Posts Tagged With: Demeter

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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Let’s Talk Witch – A Little Different Witchy Talk Today

I was going to do a “Let’s Talk Witch” section about familiars. But I am fairly certain each of us has  our own familiar and do not need a topic about them.

With the war drums that are starting to beat very loudly from Washington, I think we all need to a ritual for peace.

I know we must have done something right. The Head of Russia Putin now wants to send over a delegation to address our Congress. Certain news anchors have said this is only for show. He wants to act like he is the better person for doing this.  I don’t believe it. I think Putin is very sincere in this gesture. I believe he has the common sense to know how quickly this could escalate out of control and the two super powers end up in a nuclear war. A war that no one wins. I live about 5 to 10 miles away from one of the first strike targets. Comforting, I know.

I asked you yesterday to pray or petition the Divine Being you believe in.  I strongly believe our prays and petitions were carried to Putin’s ear. Because what he suggested is more than anyone could have anticipated. Now it is time to direct all of our power and conviction to our own government.

I believe the perfect Peace Goddess is “Irene.” In case you are unfamiliar with her. Her is a little about her…..

“Eirene, or Irene (Greek for “peace”; the Roman equivalent was Pax), one of the Horae, was the personification of peace, and was depicted In art as a beautiful young woman carrying a cornucopia, sceptre and a torch or rhyton. She is said sometimes to be the daughter of Zeus and Themis.”

The goddess carries a child with her left arm – Ploutos, the god of plenty and son of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture.  Irene  is missing  her right hand once held a sceptre. She gazes maternally at Ploutos, who is looking back at her trustingly. The image depicted is an allegory for Plenty (Ploutos) prospering under the protection of Peace (Eirene); it constituted a public appeal to good sense.

I think I strongly connect with Irene is because She stand for prosperity in Peace. Which I believe. No one prospers in war especially these day. There is too much at stake. I personally don’t know what has happened to Obama. He has got to the point were he actually scares me. I can say this because I voted for him but if I knew all this was coming, I wouldn’t have. If we don’t take our Goddess given talents and use them for the good of mankind this time, then shame on us. Obama would as soon as drink a glass of water as push a nuclear button.

Are you ready to meet your obligation to mankind once again. If so, let us petition the Goddess Irene for Peace (You can use another Goddess if you like). Below you will find a Peace Ritual.  When we join our voices as one, we become a very strong force that can achieve any goal we set our minds too.

The Ritual

Design this ritual to suit your needs. Choose candle colors that represent the
things you seek peace for (e.g. maybe green and brown for peace on earth).

From out of the dark and into the light
A circular mark, a candle burns bright.
I look towards the sky, my song I do sing
Spirits soar high and gifts do I bring.
I offer my all, my mind I then clear
Harken my call, I fell you are near.
Candle burns higher, my spirits set free
Hotter than fire, the magick will be.
Let magick come ’round, from under the ground
To form with my sound and then to be bound.
Around me I feel the magick so real
Before you I knees, the spell I now seal.
Let all hatred CEASE
And let there be PEACE.
These words that I say
With magick AWAY!
This spell that I send
Is now at an end.
Let the magick I’ve laid
Go forth and not fade.
So Mote It Be!

Please join me in this ritual to bring peace to our country and eventually the world.

 

Blessed Be,

Lady A

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Deities of the Fields

Deities of the Fields

Gods and Goddesses of the Early Harvest

By , About.com Guide

When Lammastide rolls around, the fields are full and fertile. Crops are abundant, and the late summer harvest is ripe for the picking. This is the time when the first grains are threshed, apples are plump in the trees, and gardens are overflowing with summer bounty. In nearly every ancient culture, this was a time of celebration of the agricultural significance of the season. Because of this, it was also a time when many gods and goddesses were honored. These are some of the many deities who are connected with this earliest harvest holiday.

