Runecast for Tuesday February 1

The rune today is Ingwaz of Tyr’s Aett Ingwaz pronounced “eeeng-wawz” (NG: Ing, the earth god) Male fertility, gestation, internal growth. Common virtues, common sense, simple strengths, family love, caring, human warmth, the home. Rest stage, a time of relief, of no anxiety. A time when all loose strings are tied and you are free to move in a new direction. Listen to yourself.

A waning Moon appears in the sky before sunrise. Completion  –  and a new beginning. This rune promises you future success but only if you can bring your current affairs to completion now. There is no reason to be too anxious because stress is inevitable in the final stages of any creative endeavour. Concentrate on concluding all your on-going projects to your own personal satisfaction, and then you will reap the benefits of all your past efforts. An important event, perhaps signifying a new phase of your life, awaits you in the future but it will come as a consequence of your present efforts. The fertility rune also calls on you to let go of something from the past and to put yourself in a “fertile” position, ready to respond to positive future developments.

Ingwaz Merkstave (Ingwaz cannot be reversed, but may lie in opposition): Impotence, movement without change. Production, toil, labor, work. (Note: the reversed or merkstave definitions are included only for reference as they apply to a multi-rune cast and not to a single rune that’s drawn blind from the pouch)

As with all, take only what feels right to you and disregard the rest.

**a portion of today’s rune meaning/description was kindly provided by Ingrid Halvorsen at and used here with her gracious permission**

In the Light…


“Music is a release from the tyranny of conscious thought”
— Kevin Burke
Insanity is inherited, you get it from your kids…

Power of the Flowers Daily Reading: Nootka Rose


Nootka Rose

Nootka Rose
from Isha Lerner
from Isha’s
    Holy Rose, Queen of Love,
    Your beauty is Divine,
    Sacred is your tenderness,
    Jewel of nature,
    Sweet and kind.

Latin: Rosaceae

Color(s): Full spectrum

Archetype: Madonna, Mary, Queen of Heaven, Mother of the World. First symbolized as “The Holy Rose” in India, the body of the Goddess was considered a temple. At the mystical core of Christianity, Mary, a derivative of the Goddess, gives birth to The Light of the World in the form of the Cosmic Child, making her the Cosmic birther of all that is sacred.

Signature: Five-petaled flowers in the shape of pentagrams (5-pointed stars).

Healing Properties: Each color of Rose gently and uniquely stimulates the heart chakra to open to Cosmic Love and Wisdom, sometimes understood and experienced only through suffering and pain. Deep roots reflect tenacity and endurance.

Healing: The Austrian mystic Rudolph Steiner offered a unique perspective on the birth of Christ, suggesting that Mary, in fact, gave birth to twin souls: one dedicated to the path of the Truth, the yellow rose; and the other dedicated to the path of the Heart, the pink rose. In this way, according to Steiner, Mary offered the world both the forces of Universal Logos and of Universal Love.

In choosing this card, you are greeted by the Rose Goddess, gently announcing your readiness to accept the twin gifts of Cosmic Love and Wisdom embodied by the Mystic Rose. Mary’s balancing of the head and the heart is symbolized by the Sun, aglow as an aura of Light around her head, and an illumined rose, shining forth from deep within her heart. Behind her stands a weeping willow tree offering its branches to mystical muses for the making of wands. Such branches were once considered cosmic connectors to the stars. Mary sits surrounded by the delicate flower Shooting Star. The flower essence derived from its blossoms assists humanity with the birthing of higher forms of consciousness on Earth.

Allow your mind to be illumined with the yellow clarity of the Sun as you open your Solar Body to new inspiration. At the same time, open your heart to the stream of rose light now encircling your energy field. You are dearly blessed.

‘May we live in peace without weeping. May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing. And may our love fill the world, angel wings tenderly beating.’
The Universal Heart Center

Power Animal of the Day: Buffalo

Power Animal of the Day: Buffalo


The Buffalo

               Endurance          Hidden Talents          Adaptability


Welcome the great and powerful buffalo into your life to be your teacher.

The buffalo will teach you how to survive, even when the cold wind blows and the snow drifts across the plains.  He will teach you how to grow a thick coat and hold your head down in winter, doing what you must, but full of the certain knowledge that winter will pass and the green grass will again push through to the sunshine of spring.  And then, when summer comes, he will teach you how to shed that long, shaggy coat and adapt to the new season.  You will be able to handle whatever comes your way, strong and capable, comfortable in the cold or in the heat, for you are the buffalo.

The buffalo can also teach you the power of the group.  For even though the buffalo is a very powerful animal in his own right, he is especially powerful as a member of a group, where the stronger and more experienced actively protect others.  The buffalo will help you feel more a part of those around you, finding your proper role, whether it is as a leader and protector or one of those protected.  Either way, the buffalo energy will help you relate well and easily with others.

Buffalo energy will also help you find hidden talents and abilities within you.  For the buffalo, though appearing slow, can actually run very fast and can leap great heights.  You will surprise us all with your newfound strengths, for you are the buffalo.

‘May we live in peace without weeping. May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing. And may our love fill the world, angel wings tenderly beating.’
The Universal Heart Center

Daily Goddess Devotion

Daily Goddess Devotion

Your spirit seeks out what your heart truly desires;
Seek out love and ye shall find love,
Seek out joy and ye shall find joy,
Seek out friendship and ye shall find yourself.
Seek out nothing and ye shall receive, nothing.

Lady Abigail
Copyright © 01132010



February 2nd……………………Transition from Winter to Spring

Origins: In Ireland, where green first appears after the long winter, Imbolc (or
Oimelc) was a pastoralist’s holiday celebrating the first new lambs, their
nourishment and growth–with a thorough spring cleaning and rekindling of the
hearth fires.  Imbolc is especially sacred to Bridgid, the Goddess of healing,
poetry, smithcraft, warmth, fire and the sun!  Today, Imbolc, Candlemas or
Groundhog Day is a welcome chance to call back the green of springtime in the
darkest stretch of winter.

