Daily Archives: April 24, 2012

The Magickal Aspect

The Magickal Aspect

 

by George D. Jackson

The condition of aspect, in the magickal sense, is a state of mind or space that an adept shifts into prior to performing magickal operations. Another way of looking at aspect is as an internalized mental, emotional and spiritual change from ordinary reality to a highly personal space where magick works. As such, it is a state of personal transformation. It can be described in several ways, but nothing substitutes for experience.

Aspect is developed through magickal education and practice that over time is layered into the unconscious mind. In this article, I am going to use the Hawaiian Huna paradigm as a model, with its concept of three levels of self. In this paradigm, the high self is the most evolved state and has the power to directly influence universal forces as well as aid the middle and basic selves. The middle self is one’s consciously aware state, tasked with making reasoned decisions and helping to direct the evolution of the basic self. The primal basic self generates emotions, stores all memory and runs the autonomic nervous system, as well as providing energy derived from the external environment to both the high and middle selves. In the Huna paradigm, this energy is often called mana.

Now, back to aspect. When the conscious self decides to develop an aspect, the subconscious or basic self adds emotional context to this conscious effort, and frequently the aspect develops a persona of its own. This development is akin to the psychological condition of multiple personalities, with the exception being that the conscious personality can directly interact with the aspect. Because aspects are usually constructed around a particular emphasis, an adept can have more than one of them, even though the aspects may share several attributes. Such attributes are powers and abilities that are developed and exercised by an aspect and are often derived from the high self.

Developing a magickal aspect is an act of Will. The original statement of intent goes something like, “I will become a magick user!” Some pathworking is then done, as a person sorts through the varieties of magick he or she can learn about and selects the particular type with the most personal appeal. When this decision is made, the person applies a layering of education and magickal practice, and the unconscious, high and basic selves respond by creating an aspect. We often give this persona a magickal name.

If the individual doing this has an enthusiasm for mythic or science fiction literature, the unconscious may include some of this information in the persona of the aspect, which can cause some of the aspect’s character traits to be quite different from the adept’s normal personality. Also, if study and practice diverge enough from the approach that created the original aspect, the unconscious may start producing an additional aspect keyed to the new approach. For example, in ordinary reality many of us have two aspects, one for home and one for work.

Once an aspect is established, how is it accessed by the conscious mind? Initially, meditation and trance are two of the most common techniques. Employing these, one sinks deeper into aspect. Attitude, perceptions and feelings of personal power shift and take hold, and suddenly one is there. If one persists in this practice, a time usually arrives when aspect can be assumed by conscious volition or exposure to various rituals. One of the primary goals of many initiations is to activate aspect and strengthen it.

I would like to address some negatives that can occur that can seriously effect the aspect. During our lifetimes, most of us have had or will encounter difficult or unfortunate experiences in our “consensus reality” or what we sometimes call the real world. How we relate and react to these events will have a direct effect on our magick-using ability. To quote from Peter J. Carroll’s PsyberMagick:

“Never give a wand to anyone who cannot handle ordinary reality. Magick will tend to amplify whatever tendencies a person has. It will increase general incompetence in life, just as readily as it will augment competence. The best orders and the best books on magick make the neophyte work very hard to gain anything. For, in brutal fact, nothing of any value comes from involving people who do not pursue excellence for its own sake in magick. Magick does not offer an escape from ordinary reality; rather it offers a full-on confrontation with it, which one can easily lose.”

Keeping the above in mind, I will offer some suggestions on how to avoid some of the more obvious entanglements. The first is to consider the various difficulties that we encounter in life as challenges that we are going to overcome no matter what. If this sounds like psycho-babble, please remember that for the mentally and emotionally prepared, it works. If you are a competent magick user you should be analyzing both your mental and emotional areas as an ongoing process. Along with this process should go a willingness to make necessary changes in approach to both magick and consensus reality. Also, maintaining a high level of self-confidence can frequently divert some of the more difficult situations, where possible.

