Witches Of The Craft
the truth, the beauty and the true nature of Witchcraft shall finally be heard
So Mote It Be
Today We Celebrate
Rhiannon is a major figure in the Mabinogi, the medieval Welsh story collection. She appears mainly in the First Branch of the Mabinogi, and again in the Third Branch. She is a strong minded Otherworld woman, who chooses Pwyll, prince of Dyfed (west Wales), as her consort, in preference to another man to whom she has already been betrothed. She is intelligent, politically strategic, and famed for her wealth and generosity. With Pwyll she has a son, the hero Pryderi, who later inherits the lordship of Dyfed. She endures tragedy when her newborn child is abducted, and she is accused of infanticide. As a widow she marries Manawydan of the British royal family, and has further adventures involving enchantments.
Like some other figures of British/ Welsh literary tradition, Rhiannon may be a reflex of an earlier Celtic deity. Her name appears to derive from the reconstructed Brittonic form *Rīgantōna, a derivative of *rīgan- “queen”. In the First Branch Rhiannon is strongly associated with horses, and so is her son Pryderi. She is often considered to be related to the Gaulish horse goddess Epona. The resemblance is her horse affinity, and her son’s, as mare and foal; also a paradoxical way of sitting on her horse in a calm, static way, like a key image of Epona. While this is generally accepted connection among scholars of the Mabinogi and Celtic studies, Ronald Hutton as a general historian, is skeptical
When Rhiannon first appears she is clearly a magical figure arriving as part of the Otherworld tradition of Gorsedd Arberth. Her paradoxical style of riding slowly, yet unreachably, is strange and magical, though the paradox also occurs in mediaeval love poetry as an erotic metaphor. Rhiannon produces her “small bag” which is also a magical paradox for it cannot be filled by any ordinary means. When undergoing her penance, Rhiannon demonstrates the powers of a giantess, or the strength of a horse, by carrying travellers on her back.
Rhiannon is also connected to three mystical birds. The Birds of Rhiannon (Adar Rhiannon) appear in the Second Branch, in the Triads of Britain, and in Culhwch ac Olwen. In the latter, the giant Ysbaddaden demands them as part of the bride price of his daughter. They are described as “they that wake the dead and lull the living to sleep.” All this suggests Rhiannon as an earlier goddess of Celtic polytheism.
W.J. Gruffydd’s book Rhiannon (1953) was an attempt to reconstruct the original story. It is mainly focused on the relationship between the males in the story, and rearranges the story elements too liberally for other scholars’ preference, though his research is otherwise detailed and helpful. Patrick Ford suggests that the Third Branch “preserves the detritus of a myth wherein the Sea God mated with the Horse Goddess.” He suggests “the mythic significance may well have been understood in a general way by an eleventh century audience.” Similar euhemerisms of pre-Christian deities can be found in other medieval Celtic literature, when Christian scribes and redactors reworked older deities as more acceptable giants, heroes or saints. In the Táin Bó Cúailnge, Macha and The Morrígan similarly appear as larger-than-life figures, yet never described as goddesses.
Proinsias Mac Cana’s position is that “[Rhiannon] reincarnates the goddess of sovereignty who, in taking to her a spouse, thereby ordained him legitimate king of the territory which she personified. Miranda Jane Green draws in the international folklore motif of the calumniated wife, saying “Rhiannon conforms to two archetypes of myth … a gracious, bountiful queen-goddess; and … the ‘wronged wife’, falsely accused of killing her son.
Your Daily Sun & Moon Data for Wednesday, February 22nd
Sun Direction: ↑ 127.38° SE
Sun Altitude: 25.85°
Sun Distance: 91.966 million mi
Next Equinox: Mar 20, 2017 5:28 am (Vernal)
Sunrise Today: 6:34 am↑ 102° East
Sunset Today: 5:41 pm↑ 258° West
Length of Daylight: 11 hours, 7 minutes
Moon Direction: ↑ 183.36° S
Moon Altitude: 33.51°
Moon Distance: 246025 mi
Next New Moon: Feb 26, 20178:58 am
Next Full Moon: Mar 12, 20179:53 am
Next Moonset: Today2:03 pm
The Sky This Week for February 22 to 26
Today is Wednesday, February 22
Wednesday is the day of the Teutonic deity known as Wodin or Odin, an aspect of the Allfather, god of knowledge, wisdom, enlightenment and combat, the parallel of Hermes, the planet Mercury.
Zodiac Sign: Gemini & Virgo
Stone: Emerald & Sardonyx
Animal: Raven & Cat
Color: Red & Blue
Celtic Tree Month of Nuin (Ash) – (February 18 – March 17)
The Runic Half Month of Sigel (February 12 – February 26)
Goddess of the Month of Moura – (February 20 – March 19)
The Pagan Book of Days
The Pagan Book of Days for Wednesday, February 22nd
Roman festival of the goddess Concordia, the feast of favor or goodwill, known as Charistia. It is the time for the living to reconcile their differences, the counterpart of Feralia on the previous day. It is also time for a meal with family and friends, at which all disputes are settled.
The Pagan Book of Days
The Goddess Book of Days for Wednesday, February 22nd
Church Holiday of St. Lucia, Goddess of Light (Italy). She is Lucy, Lucina, Vesta, Brigid, Bertha, Perchta, Bride, Hestia, Oya. In Rome, the Carista, day of family peace and household accord, the Goddess Carista or Concordia.
The Goddess Book of Days
On Wednesday, February 22, We Celebrate….
Brotherhood Day (United States)
Themes: Peace; Cooperation; Communication; Unity; Spirituality
Symbols: Bees; Lilies; Lead About Binah: In Cabalistic tradition, Binah embodies spiritual discernment, love, stability, and awareness. As the third sephirah of the Tree of Life, Binah becomes a divine mother, guiding her children toward attainment and comprehension. Her name literally translates as “the understanding” which gives form and function to all other aspects of life. Bees are sacred to her (as divine messengers), as are lilies (white in purity), and lead (which gives us a foothold in reality).
