Crystal of the Day for April 5 – Aragonite

Crystal of the Day for April 5 – Aragonite


Colours: White, Yellow, Gold, Green, Blue, Brown
Source: Britain, Namibia, Spain
Energy: Projective/Receptive
Planet: Saturn
Elements: Earth
Mineralogy: F
ormed hydrothermally or in a sedimentary process.
Spiritual Uses: Stabilises spiritual developments that are moving too fast, leading to excessive demands or to a decrease in interest.
Emotional Uses:
Calming in cases of oversensitivity and inner restlessness.
Physical Uses:
Regulates the metabolism and strengthens the immune system.
Magical Properties: Healing, stimulates communication with higher planes. Meditation, centering.


Herb of the Day for April 5 – Cat’s Claw Bark Cut

Herb of the Day for April 5 – Cat’s Claw Bark Cut

    Latin Name: Uncaria tomentosa
Common Names: Bird of Paradise

This herbal treatment, known in Latin as Uncaria Tomentosa, is named after the hook-like horns that are found on its surface, and comes from a vine native to the Amazon Rain Forest and other similarly tropical locals within South and Central America. There, it has been found in traditional medicinal folk lore dating back to the age of the Incans, and is frequently described as a potent aid in treating health problems, such as arthritis, stomach ulcers, fever, and general inflammation. Some lore even suggests that the bark can be utilized when one is seeking a method ofbirth control.

Medicinal Properties:
More Modern studies have shown that Cat’s Claw Bark is indeed a stimulant to the immune system, helping it fight off disease and perhaps thereby relieving symptoms such as fever. Some herbalists also claim that it can be of great use in relaxing and soothing muscles, helping to ease away aches and pains. This is of particular use when combined with the fact that the bark has shown some ability to treat and ease assorted forms of arthritis. Some studies have also shown that Cat’s Claw Bark can help lower blood pressure as well, and act as a diuretic. The bark has also been shown to possess antioxidant properties, which remove the body of particles that damage cells and potentially cause cancer. Early studies are looking into this quality, and examining its antitumor and anticancer effects.

Magical Properties:

Purification, Unhexing, Protection


ot recommended for people who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant. Not recommended for organ transplant recipients, it may stimulate the immune response and cause a rejection of the organ or tissue.

Deity of the Day for April 5 – Morrigan

Deity of the Day for April 5th


by Danielle Dee
The Morrigan is a goddess of battle, strife, and fertility. Her name translates as either “Great Queen” or “Phantom Queen,” and both epithets are entirely appropriate for her. The Morrigan appears as both a single goddess and a trio of goddesses. The other deities who form the trio are Badb(“Crow”), and either Macha (also connotes “Crow”) or Nemain (“Frenzy”). The Morrigan frequently appears in the ornithological guise of a hooded crow. She is one of the Tuatha Dé Danann (“Tribe of the goddess Danu”) and she helped defeat the Firbolg at the First Battle of Mag Tuireadh and the Fomorians at the Second Battle of Mag Tuireadh. 

The origins of the Morrigan seem to reach directly back to the megalithic cult of the Mothers. The Mothers (Matrones, Idises, Disir, etc.) usually appeared as triple goddesses and their cult was expressed through both battle ecstasy and regenerative ecstasy. It’s also interesting to note that later Celtic goddesses of sovereignty, such as the trio of Eriu, Banba, and Fotla, also appear as a trio of female deities who use magic in warfare. “Influence in the sphere of warfare, but by means of magic and incantation rather than through physical strength, is common to these beings.” (Ross 205)

Eriu, a goddess connected to the land in a fashion reminiscent of the Mothers, could appear as a beautiful woman or as a crow, as could the Morrigan. The Disir appeared in similar guises. In addition to being battle goddesses, they are significantly associated with fate as well as birth in many cases, along with appearing before a death or to escort the deceased.

There is certainly evidence that the concept of a raven goddess of battle was not limited to the Irish Celts. An inscription found in France which reads Cathubodva, ‘Battle Raven’, shows that a similar concept was at work among the Gaulish Celts.

Valkyries in Norse cosmology. Both use magic to cast fetters on warriors and choose who will die.

