Posts Tagged With: Goddess

Deity of the Day for June 13th is Minerva Roman Goddess of Wisdom

Deity of the Day

Minerva

Roman Goddess of Wisdom

 

Areas of Influence: Minerva was the Goddess of wisdom and crafts.

Only in Rome was she worshiped as the Goddess of war.

This Goddess represented the application of intellect to everyday tasks. As the Goddess of wisdom she was accredited with inventing spinning, weaving, numbers and music. Her attributes were so numerous that Ovid described her as the “Goddess of a thousand works.”
She is also the patron of Goddess of medicine.

Origins and Genealogy: The name of this Goddess is said to be of Etruscan origin.

Her parents were Jupiter and Métis. Elements of the myths surrounding her birth however have been poached from Greek Goddess Athena, as she too is born fully grown, from her father’s head.

She was considered third among the Gods and Goddesses and was part of the Capitolian triad alongside Juna and Jupiter.

Strengths: Wisdom, creativity and strength.

Weaknesses: Out of touch with emotions.

Minerva’s Symbolism

The Roman Goddess of wisdom is depicted in full battle dress with a coat of mail, a helmet and a spear.

Sacred Animal/Insect: Owl and the spider.

Sacred Plants: Her sacred plants were the olive, mulberry and alder trees.

Festivals: The main festival celebrating this Goddess took place March 19th – 23rd.

A smaller festival occurred later in the year on the 13th of June.

Greek Equivalent: Athena

Minerva’s Archetypes

The Teacher/ Inventor:

The Teacher and Inventor communicates knowledge, experience and wisdom.

In it’s shadow aspect, the Teacher may manipulate and mislead their students by indoctrinating them with negative beliefs and destructive behaviours.

This is Minerva’s primary Archetype as she teaches humans how to spin and weave. She is also accredited in Roman mythology for inventing numbers and medicine.

The Warrior:

Archetype represents physical strength, and the ability to protect and fight for your rights and those of of others.

The shadow side of the Warrior reflects the need to win at all costs, abandoning ethical principles to prove your supremacy.

Although Roman mythology borrows heavily from it’s Greek counterparts, it is only in Rome that Minerva is worshipped as the Goddess of war, despite always being depicted in full battle dress. This is why I have ranked this Archetype as only of secondary importance for this Goddess.

How To Work With These Archetypes

The Teacher/Inventor:

This Archetype may suggest a love of passing on wisdom and learning to others.

This Goddess wise counsel can also be called upon to help you see a way through any present difficulties or to help you to master a new skill.

The shadow aspect of this stereo type is also a reminder that whenever we find ourselves in a teaching or mentoring role we must aim to be a positive role model, encouraging others to reach their full potential.

The Warrior:

If you are drawn to work with this Goddess you may require her Warrior spirit to help you to stand up for your rights and set firm personnal boundries. This Goddess can be a great stereotype to work with if you want to take control in your life, and wish to no longer play the role of the victim.

You may also wish to call upon this Goddess to champion the cause of others.

Conversely this Goddess may appeal to you if you have a very strong sense of self and are proud of the victories you have achieved. The shadow side may be asking you to reflect honestly on the cost of these victories. Have they been at the expense of others or your principals?

 

 

Source:

The Goddess-Guide.com

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Deities, The Goddesses | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

What Witches Do: The Esbats

THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY EDAIN MCCOY
POSTED UNDER PAGAN

The second wheel of the year is made up of thirteen lunar cycles occurring within the solar year—called “esbats” by Pagans. Covens usually meet either on the full or the new moon and a few manage both. Solitary practitioners are urged to commemorate the moon’s journey through the sky at both times, but the merrymaking and festival night has always been that of the full moon. Never forget that the word “lunatic” means “moon madness.”

The great night light in the sky was humanity’s first calendar. In many pre-patriarchal cultures, it was considered a feminine symbol, representative of the Goddess due to the fact that its synodic, or relational, revolution around the earth takes twenty-nine days, twelve hours, and forty-four minutes, which closely matches the female menstrual cycle of twenty-eight to thirty days. Its waxing phase symbolized the virgin aspect of the Goddess, the full moon symbolized the fullness of the mother aspect, and the waning moon symbolized the aged and wise crone aspect.

In cultures that had male moon deities as well as or instead of female lunar deities, the waxing moon was the horned God of the woodlands and son of the Goddess, the full moon was the warrior and the father, and the waning moon corresponded to the hunter and teacher who was the elder God.

Many cultures have assigned names to each of the thirteen full moons that usually occur within our standard solar year. The Irish have one set of names, West Africans have another set, and North Americans have created several of their own moon names, some taken from the spiritual traditions of Native Americans.

However, the fact remains that thirteen lunar months is a longer period of time than our solar year of 365 days. Thirteen full lunar cycles takes approximately 374 days. Some traditions have divided their full moons into twenty-eight days, disregarding the moon’s phase just so the solar and lunar years will begin and end at the same time. This occurs frequently among North American practitioners using the Irish-Celtic lunar calendar. Other Witches will simply choose to acknowledge two separate New Year’s Days, or will use the Blue Moon—a second full moon falling within the same solar month—as a point to make any adjustments. For example, if the lunar months and solar months begin to diverge, they will acknowledge or ignore the Blue Moon. This keeps the Cold Moon from appearing in July, or the Harvest Moon falling in February.

For more than six thousand years, the Jewish calendar has allowed for periodic adjustments, while the Islamic lunar calendar makes none. The result being that in Islam a holy day can, and eventually will, fall within the corresponding season of the solar year.

