‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for July 20

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Life equips us in many ways for very special purposes. Some never catch the high vision as to why they may be the object of ridicule or the witness of cruelty – while others bear the brunt of many heartaches and still are capable of knowing compassion for those who cause it.

Jesus was such a man – He withstood more than we are able to comprehend, but He asked that His tormentors be forgiven for they knew not what they were doing.

It is our individual decision whether we choose to be one of the throng of agitators who see only to confirm what everyone else is doing, or we can catch the vision of greater things and walk firmly in paths we believe are right.

To fall into the role of just another face in the crowd is an ill-chosen path, but to lead others to follow is the essence of parasitism – the need to have others be just as nameless and even more dependent.

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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
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org

Elder’s Meditation of the Day July 20

Elder’s Meditation of the Day July 20

“When you begin a great work you can’t expect to finish it all at once; therefore, do you and your brothers press on and let nothing discourage you until you have entirely finished what you have begun.”

–Teedyuschung, DELAWARE

All things have their seasons. All thoughts are real. We must think to cause action and each action creates results. Big visions require many thoughts. It takes a series of thoughts to create a series of actions. A series of actions creates a series of results. These results are what makes vision become real. If we are here to serve the Creator then we can expect to be accomplishing big visions. How do we do this: One step at a time.

Let me focus on what needs to be done today. Give me clear thoughts to accomplish the results that you, my Creator, would have me accomplish.

July 20 – Daily Feast

July 20 – Daily Feast

The hours were longer when we were children. Summer was a time of sunlight, bare feet, and shade trees. We fished in a creek with a crooked pole and feasted on potatoes and onions cooked over an open fire, which the Cherokee calls a tsi la. It was a good time, and we expected everything to be good. There was time to daydream – or hide out in a secret place and be quiet. Now we have less time and more responsibility – or have we let fear steal our joy? If we let it, it will tell us we can’t remember details, we hear less, our vision is blurred and we are afraid of what we see and read. Fear is a contaminate that dulls our senses. But it can’t affect us when we turn around and renew and restore our minds. The creek and the sunperch are still there to help.

~ We sang songs that carried in their melodies all the sounds of nature – the running of waters, the sighing of winds, and the calls of the animals. Teach your children….. ~

AMERICAN INDIAN

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

Daily Motivator for July 20 – Grow stronger

Grow stronger

Whatever happens, you can use it as a way to grow stronger. Every day can end  up making you stronger.

You can complain about it, or you can grow stronger through it. You can worry  about it, or you can grow stronger instead.

Don’t let it make you frustrated, or resentful or dismayed. Let it motivate  you to become stronger.

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, feel what it feels like to respond  with strength and clarity of positive purpose. Call upon the strength you have,  and you will have more.

You are stronger than any circumstance, stronger than any thoughtless comment  made by another, and stronger than any disappointment. You can adjust, adapt,  and re-commit yourself again and again to moving forward.

You are already strong and capable and experienced. Use that strength to  advance life’s goodness, and grow stronger and stronger with each passing day.

— Ralph Marston

The Daily Motivator

Daily OM for July 20 – Changing Roles

Changing Roles

As We Ebb and Flow through Life

by Madisyn Taylor

We all change throughout life trying new and different things, but the core of who we really are remains the same.

As we bob and weave with the ebb and flow of life our roles change, but our true self remains constant. As spiritual beings having a human experience, we go through many aspects of humanity in one lifetime. Living in the material world of opposites, labels, and classifications, we often identify ourselves by the roles we play, forgetting that these aspects shift and change throughout our lives. But when we anchor ourselves in the truth of our being, that core of spirit within us, we can choose to embrace the new roles as they come, knowing that they give us fresh perspective on life and a greater understanding of the lives of others.

As children, we anticipated role changes eagerly in our rush to grow up. Though fairy tales led us to believe that “happily ever after” was a final destination, the truth is that life is a series of destinations, mere stops on a long journey filled with differing terrain. We may need to move through a feeling of resistance as we shift from spouse to parent, leader to subordinate, caregiver to receiver, or even local to newcomer. It can be helpful to bid a fond farewell to the role that we are leaving before we welcome the new. This is the purpose of ceremonies in cultures throughout the world and across time. We can choose from any in existence or create our own to help us celebrate our life shifts and embrace our new adventures.

Like actors on the stage of the world, our different roles are just costumes that we inhabit and then shed. Each role we play gives us another perspective through which to understand ourselves and the nature of the universe. When we take a moment to see that each change can be an adventure, a celebration, and a chance to play a new part, we may even be able to recapture the joyful anticipation of our youth as we transition from one role to the next.

Rock Scrying

Rock Scrying

Examining natural rock formations, of any size, often shows us portraits carved in stone, left to individual or group interpretation.

If you find a rock in a place you feels is special or sacred, drawn to the color, texture, carved grooves, or perhaps what looks like an inscription, examine it for possible meaning for you at that moment. You can close your eyes and get messages, or just read what you see. I found a most interesting rock while in a crop circle. It actually told me that the formation was man made! It’s all subjective, but brings a message we need to hear.

Sometimes rock these formations are found in the natural designs on planet Earth, while other times that are found in space, such as the Face on Mars or the Man on the Moon, formed by craters.

Pre-Inca Civilization: Is the image of Viracocha, carved into the mountain?

Though not a natural rock formation, most interesting are the enigmatic Nazca Lines also linked to the ancient Incas and Peru.

In geology, the term rock formations refers to isolated, scenic, or spectacular surface rock outcrops. These are usually the result of weathering and erosion sculpting the existing rock. Rock formation in general refers to specific sedimentary strata or other rock unit in stratigraphic and petrologic studies.