A magick user should also avoid being classified as a “victim.” The oldest definition of victim is “subject for sacrifice.” Allowing a victim persona to invade your aspect can strip you of power like pouring water out of a bucket. All too often what fills the vacancy is a sense of isolation and a state of increased vulnerability. Once established, this state is hard to displace, leading to further complications. Also, this state of mind seems to attract the more predatory portion of the population, which doesn’t help matters.

As the reader can probably tell by now, I find the act of naming someone a victim appalling and accepting the appellation equally dismaying. It literally robs a person of humanity and turns him or her into a thing. It also has a tendency to invoke the ugly emotion we call pity. This is a state of sorrow for something dark having occurred, mixed with contempt for being so weak and ineffectual as to have allowed it to happen. When it comes to the victim’s condition, there is such a thing as effective denial. Use it!

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Seeking Shelter in the Trees

Seeking Shelter in the Trees

 

by Catherine Harper

I have always been fascinated by the forests and mountains–the architecture, it seemed, of the earth itself, which rose around me and held up the heavens. From the house I grew up in, I could see the peaks over the lake, and I watched the sun rise first behind one, then another, through the progression of the year. Those mornings, it looked as if someone had ripped away darkness from the sky, making way for dawn but leaving a ragged edge of night–the mountains–clinging to the land.

When I was a child and dreamed, as children do, of running away, I dreamed of running to the Cascades, and of living in the woods by myself. The details of the story I would tell myself changed; one time I might do so as a child, another as an adult. Sometimes I would imagine myself in a tiny cabin, with a woodstove against the cold, other times living in a burrow camouflaged by trees and bushes.

While my fascination with the idea of living off the land has not changed, my ideas regarding its practicality certainly have. I couldn’t fit all of my books into the tiny cabin, and Internet connectivity would be chancy. Living at higher elevation shortens the growing season, lengthens the commute and leaves one far from the urban centers of liberal culture… I won’t even go into the logistical problems of living in a burrow. I haven’t entirely given up on the idea of a cabin in the woods, but if I ever achieve it, I suspect it will be a tamer and less permanent retreat.

But the seed of my childhood stories is still with me. As long as I can remember them, mountains and forests, in my mind and heart, have been a place of refuge.

When I was in college, I studied Kazakh language and culture and ran into a similar theme of mountains as places of safety. “My heart to the mountains…” went the saying, as I remember it. The Kazakhs were a nomadic people who did not shelter behind walls or fortresses other than those that nature had provided.

There is a story of a tribe that was being chased by enemies intent on killing them who fled–families, herds and all–into the Altai Mountains. On they went for days, but still their pursuers came behind them. Finally, they saw before them a she-wolf, and perhaps in memory of the long stories of friendship between wolves and their people, or perhaps just out of desperation, they followed her.

She led them into what seemed a narrow cleft, but on entering it they found a sizable cave, stretching back deep into the bowels of the mountain. Quickly, before their foes could catch up enough to see them, they and their animals all followed as the wolf led them deep inside.

On and on the cave went, and so they continued for days in the dark except for the small lights they could carry with them, straining always to see the sliver glints off the coat of the wolf ahead of them. In the darkness the children cried and the parents comforted them, but in the quiet of their own hearts they despaired of ever seeing the day again. And yet, what could they do but go forward, when behind them was certain death?

But at last the darkness of the long cave began to fade, imperceptibly at first, like the sky lightens before dawn. By stages they walked into dusk and then twilight, and then into dawn as they could see ahead of them an opening filled with daylight. When at last they emerged, they found that they had come to a long valley around a lake, lush with thick grass and sheltered on all sides by the mountains, a place where they and their children and their children’s children could live.

My mountains are not the rocky faces of the Altai range above the steppe, but always-green places, netted with rivers and frosted with snow, roofed with the green canopy of cedar boughs held aloft on their straight and sturdy pillars. Almost instinctively, now that I am grown and can drive myself, I go to them when I am troubled and the human world around me seems too turbulent.