To Do Today: Binah’s energy was present in 1934 when Brotherhood Day began to bring people of diverse faiths together in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect. The thrust of the day is universal brotherhood, accenting our likenesses instead of our differences. So, take time today to learn more about other faiths and foster an open exchange of ideas. Perhaps visit a church or temple and observe quietly, seeing that the Goddess is there, too.
To promote strong spiritual roots in your own life, as well as the understanding to nurture those roots, try this spell: Take a piece of lead (maybe from a pencil) and hold it in your dominant hand, saying,
Binah, walk with me; understanding impart.
Every day be part of my heart.
Write this down and put the incantation in your shoe so that Binah will walk with you wherever you may go.
365 Goddess: A Daily Guide To the Magic and Inspiration of the goddess
The Magick of Wednesdays
Magickal Intentions toward: Communication DIvination, Luck, Safety, Health, Wisdom, Commerce, Business
Crystals: Aventurine, Agate
Magical Day of Wednesdays
Wednesday is named for Woden himself, although the Romans called it dies Mercurii. This is a day associated with the color purple, the planet Mercury, and the metal quicksilver – which is also called mercury. See a pattern here?
When it comes to deities… yes, Mercury! However, there are a few other gods associated with Wednesday, including Odin and Hermes, Athena, and Lugh. Gemstones like adventurine and agate come in handy as well, as do plants such as aspen trees, lilies, lavender and even ferns.
Business and job-related issues, communication, loss and debt, traveling, and journeys are all tied in to Wednesday. This is a good day to do a working to open up lines of communication – especially if your own actions are preventing you from being an effective speaker or listener. Go someplace new or return to an old favorite stomping ground, step up your game, and settle up your accounts.
The Witches Wednesday
Wednesday is the fourth day of the week, in the Judeo-Christian calendar between Tuesday and Thursday. The name comes from the Middle English Wednes dei, which is from Old English WÃ„â€œdnes dÃƒÂ¦g, meaning the day of the Germanic god Woden (Wodan) who was a god of the Anglo-Saxons in England until about the 7th century. WÃ„â€œdnes dÃƒÂ¦g is like the Old Norse OÃƒÂ°insdagr (“Odin’s day”), which is an early translation of the Latin dies Mercurii (“Mercury’s day”). Although Mercury (the messenger of the gods) and Woden (the king of the Germanic gods) are not equivalent in most regards, both gods guided the souls of the dead to the underworld.
When Sunday is taken as the first of the week, the day in the middle of each week is Wednesday. Arising from this, the German name for Wednesday has been Mittwoch (literally: “mid-week”) since the 10th Century, having displaced the former name: Wodanstag (“Wodan’s day”). The Finnish name is similarly practical: Keskiviikko (literally: “middle of the week”) as is the Icelandic name: MiÃƒÂ°vikudagur (“Mid-week day”).
According to the Hebrew Bible, Wednesday is the day when the Sun and Moon were created.
Wednesday is also in the middle of the common Western 5-day working week that starts on Monday and finishes on Friday.
In Romance languages it is derived from the name of the Roman god Mercury: mercredi (French), mercoledÃƒÂ¬ (Italian), miÃƒÂ©rcoles (Spanish), miercuri (Romanian), dimecres (Catalan), dies Mercurii (Latin). Similarly, the Hindi name for Wednesday, Budhvar is derived from the Vedic name for Mercury, Budh. Russian does not use pagan names but instead uses sredÃƒÂ¡, meaning “middle,” similar to the German Mittwoch. Likewise, Portuguese uses the word quarta-feira, meaning “fourth day.”
An English language idiom for Wednesday is “hump day”, a reference to making it through to the middle of the work week as getting “over the hump”. It is also informally referred to as “the peak of the week”.
Quakers traditionally refer to Wednesday as “Fourth Day”, eschewing the pagan origin of the name “Wednesday”. Most eastern languages also use a name with this meaning, for much the same reason.
Extremely faithful Orthodox Christians observe a vegetarian / fish-only fast on Wednesdays (and Fridays) in some countries such as Greece.
According to the Thai solar calendar, the color associated with Wednesday is green.
Wednesday in Popular Culture
* The nursery rhyme states, “Wednesday’s child is full of woe”. This line was the inspiration for the ‘Wednesday’ character, the daughter, in The Addams Family comic and TV Show.
* In the 19th century children’s rhyme Solomon Grundy, Solomon was ‘Married on Wednesday.’
* A song titled “Wednesday’s Song” is on the 2004 album Shadows Collide with People by John Frusciante
* Mr. Wednesday is a main character in Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods. He is the employer of the protagonist Shadow, and is a variation on the god Odin.
The astrological sign of the planet Mercury represents Wednesday — Dies Mercurii to the Romans, with similar names in Latin-derived languages, such as the French Mercredi and the Spanish MiÃƒÂ©rcoles. In English, this became “Woden’s Day”, since the Roman god Mercury was identified with Woden in northern Europe.
Magickal Applications for Wednesday
To the Romans, this day was called Dies Mercurii, or “Mercury’s day” Mercury was a popular character in the Roman pantheon. A messenger of the gods, he presided over commerce, trade, and anything that required skill or dexterity. The Celts also worshiped Mercury and eventually equated him with the Norse god Odin (some spelling variations on this name include Wotan, Wodin, and Wodan). In Norse mythologies, Odin, like Mercury, is associated with poetry and music. Interestingly enough, both Odin and Mercury were regarded as psychopomps, or the leaders of souls, in their individual mythologies.
Odin, one of the main gods in Norse mythology, was constantly seeking wisdom. He traveled the world in disguise as a one-eyed man with a long gray beard, wearing an old, beat-up hat and carrying a staff or a spear (which brings to my mind images of Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings). In the Old English language, this day of Mercury evolved into Wodnes daeg, “Woden’s day,” or Wednesday.