Lampadomancy

Lampadomancy

Lampadomancy, also called Lychnomancy, it is form of divination using a single oil lamp or a torch flame. As with Lychnoscopy, the diviner reads presages from the movements of the flame.

An alternate method is also practiced, consisting of of reading the spots of carbon deposited on paper sheets held over the flame.

On yet another method, the diviner uses the lamp as a means of “attracting spirits to the flames”, in the hope of consulting them regarding future events. In this method, usually a specially designed lamp is employed, on the belief that grotesque forms will attract the spirits.

Lampadomancy was a popular method of divination in ancient Egypt, where diviners would perform it at midday in a darkened room illuminated by a single lamp filled with oasis oil.

The history of oil scrying can be traced back to ancient Babylonian times. Some of their magic books have survived down through the centuries with details of the methods they used.

From the Babylonians oil scrying found its way to the Egyptians and Hebrews. The most detailed examples of oil scrying are written in the Greek Magical Papyri written in Egypt between 200 B.C. and A.D. 500.

One of their techniques was called the “Princess of the Thumb” wherein a scryer annointed the forehead and thumbnail of a subject. The shiny nail acted as a magic mirror in which the scryer saw images, thought of as spirits on the other side linked to the person.

With the “Princess of the Hand” technique, oil was mixed with black soot to make a black paste that was then smeared upon the hand. The scryer then used the hand as a mirror in an attempt to scry future events.

A third type of oil scrying was called the “Princess of the Cup”. Sesame seed oil was used to coat the inside of a cup that was rested on its side. The cup was used as a concave ‘magic mirror’ to capture and magnify the light of a candle that was fixed on its inner rim.

Sometimes oil and water mix. In oil scrying we find:

  • To call upon the services of the heavenly Gods mix oil with rain water
  • To invoke terrestrial Gods use sea water
  • To invoke Osiris use river water
  • To call upon the souls of the dead use spring water

Cloud Scrying

Cloud Scrying

Most of us watch clouds form images at one time or another. It is as if we are guided to look up and watch the patterns unfold at a given time. Fluffy cumulous clouds bring messages, which sometimes seem to tell an unfolding story. While flying on an airplane, it is fun to watch the clouds from above as if celestial art. You may receive telepathic messages while watching cloud images, coming from a spirit guide.

Throughout history symbols of political or religious importance have been seen in the clouds. In A.D. 312 when Emperor Constantine was marching against the army of Maxentius at Rome, both he and his entire army saw a shining cross of light amid the clouds. It was said the cross contained the Greek words “By This Conquer”. Later that night Christ appeared to Constantine in his dreams bearing a cross in his hand ordering Constantine to have a military standard made in the same image. Under this standard his outnumbered army was victorious. Down through history entire military battles have been witnessed in the clouds.

Egyptian Dream Scrying

Egyptian Dream Scrying

Ancient Egyptians believed in the power of dreams to bring messages from their many gods. Their methods of dream scrying go back over 5000 years and were recorded in their ancient texts and on hieroglyphic writings. Some of their techniques were later used by other ancient civilizations, as in ancient Greece thousands of years ago.

Ritual Dream Scrying Techniques

 

On the day you scry – find a place of solitude and remain alone.

Do not consume alcohol, eat for 4 hours before your begin, or engage in sexual activities.

Take a warm relaxing bath then anoint your temples with olive oil. You will need an oil lamp as used with lamp scrying.

On a short narrow strip of white linen write the name of the Egyptian God and the purpose for the dream scrying. Twist the linen strip into a wick and insert into the oil of the lamp. Place the lamp on a table beside your bed. Using the ink draw the image of the dream God upon your left palm.

Light your lamp. Kneel before the lamp. Invocation:

  Concentrating on the image on your left hand recite the following invocation :     Thoth, (use name of desired god) I invoke, blessed power of dreams divine,     Angel of future fates, swift wings are thine,     Great source of oracles to human kind,     When stealing soft, and whispering to the mind,     Through sleep’s sweet silence and the gloom of night,     Thy power awake the sight,     To silent souls the will of heaven relates,     And silently reveals their future fates.

Concentrate on your question. Around your left hand wrap a piece of black linen about four inches wide and about thirty inches long. The black cloth is called the black eye of Isis. – the Magic of Isis – or Black Isis.

Blow out the lamp’s flame. Clear your mind and go to sleep.

Have a tape recorder or pen and paper beside your bed so that when you awaken you may record your dreams while still fresh in your mind.

You will find that the dream will come to you in a voice that is clear and powerful rather than in dream images. Sometimes the messages are in symbols – cryptic forms. Take your time in deciphering the messages you have received. You may want to use a dream dictionary to interpret messages given, if possible. They are often archetypes from your subconscious mind, perhaps from an Egyptian lifetime.

Essential Pagan Etiquette

Essential Pagan Etiquette

by Amanda Silvers

I have been to a number of “open pagan events” recently, and I’ve observed that some people don’t seem to know the generally understood codes of conduct. Since I hadn’t seen a good piece on pagan etiquette for a good long spell, I thought I’d put a few of my reflections on paper.

I know that not everyone will know how things should go, for example if you’ve never attended a ritual before. That’s okay; every one of us began somewhere, and we didn’t know how to act either! If you’re a beginner, say so. People will help you and introduce you around and forgive your faux pas (if you make any).

On the other hand, most of my suggestions will come as nothing new to many of you. Practically all standard rules of courtesy pertain to pagan events and gatherings.

The following bits of advice, some general and some specific, cover open pagan events, festivals and rituals. They are commonly relevant to private functions as well. Don’t regard them as comprehensive, though. Always investigate and find out whether there are any special rules for the gathering that you are planning on attending.

