeling malicious spirits , and invoking Angelic help. It’s common ingredient in Angel related oils , one example I have given here : http://shadowsmagickplace.blogspot.com/2011/12/condition-and-spiritual-oils.html

Other formulas for oils using Angelica root can be found in my post on St Michale the Archangel, an d in following Scribd document http://www.scribd.com/Shadow3333333/d/58939249-Ars-olei-TEST-VERSION

And here is a powder I made and use for purposes of sprinkling and uncrossing places , items and humans. I suggested two versions

Red killer powder

• Red Brick Dust powdered
• Angelic root powdered

For annulling conjurations You find disagreeabl e with You, killing power of witchcraft or laying over powders and gree gree’s lain to harm You, to render those harmless.

Uncrossing salt #2

• Blessed Salt
• Black Pepper
• Mint
• Angelica root
• Chamomile
• Basil
I also like to

dust Angelica on my Blessing candles, as given in example on Candle magick spells in post on Candle magick.
Seems like Angelica has versatile uses, and association with Light ( Sun and Fire ) Angelic, and positive magickal workings, making it very favorite of many Spiritual workers. Could be included, in upcoming Imboloc ceremonies.
In Medieval lore it was even said to dispel lustful thoughts , even protect from Black death, bites of venomous and rabid animals and variety of illnesses [4]

NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself, so If You’d like to use any part of it eslwhere , add credit s , Shadow of Shadow’s magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this post
[1] As stated on
http://www.luckymojo.com/angelica.html by Yronwode, Catherine
[2] Suggested in “Hoodoo herb and root magick” , entry on Angelica, Yronwode, Catherine
[3] Cunningham, Scott, “Encyclopedia of magic(k) herbs”
[4] according to “Herbal magick , a witches guide to Herbal Enchantments folklore and divination” by Dunwich Gerina
IMAGE CREDITS: Image is Angelica’s common botanical illustration of ( Garden ) Angelica , used here for illustrative as well as educational purposes as found on

Jan 13, 2012

Unbaptized days , January folklore of Eastern European people

January brings many holidays for people on Balkan penissula. This is due to the fact that on Balkan, Othodox church follows Julian calendar, while Gregorian is used for every day maters. That resulted in celebration of Christmas on 7th of January ( in Western Christianity as we know 25th of December ) and Epiphany, or Teophany on 19th of December ( in Western Christianity on 6th of January, celebrating the arrival of Three Holy Kings ), between which other important Christian holidays appear. On these days. Balkan peninsula religious folk, cunning folk and witches, perform all sort of rituals, spells and magickal workings, aiming to captivate and employ special powers of these Holy days. In this post we will be speaking of folklore, theology and beliefs behind some of these days of power, from a spiritual perspective, as seen in Balkan peninsula by spiritual folk of all kind, and we shall discuss some practical examples as well, for as I like to stress from time to time , these are practical writings, as is magick itself  Also , in my experience , people of any , religion, race and national denomination are more than welcome to try out the rites discussed, for they are universal, both in terms of symbolism and methodology

Ubabtized days, when demons roam freely

In Balkan peninsula ( and most of Eastern Europe ) folklore there is a specific time of the year, between 7th and 19th/20th January called “Unbabtized days” , called so since no weddings or Baptisms are preformed in Orthodox Christian temples , during these particular days. Folk people believe souls of th dead, and all sort of chthonic creatures and demons roam freely on these days attacking and tormenting people, causing illness and misfortune. These days are therefore, very dangerous and as such are fulfilled with folk magick practices of speaking apotropaic incantations, and prayers, carrying protective charms etc. Among people of Vlasi[1] situated in Southern Serbia, carrying garlic , piece of bread and sowing shift shall keep one protected from most of the demons that are customary mischievous and aggressive during that time interval. It’s worth to note here, that what the mentioned people use the word demon in very loose way, usually to describe chthonic entities, or types of spirits that come to existence as a result of changed ghost of evil, improperly buried or otherwise uncommon people. Meaning, thought the use of the very word is consequence of Christianization of Slavic people , the word might not share the same attributes implied in/by Christian theology. Furthermore, people in Balkan believe that if their compatriots die during unbaptized days , they will become vampires, or other kind of harmful supernatural creatures. Mostly prone to such are newborns, which tend to turn into some very nasty creatures If they die unbabtized, and during these days. The only way to prevent that from happening is to give them a proper burial, but outside on graveyard, they are often buried in forests, or crossroad instead. It is suggested ( in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro ) to evade, by all means being outside on these days after the nightfall. The harmful creatures often linger in wells, on doorsteps, forests, crossroads etc., and those places should be bypassed in wide range. Cunning folk warn us to stay away from them in wide circle. Also, during these days, You might want to, try carrying this herbal charm, reputed ( By Balkan peninsula cunning folk and witches ) to repel evil and protect from it :

• Basil
• Garlic
• Cloves
Very powerful, and covers large deal of protection from negative influences, including evil spirits and demons ( in Christian sense of the word ) and as powder could be used as Banishment and Exorcism agent as well.