No matter how hard we try, the two will never be an exact match, nor is there any reason they should be. In Witchcraft, we honor dual realities, why then can we not honor two separate and different, though equally important, wheels of time?

Honoring the Moon as We Honor the Sun

The moon should not occupy a lesser place in a Witch’s life than the sun, and forcing the moon’s thirteen cycles to match those of the sun is not only confusing, but by its very nature places the energy of the moon at the mercy of the sun.

Whatever method we choose to periodically realign the two calendars, we should never forget that the moon is as important as the sun and deserves our reverence just for being the moon. Worshiping beneath moonlight is an ancient practice, one that still motivates our primitive, atavistic centers and draws us into the moon’s spell. The oldest of the sabbats is said by many to be Yule or Midwinter, with evidence of its holy placement on the solar year dating back approximately twelve thousand years. By contrast, evidence of lunar calendars dates back nearly forty thousand years.

The Triple Goddess
The earliest humans honored the moon as a female deity. While lunar gods and solar goddess would eventually make themselves known, the obvious connection with the menstrual cycle tended to make people think of womanhood.

The three phases of the moon spoke to our ancestors of the cycles of death, renewal, and rebirth. Over the course of twenty-nine days, the moon seemed to mimic the familiar cycle of death and rebirth. Since birth was a feminine function, the moon became female.

The deity as a three-in-one god did not originate in Christianity. The moon’s three phases were correlated with the three phases of a woman’s life: virgin, mother, and crone. The moon embodied these three faces and gave rise to the worship of these three-in-one deities.

During the waxing phase, we have our virgin Goddess, adventurous, sexual, and able to traverse all worlds that open to her beauty and prowess. At the full phase, we have the nurturing mother, powerful, protective, and strong. In the waning phase, we have the crone, the elder grandmother moon with her wit, wisdom, and no-nonsense ways.

We honor all these aspects through our rituals and we can and do draw on each of these phases to assist us in our magick

The Esbat Celebration
Many Witches who practice their faith alone will take advantage of both the new and full moons to celebrate, and will call both of these events an Esbat. Due to the many demands on everyone’s time, covens and other groups will usually choose one or the other, with the full moon being most popular.

The word esbat (pronounced ESS-bott) is derived from the same root as the word estrus, a Greek word meaning “of the month,” for the fertile heat periods of female mammals.

The dark, new moon esbat is a chance to worship the darker aspects of the Craft. This is not to be confused with evil or negative aspects. The dark is simply that which is hidden, that which is in shadow rather than in light, and closely reflects our inner lives in the same way the sun reflects our light outer selves.

The full moon esbat tends to be a ribald, frenetic celebration—suitable for the “lunatics” who were once believed to display their insanity under the light of the full moon.

Magick for all manner of needs is enacted during esbat rituals, both in group settings and by solitary practitioners. Spells for increase or gain are usually done during the waxing phases, and spells for decrease or loss are performed during the waning period. The full moon is used for spells for wholeness, children and mothers, families, psychic enhancement, and some love spells.

The two major components of any full-moon esbat are two rituals that you must become familiar with if you want to call yourself a Witch. These are Drawing Down the Moon and the Ceremony of Cakes and Ale.


Drawing Down the Moon

Until you have some experience channeling outside energies, you will probably be only a witness to this powerful ritual of invocation. Even so, the experience can be a profound one, if you can observe a coven that is able to enact this ritual with ease.

The idea behind it is to draw the essence of the Moon Mother, or lunar Goddess, into the body of a coven member. The person chosen is usually a priestess or leader, but this is not always the case. Even men may have the lunar Goddess—or God, if you prefer—occupy their physical bodies. You’ll find a lot of experiments with androgyny in Pagan ritual the deeper into it you go.

Drawing Down the Moon can also be enacted by a solitary practitioner, but the ceremony has more meaning and, well, just more grandeur, when performed by a group outdoors under the moon’s fullest light. Through the body of the priestess, the Goddess speaks to us. She may answer questions or give instructions. She may offer someone who needs some extra attention or a special blessing from her. Or she may just pour her loving energy into the circle and lead you in a merry spiral dance.

How do we know that this is the Goddess leading us and that this is not some play-acting done to heighten the ego of a priestess? When you start working with energies outside yourself, when you learn to draw from and channel them, you become an expert at sensing what is sacred and what is Witchcrap. Any priestess faking the Goddess within would be quickly unmasked, and most would never resort to trying such a game.

The transfer of Goddess to Witch is made by having another person experienced in drawing and channeling energies pull down the lunar energy. If the person into whom the Goddess will be drawn is a woman, then a man is usually chosen to do the drawing. Likewise, if the energy is to be channeled into a man, a woman is likely to be the one who will draw down the energy. There is no law that says it must be this way, but it’s always best to keep everything balanced, and that includes the potent polarity of male and female energies.

The priest doing the drawing down of the moon may choose a chalice, usually of silver, or a double-sided ritual knife, known as an athame (pronounced ah-THAW-may or ATH-um-may), as a receptacle for the lunar energy he wishes to transfer into the body of the priestess. He and the priestess will stand face to face in the center of the circle, in a position where the priest can see the full moon directly over the head of the priestess. He will raise the chalice or blade to a point where, from his perspective, the tool touches the moon’s face. He then leads the coven in an invocation asking the Moon Goddess to use the tool as a catalyst for coming down into the body of her priestess. When the priest feels the divine energy entering the tool, he brings it down and touches it to either the forehead, heart center, or womb area of the priestess until she feels the Goddess has entered her body. As he draws in the moon, he may wish to seal his efforts by making an invoking pentagramsign in the air in front of the priestess.