Wednesday carries all of the planetary and magickal energies and associations of the witty and nimble god Mercury himself. Some of these mercurial traits included good communication skills, cleverness, intelligence, creativity, business sense, writing, artistic talent, trickiness, and thievery. And don’t forget all of those wise and enigmatic qualities associated with the Norse god Odin/Wodin, not to mention the goddess Athena’s contributions of music, the arts, handmade crafts, and writing. Wednesdays afford excellent opportunities for seeking wisdom, changing your circumstances, and improving your skills, be they in trade and commerce, music and art, or in communication and writing.
Book of Witchery: Spells, Charms & Correspondences for Every Day of the Week
The Witches Almanac for Wednesday, February 22
Moon phase: Fourth Quarter
Moon Sign: Capricorn
The Witches Correspondences for Wednesday, February 22nd
Dedicated to the Teutonic god Woden or Odin, an aspect of the “All-Father” god of knowledge wisdom enlightenment and combat, the parallel of Hermes.
Element : Air
Zodiac Sign : Virgo / Gemini
Angel : Raphael
Metal : Mercury
Incense / Perfumes : Jasmine, Lavender, Sweet Pea
Oil: Benzoin, Clary Sage, Eucalytus, Lavender
Color : Red, Orange, Light Blue
Stones : Bloodstone,Garnet, Aventurine, Hematite, Moss Agate and Sodalite
Plants/Herbs : Almond, Anise, Cherry, Clover, Dandelion, Dill, Fern, Hazel, Hyssop, Lavender, Lemongrass, Lilac, Mace, Peppermint, Rosemary, Vervain
Magick to Work: the conscious mind, study, travel, divination, consulting oracles, wisdom, communication ,cleverness, contracts, creativity, information, intellect, memory, erception, science, wisdom, writing
Wednesday Is Ruled By Mercury
Wednesdays are wild and wacky days. They are for communication, change, cunning, and the arts. This is a Mercury day, and just its patron god this day is full of contradictions, change, and excitement. Some suggestions for Wednesday enchantments would include:
Pulling a little Wednesday color magic into your life by wearing purples or orange
Carrying a multipurpose agate with you and tapping into its various charms
Working with magical plants such as the fern for protection. This plant will also boost the power of any other magical plants with which it is arranged.
Incorporating lavender into charms and spells for transformation
Using the charming scent of lily of the valley to improve your memory, or working with the aspen tree for communication
Calling on Athena, patron of arts and crafts, for inspiration for a new project
Fanning out a Tarot spell to increase you creativity
Calling on Hermes on a Wednesday night to bring movement and good luck into your life
Wednesday & The Perfect Corresponding Spell
Stretch Alert Spell
Items you will need:
1 small piece of red string
That morning, just after waking up, give your whole body six good stretches. Get out as many yawns as possible. Push all that current sleepiness out of your body. When you are ready, tie a small, red string around one of your fingers. Do not tie it tight. Make the knot into a bow. Now, say this chant three times:
“Wakey, wakey. Stay alert with a ring.
Should I tempt to slumber,
I’ll pull my string.
Causing my eyes to open,
And my heart to spring.”
The string around your finger will serve as a reminder for you to stay awake during the day. If you feel yourself getting sleepy, think of the chant and pull the string. If you feel you need to, re-tie the string and use it when you feel sleepy during the day.
A Witch’s Week of Spells and Activities
Helga C. Loueen
Celebrating Legends, Folklore & Spirituality 365 Days a Year for February 22
Caristia or Cara Cognatio
This was not an official Roman holiday but was nevertheless less celebrated on an annual basis. This was a cheerful time that followed the somber activities of the Feralia. Caristia was set aside to renew family ties and settle disputes. There would be a family meal and offerings would be made to the household Lares. The holiday was converted into the feast of St. Peter and continued to be celebrated well into the 12th century.
Eight Famous Witches In History
The Witch of Endor
The Christian Bible has an injunction against practicing witchcraft and divination, and that can probably be blamed on the Witch of Endor. In the first Book of Samuel, King Saul of Israel got in some hot water when he hooked up with Endor’s hottest medium, asking her to predict the future. Saul and his sons were about to march into battle against their enemies, the Philistines, and Saul decided it was time to get a bit of supernatural insight as to what was going to happen the next day.
Saul started off by asking God what was up, but God stayed mum on the whole thing… and so Saul took it upon himself to seek the answers elsewhere.
According to the Bible, Saul summoned the witch of Endor, who was a well-known medium in the area. Disguising himself so she wouldn’t know she was in the presence of the King, Saul asked the witch, “Hey, how about you bring back Samuel the prophet from the dead for me, because I’d really like to know what’s happening at the big showdown tomorrow?”
The witch called upon Samuel, who – probably to everyone’s surprise – showed up and told Saul that he’d pretty much be a goner the next day. After all, just by working with the witch of Endor, Saul was directly disobeying God, and that never goes over well. Sure enough, Saul, his sons, and Israel were defeated at Gilboa.
Who was the witch of Endor? Well, like many other biblical figures, no one really knows. She did caution Saul that she wasn’t really supposed to be doing the whole mediumship/necromancy thing, but he offered to protect her.
Regardless of the fact that her identity is lost to myth and legend, she has managed to appear in more contemporary literature. Geoffrey Chaucer makes reference to her in The Canterbury Tales, in the tale spun by the friar to entertain his fellow pilgrims. The Friar tells his listeners:
“Yet tell me,” said the summoner, “if true:
Do you make your new bodies always so
Out of the elements?” The fiend said, “No,
Sometimes it’s only some form of disguise;
Dead bodies we may enter that arise
To speak with all the reason and as well
As to the Endor witch spoke Samuel.”