Arrival times

Arrival times are frequently set at a certain interval of time preceding the actual beginning of the ceremony, feast or festivity. For example: Arrival time 4 p.m., ritual to follow at 6 p.m., feast after, then drumming. This time interval is generally built in – for latecomers, for people to get their energy settled, visit, have a drink or bathroom visit and so on.

Check with the high priestess, host or event coordinator to confirm that this is the custom of the group you are joining for the event. Festivals generally have a set time at which the space opens, and you cannot arrive prior to that. There is often an opening festival ritual that you will want to attend. Try to arrive in time to participate; it helps the whole group feel cohesive and connected in a different way than if you miss it.

Double-check times always, and don’t arrive after the rite has begun unless you’ve cleared it with the hosts ahead of time. It is generally safe to arrive a bit early and volunteer to help with setup. Particularly if you are new to the area or are attending an event put on by a particular group for the first time, assisting will give the impression that you are sociable and helpful, and people will remember you.

If you do arrive early, and the ritualists are conferring or doing a pre-ritual run through, don’t disturb them!

Certain groups have a policy to lock the door after a certain time, and you won’t be able to get in if you are later than that. “Pagan standard time” (that is, late) is not a standard to aspire to!

What to bring

Do bring a benevolent disposition, a cooperative spirit and an open attitude. Shower or bathe and brush your teeth just prior to ritual if you can; it gets very gamy quickly when 50 to 100 people are in a warm closed room, very close together. Besides, you should cleanse your body just prior to ritual anyway, as an offering to the gods! Also, don’t wear heavy perfumes. They can be almost as offensive as bad body odor. Especially, patchouli and musk oil can be very potent.

Wear a smile, and for most events your fanciest ritual wear (if you have it), ritual jewelry and so on will be appropriate. This is the time and place to don a cape and your best or weirdest ritual array – entirely black clothes or your coffee-cup-sized pentagram.

It is always a good idea to bring a snack or a nonalcoholic drink to share. Offering a snack is a really good way to make new acquaintances! Bring any flyers, announcements, business cards and so on that you want to share with the community.

Bring drums, rattles and musical instruments for yourself and one or two extra to share, if you have them, especially if music or drumming is mentioned in the invitation.

Bring the site fee if there is one, in cash – check ahead to find out so there are no surprises. More about site fees later on.

What to leave at home

Do not bring your disagreeable or superior attitude, head games or grudges or animosity toward others into the circle.

Do not bring animals of any kind. As much as most of us like them, many people are allergic, they can be disruptive to the circle, they may get into the food and so on. It’s okay to allow your familiar into your own circles if you like, but please don’t presume to subject a public group to your pets.

Please, do not bring small children – unless you are prepared to supervise them closely, and to get cut out of the ritual if they become disruptive. (If they do become obtrusive, please motion to one of the ritual staff that you’d like to depart from the circle.) It’s very difficult to concentrate or meditate when there’s an infant shrieking beside you. We all (or most of us, anyway) actually enjoy children when they are reasonably well-behaved, but tempers flare when they begin to encroach on the experience of those who took the trouble to get a sitter or are childless by choice.

Do not bring illegal drugs or alcohol unless you have been assured by the hosts that such is gladly received. With innumerable pagans in recovery now, it’s a good bet that a lot of the people attending an event will be clean and sober. If you do feel that you must have a wee drink or toke, do so very prudently. You never know which person around you might be inclined to call security.

Munchies

Make sure to determine if there is a potluck, and if there is, bring a dish to share that will feed 8 to 12 people. Please be creative when you select what to bring for the potluck. Many times, I have seen four or five containers of deli potato salad and no cheese, bread, drinks, fruit, veggies – well, you get the idea. I recently brought fresh fruit of various kinds and Devonshire cream to an open full moon – it went over very well and was gone in a twinkle.

Homemade is always preferred, hot dishes are frequently at a premium, and meat is popular. However, vegetarian dishes are always a reliable bet, and if you have a specialty that you feature, bring that! Unusual drinks, breads, cheeses, desserts and appetizers are a good risk, as is unique ethnic cuisine.

Check to see if you need to provide your own dishes and tableware, and don’t forget a serving spoon or fork for your contribution, as well as napkins, cups or glasses! I have a fairly large picnic basket that I keep packed with everything I might need – plates, bowls, knives, forks and spoons, napkins and all, including blue plastic goblets and salt and pepper!

If there is no potluck planned, be sure to eat something substantial prior to attending. Keep your blood sugar level up, and you have less of a chance of falling over due to hunger.

Social interaction

Behave toward others with courtesy, kindness and respect. Introduce yourself to and make an authentic effort to meet and make the acquaintance of at least three additional people at each gathering you attend. Expand your foundation of friends, and make other newcomers feel like the local pagan community is gracious and sociable.

Do be cautious when encountering strangers – don’t rush up and leap on them like a puppy with bad manners! Approach them with consideration. Don’t interrupt a conversation, but do contribute if you sense that you have something to add. Query, but don’t pry. Certain pagans are yet in the broom closet and may not wish to divulge a lot of personal information. Take a cue from how candid and friendly they appear to be.

Bringing a small gift for the host or something for the altar is an excellent notion. Flowers are usually appreciated for either.

Ritual behavior

Attempt to observe the customary conduct of others and follow along. Please do not talk, jest or criticize the ritual cast during the ritual. (I have been guilty of this one myself, and I apologize!) Endeavor to not disrupt the ritual energy at all, unless you absolutely can’t wait, and use the bathroom prior to joining the circle!

