Our Standards: Should They Be Measured by Intuition or Tradition?

Our Standards: Should They Be Measured by Intuition or Tradition?

Author: Nights Aqua Tiger

Now let me start off with a disclaimer (yeah I know, annoying) but I have been out of the loop a bit for the last three years. Some older patrons might remember me posting from my high school and college years, but many probably do not. In my defense, it’s hard to keep up when you are on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean three months at a time serving our country.
I’m now stationed on land and I see some trends that worry me.

When did those of us in Paganism become snobs? I have heard the phrases “Well, the right way to teach someone” and “All Wiccans must” several times now and have been shocked. I could be wrong but weren’t some of the reasons we joined this community acceptance and the belief that if you were harming none, there is no ‘one right way’? Catholics obviously took the ‘one true way’ route. Growing up, I heard that Protestant religions were not ‘real religions’. Paganism was my first hard look at myself in that respect. I was forced to analyze if I was pushing my beliefs onto others.

As an anthropology major, I ended up spending a lot of time doing some serious introspection about my history and preconceptions. I came to some interesting conclusions: my beliefs had become a habit, not a conscious thought. This became the huge wakeup call in my life.

Like several others, I started my journey with Silver Ravenwolf. Is her advice always the best for everyone? No. However the relief was amazing when during high school I realized I was not the only one feeling this way. That message alone got me through some amazingly difficult times and made me actually seek more resources like The Witches Voice and Pagan Pride Day. Is it good to institutionalize any religion? Not necessarily, but if people who find such starter places never look any farther, then it probably was just a fad for them and they will continue on their journey elsewhere.

For those of us who continue to learn however, I find we tend to get into the rut of familiarity like every other religion. When I hear phrases that diminish someone else’s studies against some invisible set of standards of “purity” or “old traditions”, I start to worry about the paths we are deciding. After my college-initiated phase of introspection, I realized that the rituals had become so familiar that I was no longer focused. My answer? I stopped.

I started doing many rituals purely on the mental level because I was never anywhere long enough to set down some roots or bring with me any sort of supplies. Instead of being inhibiting as I expected, it was freeing. No longer tied to the ritual, I am now able to focus on following my intuition and to explore other studies, pantheons, rituals, and ideas I had never considered. My core beliefs have remained but now I have more ways to express them.

One of the reasons that I have loved finding this path and am now looking into joining in some group magicks is this need to continue to explore new expressions of my love for this path. While meeting the founders of the group I hope to become a part of, I again heard this story of “some people don’t consider me to be ____ because I supposedly wasn’t taught exactly the same way.”

This idea that there is some “pure” form of the tradition or Craft to follow is (Yes, I’ll say it and it’ll probably piss off a few people) NUTS. Have we really forgotten our roots so fast? Not to argue this history because we could debate over who started what when, but the term Wiccan appears to only be about 70 years old (Yes, I know we can argue this in another article if we wish – for now let’s just use it as a starting point) .

The word pagan, as defined by Webster’s dictionary as ‘a follower of a polytheistic religion’. And that’s debatable too… wait… the two words that we most frequently use to describe our community have debatable definitions? So if there are debates behind the simplest definitions within the religion, how can we have a “pure” form?

I brought this argument up to a dear friend and immediately got shut down. “Well, we have to have standards in our teachings!” I couldn’t agree more. But in evaluating someone’s studies to see how they fit into the group, we need to take in more than their ability to memorize some pretty rituals. Let’s get down and dirty!

How many years have they been studying? Do they take a more rigid and structured approach or do they use what is available and their intuition? Can they work within our group? Do their core beliefs follow our principles? How seriously have they been studying/practicing?

Intent and willpower mean a lot within our belief system and we should not ignore their value. Let’s start asking the questions but also remembering that not everyone is going to practice the same within one coven let alone the whole religion.

One of the blessings of this religion is our ability to include new people, ideas, and expressions of belief. One of our new goals needs to be to keep that new joy that we all felt in finding this path alive. One of our next goals should be to help each other feel that joy without judging how/why people study. We are a reconstruction of ideas that we all feel are important to each other and ourselves. Let’s try maintaining that identity…the identity of a people who are accepting of and willing to work together. Let that be our standard.