St Stephen’s day

St Stephen the protomartyr is celebrated on 26th of December , in Western Christianity, making it being celebrated on 9th of January in places where Eastern Orthodox Church follows Julian calendar, such as many parts of Balkans.
St Stephen the protomartyr is a venerated Christian Saint, the “first martyr” who had been stoned by the enraged Hebrew mob, after being accused for blasphemy, due to the fact he had acknowledged Christ as Son of G’d . Furthermore he preached about Lord Christ’s sacrifice, and role as messiah and having managed to convince substantial number of Hebrew people, he has drawn the anger of members of certain Synagogue that complot to discredit him. Helped by Angel, and enlightened with wisdom by Holy Spirit , he had managed to renounce all accusations, and defeats his fellow Jew’s in argument, resulting in being stoned to death, as he prays for his executors. Most likely due to such death, St . Stephen is known as patron Saint of stone masons.
Hopefully, we will deal more with the enticing and very interesting hagiography of this Saint, in a separate article, in a more in depth manner, on another occasions. Here we shall deal with lore related to the day.

In Balkan peninsula St Stephen’s day, is also celebrated as the “third day of the Nativity/Christmas” , therefore many customs and folk rituals done on this day have something to do with three day festivities related to Christmas among Eastern Orthodox Christian. The straw, that was spread in houses on the first day of the Christmas ( 7th of January ) is now taken outside, placed in fields, or at the bases of fruit tree trunks, to ensure fertility and abundance of Earth, in year to come, for such straw is considered to has blessing qualities.
St Stephen is celebrated as one of the “feast” saints in Serbia, Montenegro and part of Bosnia. Which is a tradition in which certain Saints are assigned to families or clans, as protectors and guardians of those, and consequently celebrated by these families, via mixture of Orthodox Christian rites, and folk festivities, among others rich feast, hence the name. Can be seen, as some sort of family cult, akin to those among the ancient Greeks. Some people commonly fumigate their homes on this day with Frankincense , maybe because the Saint, in Eastern Iconography, is often depicted carrying censer. As they do it some may sat the common prayer used for such occasion[3] ( fumigation with Frankincense ) that say: “Angels cleansed my home with Frankincense, making all the evil spirits fled !“ Most of the rituals preformed to honor this saint are done by families that celebrate him as their feast Saint.

 Feast to St. John the Baptist

This day is often reffered, by folk as "Feast of the Cross "  , but this is a semantical missconecption due to similarity of the words "baptism" and the word "cross" in most of the Slavic languages.

Feast of the Cross, is a holliday dedicated to the Holy Cross ( on which our Lord was crucified ) hence an object not a person. There are more than one throughout the Year, different holidays dedicated to different events related to True Cross, Holly Cross on which Lord Christ had been Crucified. Due to fact that the Eastern Orthodox Christian church ( as I mentioned few times , I know ) adheres to Julian calendar, and the Gregorian is used as secular, mundane calendar, this day is on largest part of Balkan celebrated on 18th of January. So these holidays commemorates various  events,  for example   , the finding of the True Cross by Empress Helen in 326th, as well as recovery of it from Persians in 628th . It is said that Empress Helen ( mother of Constantine the Great ) , searching for the Cross had encountered it under some temple of Venus, as instructed by certain Jewish old man called Judas. According to myth, she had also found the Basil plant, growing on Golgotha, on that spot. She had also found two more crosses, so she was wondering how will she be able to determine which one of them is the actual, True Cross, The Life-giving Cross as also said. Incidentally ( or maybe not ) there was a funeral procession passing nearby, so the empress decided to make somewhat a test. The body of the dead man, carried by procession was placed on each side of every Cross. With the first two, nothing came to be, but upon placing body on the third Cross the man had miraculously returned to life. Also, certain ailing women had kissed the same Cross and had miraculously healed. At this point It was clear, that very Cross was the Ture, Life-giving Cross.