If there is music, chanting, singing and so on – don’t sing along with the music unless invited to do so by the performers. Then sing only after you’ve listened long enough to be able to sing the words and melody correctly. Respect and honor what the performers have spent their time and energy learning by lending an ear.

Do not touch the altar, ritual items, the ritual cast or anything that does not belong to you without asking first! This includes people’s jewelry and knives. Keep your paws off if it’s not yours!

Energy

You may or may not experience the energy in a public ritual. Practically all are intentionally performed at a “lite” energy level, for the best interests of the collective. The ritualists can never know the skill level of all of the participants.

If you focus and breathe and follow along with the priest or priestess, you will get much more out of the experience. Furthermore, why take the time and effort to attend an event just to convince yourself that it was not satisfactory and then complain about it. Where is the fun in that?

Be mindful, though, that you don’t get “ritual energy overload” if the ritual does in fact have some “juice” to it. If you feel that this is happening or if you get any symptoms such as ringing or buzzing in the ears, dizziness, nausea, queasy stomach, feeling suddenly very hot or flushed or very cold (unless you’re outdoors in October!), you may be getting an energy blast.

If you think you might collapse, or vomit, please make your condition known to the high priestess or priest. It will be much less embarrassing to be ushered out of ritual than just to crash to the ground! Not to mention how unpleasant it might be for others if they believe that you’ve had a heart attack or something.

Not infrequently, you can surf through an intense energy surge by grounding and breathing slowly, maybe by moving your body or by eating or drinking something, if possible.

Personal matters

In my experience producing events, there is no way you can ever make all the people happy all the time – no matter how hard you strive. Please take the time to think about your complaint prior to voicing it. Is it that important to you? Will it be productive? Will it make any kind of difference? Are you willing to help or offer useful, positive suggestions on how to improve things? Are you just having a bad day? My opinion is, if I’m the hostess, I get to do things my way. If someone else has a better idea, they’re welcome to go do it! Don’t just bitch at the producers of an event because you don’t like what they’re doing. If you positively don’t like it, make a note not to attend again, but endeavor to have the best time you can while you’re there and permit others their experience.

Again, please abandon your “attitude” at the door. I have attended numerous events where there were one or two troublemakers, complainers, disrupters and just ordinary assholes. Such people are a pain in the butt for the ritual staff, and often for the attendees as well. After the staff works really hard to make an event happen for the community, then they are subjected to a person who does nothing but complain because the staff hasn’t provided especially for the complainer’s particular, probably unexpected requirements.

Hedonistic composure

I am extremely sex-positive, but I want to say that pagan events are not a place to try to get laid. Ritual is not a place for sexually predatory behavior, and if you do exhibit this, you will quickly gain the reputation of a wolf, cad, or loose woman. You may not be invited – or allowed – to return.

It’s okay to flirt and even to “come on” to someone if who seems receptive, but make sure that person is interested and that you know his or her relationship status (and that person knows yours) before you leap!

If a person says no, respect that! No means no! If someone is not interested, move on to someone else. If you do move from man to man or woman to woman at a ritual or festival, be assured there will be some people who will notice your conquest mentality. A lot of people won’t want to be just another notch on your wand. So use discretion and common sense when choosing sex partners.

At some events, there will be the opportunity for sexual expression for those who wish to revel in it. I really appreciate it when there is a shrine provided for worship of Aphrodite or Pan or other gods that are sexually oriented, and I feel it is appropriate to make a sacrifice to them in this way.

However, if you partake of the shrines and make a mess, please clean it up! Dispose of condoms, gloves and dams properly by wrapping them in a tissue and putting them in the garbage. I don’t know how many times I’ve found used condoms lying in a shrine. Ugh!

Furthermore, wipe up any spills or mess, put out the candles and the incense, throw away the tissues, fold the blankets and so on. Leave the place as you would like to have found it. Remember this is the gods’ domain; you owe it to them.

Also, just as in any similar situation – if you are having sex with a new partner, use latex! We’re living in the ’90s, people. There are many, many incurable diseases that you can catch or pass on. Some strains of hepatitis can be fatal, and several are sexually transmitted. Thus, even if your partner is not at risk for HIV, they could give you hepatitis B or C or herpes. Latex should always be used for all activities involving body fluid exchange with a new partner.

Cleanup

Please pick up after yourself and your party. Make sure the area is as clean or cleaner than when you arrived. You might ask the ritual staff if they need any help with cleanup of the ritual space, kitchen or whatever. Again, volunteering to do these little things shows you are willing to go out of your way, and that is a welcome trait. It also helps you get acquainted with people you may never have met.

Some groups have a work exchange program, so if you want to get in free, ask. Some will require you to do setup and cleanup. Some will not require much at all. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and pay if you’re able. If you want the events to continue to be available – support them, bring your pagan or pagan curious friends!

Time to go?

There are usually times posted for public events, as in: Ritual from 7-8:30. Such a schedule is sometimes loose, and sometimes not. If the event promoters have to pay extra for the building after a certain time, it is annoying to have people just hang out for hours after the ritual is over. Take your cues from the majority of the people: When they leave, make for the door.

When you are at someone’s home, be sensitive to the fact that your host may be tired and want to go to bed. If he or she is yawning and everyone else is gone – go home!

Final suggestions

The time to discuss, analyze or process your experience is when you’re home, behind closed doors. If you have serious criticism, call the promoter or ritualists and ask if they want your feedback. If so, try to convey it in a nonjudgmental tone. If you come across as a whiner, they won’t hear or heed your words!

Don’t forget to express your thanks and appreciation of an event well done, too. Remember, no one and nothing is perfect, so if things went fairly well and you had a good time – call and let them know that too! It’s is a thankless job (most of the time) to produce events, and it’s nice to get some positive feedback occasionally instead of just bitching.