Let us remember our roots and use that to continue to build an opening happy community that supports each other without judging how someone chooses to participate.

NightsAquaTiger
Second Class Petty Officer of the USCG

The Green Life versus The Silver Life

The Green Life versus The Silver Life

Author: Luthien

The ol’ Witch in the woods had a couple of beeswax candles, the Sun, Moon and stars and knowledge of the uses of herbs in her area to use in her practice. The modern Witch has the world at their fingertips at the click of a mouse button. Were things better in her time, without the cacophony of engine noise, the persistent hum of computers, and mobile phone signals that clog up the air? Or are we far better off out of the dark ages, living comfortable lifestyles without constant fear of persecution and with worldwide sharing of information?

I’ve always been a bit of a sci-fi geek, always fascinated with modern technology. I’m not a Mathematician or a Scientist – I’m a writer, and I spent my teen-hood making stories from ideas based upon Space exploration and travel. Most of the fiction I’ve ever written involves futuristic civilizations living in artificial cities built in Space, the ideas of which were researched through a lifelong fascination of ‘what’s out there’, and ‘where mankind will go with it all’. I’ve also always been a sucker for post- apocalyptic dramas and films; there’s nothing quite like the thrill of the sight of well- known cities like New York being mass flooded and frozen over as in The Day after Tomorrow, or deserted and left to nature to take over like in I am Legend, or even taken over by vicious aliens as in The War of the Worlds. In fact, any fiction where the planet freezes over or burns to a crisp or explodes will generally have me on the edge of my seat.

Like any young person, I wouldn’t be without my laptop, mobile and iPod, these things which make our day to day lives so much quicker, easier and more enjoyable. Find me a housewife who’d be without her prize washing machine or a businessman who’d function for a day without his Blackberry or iPhone. I’ve also always had a thrill for travel, particularly to far- flung, exotic places. It’s soggy and grey most of the year where I live, and like many Brits I’m a bit of a sun- seeker. How easy it is just to bulldoze normal life to one side, hop on a cheap flight and be transported into a sunnier, warmer, care- free world.

So you can see where we hit the snag.

Does the slow- paced, Earth- reverence lifestyle of Paganism not present the exact opposite sort of mentality? Pagans live in the here and now, grounded in the present, not worrying frantically about next week or mulling endlessly over a past loss or failure. The majority of us are focused mainly on environmental issues. (Would you let your backyard turn into a mini landfill site?) This is the reason so many Pagans pour so much effort into protecting the environment, everyone’s back yard, and many enjoy nothing more than a walk through sylvan parks, forests and alongside tinkling streams rather than in the pristine, perfectly geometric stone and metal cities of my imagination.

Air travel is of-course a big no-no, so that’s potentially struck off my ‘How to be a Perfect Pagan’ list, being the largest producer of Co2 as forms of transport go. Pagans who travel abroad often attempt to use trains or ferries unless no such alternative is available or practical for the journey being made. If all else fails, though, I’m told that planting a tree will cancel out the Carbon Dioxide produced by a medium- haul flight.

All the silver shiny things that make up our day to day lives, the computers that make us stay- indoorsy robots and the mobile phones that distract us for hours and hours on end from our natural surroundings, those things that make our lives easier and more enjoyable on the surface, but in the long term cause fatigue, depression and stress due to our over- busy lives and lack of communication with Earth’s energies – how on Earth do we fit it into a modern Pagan lifestyle?

After all Pagans fulfill a variety of jobs and careers – there are Pagan IT technicians, plumbers, teachers, actors, writers… we wouldn’t be able to live in this age without technology. The answer is compromise, to combine the two. We can’t progress without embracing modern technology. Without the wonders of the Internet this article wouldn’t be reaching you. And ‘Progress’, when used to justify annihilating thousands of acres of rainforest, to deplete the world’s natural resources and to allow alarmingly and unnaturally rapid shift in the Earth’s climate, really makes me cringe.