There’s no mistaking this transformation. Everyone in the circle will feel the shift in energies and, in some cases, the priestess will even look and sound like a different person.

When the ritual is complete, the priest reverses the invoking process and returns the lunar energy to the moon.

When the energy is returned, the priest may make the sign of the banishing, or dismissal, pentagram in front of the priestess, and then stay near her as she reorients herself to the circle atmosphere again.

Cakes and Ale
The Ceremony of Cakes and Ale is an easy ritual to perform, and one that is very common at esbats. It usually concludes any esbat ritual whether it is a group or a solitary affair. In fact, it’s one that you can do yourself on the very next full moon if you want to start practicing the Craft.

The format and concept may already be familiar to you. If you grew up as a Christian, you will notice the similarity between the Pagan ritual and the Christian communion service, which sees the bread and wine as symbolic of the body and blood of their savior deity, Jesus. If you grew up Jewish, you notice the similarity to the Kiddush, or wine blessing, and the Hamotzi, or the thanking of God for the Gift of Bread.

The origins of breaking bread with another person as a sign of connection and goodwill go deep into prehistory, when bread and wine were staples of the small tribes of humans who had ceased their nomadic ways. Bread could be had all year long if the grain harvest was properly preserved, and fermented liquids bypassed the dangers of diseases that were carried in tainted water supplies.

For this ritual, you will need a small portion of bread and some type of drink in a cup or chalice. Do not feel you have to use an alcoholic beverage. Many covens substitute juice or even water out of concern for others who may be in recovery. Use what feels best to you. I often use plain water into which I’ve placed some lemon, a fruit sometimes associated with lunar energies.

“Cake” is also another word that is flexible and can be misleading, since most covens use cookies or loaves of bread for this ritual.

Bread and wine symbolize the body of the great Mother Goddess and the blood of her womb from which all things are born. This is why the Goddess is associated with the esbat celebration; regardless of how many lunar Gods exist, Wicca tends to view the full moon as a feminine symbol ruled by a feminine deity.

Whatever the deity, place the bread and drink onto some type of central altar. Take the bread first and hold it before you as if you were offering it to someone else. Speak words of blessing that focus on the gift of the bread from the Goddess rather than blessing the bread itself. Something like:

Blessed be the Goddess who gives herself to us
In the form of a bountiful harvest. Blessed be
Her bread, the gift of her body that sustains
And nurtures us. By all that is sacred, so mote it be.

Break off a small piece of the bread and eat it. If there are others working with you, pass the bread clockwise around your circle. Each person should break off a piece of the bread and eat it. As each person sends the loaf on around the circle, you may feel free to offer a blessing to that person, such as, “I pass the gift of life to you,” or “Here is the Goddess to feed the Goddess within.”

Next you will take up the chalice and hold it up, also as if offering it to someone else. The blessing will be similar to that said over the bread:

Blessed be the womb of the Goddess in whose
Blood we are formed and from which we are
Born. Blessed be her gift of drink, which links us
To her powers of creation. From her womb we
Came, and to it we shall one day return to await
Rebirth. By all that is sacred, so mote it be.

Take a drink from the chalice and, if you are working with others, pass the chalice clockwise around the circle so everyone may drink or honor the blood of the Goddess in their own way. No one should be forced to drink. Some people have allergies to certain juices or to the sulfites in wines, and others may be in recovery. Some fear getting or passing illnesses. Those who wish not to consume the drink may bow to the chalice, hold it to the heart or forehead, or raise it in a toast to the moon.

As with the bread, feel free to give a blessing to the person to whom you pass the chalice. This might be something like: “I give you the gift of life, the blood of the Goddess, our mother,” or “Herein is the blood of the Goddess who blesses us with life renewed.”

When your ritual is complete, you should take the chalice and remaining bread outdoors. Pour any liquid onto the ground and place the leftover bread on top of it. The liquid is a libation, your offering to the Goddess of the earth, and the bread is a sacrifice that her animals can enjoy. You may even want to make a statement out loud as you give these offerings. A simple sentence telling the Goddess what you’re giving her and thanking her is sufficient, but you may be as elaborate as you like.

Last of all, be sure to ground yourself when you are finished with this or any other ritual.

From If You Want to Be a Witch, by Edain McCoy

http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/1722

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The Witches Magick for the First Day of the Hare Moon – Hare Moon Ritual

Beltane Comments & Graphics

 Hare Moon Ritual

 

The Hare Moon is when the Goddess grants the earth unlimited fertility. It is a time of great productivity when you weed out the parasites in your life. In modern mythology, the hare has shape shifted into the Easter bunny, which brings eggs to children. Like the rabbit, the egg is a traditional symbol of fertility. Use this ritual to manifest five personal dreams.

For this ritual, you will need five green candles, five yellow flowers, and five dreams that you would like to come true. Write the dreams down in your journal.

At 5:55 p.m., draw a magick circle, call in the elements and light the green candles, dedicating them to the three faces of the Goddess:

Child, Mother, Grandmother,

Each a fertile part of life,

To the Goddesses of eternal creation,

I give to you this light.

Place the five yellow flowers on your altar, and in a loud voice declare:

Oh great and mighty one,

Let me flower with your fluorescence

Let me glow with your divine light

Like a bright star in the night.

Call out the name of your favorite goddess five times, one for each of your dreams. Finish by shouting:

Ayea! Ayea! Ayea! Ayea! Ayea!

