Cosmic Concerns: August 2017

For all the cosmic witches out there, or just witches and pagans who are interested in what’s going on in the cosmos, here is a list of August 2017’s important astrological events. All times listed are in EST (Eastern Standard) and should be adjusted for your own time zone. Please note that this list is not even close to being exhaustive, but compiled by me to list events that would be of magickal importance. This information is great to copy into your Book of Shadows if you maintain one; if you are looking for something more extensive my guide to lunar trackers is on the site here. I hope that you find it helpful, blessed be!

Planetary Movement, August 2017

3rd: Uranus Retrograde 1:31 AM
12th: Mercury Retrograde 9:00 PM
21st: Total Solar Eclipse 2:25 PM
22nd: Sun enters Virgo 6:20 PM
25th: Saturn Direct 8:08 AM
26th: Venus enters Leo 12:30 AM
31st: Mercury enters Leo 11:28 AM

Moon Cycle, August 2017

6th: Moon void-of-course 5:22 AM, enters Aquarius 8:15 AM
7th: Full Moon in Aquarius 2:11 PM
8th: Moon void-of-course 3:07 PM, enters Pisces 5:56 PM
19th: Moon void-of-course 11:17 AM; Moon enters Leo 1:55 PM
21st: New Moon in Leo 2:30 PM; Moon void-of-course 2:30 PM, Moon enters Virgo 4:25 PM

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New Moon July 23rd 2017 in Leo

The July 2017 New Moon in Leo occurs at 5:46 AM EST on Sunday July 23rd, and your New Moon ritual can be done anytime after 5:46 AM on the 23rd and all day Monday the 24th.

On Sunday the 25th the Moon goes void-of-course at 2:44 PM then enters Leo at 6:06 PM, but your New Moon ritual should be performed before then, ideally. A lot of other planets are in Cancer for this Moon as well, so expect a big wave a Cancer energy coming.

New Moons are used for setting intentions with a manifestation point at the next Full Moon which happens in about two weeks, August 7th for this New Moon. Also, and way more importantly, there is a second, larger manifestation at the Full Moon that happens around six months later in the same sign. For this New Moon its six month Full Moon will happen on January 31st 2018.

My guide, Witch’s Guide to New Moon Magick, can be found on the site here; this post is a companion to that guide. If you’re new to Moon magick that’s a great place to begin.

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Crystal Closeup: Carnelian

Carnelian, also called red carnelian, is one of my absolutely favorite crystals to work with. It’s a variety of chalcedony that is translucent and ranges from orange-red to very red, generally with streaks. Carnelian is one of the birthstones of May. If the bands are strong it is called carnelian agate; dark reddish-brown varieties are known as sard. Carnelian works to calm the blood, and I’ve found wearing a carnelian ring to be especially effective during my ‘moon time’ when pretty much nothing else calms me down even a little bit. My partner also knows that when I swap my rose quartz ring for the carnelian one, it’s ‘that time’ again.

Below is a breakdown of some of the important information about carnelian, which you can copy into your grimoire, and some suggested magickal activities.

Crystal: Carnelian

Astrology: Cancer, Leo, Taurus

Element: Fire

Family: Chalcedony

Mohs: 7

Magickal Uses: Cleansing, Protection

Metaphysical Properties: Assists with analysis, perception, memory, and precision, as it keeps the mind alert. Its calming, stabilizing energy also protects against anger, aggression, fear, and rage. Helps get rid of sadness, shyness, grief, and jealousy. It awakens inner talent and motivates work on that talent. Provides energy for emotionally stabilizing the home while encouraging harmony and love. Additionally, it cleanses negative energy from other crystals. Works well with other crystals for protection from negative energy and psychic attack.

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On Deck: Aya Takano Major Arcana Tarot

I recently stumbled across a set of major arcana tarot cards by Japanese artist Aya Takano and immediately added them to my collection. Part of the Superflat movement, Takano’s work is done in an intentionally juvenile style, while still addressing the prevalence of sexuality and consumerism in post-war Japan. Takano has been on my radar for a long time, but I had no idea she had released a set of tarot cards until recently. Below are some images of the cards and my thoughts on the deck; a gallery can be found at the bottom of the post.