During the Second Battle, the Morrigan “said she would go and destroy Indech son of De Domnann and ‘deprive him of the blood of his heart and the kidneys of his valor’, and she gave two handfuls of that blood to the hosts. When Indech later appeared in the battle, he was already doomed.” (Rees 36)

Compare this to the Washer at the Ford, another guise of the Morrigan. The Washer is usually to be found washing the clothes of men about to die in battle. In effect, she is choosing who will die.

An early German spell found in Merseburg mentions the Indisi, who decided the fortunes of war and the fates of warriors. The Scandinavian “Song of the Spear”, quoted in “Njals Saga”, gives a detailed description of Valkyries as women weaving on a grisly loom, with severed heads for weights, arrows for shuttles, and entrails for the warp. As they worked, they exulted at the loss of life that would take place. “All is sinister now to see, a cloud of blood moves over the sky, the air is red with the blood of men, and the battle women chant their song.” (Davidson 94)

An Old English poem, “Exodus”, refers to ravens as choosers of the slain. In all these sources, ravens, choosing of the slain, casting fetters, and female beings are linked.

“As the Norse and English sources show them to us, the walkurjas are figures of awe an even terror, who delight in the deaths of men. As battlefield scavengers, they are very close to the ravens, who are described as waelceasega, “picking over the dead”…” (Our Troth)

“The function of the goddess [the Morrigan] here, it may be noted, is not to attack the hero [Cu Chulainn] with weapons but to render him helpless at a crucial point in the battle, like the valkyries who cast ‘fetters’ upon warriors … thus both in Irish and Scandinavian literature we have a conception of female beings associated with battle, both fierce and erotic.” (Davidson 97, 100)

The Morrigan and Cu Chulainn
She appeared to the hero Cu Chulainn(son of the god Lugh) and offered her love to him. When he failed to recognize her and rejected her, she told him that she would hinder him when he was in battle. When Cu Chulainn was eventually killed, she settled on his shoulder in the form of a crow. Cu’s misfortune was that he never recognized the feminine power of sovereignty that she offered to him.

She appeared to him on at least four occasions and each time he failed to recognize her.

  1. When she appeared to him and declared her love for him.
  2. After he had wounded her, she appeared to him as an old hag and he offered his blessings to her, which caused her to be healed.
  3. On his way to his final battle, he saw the Washer at the Ford, who declared that she was washing the clothes and arms of Cu Chulainn, who would soon be dead.
  4. When he was forced by three hags (the Morrigan in her triple aspect) to break a taboo of eating dogflesh.

Special Kitty of the Day for April 5

Panda, the Cat of the Day
Name: Panda
Age: Six and a half years old
Gender: Male
Kind: Manx mix
Home: Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA
Here’s a picture of my Pandabear lounging on top of the hot tub. We call him Panda for short. He’s a great cat, and is obviously a Manx mix, as he’s got luxurious medium-length fluffy coat, but just a bit of a tail, as you can see. It’s good that he has that tail, small as it is, as otherwise Manx can have some spine problems, especially the “rumpy” ones with no tail. Manx cats with his length of tail are called Stumpy Manx, but he doesn’t let that bother him at all. He’s a great cat with a soft, pettable coat, and we all love him.

Dog-gone Doggie Of The Day for April 5

Lissy, the Dog of the Day
Name: Lissy
Age: Four years old
Gender: Female Breed: Dalmatian
Home: Germany
My dog Lissy is a Dalmatian. She is sweet, funny, smart, pretty and cool. She love delis, dog food and dog bones to eat, and she loves to play, and to run. She can run very fast in the fields when we take her there. Lissy is four years old, and she is white and black, as you can see. She does have things she dislikes, though. She dislikes cats a lot, and does not like getting sprayed with water. Most of all she dislikes the Hoover (vacuum cleaner) most of all, and will leave the room when one is brought into it. She is pretty, I think, and she is my friend.



by Imré K. Rainey 

Sacred Kings are just one part of the mystery of the Alder moon, but a very important one, and one that is easily misunderstood. What exactly is a Sacred King? Who is Bran? How are the Sacred Kings and Bran connected? Through an analysis of the following legend of Bran, and a comparison of this story with the Christian legend of the Grail, we will begin to see the connections.