All alone in the far paddock, near the pig pen where I can hear the excited
feeding of a sow, the countryside is absolutely bleak and gray in the cold early
light.  The brown mud underfoot sparkles with frost, and crusts of snow cling
onto every desolate surface.  I couldn’t imagine what I might be expected to see
in the garden now! All of a sudden I could feel a little hand in mine, and
looked down to see a pink cheeked, red headed toddler in a pale green snowsuit
smiling up at me.  He pulled on my arm, so I followed.  He was new at walking,
so we slowly, slowly made our way toward a lonely plateau ringed by granite
rocks. Someone had deliberately placed them into a circle.  The baby went on,
and I wondered whether I should take him back to the homestead, when he stooped
down and called to me…”See?”  He said, and pointed with his little fat hands
to a slender, supple,      bright green stalk that had pushed up toward the sun
on the warm side of a stone.  Amazing.

Imbolc Rocks…Late Winter Nature
February Foods Of Pigs and Potatoes
Elemental Homeschooling
Our Imbolc
Brigid and Cerridwen
Crafts of Imbolc Links to the Earth

Late Winter Nature

For Euro-Americans such as myself, stone circles, along with Merlin and the
Druids, hold a major franchise in the collective unconscious. We can’t help it
or deny it.  There is a quality about stones in sacred arrangement that speaks
particularly–though by no means exclusively–to the European soul. Circles,
dolmens, cromlechs, and mysterious stone passageways into the earth are among
the oldest signatures of our culture.  For centuries our ancestors entered the
dark, stone linteled passageways much as Hopi elders enter their kivas: to fast,
to commune with ancestral spirits, and to awaken to the fire deep within  Mother
Earth.  And on other ritual occasions they went to the stone circles.  The
circles are the ancient “medicine wheels” for Europeans:  they mark carefully
the cardinal directions and lunar and solar alignments for ceremonies we can now
only imagine.

The standing stones speak to me of the union between Earth and Sky my ancestors
knew, long before the cathedrals came.  These stones are deeply rooted in the
earth as they mark the turning of the seasons and the patterns in the stars
above.  And their very alignment with one another generates a powerful dynamism.
Their oldest names attest to this:  Stonehenge is “the Giant’s Dance,” and the
little circle near Killarney is “the dance of the seven maidens. Island by Jim
Mullin-Norgaard in Orion Magazine, Spring 1996.

Oh, long, long
The snow has possessed the mountains.

The deer have come down and the big-horn,
They have followed the sun to the south
To feed on the mesquite pods and the bunch grass.
Loud are the thunderdrums in the tents of the mountains.
Oh, long, long
Have we eaten chia seeds
and dried deer’s flesh of the summer killing.
We are tired of our huts
and the smoky smell of our clothing.

We are sick with the desire for the sun
And the grass on the mountain.

Paiute Late Winter Song

The purest essence of the energy of the heaven-earth world coalesces into rock. 
It emerges, bearing the soil.  Its’ formations are wonderful and fantastic. 
Some with cavernous cliffs, revealing their interior; some with peaks and
summits in sharp-edged layers…The images of all things appearing in
appropriate likenesses.  Within the size of a fist can be assembled the beauty
of a thousand cliffs…Confucius once said, “The humane man loves mountains,”
and the love of stones has the same meaning.  Thus longevity through quietude is
achieved through this love.

Kong Chuan, from The Book of Sacred Stones, by Barbara G. Walker

February Foods

Fudge Topped Brownies

Brownies taste warm and nourishing and reflects the damp, sweet earth.  In fact,
according to Martha Stewart, the healthiest soil looks very much like chocolate

? 1 cup butter, melted
? 2 cups sugar
? 1 cup flour
? 2/3 cup powdered cocoa
? 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
? 2 eggs
? 1/2 cup milk
? 1 1/2 and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract…Mix together butter, sugar,
flour, cocoa, powder, eggs, milk and 1 1/2 t. vanilla.
? 1 cup chopped nuts, optional…Stir in nuts and spread into a 9X13″ pan,
bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
? 1- 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-14 oz. can sweetened, condensed milk…before brownies are done, melt chips
into sweetened milk and add 1 1/2 t. vanilla at the end, then remove from heat.     
Spread straightaway over hot brownies.  Cool, chill, cut and store covered at     
room temperature.

Scalloped Potatoes with Sausages

? 2 Tablespoons butter
? 4 T. flour…melt butter and add flour, stirring and cooking to make a
paste(roux).  If chunky, add a little milk to loosen.
? 3 cups milk…very gradually add the milk, and continue stirring and
? 2 1/2 cups and 1 cup shredded cheese…stir in the 2 1/2 cups cheese, and
continue to cook this white sauce until cheese is combined and sauce is thick
and creamy.  Season very well with salt and fresh ground pepper, and for a
spicier taste, stir in 2 Tablespoons mild European-style mustard.(optional)
? 3/4 cup feta cheese, pre-seasoned, or adding 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh
herbs, or 2 teaspoons dried herbs of your choice (rosemary, basil, thyme,
savory, etc)
? 4 very large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8″X 1 1/2 ” slices
2 cups sliced cooked good quality sausage or whole, smoked mini-links…toss    
together feta, sliced potatoes and sausage with the white sauce, and put into    
9X13″ pan, sprinkling top with rest of shredded cheese, and baking, covered    
with foil, for 1 hour at 400 degrees.  During the last ten minutes of baking,    
remove foil to allow cheese to toast.

Irish Coffee

? 1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
? 2 Tablespoons Cointreau (or similar orange liqueur)
? 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar…combine cream, Cointreau and sugar in bowl
and whip until stiff peaks form. Chill.
? 1/2 cup Irish cream liqueur
? 1/4 cup Irish whiskey
? 1/4 cup brandy…Pour into each coffee cup: 2 T. Irish cream, 1 T. whiskey
and 1 T. brandy.
? 3 cups hot strong coffee
     1 teaspoon grated orange peel…pour hot coffee into each cup, garnish with
     dollop of  whipped cream and orange peel.

Of  Pigs and Potatoes

Dearly Loved Children
Is it not a sin
When you peel potatoes,
To throw away the skin?
For the skin feeds pigs
And pigs feed you.
Dearly loved children,
Is this not true?

