Crystal of the Day for February 23 is Diamond

Crystal of the Day

Diamond

Diamonds are associated with love and romance. It is the stone traditionally chosen for engagement rings. And, rightly so, because diamonds foster unity, trust, and fidelity.

Remedy Benefits of Diamonds:

  • Aids creativity
  • Manifests good fortune
  • Enhances psychic ability
  • In alignment with the white light
  • Promotes harmony and balance

Diamonds are also Shielding and Protecting Crystals

Crystals can be employed as energy shields or work as protective amulets. Actually, shielding stones work best when they are worn or carried on the person. Because of the absorption qualities many of them have it is important to learn how to cleanse your crystals in order to free them from all negative energies they have picked up. Absorption is often how they protect you, they take in and bad vibrations that are lingering about so you don’t have to.

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Herb of the Day for February 23rd is Primrose

Herb of the Day

Primrose

Evening Primrose Family

Mostly herbs, this family includes the evening primroses, whose flowers open in the evening and close up the next morning. The flowers have four petals followed by capsules with numerous little black seeds.

The common evening primrose is the species most frequently used for food. It is a biennial that germinates in late summer or early fall after the seeds from the previous year have dropped. Leaves have a reddish midrib and form a rosette in the fall. They remain on the plant through the winter. The next spring it sends up a flower stalk with alternating leaves that get smaller as they near the top. Their roots are starchy and can be eaten. Young leaves, flowers, and seeds of the evening primroses are also edible.

The seeds of this plant are rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid, which are used in the body to manufacture anti-inflammatory substances. Studies show that taking evening primrose oil can decrease bone turnover and increase bone mineral density in people with osteoporosis.

Deity of the Day for February 23rd is Adonis

Deity of the Day for February 23

Adonis

Adonis (Phoenician “lord”), in Greek mythology, the god of beauty and desire, is a figure with Northwest Semitic antecedents, where he is a central figure in various mystery religions.  Adōnis is a variation of the Semitic word Adonai, “lord”, which is also one of the names used to refer to God in the Old Testament. Syrian Adonis is closely related to the Cypriot Gauas or Aos, to Egyptian Osiris, to the Semitic Tammuz and Baal Hadad, to the Etruscan Atunis and the Phrygian Attis, all of whom are deities of rebirth and vegetation. His religion belonged to women: the dying of Adonis was fully developed in the circle of young girls around the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, about 600 BCE, as revealed in a fragment of Sappho’s surviving poetry.

Adonis is one of the most complex figures in classical times. He has had multiple roles, and there has been much scholarship over the centuries concerning his meaning and purpose in Greek religious beliefs. He is an annually-renewed, ever-youthful vegetation god, a life-death-rebirth deity whose nature is tied to the calendar. His name is often applied in modern times to handsome youths, of whom he is the archetype. Adonis is often referred to as the mortal god of Beauty.

wikipedia.com

Astronomy Picture of the Day for Feb. 23 – A Zodiacal Skyscape

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2012 February 23
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

A Zodiacal Skyscape
Image Credit & Copyright: Jack Fusco 

Explanation: Venus and Jupiter are this month’s two brightest planets. Shortly after sunset on February 20, they dominate the sky above the western horizon and this snowy landscape. In clear and transparent skies over Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania, USA, they are also seen immersed in Zodiacal light. The extended, diffuse, triangular glow is sunlight scattered by dust along the plane of the ecliptic. Brighter near the horizon, the Zodiacal glow angles upward, first to Venus and then to Jupiter hugging the ecliptic as they orbit the Sun. Fading even further, the glow stretches toward the lovely Pleides star cluster near the top of the frame. Following their appearance in this Zodiacal skyscape, the coming days will see Venus and Jupiter sharing the early evening sky with a young crescent Moon. The two bright planets are even headed for a close pairing or conjunction, separated by about 3 degrees on March 13.

Just How Old ARE We, Anyway?

Just How Old ARE We, Anyway?

Author: Talitha Dragonfly

Neo-Pagans. We’re new. We’re not new. We’re as ancient as humanity itself. We’re recent newcomers. We’re preserving the Old Religion. We’ve invented a New Religion. We’re celebrating original traditions. We’re staggering silly neophytes reinventing how the world views the Divine.

Which of these statements is true?

Heck, quite honestly I don’t care.

I love what I do, and that’s all that really matters.

