Posts Tagged With: Celtic

February 18 – March 17: Celtic Tree Month of the Ash Tree

 February 18 – March 17

Celtic Tree Month of the Ash Tree

Those born under the Celtic tree astrology sign of the Ash are free thinkers. Imaginative, intuitive, and naturally artistic, you see the world in water-color purity. You have a tendency to moody and withdrawn at times, but that’s only because your inner landscape is in constant motion. You are in touch with your muse, and you are easily inspired by nature. Likewise, you inspire all that you associate with and people seek you out for your enchanting personality. Art, writing (especially poetry), science, and theology (spiritual matters) are areas that strongly interest you. Others may think you are reclusive, but in all honesty, you are simply immersed in your own world of fantastic vision and design. You are in a constant state of self-renewal and you rarely place a value on what others think about you. Ash signs partner well with Willow and Reed signs.

WHATS-YOUR-SIGN.COM

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About Those Born Under the Sign of the Ash Tree (Feb. 18 – Mar. 17)

About Those Born Under the Sign of the Ash Tree – The Enchanter

February 18 – March 17

Those born under the Celtic tree astrology sign of the Ash are free thinkers. Imaginative intuitive, and naturally artistic, you see the world in water-color purity. You have a tendency to moody and withdrawn at times, but that’s only because your inner landscape is in constant motion. You are in touch with your muse, and you are easily inspired by nature. Likewise, you inspire all that you associates with and people see out for your enchanting personality. Art, writing (especially poetry), science and theology (spiritual matters) are areas that strongly interest you. Others may think you are reclusive, but in all honesty, you are simply immersed in your own world of fantastic vision and desire. You are in a constant state of self-renewal and you rarely place a value on what others think about you. Ash signs partners well with Willow and Reed.

Source
Whats-Your.Sign.Com
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Setting Up Your Imbolc Altar

Setting Up Your Imbolc Altar

By , About.com

It’s Imbolc, and that’s the Sabbat where many Wiccans and Pagans choose to honor the Celtic goddess Brighid, in her many aspects. However, other than having a giant statue of Brighid on your altar, there are a number of ways you can set up for the season. Depending on how much space you have, you can try some or even all of these ideas — obviously, someone using a bookshelf as an altar will have less flexibility than someone using a table, but use what calls to you most.

Colors

Traditionally, the colors of red and white are associated with Brighid. The white is the color of the blanket of snow, and the red symbolizes the rising sun. In some traditions, the red is connected with the blood of life. Brighid is also tied to the color green, both for the green mantle she wears and for the life growing beneath the earth. Decorate your altar with a white cloth, and drape a swath of red across it. Add green candles in candleholders.

The Beginnings of New Life

Altar decor should reflect the theme of the Sabbat. Because Imbolc is a harbinger of spring, any plants that symbolize the new growth are appropriate. Add potted bulbs — don’t worry if they’re blooming yet — and spring flowers such as forsythia, crocus, daffodils, and snowdrops. If you don’t have much luck planting bulbs, think about making a Brighid’s crown as a centerpiece — it combines flowers and candles together.

Celtic Designs

Brighid is, after all, a goddess of the Celtic peoples, so it’s always appropriate to add some sort of Celtic design to your altar. Consider adding a Brighid’s cross6 or any other item incoporating Celtic knotwork. If you happen to have a Celtic cross, don’t worry about the fact that it’s also a Christian symbol — if it feels right on your altar, go ahead and add it.

Other Symbols of Brighid

  • Cauldrons or chalices — she’s often connected to sacred wells and springs
  • A small anvil or hammer — Brighid is the goddess of smithcraft
  • A Brighid corn doll and Priapic wand
  • Sacred animals such as cows, sheep or swans
  • A goddess statue
  • A book of poetry, or a poem you’ve written — Brighid is the patroness of poets
  • Faeries — in some traditions, Brighid is the sister of the Fae
  • Healing herbs — she’s often connected to healing rites
  • Lots of candles, or a cauldron with a small fire in it
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OIMELC – February 2

OIMELC – February 2

Down with Rosemary and so
Down with baies and mistletoe;
Down with Holly, live and all
Wherewith ys drest the Yuletide Hall;
That so the superstitious find No one least Branch there left behind;
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected there, maids, trust to me,
So many goblins you shall see.
–Robert Herrick

Oimelc – Imbolc in the Saxon – marks the first stirring of life in the earth.
The Yule season originally ended at Oimelc. But with increasing organization and industrialization, increasing demands for labor and production, the holiday kept shrinking, first to the two weeks ending at Twelfth Night, then to a single week ending at New Year’s, then to a single day.