Take advantage of the public events to connect with the pulse of the local pagan community. Experience the diversity of the traditions in the area. Enjoy yourself and learn something new, and honor the people who produce the events and rituals with your presence, attention and energy. Most of all, worship the God and Goddess with those of a like mind. And have a great time doing it!

Tell them I sent you.

The Broomstick

The Broomstick

by Tiger Von Pagel

This issue’s topic, Lammas, is the first Sabbat of the harvest season, focusing on the first cut of the first crop ready to harvest, often a grain such as wheat or barley. The harvest reaches its peak at Mabon and concludes with the final reap at Samhain. Because of the association with the grain Lammas is traditionally a beer Sabbat.

While most circles and Sabbats have wine or juice as the traditional libation, this time of year is dedicated to beer. Beer making is usually most associated with Germany, however the Irish will tell you that their brews are their life’s blood. Ireland has built an entire culture out of the brewing and consumption of beer.

The most famous brewery in Ireland is the Guinness brewery, located on the banks of the River Liffey in Dublin. Two lesser known stouts are brewed in the southern city of Cork, Murphy’s and Beamish. Breweries are open to the public and offer tours as well as tasting, but the experience can feel a bit too touristy at times, especially at the Guinness brewery, which includes a souvenir store next door.

For a more authentic Irish experience, it is best to visit the local pub. In smaller Irish towns, the pub is the center of all evening activities, offering food, live music, lively conversation and, of course, pint after pint of beers, ales and stouts. In the larger cities, pubs can number into the hundreds. James Joyce once wrote, “Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub,” and of course, the answer to that is don’t pass them, just go in each one. Dublin’s oldest pub is the Brazen Head, first established in 1198, and much of it is exactly the same as it was 800 years ago. You may even suspect that some of the more colorful occupants are left over from opening day.

Here in Seattle we are fortunate enough to have several “authentic” Irish pubs. Downtown in Post Alley is the Owl and Thistle, a spacious tavern which combines Irish decor with a waterfront atmosphere. Live music is the major attraction here, with the best nights belonging to the Owl and Thistle Band, a trio which performs Irish folk tunes alongside original music and the requisite rendition of “Danny Boy.” The Owl and Thistle has a great menu too, with fish and chips and the best brown bread outside the Emerald Isle.

In Fremont there is the Dubliner Pub, a smaller, more cozy venue which offers Guinness, a number of microbrews on tap and not just one but twodart boards (and real dart-boards, too, with score kept on an old fashioned chalkboard, not one of those electronic facsimiles). They serve meals as well, including delicious lamb stew, but be warned, the kitchen closes early.

In addition to the numerous breweries in the area, you can actually try your hand at brewing your own at U-Brew Seattle in the Greenlake area. U-Brew Seattle offers recipes which imitate all the most popular brands on the market, including Guinness of course. They provide all materials and tools necessary for the process, they sell bottles or you can bring your own to recycle, and, best of all, they do all the cleanup. Brewing your own can be a time consuming process, and two sessions are required, one for the actual brewing and another a few weeks later for the bottling.

For those of you who wish to imbibe without waiting, might I suggest that you check out the specialty brews of Samuel Adams? Much like the traditional European brewers, Sam Adams offers seasonal beers, which at this time of year include a light Summer Ale and a Cream Stout which has a sweet, almost chocolaty taste.

Of course, you may wish to be a part of the harvest process from start to finish, and later this month there is a unique opportunity to do just that in Eastern Washington. The town of Colfax in Palouse County holds the Palouse Empire Fair on Labor Day Weekend. The entire town, along with several hundred tourists, gather for a traditional county fair which culminates in the harvest of the barley fields. The cutting is done the old fashioned way, with swinging scythes and horse drawn wagons. The fields, which could be cut in a manner of hours with modern machinery, take two or three days to complete, and visitors are left with a rare glimpse of the bounty the Gods provide to us, as well as the serious amount of work it takes to bring this bounty to fruition.

The Eternal Return

The Eternal Return

Experiencing the Magick of Giving Back

by Sylvana SilverWitch

The smell of the earth is moist and mysterious, the plants are bursting with a vivid kaleidoscope of flowers, the fruit is sweetening on the branch, the sun is shining hot on my back, and I am happy. This time of the earth’s bounty makes me think of giving something back… to the earth, to the greater community, to my clan, to my lover, to a stranger on the street.

One of the things I know unequivocally is that to be competent at creating what you desire in life, you must give, give, give and then give some more. Giving works as if to illustrate to the Goddess/God/universe that you trust absolutely in the greater scheme of things and that the universe will provide for you and your needs, and as if to create a spell of abundance in your life. Sometimes the giving has such an effect on the person given to that it changes his or her life. Such change has happened to me; I have, remarkably, been on both ends.

To receive, you must give; it helps to ask as well. In this time of impending harvest, I offer you a spell in three parts: appreciating and giving thanks for what you have in your life already, giving the universe your desires and giving back to the world just as it gives to you.

I work at making the spell of giving and receiving a part of ordinary life, and I do my best to give to my community, my friends, my coven, my lover and whoever else seems right – whether it’s love, food, money, advice, help, time or energy. I cannot always immediately see the results of giving, and unquestionably, we shouldn’t give with a mind to what we will get back – that ruins the energy of it. But we may give humbly, knowing that our energy will return to us threefold, at least.

Occasionally, something I do or say has an immediate profound effect on a person, and I receive my reward right away in the awareness that I have aided the person. Sometimes I am rewarded in an unusual and unforeseen way. For instance, the phone company keeps sending me money whenever I really need it, and I still have not figured out why. Oh, well – I just trust that everything will come out as it should, and it does.