As we explore the question of our supposed birthday, let’s consider a brief definition of “Pagan.” Generally speaking, one who is a Pagan is considered to be a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim (dictionary.com) or a follower of a polytheistic religion (Mirriam-Webster).

Of the major three, Judaism is the oldest. How old is Judaism, then? If you mean when the Jews received the Torah by Moses, then it is about 3300 years old. Of course, this religion has gone through some major revisions since the time of Moses, especially after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. Just pick up a copy of the Hebrew Bible, start reading from the beginning in Genesis, and look for how things were done differently than they are today.

So Paganism, it can safely be suggested, is at least older than 3300 years old.

Hinduism has a long and checkered history of at least 6000 years, and is arguably the oldest living religion in the world. Technically this religion fits the official definition of Paganism in that it is not Christian, Muslim, or Jewish, and that it is a polytheistic belief system. But do Hindus truly consider themselves to be Pagan?

I would like to pepper in another relevant fact into the mix.

Since the advent of writing, there has never been a single religion uniformly practiced across Western Europe before Christianity.

Many modern sources refer to Wicca as the “Old Religion”, a religion that survived in secret in Europe through the Christian period. Frequently, the age of this “Old Religion” is stretched to impossible proportions. Some people quite ridiculously claim unbroken ties from the Neolithic period. The late Dr. Margaret Murray traces Witchcraft’s origins all the way back to Paleolithic times.

This is silly! No single culture has ever survived this long. Cultures migrate and eventually merge with each other, and their spiritual beliefs merge with them. Cultures eventually die out, and when this happens, their religions generally follow suit.

During the Neolithic and Paleolithic time periods, no written language existed. Although oral traditions are often extremely important, nothing beats the power of the written word to preserve the integrity of a tradition. And even against all odds, if a tradition did survive without the help of writing, we would have no way of knowing it.

The needs of a society changes. People hunted and gathered in small groups in antiquity, and there were no cities and no agriculture in humanity’s beginnings. The eventual needs of a city are very different from the original needs of a nomadic tribe.

As culture evolves, so too do spiritual beliefs; i.e., hunting gods would be replaced by agricultural gods, male deities take supremacy over female deities, lunar deities are replaced by solar deities, gods begin to “specialize” in areas that suit the current technology, etc.

Each culture that populated a particular continent or specific region possessed their own pantheons, their own mythology, their own myths of creation and the afterlife. Read various pre-Christian or pre-Jewish myths from across the globe and see for yourself.

There are, of course, some archetypal similarities. Anyone who is a devoted reader of Carl Jung would definitely agree. Humanity seems to be hard-wired somehow for religion in achingly similar ways. And perhaps some of these similarities can be attributed to interactions between these cultures.

But in whole, every separate religion of all of the world’s religions was its own independent entity.

So why do many people INSIST that there was ever this single “Old Religion”?

For the sake of this argument, you can find beautiful and relevant similarities between all the world’s sacred traditions. You can find similarities between many ancient traditions and Christianity, for that matter.

That does not mean that all religions in antiquity are all the same, or that they all originate from a single common denominator.

Many of us today celebrate old deities, and many of us try to incorporate the spirit of the old rites into our modern rituals. But the simple fact is that our actual and complete knowledge of these rites can be sketchy or sometimes even nonexistent.

Many of these rites were either purposefully secret, or the knowledge of them was repressed or destroyed.

The Egyptians, for instance, did not write most of their magickal rites down because of the belief that written spells and incantations would take a life of their own; the symbols WERE the spell and completely capable, it was believed, to leap off of the papyrus or stone.

The rites, worships, and beliefs of the Eleusinian Mysteries were kept secret, as initiation was believed to unite the worshipper with the gods, including promises of divine power and rewards in the afterlife. There are many paintings and pieces of pottery that depict various aspects of the Mysteries, but at best we have but fragmentary glimpses from outside sources, mere casual observers who were not even part of the culture, giving uninitiated opinions like a reporter from Action News.

The Library of Alexandria was destroyed by fire on a number of occasions, and to this day the details of what this library may or may not have contained remains a lively source of controversy.

Other cultures, like the Mesoamericans and the Etruscans and the people of the Indus Valley, documented their practices in a form of writing that has not been completely deciphered.

Gerald Gardner himself acknowledged this fact as it pertains to his invention of Wicca. He said that the rituals he received from Dorothy Clutterbuck (and oh boy, try to prove that she ever actually existed!) were extremely fragmentary.