Oimelc begins a season of purification similar to that preceding Yule. It ends
at Ostara. No marriages, initiations or puberty rites should be celebrated
between Oimelc and Ostara.

The candles and torches at Oimelc signify the divine life-force awakening
dormant life to new growth.

THEMES

Growth of roots begin again. Bare branches begin to swell with leaf buds, and
growth appears at the tips of evergreen branches. The tools of agriculture are
being make ready for Spring.

Xian feasts of St. Brigid, and Celtic feast of Brigit, the maiden aspect of the
triple goddess and mother of Dagda. Her symbol is the white swan. A Roman feast of Bacchus and Ceres. The Lupercalia, a feast of Pan. The Nephelim or Titans, those offspring of human-divine unions said to have ruled Atlantis.

Grannus, a mysterious Celtic god whom the Romans identified with Apollo.

PURPOSE OF THE RITES

To awaken life in the Earth. Fire tires to strengthen the young Sun, to bring
the fertilizing, purifying, protective and vitalizing influence of fire to the
fields, orchards, domestic animals, and people. To drive away winter. To charm
candles for household use throughout the year.

FOLK CUSTOMS

The three functions of Oimelc – end of Yule, feast of candles or torches, and
beginning of a purificatory season – are divided by the Xian calendar among
Twelfth Night, Candlemas and Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras, Carnival). The customs of all three feasts are derived from Oimelc, with at most a thin Xian gloss.

Parades of giant figures (Titans?) in rural towns in France and at Mardi Gras
and Carnival celebrations. A figure representing the Spirit of Winter or Death,
sometime made of straw, sometimes resembling a snowman, is drowned, burnt or in once case, stuffed with fireworks and exploded. They symbol of Montreal’s Winter Carnival is the giant figure of Bonhomme di Neige (snowman).

Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year and St. Valentine’s Day customs.

The French provinces are so rich in Oimelc customs they cannot be listed here.
Refer to “The Golden Bough”.

Wassailing the trees: at midnight, carolers carry a bucket of ale, cider or
lamb’s wool in a torchlight procession through the orchards. The leader dips a
piece of toast in the drink and sedges it in the fork of each tree, with the
traditional cheer (variations exist) of: “Hats full, holes full, barrels full,
and the little heap under the stairs!”.

Who finds the bean in the Twelfth Night cake becomes king of the feast; who
finds the pea becomes queen – never mind the gender of the finders. Rag-bag
finery and gilt-paper crowns identify the king and queen. The rulers give
ridiculous orders to the guests, who must obey their every command. They are
waited on obsequiously, and everything they do is remarked and announced
admiringly and importantly: “The King drinks!”, “The Queen sneezes!” and
everyone politely imitates the ruler’s example.

SYMBOLIC DECORATIONS

Snowdrops are picked for vases, but otherwise no special decorative effects are
indicated. Go carnival, balloons and confetti.

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Parades, with showers of confetti, gala balls, masks, street dancing, mumming,
winter sports, ice and snow sculpture.

THE RITE

Dress in dark colors with much silver jewelry. Outdoors, after dark on the Even,
have the site arranged with a fire in the cauldron and the altar draped in
white, at the Northeast. The fire may be composed all or in part of Yule greens.

Go in a torchlight procession to the Circle. Include a stamping dance, possibly beating the ground with sticks, before the Invocation. The invocation may end with the calling of Hertha, a Teutonic goddess of the earth and the hearth. Call her name three times and at each call beat on the ground three times with the palms of both hands.

A figure representing Winter should be burned in the fire. Communion may consist of Sabbat Cakes or a Twelfth Night cake (there are many traditional recipes) and cider or wassail. A procession may leave the Circle for a time to wassail a nearby orchard. Couples may leap the bonfire. Supplies of candles brought by the coveners are blessed.

Boys puberty rites may be celebrated. These usually include mock plowing by the boys.

Close the Circle and go indoors for the feast.

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Invocation to Brid, Celtic Triple Goddess

Celtic & British Isles Graphics
Invocation to Brid, Celtic Triple Goddess

Brid, I call you.