The Story of Bran the Blessed, King of Britain 

Bran, king of Britain, son of Llyr, was standing at Harlech looking out to sea from the cliffs. “There is that in Ireland that I must have, for without it the land will fail,” exclaimed the king. He chose an entourage of his men to sail unto Ireland with him. They would leave Bran’s son Caradwc and seven wise men to watch over Britain, and offer Matholwch, the Irish king, Britain’s friendship.
Upon arrival, Bran and his men were greeted and escorted to Matholwch’s house. Matholwch accepted Bran and his men as friends, and invited them to a feast in honor of their new alliance.
When the feast had been proceeding for a time, Bran asked Matholwch, “Tell me, O King, whence had you that cauldron which is in the centre of the hall, but from which no one is seen to eat?” “Well that you may ask,” answered Matholwch, who proceeded to tell of a strange couple that he encountered one morning while hunting by the Lake of the Cauldron. When asked their purpose in his land, they responded that they were searching for a place to stay, as the woman, who was very ugly and carrying the very cauldron in question on her back, was great with child and would soon give birth.
Now Matholwch, being an honorable king, would not have it said that any went unhoused in his land, so at his home they were to stay. After a year, his court demanded that they be sent away because of their disturbing appearance and conduct, and so the King had a house of iron built within which they would reside. However, the plan was not only to move them out of the castle, but also to rid Ireland of the terrible family.
And so, once the frightening brood was in the house, Matholwch’s men heated its iron walls. The court stood back and watched as the walls grew hotter and hotter. And when the walls were at their hottest, glowing white as death, the family dashed against the walls, broke them, and escaped. When the house had cooled and the King’s men searched the remains, they found the cauldron that Bran saw before him. Its properties were described as that of resurrection.
“And who is this wretched woman of whom you speak?” asked Bran. “Cerridwen!” exclaimed Matholwch.
The feasting continued until finally all of Matholwch’s men, including himself, passed out. Bran rose to his feet and collected his men. He threw the cauldron onto his back and they sailed back to Britain.
The time was not long until Bran could see the King of Ireland approaching Britain on the sea. Quickly, Bran sent his men to meet Matholwch. In return for renewed friendship, Bran offered his sister, Branwen, to the Irish king. Matholwch accepted and Bran arranged a feast to honor the joining of the King of Ireland and his sister. However, Bran’s brother grew angry at the arrangement and mutilated the Irish horses. Deeply insulted, the Irish sovereign departed without taking leave. Upon hearing of this, Bran sent the King new horses and many treasures, in return for peace.
Years passed and Branwen bore a child to the Irish king, yet the Irish people could not forgive the insult that had been directed towards their King long ago. They demanded that Matholwch reject Branwen. In order to keep his people happy, the King did so. In hopes of maintaining her child’s safety, Branwen attempted to accept her husband’s rejection. After much heartache and humiliation, Branwen finally broke down and sent one of Rhiannon’s (British Goddess of the Underworld) birds with a message to Bran. Enraged, Bran sailed to Ireland with his ships. Matholwch realized what had happened and fled across the river Linon, breaking the bridge away behind him. Upon Bran’s arrival, Branwen left the Irish court and joined her brother.
Bran laid himself across the river and his men ran over him towards the Irish. Seeing Bran’s great display of strength and size, Matholwch quickly offered to give Branwen’s son the throne in return for his own safety. Branwen urged Bran to accept and a great feast followed in the Irish castle.
Matholwch met Bran at the feast and handed his throne over to Bran, who, in turn, crowned Branwen’s son. The new king went to his family seeking blessings, but was thrown into the fire by Bran’s jealous brother. Great fighting broke out and the cauldron was destroyed. Bran received a wound in his thigh, which would soon take his life, from a poisoned spear. The Brits fled with Branwen, who soon died of grief; the mortally wounded Bran; and the remains of the cauldron.
When at a safe distance, Bran gave instructions to his men. On their route to their destination they were to stop twice and feast as gods with food and ale. During these times they would forget all their troubles and woes while listening to Rhiannon’s birds, who had the power of enchantment. These feasts were to last many years. Finally, upon completion of their travels, they were to cut off their King’s head and bury it in the White Hills of London, their final destination.