Traditional Counting Rhyme

Ten potatoes in a pot, take two out and eight stay hot.
Eight potatoes in the pan, take two out, there’s six to plan.
Six potatoes on the stove, take two off and four’s the trove.
Four potatoes in the kettle, take two out leave two to settle.
Two potatoes still boil, take them out before they spoil.

Pigs are wonderful creatures.  They exhibit the intelligence and affection of
dogs with the independence and individuality of cats. Perhaps because they are
so intelligent, many cultures tell stories of people being turned into pigs.
Likewise, their skin is similar to humans’, and unlike grazing animals, they may
only digest what humans eat.   Sows are extremely giving and patient with their
piglets, and will fiercely protect them from danger. Their sensitive noses can
burrow around in the deep dark soil to detect the rarest of fungi: truffles,
buried from up to a foot deep and twenty feet away.

Pigs are an ancient symbol of all-giving, plenty and fertility.  In her Amulets
of the Goddess(1993),  Nancy Blair writes, “The Sow Goddess was a seed and
vegetation protectress very early on…Her ability to fatten quickly and produce
many offspring made for obvious fertility and harvest associations.” Baltic
Pagans formerly honored and cared for a snow white sow in the early spring as an
emblem of abundance, while in late summer, the tribe sacrificed a black pig in
order to manifest a plentiful harvest and a healthy winter.  Norse Frey, God of
plentiful harvest, peace and light rides a boar with a bristly coat of gold. 
The Tantric Buddhist Goddess, Marici, known as the Diamond Sow, rides a lotus
drawn by nine pigs.  Cerridwen, a British Goddess, can represent the goddess in
her crone aspect as a milk white sow which consumes the dead, able to transport
them under the soil to the underworld.

Southern French legend tells that Carcassonne castle was once laid siege by
barbarians.  Months passed and the folk within the castle walls began to run out
of supplies, still the enemy waited for surrender. Just as the people faced
certain starvation, Carcassonne’s Warrior Queen came up with an idea:  she fed
the very last pig all the rest of the food, stuffing it full. To the amazement
of all, she threw the poor pig over the wall.  When it burst, their enemies
fled: fearful of such magic, seeing that the months of embargo had seemingly no

Likely, the original Mexican piñata was a pig, reflecting the Spanish relation
to the legend of Carcassonne. In Germany, pigs represent financial wealth and
good luck…thus, the piggy bank.  At the New Year, marzipan pigs with clover
collars abound as good luck charms.  Victorians once ceremonially smashed open a
peppermint candy pig with a hammer at the New Year.  Sharing the broken pieces
symbolically spread around the wish for abundance.

In this century, pigs are both adored and disparaged. To be called a pig is to
be called sloppy, disgusting and greedy.  Yet pigs in literature and the media
are often seen as innocent, good-natured and sweet. Babe, of the 1994 movie of
the same name, is thoughtful and highly evolved.  Wilbur of Charlotte’s Web by
E.B. White is curious and nonviolent. Owners of pigs as pets are extremely
enthusiastic about pig personality.  So while the dirty stereotypes persist for
pigs, we are also waking up to their fine qualities, and finding that we are not
a little guilty about consuming them.

Traditional English-baby tickling rhyme

“Let’s go to the wood,” said this little pig.
“What to do there?” asked this little pig.
“Find our mother!” said this little pig.
“What to do with her?” asked this little pig.
“Kiss her all over!” said this little pig.


Mysterious murky
face of earth
He speaks with midnight fingers
The language of eternal noon.
He sprouts
With unexpected dawns
In his larder of memories
All because
In his heart
The sun sleeps

Learn Your Fortune From the Number of Eyes in a Potato

One eye:  Troubles…wait and learn from your mistakes, put things right.
Two eyes: Presents…rewards, secret surprises, good luck!
Three eyes: Friends…positive partnerships, the freedom to make new friends
Four eyes: New Beginnings…finish what you’ve started and prepare for a fresh
Five eyes: Travel…changes, brand new ideas, moving forward
Six eyes: Love…deep feelings, listen to your heart
Seven eyes: Wealth…breakthrough to achievement and rewards, as if you are a
new person
Eight eyes: Sadness…let go of something that doesn’t feel right or suit you
Nine eyes: Happiness…new energy, joyfulness, easy to release something you’ve
Ten eyes: Growing…take care, enjoy work and a great harvest is assured.

I have a hut in the wood, none knows it but my Lord; an ash tree this side, a
hazel on the other, a great tree on a mound encloses it.  Two heathery door
posts for support, and a lintel of honeysuckle; around its’ close the wood sheds
its nuts upon fat swine.  The size of my hut, small yet not small, a place of
familiar paths, the she-bird in its dress of blackbird color sings a melodious
strain from its’ gable.

The Potatoes’ Dance

“Down Cellar,” said the cricket,
“I saw a ball last night, in honor of a lady,
Whose wings were pearly white.
The breath of bitter weather had smashed the cellar pane.
We entertained a drift of leaves, and then of snow and rain.
But we were dressed for winter, and loved to hear it blow
In honor of the lady, who makes potatoes grow.
Our guest the Irish lady, the tiny Irish lady, the airy Irish lady, who makes

“Potatoes were the waiters,
Potatoes were the band.
Potatoes were the dancers kicking up the sand.
Their legs were old burnt matches, their arms were just the same.
They jigged and whirled and scrambled in honor of the dame.
The noble Irish lady who makes potatoes dance,
The witty Irish lady, the saucy Irish lady, the laughing Irish lady who makes
potatoes prance.

“There was just one sweet potato.
He was golden brown and slim.
The lady loved his dancing, she danced all night with him.
Alas, he wasn’t Irish, so when she flew away,
They threw him in the coal bin, and there he is today,
Where they could not hear his sighs and his weeping for the lady,
The glorious Irish lady, the beauteous Irish lady,
Who gives potatoes eyes.”
                  Vachel Lindsay, 1913

Elemental Homeschooling

Late winter, and the sparkling festivity of Yule is over.  Winter seems to
stretch on forever: the earth remains frozen, no green in sight.  We are tired
of the barren cold.  It is time to call spring back to us!  Deep in the dark
soil, the baby seeds are stretching and yawning, starting to feel the pulse of
the Mother again quicken them.  Soon we’ll see signs of renewed life, if we can
just wait a few weeks more!  At Imbolc it is exciting to call the seeds to
sprout, and dream to life the return of the green.  Especially if you have a
connection to Ireland, this is a good time of year to honor our ancestral
Emerald Isle:  eating traditional Irish foods, listening to music and poetry of
Ireland, remembering the British deities that peak in strength at this time of
year. The all-giving, fertile pig is the creature of the moment, and she teaches
us to have patience, sacrifice, and the coming Spring will mirror her abundance.