There is a point, whether I am in a car or on foot, where I stop and look back behind me and see mountains there, too–mountains on all sides. And at such times it is as though I can cease to strain to hold a great weight, because I have no fear of falling with the mountains around me to hold me up. The very ground cradles my feet. The mountains are ancient and vast. Bigger than me, older than me, they were born of fire and molten rock and survived the advance and retreat of glaciers. There is nothing they do not know about enduring.

Compared to the bony ridges of the earth (if not to me) the trees are more fragile, and yet more brightly alive. They have sunk their roots into the land and know always which way to grow–dancing, sometimes, in the wind and singing their long, slow songs. Trees live a span that is closer to that of human years, and yet how differently they use space, how differently they consume and grow.

And so I come, one afternoon, to an impromptu hike in the sleet. There is symmetry in walking up toward a waterfall that is coming down toward you. Where the sun reaches the ground, the Siberian miner’s lettuce (a wonderful salad green, and good source of vitamin C) is leafing out, and the salmon berries are opening their early magenta flowers.

Before me, behind me and all around are the mountains, though the trail I’m hiking is relatively low and free of snow even this early in the year. In the thick woods there is less ground-level greenery. This is old growth. About me there are wooden columns that three of me could not reach around. They stretch toward the heavens, and fallen trees draw diagonal lines, caught by their living neighbors in their fall.

On the ground is a thick carpet of dead, gray fallen needles and branches, and the contours of trees that have completed their journey to the ground, some adorned now with saplings that draw nourishment from the rotting wood. A forest that is at once imperceptibly but inexorably springing into life and collapsing back into decay.

When I was a child, I imagined the forest to be a place of physical refuge that would hide me, feed me, supply my needs and protect me from the outside world. As I have grown, my relationship with that outside world has changed, so perhaps it is only expected that the nature of the refuge I seek has changed as well.

When I go to the mountains and into the forest, I am setting aside for a while the mental structure of all the things in the world to which I am tied; giving up for a space my name, my calendar, my shopping list and due dates, my friends, family and acquaintances, the model in my head of all the places that are part of my world and that I return to so often that they are mapped into my mind. I am not seeking to cut myself free from this web, but to step aside from it and its demands and see it from another place. In the forest, I am confronted with places where the touch of human hands and feet has been slight, where the cycles are not set by our minds. Not my project, or process, but the fundamental reality of rock, twig, puddle and tree.

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To Live Well Set Yourself Free

To Live Well Set Yourself Free

 

by L. Lisa Lawrence

The night air, finally freed of winter’s bitter chill, had given way to the caress of spring. Night-blooming flowers perfumed the air, and their smell blended with the scent of freshly cut grass and salt water from Puget Sound, creating a heady potpourri. The voices of croaking frogs celebrating the season sang cadence to the rhythm of our feet striking the ground, urging us onward. Lungs and legs burning from the effort of the run, I looked out onto Commencement Bay and noticed the full moon reflected in the water.

“I wonder if he is looking at this moon right now as well?” I asked myself. For a moment, nothing else existed but me and the moon, a moon older than time, a moon that has witnessed countless nights like this. As I reached to top of the bridge, I couldn’t help myself, I raised my head up high and let loose with a long howl. Another friend who was running with our group was also moved to do the same. There we stood on the bridge, howling at the moon feeling joy, release and a sense of wildness that most in our society never experience. We had tapped in to the primordial, the wildness within ourselves, and it felt good.

Soon we noticed that the others in our running group were standing across the bridge staring at us. “Never mind us,” I replied as if nothing unusual was going on. “We’re just howling at the moon. Go ahead; we’ll catch up.” They gave us a strange look and continued down the waterfront, heading back to the running store and a very mundane, controlled existence. How sad, I thought. They have no sense of wildness.

I recently learned a lot about the importance of reconnecting with wildness after experiencing an episode that I can only describe as a “magickal meltdown.” Normally, I’m exceptionally tuned in to nature, the fey, energy and magick, but when faced with a nasty divorce and serious financial crisis, I shut down into survival mode and a very mundane frame of mind.