The following is a very simple spell that anyone can do, any time, any place. It is chiefly about consciousness and awareness and about being present to the gifts that are yours every day of your life. To perform the spell successfully, it helps to be centered in being conscious of what you have rather than focusing your energy on what you don’t have.

First, take a few moments to contemplate and give thanks for all of the amazing, powerful gifts you have received so far this year. Your body, your breath, your life. Your family, friends, children, lover, clan, community. Did you get the job that you really wanted? Did you finally learn some hard lesson, so you can now move on? Did you meet just the right person to help you on a project? What favors have the gods bestowed upon you recently? Take a minute or two from your day every day to focus on what you do have, and what you have received that you asked for or needed.

Then make a list, and on it list everything you can think of that you wish for. Begin with the things that you can easily accomplish in a day or a week. Start with the very next day, as in “I want (fill in the blank) tomorrow,” then move on to next week, then next month. Follow with wishes for three months, six months, nine months, a year, three years, five years, ten years and so on. List material things, job goals, relationship goals, whatever you can think of (you can always add more things later as you remember them). I always make mine a list of dates with items next to them – for example: August 1, 1996, new job making great money in a place I like with people I respect and like.

Next, sense yourself into the future and into what you want to achieve, as if it is already happening. It is! As soon as you put power into it, you begin the movement in the direction of that actuality.

Once you’ve done that for every wish, locate a spot to hang your list where you will view it every day, preferably more than once a day. Seeing the list daily reminds your subconscious of where you are going without you having to think about it. Place the list in a location away from the eyes of those who would deter or discourage you.

Then, once the list is hung up, let the desires go. Doing so is important, and the point where a lot of spells get hung up. Forget about the list except when you glance at it or when you cross off a desire that you have accomplished. (Do cross off listed wishes as you achieve them, but leave them readable, as you want to be able to see the results of your spell and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from success.)

Once you have hung up your list, sit down, preferably in a quiet place where you can sit on the ground, but anywhere will do. Close your eyes, and give thanks and appreciation to the earth, to the sky, to the God and Goddess, to the elementals, to the fey kingdom for all that is, for your place to live here on the earth.

Give thanks, and then go and give away something that you truly treasure; give away a little something every day. Give a present to your best friend or your lover for no reason. Give some coins to a person less fortunate than you; there are always the less fortunate. Do not judge them, or what they will do with the money; that’s not important; it’s only important that you give freely.

Hugs, kisses and love are things you can give freely whenever you feel affection for someone. Bring a gift when you visit; send a cheerful card or letter to a parent or other family member; give a flower to a child; give a treat to an animal friend; leave out offerings to the fey and to the other wild things. Try the charming Santería custom of kissing your money as you make an offering (or spend it); Santería devotees believe that kissing money ensures it will return to you (and I do too!).

Explore how much you can give with love, joy and generosity, and this will tell you where your prosperity potential is. The more difficult it is for you to be generous, the harder it is for you to be prosperous yourself.

See how it feels to feel as if you have enough, as if you are rich, as if you have all your needs fulfilled – as if you are the opulent Earth Mother giving to all her children!

Thank all for whatever you have. Put out the energy of generosity and good will, and that is what you will manifest in your life.

Give love, every day, to someone who needs some, and if nothing else, give a smile.

When Maiden Becomes Mother

When Maiden Becomes Mother

Lammas Traditions from Nebraska to Wales

by Brighid

Once again, we approach the fall rituals of harvest and riches of the Earth Goddess, thankful for Her bounty She bestows on us. Lammas, August 1 (its celebration typically held the night before, July 31), is the time of the first grain harvest, with objects made of grains (wheat, barley, corn and so on – for example, a bundle of corn stalks) being considered very magickal, for they represent the generosity of the Mother.

Lammas is directly contrasted in the wheel of the year to Imbolc. The two holidays represent opposite aspects of the Goddess. At Imbolc She is the Corn Maiden, fresh and new after her winter rest, and at Lammas She is the Corn Mother, the crone with all development and fruitfulness coming to an end. Lammas also involves the Sun King becoming the Dark Lord, giving of his energy to the crops to ensure life. It is the time of the death of summer and the start of fall, with the days growing shorter and the foliage ending its growth and fruit-bearing cycles. It is the time to share the fruits of the earth, of your own accomplishments with others.

Almost every culture has a celebration in thankfulness for the reaping of the crops in this time of year.

The Celts knew this holiday as Lughnasadn (pronounced loo-na-sa), celebrating the harvest of the grains, marking the last days of the sun god, Lugh. However, races and games that were held in Lugh’s name were more the funeral games for Lugh’s mother, the goddess Tailtiu, in her time of being crone. The Celts believed that the grain held the spirit of the harvest; as each sheaf was cut, the next would absorb the spirit energy of the cut sheaf. Thus, when reapers came to the last sheaf, it contained the whole spirit of the field. A corn doll was made of it in the image and honor of the Mother. In some groups, the person gathering the last grain, often in some special feat of sickle-wielding, was honored by receiving the magick of the grain. Lammas was also a time for Tailltean marriages, informal marriages that lasted a year and a day, similar to handfastings.

In the Bronze Age, there was a Lughnasadn tradition that a High King or God King was chosen then to serve a year and a day, after which his reign ended and so did his life in honor of the Goddess. He was a symbol of the grain, which has to die before its seeds are sown. As by request of Lugh himself, this ritual was put to an end and a great feast was instituted in its place.

