WHAT IS BELTANE?

One of the four quarter day festivals, Beltane saw members of communities come together to celebrate the return of the summer. The observance of this hugely important time in the turning of the wheel of the year was characterised by a celebration of the return of the fertility of the land, and would have been a time when livestock would have been put out to pasture.

The word ‘Beltane’ roughly translates as ‘bright fire’ and, as such, one of the most important rituals, which survives today in our modern festival, concerns the lighting of the Beltane bonfire. Fire was seen as a purifier and healer and would have been walked around and danced/jumped over by the members of the community. Farmers would also have driven their cattle between bonfires to cleanse and protect them before being put out into the fields.

In ancient communities, all hearth fires would have been extinguished and a new neid fire lit which would have then been used to relight people’s hearths in their own homes. In this way the community was connected to each other by the sacred fire which was central to all. The festival would also have been a time of courtship rituals and a celebration of our own fertility!

The important point to note when thinking about our own festival is the joy and the revelry that is fostered in the ritual. It is about casting off the darkness and celebrating the light. It is a time for celebrating fertility, both in the context of our biological functions as well as our own creative energies, the fertility of our creative community.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND…

To continue reading the article on Beltane click here

Samhain (Samain) – The Celtic roots of Halloween

As millions of children and adults participate in the fun of Halloween on the night of October 31st, few will be aware of its ancient Celtic roots in the Samhain (Samain) festival. In Celtic Ireland about 2,000 years ago, Samhain was the division of the year between the lighter half (summer) and the darker half (winter). At Samhain the division between this world and the otherworld was at its thinnest, allowing spirits to pass through.

The family’s ancestors were honoured and invited home whilst harmful spirits were warded off. People wore costumes and masks to disguise themselves as harmful spirits and thus avoid harm. Bonfires and food played a large part in the festivities. The bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into a communal fire, household fires were extinguished and started again from the bonfire. Food was prepared for the living and the dead, food for the ancestors who were in no position it eat it, was ritually shared with the less well off.

Christianity incorporated the honouring of the dead into the Christian calendar with All Saints (All Hallows) on November 1st, followed by All Souls on November 2nd. The wearing of costumes and masks to ward off harmful spirits survived as Halloween customs. The Irish emigrated to America in great numbers during the 19th century especially around the time of famine in Ireland during the 1840’s. The Irish carried their Halloween traditions to America, where today it is one of the major holidays of the year. Through time other traditions have blended into Halloween, for example the American harvest time tradition of carving pumpkins.

Two hills in the Boyne Valley were associated with Samhain in Celtic Ireland, Tlachtga and Tara. Tlachtga was the location of the Great Fire Festival which begun on the eve of Samhain (Halloween). Tara was also associated with Samhain, however it was secondary to Tlachtga in this respect.

The entrance passage to the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara is aligned with the rising sun around Samhain. The Mound of the Hostages is…

To continue reading the article on Samhain click here

For Your Viewing Pleasure

5 PAGAN TRADITIONS: How the Ancients Celebrated Beltane

Flashback 2004 Beltane

[The Flashbacks will alternate years between WitchesOfTheCraft.com and CovenLife.co]

Beltane

Beltane is the holiday that draws all Witches outside to celebrate the returning power of the SUn and the fecundity of the land.

Wear red robes for ritual and dress your altar in red for passion. If you have identified a nearby rowan tree, you can make a wreath for your hair using rowan sprigs. Decorate your house with freshly cut greens, herbs, and flowers. Arrange for music or drumming to lighten the steps of the dancers of the maypole or spiral dance. Lose yourself in the dance.

Fire is an honored element at this ritual, so have circle members jump a cauldron for purification and protection. Water is another honored element: be certain to visit your local sacred spring or riverbank. Sprinkle perfume into the water for the undines. Again, leave a drop or two of milk and other food offerings for the nature spirits.

Copyright K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2004 Page 63

 

Flashback 2004 Samhain

[The Flashbacks will alternate years between WitchesOfTheCraft.com and CovenLife.co]          

Samhain

Expect the unexpected if you celebrate Samhain—The Celtic New Year— on All Hallows Eve: the planets bring a lot of energetic talk and chaos, and the resultant noise will add exuberance to the ritual. Look for psychic dreams on astrological Samhain, November 6; your intuition will be in top form if you do readings at that ritual. This power is the strongest it has been in several years.