In order to make them workable, he had to supplement them with other material. And the age of those “fragments” is hardly ancient. He directly lifted material from occult sources of the 19th and early 20th centuries like the Golden Dawn, Thelema, and Freemasonry.

Wicca as an “official” religion did not begin until 1954. This hardly qualifies it as an actual “tradition” in the broadest meaning of the word. It is even historically proven that so-called Wiccan theology did not begin to be compiled before the 1920s.

But yet still the compelling thought persists with many people that they have to believe that their “religion” is ancient.

The first question that I have to ask is why people find it so important to prove that their religion was here first. Every religion had to be a new religion at one point in time.

Wicca, and for that matter most of Neo-Paganism which spun off or was inspired from the practice of Wicca, is only about 60 years old. It is much less old in the United States, having been introduced in the States in the mid to late sixties, and not really beginning to take off until the seventies by different feminist groups.

It wasn’t really until the nineties until most of the rest of us heard about Wicca and Paganism.

Sure, we’ve all adopted certain aspects of older religions. We are inspired by many of the old Gods and Goddesses. But in good conscience, we can never say that we are truly authentic followers of those religions.

Judaism and Christianity share an entire Old Testament, not to mention the Supreme Being Yahweh. But to say that they are the same religion is ridiculous.

So what is the point I am trying to make here?

Let’s not take ourselves, as Neo-Pagans, too seriously. Let’s not give more weight to ourselves than is properly ordained. Neo-Paganism is a beautiful way of life, and if others had not invented it before me, I should like to think that I would have eventually to answer the primal calls of my spirit.

Magick works. I can definitely attest to this fact. The Gods and Goddesses speak to me fervently through their ancient archetypal voices. I love the old myths that were told throughout the world’s history, and I find modern relevance deep within the many layers of their story lines.

I find inspiration from many sacred texts: Hindu, Hebrew, Buddhist, Christian, Greek, Roman, Celtic, Mesopotamian, Native American, etc. I am a modern High Priestess who walks comfortably between all realms of possibility.

Let’s just admit to ourselves with a firmly clear and honest voice that we are reclaiming some of the ancient mysteries but with a thoroughly modern twist. We are taking religion to its logical next step in a way that suits the times and the needs of those who would approach the Divine with love and inspiration, and hopefully honesty and humbleness and gratitude, in our hearts.

Let’s get off our bogus high horses and just BE.

There is no shame in this honesty. There is no need for explanation. There is no need for legitimization. It is what it is.

And that’s perfectly okay by me.

The Power of Spirit

The Power of Spirit

Author: Crick

As a witch I firmly believe in the rebirth of the spirit that we call reincarnation. Having said that I have had moments where I have wondered about the development of spirit, as it goes through such stages.

For instance I have mused on whether all of our spirits have started from the same level of experience and need as far as our individual growth. Or are some spirits inherently wiser from the get go and thus advance more rapidly then others?

If one is to believe that the final goal of the spirit is to become as one with one’s chosen Deity. Then another thought would be as these spirits reach their goal, are they in turn replaced by new spirits?

Or are new spirits added according to a divine plan of which we have no knowledge of while in earthly form?

What is the source for the terms “Old souls” in relation to certain folks? Could this be those spirits who have gone through a number of lifetimes?

Or is it the spirits who have gone through a number of lifetimes who have actually obtained knowledge of the lessons that are assigned to each life?

Once a spirit has completed a life are the lessons connected with that life now behind spirit or do they keep shifting from one life to another until spirit finally “gets it”?

Or are these lessons lost and spirit simply moves on to the next set of challenges?

For living a life is no guarantee that such life lessons have been learned at all. It is no secret that some folks wile away their lives through the use of alcohol, drugs, extended moods of anger which only results in negative energy, arrogance which is where one is simply spinning their wheels rather then learning and so forth.

It seems that as far as the human psyche goes, it is easier to engage in negative behavior then it is to actually take hold of ones life and to draw closer to deity.

Taking this thought a step further, once spirit reaches its final goal, are all spirits equal in knowledge and experience or are there various levels of accomplishment that spirit can attain at the end of its journey?

I personally use the analogy of spirit being the flower encased within the human body or seed if you will. As we go through this life we make the conscious or in some cases unconscious choice of either nurturing this flower or not.