One of the best-known mythological mistresses of mayhem is Circe, who appears in The Odyssey. According to the story, Odysseus and his Achaeans found themselves fleeing the land of the Laestrygonians. After a bunch of Odysseus’ scouts were captured and eaten by the Laestrygonian king, and nearly all of his ships sunk by large boulders, the Achaeans ended up on the shore of Aeaea, home to the witch-goddess Circe.
Circe was well known for her magical mojo, and had quite the reputation for her knowledge of plants and potions. According to some accounts, she may have been the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and one of the Oceanids, but she is sometimes referred to as a daughter of Hecate, the goddess of magic.
Circe turned Odysseus’ men into pigs, of all things, and so he set off to rescue them. Before he got there, he was visited by the messenger god, Hermes, who told him how to defeat the seductive Circe. Odysseus followed Hermes’ helpful hints, and overpowered Circe, who turned the men back into men… and she then became Odysseus’ lover. After a year or so of luxuriating in Circe’s bed, Odysseus finally figured out he should head back home to Ithaca, and his wife, Penelope. The lovely Circe, who may or may not have borne Odysseus a couple of sons, gave him directions that sent him all over the place, including a side quest to the Underworld.
After Odysseus’ eventual death at the hands of his son, Telegonus, Circe used her magic potions to bring her late lover back to life.
The Bell Witch
We typically think of folklore and mythology as originating in ancient, far-off places, but some of it is recent enough that it’s considered urban legend. The story of the Bell Witch, for instance, takes place as recently as the nineteenth century in Tennessee.
According to author Pat Fitzhugh of the Bell Witch website, there was “a sinister entity that tormented a pioneer family on Tennessee’s early frontier between 1817 and 1821.” Fitzhugh explains that settler John Bell and his family relocated to Tennessee from North Carolina in the early 1800s, and purchased a large homestead.
It wasn’t long before some really weird stuff began to happen, including sightings of a strange animal with “the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit” out in the cornfields, the three Bell children saying that someone or something had yanked their bedcovers off in the night, and bizarre whispering sounds in the house.
To make matters even worse, young Betsy Bell started to experience physical encounters with the spooky specter, claiming it had slapped her and pulled her hair. Although he originally told the family to keep things hush-hush, Bell finally confided in a neighbor, who brought in a party led by none other than local general Andrew Jackson. Another member of the group claimed to be a “witch tamer,” and was armed with a pistol and a silver bullet. Unfortunately, the entity wasn’t impressed with the silver bullet – or, apparently, the witch tamer – because the man was forcefully ejected from the house. Jackson’s men begged to leave the homestead and, although Jackson insisted on staying to investigate further, the next morning the entire group was spotted heading away from the farm.
Troy Taylor of PrairieGhosts says, “The spirit identified itself as the “witch” of Kate Batts, a neighbor of the Bells’, with whom John had experienced bad business dealings over some purchased slaves. “Kate” as the local people began calling the spirit, made daily appearances in the Bell home, wreaking havoc on everyone there.” Once John Bell died, though, Kate stuck around and haunted Betsy well into adulthood.
Morgan Le Fay
If you’ve ever read any of the Arthurian legends, the name Morgan le Fay should ring a bell with you. Her first appearance in literature is in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s The Life of Merlin, written in the first half of the twelfth century. Morgan has become known as a classic seductress, who lures men in with her witchy wiles, and then causes all kinds of supernatural shenanigans to take place.
Chrétien de Troyes’ The Vulgate Cycle describes her role as one of Queen Guinevere’s ladies in waiting.
According to this collection of Arthurian tales, Morgan fell in love with Arthur’s nephew, Giomar. Unfortunately, Guinevere found out and put an end to the affair, so Morgan exacted her revenge by busting Guinevere, who was fooling around with Sir Lancelot.
Morgan le Fay, whose name means “Morgan of the fairies” in French, appears again in Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, in which “she was unhappily married to King Urien. At the same time, she became a sexually aggressive woman who had many lovers, including the famous Merlin. However, her love of Lancelot was unrequited. Morgan appeared also as an indirect cause of Arthur’s death.”
Malory tells us that Morgan was Arthur’s half-sister, but that didn’t mean they got along well at all. In fact, depending on which legend you read, Morgan has been portrayed as seducing Arthur and giving bi
rth to his child, trying to steal Excalibur from him, and basically using all kinds of nefarious sorcery to bring down her brother’s rule as King.
As we see in the story of Odysseus and Circe, Greek mythology is chock-full of witches. When Jason and his Argonauts went on a quest for the Golden Fleece, they decided to steal it from King Aeëtes of Colchis. What Aeëtes didn’t know was that his daughter Medea had developed a bit of a thing for Jason, and after seducing and eventually marrying him, this enchantress helped her fella steal the Golden Fleece from her father.
Medea was said to be of divine descent, and was the niece of the aforementioned Circe. Born with the gift of prophecy, Medea was able to warn Jason about the dangers that lay before him in his quest. After he obtained the Fleece, she took off with him on the Argo, and they lived happily ever after… for about ten years.
Then, as often happens in Greek myth, Jason found himself another woman, and cast Medea aside for Glauce, the daughter of the Corinthian king, Creon. Not one to take rejection well, Medea sent Glauce a lovely golden gown covered in poison, which led to the death of both the princess and her father, the king. In revenge, the Corinthians killed two of Jason and Medea’s children. Just to show Jason she was good and angry, Medea killed two of the others herself, leaving only a son, Thessalus, to survive. Medea then fled Corinth on a golden chariot, sent by her grandfather, Helios, the sun god.
Medea spent many years just a few steps ahead of the enraged Jason, fleeing first to Thebes and then to Athens.
Eventually, she returned to Colchis, where she found that her father had been deposed by her uncle, Perses. Medea killed Perses and restored Aeëtes to the throne.
Who is Baba Yaga? In Russian folktales, she’s an old witch who can be either fearsome and scary, or be the heroine of the tale – and sometimes she manages to do both!