It needn’t be like this. It’s industrial- age thinking. Progress as a species to me means developing sustainable ways of generating energy and living, while developing our technology without compromising our ozone layer or environment. This is of course easier said than done, but for me part of being a witch is always asking questions, always exploring new ideas and better and more eco- friendly ways of doing things.

The term ‘Techno-Pagan’ is becoming more and more widespread, to describe those who would use the Internet to network with other Pagans and bring together people and ideas. According to Wikipedia, the Techno-Pagans are also those who would use modern –day devices in ritual, such as a ‘disk of Shadows’ instead of a traditional book, using an oven for a hearth and a laser pointer instead of a wand. Some will go as far as to say that electrical devices have a soul or energy field of their own, and their use in ritual helps to bring together the spiritual and physical worlds. I will use music from my laptop to use in meditation, but generally speaking I like to keep the two separate.

There’s something magical about holding a book in your hands filled with carefully written- out pages, and using altar tools that you made yourself of things you found out in the park or in the garden. Though I’m sure many of us have the Internet to thank for the roots or development of our magickal education, or for networking with and maintaining contact with many more Pagans than otherwise would have crossed our paths.

But beside all this we can still make time to be one to one with nature, if we can only pause our hectic lifestyles for a brief time and take in the serenity of the Earth’s healing energies. I’m a great admirer of the Pagan author Starhawk, and her novel The Fifth Sacred Thing tells of a futuristic world where a bleak, totalitarian regime attempts relentlessly to invade a small green pocket of land where witches fight with their lives to protect diversity, freedom and the greenery of the planet. Here she combines my two favorite genres, and in the novel these two extremes are set to clash horribly. This isn’t the way it will be in my own life, though; getting the right balance is imperative to our wellbeing, and if we can reach for the silvery stars while keeping rooted in the green Earth, we will make great tracks indeed in our lives and in the lives of others.


Footnotes:
http://www.wikipedia.org
Starhawk, ‘The Fifth Sacred Thing’

The Responsibility of the Witch in the Modern World

The Responsibility of the Witch in the Modern World

Author: wolf witch

In ancient times, the person most gifted in reading nature’s sign and in maintaining the health and well-being of the tribe became, essentially, the wise one or witch of that tribe. Through the periodic exchange of information with others of such kind and the constant study of herbs, natural phenomena, and basic human nature, such individuals gained an encyclopedic knowledge that vastly raised the survivability of the tribe existing in a harsh environment, providing an important barrier against human extinction.

Witches took responsibility for healing the sick, predicting the weather, determining the best times for planting and harvest, animal husbandry, finding the best places to live, and generally developing the circumstances under which a community could flourish. Lately, tremendous academic effort goes into delineating shamanism from witchcraft, and those individuals intent on proper nomenclature deny one in favor of another, but reality removes any doubt that function within a society belies any title. That the individual with a demonstrated talent for providing the tribe with information and service outside the practical efforts of hunting and gathering had significant value deserving of some distinction from the average person is all that mattered.

The progression of human development over time reduced the apparent need for these talented people, and the final blow to their overt existence came with the rise of organized religion and its dread of any source of spiritual power other than its own as an influence upon humanity. Culminating in the “burning times”, the position of village wise one was erased throughout most of the civilized world. The very capabilities that gave them note resulted in their demise, and the fact that the deaths of ten ordinary folk for every witch (counting those people accused of heresy and other such nefarious crimes among the ten) mattered little to an organization bent on control of human destiny in the name of its particular god.

One terrible consequence of those persecutions was the abandonment by the truly wise of humanity to its own devices. Spurned and burned, tortured and cursed, those who once directed the fate of entire communities retired almost completely from any participation in society, in part driven away by fear and, once the burning times ended, kept distant by the conviction that Man was no longer in need of their talents.

Currently a new openness and the removal of oppression from significant portions of modern society is allowing paganism to flourish and has removed most of the dangers associated with being publicly acknowledged as being a witch.