Above, clockwise from left is The Fool, the card back, Fortune, The Hanged Man, and The Magician. Takano uses reddened joints that appear as sunburns to indicate that the figure is still growing. Her subjects are usually nude or only partially clothed, which creates an intentional juxtaposition of innocence and sexuality. The back of the cards are bright pink and feature flowers, peacocks, rabbits, planets, and what appear to be eggs. All of these make me think of Hera, but I am sure I’m just reading way too much into the card back.

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Tanabata Star Festival 2017

It’s hard to believe that it’s Tanabata once again, the year has flown by. Also known as the Star Festival, Tanabata occurs on the evening of July 7th to celebrate the one night that the stars Vega and Altair can be together. In China this festival is called Qixi Festival or The Festival to Plead for Skills which is held on the seventh day of the seventh month. Traditionally this was determined using a Lunar calendar, but more recently it has been celebrated using the Solar calendar. My Tanabata spell in 2016 was the first spell that I posted online, so it’s a bit of an anniversary for me as well.

Tanabata Spell for Witches

In celebration of that anniversary, the Tanabata Wish Spell that I wrote last year has been completely updated. It has been rewritten in a style that makes it easy to put in your Book of Shadows or Grimoire.

Tanabata 2017 Google Doodle

Stories of Tanabata

Additionally, one of my coven traditions is to tell different versions of the same seasonal story for each sabbat. In that same spirit there are many versions of the folktale “The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl” available; the moving story is the inspiration for Tanabata festivals in multiple cultures.

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Full Moon July 9th 2017 in Capricorn

July’s Full Moon in Capricorn has several times at which you can observe it. However, since it occurs at 12:07 AM EST on July 9th, it means that it may be technically on the 8th for some readers. Personally, I recommend doing your Full Moon charge on the night of the 8th because of this. The Moon enters Capricorn at 1:45 PM EST on July 7th, then stays in Capricorn until 10:12 PM on the 9th when it goes void-of-course. In short, your charge can be done on the night of the 7th or the 8th of July, but not the 9th.

About July’s Full Moon

There are multiple names for July’s Full Moon, but the most common is the Thunder Moon. Other names are the Blessing Moon and Full Buck Moon. Thunder Moon comes from the prevalence of thunderstorms this time of year, which is absolutely accurate to me. Full Buck Moon is from the antlers which are now growing on male deer. Blessing Moon is part of the pagan tradition, this is the Moon before Lammas, the first of three harvest festivals. The message of this Full Moon is one of reflecting on what has gone well this year, ‘counting your blessings’ so to speak, and preparing for the harvest ahead.

Full Moon in Capricorn

Capricorn is the tenth sign of the zodiac; a cardinal and Earth sign associated with winter. The sign is associated by my favorite mythological animal, the hippocampus. It’s the zodiac’s hard worker, ambitious and anxious for a project. They are goal-oriented to the point of stubbornness, and ruled by surly Saturn. Capricorns want to be at the top of the mountain, and this can make them domineering or egotistical, but they’d say that’s just the price you pay for being the best. They can be both patient, level-headed, fair dealing, and full of common sense. Yet, they can occasionally be unforgiving, and crave recognition for their work. This is a down-to-Earth sign that isn’t afraid of a little hard work, as a cardinal sign, Capricorn initiates action.

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Witchcraft Basics: How to Cleanse a Space

This guide covers a witchcraft basic: how to cleanse the energy in a space. I created this because a lot of witchcraft writers, myself included, will say “cleanse your space” as though everyone knows exactly what that means. The truth of the matter is that, when you’re a new witch, you have no idea what that looks like! Intermediate and advanced witches will likely not find this guide helpful, but there are a lot of witches who are just starting out who I hope will benefit.

This is my own advice based on my own experiences and practice of witchcraft. There are three basic types of cleansing magick that I cover here: smoke, smokeless, and tool cleansing. I recommend cleansing the home or living space once every lunar cycle on the Full Moon. Cleansing can also be used after a negative energy event, like a fight or illness, or just when you feel that the energy could use a scrub.

Smoke Cleansing

Smoke cleansing is typically referred to as ‘smudging’, though that term has fallen out of favor as it references a specific Native American ritual. That’s a whole debate, however, with some saying that anyone is welcome to smudge who respects to practice, and others saying no do not call it smudging ever. I like to err on the side of caution and call it ‘smoke cleansing’ to be respectful.

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