Described as having teeth of iron and a frightfully long nose, Baba Yaga lives in a hut on the edge of the forest, which can move around on its own and is depicted as having legs like a chicken (the hut, not Baba Yaga). She does not, unlike many traditional folkloric witches, fly about on a broomstick.
Instead, she rides around in a giant mortar, which she pushes along with an equally large pestle, rowing it almost like a boat. She sweeps the tracks away from behind her with a broom made of silver birch.
The Tale of Baba Yaga
According to Folk Tales from the Russian, published in 1903 by Verra Xenophontovna and Kalamatiano de Blumenthal, there is a story in Russian folklore that illustrates the many facets of Baba Yaga all at once.
It seems, so the tale goes, that once there was a woodcutter who lived near the forest, and he and his wife had twins, a boy and a girl.
When they were still small, the woodcutter’s wife died, and although he was very lonely and missed her, he knew his children needed a mother, so he married again.
The stepmother was envious of the woodcutter’s love for his children, and so she treated them badly. If he was away from home, she would lock them outdoors for hours. She refused to feed them, and didn’t care if their clothes fit or if they were cold. Finally she decided to get rid of them altogether, so she could have the woodcutter all to herself.
She told them to go see an old woman who lived deep in the woods, in a house that had magical chicken-like feet, and the old woman would give them treats.
The children, however, knew that something was amiss. Their stepmother had never offered them a kindness before. So instead, they went to the home of their dead mother’s mother, and she warned them not to go to the house on chicken feet because it belonged to an old witch named Baba Yaga. She fed them well, and told them to be good to anyone they met, and sent them on their way. But on their way home, they got lost and found themselves at the witch’s house anyway.
The children had a number of adventures, many of which have similarities to other well-known European fairy tales, that you can read about here. By the time they returned home, the woodcutter realized his new wife had no love in her heart, and sent her away so he and his children could live happily and in peace.
The Beautiful Vassilissa
Another tale relates the story of the young Vassilissa, whose father is a merchant and whose mother dies early (not an uncommon theme in folktales, to be sure!), leaving only a tiny doll for Vassilissa to remember her by. As Vassilissa grows up and her father takes a new wife, the story expands to include two evil stepsisters, and a series of tasks assigned to the young girls. Naturally, those who are wicked end up getting what is coming to them, at the hands of Baba Yaga.
Other Aspects of Baba Yaga
Baba Yaga is sometimes portrayed as having assistants such as three mysterious riders who help her out. These strange horsemen represent sunrise, noon, and night. In some takes, she is aided by her daughter, Marinka.
In general, no one ever knows whether Baba Yaga will help or hinder those who seek her out. Often, bad people get their just desserts through her actions, but it is not so much that she wishes to rescue the good as it is that evil brings its own consequences, and Baba Yaga is simply there to see these results meted out.
She is often representative of a watcher or guardian of the forest and all it contains, although this may in part be due to her similarities to other Eastern European and Slavic folkloric figures, many of whom are identified by names that translate into “Forest Mother.” Such characters appear in Bulgarian, Serbian and Slovenian mythology and legend.
Some Slavic tales feature Baba Yaga as a trio of supernatural sisters—all with the same name —who threatens to eat unwary travelers and small children, although they always seem to manage a timely escape.
In modern Neopaganism, there seems to be some speculation that Baba Yaga was a goddess who was worshiped by ancient Slavic Pagans. However, despite some of her similarities to other European goddesses, such as her appearance in triplicate, there is little academic evidence that Baba Yaga was deified. A more likely scenario is that she was, as originally noted, a folkloric character who has taken on a life of her own in the minds and hearts of modern Pagans.
In Italy, the legend of La Befana is popularly told around the time of the Epiphany. What does a Catholic holiday have to do with modern Paganism? Well, La Befana happens to be a witch.
According to folklore, on the night before the feast of the Epiphany in early January, Befana flies around on her broom, delivering gifts. Much like Santa Claus, she leaves candy, fruit, or small gifts in the stockings of children who are well-behaved throughout the year.
On the other hand, if a child is naughty, he or she can expect to find a lump of coal left behind by La Befana.
La Befana’s broom is for more than just practical transportation – she also will tidy up a messy house, and sweep the floors before she departs for her next stop. This is probably a good thing, since Befana gets a bit sooty from coming down chimneys, and it’s only polite to clean up after oneself. She may wrap up her visit by indulging in the glass of wine or plate of food left by parents as thanks.
Tessa Derksen of Our Little Italy says, “In the time when our grandparents were children, Befana was tremendously popular and was awaited with a mixture of joy and anxiety. Children hung hand-knitted stockings on the fireplace and wrote long letters to her expressing their wishes. Often they were disappointed as their families had little money to spend on gifts; however, sometimes they found little hand-sewn dolls and puppets in their stocking. If they had been bad, their stockings were filled with onions, garlic, and coal.
Although there were no traditional dishes to celebrate this day, people would gather together and eat chestnuts, nuts and fruit pancakes.”
So, where did La Befana come from? How did a kindly old witch become associated with the celebration of the Epiphany? Many of the stories behind La Befana involve a woman who is searching but unable to find the newborn infant Jesus.
In some Christian legends, it is said that Befana had been visited by the three Magi, or wise men, on their way to visit the baby Jesus. It’s said that they asked her for directions, but Befana wasn’t sure how to find the newborn infant. However, being a good housekeeper, she invited them to spend the night in her tidy little home. When the Magi left the next morning, they invited Befana to join them in their quest. Befana declined, saying she had too much housework to do, but she later changed her mind. She tried to find the wise men and the new baby, but was unable to; now, she flies around on her broom delivering gifts to children. Perhaps she is still searching for the infant Jesus.
In other tales, La Befana is a woman whose children have died in a great plague, and she follows the wise men to Bethlehem. Before leaving her house, she packs up some simple gifts – a doll that belonged to one of her children, and a robe sewn from her own wedding dress. These plain gifts are all she has to give to the infant Jesus, but she is unable to locate him. Today, she flies around delivering gifts to other children in hopes of finding him.