  • Adonis (Assyrian): Adonis is a complicated god who touched many cultures. Although he’s often portrayed as Greek, his origins are in early Assyrian religion. Adonis was a god of the dying summer vegetation. In many stories, he dies and is later reborn, much like Attis and Tammuz.
  • Attis (Phrygean): This lover of Cybele went mad and castrated himself, but still managed to get turned into a pine tree at the moment of his death. In some stories, Attis was in love with a Naiad, and jealous Cybele killed a tree (and subsequently the Naiad who dwelled within it), causing Attis to castrate himself in despair. Regardless, his stories often deal with the theme of rebirth and regeneration.
  • Ceres (Roman): Ever wonder why crunched-up grain is called cereal? It’s named for Ceres, the Roman goddess of the harvest and grain. Not only that, she was the one who taught lowly mankind how to preserve and prepare corn and grain once it was ready for threshing. In many areas, she was a mother-type goddess who was responsible for agricultural fertility.
  • Dagon (Semitic): Worshipped by an early Semitic tribe called the Amorites, Dagon was a god of fertility and agriculture. He’s also mentioned as a father-deity type in early Sumerian texts and sometimes appears as a fish god. Dagon is credited with giving the Amorites the knowledge to build the plough.
  • Demeter (Greek): The Greek equivalent of Ceres, Demeter is often linked to the changing of the seasons. She is often connected to the image of the Dark Mother in late fall and early winter. When her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades, Demeter’s grief caused the earth to die for six months, until Persephone’s return
  • Lugh (Celtic): Lugh was known as a god of both skill and the distribution of talent. He is sometimes associated with midsummer because of his role as a harvest god, and during the summer solstice the crops are flourishing, waiting to be plucked from the ground at Lughnasadh.
  • Mercury (Roman): Fleet of foot, Mercury was a messenger of the gods. In particular, he was a god of commerce and is associated with the grain trade. In late summer and early fall, he ran from place to place to let everyone know it was time to bring in the harvest. In Gaul, he was considered a god not only of agricultural abundance but also of commercial success.
  • Neper (Egyptian): This androgynous grain deity became popular in Egypt during times of starvation. He later was seen as an aspect of Osiris, and part of the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
  • Parvati (Hindu): Parvati was a consort of the god Shiva, and although she does not appear in Vedic literature, she is celebrated today as a goddess of the harvest and protector of women in the annual Gauri Festival.
  • Pomona (Roman): This apple goddess is the keeper of orchards and fruit trees. Unlike many other agricultural deities, Pomona is not associated with the harvest itself, but with the flourishing of fruit trees. She is usually portrayed bearing a cornucopia or a tray of blossoming fruit.
  • Tammuz (Sumerian): This Sumerian god of vegetation and crops is often associated with the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
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The Maiden, Mother and Crone Within the Mundane

The Maiden, Mother and Crone Within the Mundane

Author:   Dharma Chai 

The Maiden

There was once a time in your life that everything was filled with wonder and hope. Everything was brand new, colorful and the world immense and full of beauty. We were young and innocent. Life was the priceless pearl we discovered by opening the shell. There were Fairy Tales with happy endings where everyone lived happily ever after, and we believed in this possibility. Dandelions were just as lovely as roses and we gathered them as offerings of love to our mothers. We were imaginative; our creative spark took us anywhere we wished to be. Strangers were exciting and mysterious, but were not to be feared. Instead they were heroes with make believe talents and abilities. Clouds became a never-ending parade of circus animals. Unicorns danced in our dreams. We were open to possibilities. We could be anything we wanted to be. We knew without a doubt that some day we would meet our prince charming. We would live happily ever after.

Over time, we were taught to be strong and capable. We were taught that dreams were okay, but we needed to keep our feet on the ground. Our heads were filled with ideals that weren’t our own. We learned to be afraid. The world wasn’t what we imagined, but a place where danger lurked at each corner.

Childlike and innocent is the Maiden. Her hopes and dreams are as certain as truth. Loving and gentle, her world is very fragile as her trust rules over fears. She dreams of a loving relationship that will outshine any tale. Yet she blushes easily when admired. She has not experienced the ways of the world. She is the eternal optimist. Her spirit cannot be crushed and hope reigns eternal. The world is enchanting and magickal. She resides within each of us as the innocent one. She dances with us in a field of wildflowers and tumbles to ground next to us in ecstasy. She whispers her secret desires to the winds and they tickle our ears as the find their place in our heart. We are the oysters and she is the pearl contained within. She is the beauty emanating from within our being for the world to see. She is pure, untouched by the harsh reality of the mundane world.