Being a fiercely independent woman, I was not about to ask the Goddess to take care of my problem for me. I was going to do whatever I had to do to survive. Unfortunately, that survival was at the expense of my connection to all that was wild, sacred and healing. There was no howling at the moon, dancing with fey in the forest or playing with the seals in my kayak. I was unable to produce an article for Widdershins for half a turn of the wheel and was barely able get rituals put together for Gaia’s Grove. My Tarot cards would not work with me, and my pendulum would swing wildly in a direction that didn’t mean anything. The more this occurred, the more I tried to rationalize and control it. The more I tried to rationalize and control it, the worse it got.

As weeks turned to months and months turned to seasons, I realized that my situation wasn’t getting any better. I knew that I had created an energy blockage within my body and spirit by trying to shield myself from the pain and anger that I was feeling. I learned the hard way that trying to keep the “bad” stuff away by closing down energy centers in my body kept the “good” energy away as well. I had shielded myself into isolation and was fixated on survival, not living, much less living a magickal life.

Over time, it became apparent that the situation had progressed to the point where I could not heal it myself. In addition to my magickal problems, the situation compromised my immune system. I suffered my first case of the flu since childhood, and later a nasty cold.

At Imbolc, I was contemplating a trip to British Columbia that I couldn’t afford to have a friend of mine who is a shamanic practitioner help me clear the energy blockage. Them another friend, also a shaman, just happened to show up out of the blue for one of our rituals. He sensed what was going on and helped identify and clear the blockages.

The clearing of energy blockages, which in my case were in the heart and solar plexus areas, requires the person being healed to completely open up his or her energy and spirit to the person doing the healing work. I can’t think of anything else that has the potential to leave you feeling so raw and exposed as allowing another person to internally explore your energy patterns and deepest pain. As the work began, I could feel channels open to a force outside myself, exploring, probing and learning as it coursed through my body. What was happening inside me reminded me of the work that is done in cardiac labs to clear blockages in the coronary arteries of a heart patient, in which a catheter specially equipped to penetrate and clear the plaque is threaded through the femoral artery, through the midsection, up into the heart.

After a time, I began to get senses of color and images coming from the person doing the work. I knew that a strong connection had been made and that it was vital for me to resist the urge to hide or constrict the pain, weakness and darkness that had formed within me; it needed to be opened up and flushed out. It’s not something that I could have allowed just anyone to do. It never ceases to amaze me how the Goddess will bring just what we need into our lives, just when we need it.

With the energy blockage supposedly taken care of, I expected to be back at it as if nothing had happened. Unfortunately, I wasn’t yet in the frame of mind to keep the energy centers open and was still guarding myself and creating new, although less severe, blockages. The magick didn’t come right back. The words did not flow onto paper. I felt better, but something was still not quite right. I continued to suffer from minor physical ailments ranging from pulled muscles to migraines.

In my effort to deal with my need for food, shelter, clothing and protecting myself physically and emotionally, I had forgotten where true magick lies. I had forgotten my “wildness,” and the need to connect with wild and uninhibited places within my soul. I couldn’t remember the last time I had even considered howling at the moon.

Before I could reach the wild places within, I had to reconnect with the wild places in nature. When I relocated to town from my home on the edge of a forested greenbelt, where I had protected and cared for nature, I lost a wild place that was very important to me. Since that place was gone from my life, I knew that I needed to find some new wild places. In addition to trips to the ocean and rainforest, I began to change my weekly routine to include runs and walks in the forest at Point Defiance Park. Breathing the forest air, feeling the soft earth beneath my feet and blending my energies with those of the nature spirits that dwell there was vital to making a full magickal and physical recovery. I began to make my personal and Gaia’s Grove offerings to the nature spirits there and learned to just sit and listen to them. Soon, I was graced with the sound of wolves singing whenever I got out of my truck. Things were beginning to feel right again, but I still had a long way to go.

I realized that when I got into survival mode I had stopped doing other things very important for my well-being. Two of the most important things, which also turned out to be the easiest to reclaim, involved music and rhythm. I needed that part of my life back.