Earth is the element of Winter; so stones, caves, salt are all integral to
Imbolc. See how water will wear down boulders over hundreds of years: though
yielding to the water, the rocks are patient, immovable. Waiting and not
yielding, staying still.  This is the time of our greatest patience before the
season of movement and renewal. Rock circles are fun to make at this time of
year.  If you live with children, perhaps you’ve seen little rock circles they
have made outdoors, with offerings of flowers and weeds inside.  Place eight
large stones equally paced in a circle to reflect the Wheel of the Year. 
Consult sundials or information on medicine wheels/circles in order to make it

? geology, rocks and minerals
? germination, gestation
? Britain, Ireland, Celtic culture
? domestic animals, animal husbandry
? multiplication
? iron work, smithing, mining
? cleaning, purifying
? verse, poetry
? crafts: bulb and seed planting, creating protective talismans,
     candlemaking, metal working and soldering, rock tumbling to make jewelry.

Our  Imbolc

Olivia and I made a rainstick and we planted paperwhite bulbs, and set cress,
clover, mustard and lettuce seeds to sprout.  After a few days of nothing, they
came to gloriously well, stretching their tiny leaves toward the sun.  We
decorated the altar with lots of pigs, a chartreuse cloth and pale green and
lemon yellow candles.  We shared a Celtic family meal of baked ham, green onion
potatoes, mushrooms with green beans, buttermilk bread pudding and dark
chocolate–like the earth–brownies planted with green m&ms.  Is it any wonder
they are supposed to enhance desire and fertility?  We played much Irish music: 
The Chieftains, The Pogues, Sine d O’ Connor, Enya and various ambient mixtures. 
We drank lager, laughed much and planted seed wishes in a deep pan of rich soil!

British Celtic

The Charge of the Goddess

She says, whenever ye have need of anything, once in the month,
and better to be when the moon is full,
Then shall ye assemble in some secret place:
To these I shall teach things that are yet unknown
And ye shall be free from all slavery.

Keep pure your honest ideal, strive ever toward it,
let nothing stop you nor turn you aside.

Mine is the cup of the wine of life, and the Cauldron of Cerridwen.
I am the mother of all living and my love is poured out on earth.
I am the beauty of the green earth, the white moon among stars,
And the mystery of the waters, and the desire in the heart of woman.

Before my face let thine innermost divine self
be enfolded in the raptures of the infinite.
Know the mystery, that if that which thou seekest thou findest
Not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee,

For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning and I await thee now.
Blessed Be.

by Shan from the House of the Goddess, adapted from a recreated charge by
Doreen Valiente


Cerridwen is the all-giving sow goddess.  From her cauldron bubbles forth

I sing of the cauldron of knowledge,
whence the law of each art is dispensed,
which gives boundless treasure,
which magnifies each artist in general,
which gives each person its gift.

Amairgin’s Song of the Three Cauldrons, translated by Caitlin Matthews

Brigit is the central Irish Goddess.  She is known as Brigantia in England and
Bride in Scotland.  She rules metal work and smithy, fire, poetry, midwifery and
martial arts–but is primarily known as a major Mother Goddess.  Brigit is a
face of the Triple Goddess, and able to see all–often represented by an ever
watchful eye.  The three heart-shaped leaves of the shamrock recall the magical
Celtic number of three, as well as the number of Brigit’s faces.  From nine to
Nineteen priestesses once tended an undying fire in her name at Kildare. Brigid
is so central to Ireland that the newly converted people would not give her up,
so her name metamorphosed into St. Bridgid, who in Irish Christian myth acts as
tender and supportive friend of Mary and as the midwife at Christ’s birth.
Barbara G. Walker writes that to the Irish people, however, she continued to be
a Queen of Heaven and the mother of all the deities of the new religion.  As the
Saint, she also matched wits with St. Patrick, who is as mythical as she. At
times they seem to be consorts, at others, adversaries.  It cannot have helped
their relationship that Patrick is known for ridding Ireland of snakes, and
since Bridgid the saint descended from a pagan goddess and priestess persona,
whose sacred healing totem is the snake.  So when St. Patrick says he is
ridding the isle of snakes, what he means is he is ridding it of pagans.
Nevertheless, Patricius and Bridgid were often considered the primal Mother and
Father, and were supposedly buried together at Derry Down.

Crafts of  the Season

Wake up early in the morning, take up all the noisemakers you can: pots and pans
and whistles, go outside and joyfully make noise to wake up the sleeping Mother
Earth. Bang away, wake her up!  Little kids love a reason to let loose.  Even if
she hits the snooze button for several more weeks, you can work up some energy
to awaken springtime inside.

Plant paper white bulbs in a clay pot.  They take but three or four weeks to
grow into fragrant, delicate harbingers of Spring.  Bulbs cost about $1.00 each,
and three will fit snugly (1/4 inch apart) into a 5 inch wide pot, filled with
potting soil, and loosely covered with soil up to where the stem will sprout. 
Place them in a well-lit but cool window and water occasionally.  To keep them
going all winter, plant a new one every ten days.

Grown-ups, carve a potato into the shape of an abundant Earth Mother. Let her
reflect the plentiful body that Springtime will manifest.  Pauline Campanelli’s
indispensable book, The Wheel of the Year (Llewellyn Publications, 1995),
illustrates such a carving for harvest time.  Children might like to make an
Earth Goddess out of clay.

Patriarchy, Power and Personal Choice

Patriarchy, Power and Personal Choice

by Bestia Mortale


“Igoranti quem portum petat nullus suus ventus est.” – Seneca

(If you don’t know what port you seek, no wind can take you there.)