Thank the Goddess, bid farewell to the elements, and close the circle. Allow the candles to burn down safely.

Wiccan Spell A Night: Spells, Charms, Potions for the Whole Year

Sirona Knight

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Beltane Lore & Rites

by Selena Fox

DSC 2730-smallAlso known as May Eve, May Day, and Walpurgis Night, happens at the beginning of May. It celebrates the height of Spring and the flowering of life. The Goddess manifests as the May Queen and Flora. The God emerges as the May King and Jack in the Green. The danced Maypole represents Their unity, with the pole itself being the God and the ribbons that encompass it, the Goddess. Colors are the Rainbow spectrum. Beltane is a festival of flowers, fertility, sensuality, and delight.

Celebrating Beltane Podcasts

 

Beltane Chants

 

Beltane Customs

Prepare a May basket by filling it with flowers and goodwill and then give it to someone in need of healing and caring, such as a shut-in or elderly friend. Form a wreath of freshly picked flowers, wear it in your hair, and feel yourself radiating joy and beauty. Dress in bright colors. Dance the Maypole and feel yourself balancing the Divine Female and Male within. On May Eve, bless your garden in the old way by making love with your lover in it. Make a wish as you jump a bonfire or candle flame for good luck. Welcome in the May at dawn with singing and dancing.

Going A-Maying & Bringing in the May — Merry-making and Nature communion. * Midpoint between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. * In Pagan Rome, Floralia, from April 27-May 3 was the festival of the Flower Goddess Flora and the flowering of Springtime. On May 1, offerings were made to Bona Dea (as Mother Earth), the Lares (household guardian spirits), and Maia (Goddess of Increase) from whom May gets its name. * Roman Catholic traditions of crowning statues of Mary with flowers on May 1 have Roman Pagan roots. * Marks the second half of the Celtic Year; one of the four Celtic Fire Festivals. Complement to Samhain, it is a time of divination and communion with Fairy Folk/Nature Spirits. * Pastoral tradition of turning sheep, cows, other livestock out to pasture. * In Pagan Scandinavia, mock battles between Winter and Summer were enacted at this time. * Building on older tradition of this time being a holiday for the masses, in the twentieth century, May Day has been a workers’ holiday in many places. * Some say that Mother’s Day, in the USA, Mexico, and elsewhere has Pagan roots.

 

DSC 2542-smallMaypole

Forms include pole, tree, bush, cross; communal or household; permanent or annual. * In Germany, Fir tree was cut on May Eve by young unmarried men, branches removed, decorated, put up in village square, & guarded all night until dance occurred on May Day. * In England, permanent Maypoles were erected on village greens * In some villages, there also were smaller Maypoles in the yards of households. * Maypole ribbondances, with two circles interweaving; around decorated bush/tree, clockwise circle dances.

 

Flowers & Greenwood

Gathering and exchange of Flowers and Greens on May Eve, pre-dawn May Day, Beltane. * Decorating homes, barns, and other buildings with Green budding branches, including Hawthorn. * Making and wearing of garland wreaths of Flowers and/or Greens. * May Baskets were given or placed secretly on doorsteps to friends, shut-ins, lovers, others. * May Bowl was punch (wine or non-alcoholic) made of Sweet Woodruff blossoms.

 

DSC 2841-smallBeltane Fires

Traditionally, sacred woods kindled by spark from flint or by friction — in Irish Gaelic, the Beltane Fire has been called teine eigin (fire from rubbing sticks). * Jump over the Beltane Fire, move through it, or dance clockwise around it. * Livestock was driven through it or between two fires for purification and fertility blessings. * In ancient times Druid priests kindled it at sacred places; later times, Christian priests kindled it in fields near the church after peforming a Christian church service. * Rowan twigs were carried around the fire three times, then hung over hearths to bless homes. * In the past, Beltane community fire purification customs included symbolic sacrifice of effigy knobs on the Beltane Cake (of barley) to the fire, or, in medieval times, mock sacrifice of Beltane Carline (Hag) who received blackened piece of Beltane Cake; Maypoles in Spain were each topped with a male effigy which was later burned. Contemporary Pagans burn sacred wood and dried herbs as offerings in their Beltane fires.

 

May Waters

Rolling in May Eve dew or washing face in pre-dawn May Day dew for health, luck, beauty. * Getting head and hair wet in Beltane rain to bless the head. * Blessing springs, ponds, other sacred waters with flowers, garlands, ribbons, other offerings. * Collecting sacred waters and scrying in sacred springs, wells, ponds, other waters.

 

Sacred Union & Fertility

Union with the Land focus, often with actual mating outside on the Land to bless fields, herds, home. * May Queen (May Bride) as personification of the Earth Goddess and Goddesses of Fertility. * May King (May Groom) as personification of Vegetation God, Jack-in-Green — often covered in green leaves. * At Circle Sanctuary, in addition to May Queen & May King, is May Spirit Couple, an already bonded pair. * Symbolic Union of Goddess and God in election/selection, crowning, processional, Maypole dance, feast. * Morris Dancers and pageants (with Hag & Jack-in-Green) to awaken the fertility in the Land.

Categories: Coven Life, Rejuvenation, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Few Idea for Celebrating Samhain

Samhain/Halloween October 31st.

All Souls Night, Feast of the Dead, Festival of Remembrance, Feast of Apples, New Year…

Samhain is one of the major festivals of the Wheel of the Year, for many Pagans the most important festival of all. It is the third and final harvest festival of nuts and berries and a fire festival. All the harvest is in, all is complete, it is the end of the cycle of birth and growth, it is the point of death. The seeds of the harvest have fallen deep into the dark earth, they are unseen, dormant, and thus apparently lifeless.