Rhythm has always had a profound effect on my spiritually. One of my first truly consciousness-altering experiences occurred many years ago at a Bear Dance on the Tule River Indian Reservation in California, where the rhythm of the drums, the dancing and the smell of burning sage changed me and my perception of life, magick and energy from that moment on. In an effort to reconnect with that time in my spiritual development, I began burning sage and incense at home again and revived my “preritual ritual” at Gaia’s Grove. I started arriving an hour before everyone else to put a rhythmic CD in the sound system and dance around the sanctuary until I could feel a shift in my own rhythm and energy.

I had taken a break from singing, knowing that I needed to reduce the number of things in my life that I was responsible for facilitating. But losing my regularly scheduled time to make a joyful noise with my friends and chosen family did not enable me to relax and let the energy flow; instead, it contributed to the blockage. Luckily, my hiatus from Enchanters of the Woods encouraged one of the group’s other members to take over the leadership and organization. When I returned with the strict understanding that I was not going to accept the responsibility of leadership again, there was much less pressure on me, and I was able to relax and just enjoy singing. I’ve also made a point to sing in the Unitarian Universalist Association of Tacoma (UUAT) choir, the car, the shower, and anywhere else I can get away with it. Singing truly is a salve for the soul.

Reconnecting with wild places, rhythm, song and dance like the ancestors of our tribes and clans was an important part of reclaiming my wildness, creativity and magick. Bit I still wasn’t quite there yet. There is no creativity or magick without passion. Not just physical and hormonal passion, but passion that touches one’s heart and soul.

Regaining passion would prove to be the most challenging task in my magickal recovery. I was going to have to learn to open myself up to another person again. My often overly analytical brain was telling me that I had no business even considering any type of relationship after the disaster I had just extricated myself from. Looking back on my marriage, I don’t know how I could have missed all the signs that getting into or continuing with it was going to be a huge mistake. They couldn’t have been more obvious if someone had literally hit me over the head with them. I obviously had lousy judgment, my mind said, and no business even considering getting involved with someone else.

I had decided that I was going to draw the line at a relationship. I didn’t need or want one. I had friends and family and could have a fling any time I chose to, so why complicate my life with a relationship? The casual fling I had tried to convince myself I wanted and needed did not materialize, because I rejected the opportunities that came my way; I wasn’t in any rush. The Goddess had other things in mind. Despite my best efforts to tell myself all the reasons why I shouldn’t, the fact that spring was in the air and that I had tempted fate by saying “never” won out. I found myself faced with someone who was not causal fling material, but who challenged and excited me on many levels. After much internal debate, I decided to take a chance.

The whirlwind of energy that followed initially left me feeling confused and thrown into turmoil, but later brought balance into my life and taught me much about the ways of passion. Just because one is in a relationship (or even just getting laid) doesn’t mean that one has passion. Passion is much more involved than the physical act of sex its self. Passion is about being touched on every level of your being and feeling the flow of magick and energy between two people even when physical contact is not present. Passion changes our very existence. I ran faster, played better tennis and worked more powerful magick. Poetry flowed onto paper. The trees and the fey spoke to me again, and things that used to get on my nerves rolled off me like water off a duck’s back. I was shocked to realize how long it had been since I had truly felt passion and began to realize that my energy blockage had likely been in the works much longer than I thought.

“Bring on Beltaine,” I said to myself. “I’ve got reason to celebrate!”

As with anything in life, however, the glamour of relationship’s newness began to lose its magickal veil and a harsher perception set in. Once I got over the initial dizziness, I began to fear the intensity of what I was experiencing. Allowing myself to feel spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional passion was overwhelming enough, but to open myself up to another human being and make myself vulnerable was a big risk.

One morning, I became exceptionally fearful of my own passion and vulnerability and was almost panic-stricken. What had I been thinking? That annoying, analytical mundane part of my psyche began to rear its ugly head, and it led me to do a really stupid thing in an attempt to distance myself from and potentially sabotage the best thing that’s happened to me in a long time — for no reason other than the fact that it scared the hell out of me.