None of you remembers Shagirogh, the great Dravidian mage who murdered Dirsegian the beggar poet in the second millennium BC. His scrying showed that the poet would sing a song so beautiful as to far outshine his own fame. He was an expedient man.

In the spring of the following year, Shagirogh grew restless in his dark tower on Avar hill. Hour after hour, day after day, for weeks on end he called the demons and bound them. Encircling himself with wards, he spoke forbidden words of command, and when the nameless beast of Ardur rose in rage, like flame splitting the hills, he dared cut out its great stone eye with an ice knife and embed it in his own forehead.

With the knowledge that poured into him through the stone eye, he bound the winds and drew up molten rock from the heart of the earth. The other mages of the world, feeling his power, joined to restrain him. He smiled and the emperor’s army, 121,716 men strong, instantly died. In seconds, their bodies blew away as dust across the sands, but their souls were trapped in the stones of his dark tower, forming a barrier impenetrable to his enemies.

Shagirogh reached out with his mind across the world. No man or woman could resist him. He reached out into the universe and drew power from the stars. He breathed and lakes dried up. He frowned and mountains vanished. He stood at the top of his tower and laughed, while the sky roared in fear.

And he thought there was no limit to his power, nothing he couldn’t do. He challenged all living creatures to name him a task he could not instantly perform.

Far away in Western lands, he heard a sparrow chirping that he was a sad old man trapped in the fears of his miserable and unchangeable childhood, who could not himself bear a child. He could not bring the dead back to life. He could not sing.

In rage, he lifted his wand and the sparrow died of fright. Snatching its spirit with his astral hands, he forced it to live again. Gathering all his power, he ejaculated from his penis a perfectly formed infant who rose and sang the song of the world. In amazement and horror, Shagirogh recognized the infant as the murdered Dirsegian.

So beautiful was that song that the stones of the tower softened, and the souls of the soldiers were released, and the stone eye wept and fell from his forehead and returned to the earth. The demons unbound circled the infant, dancing what we now call jigs.

Shagirogh found that his magic had left him, and he was so exhausted he could hardly lift a finger. The infant, shimmering, turned to him, bowed low and said courteously, “Thank you for your help. I apologize for the inconvenience, but some songs are fated to be sung.” He vanished, and Shagirogh became a beggar.

Personal power may be largely an illusion. There is undoubtedly a great deal of power accessible to us in the universe, and with effort we can undoubtedly harness it, but that never makes it ours. It’s easier to be controlled by power than to use it.

People have liked to believe strange things over the years. For much of recorded history, some people have thought they could own others. Some men still believe they can possess a woman. Many people think wealth is a god. Some people believe themselves to be powerful.

I think rather we are only sparks, dreaming sparks, struck from the infinite cunt of the Goddess by the God’s impractical cock, and the only power in us is the power of our dreams, which are not ours alone. We reach for them as we flash out.

It is a thousand times easier to destroy than to create, a hundred times easier to take than to give, as easy to die as to live. Our lives are so short, our dreams so vast, no one could blame us for being sensible, for doing what we have to do, for taking candy from babies, for backing away from trouble. We’re right to be afraid; we could easily be hurt, as we’ve been hurt so many times already. Better do the hurting this time.

But perhaps there is no safety anywhere except in your wildest, most sacred dream. Perhaps it’s better to use the power you harness toward fulfilling what you truly want in your heart, toward reaching your true place in the universe, than to achieve a hundred easier goals that turn out to belong to other people. Perhaps.

Of course, as you struggle heroically to translate a sacred dream into even the crudest map for your life, the laughing God lays out picnics on the green grass beside you, and the laughing Goddess spreads desire on your heart like butter on warm bread. The ascetics warn you to avoid these distractions, but I trust the gentle laughter more than voices of sere old men whose own dreams often seem small and broken.

I was a child in the 1950s after World War II. During the war, women had held high-ranking jobs with important responsibilities. When the men came back, though, the women were glad, by and large, to see them safe again. The men, those who had seen action, were shaken and guilty. “I had to be a part of that,” they told themselves, “or I wouldn’t have been a man.” They elected Ike because he understood. Women felt their fear and horror, and nurtured them uxoriously, and fucked them for children, to make up for the war. It was the baby boom.

In the ’50s, all the boys wore military haircuts, “crewcuts.” Girls wore dresses and didn’t like sex unless there was something wrong with them. Everyone was normal or Communist. Normal people were Christians. A few unfortunate people were Jews. No one was black. Look at the magazines and newspapers if you don’t believe me; no one was black.

Granted, the ’50s in America are stamped with all the specific economic, political and cultural factors of that time and place, but I believe they also stand as a general model of patriarchy in the making. War is the essential ingredient.

However else you describe it, war is a contest of power. The greater force defeats the lesser. An army combines the strength, skill, courage and intelligence of thousands of individuals into an organization dedicated to serving as a weapon. By design, the only way to oppose an army is with another army. All political power for the last 4000 or 5000 years has had to be backed by armies, just as economic power has had to be backed by gold and silver.

Militarism requires and rewards conformity. Up until recently, it has almost always divided men and women into very different roles and has always placed men in charge. Not only that, battle exacts a price beyond the wounded and the dead. It is the survivors who carry their horror, fear and guilt home to the children. The little sons of soldiers learn that a man cannot afford to show any vulnerability and must live behind thick walls of insensitivity to hide it.

And where did the classic madonna-whore construct arise if not in the soldier’s mind? Men in the field fuck where they can, in the knowledge that each fuck may be their last. Sex can be wildly impersonal, grounded more in animal fear than in desire. When women picture men without affect, who only see body parts, warm, animated tits and cunt dissociated from a human soul, they fear the soldier. The soldier can’t even see the woman he humps hurriedly, as he watches death over his shoulder.

At the same time, soldiers must believe that their absent wives and girlfriends are pure and untouched by desire, filled with patient, selfless love, waiting just for them. It’s the only comfort soldiers can afford. Then, when they come home again, they find their wives’ real lusts disturbing, even disgusting. Sensitive to every nuance, and desperate to avoid rejection, the women hide their sexuality. Everyone teaches their little daughters what kind of woman Daddy thinks is nice. Nobody talks about why Daddy goes off looking for a camp follower from time to time.