Oh, Bright One! I call you.

Goddess of Fire, Healing, and Inspiration, Hear my cry.

Help me stand strong like the Rowan, that I may become your Brigand and rise up against the darkness.

Oh, Bright Arrow! Guide my judgment, protect me in my wanderings.

I will remember always—Brigantia

—-by Dettie Em Freefoot

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TREE MAGICK

TREE MAGICK

WILLOW FOR LOVE, OAK FOR STRENGTH
by Edain McCoy
(from the ’97 Llewellyn Magickal Almanac)

Many mystical and magical uses have been found for the thirteen trees which
symbolize the months of the Celtic lunar year, and it is likely, considering the
popularity of Celtic Paganism, that many more will be discovered. However you
choose to observe the lunar months, it can be helpful to first imbibe a magical
brew designed to attune your body and spirit to the occasion.

Following are the recipes for thirteen teas which will accomplish just that. The
measurements given are approximate, and for making one eight-ounce mug full you
should use no more than a single heaping teaspoon of dry herbs placed inside a
tea ball or cheesecloth strainer. All liquid measurements should be added to
taste. Allow the tea to steep at least two minutes, longer if you prefer a
stronger flavor. As always, when ingesting untried substances, be sure to test
for any allergic reactions first, and remember that no herbal preparation should
ever be taken over the long term without consulting an expert pharmacologist or
botanist.

Though very few of the recipes actually contain any part of the trees to which
they are attributed, they work quite well because their ingredients rely on
using herbs and juices which share magical affinities with the properties of the
tree. These properties are listed after the name of each tree so that, if you
choose to, you can make substitutions based upon this knowledge. Depending upon
the particular Celtic tradition you follow, the lunar year starts with either
the first new moon closest to Samhain or the one just before Yule.

BIRCH MOON
Matter of beginnings and children, purification.
3 parts ginger
1 part lemongrass
pinch of dill
splash of lemon juice

ROWAN MOON
Empowerment, clairvoyance, air magic, exorcism.
1 part valerian root
3 parts peppermint
pinch of eyebright
pinch of ginger

Editors note: Valerian is a powerful sedative that affects each person
differently. You may wish
to use a very small amount of this herb at first to determine how it affects
your body chemistry.

ASH MOON
Matters of the intellect, magic, healing.
2 parts angelica
½ part sage
½ part black cohosh
pinch of rosemary

WILLOW MOON
Matters of the Otherworld, healing, love, water magic, feminine mysteries.
2 parts willow bark
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ part dried apples or a splash of apple juice
pinch of rosemary

OAK MOON
Lust, strength, energy, endurance, fertility, fire magic, male mysteries.
1-1/2 parts white oak bark
½ part mint
½ part orange peel
pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg

HAZEL MOON
Manifestations, protection, healing, fertility.
2 parts ginseng
½ part mugwort
pinch of savory
slash of any noncitrus juice

ALDER MOON
Spirituality, wholeness of being.
1 part linden
1 part hibiscus
2 tablespoons of cream or milk
splash of cranberry juice

HAWTHORN MOON
Peace, sleep, dreams, prosperity, happiness.
1 part hawthorn
1 part catnip
½ part rue
½ part chamomile

HOLLY MOON
Matters of animals, magic, prophecy.
1 part kelp
½ part rose petals
½ part raspberry
pinch of yarrow

VINE MOON
Earth magic, sex magic, overcoming difficulties.
1 part blackberry
1 part dandelion
splash of currant wine or grape juice
pinch of hibiscus

IVY MOON
Healing, cooperation, binding.
1 part mullein
¼ part eucalyptus
½ part barberry

ELDER MOON
Exorcism, prosperity, astral travel. Finding faeries.
1 part ginko
1 part mugwort
1 part valerian (see note under Rowan Moon)
1 part spearmint
pinch of anise (may substitute extract)
pinch of allspice

REED MOON
Fertility, love, protection.
1 part red clover
1 part hyssop
1 part boneset
pinch of slippery elm

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Brighid’s Mantle – History and Lore

Brighid’s Mantle – History and Lore

By , About.com

Brighid is the Celtic goddess who is the keeper of the hearth, the deity who watches over nursing mothers and pregnant women, and who is the overseer of all things domestic. She is also connected to healing and wisdom. One commonly found symbol of Brighid is her green mantle, or cloak. In Gaelic, the mantle is known as the brat Bhride.