Unfortunately, the new witch is more dedicated to personal spiritual development that to helping humanity to survive in these trying times. There can be no faulting found for witches taking this direction. Hundreds of years of repression coupled with the present crop of very vocal fundamentalists determined to link the Craft to whatever devil they happen to fear go a long way toward pushing the average solitary practitioner back into the closet.

Exclusivity has always been a part of the Craft as well, so the IT revolution that has opened communications globally to anyone who can work a keyboard has actually increased the closed tribal nature of people within the Craft birthing a tremendous number of web sites each proclaiming itself and its owners the one true way to achieve whatever spiritual goal one desires. Forums are full of backbiting based on everything from the “true” names of the gods to the simple linguistics of “Wicca” and “witch”.

Considering that we live in a time when the errant acts of man, whether they be the push of a little red button launching a nuclear nightmare or the endless denuding of the planet to strip its resources at the expense of the very environment that sustains human life, witches have far more important matters at hand than debating what name best applies to the craft of the wise.

Not all of us are equipped to dedicate resources to organizations designed to provide help to those who are in need, but each of us can write to those in government responsible for the allocation of such resources. Our most valuable asset has always been our ability to persuade those responsible for some aspect of human existence to follow the wise way as determined by our talents for divination, conversing with the Otherworld, and understanding the special needs of nature as it applies to human existence. We are more than a lobbying group and much more than a political party.

We carry a tradition of aiding in the survival of humanity, and we cannot abandon that responsibility now or ever if we intend to live up to our calling.

Some of us have very little free time, but each of us can buy an extra can of food for the collection bin at the supermarket door.

All of us can ask those who have what others need to donate what may be no longer needed there to someplace where the need is great. One country in Africa has only a single working dialysis machine. A letter to major hospitals and regional dialysis centers asking them to donate replaced machines that still have a working life takes minutes, and email makes the whole process faster, it will cover more ground than any old fashioned conventional mail-out.

Many witches are already involved in charitable programs and deserve the highest accolade for understanding our real, historic place in society, but there are still a great number who are not involved and must become so if humanity is ever to find its true calling as a unified species dedicated to the well-being of each member of the species and the preservation of our greatest treasure, the planet upon which we rely for our survival.

The tribe is no longer a few isolated individuals in a tiny ecosystem. We are globally united, a genuine tribe of Man. The responsibility of the wise one is no longer the survival of a handful but of entirety of humanity.

We, as witches, must accept this responsibility, fir it is the single most essential element to our spiritual development and maturity.

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for March 21

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

At night sometimes the world seems so topsy-turvy and you’re so weary of doing things the same old way. Then nothing seems to please….You try desperately for something new and different, something that doesn’t seem so much like you. Why? Tonight you are different.

One cannot expect the world to be top side up all the time. Such perfection does not come so easily to human nature. And always there is a search for something new and different. A change of pace….that thought that I don’t want to be me today, to think my thoughts and do my daily chores. I want to make a complete change now, to know a whole new way of life. And it is good to leave behind the many daily situations that sometimes stand too closely to be seen clearly, but to be wise enough to know which things should be left behind.

There have been clean sweeps that have left behind the dearest things….and have taken along the same dreary, dark unhappy things of the mind that should have been left behind.

A line from the prayer of serenity is “The wisdom to know the difference….” And wisdom says Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is common sense in an uncommon degree. If one has the wisdom to wait a bit, wait until morning – or several mornings – that uncommon degree of common sense will give us the wisdom to know the difference.

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Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet: http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – March 21

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – March 21

“The manner with which we walk through life is each man’s most important responsibility, and we should remember this with every new sunrise.”

–Thomas Yellowtail, CROW

Every spiritual person should carry a vision of God’s will in every area of their life. One day at a time, each morning at sunrise, we should spend time praying to the Creator. We should say something like, my Creator, this morning I ask you to show me, in terms I can understand, what you have or me to do. By doing this daily, over time, we will develop an unquestionable vision. Each person is responsible for taking the time to do this. It will bring great joy and peace of mind to those warriors who do.

My Creator, give me the vision, today, of what you want me to do.