This version of the myth was extrapolated from The Song of Taliesin.1


The story of Bran the King of Britain originates in The Mabinogion. The story is told by different authors, and so has different translations and slightly different variations. For example, the cauldron appears both as Cerridwen’s and also Branwen’s (this will be looked into later). Its property is resurrection, yet some versions say that the resurrected could not speak of what they had experienced in death, while other versions say that the resurrected could not speak at all. The context of the story also changes slightly; however, for our purpose, John Matthews’ version will suffice.2
The story of Bran is centered around a cauldron which originally belonged to Cerridwen or, in other versions, to Branwen. Cerridwen, as defined by Barbara Walker,3is the Triple Goddess, or the three aspects of the Goddess — maid, mother, and crone — in one (she is especially recognized as the crone aspect). In this view, Cerridwen can be associated with Morrigan, the “threefold goddess of the Celts of Gaul and Britain.” Further, “the second aspect of her trinity [was] Babd.” Babd, according to Walker, is the Welsh Branwen, the other keeper of the cauldron. Once it becomes clear that Cerridwen and Branwen are simply different aspects of the same entity, the dual ownership of the cauldron is understood (keep this in mind).The Holy Grail


In Christian legend, one comes across the story of the Holy Grail. According to Chrestien de Troyes4 the legend of the Holy Grail originates with Jesus and the Last Supper. The grail is the chalice in which the mystery of Jesus’ blood during the Holy Eucharist took place, and/or the container in which Jesus’ blood was collected when he was removed from the cross. Either way, the chalice, or grail, held within it the blood of the Christ through which one could be healed or receive eternal life.
Once empowered, the grail was to be protected so that it would not land in evil hands. Arthurian legend, originally made popular by de Troyes, tells of the battles that took place over the possession of the holy relic. While protecting the grail, the Fisher King (the guardian of the Grail) was mortally wounded — castrated — by a spear, but managed to keep the grail from falling into evil hands. He was then given eternal life by God and set to stand by the Holy Grail as its guardian until the chosen knight appears, who will ask the question that will give the Fisher king back his virility, thus returning the land to fruitfulness.
The legend of the Holy Grail asserts that the Grail is of Christian origin; however, the previous discussion of Bran and the Cauldron of Inspiration makes it clear that not only is the Holy Grail not originally Christian, but that it is an alteration of the Celtic legend. The Holy Grail is most definitely Cerridwen’s cauldron (or Branwen’s). Both the Grail and the Cauldron possess the power to restore life. The Fisher King is Bran. In Perceval, or The Story of the Grail, de Troyes5 tells of the great feast and generosity shown Perceval by the Fisher King who housed him for a night. In the story of Bran, we learned of the great feasts and generosity of Bran, the King of Britain (Britain is also known as the Isle of the Mighty, which is complementary to the Grail Castle where the Fisher King’s mighty knights dwell). The Fisher King was mortally wounded by a spear, while protecting the Holy Grail, as was Bran mortally wounded by a poisoned spear, while protecting the remainder of the cauldron.
When Perceval first saw the Holy Grail during his stay in the Grail Castle, it was being carried by a beautiful young woman; however, later, he was again in the company of the woman and she was old and wretched to his eyes. The association between the young, beautiful bearer of the grail who later appeared as an old, wretched hag and the multiple identities of Cerridwen and Branwen as young maidens and frightening crones is uncanny and cannot be ignored. Also, Robert Graves6illustrates the belief that Mary, Jesus’ mother, was the first owner of the Holy Grail. Mary was a maiden who, as a virgin, gave birth to the Christian son of God. She later witnessed the killing of her son. She can easily be identified with the Triple Goddess who, as the Maiden, or virgin, is pregnant with the god, becomes the Mother at his birth, and, after witnessing his death with the turning of the wheel of the year, evolves into the Crone. It is, therefore, obvious that the Holy Grail legend is derived from the story of Bran and his quest for the Cauldron of Inspiration.Sacred Kings


The Celtic society greatly depended on farming and the fruitfulness of yearly harvests. In relation, the Celtic king was much more than a mundane tyrant. In Celtic legend, the kingship of the land was dependent upon the queen, who was considered the earthly incarnation of the Goddess, and personified the land. The king, as well as being the ruler, actually personified the people. Upon the king’s marriage to the queen, he was in effect marrying the Goddess, and wedding the people to the land. It was, therefore, believed that whatever fruit he sowed as king (fair rulership, strong children, etc.), was reflected by the fertility and well-being of the land and people. Caitlin Matthews7 describes this concept with the example of King Conaire mac Mess Buachalla:
Good is his reign. Since he assumed the kingship, no cloud has veiled the sun for the space of a day from the middle of spring to the middle of autumn. And no dew-drop has falled from grass till midday, and wind would not touch a cow’s tail until noon …In his reign, each man deems the other’s voice melodious as the strings of harps, because of the excellence of the law and the peace and the good-will prevailing throughout…