The God, as Sun King is sacrificed back to the land with the seed until the Winter Solstice, and the Goddess, now as Crone, mourns Him until His rebirth at Yule. He travels the Underworld learning its wisdom. This is the time of the descent into darkness, of pre-conception, out of which new life, new ideas, will eventually emerge.

Traditionally the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest now. Boundaries dissolve and all is laid bare. It is time to honour and offer hospitality to, our ancestors.

At Samhain the dark half of the year commences. It is a truly magical time. Death is always followed by rebirth and while this is the end of the old year, it is the beginning of the new year. For the Celts the day did not begin at dawn, it began at sunset, it began with darkness. Light is always born out of darkness, they are inseparable, interdependent, and necessary. Darkness is fertile with ‘all potential’. With the beginning of this dark phase comes the opportunity to rest and reflect on the past and to dream of new beginnings. The seed now hidden in the earth will germinate in its season. Look for the seeds in yourself!

Honouring The Ancestors

Honouring your ancestors is a very special thing to do at this time and can be done in many simple ways. Think about all those departed souls from your life, both family and friends, children may wish to remember pets even – place photographs of them on your altar. Offer them your hospitality, welcome their presence into your home. At your Samhain feast, consider laying an extra place for them to join you at the table – cook and eat their favourite dishes, talk about them – re-member them, bring them closer. You and your children can make an offering for departed pets by leaving some dog food outside on Halloween night, many night creatures appreciate this offering.  Be careful what you put outside – we used to put out bread and milk but are dismayed to find that this is fatal to hedgehogs – and we lovehedgehogs!

Candle Ceremony for The Ancestors

This is a wonderfully simple ritual which can be shared with both friends and family, or worked alone. You can include children in it – it begins in darkness and ends full of light.

It’s a great balance to trick or treating!

You will need a supply of small candles, either black or white, or a supply of night lights. You need a heat proof container or tray of sand or earth to put them in. Place one in the centre of the container from which all the others will be lit. Switch off all the lights and sit gently in thedarkness. Allow the darkness to enfold you. Ask for the presence of your ancestors to come to you. When you are ready, light the central candle saying “We welcome our departed loved ones into this home and honour your presence amongst us”. Allow each person in the circle to spontaneously remember someone who has passed to the Summerlands and remember something about them and light a candle for each person from the central candle: ‘I remember Great Aunt Sheila and her generosity of heart….’. Allow this to continue for as long as it takes to complete the re-membering. You will end with a tray full of radiant candles. When all is complete, give thanks, and allow the candles to burn to completion.

 

Seed Scattering Charm for the Ancestors

 

This simple charm is designed to honour the Spirit of those who have passed onto the Summerland. The seeds you scatter will grow in memory, a gift of remembrance to the Earth.

You will need:

A packet of seeds of your choice

A small dish

A small white candle in a suitable holder

A pouch or bag for your seeds

The night before your Seed Scattering Charm, pop the seeds into the dish and light the candle. Think about the person or people you wish to honour and remember, and as you do so say ‘gone from sight but not from the heart. Merry Meet Merry Part.’ Or you can use your own words. Leave the seeds in the dish overnight and let the candle burn down completely – always taking safety precautions. When you are ready place the seeds in your pouch and hold the pouch in your right hand on the way to a place of your choosing. On arrival take the seeds and scatter them, saying ‘You are remembered and held in my heart’. Repeat three times.

Where to do this? You can go to a favourite special place of your choice, a place that holds fond memories of the people you are honouring, or even your own garden – the idea of watching the seeds germinating and growing in honour of people you love is very special. The charm works just as well if you plant the seeds in a small pot.

This charm works very well as an offering of thanks to Spirit of Place. The instructions are exactly the same, except that when you prepare the seeds the night before the words are ‘ I give thanks for your beauty, it warms my heart. Merry Meet Merry Part.’

Charm donated with generous heart by the Counter Enchantress.

The Isle of Avalon, Isle of Apples, Isle of the Dead.

Glastonbury, where we are based, is also known as the Sacred Isle of Avalon, or Isle of Apples, and also the Isle of the Dead.

In mythology, here the entrance to the Underworld is found, ruled by Morgan, Queen of the Dead. There are many apple games played at Samhain which grew out of the belief in the Apple as a sacred and magical fruit. The Apple is a symbol of life and immortality. In Celtic tradition, apples were buried at Samhain as food for those souls who are waiting to be reborn.
The Apple, cut crosswise, reveals the five pointed star, or pentacle at its core, a symbol of the Goddess.

Symbols of Samhain

The Pumpkin

Pumpkins are very much an American tradition which has been successfully marketed in the UK and Europe. Everyone loves them, especially of course, children. If you consider that the Celts regarded the human head as the Seat of the Soul, the concept of the carved pumpkin with a candle inside it as the Light shining from the Soul, it becomes just about acceptable……..

The Cauldron

The Cauldron or Holy Grail is closely associated with Samhain. It is feminine, and is the cosmic container for all life and death, of transformation and rebirth.

The Besom Broom

The besom is used as this time both practically and symbolically. It sweeps away the last of the Autumn leaves, but is also used ritually to sweep out the old, to clean and clear away old energy, creating space for the new. Traditionally besoms are made from birch twigs – the birch is associated with purification and renewal.

You can make a besom at this time of year by gathering a large bundle of birch twigs tied together. Drive a broom handle into the middle of the bundle – ideally hazel or ash.