When the seed/human body falls away then the flower/spirit is allowed to sprout. It is how we have nurtured this flower/spirit, which will determine whether it becomes a beautiful flower or a weed if you will. This further determines whether spirit needs to repeat the process or whether it can then be free to evolve even further along the spiritual path.

I may be a cynic, but as I look around this world I see more weeds then beautiful flowers.

It seems as if so many folks these days are becoming more and more near-sighted. Being far more concerned about their immediate human desires which are mistakenly perceived as needs rather then the broader picture which is the nourishment of our spiritual needs.

If spirit can feel emotional pain, it must be writhing with anxiety.

As pagans we are aware of the many subtle intricacies of our spirit.
For instance our spirit consists of a soul, which serves as our inner voice. We are aware that there are orbs of energy called chakras that in turn are associated with our major organs.

There is the aura which ebbs and flows in accordance with our emotional and physical states. And some will say that there is an etheric layer of energy that resides as a buffer between the energy of the aura and the actual soul.

At any rate these are the things that we know about the spirit as humans. Could there be so much more that we don’t know about the spirit?

Could the Great Mysteries of life be the discovery of knowledge that we lack in regards to our spirit?

Sometimes I wonder if the spirit sheds the soul when the physical body dies, much like a tree that sheds its leaves when going into a dormant state.

I personally believe that each soul is unique to each physical body. And that spirit chooses which soul to inhabit in order to garner the experiences that are inherent to that particular soul.

I also wonder what we actually mean by the expression, “free spirit”.

Could this be an archaic reference to a spirit that is unfettered? Can a spirit be enslaved or contained in some way by another spirit or perhaps an entity that we are unaware of. Can a lack of knowledge through lessons ignored or not learned lead to such a state of enslavement?

Could it be that all of the horrendous acts of violence, emotional, physical and mental that human’s do to each other be a result of such spirits who have become so enslaved?

These thoughts are not that far fetched really.

In ancient times the Egyptians believed that when a body had reached its final days the spirit would come before an intermediary for judgment. The soul of that spirit which was represented by the heart of the deceased was weighed on the scales of Fate against a feather.

If the soul turned out to be lighter then the feather then the spirit/soul was allowed to pass into an idyllic environment, a resting home for spirits if you will. But if the heart/soul outweighed the feather then the soul/spirit was immediately destroyed by a waiting demon.

I am not sure if this meant that the Egyptians believed that a spirit could be terminated or if this was an analogy for the death of that persons experience up to that point. In which case, the spirit would have to begin all over again. Which leads me to my final thought, is there a set agenda or curriculum if you will that the spirit has to attain to reach the end of one’s goal?

I realize of course that any answers one may have to these musings are pure speculation. But in all reality, isn’t life but a series of speculations?


Footnotes:
From the thoughts of an old man…

Magick That Can Kill Your Dreams

Magick That Can Kill Your Dreams

Author: Kindred Of The Phoenix

I’m not talking about black magick here, curses or hexes or anything that can “come back on you”. Nor am I talking about vengeance or greed or working with dark spirits or demons or the dead.

I’m talking about the simple, “harmless, ” good old white magick, meant to make your finances better or your body healthier or love life deeper and more fulfilling and is the kind of Magick that so many of us do, in love and trust and good intentions.

If you can take some stress off your spouse by getting that raise you know you deserve, or give yourself in love to someone else, supporting them, encouraging them, cherishing them, but the dating site isn’t working out, why not do a spell?

The reason is that it might do you more harm than good in the long run.

I’m also not talking about the (mostly humorous, fortunately) “mis-spelled” spells that give you a dog when you ask for a true companion, or houseplants when you ask for more green in your business, or two stalkers when you ask to be magnetic to potential lovers.

Most intro to witchcraft books have a section on the dangers of poorly written spells, so I see no need to re-hash that here, though I do suggest you read- and re-read these- those .key passages to magical success from time to time.

So how can a good-intentioned, well-written, practically flawless spell go wrong?

Well, to be precise, the spell itself is not the problem. The problem lies in the use of magick itself.

Witches and other occult practitioners often use magick to solve problems, reach goals, or fulfill needs or desires that mundane action will not produce, is not producing now, or isn’t producing in the time schedule desired.

It’s not always a greedy or selfish thing- sometimes magick is simply another tool for survival in the rat race (if you have it, use it!) Or, sometimes it seems more ethical to use a spell to find a better paying job than compete for the only open position in your company with a single mom of three kids who needs it just as much as you do.

