Posts Tagged With: Demeter

Celebrating Spiritual 365 Days A Year – Feast of Hecate

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Celebrating Spiritual 365 Days A Year – Feast of Hecate

Hecate is one of the oldest embodiments of the Triple Moon Goddess worshipped today. She holds power over the heavens, the earth and the underworld, where she is in control of birth, life and death. Hecate is the giver of visions, magick, and regeneration. Her chief symbol is the crossroads where all paths connect—the past where one has been, the present where one stands, and future where one is headed. In ancient Rome, statues of Hecate were place at the important crossroads. Those who frequently traveled would make offerings to the Goddess in return for her blessings.

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Calendar of the Sun for January 9th

Calendar of the Sun

9 Wolfmonath

Baubo’s Day of the Midwives

Color: Red
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a red cloth place a single red candle, a chalice of fresh milk, and a Sheela-Na-Gig.
Offerings: Give aid to a midwife.
Daily Meal: Center around milk or dairy.

Baubo Invocation

Hail Baubo, Mother of Laughter,
Great open door upon your belly,
You who open all things,
The woman’s womb, the hard-bound heart,
The eyes shut tight in fear,
The belly full of mirth repressed,
All these you tear open like a child
Reveals their holiday gifts with glee.
We are your packages, your presents,
To undo as you will!
Today no weeping will sound through our halls,
And only mirth shall walk our paths,
O Baubo upon the bridge!
You watch those who walk down to the dark places,
You see those who weep their sorrow
Like Mother Demeter trailing in the dust,
And your great heart of understanding
Knows that no word of sense will ever help
When the shadows are darkest.
Only absurdity, only paradox
The extravagant, the foolish, the incredible,
The outlandish and preposterous,
Only these can make their way
Under the tight doors of desolation,
Through the cracks of misery.
A small thing, laughter, yet without it
We drown in the rivers of our own self-importance.
Hail Baubo, Mother of Mirth!

(One or more who have been chosen to do the work of the ritual come forth to do Baubo’s job. They must shed their clothing, and naked wear faces painted on their bellies, and tell jokes until laughter is rampant. Finish with the chant listed on Ilithyia’s Day.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Calendar of the Moon for October 10th

Calendar of the Moon

9 Gort/Puanepsion

Stenia Day 1

Color: Brown
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of brown set two green candles and the Thesmoi, the sacred figures to be put into the Mundus Cereris. They include snakes, phalli, and pigs all made of bread. Unlike the regular opening of the Mundus Cereris, only women with wombs can move the stone today.
Offerings: Thesmoi. Ritual sex is an appropriate offering for this day.
Daily Meal: Pork and bread.

Stenia I Invocation

We gather today in the name of Demeter,
To fertilize the Earth with our spirits.
The Earth yields to us, and gives us nourishment,
But we must return our energy to Her body,
Give and take in equal parts. So today we give forth
What energy we can. Bring forth the Thesmoi,
Give them the warmth of your love.

(The women with wombs take the Thesmoi from the altar, and bring them to any men with testicles to hold, bless, and place energy within them. Women without wombs and men without testicles must watch and chant, but cannot touch the Thesmoi once they are placed on the altar, for this magic must be that of fertility.)

Hail, Demeter! We bring you our gifts,
To be placed in the dark of your womb!
We bring you our hopes, our joys,
Our passions and desires, that you may
Enjoy them, and your womb fill to overflowing
And burst forth in goodness upon our world.
As you have given to us, so we give to you.

Chant: Mother Earth I sing to you
Demeter and Gaia
Mother Earth I bring to you
All within my hands

(The women with wombs carry the Thesmoi to the Mundus Cereris, roll back the stone, and place them within, also chanting. They reset the stone, return to the altar room, and announce, “It is done!” All who have been chanting cry out “Hail Demeter!” and the rite is ended.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Calendar of the Moon for October 9th

Calendar of the Moon

9 Gort/Puanepsion

Stenia Day 1

Color: Brown
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of brown set two green candles and the Thesmoi, the sacred figures to be put into the Mundus Cereris. They include snakes, phalli, and pigs all made of bread. Unlike the regular opening of the Mundus Cereris, only women with wombs can move the stone today.
Offerings: Thesmoi. Ritual sex is an appropriate offering for this day.
Daily Meal: Pork and bread.