Acorns

The Acorn is the seed of the great Oak, representing wisdom, longevity, rebirth – a promise of strength to come. An acorn in your pocket is an amulet of good fortune to come. All nuts from our indigenous trees – walnuts, hazelnuts, conkers and so on – are pure potential and carry the attributes of the mother tree.

Colours of Samhain

Black for death and endings, orange for the vitality of life within death, purple for wisdom, insight and inspiration.

The Samhain Altar

A cauldron. Apples, nuts and berries. Black candles to honour the passage to the Summerland and the Ancestors. Photographs of deceased family and friends.



Buttermilk Bread Charm for Samhain.

You will need:

3 mugs of strong white flour

500 ml of Buttermilk (available from the supermarket)

I teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda

Samhain ribbon in black or purple.

A handful of rye flour

A scattering of oats

twig of rosemary for remembrance

Place the flours in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Sieve in the blended salt and soda and pour in the buttermilk. Mix well with a wooden spoon until the dough feels springy. If it feels too sloppy just add a little more flour. Turn it onto a board and cover with a fine dusting of flour. Pat it with your hands until you have a round shape. Take a sharp knife and score lightly into eight sections, one for each festival. Our picture shows the bread scored five times to make a pentacle.

Place onto a greased baking tray and pop your buttermilk bread into a moderate oven for about 20-25 minutes. Keep and eye on it. When the bread is ready it will change colour and it will sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack. When it is cool, place the rosemary on top and tie it with Samhain ribbon.

Take time to concentrate on the bread you have created and turn the loaf three times saying

“From the fields and through the stones, into fire, Samhain Bread, as the Wheel turns may all be fed. Goddess Bless.”

Now take your bread and share it with your family and friends and pass on the generous blessings of this festival of completion and beginning. Eat it fresh, as soon as it is made if you can.

Recipe donated by the Counter Enchantress. Adapted by the Boss Lady with permission.

The Counter Enchantress is discovering that you can add almost anything appropriate to this simple bread recipe and it STILL WORKS beautifully. You can decide for yourself what the appropriate additions are for a particular festival, in this case rye flour. oats and rosemary, and just do it. There is much kitchen magic in working with one recipe through the Wheel of the Year just changing it a little as the wheel turns…..


Honour the ancestors, have fun and enjoy………..

All information offered is checked to the best of our ability, and whilst every effort has been made to make it accurate, no responsibility will be accepted for errors and omissions.

Any information displayed on our web site(s) or other printed matter from the shop is not regarded to be authoritative or certified as the best practice and is only considered to be useful supplementary advice to other certified codes of practice. All information on our web site is updated regularly. From: http://www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk/samhain

Categories: Articles, Coven Life, Deities, Edibles Magickal/NonMagickal, Miscellaneous Spells, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Few Ideas for Celebrating Beltane

Beltane April 30th – May 1st

Sunset to Sunset.

Beltane honours Life. It represents the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. Earth energies are at their strongest and most active. All of life is bursting with potent fertility and at this point in the Wheel of the Year, the potential becomes conception. On May Eve the sexuality of life and the earth is at its peak. Abundant fertility, on all levels, is the central theme. The Maiden goddess has reached her fullness. She is the manifestation of growth and renewal, Flora, the Goddess of Spring, the May Queen, the May Bride. The Young Oak King, as Jack-In-The-Green, as the Green Man, falls in love with her and wins her hand. The union is consummated and the May Queen becomes pregnant. Together the May Queen and the May King are symbols of the Sacred Marriage (or Heiros Gamos), the union of Earth and Sky, and this union has merrily been re-enacted by humans throughout the centuries. For this is the night of the Greenwood Marriage. It is about sexuality and sensuality, passion, vitality and joy. And about conception. A brilliant moment in the Wheel of the Year to bring ideas, hopes and dreams into action. And have some fun…..

Traditions of Beltane

Beltane is a Fire Festival. The word ‘Beltane’ originates from the Celtic God ‘Bel’, meaning ‘the bright one’ and the Gaelic word ‘teine’ meaning fire. Together they make ‘Bright Fire’, or ‘Goodly Fire’ and traditionally bonfires were lit to honour the Sun and encourage the support of Bel and the Sun’s light to nurture the emerging future harvest and protect the community. Bel had to be won over through human effort. Traditionally all fires in the community were put out and a special fire was kindled for Beltane. “This was the Tein-eigen, the need fire. People jumped the fire to purify, cleanse and to bring fertility. Couples jumped the fire together to pledge themselves to each other. Cattle and other animals were driven through the smoke as a protection from disease and to bring fertility. At the end of the evening, the villagers would take some of the Teineigen to start their fires anew.” (From Sacred Celebrations by Glennie Kindred) Green Man – Beltane

Handfasting

As Beltane is the Great Wedding of the Goddess and the God, it is a popular time for pagan weddings or Handfastings, a traditional betrothal for ‘a year and a day’ after which the couple would either choose to stay together or part without recrimination. Today, the length of commitment is a matter of choice for the couple, and can often be for life. Handfasting ceremonies are often unique to the couple, but include common elements, most importantly the exchange of vows and rings (or a token of their choice). The act of handfasting always involves tying the hands Handfasting(‘tying the knot’) of the two people involved, in a figure of eight, at some point in the ceremony and later unbinding. This is done with a red cord or ribbon. Tying the hands together symbolises that the two people have come together and the untying means that they remain together of their own free will.