If you’re willing to put in just as much work on this mundane end, and just want a little magickal push in the right direction, there hardly seems anything wrong with it.

And there isn’t. Except that it can be deadly to your dreams.

Puzzled? Before I explain all this, consider the following:

Employee A to Boss: I hate this crap job. I can never get ahead. I’m putting in 50 hours a week here- working as hard as I can- and still it’s never enough to pay the bills and get ahead. I’ve been here five years- I have seniority. Why are you holding me back? I’m a good person, aren’t I? With a family to feed, kids that need me at home more to go to their soccer games and be a good parent and role model. Can’t you see I need to move up the ladder here? I’ve never hurt anyone here, always been a good employee, I deserve it. Isn’t it time I moved up?

Employee B to Boss: Good morning sir! About that possible promotion… I know I’ve only been here two years, but in that time I’ve finished my degree and worked hard to apply my education to my work here. I’ve motivated the team with individual attention; I’ve resolved several major tech problems and created a marketing plan that should put us ahead of our competition in six months. I’ve learned the products and customer service techniques, and feel that I have a solid grasp on my current position and all those below it- thus I can lead anyone in those positions if I’m in a position to do so. I think with my forward approach and enthusiasm for the work I am ready for a new position on our team.

Who do you really think will get the promotion?

Not that Employee A doesn’t need or deserve to move up, especially with all the time and effort he/she has put in, and the family to care for. Note that Employee B might have the same financial and family pressures- we don’t know. But business is business, and whoever hands out that promotion probably doesn’t want to know- family aside, the position goes to the one ready for it.

My point in bringing this up is that I truly believe that life isn’t fair but it is right, that some Higher Power is indeed looking out for us, and that all prayers are heard and all are answered- but not in the way we expect.

I believe that if you’re not getting something in life, not moving on to what you think you ought to be by now or because it’s only fair and you deserve it and need it, that there is a very good reason for it.

You’re not ready to move ahead yet.

Just as the boss might tell Employee A that he/she needs to learn enthusiasm for the work, needs to care about their coworkers and customers and learn to love what position they’ve been given and tend it well, nurture and grow it, so to speak, The Powers That Be might be saying this to you by holding you back in life.

Learn to love the small things in life while you’re broke, from sunshine to singing on the porch with your kids. Learn to nurture optimism, faith, and strength of spirit while you’re ill; teach others not to be afraid of either life or death while you’re on the line.

Whatever it is exactly that you’re supposed to learn is something you’ll have to discover, but most often I think it centers near trusting the Powers, loving what you’ve been blessed with instead of yearning for/ striving/working for more, and allowing yourself to be happy with who you are and what you have, despite what others say you should have in life.

When you use magick to give you a boost, you jump ahead and upset the balance. I can’t prove it, but I think this is why so many religions, mainstream and aboriginal, warn against witchcraft and magick except by the highest, most trained priest or shaman.

The Powers are Powers of love and benevolence, they want us to be happy, and thus we have magick to put in our hands the power to jump out of THEIR plan for us and take control of our own lives.

It’s like they are saying, well, if you really think you’re ready, do that spell, you’ll get what you want. Maybe you do know better. We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

And so we do that spell, jump ahead… and lose again and again that footing. Our dreams keep crumbling and we collapse in tears and ask why.

Maybe we weren’t ready yet and lost our new, advanced place in the world on our own. Or, just as likely, I believe that Divinity has a bit of a “list” of ordeals and accomplishments that each of us is to go through in our lifetime.

The order in which we accomplish/experience these things is, for the most part, unimportant, but the lessons we draw from them are. Therefore if it has been chosen for you to undergo some financial difficulty to teach you humility, or introduce you to a soul mate (who is working in a food pantry), your spell may bring in some cash but you’re due to fall back into poverty again. Not as a punishment, not because you don’t deserve better, but because The Powers that Be have something waiting for you- something good.

Without that spell, but instead with some time and some trust, you are right where you need to be. (Comforting, isn’t it?) There is something for you, right now, right here, whether you can see it or not.

If you stop trying to magickally vault ahead and run away, and look around, you just might find it and move ahead naturally.

And therefore, each time we upset the system through magick, we essentially waste time.

We put ourselves in a “better place, ” for a time, but get stuck returning to the same muck time and again and wonder why. We seem to reach a dream but soon lose it.