I can see her as if standing before me, her long hair flowing about her as she dances with the Fae in a circle beneath the crescent moon. Her graceful, lithe body moves gently in the rhythm of lunar energies. Her spirit glows, the radiant light emanating from her heart. Her long flowing gown cannot hide the young woman’s frame beneath. Her laughter is like chimes in my ears. Her smile lights the universe.

Growing in strength and brightness each night, the Maiden, known as Diana and Artemis in the Mediterranean area, is usually depicted carrying a bow and quiver. She is the first aspect of the triple Goddess. Sometimes called the virgin or huntress, she represents the spring of the year, the dawn, fresh beginnings of all life, the repeating cycle of birth and rebirth, the waxing moon and the crescent moon, enchantment and seduction. She shows the way through the inner labyrinth to the divine center where the greatest of spiritual mysteries lie. She is matter and energy held in suspension until the right time arrives. She is a shape shifting Goddess who drives a chariot pulled by silver stags. She helps women who are threatened or harassed by men.

She rules over animals, singing, enchantment, psychic power, fertility, purification, magic, sports, mental healing, dance, forests, and healing. She carries the seeds of all potential: anything is possible and all possibilities are within her. She does not limit herself by the needs or beliefs of others. She is in love with the mystery of life. The Maiden represents expansion, the female principle, and promise of new beginnings, youth, and excitement. The Maiden is associated with the colors white, light pink and light yellow. She symbolizes youth and anticipation of life. Associated with purity and nature, She is usually seen in the company of animals. In the aspect of the Maiden we see the world with child-like wonder, and also huntress and warrior, as Athena and Artemis are known to be.

The Mother
There is nothing like being pregnant. When I was pregnant with my daughter I was happier than I had ever been in my life. Knowing that a life was growing inside me was amazing. I felt more alive than ever before. I could not wait to hold this little miracle of love.

Okay, there are times where you are so sick you want to die. When the baby decides to try to use your rib cage to score a touchdown it doesn’t feel great. You have weird cravings for food.
You are swollen and can’t see your toes and feel like a blimp that swallowed a blimp.

When a child is born, we always want to count fingers and toes and to know once and for all, girl or boy. We have such great expectations for this tiny bundle of joy. Perhaps he will be president. Perhaps she will be a ballerina. We cannot wait to dress them, to show them off and to take pictures of everything from their first diaper change to the first smile.

Fear sets in once you get home. You call the doctor often. Is this the best formula? Are these the best diapers? She/He spit up, is she sick? Do I need to bring the baby to the hospital! The baby gets colicky and cries all the time. You can’t sleep because you worry excessively. You can’t sleep because the baby is crying. Is she hungry or sick? You have to go check and make sure she is breathing! Our maternal, protective instinct has kicked into high gear.

Now, imagine for a moment, we may have a few children; some families have 13 or more, think how many the Goddess has! We are all children of the Goddess, no matter our age. Our child learns to speak and says Mama so many times we want to pull our heads off! Imagine all of the voices and prayers going out at any given time to our Mother, the Goddess.

Our Goddess Mother has our best interest at heart. She wants for us to be happy and healthy. She never turns away because she is tired and wants some peace and quit. She loves us unconditionally. She understands our hopes and desires and dreams. She lives within our hearts. You can lean on her when you need strength and patience with your little one. You can place your child and yourself within the love and light of the Great Mother and trust that she will always be there for you.

The second Goddess aspect is the Mother, the archetype involved in active creation. She represents the summer, blazing noon, reproduction and fertility, the ripeness of life, the Full Moon, and the high point in all cycles. Her traditional color is red, the color of blood and of life itself. She is the great teacher of the Mysteries. The Romans named her Ceres and the Greeks named her Demeter. A virgin of the oldest sense, independent and unmarried, this Goddess gives birth to a son. Called the Grain Mother, the Eternal Mother, and the Sorrowing Mother, she is the mother of Persephone, who wed the lord of the Underworld. Her power extends over protection of women, crops, initiation, renewal, fertility, civilization, law, motherhood, marriage, and higher magic.