After that, my run in the forest did not give me the usual comfort and the trees had no answer for me. The Goddess did not appear as a Celtic warrior and goad me to “act like a warrior, not a weenie,” and my attempts at meditation gave me nothing.

Instead, a chain of events the following day led me to an epiphany. Although I had gotten over the initial panic and made every attempt to undo any damage I caused by my attempt to distance myself, my underlying issues were still there waiting to rear their ugly heads again. As “unwitchlike” as it sounds, I found the answer in church. An unexpected phone call and appointment slightly delayed plans my new companion and I had made to go hiking, and I found myself with just enough free time to attend services at our Unitarian church on a week I had not planned nor scheduled to do so.

Our minister was talking about humanism and how many of us, humanist or not, try to internalize our spirituality rather than allowing ourselves to be open to the universe and experience mysticism. During his talk, he related several stories from various cultures of people who didn’t feel that their prayers were answered because the help they were asking for hadn’t come in the form they expected. Their rational, controlling minds had already decided what they needed or wanted and how it would manifest. They weren’t truly opening themselves up to the answers to their prayers and didn’t recognize those answers when they showed up.

While relaying a personal experience, he made the statement, “I learned that my past mistakes and failures do not identify who I am now.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. As I sat there, somewhat dazed, I realized that the Goddess had come not in her usual guise but in the form of a very human, somewhat flawed Unitarian minister and a last-minute scheduling delay. My whole meltdown was based on my trying to internally control what was going on in my life rather than being open to what the Goddess had sent to me. I also realized that I had almost thrown away passion, energy, challenge and friendship because I was identifying myself by my past relationship mistakes rather than admitting that I just might have learned from them. Once again, I had distanced myself from being open and was listening to my analytical mind rather then the wildness within.

My last lesson in wildness for this cycle of personal and magickal change was that of surrender. I thought back to my attempts to understand alcoholism and codependency over the previous four years. I remember visiting Al-Anon sites and finding a link to the Twelve Steps, which to me went against everything I thought I believed in. “Surrender to a higher power?” I had sarcastically muttered to myself. “How fundamentalist!” I believed that dealing with addiction (even if it was someone else’s) or any other major life challenge was all about personal responsibility and accepting and working through the consequences of one’s own actions. I guess what I had really thought it was about was control.

I learned a very valuable lesson on that fateful Sunday morning. No matter what perceptions we carry of deity, the universe or any other power or energy greater than or outside of ourselves, we must surrender to it, at least on occasion, if we want to truly experience magick.

We all deal with varying levels of challenge, energy blockage and perhaps even minor magickal meltdown over our lifetimes. If we truly want to connect with our power, passion and creativity, we must learn to reclaim our wildness. We can’t always act on our passions, and often we do have to let the rational mind rule our behavior if we are going to be allowed to exist in society and keep our jobs, homes and partners. But as far as I’m concerned, this world would be a happier, healthier place if more people would dance, sing and stop to howl at the moon once in a while.

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About Beltaine

About Beltaine

a guide to the symbolism of the Wiccan Sabbat

by Arwynn MacFeylynnd

Date: April 30, May 1, or the Full Moon in Taurus, depending on your tradition.

Alternative names: Bealtaine (Irish Wittan), Bealtinne (Caledonii or the Druids), Celtic Summer, Floralia, Giamonios, the Great Rite, La Giornata di Tana or Tana’s Day (Aridian Strega), May Day, May Eve, Roodmas, Rudemas (Mexican Craft), Samhradh and La Baal Tinne (Faery Wicca), Walburga (Teutonic), Walpurgis Eve, Walpurgisnacht (German) and Whitsun or Old Bhealltainn (Scottish PectiWita).

Primary meanings: Beltaine honors the union of the God and Goddess and the beginning of the fertile Goddess’s reign. We see Her power in the flowering plants and warm days. This day marks the emergence of the God into manhood. The Goddess and the God unite, and the Goddess becomes pregnant. Flowers and greenery symbolize the Goddess, the Maypole the God.