This is the sabbat for wearing your witchy black. Clean the house, including the hearth, from top to bottom; the garden also needs to be prepared for winter by this date. Lay new fires. Feast with your family and set places for your ancestors. Cleanse divination tools (cards, crystals, runes) and rededicate them to the Goddess. For the last harvest festival, put apples, nuts,acorns, and squashes on the altar, and add pictures of the family members you are missing.

Using freshly harvested hazel nuts, make wreaths with nine nuts (three times three) to protect your house from fire and lightening. Offer thanks to the river gods or the god of the sea, and remember to honor the goddess Hecate.

Copyright K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2004 Page 63

 

23 October Southern Hemisphere Custom Planetary Positions

The time for the Custom Planetary Positions is from the local time in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia  

23 October (22) 2020
08:00 pm GMT 6:00 AM AEST
Zodiac: Tropical (Standard Western)

Sun:29 Libra 53
Moon:21 Capricorn 06
Mercury:06 Scorpio 25 Rx
Venus:23 Virgo 41
Mars:18 Aries 25 Rx
Jupiter:19 Capricorn 51
Saturn:25 Capricorn 48
Uranus:09 Taurus 03 Rx
Neptune:18 Pisces 32 Rx
Pluto:22 Capricorn 34

True Lunar Node:21 Gemini 20
Mean Lunar Node:22 Gemini 34 Rx

Lilith (Black Moon):00 Taurus 10

Chiron:06 Aries 09 Rx
Ceres:28 Aquarius 39
Pallas:17 Capricorn 46
Juno:10 Scorpio 46
Vesta:00 Virgo 12

Eris:23 Aries 57 Rx

Fire:3
Earth:9
Air:4
Water:3
Cardinal:9
Fixed:5
Mutable:5

 

If you need to calculate the planetary positions for a specific use and time, click on this link Currentplanetarypositions.com 

 To figure out GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) to your local time use this link  

For Your Local Time and Date 

Flashback 2002 Samhain

[The Flashbacks will alternate years between WitchesOfTheCraft.com and CovenLife.co]

Samhain/Halloween

Samhain grows in strength as a holiday, and while its meaning may be obscure to the general public, many rituals have survived intact. This is Hecate’s day, a celebration of the crone and the powers of the dark feminine principle. This is the day of the dead; you can honor your ancestors by setting a place for them at the table. Add their pictures to your altar. Indulge in wearing and decorating with black. Bring all your mojo to the altar to recharge.

With the veil between the worlds at it thinnest, a ritual at midnight on October 31 brings a last-quarter Moon and a very lucky Sun. Keep divination tools in your circle, and cast a spread to reveal the portents of the coming new year. Enhance your powers with a loose incense to burn on charcoal. Just blend a teaspoon each of crushed cinnamon, dittany of Crete, rosemary, and bay. Mix equal amounts dragon’s blood and frankincense, and add 1 part resin to 1 part mixed herbs.

Copyright K. D. Spitzer Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2002 Page 119

The Veil Is Thinning! Samhain Is Almost Upon Us! May The Goddess Bless You & Your During This Magickal Time of the Year!

( A flashback from Lady Abyss)

Autumn Window Scene

“Hail Freyja, Golden One!
Holder of the glorious Brisingamen, that brings fertility and abundance.
As we love and honor you, may we find love and power within us.
Join us and accept our thanks.
Hail Freyja!

 

Hail Freyr, Harvest God!
Keeper of the rain and the sunshine!
As we love and honor you, may we find creativity and inspiration within us.
Join us and accept our thanks.
Hail Freyr!

 

Hail Sif, Great Lady!
We come to this place grateful for your gifts.
Golden-haired goddess of the ripening grain, as we love and honor you,
may we find beauty and grace within us.
Join us and accept our thanks.
Hail Sif!

 

Hail Thor, son of the Earth Mother!
Strong and noble keeper of Thunder, Red-Bearded Guardian of us all, guide us through the seasons and the cycles of life.
We thank you for the fertility of our lands and for the abundance we have received this year.
As we love and honor you, let us find strength and wisdom with us.
Join us and accept out thanks.
Hail Thor!”

 

–   Kristen Madden, Autumn Celebration Ritual

May Day by Jami Shoemaker – Part 3

[This article will alternate days between CovenLife.co and WitchesOfTheCraft.com]

Medieval & Tudor Britain

May Day found a great popularity in medieval and Tudor times. Women rose before sunrise and went into the field to bathe their faces in the dew—an act believed to enhance beauty and restore a youthful complexion. Hawthorn was associated with May, and the gathering of Hawthorn boughs was know as “going-a-Maying.” Accompanied by song. dance, and general merriment, the hawthorn boughs were brought back to the village, and used to garland the throne of the May Queen, a young woman of the village crowned “Queen” for the day. This custom seems to hearken back to celebrations of Flora, keeping alive the knowledge of the goddess of growth and flowers. Flowers gathered on May Eve would be left at houses in the village, in exchange for food and drink. Our custom of leaving baskets on doorsteps has its roots in this tradition. The flower-bears were seen as messengers of spring, and it was thought that those who reward them with generosity were assured abundance in the coming season.