Betsy Woodruff at Slate describes yet another version of the story, in which King Herod’s soldiers kill her son: “Delusional with grief, she leaves her home to search for him. Instead, she finds baby Jesus and gives him all her son’s belongings. He blesses her, and now she travels the world blessing good children and punishing bad ones.”
Some scholars believe that the story of La Befana actually has pre-Christian origins. The tradition of leaving or exchanging gifts may relate to an early Roman custom that takes place in midwinter, around the time of Saturnalia. Befana may also represent the passing of the old year, with the image of an old woman, to be replaced by a new year.
Today many Italians, including those who follow the practice of Stregheria, celebrate a festival in La Befana’s honor.
In Norse mythology, Grimhildr (or Grimhilde) was a smokin’ sorceress who was married to King Gyuki, one of the Burgundian kings, and her story appears in the Volsunga Saga, where she is described as a “fierce-hearted woman.” Grimhildr was easily bored, and often amused herself by enchanting various people – including the hero Sigurðr, who she wanted to see marry her daughter Gudrun. The spell worked, and Sigurðr left his wife Brynhild.
As if that wasn’t enough mischief-making, Grimhildr decided her son Gunnar should marry the spurned Brynhild, but Brynhild was having none of it. She stubbornly announced, “Nope, because I’ll only marry a guy who’s willing to cross this ring of fire I’m setting up around myself. Good luck, boys!”
Sigurðr, who could cross the flames safely, knew that he’d be off the hot seat if he could see his ex happily remarried, so he offered to switch bodies with Gunnarr and get across. And who had enough magic to make the old body-swapping work out? Why, Grimhildr, of course! Brynhild was fooled into marrying Gunnarr, but it didn’t end well; she finally figured out she’d been catfished, and ended up killing Sigurðr and herself. Really, the only one who came out of the whole debacle relatively unscathed was Gudrun, whose malicious mother ended up marrying her off to Brynhild’s brother.
By Patti Wigington,Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article published on & owned by About.com
The Current Moon Phase for Wednesday, February 22
The Moon today is in a Waning Crescent phase. In this phase the Moon’s illumination is growing smaller each day until the New Moon. During this phase the Moon is getting closer to the Sun as viewed from Earth and the night side of the Moon is facing the Earth with only a small edge of the Moon being illuminated. This phase is best viewed an hour or 2 before the sunrise and can be quite beautiful if you’re willing to get up early. It can also be a great time to see the features of the Moon’s surface. Along the edge where the illuminated portion meets the dark side, the craters and mountains cast long shadows making them easier to observe with a telescope or binoculars.
Phase Details for – Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Moon Age: 25.46 days
Moon Angle: 0.50
Moon Distance: 399,091.90 km
Sun Angle: 0.54
Sun Distance: 148,015,590.14 km
Prepare for New Moon
Themes involving beginnings and endings are center stage now as we prepare for the Feb 26 new moon with solar eclipse in Pisces. Most likely, you already have had your share of beginnings and endings in these initial weeks of 2017. You are about to get an opportunity to reconsider how you view and orchestrate beginnings and endings. This can have profound impact on your current situation and future prospects.
Leading up to the new moon is an opening of energy that can catalyze ideas of new seeds you want to plant and new ways to be with yourself and others. In this article I’ll describe simple steps to take advantage of this energy opening.
Energies over the next several days are likely to bring to the surface things outside your awareness and off your radar in day-to-day life. The nature of this energy window is that old issues and unfinished business may come to light.
This may include old friends you hadn’t thought about for a long time, and old completed relationships that you thought were healed. Very likely, too, because of the planetary aspects, dysfunctional patterns of self-sabotage may get the spotlight and therefore your attention.
Not all surfacing will be an issue. Some may simply be like a flash of intuition you didn’t have before – perhaps about an important past life or other element that is key to your soul’s journey. Some insights may be so significant that when you apply them, the trajectory of your life shifts in a major way!
New Moon Tips
FIRST, since the focus of this new moon is your spiritual self evolving over time, factor this into beginnings and endings. Example: if a former romantic partner reappears (tangibly or within your own mind) and reminds you of unprocessed hostility, see this is a sign to dig deeper and heal the old wounds. That unfinished business is a block to your current and future relationships. Whatever is showing up needs to be laid to rest before you can succeed in a new relationship.
SECOND, with this new moon catalyzing hidden elements within the subconscious, intentionally welcome new insights that help you understand and heal deeply rooted problems. There is often an unconscious tendency to block new information that forces confrontation with shadow elements. Knowing this, consciously invite a deeper knowing and be open to how and where the insights might be revealed.
Example: after asking for a breakthrough and you are speaking with someone you trust, the information you need may come up in conversation in a way that you can process.
THIRD, prepare a list of intentions for energizing at the new moon. Avoid simply reusing intentions you made previously. Make them brand new for this cycle. Breathe life into your intentions by writing them down and reading them out loud. Your voice is a powerful force to magnetize outcomes!
In the days leading up to the new moon eclipse, factor in the additional intensity and erratic events. Highly-charged emotions and sensitivity are common. When the world is already tense and erratic, the eclipse energy amplifies this. Huge life shifts can happen during eclipse cycles – a momentum building over a number of days and then a breakthrough or a series of breakthroughs happening.
Choose now how you want to move through this energy opening. Invite the breakthrough that you most need to take your next big leaps. Trust that spirit is always right there by your side.
Astrology of Today – Wednesday, February 22, 2017
- The Moon is in Capricorn all day (until Thursday, February 23rd, at 12:17 PM).
- The Moon is void from 10:23 PM forward (until tomorrow at 12:17 PM).
- The Moon is waning and in its Last Quarter phase until 4:09 PM, after which the Moon is in its Waning Crescent phase.