Stenia I Invocation

We gather today in the name of Demeter,
To fertilize the Earth with our spirits.
The Earth yields to us, and gives us nourishment,
But we must return our energy to Her body,
Give and take in equal parts. So today we give forth
What energy we can. Bring forth the Thesmoi,
Give them the warmth of your love.

(The women with wombs take the Thesmoi from the altar, and bring them to any men with testicles to hold, bless, and place energy within them. Women without wombs and men without testicles must watch and chant, but cannot touch the Thesmoi once they are placed on the altar, for this magic must be that of fertility.)

Hail, Demeter! We bring you our gifts,
To be placed in the dark of your womb!
We bring you our hopes, our joys,
Our passions and desires, that you may
Enjoy them, and your womb fill to overflowing
And burst forth in goodness upon our world.
As you have given to us, so we give to you.

Chant: Mother Earth I sing to you
Demeter and Gaia
Mother Earth I bring to you
All within my hands

(The women with wombs carry the Thesmoi to the Mundus Cereris, roll back the stone, and place them within, also chanting. They reset the stone, return to the altar room, and announce, “It is done!” All who have been chanting cry out “Hail Demeter!” and the rite is ended.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Calendar of the Sun for October 4th

Calendar of the Sun

4 Winterfyllith

Jejunium Cereris: Fast for Demeter

Color: Brown
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of brown place a clay cup of water, empty bowls, plates, and an empty cornucopia.
Offerings: Give food to the hungry.
Daily Meal: Fasting today, from the night before until Hesperis.

Jejunium Cereris Invocation

Demeter weeps.
She mourns all losses,
All that passes from our hands
Into the gaping earth of the Mother’s womb.
Across the land, there are places
Where the Earth is barren, and no mouths
Shall be fed from Her soil.
The people starve, they cry out, they fall,
But there is no mercy for them
Until the Wheel turns yet again.
So if we cannot feed them all,
If we cannot be Demeter Herself,
For our hands are too few,
Our work is too little,
Our efforts fall like a drop into a wasteland,
Let us still be that drop of hope
And let us, for one day, mourn with them.
For all that we have not, there are others
Who have less, and on this day
We give out some of what we have,
For true wealth is counted only
By how much you can give away.
For today, we shall fast with them
And we shall remember.
Blessed be Demeter in Her weeping,
Blessed be Demeter in Her mourning,
May we be blessed with Her tears.

Chant: By the dust of the Earth we live
By the work of our hands we give
By the work of our hearts we open the world.

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Mabon Thoughts

MABON – THE AUTUMNAL EQUINOX

This is the Harvest Home and falls in a busy season. Agricultural work all
through the harvest season, from Lughnassadh to Samhain, should be done
communally and with simple rites, keeping the presence of the Gods in mind, and accompanied by games and amusements where they can be fitted in. The Harvest Queen with her chosen Lord preside at all these occasions, leading the work, the dances and the feasting. Wagons coming in from the fields at Mabon form a parade. There are garlands around the necks of the draft animals, and the
Harvest Queen rides in rustic splendor on the last wagon.

THEMES

Many fruits and nuts full-ripe. Leaves turning. Harvest in full swing. Bird
migrations begin. Chill of winter anticipated. Farewell to Summer. Friendship
and family ties remembered.

Thesmophoria, the Eleusianian Mysteries and the Cerelia, all in honor of Demeter or the Roman Ceres. Feast of Cernunnos and of Bacchus.

The myth of Dionysos: the young god is sacrificed or abducted as Winter begins.
Hy is restored to his mother in the spring. Dionysos (vegetable life) if the
offspring of Persephone (the seed corn) and Hades (the underworld, beneath the
surface of the earth).

PURPOSE OF THE RITES

Thanksgiving to the gods for the harvest. Magic for good weather and protection
of the winter food supply. Blessing the harvest fruits.

FOLK CUSTOMS

Gala processions to bring home the harvest. One or two fruits left on each tree,
no doubt originally meant as an offering to the spirit of the trees. Harvest
customs are too numerous to list here. Refer to The Golden Bough. They include
relics of purification rites and sacrifice of the God-King.

SYMBOLIC DECORATIONS

Colors: gold and sky-blue
Autumn leaves and berries
Fruits of harvest
Nuts
Acorns
Pine cones
Autumn flowers

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Husing bees
Harvest parade
Barn dances
Harvest ball
Country fair
Canning and preserving parties

THE RITE

Takes place late afternoon of Mabon Day, in a field or garden, not in wild
woods. The Circle may be marked out with autumn braches. Altar in the west. A
sky-blue altar cloth makes a beautiful background for harvest-gold candles and
decorations of autumn foliage.