In contrast:
…the land under Conn, who has married Becuma, an Otherworldly woman outcast from the Blessed Islands: “Conn and Becuma were a year together…and there was neither corn nor milk in Ireland…”

The king, again, accepted responsibility for his actions at the beginning of his rule. If the land and people suffered because of him, then he would have to make amends, and sometimes the only acceptable offering was his life. (Notice the elements of the legends of Beltane and associated celebrations, when the Celtic people celebrated the fertility of the land. In legend, if not necessarily in historical fact, the people offered the Goddess of the land the May King as a sacrifice to ensure fruitful harvests. The king was also symbolized in the character of the Fool, who voluntarily chose to be the king for a day and then be sacrificed in the Wicker Man, because the king had failed his people. The May Queen, who sentences him, is the character who represented the Goddess.) Finally, to complete the sacrifice of the sacred king, his head must be taken.
Bran was a sacred king, as will be illustrated by the fol-lowing elements. His land prospered and his people adored him because of his kindness, yet when his people were killed in great numbers and he, himself, was fatally wounded during the last battle with Matholwch, he could no longer successfully serve. His remaining countrymen had to be protected, so he offered himself as a sacrifice and ordered that his head be cut off and buried in the White Hills in London as protection for his people.

The Hazel Nut

Lunar Energies & Esoterica: Alder

LUNAR ENERGIES & ESOTERICA: ALDERby Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr) & Epona  

Alder is the time of birthing, after the inception in Birch, the quickening in Rowan, and the premature urgings of Ash. Alder is the beginning of a new cycle, just as the Spring Equinox brings forth new life on the earth. Also at the Equinox, the days and nights are of equal length, and an egg can be balanced on its end. Try it!
This balance is an important part of Alder, in more than physical terms. We also have the balance of yin and yang, male and female, fire and water. A symbol of this balance is the Alder King of Celtic legend, a man whose rule is based not on fear, but on sensitivity, understanding, and reverence. He works in harmony with his queen and the natural order of life to make sure he, and his people, are connected to, and in balance with, the earth (for more on the Alder King, see “Bran and the Sacred Kings of the Alder Moon,” pg. 28).
The glyph of this moon is “I am a shining tear of the sun,” from the ‘Song of Amergin,’ in The White Goddess. Take a moment to think on this, before you continue reading.

One meaning of this glyph is the dual nature of Alder: it is a tree of both water and fire. Alder grows in and around water, yet is known for its ability to make charcoal and gunpowder. Alder pilings lift buildings out of the water, and in the same way, Alder acts to lift our spirits out of the waters of the first three moons, and onto the dry land of the spring and summer months ahead. Alder also acts as a bridge between the two halves of the year, connecting and balancing the fire and water aspects, and the male and female sides of ourselves.

You can use the energies of this moon to reconnect with the earth, and bring your inner natures into balance. Now that the storms of Ash have passed, we can quit trying to attack each other, and learn to work together in harmony, especially with the opposite sex. A left-over effect of Ash is that the men are pretty fed up with the women. Be sensitive to each other now, act responsibly, and understand how your actions can affect others. This must be done now, when the balanced energies of nature are all around us, or things will get really out of skelter by Holly moon.

The hardest thing to overcome in this moon is self-doubt and doubts about other, but these are a natural consequence of new beginnings and birthings, when we look toward the year ahead. This is a good time to honestly examine these doubts, so you will know what you have to deal with in the future moons. The Alder can help you through this, and give you joy and hope for the future.

The Hazel Nut

Folklore & Practical Uses: ALDER


by Muirghein uí Dhún Aonghasa (Linda Kerr)

Alnus glutinosa L. – European Alder, Black Alder. Native of Europe, Asia, North Africa; naturalized in southeastern Canada and northeastern North America.
A. rubra – Oregon Alder, Red Alder. Evergreen and redwood forests from Northern California to Alaska.
A. serrulata – Hazel Alder, Common Alder. From Nova Scotia south to north Florida, west to east Texas and north to Kansas.
A. rugosa– Speckled Alder, Tag Alder. Across Canada and Great Lakes region.