The mother devotes herself to “other”: people and things outside of herself. Though the archetype of the mother often makes one think of a woman giving birth to or devoting herself to her children and family, here we are speaking of all of the possibilities of creation. She is a selfless soul whose devotion and love are unconditional. It is here that responsibility and commitment is established.

Some of the symbols of the goddess in the Mother aspect include the serpent, the poppy, and the symbol of Underworld Goddesses, the torch. The Mother also represents fulfillment, stability, and power. The color associated with the Mother is red, the color of blood and the life force, and green, a fertile color. In ancient societies, the pregnant Mother was a metaphor for the fertile fields that sustained the people of the land. The menstrual blood of the Mother has been associated with magick and ritual since Paleolithic times and was thought to have power for healing and fertility.

The Mother is a pillar of grace under pressure. She is capable, strong, and loving. She smiles as the young child plays, joy flooding her heart as her offspring giggles in delight at some new discovery. She keeps the fear and panic hidden when we are sick, be it in body or in spirit. She continually prays for us. She wipes the tears from our eyes, chases us down to give us medicine, and helps to build a pretend fort with blankets. She watches you while you are sleeping and love fills her heart. She is like a tree in that she is able to bend, but is has a strong foundation supporting her.

Climb into the Mothers arms and be nurtured. Within her embrace we are ever safe and loved. Share your dreams with her. She will do all things possible to help you to achieve them and more.

The Crone

We have all seen the little old woman, her hair thin and sparse, her skin aged with wrinkles, her smile crooked as her false teeth lay in a glass to the side. Many associate this image with the Crone. Her hands tremble as she brings food to her mouth. She looks like a baby with food dripping down her chin. Time isn’t always kind to us in that our bodies betray us. But if you were to take some time with this woman, you would find a font of wisdom, a history of love, of sorrow, of experience.

Her spirit still shines. Her face is soft and compassion flows from her heart. Though she appears weak, her essence is strong and sure. She understands your dreams and desires. She has shared them and she has experienced them. She knows what is important in life. She no longer rushes about headstrong seeking. She delights in the memories of all she has seen and known. Some think she has endured. The truth is, she has lived. That is what is important, the living and loving.

Pain causes a momentary tremor in her voice. She will tell you truths. Will you be willing to listen, to hear her words? Can you sit and hold her hand and experience the journey she is willing to share with you? Can you look at her with respect? Can you look beyond the fears of your body aging?

I see my grandmother, gentle and soft spoken, holding me close in her lap. Beside her lays some yarn and knitting needles. She always has time for me and my questions. She receives great joy in watching the young ones at play and reminiscing about her life as the children begin their lives. There is depth to her heart and eyes that show the years of learning the importance of compassion. There is understanding well beyond that of the dreamer’s hopes.

She moves a little slower now and can no longer bare children. In this day and time, people tend to cast the elderly aside. This is heartbreaking. There is so much love and wisdom they have to share. It may be a time of rest, but it isn’t a time to be tossed away. They should not have to live through memories, as they are still able to give so much to this world!

Most cultures cherished their grandmothers and counted them as wise ones once upon a time. They had seen things and done things to survive in new worlds. Once upon a time they were maidens. Once upon a time they were mothers. They know the mysteries of womanhood.

As I entered into the stage of the Crone, I realized that all I have seen and done helped me to become whom I am today. I am a little slower, but I have more patience, more love, and more compassion. I know there are times to sit quietly and say nothing. I know there are times I should offer my wisdom. What others think of me isn’t important, as I know self-love. I know how precious life and time are. I have found that worry does not save me from sorrow or pain. I have found that life isn’t about satisfying the ego. Life is about acknowledging the blessings we have received from joy and from pain, from fear and from faith. I realize that I cannot change the past but that what I have learned from it provides comfort. She is a fount of wisdom, untapped by a modern world. Not because she isn’t willing to share her wisdom, but because we are so self-involved. I cry for the Crone because so many have forgotten her value.