Make an image of the Goddess from a sheaf of grain, so that the ripe ears form a
crown. Place this image, decorated with seasonal flowers (chrysanthemums are
sacred to Her, being really marigolds) above the altar. It is a barbaric-looking
figure – no Praxiteles goddess. Have a jug of cider and a supply of cups or
glasses near the altar.

Build the central fire in the cauldron and wreathe the cauldron with autumn
branches.

Coveners may wear work clothes or white robes, or dress in ordinary clothing in
autumn colors. HPS and HP should wear crowns of autumn leaves and berries.
Everyone walks in a procession to the Circle, each carrying a sheaf of grain or
a basket or tray of apples, squashes, melons, nuts, etc. as they continue to walk deosil within the Circle, HP and HPS take their burdens from them and stack them around the altar.

Banish the Circle with sat water. In the prayer of intention, refer to absent
friends and relatives who are present in spirit and to the harvest offering. Bid
Summer farewell.

HP kindles the fire. HPS invokes the Goddess and charges the fire. Communion
materials are cider and Sabbat cakes.

The Ritual of Harvesting:

Have a fruit-bearing potted plant at the North. Reap the fruit and carry it
slowly, elevated at about eye-level on the Pentacle, on a tour of the Circle.
The fruit represents the benefits and results of our efforts during the year.
The elevation, with all eyes fixed on the fruit, represents our assessment and
evaluation of our results. The coveners’ individual messages, burned in the
fire, briefly detail these. The fruit itself is divided with the knife and eaten
by the coveners as a token that they accept the consequences of their actions.

Have a platter prepared for the Goddess, bearing some of each kind of food
provided for the feast. Using the knife, HPS buries this food before the altar,
inviting the Goddess to share in and bless the feast. HP pours a libation. Then
he pours cider all around and proposes a toast to the harvest.

HPS gives thanks to all the gods for the harvest. HPS asks the blessing. The
usual divinations and similar business follow, then feasting, dancing and games
and the rite ends as usual.

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Ten Ways to Celebrate Mabon

Ten Ways to Celebrate Mabon

By , About.com Guide

Mabon is the time of the autumn equinox, and the harvest is winding down. The fields are nearly bare, because the crops have been stored for the coming winter. Mabon is a time when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest. On or around September 21, for many Pagan and Wiccan traditions it is a time of giving thanks for the things we have, whether it is abundant crops or other blessings. It is also a time of balance and reflection, following the theme of equal hours light and dark. Here are some ways you and your family can celebrate this day of bounty and abundance.

1. Find Some Balance

Mabon is a time of balance, when there are equal hours of darkness and light, and that can affect people in different ways. For some, it’s a season to honor the darker aspects of the goddess, calling upon that which is devoid of light. For others, it’s a time of thankfulness, of gratitude for the abundance we have at the season of harvest. Because this is, for many people, a time of high energy, there is sometimes a feeling of restlessness in the air, a sense that something is just a bit “off”. If you’re feeling a bit spiritually lopsided, with this simple meditation you can restore a little balance into your life. You can also try a ritual to bring balance and harmony to your home.

2. Hold a Food Drive

Many Pagans and Wiccans count Mabon as a time of thanks and blessings — and because of that, it seems like a good time to give to those less fortunate than ourselves. If you find yourself blessed with abundance at Mabon, why not give to those who aren’t? Invite friends over for a feast, but ask each of them to bring a canned food, dry goods, or other non-perishable items? Donate the collected bounty to a local food bank or homeless shelter.

3. Pick Some Apples

Apples are the perfect symbol of the Mabon season. Long connected to wisdom and magic, there are so many wonderful things you can do with an apple. Find an orchard near you, and spend a day with your family. As you pick the apples, give thanks to Pomona, goddess of fruit trees. Be sure to only pick what you’re going to use — if you can, gather plenty to take home and preserve for the coming winter months. Take your apples home and use them in rituals, for divination, and for delicious recipes that your family can enjoy all season long.

4. Count Your Blessings

Mabon is a time of giving thanks, but sometimes we take our fortune for granted. Sit down and make a gratitude list. Write down things that you are thankful for. An attitude of gratefulness helps bring more abundance our way — what are things you’re glad you have in your life? Maybe it’s the small things, like “I’m glad I have my cat Peaches” or “I’m glad my car is running.” Maybe it’s something bigger, like “I’m thankful I have a warm home and food to eat” or “I’m thankful people love me even when I’m cranky.” Keep your list some place you can see it, and add to it when the mood strikes you.