- The Last Quarter Moon occurred on the 18th, and a New Moon (Solar Eclipse) will occur on the 26th.
- Venus is in its pre-retrograde shadow (Venus will be retrograde from March 4-April 15).
Your Daily Horoscopes for Wednesday, February 22nd
With the Waning Crescent Moon, this is a time for winding down rather than revving up, dear Aries. However, there can be continued tensions to deal with today, making it a real challenge to relax. Work or duty demands your attention, but there can be many different distractions as you struggle with where to devote your energies. Your responsibilities and reputation are prominent in your mind today and continue to be sensitive topics. While you should concern yourself with what others expect of you to some degree now with the Moon at the top of your chart, there is no need to overdo this beyond what you can do at the moment. Try to turn competition or criticism around by using it to fuel your motivation to improve.
Today, you’re thinking in bigger terms than usual and larger issues that concern you come into play, dear Taurus. You are prompted to think about your long-range goals and plans. Looking at the bigger picture often soothes and comforts you, but today, you may feel a little tense about what might lie ahead of you. Uncertainty can prevail, and it’s a good idea to resist the inclination to attempt to control situations to compensate. Focus on what you have to do and save important conversations for a better day. Others may be promising more than they can deliver today, so keep that in mind before you count too much on something. A wait-and-see attitude is best.
You can be a little secretive or protective of your plans and feelings today, dear Gemini. You are not feeling very trusting right now, and this may be a sign that you are not secure about your own decisions. Even so, there is certainly a fair amount of subterfuge going on now so you may have good reason to keep some things to yourself. Think more carefully before going forward with important projects. The Moon moves into its waning Crescent phase, and this points to the need to wind down in the days before the Solar Eclipse on the 26th. Superficial interactions are likely to feel especially awkward and unappealing now, as you are craving more intimacy and depth to your experiences. Work on emotional self-control today, but do listen to what your feelings are telling you. Try not to waste your time worrying about those things you can’t control.
Be more on guard than usual about gossip or misrepresentation today, dear Cancer. Confront your fears about past matters so that you’ll be better equipped to handle them if they do reappear in your life. Your larger focus today is to help foster a sense of balance and peace with others and in your personal environment. However, it can take a lot of frustrating trial and error getting to this point – it’s a tall order right now, so don’t get down on yourself if you can’t quite achieve it. It takes two, as they say! Maintain a strong sense of identity while you tend to the needs of others to avoid resentment. If you feel too dependent on others’ schedules, plans, and needs, take steps to change this, but keep in mind that it will take time, so don’t put all the pressure on to do so immediately.
Make sure you get all the facts before making commitments right now, dear Leo, or hold off on the big issues for a while longer. There is a tremendous amount of tension in your communications sectors these days which can play with your reasoning powers. You have a stronger than usual desire today to be useful and helpful, but if you are not appreciated for all that you do, you might feel resentful. The trick now is to do it for yourself first. Even if the task is about helping others, do it because you feel good about helping. While there can be a tendency to scatter your energies, you might end up getting a lot done, largely because you can be quite worked up about things that aren’t going well for you and motivated to set things right again. Today requires some form of clean-up.
This is not the most open or trusting of days, dear Virgo. The Moon in your solar fifth house of heartfelt pursuits clashes with a number of planets, stimulating doubts, fears, and a sense that you’ll encounter blocks if you go after what or who you want. Signals can get crossed in love matters, and emotions are up and down. Be mindful of what you’re taking on, particularly new projects or commitments, as there may be a reason to regret them later on. There can be intensity in your personal life today, and possibly some moodiness. It can be difficult making a definitive decision, but it may be wise to wait, particularly as we approach a Solar Eclipse which will bring new energy into our lives.
Buried resentments continue to pop up today, dear Libra, and you’ll be in the best shape if you can nip those in the bud as soon as possible. People around you are dealing with their own issues and are less likely than usual to intuit your needs, so you may need to find ways to take care of yourself. This is not the most outgoing of days in the lunar cycle, and while you are more emotionally invested in your personal life, it’s an area where there is likely to be more intensity than usual. If excess energy is used positively, feeling frustrated with your domestic situation can light a fire under you to get things sorted out. Look for ways to unburden and simplify your environment and think in terms of lightening your load.
You have a tendency to read so much into situations today that you put yourself into a funk, dear Scorpio. It can be difficult to pull your mind out of a spiraling loop today, but it’s important to try to do so. Obsessing over things that have already happened can only serve to bring you down. However, if you need to sort something out, take the time to do so. Keep in mind that this is not the best time to speak your mind – wait until you are in a clearer headspace. Gentle physical exercise may be just the ticket for soothing an exhausted nervous system. Streamlining your work is important now, and it’s likely to become abundantly clear that you need to tune out distractions.
Emotions do settle a little with the Moon in your solar second house, dear Sagittarius, but the day is not without conflict. There can be some crankiness to deal with today, as well as concerns about your income or money situation. In all likelihood, your fears are blown out of proportion, and the sooner you get perspective, the better. Your appetite for material comforts increases today, but so does your desire to bring in more money. As long as you can find a healthy balance between these two drives, you will come out ahead. You’re fine with going your own way, but things are much easier when others are cooperating, so you may want to wait it out.
Aim to be as flexible as possible today, as difficult as that may be, dear Capricorn, to avoid letting small things get to you. The Moon in your sign brings unacknowledged feelings to light, which can be illuminating, but with the Moon’s challenging aspects today, watch for overreaction. Pushing or working too hard could be an issue now, and taking on far too many lofty goals at once can wear on your patience. Relations can be a little tense with or among family, and the matter may be about power and control rather than the surface topic. You are especially sensitive right now, and your emotions can swing dramatically. Aim to take undue pressure off yourself now.