Along with the Queen of May, spectators were also entertained by Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck and other characters modeled from old Pagan customs of the gods of greenwood. Other festivals included games, sports, archery contests, and more dancing. Carols heralding the arrival of spring were sung, and children parade about carrying a doll dressed in white—the “Lady of May.”

People of the village decorated their homes with wreaths and garlands, and a Maypole, cut by the young men and carried into the town with great ceremony, was set up in the village square. Some of these poles reached enormous heights, as the villages competed to have the tallest pole. Ribbons and other decorations were added, and the practice of dancing around the Maypole and weaving ribbons together has become one of our most beloved traditions.

Copyright Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2001 Pages 21 to 25

The Origins of Halloween by Sliver Raven Wolf – Part 7

[This article will alternate days between CovenLife.co and WitchesOfTheCraft.com]

Halloween Comes to America

Our first inkling of Halloween coming to America revolves not around a specific set of people (many indicate the Irish) but with William Penn’s motley collection of refugees from Europe. In 1663, Penn wrote a promotional tract about the Americans. As a result, fifty ships dropped the anchors in the Delaware River. They discharged persecuted souls from England, Ireland, Wales, and the Rhineland (now Germany). Collectively, the Germans and Irish shared Celtic heritage. Therefore many of the folk customs resonated together—including Halloween.

From 1684 through 1930, Halloween was more a time for tricking rather than for treating. Many of the tricks the German and Irish communities became universal, such as overturning outhouses, dismantling a wagon and putting it back together on top of a house or barn, and tying cows to church bells. The tricks often served as social function, such as mildly chastising a neighbor who exhibited antisocial behavior.

By 1910, several American manufactures were making or importing party products just for the American holiday Halloween. From noisemakers to costumes, a new holiday meant new business and an opportunity to make money.

The drawback to the new holiday came in the form of the “declared” Mischief Night, Goblin Night, or Devil’s night on October 30. Minor offenses, such as trying several garbage cans together and hanging them from a light pole, soaping windows with lard, and later, bars of hand soap, abounded. As the pranks grew to vandalism shopkeepers would bribe youngsters to ward off destruction of their property.

In an effort to stop the criminal behavior, the Boy Scouts, in conjunction with local town councils, cities, boroughs, instituted the custom of Trick-or-Treat night to help keep youngsters from naughty practices. By the 1930s the custom of trick-or-treating was well entrenched in our American culture. Halloween, like Christmas, became a holiday for children, and parents strove to make the holiday as much fun as possible for the enjoyment of their youngsters.

During he 1950s. ’60s, and ’70s our American Halloween stayed primarily the same, but in the ’70s and ’80s, with a recession coupled by a candy scare, groups and organizations once again sought to find appropriate avenues to make Halloween safe for America’s children. Halloween practices extended through the entire month of October. Haunted houses, parties, hay rides, plays, story hours, and numerous other events were held throughout the month.

In the mid-to-late 1990s certain sects of the Protestant Christian church declared war on Halloween. using the same erroneous propaganda cultivated hundreds of years ago. Other groups size Halloween for their own political agendas—hosting haunted houses showing aborted babies, drug addicts, and other modern day violent situations. This did not go over well, as the holiday had become an event primarily for children, not adult political issues. Radical Christian groups said that the holiday was Satanic—which, as we’ve seen from our research, is a bizarre and fantastic claim, based on misinformation, politicking, personal agendas and fear. With America’s policy of separation of church and state the battle for destroying Halloween in the United States is an uphill battle.

The original Samhain marked the the close of the agriculture season and functional third harvest festival. In America, Halloween has become the first holiday in our end-of-year rush for partied gaiety. Our Halloween functions as the opening of the three-month-long celebratory fest that includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, and Chanukkah, and ends with the popular American New Year.

As our children crave pumpkins with delightful chatter, adults find solace in a night when they can be whatever they want to be. We have little doubt about the joy this holiday bring to the American people. I am sure we will forever love the haunted house, the harvest Moon, the thrills and chills of a well-wrought tale—and, of course, the deliciously scary things that go EEEEK! in the night.