5. Honor the Darkness

Without darkness, there is no light. Without night, there can be no day. Despite a basic human need to overlook the dark, there are many positive aspects to embracing the dark side, if it’s just for a short time. After all, it was Demeter’s love for her daughter Persephone that led her to wander the world, mourning for six months at a time, bringing us the death of the soil each fall. In some paths, Mabon is the time of year that celebrates the Crone aspect of a triune goddess. Celebrate a ritual that honors that aspect of the Goddess which we may not always find comforting or appealing, but which we must always be willing to acknowledge. Call upon the gods and goddesses of the dark night, and ask for their blessings this time of year.

6. Get Back to Nature

Fall is here, and that means the weather is bearable once more. The nights are becoming crisp and cool, and there’s a chill in the air. Take your family on a nature walk, and enjoy the changing sights and sounds of the outdoors. Listen for geese honking in the sky above you, check the trees for changing in the colors of the leaves, and watch the ground for dropped items like acorns, nuts, and seed pods. If you live in an area that doesn’t have any restrictions on removing natural items from park property, take a small bag with you and fill it up with the things you discover along the way. Bring your goodies home for your family’s altar. If you are prohibited from removing natural items, fill your bag with trash and clean up the outdoors!

7. Tell Timeless Stories

In many cultures, fall was a time of celebration and gathering. It was the season in which friends and relatives would come from far and near to get together before the cold winter kept them apart for months at a time. Part of this custom was storytelling. Learn the harvest tales of your ancestors or of the people indigenous to the area in which you live. A common theme in these stories is the cycle of death and rebirth, as seen in the planting season. Learn about the stories of Osiris, Mithras, Dionysius, Odin and other deities who have died and then restored to life.

8. Raise Some Energy

It’s not uncommon for Pagans and Wiccans to make remarks regarding the “energy” of an experience or event. If you’re having friends or family over to celebrate Mabon with you, you can raise group energy by working together. A great way to do this is with a drum or music circle. Invite everyone to bring drums, rattles, bells, or other instruments. Those who don’t have an instrument can clap their hands. Begin in a slow, regular rhythm, gradually increasing the tempo until it reaches a rapid pace. End the drumming at a pre-arranged signal, and you’ll be able to feel that energy wash over the group in waves. Another way of raising group energy is chanting, or with dance. With enough people, you can hold a Spiral Dance.

 

9. Celebrate Hearth & Home

As autumn rolls in, we know we’ll be spending more time indoors in just a few months. Take some time to do a fall version of spring cleaning. Physically clean your home from top to bottom, and then do a ritual smudging. Use sage or sweetgrass, or asperge with consecrated water as you go through your home and bless each room. Decorate your home with symbols of the harvest season, and set up a family Mabon altar. Put sickles, scythes and bales of hay around the yard. Collect colorful autumn leaves, gourds and fallen twigs and place them in decorative baskets in your house. If you have any repairs that need to be done, do them now so you don’t have to worry about them over the winter. Throw out or give away anything that’s no longer of use.

10. Welcome the Gods of the Vine

Grapes are everywhere, so it’s no surprise that the Mabon season is a popular time to celebrate winemaking, and deities connected to the growth of the vine. Whether you see him as Bacchus, Dionysus, the Green Man, or some other vegetative god, the god of the vine is a key archetype in harvest celebrations. Take a tour of a local winery and see what it is they do this time of year. Better yet, try your hand at making your own wine! If you’re not into wine, that’s okay — you can still enjoy the bounty of grapes, and use their leaves and vines for recipes and craft projects. However you celebrate these deities of vine and vegetation, you may want to leave a small offering of thanks as you reap the benefits of the grape harvest

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Mabon History: The Second Harvest

Mabon History: The Second Harvest

By , About.com Guide

The Science of the Equinox:

Two days a year, the Northern and Southern hemispheres receive the same amount of sunlight. Not only that, each receives the same amount of light as they do dark — this is because the earth is tilted at a right angle to the sun, and the sun is directly over the equator. In Latin, the word equinox translates to “equal night.” The autumn equinox takes place on or near September 21, and its spring counterpart falls around March 21. If you’re in the Northern hemisphere, the days will begin getting shorter after the autumn equinox and the nights will grow longer — in the Southern hemisphere, the reverse is true.