Try not to rush matters to a quick conclusion due to impatience today, dear Aquarius. With the Moon in your private twelfth house all day, you instinctively withdraw from challenging or demanding situations. You may be seeking some alone time or extra rest. However, truly relaxing today can be difficult, and demanding people or circumstances may very well find you! Learning, communications, and partnering are areas of big opportunities these days, but you may be jumping ahead of yourself, and in the process, creating unnecessary tension.
You can feel particularly impatient if left waiting for others today, dear Pisces. At the same time, you shouldn’t be entirely excluding people, as this is the time in your lunar cycle to recognize the value of the team. Instead of waiting for people to sense what you want or need, express yourself and take action. While today can certainly be difficult with cranky energy around you, frustrations experienced now can be lead to new strategies that truly work for you. Try not to jump ahead on new projects if you haven’t yet completed the ones already in place. Give thought to your finances and how you can make important changes that free you from worry and limiting attitudes.
A “Filthy Rich” Horoscope
Your Astrology birth chart holds clues to wealth
It fascinates me to know that each time I study my Astrology birth chart I am looking at the horoscope of someone with indications of significant wealth. Yep, I’ve got the birth chart of a rich person.
OK, fine. I admit to having my fill of illusions (I do, after all, have a natal Moon-Neptune conjunction in my 8th House of Joint Resources). But seriously, when it comes to my money potential — I’ve got perspective.
Of course, as someone with the natal Sun in Taurus I’m here to learn plenty of lessons about developing my talents, monetizing them and accumulating a physical legacy. That in itself is not a surefire indicator of wealth. In fact, ask any Taurus and you’ll hear a common story about going through significant fluctuations when it comes to money.
Astrology houses related to money
But when you combine my Taurus Sun with some of the other, classic indicators of wealth potential … well, it’s something any astrologer would take notice of. Take my Venus-Pluto opposition, which is the tightest aspect in my chart. Venus rules my natal 2nd House of Earned Income, while Pluto rules my natal 8th House of Joint Resources, which rules money that you get from sources besides your income. Things like royalties, investments, inheritance or your spouse’s income. Pluto intensifies whatever planet it touches, and when you’ve got a Venus-Pluto link that ties into your chart in a particular way, it can promise significant money.
If your Venus-Pluto link ties into Jupiter — the planet of expansion and abundance — then it’s a no-brainer that you’ll hit the jackpot in finances. In my case, Venus-Pluto ties into my Moon-Neptune conjunction in my 8th House of Joint Resources. Here we have a solid indicator that I will always marry someone with money. Not that I’m looking for it. Still, it’s a strong indication in my chart. Venus rules my 2nd House of Earned Income, but it also rules my 7th House of Partnerships. Interestingly enough, my first marriage was to a man of means. I truly loved him, but I will say that marrying him elevated my financial status in an incredible way.
Divorcing him, on the other hand, did not. Indeed, if you’ve got Neptune in the 8th House of Joint Resources there is a chance that you’ll amass great wealth, but that you might be defrauded into losing it at some point. Of course, with that Venus-Pluto opposition there are lessons of power struggles attached to money. Yeah, that divorce was not pretty — I paid a hefty price. And I’m not just talking about the $150,000 in legal fees.
What my divorce DID teach me, however, is that I am fully capable of creating my own wealth. And while it’s in my chart to marry well, it’s also in my chart to make that money myself. Thank God for that! Ironically, this will only happen as long as I am doing something spiritual and serving.
More money-making indicators
Another one of my “money-making indicators” is that I’ve got a gorgeous trine between Mars and Jupiter. When these two planets link up in a positive way in your chat, it’s a surefire gauge that you’ll always make money faster than you can spend it. I have found this to be true. Even when I’ve struggled financially, I always managed to stay ahead.
Jupiter happens to be in my 12th House of Spirituality, along with Venus. These two benefic planets are money planets, and some might think that because they’re tucked away in the hidden 12th house that I’ll never materialize these money dreams. Quite the opposite, actually.
The planet Neptune and its corresponding 12th House of Spirituality are notoriously active in the charts of the wealthy. There’s something to be said about having total faith in your ability to acquire wealth. If you’ve got a strong 12th house and/or Neptune, you’ve got that faith in spades.
Both of my 12th house planets aspect Neptune in the 8th house in my chart. Venus forms a trine and Jupiter a square. A Jupiter-Neptune aspect is known as the “millionaire’s aspect,” by the way. It doesn’t matter what type of contact these planets make in your chart. As long as there’s contact, there’s potential. If you’ve got a contact between Jupiter and Pluto in your chart, as Bill Gates does, then congratulations — you’ve got the “billionaire’s aspect.” I’m happy with the millionaire indicators — I don’t want to get greedy, now!
Free will still plays a role
Yes, it’s fun to contemplate how it appears I have the horoscope of someone destined for wealth. But the reality is that your natal promise needs your free will to fire it up and maximize all the potential you’ve got. And, of course, you need the right transits/progressions to trigger any promise in your horoscope, whether it’s for marriage, divorce, a move or wealth.
I grew up in the most humble of circumstances — a working-class family, the daughter of an immigrant from Italy. We lived paycheck to paycheck and I vividly remember significant hard times when my mother was forced to choose between paying a utility bill and buying us food. It was normal for us to eat rice and beans or pasta all week long during the really difficult times.
Growing up in an environment with so little physical security does lend itself to being a seeker of that security later in life. I’m pretty sure that’s why my soul chose to be a Taurus this time around. To learn the lesson that true security does not come from anything material. It does, in fact, come from within. Kudos to my Scorpio friends for already knowing that everything material is temporary. I know I can’t take it with me when I die, but while I’m here I would really like the security of not worrying how to provide for myself or my family.
I do not apologize for wanting financial security — or wealth for that matter. However, my soul does know with alarming clarity that for the universe to deliver this promise I must remain serving, benevolent and humble. I’ll continue to do my best to keep up my end of the promise to the universe as I patiently wait for him to deliver his end of the bargain.