The English (Saxons) called this holiday Lammas, “loaf mass,” the mass after the loaves are made from the new grain. At Lammas, couples would run hand-in-hand over bonfires to purify their relationships, a tradition perhaps connected to the Celtic Tailltean marriages.

The Welsh also had a Lammas holiday, and using the muscles gained from the summer work, they held games to test their strength. These games are still held today, alternating between North and South Wales.

The Italian streghe (witches) associated this holiday with the symbol of the cornucopia overflowing with fruit and the harvest grains.

When I was a young girl, we in Nebraska had our own ritual when the big combines would roll into our small farming town. My girlfriends and I would spread out on lawn chairs in my front yard – my house was closest to the road – and watch the hired Texan and Oklahoman farmhands steer those massive machines into our area. Watching the men work, their young muscles bronze and sweaty, over the corn harvest, we would place bets – betting our tip money (very vital since it also was our party money) on which boy we could charm with our wiles and snatch a few intimate moments with. Ah, the harvest we had!

Whatever your celebration ritual may be, let us all remember this is a time for appreciating all that She has given us and for sharing that bounty with others. Enjoy your Lammas!

The Hanged Man Speaks

The Hanged Man Speaks

by Miriam Harline

meditation/evocation

In the early evening, orange-gold light still pouring through half the sky, purple hazing the east, you walk along a country lane, two tracks of dust fine as corn meal and cool on your bare feet. The air smells sweet, of cut hay, and as you crest a hill you see before you a half-mown hayfield. Its dark stubble lies close-shorn on the earth; among the stubble conical haystacks rise regularly. Through a dent in the hills, the last rays of sun gild the remaining hay; its blond heads nod, rustling, in the breeze.

Something about the hayfield attracts you, and you cut off the road, clamber over the grey-tan split-log fence into the field, carefully pick your way through the blunt stubble. It’s only after a few moments you see, against the bright ridge of hay still standing, a dark form. A scarecrow, you think, but why, in hay? You go forward, curious. The sun lies on the horizon, molten; as you look, the last gold bit winks out. A cold breeze brushes your arm.

Walking forward, you see the scarecrow hangs from a gibbet, the form silhouetted black against the sky. A cold finger runs down your spine; someone here has a strange sense of humor. Still you go forward; you think maybe this is art.

You close on the scarecrow. At the base of its square pole, a sickle leans; the edge of the steel blade gleams violet. You look up, and you see this is no scarecrow, but a man, hanging upside-down by his left ankle, right leg bent behind left in the pose of the Hanged Man of the Tarot. You take a sharp breath in.

“Hello,” the man says. He smiles at you: it looks strange upside-down. You can’t seem to reply. “I’ve a favor to ask you.”

“What’s that?” you stammer.

“Untie me, will you?” Catching hold of the gallows pole, the man climbs up hand over hand till he can grab the rope from which he hangs, curls himself in a ball. “I’m ready.”

His rope is rough hemp three fingers thick, tied low on the pole, knot big as a fist. You think, I’ll never get anywhere with this; still, feeling his gaze on you, you begin picking at the knot with your nails. Just when you begin to despair, the first loop loosens; bit by bit, you manage to untie the knot.

The last loop falls. Landing with a thump, the man quickly frees his ankle, rubbed raw by the rope. He jumps up brushing his hands, extends one to you. “Many thanks.”

So athletic was his pole-climbing and leap up you can’t help wondering why he didn’t untie himself. “It’s a geas, a rule, that somebody has to untie me. I can’t do it myself. Now I owe you a favor.” As he stands before you, you notice his strange clothing, a kind of jumpsuit quilted all of diamonds of blue, yellow and red. “Where were you going just now?” he asks.

“I was taking a walk.”

“Mind if I walk with you?” You shake your head, and presently you walk together down the lane’s two dust tracks.

The lane cups the hayfield in a long curve, then veers to the left, where girdled by a split-log fence a wood rises. On either side of the fence-break where the path enters, sentinel tree-trunks stand; beyond, shadows fall black and green.

The wood gives you pause, but the hanged man walks right in, and you follow him. The air in the wood is noticeably cooler; it smells of leaf-mold. Great trunks of trees loom to either side; in the undergrowth creepers tangle saplings.

“Hot day today, wasn’t it?” the hanged man asks conversationally.

“Yes.”

“But autumn’s coming, nonetheless.” He smiles a little. “Autumn’s always coming.”

“I guess that’s true.”

“At autumn comes harvest.” You nod, looking over at him; is he going somewhere with this peculiar conversation?

Just then the track you’re following comes to a crossroads. The crossing path runs perpendicular to yours and is just as wide, its dirt the same dark grey. “Which way do you want to go?” the hanged man asks.

You frown at him. “I don’t know. I was just taking a walk.”

He stares back, a smile quirking the corner of his mouth. “Turn left, why don’t you? You seem like you need some luck.”

You stare at him. Can you trust him to steer you? What does he mean by luck? What are you doing with him in this dark wood? His smile broadens a little; you feel that he can hear what you’re thinking, and that he’s laughing at you.

Turning on your foot, you do as he says. His and your footfalls pad quietly in the leaf-mold together; branches whisper as you brush by. The wood grows darker, shadow collecting in the underbrush and at the bases of the trees. A crow caws behind you.

Fear rises in you. You don’t want to be lost in this forest at night. But just as the fear tightens, you see on the path paler light ahead.

You emerge from the wood into countryside, hazy blue with dusk. Your new track borders a hayfield; you see it’s the same field, the uncut side. “Come,” the hanged man says, and you both climb the fence into the field.

You brush through hay taller than your head. Dry stalks crush below your feet, releasing perfume; seeds fall into your hair and clothes; your movement makes a sound like water. The hanged man walks ahead of you, the colors of his suit almost lost in dusk.