Symbols: Many pagans represent Beltaine with fresh flowers all around and a cauldron filled with flowers. All of the following flowers are symbolic of Beltaine: roses, bluebells, marigolds, daisies, primroses and lilac. Mirrors are also appropriate. Altar decorations may also include a small Maypole or phallic-shaped candle and a daisy chain. Plaiting and weaving straw, creating in wicker and making baskets and fabrics are traditional arts. Other symbols are the traditional full-sized Maypole (about 10 feet tall), May baskets, crossroads, eggs, butter churns and chalices.

Colors: White and dark green particularly, also all colors of the rainbow.

Gemstones: Sapphires, bloodstones, emeralds, orange carnelians and rose quartz.

Herbs: Almond, angelica, ash trees, birch trees, bluebells, cinquefoil, daisies, frankincense, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, marigolds, primroses, rosemary, roses, satyrion root, woodruff and yellow cowslip.

Gods and goddesses: All virgin-mother goddesses, all young father gods and all gods and goddesses of the hunt, of love and of fertility. Some Beltaine goddesses to mention by name include Aphrodite, Arianrhod, Ariel, Artemis, Astarte, Cybele, Diana, Freya, Rhiannon, Shiela-na-gig, Skadi, Var, Venus and Xochiquetzal. Beltaine gods include Apollo, Bacchus, Bel/Belanos, Cernunnos, Cupid/Eros, Faunus, Frey, the Great Horned God, Herne, Odin, Orion, Pan, Puck and Robin Goodfellow.

Customs and myths: Wrapping the Maypole is a Beltaine tradition. In the old days, the Maypole was often made from a communal pine tree decorated at Yule, with most branches removed for Beltaine. In some traditions, the ribbons around the top are red and white; the white can represent the Virgin Goddess and the red the Sun God, or the white the Maiden and the red the Mother. The participants dance around the Maypole with the ribbons — the males holding the red and the females holding the white. As they dance, they intertwine the ribbons to form a symbolic birth canal around the phallic pole, representing the union of the Goddess and God. Many Wiccans choose this time to perform their own handfastings; others hold that the Goddess frowns on marriage in this month. Another great choice would be the next Sabbat at the Summer Solstice.

The Great Rite, jumping the balefire, blowing horns and gathering flowers are other Beltaine traditions. Solitary practitioners might weave ribbons as an alternative to dancing around the Maypole. It is considered taboo to give away fire or food on this day.

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About The Celtic Month Of The Willow Tree

The Willow Tree

Lunar Energies

by Imré K. Rainey

At this point in the Wheel of the Year, we have experienced the rejuvenation and rebirth of Birch, the rise of energy and the sowing of seeds and goals in Rowan, the premature urgings for movement in Ash, and the burst of life in Alder. Now, we stand before our kindred, the Willow, which has long been associated with the Crone, or death, aspect of the Triple Goddess.

The time of protected learning ended in Alder. Willow symbolizes the virtues of learning through experience. In order to fully assimilate the experiences to come in the moons ahead, it is necessary to release burdens from the past which will hinder our growth in the future. The rules and opinions which governed the past may no longer hold for the future: past convictions often become obstacles impeding progress. In this way, the Willow represents the death, or release, of the past in order to wholly integrate experiences and lessons in the future. This does not mean, however, that the fruits of past achievements should be forgotten. Those achievements got you here and will provide the foundation for the experiences to come.

 
Willow also brings with it the desire to abandon the past and the present in search of new beginnings. Look carefully at where you are standing physically, emotionally, and experientially. Survey your environment and the people whom you affect. The glyph for this moon is, “I am a hawk on a cliff.” If the time is right and the possible outcomes have been sufficiently examined, spread your wings and fly off into new horizons of experience.

Be aware, however, that this may not be the right time for flight. If so, sit back and wait; do not act hastily. The lessons needed for growth may lie within your reach now, and later, as the Wheel of the Year turns, you will know the appropriate time to move. In the meantime, you may want use the energies of this moon for rebirth, or rededication to your goals.