Rather than being mired in that cycle, I suggest you look around, take stock of what you do have, and learn to enjoy and make the best of it. If indeed we are all where we are for a reason, all you have to do is discover that reason and honor its wisdom, and a new path will be revealed to you.

Therefore when I say magick will kill your dreams, I mean that magick will give them to you only to have you lose them again, and waste precious time in your life in that cycle of gain and loss, when you could simply do what you must with what you have now and move into that dream, in its own time, for good.

Therefore may I suggest prayer, especially prayer in circle, to help you move ahead? You are not alone. Divinity loves you and wants you to succeed, and will listen and answer when properly asked.

Many forms of magick essentially have you working on your own, either telling the God and/or Goddess what to do for you, or leaving them out entirely. You need not be alone in your trials like that…

Ask why you are where you are, what’s holding you back, and what needs to be done to move on to something you’d like better. And especially, ask that it all be for the greater good.

This approach has worked so much better for me than magick!

In closing, I’d like to share with you a bit of comfort that’s hung on my wall since I was a child. It’s called the Desiderata, and it was discovered in Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, dated 1962. These are only a few lines from it…

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be….

My Pentacle Is Bigger Than Yours!

My Pentacle Is Bigger Than Yours!

Author: Devon, The Maid Of Epona

I’ve been a practicing solitary witch for a little more than ten years. I have just recently decided to wear my pentacle openly.

Does that mean I’m out of the broom closet? Heavens no! I like to describe myself as having one foot in and the other out of the proverbial broom closet. I believe this to be the smart way to be, living where I live. Hey! Pennsylvania isn’t California!

I’m not a militant pagan although I do have a serious warrior’s streak. But being a warrior also means picking and choosing your fights. I work in the small animal business in one job and in the horse business in the other.

When working in the horse business, keeping your mouth shut about what faith you are, especially if it is an alternative faith that is greatly misunderstood by others, is the wiser way to go.

If I were to be open to everyone about my faith, it would have a detrimental effect on my career. People in the horse business would immediately assume that I was one of those “tree hugging, wackos” and I suddenly wouldn’t get hired or be able to buy or sell horses because gossip runs rampant in stables and sometimes is taken to be truer than the Bible! I also deal with many of the Amish community and I hide my pentacle out of deference to their beliefs.

So I pick and choose when and where to display my symbol of faith openly. I have also made an agreement with myself that, when I wear my pentacle openly, and someone questions my faith, then I must answer truthfully and intelligently.

I tell them that my pentacle stands for the four elements and the element of spirit. I tell them that it is a symbol of wholeness and balance, not of negativity and hatred. And its meaning cannot be twisted by reversing its direction, at least not in my eyes!

The first day I wore my pentacle, I walked about with a heightened sense of awareness, waiting for everybody to judge me. I guess I was expecting the whole world to gasp, point their fingers and declare me a witch in that tone of voice that meant nothing good. The actual reaction of people was much more subdued and confused.

Instead, the only question I had to deal with was, “I didn’t know you’re Jewish!”

Do you know how hard it is not to roll your eyes at someone and exclaim, “What? Can’t you count”?

I took a real risk this past Christmas. My husband had given me two gifts I picked out from our favorite knife catalog; an unusual knife and a pentacle decorated with red gems that I thought was pretty. So what it wasn’t silver!

Well pictures in catalogs can be deceiving!

I thought the pentacle to be modestly sized and the knife to be around the size of a Bowie knife. Well the truth was things were reversed.

The knife was the size of a pocketknife. The pentacle was big. REALLY BIG!

Try a pentacle with some serious attitude and lots of bling to the red gems on it. There was no mistaking it when I chose to wear out. It just reeled you in. Ooooh boy!

Then I decided to wear it out and obvious to a family function. Hey! It was a Christmas gift from my hubby that I still really liked in spite of the size. I wanted to show off my sparkly!

Now, not all of my family knows my religious denomination but most are aware. My parents are a blessing from the Goddess! They approve as long as I don’t go around trying to convert everybody. My brother and sister know and are open minded enough to not make a big deal about such things. My cousins even know and are cool with it.

My uncle? Well, lets just say his religious views scare me! He attends an ultra conservative church that has several ministers, several auditorium sized rooms for worship and boasts an attendance of several thousand people.

I was told to never tell my uncle what religion I was.

He was coming to the party as well.