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March 21 – Daily Feast

March 21 – Daily Feast

Other people have problems the same way we do. If the get loud about them, we don’t have to react. Resistance makes difficult times even more difficult to handle. It helps not to threaten but to let things cool down naturally. The Cherokee word for this is, to hi ge se s di, making peace, or peace for the earth. Forgiveness seems to be a necessity for so many things that are wrong. Forgiveness never degrades but elevates, and is not to let someone else get away with something but to free ourselves from an entanglement. It frees us from bitter resentment that can make us sick – and can help heal the sickness if it is already there. Eventually, it makes us glad that we did not react, doing and saying things for which we would later be sorry.

~ They fight among themselves, but if you strike at them they will turn on you. ~

LITTLE CROW, 1951

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

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Daily Motivator for March 21 – Now that you know

Now that you know

Don’t curse the problem. Be thankful that you’ve become aware of it.

Now that you know it’s a problem, you can act to successfully deal with it. Now that you know it’s a problem, you have a well-defined way to make progress.

Now that you know, it is no longer a problem. It is a chance for you to make a difference, and to create meaningful value in doing so.

The sooner you know there’s a problem, the sooner you can do something about it. The sooner you start taking action, the more effective you’ll be.

When there’s a problem, there’s nothing to fear. Rather, there’s good and useful work to be done.

Is there a problem? Then step forward and take hold of the opportunity.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

Daily OM for Wednesday, March 21 – Without a Net

Without a Net
Living Life with Trust

 

 

When we continually live our life with a safety net it creates a barrier to our freedom. 

As we create the life of our dreams, we often reach a crossroads where the choices seem to involve the risk of facing the unknown versus the safety and comfort of all that we have come to trust. We may feel like a tightrope walker, carefully teetering along the narrow path to our goals, sometimes feeling that we are doing so without a net. Knowing we have some backup may help us work up the courage to take those first steps, until we are secure in knowing that we have the skills to work without one. But when we live our lives from a place of balance and trust in the universe, we may not see our source of support, but we can know that it is there.

If we refuse to act only if we can see the safety net, we may be allowing the net to become a trap as it creates a barrier between us and the freedom to pursue our goals. Change is inherent in life, so even what we have learned to trust can surprise us at any moment. Remove fear from the equation and then, without even wondering what is going on below, we can devote our full attention to the dream that awaits us.

We attract support into our lives when we are willing to make those first tentative steps, trusting that the universe will provide exactly what we need. In that process we can decide that whatever comes from our actions is only for our highest and best experience of growth. It may come in the form of a soft landing, an unexpected rescue or an eye-opening experience gleaned only from the process of falling. So rather than allowing our lives to be dictated by fear of the unknown, or trying to avoid falling, we can appreciate that sometimes we experience life fully when we are willing to trust and fall. And in doing so, we may just find that we have the wings to fly.

When we believe that there is a reason for everything, we are stepping out with the safety net of the universe, and we know we will make the best from whatever comes our way.

Astronomy Picture of the Day for March 21

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 March 21
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Aurora Over Iceland
Image Credit & Copyright: Daniel Lopez (El Cielo de Canarias)  

 

Explanation: If you see a sky like this — photograph it. Three nights ago in Iceland, an adventurous photographer (pictured) chanced across a sky full of aurora and did just that. Afterwards, by stitching together five smaller photographs, the entire aurora-lit sky was recreated in this 180-degree panorama taken from Vatnajökull glacier. Auroras are sparked by energetic particles from the Sun impacting the magnetic environment around the Earth. Resultant energetic particles such as electrons and protons rain down near the Earth’s poles and impact the air. The impacted air molecules obtain excited electrons, and when electrons in oxygen molecules fall back to their ground state, they emit green light. Auroras are known to have many shapes and colors.