Global Traditions:

The idea of a harvest festival is nothing new. In fact, people have celebrated it for millennia, all around the world. In ancient Greece, Oschophoria was a festival held in the fall to celebrate the harvesting of grapes for wine. In the 1700′s, the Bavarians came up with Oktoberfest, which actually begins in the last week of September, and it was a time of great feasting and merriment, still in existence today. China’s Mid-Autumn festival is celebrated on the night of the Harvest Moon, and is a festival of honoring family unity.

Giving Thanks:

Although the traditional American holiday of Thanksgiving falls in November, many cultures see the second harvest time of the fall equinox as a time of giving thanks. After all, it’s when you figure out how well your crops did, how fat your animals have gotten, and whether or not your family will be able to eat during the coming winter. However, by the end of November, there’s not a whole lot left to harvest. Originally, the American Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated on October 3, which makes a lot more sense agriculturally.

Thanksgiving was originally celebrated on October 3. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued his “Thanksgiving Proclamation”, which changed the date to the last Thursday in November. In 1939, Franklin Delano Roosevelt adjusted it yet again, making it the second-to-last Thursday, in the hopes of boosting post-Depression holiday sales. Unfortunately, all this did was confuse people. Two years later, Congress finalized it, saying that the fourth Thursday of November would be Thanksgiving, each year.

Symbols of the Season:

The harvest is a time of thanks, and also a time of balance — after all, there are equal hours of daylight and darkness. While we celebrate the gifts of the earth, we also accept that the soil is dying. We have food to eat, but the crops are brown and going dormant. Warmth is behind us, cold lies ahead.

Some symbols of Mabon include:

  • Mid-autumn vegetables, like squashes and gourds
  • Apples and anything made from them, such as cider or pies
  • Seeds, nuts and seed pods
  • Baskets, symbolizing the gathering of crops
  • Sickles and scythes
  • Grapes, vines, wine

You can use any of these to decorate your home or your altar at Mabon.

Feasting and Friends:

Early agricultural societies understood the importance of hospitality — it was crucial to develop a relationship with your neighbors, because they might be the ones to help you when your family ran out of food. Many people, particularly in rural villages, celebrated the harvest with great deals of feasting, drinking, and eating. After all, the grain had been made into bread, beer and wine had been made, and the cattle were brought down from the summer pastures for the coming winter. Celebrate Mabon yourself with a feast — and the bigger, the better!

Magic and Mythology:

Nearly all of the myths and legends popular at this time of the year focus on the themes of life, death, and rebirth. Not much of a surprise, when you consider that this is the time at which the earth begins to die before winter sets in!

Demeter and Her Daughter

Perhaps the best known of all the harvest mythologies is the story of Demeter and Persephone. Demeter was a goddess of grain and of the harvest in ancient Greece. Her daughter, Persephone, caught the eye of Hades, god of the underworld. When Hades abducted Persephone and took her back to the underworld, Demeter’s grief caused the crops on earth to die and go dormant. By the time she finally recovered her daughter, Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds, and so was doomed to spend six months of the year in the underworld. These six months are the time when the earth dies, beginning at the time of the autumn equinox.

Inanna Takes on the Underworld

The Sumerian goddess Inanna is the incarnation of fertility and abundance. Inanna descended into the underworld where her sister, Ereshkigal, ruled. Erishkigal decreed that Inanna could only enter her world in the traditional ways — stripping herself of her clothing and earthly posessions. By the time Inanna got there, Erishkigal had unleashed a series of plagues upon her sister, killing Inanna. While Inanna was visiting the underworld, the earth ceased to grow and produce. A vizier restored Inanna to life, and sent her back to earth. As she journeyed home, the earth was restored to its former glory.

Modern Celebrations

For contemporary Druids, this is the celebration of Alban Elfed, which is a time of balance between the light and the dark. Many Asatru groups honor the fall equinox as Winter Nights, a festival sacred to Freyr.

For most Wiccans and NeoPagans, this is a time of community and kinship. It’s not uncommon to find a Pagan Pride Day celebration tied in with Mabon. Often, PPD organizers include a food drive as part of the festivities, to celebrate the bounty of the harvest and to share with the less fortunate.

If you choose to celebrate Mabon, give thanks for the things you have, and take time to reflect on the balance within your own life, honoring both the darkness and the light. Invite your friends and family over for a feast, and count the blessings that you have among kin and community.

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