Description & Uses

Alders are small, shrubby trees found in swamps or on the banks of ponds and slow-moving streams, where they help prevent soil erosion with their closely interlaced roots. The alder is easily recognized, even in winter, by its catkins, which look like a tiny fir-cone, and by its broad oval, ridged leaves. It flowers in the spring before the leaves appear, and has ripe berries in the fall.
The wood of the European alder, which grows to 30-40′,1 is very durable and lasting in water — most of Venice is built on piles of alder, and has lasted for centuries.2 The wood is known in the Highlands as Scottish mahogany, and is used for making chairs, as well as water pipes, pumps, troughs, and sluices.3 It was also used heavily in boat construction.4
The Hazel alder is too small to be of commercial value as timber, but the Oregon alder grows to a good size — up to 120 ft in the Puget Sound region5 — and is one of the principal hardwoods of that area. The American Indians made canoes and dugouts from the trunk of the tree, and also made cooking vessels, troughs, and food containers from the wood.6 Its only fault is that it decays so quickly in contact with the weather and the soil.7
The alder doesn’t make good firewood (again, the Oregon alder is an exception8), but it does make better charcoal than any other wood. Even after its other uses as a timber had declined, alder charcoal was still considered the best type for making gunpowder.9
All parts of the alder are an excellent source of natural dyes. The bark makes a reddish color, called Aldine Red, when used alone, or as a foundation for other materials, yields a black dye. The bark and young shoots together give a yellow dye, and with a little copper added to make a yellowish-grey, is used in some of the flesh colors in embroidering tapestries. The fresh shoots dye cinnamon; when dried and powdered they give a tawny shade. The fresh wood makes a pinkish-fawn dye; the catkins make a green dye.10
The bark and young shoots contain tannic acid, but also have so much natural dye matter that they aren’t very useful for tanning. The leaves have been used for this, however. The leaves are also clammy and slightly sticky, hence the specific name of the alder, glutinosa, and will catch flies on their surface when spread in a room.11


The American and European alders have similar medicinal properties; the parts used are the bark and leaves of the European alder, and the bark and cones of the American alders. The medicinal parts are tonic and astringent, according to Grieve,12 and astringent, bitter (acts on the mucous membranes of the mouth and stomach to increase appetite and promote digestion), emetic (causes vomiting), and hemostatic (stops bleeding), according to Lust.13 On any species, the fresh inner bark and root bark are emetic; dry and age these before use, or let the decoction stand and settle for 2-3 days, until its yellow color has turned black. Hutchens says this will strengthen the stomach and increase the appetite.14
Use a decoction of the bark externally to bathe swellings and inflammations, and as a gargle for an inflamed or sore throat and laryngitis. The decoction is good as an external application in gangrene, ulcers and other skin problems. Boiling the bark in vinegar produces a liquid with several uses: it’s an approved (according to Hutchens) remedy to kill head lice, relieve the itch and dry up the scabs. This vinegar is also good for other skin problems and scabs, and to tighten the gums (as a mouthwash), clean the teeth and soothe a toothache.15
The cones, being astringent, are useful in heavy bleeding, both internally and externally. They are also used as a stomach tonic in diarrhea and indigestion, and are good for fevers. Grieve says peasants in the Alps were frequently cured of rheumatism by being covered with bags full of the heated leaves.16 The berries, combined with apple cider, make a good worm medicine for children. The treatment is supposed to be most effective when given on the full moon, and must be repeated in four weeks to clear out the remaining larvae.17


The Irish consider the alder to be an unlucky tree. They feel its a bad thing to pass by one on a journey, and they also don’t like to fell an alder, as the timber cuts white and then turns a startling, brilliant reddish-orange, rather like blood.18
Other superstition or emotion attached to the alder seems to be almost nonexistent; “perhaps because it was a tree of swamp and marsh and impenetrable valley floors, which needed the exorcism of natural history. Yet once enjoyed, an alder swamp along a Cornish stream, for example, remains perennially and primevally enchanting — the trees alive and dead, moss-bearded and lichen-bearded, the soil and the water like coal slack and blacksmith’s water, in between the tussocks of sedge.”19Notes:

1 Brimble, L.J.F. Trees in Britain. 1946. MacMillan and Co. Ltd., London, pg. 239.
2 Green, Charlotte Hilton. Trees of the South. 1939. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, pg. 112.
3 Grieve, Mrs. M. A Modern Herbal (2 volumes). 1931. Dover Publications, Inc., New York, NY, pg. 17.
4 Green, pg. 112.
5 Peattie, Donald Culross. A Natural History of Western Trees. 1950. Bonanza Books, New York, NY, pg. 399.
6 Green, pg. 112.
7 Peattie, pg. 400.
8 Ibid, pg. 400.
9 Brimble, pg. 241.
10 Grieve, pg. 17.
11 Ibid, pg. 17-18.
12 Ibid, pg. 18.
13 Lust, John. The Herb Book. 1973. Bantam Books, New York, NY, pg. 122.
14 Hutchens, Alma R. Indian Herbology of North America. 1973. Merco, Ontario, Canada. Published in London, England, pg. 4.
15 Ibid, pg. 4.
16 Grieve, pg. 18.
17 Hutchens, pg. 4.
18 Grigson, Geoffrey. The Englishman’s Flora. 1955. Phoenix House LTD, London, England, pg. 246.
19 Ibid, pg. 246.



A Journal of Celtic Spirituality and Sacred Trees

Celtic Astrology – March 18 – April 14 is the Month of the Alder, The Trailblazer

Celtic Meaning of the Alder Tree

The Celtic meaning of the Alder deals with giving and nurturing among the sacred Ogham for many reasons.

Namely, its root system provides rich nutrients to the soil, more so than other trees. The alder can successfully restore poor soil conditions back to healthy Ph levels.

Primarily a wetlands and swamp tree, the alder’s root system is often submerged in watery areas. As such, the Celts observed their roots serving as intricate shelter systems to fish, specifically trout and salmon. Further, the alder’s leaves easily decompose in the water providing rich nutrients to all manner of water creatures.

These acts of generosity and shelter against harsh conditions can be translated in our own lives. By simply standing firm in our own positive environment, we can affect those around us in positive ways. By emitting our signals of tranquility, and peace, we are enhancing the lives of others just be sheer association.

Although it is primarily associated with the element of water, the alder gracefully crosses into the realm of air and fire as well. For example, ancient legend indicates the wood of the young alder is traditionally used for crafting whistles, pan flutes and recorders. This establishes the alder’s claim to the air element.

Within the realm of fire, the alder’s coloring transmutes into a fiery orange after it is cut, indicating to the Celts that the alder secretly harbors sacred flame within its flesh. To prove the point, the alder (although a poor firewood) makes a pristine grade of charcoal, and was perfect for steadily hot conditions utilized to forge fine Celtic weaponry.

In this respect the alder reminds us that we have hidden powers within us that if tapped, provide magnificent resources that allow us to live out our highest ideals.

Daily Cosmic Calendar for April 5th

Patience is a cardinal virtue – so goes the ancient maxim. Put this theory into practice during the first part of the day while the Moon parallels Mercury (12:45AM PDT) and Chiron (5:50AM PDT), but remains void-of-course in Virgo until 8:33AM PDT. During any void lunar cycle, it is best to finish old business on a high note, but wait until inaugurating new, bold plans until the Moon enters the next sign of the zodiac. Once the clock strikes 8:33AM PDT, the Moon in Libra points you toward being more active in social affairs, creative artistic expression, and improving the quality of primary partnerships. A Moon-Venus flowing trine in air signs (11:42AM PDT) magnifies the potentials contained in the Moon’s presence in harmony-striving Libra. Topsy-turvy, unsettled conditions roll into town later on as the Moon opposes Uranus (4:55PM PDT) while Venus squares its higher-octave planet Neptune (6:50PM PDT). The Moon-Uranus polarity puts key relationships on edge while the Venus-Neptune face-off adds a strong note of confusion to affairs of the heart and delicate business negotiations. Psychic storm warnings are still reverberating later on due to a Moon-Pluto square (11:53PM PDT) and as the Moon approaches a parallel with taskmaster Saturn (forming exactly at 12:10AM PDT tomorrow). Get set for the powerful Full Moon – activating Aries Sun and Libra Moon – at 12:20PM PDT on Friday.

