Summer is my personal favorite season. In New Orleans, we sort of start “Summer” at Beltane, and it runs through almost Mabon, from a weather/temperature perspective. Early May is usually bloody hot, and the heat doesn’t often break until well into September. Still, there’s a lot of societal norms that we must observe which better define/mark the Summer season, such as the end of school. When the kids hit the streets in late May/early June, parents start focusing on what the family’s going to do to pass the time until the kids go back into the academic routine.
Making Summer Magic!
Yes, even though my kids are older now, I still frame Summer around the school year. I haven’t taught high school in over 30 years, but the folks I currently work with often have kids. They structure their schedules around home and hearth, and that determines my current teaching schedule (corporate training). One of my favorite things that truly marks summer is is playground baseball. Folks who have kids, ranging in age from six to twelve often have the kids doing playground sports. Baseball (t-ball for the littles, then up from there, starts in the spring, and is usually over with by Litha. When the team obligations are over, the family can go on holiday!
Many witchy families aren’t that much different from their muggle counterparts when it comes to kids’ activities. Observe Litha, then summer is truly begin. Whether the family takes a travel vacation or everyone stays home, getting out on the grass, next to water, catching a cool breeze when we can, opening up to the vibrations of New Orleans’ hot summer is a great experience.
Kids or no, Summer is about re-charging the batteries. Even when our society was more agrarian, a lot of what folks did in the Summer was watch the crops grow. Living in the modern world, we may not slow down at work, but we do in our off time. Festivals and events in South Louisiana don’t stop because the heat goes on. We just don’t cover as much ground in the heat. It’s easy for witches to blend in to those celebrations, as well as making our own time and space for reflection, improving our connection to our deities.
Working with Air
I have a strong affinity to Water, but in the heat of the Summer, I often work on my focus with Air. Everyone appreciates that cool breeze in the afternoon, or that wind that kicks up just before a thunderstorm passes over. June to November is also hurricane season, and while there’s not much we can do to harness those winds, they’re still dominant in everyone’s thoughts when the storms develop. I’ve got a couple of sets of Elemental stones I keep in my travel bag. Right now, I’m keeping the Air stone with me regularly, to help develop that focus. Thinking about Raphael, the Guardian of Air, the Healer, I use that gold stone to connect with Air.
Before doing an invocation, it’s always a good idea to banish, ground, and center. That way you focus yourself and establish your personal protection from any nasties that may be in the vicinity. Then, if you have an athame or ritual knife, great, if not, extend your right arm with two fingers pointing forward. Draw an Air pentagram by going across, right to left, then down, then up, down, up, so you end where you started, on the right.
Welcome the Guardian of East/Air in your tradition’s way. Invite the Guardian to give you some cool breeze, while you reflect on Air.
(“Summer” graphic shamelessly appropriated from the lovely and talented Katy of Northshore Parent)
Our world is a place full of negative energy and “bad vibes.” Last week was particularly bad by American standards (which I’ll admit, are really nothing when compared to other parts of the world, but still, it’s important for us to take a step back and do what we can to keep the negative energy from overwhelming us. Practitioners of Magic/Magick refer to this as “banishing.”
Mind you, there are times when embracing the dark is a good thing. Balance is necessary in all things, so don’t think of banishing as a “fluffy bunny” technique. When you banish energy/vibes, you take control of your personal space. You should be the one controlling the energy around you. You are the one who decides what gets through your shield.
But you have to have the shields there in the first place!
Banishing with the Pentagrams
Invoking Banishing Pentagrams (courtesy Llewellyn Publishing)
The simplest form of banishing are the pentagrams. Drawing banishing pentagrams in the air around you is a good start. When you feel you’re in a situation where you’re surrounded by negative energy, at a minimum, raise two fingers and sketch Earth, Air, Fire, and Water pentagrams around you in the North, East, South, and West, respectively.
Drawing the pentagrams for banishing (courtesy Llewellyn Publishing)
Simple focus on the pentagram you’re drawing, and your intent (pushing away bad vibes/negative energy) is all you need to do at first. After you’ve practiced tracing the pentagrams, you can consider a more in-depth ritual/spell for banishing.
The most popular ritual used to banish negativity is The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Its roots are in Ceremonial Magick, and as such, the ritual uses imagery and language from that world that some Pagans and Witches may not be comfortable with. Take a look at the ritual, nonetheless. It’s possible to modify it to fit specific Goddess/God forms/pantheons. The framework is solid.
The illustrations presented here are from the late Don Kraig’s wonderful text, Modern Magick, from Llewellyn. I highly recommend it.
A daily ritual to banish negativity serves to build up your personal shields, as well as your overall ritual technique. If you work with banishing pentagrams in a formal setting regularly, your ability to draw them and use them to shield you on an ad hoc basis will be even stronger.