Willow’s “stay or go,” “do or don’t” energies can lead to indecision and confusion. Also, if our desire for flight is not satisfied, we may begin to resent others whom we perceive are doing things we can’t. Yet, most often during this month, resentment surfaces without reason or provocation. The Willow itself can be a remedy for these feelings.
Allow yourself to quietly sit with a Willow. Listen to the voice of the wind as it rustles through the Willow’s leaves. Watch the images that form within your mind. Talk to the Willow and accept her guidance. Allow the energies of the Willow to guide you through the movements of the moons to come.

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Pagan Book Of Hours for April 24th

Calendar of the Sun
24 Eostremonath

Walpurgisnacht Day II

Color: Black
Element: Air
Altar: Upon a black cloth set the candle from the previous day plus a second one (each day of Walpurgisnacht adds another candle), a broom, a sheaf of grain, and the figure of a dog.
Offerings: The exercise for Gymnastika shall be running.
Daily Meal: Grain and greens.

Walpurgisnacht Invocation II

On this night the White Lady runs.
On this day she flees the Wild Hunt
In the guise of a white deer,
Her hoofprints flee along the track,
For she is Spring’s creature, and the Winter
Is far behind, chasing her, trying to bring her down.
But we will not let her fall,
We will not let her be caught,
We will not let ourselves be trapped
In the winter’s sadness,
For all things must come to an end,
And the green season is upon us.
Sheaf of grain in her hand,
She rides her broom like a steed,
Sweeping the winter away before her,
While the Wild Hunt bays at her heels,
Until the very dogs of the Hunt turn aside
And run instead at her side,
Whining for her attention,
Putting their noses into her hand,
And she has conquered them
As she will conquer the year.
Hail, Lady of the unknown name,
Waelbyrga, Waluburg, Holda’s child,
We who have run from our foes
And yet found that the best defense
Is to turn them into friends,
We salute you!

(The broom should be passed from person to person, and every room of the house should be swept with it, as a purification. Each chants wordlessly, or with any simple chant, during this.)

Calendar of the Moon

Willow Tree Month

Colors: Yellow, silver, and pale willow-green
Element: Water
Altar: Upon cloth of yellow, silver, and pale willow-green place three white candles, wreaths of willow-branches, a large clay bowl of water, flowers if they are available, and a silver moon.
Offerings: Contemplate an emotion, and how you use it, and how it uses you.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian, preferably cold food. Fruits. Only spring water to drink.

Saille Invocation

Call: Now is the time of the Willow Goddess.
Response: Now is the time of the Green Man’s courting.
Call: Now is the time when leaves are full.
Response: Now is the time when gold gives way to silver.
Call: Now is the time when Sun gives way to Moon.
Response: Now is the time when Lord gives way to Lady.
Call: Now is the time of the search and the quest.
Response: Now is the time of magic dew on the fields.
Call: Now is the time of the phallus rising.
Response: He seeks the doorway that is wet with spring rains.
Call: He seeks the moon in the river.
Response: He seeks the fishes in the winnowing basket.
Call: He seeks the fruit of Persephone.
Response: He seeks the mountain of the Muses.
Call: We crown his head with flowers….
Response: That he may reach the sky.
Call: We crown his head with ribbons….
Response: That he may touch the earth.
Call: We bring forth the pole from earth to sky.
Response: We lay the line from earth to sky.
Call: We blow like the wind from earth to sky.
Response: We fall like the rain from sky to earth.
Call: We descend like the sunlight from sky to earth.
Response: We climb like the trees from sky to earth.
Call: We are the children of earth and sky.
Response: We are beloved of sky and earth.

Chant:
We all come from the Goddess, and to Her we shall return,
Like a drop of rain, flowing to the ocean.

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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The Current Moon’s Phase for April 24th

The Moon for Apr 24, 2012
(At Midnight, US Central time, as viewed
from the Northern Hemisphere)

Illuminated Fraction: 0.132
4.1 days before first quarter

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Tuesday, April 24th is a terrific day for……

Days Of The Week Comments

April 24th

Cut Firewood, Mow to Increase Growth, Dig Holes, Host a Party, Travel for Pleasure, Write  

 

Magickal Graphics

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