Then you break through the last unmown hay into stubble, dark and damp now with dew. The sickle still leans against the gallows-post, a shadow against a shadow; you touch the gnarled wooden handle worn smooth with use.

“I’ve a favor to ask you,” the hanged man says. “Tie me up again.”

You stare at him in blue near-darkness. You sense he is smiling.

2nd Quiz of the Day – Your Favorite Color: What it Says About You

Your Favorite Color: What it Says About You

by Annie B. Bond

 

Whether we’re a vibrant Orange, or a peaceful Blue, our color preferences are  a key to understanding our personalities. Find out what this color expert has to  say about your favorite color. What does it reveal about who you really are?

White: Symbolic of purity, innocence and naivete, white has  strong connotations of youth and purity. If you are an older person, your  preference for white could indicate a desire for perfection and impossible  ideals, maybe an attempt to recapture lost youth and freshness. It may also  symbolize a desire for simplicity or the simple life.

Red: The color of strength, health, and vitality, Red is  often the color chosen by someone outgoing, aggressive, vigorous and  impulsive—or someone who would like to be! It goes with an ambitious nature but  those who choose it can be abrupt at times, determined to get all they can out  of life, quick to judge people and take sides. Red people are usually optimistic  and can’t stand monotony; they are rather restless and not at all introspective,  so they may be unaware of their own shortcomings. They find it hard to be  objective and may blame others for any mishaps. Quiet people with a preference  for red may feel the need for the warmth, strength and life-giving qualities of  the color, or they blanket their true feelings under a sober exterior. Red is  usually chosen by people with open and uncomplicated natures, with a zest for  life.

Maroon: Harsh experience has probably matured the Maroon  person into someone likable and generous. It is often a favorite color of  someone who has been battered by life but has come through. It indicates a  well-disciplined Red personality—one who has had difficult experiences and has  not come through unmarked but who has grown and matured in the process.

Pink: This color embodies the gentler qualities of Red,  symbolizing love and affection without passion. Women who prefer Pink tend to be  maternal. Pink desires protection, special treatment and a sheltered life. Pink  people require affection and like to feel loved and secure, perhaps wanting to  appear delicate and fragile. Pink people tend to be charming and gentle, if a  trifle indefinite.

Orange: This color of luxury and pleasure appeals to the  flamboyant and fun-loving person who likes a lively social round. Orange people  may be inclined to dramatize a bit, and people notice them, but they are  generally good-natured and popular. They can be a little fickle and vacillating,  but on the whole they try hard to be agreeable. Orange is the color of youth,  strength, fearlessness, curiosity and restlessness.

Yellow: The color of happiness, wisdom and imagination,  Yellow is chosen by the mentally adventurous, searching for novelty and  self-fulfillment. Yellow usually goes with a sunny and shrewd personality, with  a good business head and a strong sense of humor. It is the color of  intellectuality and all things to do with the mind. Yellow folks are usually  clear and precise thinkers who have a good opinion of their own mental  capacities and who have lofty ideals. They may at times tend to shun  responsibility, preferring freedom of thought and action.

Green: The color of harmony and balance, Green symbolizes  hope, renewal and peace, and is usually liked by the gentle and sincere. Greens  are generally frank, community-minded people, fairly sociable but preferring  peace at any price. Green people can be too self-effacing, modest and patient,  so they may get exploited by others. They are usually refined, civilized and  reputable.

Blue: Soft, soothing, compassionate and caring, Blue is the  color of deliberation and introspection, conservatism and duty. Patient,  persevering, conscientious, sensitive and self-controlled, Blues like to be  admired for their steady character and wisdom. They are faithful, but are often  worriers with somewhat inflexible beliefs and can be too cautious, and  suspicious of flamboyant behavior.

Blue-Green: Exacting, discriminating, poised and attractive,  the Blue-Green person tends to be sensitive, intellectual and refined,  persevering and stable if rather detached. Blue-Greens have excellent taste, and  are usually courteous and charming, capable but often refusing help or  guidance.

Turquoise: Complex, imaginative and original, Turquoise  people drive themselves hard and may be in a state of turmoil under their  outwardly cool exterior.

Lavender: This is often chosen by a person who lives “on a  higher plane,” who never notices anything sordid and who is always impeccably  and beautifully dressed. Lavender people may be on a continual quest for culture  and the refined things of life, high and noble causes but without the necessity  of getting their hands dirty. A Lavender person is usually creative, charming,  witty and civilized.

Purple: Purples are highly individual, fastidious, witty and  sensitive, with a strong desire to be unique and different. Temperamental,  expansive and artistic, a Purple person may become aloof and sarcastic when  misunderstood. If you chose Purple, you tend to be unconventional, tolerant and  dignified, likely to achieve positions of authority.

Brown: A Brown person has stamina and patience, tending to  be very solid and substantial, conscientious, dependable, steady and  conservative. Browns are not impulsive, and may be inarticulate and tactless but  they love responsibility and are reliable and kindly. If you chose Brown, watch  out for a tendency to be obstinate and inflexible.

Gray: The color of caution and compromise, diligent Grays  search for composure and peace and often work hard without reward. Older Grays  like life to run on an even keel with few ups and downs. Young Grays may be  withdrawing from life and suppressing their personalities. Grays often have good  business ability and tend to work too much.

Black: Dignified and impressive without being showy, Black  people want to give the appearance of mystery, but their preference may also  indicate a suppression of desires and worldly aims, suggesting hidden depths and  inner longings.

Adapted from The Healing Power of Color by Betty Wood (Inner  Traditions, 1998).