If you see traditional war as a potent breeding ground for patriarchal attitudes, it’s interesting to consider that traditional war has become somewhat obsolete. One slender girl in control of a nest of nuclear missiles can now defeat a million hardened soldiers and obliterate their nation.

As the value of traditional militarism has diminished, men have begun to look for the things their fathers gave up to be soldiers or pseudosoldiers, and women have begun to reclaim the things forbidden to a soldier’s whore or wife. People have begun to recognize choices that have long been repressed by military and religious patriarchy.

We often speak of personal power, but I suggest this is a cultural oxymoron. Power is not personal; it has to do with exerting your will outwards on the world. We all need it, just as we all need money. As with money, however, we give up something to get it.

When people speak of personal power, though, I think they’re often referring to personal choice. Everything we need to be free, everything we need to have choice, is within us. Undoubtedly every one of us could make choices that would bring us vast external wealth and power, if we only knew how. We could also choose to be in better shape, to be nicer, to be more honest. To make a choice, though, I must first see it, and then choose.

For me, spirituality is the investigation of personal choice in our free fall across the universe. It has to do with discovering what I want, deep within myself, as opposed to what my father wants or my mother wants or my friends, church, company or culture wants. It has to do with determining what choices I can make to seek what I want. It has to do with finding the balance and the strength to make those choices.

Because others have similar feelings, the Craft has enjoyed increasing popularity as patriarchy has lost a little power. The Craft is not a religion; it doesn’t tell you what to believe or want. The Craft limits your choice in one respect only: Do what you will, as long as you harm no one.

The Craft provides a context within which to seek and follow my own spiritual path, not only in a spirit world, but in my daily life. In this context, in communion with the god- and goddess-forms who speak to me, I am learning what is sacred in the things I yearn for and gaining access to the vast torrents of chaos and fluxes of energy that can bear me where I need to go, if only I can grow to find the courage and the will to go there.

Is it power I need? I don’t think so. The sea winds are plenty strong. If I can choose my port, set my sail and let the stars guide me, I may come to land again.

A Sip of Inspiration

A Sip of Inspiration

by Miriam Harline


You are in a dark room, empty of furniture, a box of wood rough-hewn. The window looks out on night. You smell woodsmoke, though there is no fire. You are cold, and you huddle on the floor, wrapping your arms around yourself.

The door opens, and standing in the doorway is a woman with long blonde hair. She wears a white dress, hanging in graceful folds, and no shoes. In her hand is a white candle, burning. “Rise,” she tells you; you do, and follow her.

Outside hangs black night, a sky dusted with stars, no moon. The ground is cold, frozen hard, but there is no snow. You follow the woman down a narrow path. To either side rise hills, grass tan when the candle shows it. You walk down; the stones under the hills begin to show to either side. Beside you, slowly, rock walls rise.

The walk down turns steep. You smell salt, hear waves crash. The land flattens, and under your feet is sand; you are on the seashore.

Ocean water pours across the sand, a margin of foam at its edge. The candlelight glows, a yellow globe on the water. You follow the woman still; you turn and walk above the surf. It is low tide.

A cliff rises ahead, to your left, and in the cliff you see a black mouth, a cave. It is so dark, black on black, you feel some fear. But the woman walks right up to it, enters the tall mouth, twice her height. You walk after her into the cave, still on hard-packed wet sand; when the tide is high, the cave floor must be covered in water.

The path of sand narrows between rocks; you continue along it. You turn a bend, and behind you can no longer see the sea, but you hear it still, rushing, sighing.

You walk on. To either side rise black walls of stone, occasionally veined with red. Ahead, as the path curves, you see not darkness, but golden light.

You turn another bend, and the cave ceiling rises; you are in a vast room, lit by candlelight. Before you is a line of eight women robed in white, all holding white candles.

One woman steps forward. She is blonde, like your guide, but taller, older, in the prime of womanhood. Her face is still, not smiling, full of pride. “Greetings,” she says. “What is your name?” You tell her.

“Why have you come here?” she asks. Your eyes go wide, because you have no idea; you were waiting, and were summoned, but you do not know why. But your guide steps up and whispers in your ear, “For inspiration.”

You repeat, “For inspiration.”

The woman who greeted you smiles; you have made the right answer. “Very well,” she says. “Come forward.”

All nine women turn, move further into the cave, form a circle. You see in its center a huge cauldron, waist-high, its legs straddling a fire. The cauldron is boiling, and from it rise rainbow bubbles that pop in the air, leaving a smell of spice and honey. “This is the cauldron of inspiration,” your greeter says.

Two women in the circle loosen their hands and beckon to you. You pass by them, and the circle rejoins around you. You stand before the cauldron. “Drink from the cauldron,” the greeter says.

Drink? you say to yourself. But the liquid in it is boiling. I will boil my hands. “Drink,” she says. “That is why you are here.”

You look around, in fear. These people are crazy. Then you catch the eye of the woman who guided you, and she smiles very slightly. You sense there is some magick here. Foolishly or wisely, you lower your hands into the cauldron.

The liquid is just cooler than lukewarm, delightful, like a bath on a hot summer day.

You cup liquid in your palms, raise it to your lips. The smell of spice and honey fills your nostrils. The liquid seems to shine upward into your face, rainbow colors. You sip.

An explosion goes off in your head. You fall backward onto the ground. You see stars, moons, suns, rainbows flare; a stream of firework, many-colored, falls from the sky. You hear music, whispers, laughter; someone close is speaking in your ear, you can almost make out the words….

After a long time, you wake on the floor of the wooden house. All is dark, and your head hurts. But now the house is warm.

Neophyte Notes: Spring Cleaning

Neophyte Notes: Spring Cleaning

by Lethe


While I was doing some research recently, I was greatly surprised when I read, “February was when the people of old saw the first stirrings of life,” supposedly in which lie the origins of Imbolc, one of the fire festivals of the pagan year. I looked out my window, watching the snow falling, the wind blowing and the ice crusting around my window, thinking that those Europeans were (and still are) one craaaaazy lot.