The Crone, also called the Dark Mother, the Old Wise One, or the hag, represents winter, the night, the universal abyss where life rests before rebirth, the gateway to death, reincarnation, the waning moon and the New Moon, and the deepest of Mysteries and prophecies. She is the third aspect of the Triple Goddess. Her traditional color is black and sometimes the deepest of purples or dark blue. She is the initiator into the Mysteries. This aspect symbolizes death and dissolution. Everything in the universe has a life cycle, at the end of which they malfunction, decay, and transform into a different set of materials, elements that are recycled and reformed into something new. The souls of humans are recycled by the Crone and her cauldron, into a new incarnation.

The embodiment of the Crone, Hecate, Queen of the world of spirits, Patron of Priestesses, and the Goddess of Witchcraft, has keys and cauldrons as her symbols. She has power over enchantments, averting evil, dark magic, riches, wisdom, transformation, purification, limits, incantations, and renewal. She is not detached from the world; just not involved in the ways she was before. She can be completely honest because she has nothing to lose. She holds the wisdom, teaches and shares stories with those who will listen.

The crone was once revered as an old woman embodying wisdom and for her knowledge of the truth of cyclic existence. Crones cared for the dying and were spiritual midwives at the end of life, the link in the cycle of death and rebirth. They were known as healers, teachers, way-showers, and bearers of sacred power. They knew the mysteries, were mediators between the world of spirit and the world of form. In pre-patriarchal societies, women’s wisdom held healing power. The crone wisdom was the most potent of all. For nearly thirty thousand years, old women were strong, powerful sources of wisdom. Crones were respected and honored in their communities.

Our appearance may show a lot about our lives. Weathered hands showing our hard work. Our skin weathered like tanned hides show we spent a lot of time outdoors. These outward appearances don’t begin to show the person beneath the surface. They don’t show the entire journey. Look beyond the obvious and you will discover the treasures of life, the joy, the sorrow, all blessings, to the Crone. Don’t sorrow for her because her time draws nigh upon this plane. Rejoice with her. Embrace what will come, accept what has been, and dare to experience all.

From my manuscript – From My Pagan Heart by Lady Kiya

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Calendar of the Sun for May 29th

Calendar of the Sun

 

29 Thrimilchimonath

Ambarvalia – Sprouting Corn Day

Color: Green
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a green cloth set a pot in which shoots of some kind of grain have surfaced, ready for transplanting.
Offering: Carefully nurture some fragile dream.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian

Ambarvalia Invocation

Great Demeter of the fields,
Mistress of all the crops
That are grown to the benefit of Man,
Kore, daughter of the springtime earth,
And the Lares of the home
Who watch over us all,
We honor you today in our work.
For some things are too tender
To be thrown to the cold earth
Exposed to frost and chill
In a place they were not born to walk.
Teach us that it is right and proper
To nurture these tender things,
To give them strength and protection,
To water them with what they need
To manifest themselves,
And never to chide them for their weakness.
And even if they live but for one season,
To cherish their short lives
And be glad that they once appeared on Earth.
Help us to nurture our most delicate dreams
That they may rise whole and sturdy
When the sun and the season allow it.

Chant:
We plant you with our love
We plant you with our hope

(The pots of green shoots are taken outside and carefully transplanted into the soil. Each touches them, waters them, and says, “So I nurture my dreams.”)

 

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Calendar of the Sun for April 19th

Calendar of the Sun

19 Eostremonath

Cerealia: Persephone’s Return

Color: Green
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a green cloth set as many spring flowers as possible, a bowl of earth saved from the day of Persephone’s descent, and the figure of a girl’s head emerging from the earth.
Offering: Flowers. Begin something new.
Daily Meal: Dark, coarse bread. Root vegetables. Poppy seeds. Millet. Nuts and seeds.

Invocation to Persephone’s Return

Let the Earth take joy!
Demeter’s heart is warmed,
For her beloved daughter,
The maiden of Spring,
Has returned to the upper world!
Let all upon the Earth take joy!
Flowers spring from her footsteps,
Grass spreads between her toes,
The promise of the summer wind
Falls like butterflies newly loosed
From her hair the color of poppies and clay.
Let us all take joy!
She who descended in the autumn,
She who is married to Death
And yet arises in the bringing of Life,
She who has passed the bodies
Of a thousand corpses,
She who has sung with the shades
Of a thousand ancestors,
She rises to greet the morning sun
For as long as it is her time.
Then, like all things, she will descend again,
Into the depths of the Earth,
And we, we shall learn to love that cycle
Of rising and falling, of birth and death,
And truly call it a blessing.
Chant:
Kore Kore Kore Proserpina
(Let one chosen for the work of the daily ritual carry the bowl of earth from person to person about the hall, and let each one take a bit of the earth and rub it on their faces, and let it remain until the evening ablutions.)