Although her origins are that of a Pagan goddess, at one point she became associated with Christianity and St. Brighid of Kildare. The legend has it that Brighid was the daughter of a Pictish chieftain who went to Ireland to learn from St. Patrick. In one story, the girl who later became St. Brighid went to the King of Leinster, and petitioned him for land so she could build an abbey. The King, who still held to the old Pagan practices of Ireland, told her he’d be happy to give her as much land as she could cover with her cloak. Naturally, her cloak grew and grew until it covered as much property as Brighid needed, and she got her abbey. Thanks to her roles as both a Pagan goddess and a Christian saint, Brighid is often seen as being of both worlds; a bridge between the old ways and the new.

In Celtic Pagan stories, Brighid’s mantle carries with it blessings and powers of healing. Many people believe that if you place a piece of cloth out upon your hearth at Imbolc, Brighid will bless it in the night. Use the same cloth as your mantle each year, and it will gain strength and power each time Brighid passes by. The mantle can be used to comfort and heal a sick person, and to provide protection for women in labor. A newborn baby can be wrapped in the mantle to help them sleep through the night without fussing.

To make a Brighid’s mantle of your own, find a piece of green cloth long enough to comfortably wrap around your shoulders. Leave it on your doorstep on the night of Imbolc, and Brighid will bless it for you. In the morning, wrap yourself in her healing energy.

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Brighid – Hearth Goddess of Ireland

Brighid – Hearth Goddess of Ireland

By , About.com

Origins of Brighid:

In Irish mythological cycles, Brighid (or Brighit), whose name is derived from the Celtic brig or “exalted one”, is the daughter of the Dagda, and therefore one of the Tuatha de Dannan. Her two sisters were also called Brighid, and were associated with healing and crafts. The three Brighids were typically treated as three aspects of a single deity, making her a classic Celtic triple goddess.

Patron and Protector:

Brighid was the patron of poets and bards, as well as healers and magicians. She was especially honored when it came to matters of prophecy and divination. She was honored with a sacred flame maintained by a group of priestesses, and her sanctuary at Kildare, Ireland, later became the home of the Christian variant of Brighid, St. Brigid of Kildare. Kildare is also the location of one of several sacred wells in the Celtic regions, many of which are connected to Brighid. Even today, it’s not uncommon to see ribbons and other offerings tied to trees near a well as a petition to this healing goddess.

Celebrating Brighid:

There are a variety of ways to celebrate the many aspects of Brighid at Imbolc. If you’re part of a group practice or a coven, why not try Honoring Brighid With a Group Ceremony? You can also incorporate prayers to Brighid into your rites and rituals for the season. Having trouble figuring out what direction you’re headed? Ask Brighid for assistance and guidance with a Brighid’s Crossroads Divination Ritual.

Brighid’s Many Forms:

In Britain, Brighid’s counterpart was Brigantia, a warlike figure of the Brigantes tribe near Yorkshire, England. She is similar to the Greek goddess Athena and the Roman Minerva. Later, as Christianity moved into the Celtic lands, St. Brigid was the daughter of a Pictish slave who was baptized by St. Patrick, and founded a community of nuns at Kildare.

In addition to her position as a goddess of magic, Brighid was known to watch over women in childbirth, and thus evolved into a goddess of hearth and home. Today, many Pagans and Wiccans honor her on February 2, which has become known as Imbolc or Candlemas.

Crafts to Honor Brighid:

In many Pagan traditions today, Brighid is celebrated with crafts that honor her role as the protector of the hearth. You can make a Brighid corn doll, as well as a Bride’s Bed for her to sleep in. Perhaps the best known decoration is the Brighid’s Cross, whose arms represent the place where a crossroads comes together, the space between light and dark.

Brighid and Imbolc:

Like many Pagan holidays, Imbolc has a Celtic connection, although it wasn’t celebrated in non-Gaelic Celtic societies. The early Celts celebrated a purification festival by honoring Brighid. In some parts of the Scottish Highlands, Brighid was viewed as a sister of Cailleach Bheur, a woman with mystical powers who was older than the land itself. In modern Wicca and Paganism, Brighid is sometimes viewed as the maiden aspect of the maiden/mother/crone cycle, although it might be more accurate for her to be the mother, given her connection with home and childbirth.

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