The second event commemorated is recovering of the Cross, by emperor Heraclius in 627th year AD, when the Persians were defeated at the battle of Nineveh. The Emperor had then, along with Patriarch Zacharias , transferred the True Cross to the Temple of Resurrection in Jerusalem.   Revelation ( and appearance ) of the victorious Cross to  Constantin the Great  is also celebrated.

However, this particular "Feast of Cross" , even though  being often called so, is actualy a feast day to St. John the  Baptist.  This "holy day" commemorates life and deeds of St John the Babtist, his dead, and his image and message in whole. That means that Orthodox Christians recall his life, his role as "forerunner" ,Christ's couisn and Prophet who foresaw and announced his arrival. His commendable life, and upmost  praisworthy ascetism  are also celebrated. And of course, even his death is  mourned and recalled, which had  happene d in time of king Herod,  which had  occure d by "pettition"  of Herodias, Herod's wife and Salome his daughter. The two were infuriated becuase they could not seduce St John, and hence had retaliated. Due ti his fasting in desert, aescetic life, and kindred, benevolent nature he is   often reffered as "The Angel of the desert", so it's no surprise that he is in Eastern Orthodox iconography often depicted with the wings.

On this day , even many non initiated ( unbaptized People ) in Balkan peninsula fast, for it’s a day of strict fast, atonement , but folk rituals as well. On the next day, 19th of January, Water is traditionally blessed in Orthodox Christian Churches by priesthood. But, on this very day, folk will often bless small amount of water in their homes, using simple methods , of taking “new” water from sprigs, often by little girls , female children , which is stirred with Basil branch while petitions, prayers or made up words of Blessing are spoken. Some people make bonfires outside, in which they shall threw few Daisies to symbolize incense that descended to indicate the exact spot of the Cross to Helen, as noted in one version of the legend. In Serbia and Montenegro, there is a custom of placing a Cross in bowl with water and leaving it outside, and if the water turns to ice, that would be ominous to a healthy and fruit-baring year.

Egg divination is preformed on this day, especially by those very old or heavily sick. It’s fairly simple too, all one needs is a new, fresh egg and a container with water. The egg is then, near the Midnight released into the bowl, and if it would sank, it would be a sign that the person is unlikely to survive until next year. I must note hear , that I personally was taught, though from Western tradition occultists, to evade divinations that suppose to determine when will someone die, for even if they would work, such practices are seen as profane, and a insult to The Divine Force

Epiphany or Teophany ( also called Feast of Teophany )

On 19th January according to mundane, secular calendar among Eastern Orthodox Christian ( 6th January according to Gregorian , Church calendar ) a Feast of Teophany, Teophany or Epiphany is celebrated. It’s a Christian holiday associated with three Magi, that brought presents to baby Jesus, in Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Among the Eastern Orthodox Christians another event is commemorated with this holiday, and it’s the baptism of lord Christ on the river of Jordan, by John the Baptist. But , according to Christian theology that was also the first time Holy Trinity has manifested together, Lo’d speaking from cloud, Lord Christ being baptized in the river, and Lord Holy Spirit descending from Heaven upon Lord Christ.

On this day, among Eastern Orthodox Church holds two services, one in morning and one on afternoon but most parishes hold only one, when most parishioners are able to take part in service. People carry containers in Church ( bottles, jars etc ) in which they will take some Holy water, specially blessed on this occasion. This Holy water is used for Cleansing, Blessing, Exorcism , Peace and Healing rituals. There is an interesting practice, indigenous to Croatia ( Southern Balkan peninsula ) , Holy water is used to bless the dwellings and then above each doors an inscription is made 20 C+M+B XX where the number 20 represents first two numbers in the year, last two represent last two numbers in the year, and the letters are acronym of the Latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat , or three firts letter from names of the Magi. It worth noteing here that most of Croatian people are Catholic by relligion, hence like in other catholic water is blessed in Churches on Easter among them.

Likewise, in Montenegro and Serbia, Holy water is mixed with some firm powdered substance, such as flour, and the resulting creamy mixture is used to draw small Crosses above doors to prevent evil form bothering people in place where such charms are applied. Prior to this many will cleanse the home fuming it with frankincense, carrying lit candle throughout every room, speaking prayers, most often „Prayer to the venerable Cross“ . That is also a common method to cleanse home using Fire and Air . Afterwards the house is sprinkled with Holy water, most often using Basil branches as aspergent, in which case I personally read Psalm 62nd alongside personal petitions.