 

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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The Mother

THE MOTHER

The aspect of the Mother Goddess is probably the most widely known and most widely envisioned in most cultures. Because the Earth nourishes and replenishes us, most goddess cultures did pay reverence to the Earth as the Mother, and therefore the Goddesses that are most prominent and about whom stories are most prolific are the goddesses that are the representation of the Mother.

She is, in virtually every aspect, a divine or celestial representation of our earthly mothers. Everyone has an earthly mother, or at least did at one point, so we readily understand the relationship between mother and child. The mother is the protector, the care-giver, the kisser of wounds, and the disciplinarian. The Divine Mother is no different.

Many of the most ancient goddess figures that archeology has uncovered are goddesses depicted as round, pregnant women. They feature large breasts and full, meaty hips. Some archeologists (patriarchal, close minded fellows, to be sure) have written these goddess figures off as nothing more than prehistoric “porn” figures. However, the generally accepted opinion is that these figures, found in such places as France, modern day Turkey, and Egypt, are actually representations of a mother goddess. There is some speculation that perhaps these figures are not goddesses at all, but rather figures used in fertility rites to enable women to conceive children. This too is a possibility, but when combined with other information that we have (such as other evidence of prehistoric goddess worship, and the fact that the connection between sex and
pregnancy was not made until much later than the dates associated with these figures) leads most scholars to believe that these statues are indeed goddess representations.

Although the depiction of the Mother Goddess as a pregnant woman is prominent, she is certainly not always seen that way. The Mother aspect may be seen with small child in tow (most often a boy, who later becomes her consort, as is discussed in the section on the Maiden). This aspect of the Mother Goddess plays on the care-giving, sweet, loving aspect of the Goddess. However, do not be fooled into thinking that the Goddess as Mother is a pussy cat. She can also be a warrior.

Like earthly mothers, the Goddess is fiercely protective of her children, and in order to provide that protection she will often don the face of the warrior. The Warrior Goddess most probably gained popularity among people who had begun to adopt a more patriarchal (or at least patrifocal) structure. It might be presumptuous to say that matrifocal cultures were not particularly warlike, but it is safe to say that patriarchal cultures were more so. In either case, the warrior Goddess did become popular. In this aspect she is Amazon, fierce and strong, and able to take on any man to protect what needs protection.

Just as the maiden is represented by the season of Spring, the Mother aspect is present in Summer. By summer, berries and fruits are ripe, ready for the plucking. Vegetable gardens are mature and harvest is close at hand. The sun is high in the sky, and even though the sun is typically seen as a Male Deity, some cultures did associate the sun with the Goddess, (most notably the early Egyptian culture) and thus the high sun of summer was associated with the
Mother, who was also seen as the pinnacle of the cycle of life.

In western traditions, the Goddess remains pregnant until the Winter Solstice, at which time she gives birth to a sun god of some kind. (Note the adaptation of the Christian church …Christmas, anyone?) The Catholic Goddess Mary also falls into the category of the Mother Goddess, because she does give birth to King at Solstice. (At least this is how the Christians celebrate the holiday, even though biblical scholars suggest Jesus was very likely born during a warm month)

Mary is a curiosity though, because she is a Dual Goddess, and not a Triple Goddess as most multifaceted Goddesses are. She is a maiden because she remains a virgin (and though not all maidens are virgins, all virgin goddesses are maidens), and yet because she gives birth, she is also a Mother. However, there is no reference in the Catholic tradition of Mary as an older woman. Therefore, Mary’s development ended with her at the Mother phase.

Mother Goddesses of Note include:
Demeter, Isis, Cerridwyn, Kali, Gaia, Oceana, Brigit, Nuit, Hera, Selene, Anu, Dana, Arianrhod, and Epona

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