Special Kitties of the Day for March 21

Mr. Tinkles, Garfield, the Cat of the Day
Name: Mr. Tinkles, Garfield
Age: One and a half years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Persian, Exotic short hair
Home: Burbank, California, USA
Ihave two beautiful kittens. Well, not kittens anymore, but for me they are! Here are some of their pictures and I hope you enjoy. They are one and a half years old brothers from the same littler. One is a completely white from head to tail, and the other one is an Orange persian. Garfield is the Orange and Mr. Tinkles (who got his name from the movie “Cats and Dogs”) is white.

Even though they are brothers, the sure have different personalities. Garfield is more outgoing and more friendly! More a people’s cat and according to himself the king! of the house.

The other one is more shy and not so much a people’s cat. Only with my partner is he not shy. Both cats are sweet boys and we just love them to death.

Mr. Tinkles, the white cat, is shy with other people except with us. He’s a sweet loving cat and loves to play with stick that has a feather. He always tries to take it with him and hide it. He also loves playing with the sheets and he has a weird way of drinking water. He likes to lay on the floor and drink it while kicking the water container. He loves to pay with his brother Garfield and he loves to sleep during the day in my underwear drawer. He is a big jumper and can jump really high if he wants too.

Garfield is the orange one, and is more energetic, extremely playful and he thinks he is the king of the house. He loves to run around the house with his brother. He loves getting pampered and loves getting into closets and boxes. He’s a loving cat and every time I get home. he’s waiting for me. He also loves to pose for pictures and he knows it when people take pictures of him. He loves to play with the stick and the feather thing, they both goes nuts over that.

As you see even though they are brothers, they sure have different personalities but one thing is certain. They love each other and I don’t think they can ever be apart from each other and US!

Doggie of the Day for Wednesday, March 21

Mollie, the Dog of the Day
Name: Mollie
Age: Eight years old
Gender: Female Breed: Akita
Home: Coupeville, Washington, USA
This is Mollie. She is a sweet and loyal dog. Mollie is always glad to see me and she has both dog and cat friends. When she’s not out hiking in the woods, she works out at Whidbey General Hospital in cardiac rehab (okay, she only sat on the non-moving treadmill for for a photo op. I have a friend that works there).

She’s been to the Canine College and knows how to speak, sit, stay, come, lie down, shake, and roll over. When she gets really excited she will run in circles and/or howl. She likes to bite fish oil caps and eat cheese. When she’s excited she gives you little nips. Mollie is 8 years old but has a youthful appearance.

She lets me check her ears for infection and she likes to hold my hand with her mouth. Mollie is very personable and will work the crowd whenever she can.

Mollie, the Dog of the Day
Mollie, the Dog of the Day

How to Plant a Goddess Garden

How to Plant a Goddess Garden

By Patti Wigington, About.com Guide

Planning Your Goddess Garden

Gardening is a magical act. It allows us to take the simplest form of life — a seed — and plant it so that weeks later it will bloom. Plants and magic have been associated for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, so when spring rolls around and you’re planning your seasonal garden, why not set up a special area to dedicate to the goddess of your tradition?

If you don’t have a big yard to plant, don’t worry. You can still create a special goddess garden using a container.

Selecting a Goddess to Honor

Start by figuring out which goddess you’d like to honor. It’s probably a bad idea to just pick one at random — a better course of action would be to choose one you’ve got some sort of connection to, or that you’ve been interested in learning more about. If your particular tradition honors a certain goddess, or deities of a specific pantheon, that helps make the selection process a little easier.

Choosing the Perfect Spot

Next, figure out where the best place is to locate your goddess garden. Are you working with a vibrant, outdoorsy kind of goddess, like Diana? Perhaps she’d appreciate a spot in the sun. Maybe a water goddess, who would feel at home near your pond? Or perhaps you’re connected to a goddess of darkness, who might prefer a shady spot near the tree line? Obviously, you want to choose an are where plants will grow, but it’s also important to try to select an area where the Divine will feel a sense of home.

If you live in a small area such as an apartment, or if you have limited space, you can still plant a goddess garden. Choose a brightly lit spot on your patio and use containers for gardening, or create a tabletop goddess garden with a large planter.