In most other parts of Balkans, it's customary to take a bath in river, prior to Sunrise. This of course can be done only by healthy people. After the benedicatation of the water in Churches, people organize folk festivities, where large Cross is tossed into the river and Young man shall dive to get it, one who does is considered blessed and ensured to be healthy and lucky throughout the all upcoming year. In some parts of Balkan peninsula, like Bulgaria traditional dances on, or in cold, sometimes iced river water are performed.

"Water-drinking" ritual

This folk ritual I was taught by a dear person , and it deals with ritual ingestion of Holy water, aslo called Epiphany or Teophany water by folk. See, this water will do great benefit when ingested in just a small sip, but this , according to folk must be performed in ritual manner. First of the day before ( 18th January, Feast of the Cross ) is fasted and no food is ingested after midnight of 18th to 19th , prior to taking sip of Holy water in the morning . One must remove left shoe and sock and place it on an axe blade, or If one lacks axe , larger kitchen knife is used. Then, upon making sign of Cross and saying : In the Name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a sip of the Holy water is taken, and some is used to wash the face lightly.

The Holy water obtained in Church on the Epiphany or Feast of Teophany day is afterwards kept in house alongside the Basil branch, which is often used as aspergent for Holy water here. Priests sometimes tell people they can dilute Epiphany Holy water and doing so use it more economically throughout the year, for it's power will not decrease when doing so.

Eve of this day is also a magickal time indeed , for it’s believed by the folk that on this night, on Midnight, skies open and G’d listens out for wishes we make along our prayers. Old people usually stay as long as possible after Midnight praying and looking into skies expecting some sign , usually a fire miraculously dancing in skies or descending from it. People of Vlasi ( Eastern Serbia ) believe that these particular fires appearing on Midnight of this holy day , can ( and often do ) lead people to places where treasures have been buried.[6] There is another interesting ritual preformed just before the Midnight on this eve :

Egg divination Epiphany ritual

A single , fresh egg is taken , alongside the small plate, and taken outside, few minutes before the Midnight. The plate, which is suggested to be in dark color, is placed on Your terrace, or window shell, and while looking in skies, one focuses, thinking of questions and speaking petition to G’d to illuminate and guide , and to send signs and omens. After three such prayers, the egg is broken by knocking it over the plate’s edge, yolk is preserved in shell ( You can toss it, which would be shame really or, use it as You normally use yolk lol ) and the eggwhite ( albumen ) is poured on plate. Few more minutes are spent in silent prayer, or meditation, and then the plate with egg white is taken inside, and placed on the inside side of the window shell. In the morning we inspect and interpret the shapes eggwhite had been formed, noting the associations and ideas glimmering in mind.

On the next day ( 20th of January ) St John The Baptist feast day is commemorated, as part of family cults, in families that consider him their Feast Saint ( Patron , Protector Saint ) as mentioned in part regarding St Stephen’s day. People try to repent for sins they made on this day, and that practice is most likely associated with depiction of St John with the wand with Cross on the top in one hand and scroll with words speaking of importance of repentance due to proximity of the final Judgment.

Now, just because You might not be Christian, Orthodox Christian, Eastern European, does not mean You can not practice suggested rites, rituals and folk spells. Their foundations are universal and part of general occult thought train. If You want to get Epiphany Holy water, You can obtain it fairely easy even in States, in any Orthodox Christian Church. Also , just worth metioning that this post might get additional pictures, I'll try and take some pics of folks rituals here and post them for Your convenience, any how, till next time be well ! Many Blessings !

NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself, according to folklore I was raised in and local anthropologic accounts and literature. If You wish to use any part of it elswhere, provide credits: Shadow of Shadows magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this post, For use in any sort of printed media, infrom me prior to use, e mailing me in given e mail account/address.
[1] Ethnical minority in Serbia, originating from old tribe that had once inhabitated Southern Serbia, around the river Morava, tribe called Volos by Romans and Nhyalos by German
[3] Common folk , short verse prayer in Serbia and Mne \
[5] According to writings of Jasna Jojic Pavlovski , as found in her book
“Kalendar za Srecne dane”[6] according to Anthropological work ( account ) of Vesilin Cajkanovic called “O magiji I religiji” literarily “Of magick and religion”
The image depicting Elevation of the Cross is common Orthodox icon , as found on Orthodox Wiki website, while the other depicting Baptism of the Christ is work of :Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - The Baptism of Christ, which is obtained from here
www.commons.wikimedia.org, both used for illustrative and explanatory y purposes ( here ) only, with no ill will