I probably should NOT have worn the pentacle. But I did.

I also chose to disguise it with my new fashion statement, which was to wear cowboy clothes. You see, in the western horse show world, they have this design that is called a Texas star. It’s like a sheriff’s badge. Hmmm. Guess what? That’s a pentacle!

So I immediately went out and got my western show attire decorated in “Texas Stars”. I’ve got them on my hat and even my horse’s saddle and bridle sport little “pentacles”. No, I won’t wear ten million pentacles on myself but I’ll completely festoon my poor, long suffering horse with them!

Anyway, I showed up at the party with my hunka, big, new pentacle and my “Texas Star” hat. And my uncle showed up later. He looked directly at my new pentacle and then me and my newly dyed, black hair.

And then he asked if I’d had any of the steamed shrimp he brought.

I felt like I had had the rug pulled out from under me. I tried not to laugh my relief.

The pentacle was a big hit though.

Two people asked about it and my religious persuasion. I found out that they also were open-minded and we had a lovely evening chatting about esoteric things. Those conversations would have probably never happened if I hadn’t been daring enough to chance wearing it out.

But the real point of the matter is this: A pentacle, or a cross, or a Jewish star, or whatever symbol you choose to wear is nothing but a piece of jewelry unless the belief is behind it to make it more.

Those Wiccans that chose not to wear a pentacle or any other symbol of faith, does that make them any less of a Wiccan? No.

Sometimes I wear my pentacle and sometimes I wear my favorite jade horse pendant. They are both symbols of faith in my opinion and are as important to me as the cross is to someone else.

But I am not a Wiccan because I choose to wear a pentacle. I am Wiccan because that is what language my heart sings.

And no one can change what you feel in your heart. You can only choose whether or not to speak it.

Do you wear your pentacle on your skin or in your heart?

Devon, the Maid of Epona

Calendar of the Moon for Thursday, Feb. 23rd

Calendar of the Moon
23 Nion/Anthesterion

Diasia: Day of Ua Zit

Color: Black
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a black cloth set three knives, a sword, and a sickle in the shape of a serpent; two white candles, and a bowl of barley.
Offerings: Any atonement for a wrong done by you, your family, or your ancestors.
Daily Meal: Fasting until the following morning.

Diasia Invocation

We have walked upon the face
Of this our generous Mother
And done wrong to many,
Whether by accident or by design
Or only by our lack of mindfulness.
Before we walked here,
Those who made us walked upon the face
Of this our generous Mother
And did wrong to many,
And their wrongs made them strong,
And their strength gave life to us.
We are born of the pain and toil
Of others, and this price
Is etched into our bones.
There are none truly innocent
Anywhere on the face of the Mother,
And we must all atone
For ourselves and for our blood.
Therefore we shall live always
With this knowledge over us,
We shall share a bed with its presence,
We shall learn to love its painful truth
And yet never become accustomed to it.
We shall work to atone for this legacy
Even if we only do no more harm
Through action or inaction.
We are children of Fate,
And we cannot afford to be blind
To the wrath our footsteps leave behind them.

(All sit on the floor and meditate. At the end of the meditation, the barley is poured as libation.)

Calendar of the Sun for Thursday, Feb. 23rd

Calendar of the Sun
23 Solmonath

Feast of Friends

Colors: Rainbow
Element: Air
Altar: On a cloth of many colors, sewn with symbols of clasped hands, place seven candles also of different colors, and a cup of milk.
Offerings: Colored candles. Offers to be better friends to those both in the house and out of it. Promises to make new friends.
Daily Meal: Any food, preferably simple.

Invocation for the Feast of Friends

Friendship is a light in the darkness,
A call in the wilderness,
A shelter in the storm.
It crosses all boundaries,
It appears where we least expect it,
And it is the first step
Toward opening ourselves
To something new and unexpected.
The friend who is like us
Is like an old comfortable quilt
That lies on our bed
And greets us every night.
Yet the friend who is unlike us
Is like an old comfortable quilt
Found in a stranger’s home
That comforts us
In our homesickness.
May we remember that the one
Is as valuable as the other,
For someday we may need
That spark of friendship
In a strange place
More than we may ever know.

(For this ritual, each steps forward and speaks the name of a friend who has come to be valuable to them, and all respond, “We bless _______ for the gift of friendship.” That day, friends from outside the house may be welcomed in for lunch, dinner, or merely socializing.)