 

Copyright Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 1999 Pages 24 to 29

The Origins of Halloween by Silver Raven Wolf – Part 5

[This article will alternate days between CovenLife.co and WitchesOfTheCraft.com

The Witches

So far, we’ve talked about the land of the dead, how the early Christians managed to superimpose Satan onto Samhain, and how fairies got zapped into demons, but there has been no mention of Witches, commonly associated in our time with Halloween. Where did Witches come from?

During the Dark Ages, the Church sought to eradicate the Pagans and wise women from the countryside so that the church could amass both power and property. First, they had to devalue women because women kept the holy days, trained the children, and provided the cohesive socialization of the culture, thus women held the power to shape society. The church taught, among other things, that women had no souls. Once this teaching had occurred, it was only a small step to make them inhuman, and the Church was able to incite the superstitious populace.

The Celtic women were the strong hold of the family environment, and although the Celts accepted Christianity at first, they did not want to give up their family traditions or their lifestyle. The Church was not into free thinking—therefore anything that did not follow the church dictates was evil. Hence, the Witches (really the women) became evil. Since Samhain was a primary festival of the Celts and the Church had already determined that Samhain was evil, the association between Witches and Halloween was born.

Copyright Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 1999 Pages 21 to 25

 

 

The Origins of Halloween by Silver Raven Wolf – Part 3

Feast of the Dead

As the Celtic religious system solidified so did the beliefs of the Celts concerning the dead—as has occurred in all religions, before and after the Celts. Since the turning points of the year were considered fissures in time and space, the Celts believe that the dead they loved so dearly could travel through time and space and return from Tir nan Og to visit them. The custom of leaving food at the table (the birth part of the treat part of trick-or-treat) was a gesture of welcome to the departed. From these visits came the belief that those who had gone beyond the land of the living could provide information on past or future events. This is how divination became associated with Samhain.

The Celts did not believe in devils or demons, but they did believe in the Fairy Folk, whom they thought inhabited the land of the dead (the land in-between). Fairies were thought to be resentful of humankind for taking over their land. Because time and space could be conquered on Samhain, fairies were said to roam countryside creating mischief and kidnapping a human or two now and then—just for fun, you understand.—except the humans never came back. Here then is the root of the scary stuff associated with Halloween. The mischief, of course, was caused by living humans, and accepted by the Celts as a psychological release before the onset of winter gloom—though I doubt they would explain it in those terms.

Is it odd, gross, or unusual that a group of people should set aside a day for the dead? Nope. Different cultures and religions have followed such a practice for centuries. Let’s get on our broom again and check out Rome and its contributions to Halloween.

A Fly-BY of Ancient Rome

Rome had the habit of changing rulers as many times as you empty the lint trap in your dryer. Between 14 and 37 CE, Christianity had begun its rise in Rome. By 41 CE, Claudius had distinguished himself with the conquest of Britain. The Romans also had a harvest festival, so the Celts didn’t have much trouble blending the two holidays together after they came into contact with the Romans. It was around 314 CE when Constantine the Great declared the Roman Empire to be Christian, and the fate of Samhain and Druids was sealed.

The Origins of Halloween by Silver Raven Wolf – Part 1

(This article will be posted on an alternate day basis between WOTC and our affiliated website CovenLife.co)

Harvest Moon, velvet sky, pumpkins glowing, children laughing, costumes, candy, scary stories—just where did this autumn gaiety begin? Let’s look through those cobwebby corridors of time to unearth the exciting genealogy of the American Celebration we call Halloween!

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems—especially when dealing with history. Too often events and circumstances of our past were written or re-written by people who, for whatever reason, operated under an agenda, or simply wanted history to reflect how it should have been, rather than how it was. How, then, do we determine what is fact and what is fiction? In some cases, we can’t. In other situations, we dig.

Copyright 1999 Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook Pages 24 to 29

Thursday Correspondences

 Correspondences for Thursday

 

Magickal Intentions: Luck, Happiness, Health, Legal Matters, Male Fertility, Treasure and Wealth, Honor, Riches, Clothing Desires, Leadership, Public Activity, Power and Success

 

Incense: Cinnamon, Must, Nutmeg and Sage

 

Planet: Jupiter

 

Sign: Sagittarius and Pisces

 

Angel: Sachiel

 

Colors: Purple, Royal Blue and Indigo

 

Herbs/Plants: Cinnamon, Beech, Buttercup, Coltsfoot, Oak

 

Stones: Sugilite, Amethyst, Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli and Sapphire

 

Oil: (Jupiter) Clove, Lemon Balm, Oakmoss, Star Anise

 

Jupiter presides over Thursday. The vibrations of this day attune well to all matters involving material gain. Use them for working rituals that entail general success, accomplishment, honors and awards, or legal issues. These energies are also helpful in matters of luck, gambling, and prosperity.