Another common element is ‘jumping the broomstick’ – this goes back to a time when two people who could not afford a church ceremony, or want one, would be accepted in the community as a married couple if they literally jumped over a broom laid on the floor. The broom marked a ‘threshold’, moving from an old life to a new one.

Mead and cakes are often shared in communion as part of the ceremony. Mead is known as the Brew of the Divine, made from honey which is appropriate for a love ceremony (and is the oldest alcoholic drink known to humankind).

 

 

 

Going A-Maying

Handfasting or not, both young and old went A-Maying… Couples spent the night in the woods and fields, made love and brought back armfuls of the first May or haw thorn blossoms to decorate their homes and barns. Hawthorn was never brought into the home except at Beltane – at other times it was considered unlucky. Young women gathered the dew to wash their faces, made Flower Crowns and May B askets to give as gifts. Everyone was free to enact the Sacred Marriage of Goddess and God, and there was an accepted tradition of Beltane babies arriving nine months later!

 

 

 

Maypole

The Maypole is a popular and familiar image of May Day and Beltane. A phallic pole, often made from birch, was inserted into the Earth representing the potency of the God. The ring of flowers at the top of the Maypole represents the fertile Goddess. Its many coloured ribbons and the ensuing weaving dance symbolise the spiral of Life and the union of the Goddess and God, the union between Earth and Sky.

Trees of Beltane

Hawthorn

Hawthorn is a deeply magical tree and is one of the three trees at the heart of the Celtic Tree Alphabet, the Faery Triad, ‘by Oak, Ash and Thorn’. Traditionally Beltane began when the Hawthorn, the May, blossomed. It is the tree of sexuality and fertility and is the classic flower to decorate a Maypole with. It was both worn and used to decorate the home at Beltane.

Birch

Birch is regarded as a feminine tree and Deities associated with Birch are mostly love and fertility goddesses. It is one of the first trees to show its leaf in Spring. Eostre/Ostara, the Celtic goddess of Spring was celebrated in festivities and dancing around and through the birch tree between the Spring Equinox and Beltane. Birch twigs were traditionally used to make besoms (a new broom sweeps clean). Maypoles were often made from birch and birch wreaths were given as lover’s gifts.

Rowan

A tree of protection and healing. Branches of Rowan were placed as protection over the doors of houses and barns at Beltane to protect from increased Faery activity as they woke from their winter slumber. Sprigs were worn for protection also. Rowan berries have a tiny five-pointed star on the bottom reminiscent of the pentagram.
Colours of Beltane

The colours of Beltane are green, red and white/silver. Green represents growth, abundance and fertility. Red represents strength, vitality, passion and vibrancy. White represents cleansing and clearing and the power to disperse negativity.

Nana Violet’s Egg Charm For Beltane.

Think carefully what you wish for! The general rule of thumb is a brown egg for wishes involving animals and white for wishes involving people and plants, for example healing a sick animal, person or plant. Eggs with white shells are difficult to come by now as chickens are generally given feed which produces the desired brown shell, but in recent years some of the supermarkets are making white eggs available at this time of year so they are worth looking out for.

1. Blow the egg. Using a fat needle, pierce a hole in both ends of the egg, making one hole larger than the other. Using the needle pierce the egg yolk gently and swirl it around to break up the yolk. Place a small drinking straw in one end and gently blow through the other hole to help gravity do its work.

2. Paint Your Egg Talisman. When your egg has thoroughly dried out place it on top of a little mound of blue tack to hold it in place and you are ready to go! Choose a symbol to represent your wish – a heart for love, coin for prosperity, a candle for wisdom, whatever is meaningful for you. Or you can paint the whole egg in a corresponding colour – red for love, green for prosperity, purple for wisdom and so on. Another way to do it is to stick rose petals on for love, or feathers for fertility – again it is what is meaningful to you that is important.

3. When it is ready find a suitable place for it and prepare for it for hanging by threading a thin thread (embroidery thread, thin wool) through the two holes and secure it with a large knot, a bead, or even a matchstick at the bottom to hold it steady.

4. Clear your mind and focus on your desire for abundance/fruitfulness and its place in your life:

‘Little charm made of shell as I hang you here may all be well. May all things grow. May all things flow. Blessings for the turning of the Wheel.”

Use these words or any others that you are comfortable with – remember this is all about your intention.

Egg charm donated by our Counter Enchantress from her own family traditions.

Making a Wish Box Charm

Beltane is a good time for bringing hopes, dreams and aspirations to life, and here is a truly beautiful charm to help you bring these into manifestation.

You will need:

A small shallow cardboard box. Shoe boxes are good.
Rose petals
Sunflower seeds and/or poppy seeds
Paper
A piece of willow bark or piece of willow, an acorn or oak leaf
Something that represents your wish (see below)
Take a piece of paper and write your wish on it while visualizing your wish coming to life and growing. You can do this alone, with friends, or as a family. If you want to, decorate the lid of the box, with a triple moon, pentacle, heart, or any symbol of your choice. Poke a few holes in the lid – this will help your wish/plants, to grow. Take your box and sprinkle some earth into it. Put in your paper wishes, wish symbol (see below), and seeds/bark/acorn. Cover with another layer of earth. Mix the rose petals with the seeds and scatter them on top. Cover with a final layer of earth and place the lid on top, leaving enough of the rose petal/seed mixture to scatter on top of the box when you are planting it.

Planting Your Wish Box

The best time for planting your Wish Box is just after a fresh cleansing rainfall as this gives you a bright new start, but if the season is dry just give the earth a good watering the night before. Dig a hole two inches deeper than your wish box and lower it into the earth carefully while concentrating on your chosen wish, visualizing it coming to fruition. Imagine your wish growing with the flowers reaching skyward. As you cover the box with earth say:

“Dream that lies within the earth awaken now. Hope that sleeps awaken now. The stars await as so do I. Grow true, grow strong, toward the sky.”