Imbolc, or Candlemas, is centered around a theme of fertility and of purification. Doreen Valiente says that the Romans called this time “Februarius mensis,” the month of ritual purification. This is when they would celebrate the Lupercalia, when the bare-assed priests of Pan, the Luperci, would rampage through the city with thongs made of goat skins, using them to slap women (especially married women) on the hands, ensuring their child-bearing powers for the coming year. So infamous was the Lupercalia that even Shakespeare, when writing Julius Caesar, made mention of how Caesar’s wife had gone out to participate in the revelries in hoping that it would cure her infertility. Later, when the Lupercalia was banned due to its deterioration into wanton licentiousness and, naturally, due to the Catholic Church’s influence, the purification aspects were still carried on in the form of spring cleaning. In Northern Europe, everyone would gather up the boughs on their mantels and the wreaths they made at Yule and burn them, not just throw them out. This was very important, since the underlying premise to all this was getting rid of the past and looking forward to the future. (And yes, this is why you are supposed to leave the Christmas tree up until February.)

A light went on in my head, as I made the connection, which was later confirmed by further research that spring cleaning, the annual insanity that claims more bodies than the bubonic plague ever did, was an integral part of a nature ritual that is still strong today in Western lands.

There was one thing that continued to nag at me: I don’t know anyone in the Pacific Northwest that does their spring cleaning in February. Nope, usually it’s late March or April (do I hear May?) before most people even consider opening their doors to follow their lemming-like instincts to the cliff of cleaning. So, I wondered, in keeping with the spirit of Imbolc, how could I observe a purification rite without crucifying myself on a broom-and-mop cross?

Our bodies as temples

I remembered that a wise man once wrote that our bodies are temples. Reasoning on that point, I decided that if it was too early to do a proper spring housecleaning, it certainly wasn’t too early to cleanse the temple of my body. I made it a point to go get a physical exam (healthy as a horse, stubborn as a mule, thank you), get my tetanus booster, and receive the first of three inoculations against hepatitis B. Also, I asked my doctor to suggest a nutritional program for me since I am approximately 30 to 40 pounds too comfortable. Regular exercise is something that I have dutifully neglected and actively nonparticipated in, so now I am looking into taking Karate lessons to tone and discipline my body, develop agility and, you betcha, defend myself. Dental and vision exams are coming up, too. (Man, it sure is great to finally have a job with insurance….)

Of course, I knew that polishing the pews is nice, but even after things are all bright and shiny, they can still look kinda bare and even shabby. So, to round things out, I’ll be getting a haircut and a few new items of clothing to get February off to a running start.

Our bodies as tools

One of the teachings of the tradition I practice tells us that we are born with all the tools of the Craft. If we are born with all the tools of the Craft, it is an easy stretch to say that our bodies, then, are tools of the Craft and should be treated as such. My opinion, of course.

In a few traditions that I’m aware of, mine included, before a witch, wizard or whatever uses a magickal tool, he or she will cleanse and bless (or consecrate or dedicate) the item, in effect to remove any residual energies from previous handling and to imbue them with the power and energy she or he desires to reside in them. It also sets them apart as special, to be regarded differently than just an ordinary piece of hardware. Have their physical forms changed through all this? Not so much as a molecule. So what? It’s a spiritual transformation that occurs within the item.

Taking all this into consideration, I could see that to repair and renovate my body is fine and dandy, but the true spirit of Imbolc lie in a spiritual spring cleaning I had to implement.

So I sat down and made a list of things that have been hanging around as loose ends in my life and started hacking away at them. I paid two huge bills that I had been ignoring. About two years ago, I discontinued my association with a Christian religion. Finally, I drafted a letter of resignation to the congregation I had been a member of, asking them to remove me from the lists of enrollment. I’ve started working on a letter to my mother to clear up family matters that have been sitting and molding on the shelf for 10 years. Also, I finally hunkered down and started on certain papers that I need to write to complete my Outer Grove obligation.

Unless you’ve done this kind of introspection and personal inventory before, you can’t imagine how much energy it frees in your body. Just to get those bills paid… what a relief! Exhilarating! Liberating, even. I feel generally more cheerful and have a little less dread of the future.

Don’t be fooled, though. All this I’ve done or am doing is not painless. No way! Even though I quit in fact about two years ago, formally resigning from the church was one of the most painful things I’ve ever done. I lost many friends in the process who will never speak to me again. Paying those bills strapped me for money big time (can you say “Top Ramen?”). Not to mention that dealing with my darling mother is about as fun as deep-throating a live grenade.

I feel fortunate that I accepted at a young age that growth is an intense process that may necessitate a degree of personal discomfort. (Yeah, you read it right, that reads: hurt, pain, sorrow.) For me, it’s okay, because I adopted an attitude toward growth work that the modern Chinese hold toward secular work: “Suffering for one year, happiness forever.” Not a bad trade-off, if you ask me.

It’s only once a year

After all this, I look at Imbolc and all its associated trappings exactly the way I do my own spring cleaning at home. I grumble and grouse all the way, more often than not down the path of procrastination, to throw myself into my work with an absolute madness while I sweep, mop, dust, scrub, etc. During all that, I lose myself somewhere in the Zen of it. Then, when it’s all done, I sit back with some iced lemonade looking at my beautifully clean home and say, “Gods, I love living here.”

Now I can say, after having swept away a lot of the dead and decaying garbage of the previous year, “Praise the gods! I love living here, in my body, with my tools, in my temple.”

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for 2/1

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Everyone:

31: Mutual Attraction

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Hexagram 31
General Meaning: The attraction of yin and yang is the powerful and fundamental force. The image of this hexagram is that of the attraction between a man and a woman in the courtship stage. In response to the magnetic attraction between them, the masculine principle (the creative, outgoing) seizes the initiative and submits to the feminine (the receptive, sensitive). When the assertive is able to defer to the receptive, and when the receptive accepts responsibility and exercises quiet leadership, an exciting and profitable union is the result. This brings good fortune, for all success depends upon the magnetic effect of mutual attraction.

Consistency is important in matters of mutual attraction, for this is what separates courtship from seduction.