Planting for the Divine

Your next step should be to determine what sort of plants are associated with the goddess you’re honoring. Think of this garden as a sort of living altar space, and plan accordingly. For example, if your garden is to pay tribute to Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, you might fill the space with seeds for vibrant and colorful carnations, hollyhocks, snapdragons and impatiens. A garden for Bast, the Egyptian cat goddess, might include catnip, members of the mint family, lavender, and lilies (for their playful, cat-like energy). If you choose to honor a goddess of the harvest, you might wish to plant fall-blooming plants, like mums or even root vegetables.

Making Your Garden Sacred

Add decorative touches like statuary, crystals, pretty stones, and other garden ornaments that correspond to your goddess’ attributes. Is your goddess a fire deity, like Pele? Add a fire bowl or candle holder. If your goddess is associated with air and wind, perhaps some wind chimes or a flag would be appropriate. Use your imagination, and take a few moments each day to work on your garden and re-connect with the goddess you are honoring.

Spring Garden Maintenance

Spring Garden Maintenance

Springtime Tasks

By Amy Jeanroy, About.com Guide

When spring is approaching, it is time to start organizing your garden. Make a list of herbs that you want to plant, and compare the time needed to harvest them to the length of your growing season. If you do not have a long enough growing season, try starting your herbs with plants instead of seeds. This will decrease the time needed until harvest by weeks. Lay out your herb garden on paper before planting anything. This way you will be able to organize planting based on how much sunlight an area receives and how much drainage the soil has in that area and plant accordingly.

Important Spring Garden Planning

Spring is the time to start planting your garden with the full summer growth of the plants in mind. Be sure to read the final growth height and spacing of the plants and make sure there is optimal room for their full potential. Your spring garden may look sparse when first planted, but you will be glad you were conservative during the summer months as the herbs fill out.

My Garden Notebook In Spring

Your garden notebook will become much more interesting now. You will write down all the herbs you planted and if you used seeds or plants to start with. Write down if your perennial herbs from the past year have come back. Mark the days you plant and any changes from your original garden plan. I also write down where I get my plants from. In spring, it seems that I can find new, out of the way places for purchasing a few herbs. If I don’t write these tidbits down, they are gone for the next year. You may think you can remember, but the season is just beginning. Write it down!

Spring gardening is also the time to amend (prepare and enrich) the soil so the plants have the most nutrients available right from the start. Traditionally, spring gets the most natural moisture and you can take advantage of that by including enough organic matter in the soil to help hold moisture for the long, dry days ahead.

Magical Gardening Around the World

Magical Gardening Around the World

By Patti Wigington, About.com Guide

Around the world, people tend to garden in different ways. Someone living on a large family farm plants their crops differently than someone on a half-acre lot in the suburbs. A resident of a big city in an advanced nation will grow things in a different fashion than a family living in an impoverished, third world country. While one person might use a large tractor and motorized equipment, another may use a simple shovel. Still another might only use a pointed stick to make a hole in the ground. Since time began, the human race has managed to find ways to make things grow where before there was nothing.

In the early spring, many of us who follow earth-based spiritual paths begin planning our gardens for the coming season. The very act of planting, of beginning new life from seed, is a ritual and a magical act in itself. To cultivate something in the black soil, see it sprout and then bloom, is to watch a magical working unfold before our very eyes. The plant cycle is intrinsically tied to so many earth-based belief systems that it should come as no surprise that the magic of the garden is one well worth looking into.

Let’s look at some of the folklore and traditions that surround gardening and planting magic.