 

Spellcrafting for Thursday

EGG WISH SPELL FOR FERTILITY

“On an egg whose shell is brown or pink,
Sign these signs in grass-green ink.
[a simple sun, a male symbol, an encircled equilateral cross, a female sign,
then an upside-down 5-pointed star]
Bury it deep in an earth-filled pot,
Let this stand where the sun is hot;
Sow on its surface seeds of grass,
Water them well while nine weeks pass
Gather the crop, bind it with thread
Let it hang always above your bed

 

SACHET FOR THE EXPECTANT WITCH

To be used in the bath or as a dream pillow to soothe away the discomforts of pregnancy.

1/2 tablespoon lemon balm 1 teaspoon lemon verbena 3 tablespoons lavender
2 tablespoons rose petals 1 teaspoon mugwort 7 drops of pure jasmine oil

Mix together all of the ingredients in your cauldron or a wooden bowl.

Cut a three-inch square piece of light blue cloth (a natural fiber always works best).Place some of the herbal mixture in the center and tie up the loose ends with some matching yarn. While doing this, visualize the discomforts being soothed away. When you’re ready, either toss it into a warm bath or hide it in the batting of your favorite pillow (or, if you want it to stay your favorite pillow for very long, put it in your pillowcase) and you’ve got a special dream pillow. Pleasant dreams!



Magickal Graphics

(2020) Retrogrades by Charlie Rainbow Wolf (Part 1)

SIDE NOTE: This a 4 part series with half posted on WOTC and the other half on Coven Life on alternating days. The posts that will be on Coven life will be re-bogged to here and vise versa. It would be a huge boost to Coven Life if you would click on the box that says, “Follow the Coven”. Hopefully, by the end of the year, CL will be receiving a small income from allowing WordPress to put up advertising from whoever on the website. To re-blogged  the post from Witches of The Craft click on “Follow” this will help boost WOTC’s small income from allowing WordPress to put advertising for whoever on the website. Thank you very much in advance for your support of WitchesofTheCraft.com and  CovenLife.co. My goal is to do one fundraiser per year to help people who cannot afford their entire Coven Life’s School of Witchcraft course fee. More on that at a later date.

You’re probably familiar with Mercury retrograde because it happens so often, but did you know all the planets have a retrograde period? The only exception to this are the Sun, because it’s the star all the planets orbit; the Moon, because it’s Earth’s satellite; and the Earth—-although if you visited another planet, then you’d see the Earth travel backward! Retrograde doesn’t mean that the planet actually reverses it order; it’s an optical illusion that makes it appear that way.

Venus

Venus is the planet of love, balance, and harmony. Its retrograde is the rarest, occurring approximately every month and lasting around six weeks. This year it enters the retrograde zone in April 5 degrees Gemini stations in May at 20 degrees Gemini, and continues the backwards dance until the end of June, when it stations direct at 5 degrees Gemini, leaving its shadow period the end of July.

This isn’t the best time to start a summer romance or spend big money. Temptations are strong and willpower is weak. Your natural perception of what is sensible is on hole while overindulgence tries–and often succeeds–to overpower it. Those expensive shoes might not look so appealing once the retrograde period finishes. The same goes for romances: the perfect match might turn out to be a dud once Venus starts moving forward again.

Mercury

Mercury is associated with communication and travel. Mercury retrogrades most frequently, around three times a year. They don’t last long, somewhere in the region of three weeks. Mercury starts its backward dance in February, June, and October this year.* Factor astrological signs and the shadow periods when planning important meetings or making travel plans.

Mercury retrograde messes with technology — anything from online communication to schedules and transit. It’s easy to misplace something, miss a connection, or be involved in misunderstandings during this period. This sounds like a downer, but it is also a great time to review your progress and evaluate your priorities. Reconnections with people from your pass often happen when Mercury is retrograde, but don’t rekindle that relationship before rethinking what you hope to achieve.

 

*2020 Mercury Retrograde Dates

Use the re-blogged posts from CovenLife.co to read parts 2 and 4

Copyright by Charlie Rainbow Wolf 2020 in Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2020 Pages 6 to 10