If you don’t have a garden you can make a mini wish pot that can live on a window ledge and it works just as well. Just replace the box with a terracotta pot – one wish and one symbol per pot following exactly the same instructions as above. Remember that wishes are only to be used for positive motives.

Suggested Symbols For Your Wish Box:

Love & Marriage – gingerbread
New Job – copper coin
Abundance – silver coin
Difficult Task – glove
Hearth & Home – thimble
Seeking the Truth – sprig of rosemary
Health, Healing, Renewed Strength – blue & green ribbon entwined
Happiness, Good Luck – cinnamon stick
Seeking Knowledge – apple
To Find A Lost Item – feather
Protection – key (an old iron key is best if you have one)

Charm donated by our Counter Enchantress from her own family traditions.

Beltane Bread As Only Debs Knows How

You will need:

3 mugs of strong white flour
500 mls of buttermilk
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbs clear honey
3 tbs golden syrup
1 pack dried strawberries
3 drops vanilla essence
1 small beaten egg for glazing
soft brown sugar for sprinkling
Place the strawberries and flour in a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, blended golden syrup, honey and vanilla essence together with a wooden spoon – or your hands if that is better.  As you mix, feel the pulsing vibrant Beltane energy and let it run through your hands and out through your fingertips.  And as you mix, say:
 
‘As we light the Beltane flame, I make this bread in Love’s sweet name.
Two halves together bound as one, Beltane’s dance has now begun!’
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and pat it into a circle.  With a sharp knife lightly score the bread into two halves to represent The Lord and Lady.  Glaze with beaten egg and sprinkle sugar over the top.  Bake in a moderate oven for about 20-25 minutes.  When the bread is cooled break it into two halves along the score mark.  Repeat the words of the charm and tie with purple ribbon.  Purple represents the union of red (love in all its forms) and blue (unity and harmony).  Enjoy.  Brightest Blessings.  Debs.

Things To Do

Whatever you do, remember this is the Great Wedding! Dress in your best, especially in green, and wear a flower crown.

Stay out all night, gathering the green, watch the sunrise and make love. Wash your face in the morning dew.

Conceive a new project, grasp that idea, and get on with it.

Dress your home and/or altar with greenery – especially with hawthorn, rowan and birch branches. Ask permission from the tree before you take anything.

Dress a tree. This is the perfect time to go out and celebrate a tree. Especially a hawthorn, rowan or birch – but the tree spirit will welcome you attention whichever kind of tree it is. Sit with it, talk to it, dance around it (maypole), honour the tree and its fertility. Hang ribbons from its branches, each ribbon represents a wish or prayer.

Flowers, flowers and more flowers. This is the festival of Flora. Make a flower crown to wear – the daisy chain in the simplest of all. Make a traditional flower basket. fill it with Beltane greenery and all the flowers and herbs you can find. Think about, and honour, their magical and healing properties while you do so. Give it someone you love.

Make some Hawthorn Brandy. You will need a bottle of brandy and at least one cup of hawthorn flowers, plus a little sugar to taste. Mix the ingredients together and leave away from direct light, for at least two weeks. Shake occasionally. Strain, bottle and enjoy. Hawthorn is renowned as a tonic for the heart.

Above all, have fun!

ll information offered is checked to the best of our ability, and whilst every effort has been made to make it accurate, no responsibility will be accepted for errors and omissions.

Any information displayed on our web site(s) or other printed matter from the shop is not regarded to be authoritative or certified as the best practice and is only considered to be useful supplementary advice to other certified codes of practice. All information on our web site is updated regularly. From : http://www.goddessandgreenman.co.uk/beltane

Categories: Articles, Coven Life, Deities, Miscellaneous Spells, Rejuvenation, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flashback 2007 Beltane

BELTANE 2007

An example of a Beltane altar.

Bonfires, Maypoles, and Morris Dancers all celebrate the awakening of the Earth. In ancient times, there was a fear that the Earth would continue to slumber and remain fallow unless properly awoken at the Fire Festival Beltane.

Morris Dancers woke the Earth from its winter sleep by rhythmically knocking wooden staves on the ground as they danced to summon the return of bountiful crops.

Beltane is when the cares and fears of winter are sloughed off, giving wy to youthful exuberance, playfulness, and sexuality. People exuberantly dance around the maypoles in a symbolic representation of the union between the Goddess and God, creating a sacred circle of abundance. Corn dollies made from the last sheaves of the previous year’s crops are planted with the first seed sown.

Many bonfires are lit, often in pairs. Both human and animals pass between two bonfires. Couples often jump over the flame to bless their union and ensure fertility, good fortune, and the blessings of the Goddess and God.

Copyright Abby Willowroot Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2007 Page 63

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Defining Pagan by Edian McCoy

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“When one defines oneself as Pagan,
it means she or he follows an earth or nature religion,
one that sees the divine manifest in all creation.
The cycles of nature are our holy days, the earth is our temple,
its plants and creatures our partners and teachers.
We worship a deity that is both male and female,
a mother Goddess and a father God,
who together created all that is, was, or will be.
We respect life, cherish the free will of sentient beings,
and accept the sacredness of all creation.” —

Edain McCoy

Bless be sisters and brothers of The Old Ways

Categories: Coven Life, Daily Posts, Our History, Rejuvenation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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