  • Many gardeners swear by the idea of planting by the phase of the moon. The first quarter is when they plant crops which bloom above ground — spinach and lettuce, cucumbers and corn, to name a few. The second quarter, leading up to the full moon, is the time to plant above-ground seed crops like beans, watermelons, squash and tomatoes. During the third quarter, the week following the full moon, root vegetables like carrots and potatoes should go in, as well as bulb flowers. Finally, the last quarter of the waning moon is the time to avoid planting altogether — instead, work on garden maintenance such as tilling and weeding.
  • Appalachian folk magic is rich with tradition when it comes to planting. Pound a nail into the northern side of your fruit tree to bring a higher yield come harvest time. Also, if you want your hot peppers to grow really hot, then plant them when you’re good and mad about something. For maximum growing potential, have a pregnant friend help you plant beans, and the beans will flourish.
  • Medieval English folklore says that if you plant daisies, they’ll help keep the fairies out of your yard. Once they’ve bloomed, make a daisy chain for a child, to keep the fae from leaving a changeling in the child’s place.
  • Certain tubers, such as yams, are believed to increase lust and fertility. In some West African nations, the white yam has been linked to high birth rates, particularly that of multiples such as twins.
  • If you’re planting blackberries, roses, or some other brambly, thorny bush, train them over an arch in your garden. In Restoration-era England, it was believed that walking through a bramble arch would cure just about any ailment.
  • A South Carolina rootworker named Jasper says that his family’s Gullah heritage has shaped a lot of their planting traditions. Women who are menstruating are not permitted to harvest okra, because it might spoil when they put it up for canning. Also, pickles won’t be crunchy if canned by a woman having her period. Mustard, collard, and other greens planted near your bedroom window will help prevent conception of a child. The color blue keeps evil spirits away, so plant blue flowers near your front door.
  • Some Native American tribes planted beans, squash and corn in an arrangement known as Three Sisters. In addition to being a self-sustaining ecosystem, in which each plant helps the others, the planting of this trio is associated with the concept of happy families, abundance, and community.
  • During the Victorian era, the secret language of flowers became popular. Each flower had its own association, so if you wished to attract love, for example, you might plant love-linked flowers like geranium and lilac.
  • In Slavic countries, wild roses are said to keep away vampires. In many other places, garlic is known as an anti-vampire plant, and in some parts of Central Europe it is used to ward off the “evil eye.” If you think someone might be trying to do you magical harm, plant garlic in abundance.
  • There’s a number of tales about never eating tomatoes off a silver platter, or you might die. This actually has some historical basis – Colonial settlers found that they often became ill after eating tomatoes. Rather than it being a problem with the tomato itself, this was due to a reaction between the tomatoes and the settlers’ pewter dinnerware. Despite the rumor being proven false that tomatoes are deadly, in some parts of the country tomatoes are never dished up in anything silver.
  • During the westward expansion of the nineteenth century, some Midwestern areas believed that if a girl found a blood-red corn cob among the yellow ones, she was sure to marry before the year was out. Forward thinking young men occasionally planted a few random kernels of red corn strains among their crops.

Calendar of the Moon for Wednesday, March 21

Calendar of the Moon

Ash Tree Month

Color: Pale Blue
Elements: Water and air
Altar: On a cloth of pale blue set a great bowl of salt water in which are set many shells and stones, a shell full of salt, incense, and the figures of sea-birds and fishes.
Offerings: Wash something clean, or air it out.
Daily Meal: Either fish or seafood, or poultry.

Nion/Anthesterion Invocation

Call: Now is the time of wind and water.
Response: Now is the time of sea and sky.
Call: Now is the time of the Gods of weather.
Response: Now is the time of the great waves.
Call: Now is the time of terrible flooding.
Response: Now is the time of needed rain.
Call: Now is the time of battering gales.
Response: Now is the time of winds of change.
Call: Now is the time of fear of change.
Response: Now, and always, change will win.
Call: The wild winds disturb our dreams.
Response: The wild winds awake our minds.
Call: The heavy rains flood our hearts.
Response: The heavy rains water our future.
Call: The sea will sweep us away.
Response: The sea will bear us up.
Call: The sea is cold and unending.
Response: The sea is the source of life.
Call: We are ships on the lost expanse of the ocean.
Response: We are winds that call to one another.
Call: We will brave the wind and water.
Response: We will bring together mind and heart.
Call: We will come home safely after wandering.
Response: We will anchor safely after our journeys.
Call: We will come through wind and water!
Response: We will come through wind and water!
(Repeat last two lines twice more.)

Chant:
We will come through wind and water
We will come through sea and sky

 

Pagan Book of Hours