Calendar of the Moon for April 5th

Calendar of the Moon
4 Fearn/Elaphebolion

Alder Tree Month

Color: Crimson
Element: Fire
Altar: Upon cloth of crimson set a flaming brazier filled with charcoal and incense.
Offerings: Purification. Write what has been dragging your down, and place it in the fire.
Daily Meal: Hot, nourishing food.

Fearn Invocation

Call: Now is the time of the warming of Earth.
Response: Now is the time of the Sun’s first warmth.
Call: Now is the time when the waters of Spring are banished.
Response: Now is the time when fire dries the flood.
Call: Now is the time when the heat rises within us.
Response: Now is the time when our tears are dried.
Call: Now is the time when our inner floods give way.
Response: Now is the time when our inner fields are greening.
Call: Like the birds who build their nests in the Spring….
Response: Like the creatures of the woods who brave the open fields…
Call: As they brave the world….
Response: So we now brave the world.
Call: As they seek sustenance of the body….
Response: So we seek sustenance of the soul.
Call: As they are driven forth by need and the cycle of life…..
Response: So we are driven forth by need and the cycle of life.
Call: No house can contain our souls….
Response: As no house contains the foundation on which it is built.
Call: We will be the piles that lift the house from the water….
Response: And we will lift our spirits from the winter’s flood.
Call: We will be the island in the river….
Response: The islands where the future is told…
Call: And we will see that future running like the current….
Response: Knowing not where it will lead….
Call: Save by the grace of the gods.
Response: Save by the grace of the Gods.

We gather at the river
We bring fire to the water
Our fire burns within us
The river parts before us

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for April 5th

Calendar of the Sun

Aequinoctium Vernum

Colors: Yellow and light green
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of yellow and light green set a pitcher of rainwater, small dishes of seeds (as many as there are people), a vase of budding branches, and a single green candle.
Offerings: Seeds to be planted in the garden.
Daily Meal: Vegetarian

Aequinoctium Vernum Invocation

Earth, you begin your awakening
To the touch of the life-giving Sun
Whose rays stroke you like a lover.
Earth, your joy in awakening
Springs forth first golden
And then the green of life.
We awaken to your new life
And your new season,
And you help us to believe
That no matter how long the winter,
Spring will always come again.
We stand in the time of the year’s morning
And, like all living things,
We reach upwards for the sky.

We open Earth and
Earth receives you
She gives you life and
We believe in you

(Each takes a pot of seeds and goes to the garden, and hoes or otherwise prepares a space for planting, and then plants their seeds, chanting while doing so. The pitcher of rainwater is carried out and ritually poured onto the seeds.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

The Wicca Book of Days for April 5 – Purifying Purges

The Wicca Book of Days for April 5

Purifying Purges

According to a long-established European tradition, April is the month in which it is efficacious to purge oneself. John Neve’s A New Almanacke and Prognostication (1633) claims:

This April, with his stormy showers,

Doth make the earth yield pleasant flowers.

Purge well therein, for it is good

To help thy body and cleanse thy blood.

The twenty-first-century equivalent of the purge is the detox, a complex regime that is said to eliminate toxins from the body, but if you feel in need of an old-fashioned herbal purgative, try a one-off doss of caster oil.

The Quintessential Element

Are you familiar with the fifth element either, of the quintessence? Take time, on this fifth day of the month to learn more about this universal spirit.

Today’s Affirmation, Thought & Meditation for April 5th

Thursday, Thirsty Thursday Images, Pics, Comments, Graphics
Today’s Affirmation for April 5th

Every moment lived consciously is a step toward spiritual maturity. I offer my experience as an example for other making the journey.


Today’s Thought for April 5th

Our freedom is but a light that breaks through from another world.

Nikolai Gumilev (1886 – 1921)


Today’s Meditation for April 5th

A Game Of Chess

When faced with difficult choices, view the situation as if it were a game of chess. Imagine those involved as pieces on the chess-board. Assume the role of one of the players and meditate on the current state of play. From this position the dynamics of the situation may become clearer, enabling you see the options open to you and to make a wiser choice.