If you are by nature an instigator, it is good to take the initiative. But you need to remain sensitive, and highly principled, and avoid the temptation to be manipulative. Let the power of mutual attraction pull you along. If you are the receptive one, keep your mind innocent and free of pride, so that you may remain open to good advice or helpful assistance. When your influence arises from innocence, an even more powerful magnetic force is at work for you.

Remaining open to the forces of attraction brings good fortune. Closing yourself to them heralds the dying of the soul. Learn to yield to the natural tugs and pulls of the heart.

Today’s Tarot Card for 2/1

Today’s Tarot Card for Everyone:


This Tarot Deck: Morgan-Greer

General Meaning: Traditionally, what has been known as the Justice card has to do with moral sensitivity and that which gives rise to empathy, compassion and a sense of fairness. Since the time of Solomon, this image has represented a standard for the humane and fair-minded treatment of other beings.

Often including the image of a fulcrum which helps to balance competing needs against the greater good, and a two-edged sword to symbolize the precision needed to make clear judgments, this card reminds us to be careful to attend to important details. It’s a mistake to overlook or minimize anything where this card is concerned. The law of Karma is represented here — what goes around comes around.

Daily Horoscopes for 2/1


General Daily Horoscope


A semisquare from impatient Mars and rebellious Uranus tempts us to act foolishly as we take unnecessary risks. Our drive for independence grows throughout the week as the Sun in intelligent Aquarius travels closely with impulsive Mars, culminating in an exact conjunction on Friday. But we may try to ignore the sudden flashes of urgency until the restrained Capricorn Moon shifts into eclectic Aquarius at 6:21 pm EST, giving us permission to act.


Aries Horoscope
Aries Horoscope (Mar 21 – Apr 19)

Sudden surges of energy can catch you off guard today, yet you may attempt to suppress your new ideas, especially if you are already feeling insecure. Something tells you to shake everything up by putting your radical plan in motion. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem worth the risk. Trusting your intuition is the smartest thing you can do now. If your concept is worthwhile, it will still be valid in a few days.


Taurus Horoscope
Taurus Horoscope (Apr 20 – May 20)

You are feeling somewhat smug today because you already know an important piece of information that others have yet to discover. Your friends might be buzzing around, trying to finish everything right away, but you realize that everyone has more time than they think to wrap things up. Keep in mind that you can’t make anyone else see the truth, but you can put it to work for yourself.


Gemini Horoscope
Gemini Horoscope (May 21 – Jun 20)

You could get so worked up today that you ride roughshod over those around you unless you stop and think first. It’s challenging to see what’s really happening because your healthiest options could be obscured by your desire to succeed at your current task. Don’t lose your natural gift of flexibility; be ready to change direction when new possibilities appear.


Cancer Horoscope
Cancer Horoscope (June 21 – Jul 22)

A casual interaction with someone today may start off simply and eventually turn into a tangled web of emotions. Fortunately, you might feel supported by a close friend, which makes the whole thing worthwhile. Remember, extreme gestures won’t likely have the impact you want. Rein in your actions and concentrate on small victories, instead of worrying about things you cannot change.


Leo Horoscope
Leo Horoscope (Jul 23 – Aug 22)

It seems as if others are encouraging you to go in a direction that’s not your preference, but resisting their efforts can raise additional issues. Nevertheless, being overly agreeable to minimize conflict won’t work. You must make a stand now, even if you create some ripples. Stick to specific details; discussing general concepts will only weaken your position today.


Virgo Horoscope
Virgo Horoscope (Aug 23 – Sep 22)

You might try to accomplish more than is possible today, but you believe that it’s all manageable as long as you organize your thoughts first. Luckily, you have a natural gift for making lists, but now you could benefit from filling in more details than usual. Working hard throughout the day should bring positive results, but additional preparation makes you even more successful.


Libra Horoscope
Libra Horoscope (Sep 23 – Oct 22)

You might be able to tap into a vein of creativity this week with the radiant Sun and expressive Mars visiting your 5th House of Self-Expression. Don’t be concerned about the outcome; just get started and let the inner artist or musician take over. Ultimately, it’s not about what you produce; it’s about how passionate you feel during the act of creation.


Scorpio Horoscope
Scorpio Horoscope (Oct 23 – Nov 21)

Your current ability to juggle cool intellectual detachment and passionate emotional involvement might confuse everyone else today, but you can navigate through complicated interpersonal dynamics with the greatest of ease. You may appear as graceful as a dancer, but you still must manage your intensity wisely. Thankfully, you can accomplish a lot if you don’t let your attention wander away from what’s most important.


Sagittarius Horoscope
Sagittarius Horoscope (Nov 22 – Dec 21)

If you are looking forward to a quiet weekend, you may be sorely disappointed. You might be able to manage the noise level for a while, but everything can quickly grow out of hand. Don’t bother trying to resist the distracting waves of incoming energy, for the diversions can be interesting and fun. Give yourself permission to surrender to the excitement. You can always rest later on.


Capricorn Horoscope
Capricorn Horoscope (Dec 22 – Jan 19)

You may be feeling grouchy today, as if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. You aren’t very happy with the current circumstances, yet your critical assessment may be out of place now. Taking a more fluid position will help you find the right way to express yourself. Sometimes all you need to do is let others know that you’re thinking about them. Anyway, frowning requires much more effort than smiling, so relax and enjoy the present moment as much as you can.


Aquarius Horoscope
Aquarius Horoscope (Jan 20 – Feb 18)

You may be feeling the pressure to finish a project that has been delayed for too long. Now, however, you are running out of valid excuses. But this isn’t the only reason to jump in and get the job done. It’s true that sometimes procrastination really does serve a purpose. But you can’t avoid the inevitable forever; you’ll feel much better after you cross this task off your list.


Pisces Horoscope
Pisces Horoscope (Feb 19 – Mar 20)

Although you are being told to finish up your chores before doing anything else, this can still be a great day for a brief escape. Instead of attempting to take time off to go sunning on a tropical island retreat, do something small like going to a concert or visiting an art exhibit. Treat yourself by setting aside some personal time for a special experience, even if your break can’t last all that long.