Interesting Everything We Know About Mabon Comes From A Monk


Mabon Comments & Graphics

“Everything that we know about the religious festivals of the pagan Anglo-Saxons comes from a book written by the Christian monk, the Venerable Bede, entitled De temporum ratione, meaning The Reckoning of Time, in which he described the calendar of the year. The pagan Anglo-Saxons followed a calendar with twelve lunar months, with the occasional year having thirteen months so that the lunar and solar alignment could be corrected. Bede claimed that the greatest pagan festival was Modraniht (meaning Mother Night), which was situated at the Winter solstice and which marked the start of the Anglo-Saxon year. Following this festival, in the month of Solmonað (February), Bede claims that the pagans offered cakes to their deities. Then, in Eostur-monath Aprilis (April), a spring festival was celebrated, dedicated to the goddess Eostre, and the later Christian festival of Easter took its name from this month and its goddess. The month of September was known as Halegmonath, meaning Holy Month, which may indicate that it had special religious significance. The month of November was known as Blod-Monath, meaning Blood Month, and was commemorated with animal sacrifice, both in offering to the gods, and also likely to gather a source of food to be stored over the winter. Remarking on Bede’s account of the Anglo-Saxon year, the historian Brian Branston noted that they “show us a people who of necessity fitted closely into the pattern of the changing year, who were of the earth and what grows in it” and that they were “in fact, a people who were in a symbiotic relationship with mother earth and father sky”.”

– Anglo-Saxon Polytheism

Advertisements

February 5 – Fortuna & Saint Agatha’s Day

Celtic Comments & Graphics

February 5 – Fortuna & Saint Agatha’s Day

Fortuna & Saint Agatha’s Day

St. Agatha was a Christianized aspect of the Greek Goddess Tyche, known to the Romans as Fortuna and to the Anglo-Saxons as Wyrd. It was the custom to set this day aside for the reading of omens and divining the future, especially by those desiring marriage.

Magickal Activity

Crystal-Gazing

Items Needed:

A bowl of water

One small clear-quartz crystal

One white candle

Place the crystal in the bottom of the glass bowl and cover it with water. Place the candle just behind the bowl and light it. With your right index finger, slowly stir the water around the crystal as you chant:

Blessed spirits of the night

Bless me now with second sight.

Gaze into the bowl. The water will begin to cloud over and a psychic mist will appear. When the mist begins to flow out of the bowl, stop stirring the water and look directly into the bowl. Focus your attention on the crystal and repeat the following:

Fire and water, crystal clear

Let the visions now appear.

Visions of the future will begin to appear. When the visions begin to fade, make a mental note of what you saw. Snuff out the candle and place the crystal under your pillow. The crystal will provide you with more information during your dream time. Later, write your visions down in your diary or dream journal.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wiccans Who Never Experience Magic

Wiccans Who Never Experience Magic


BellaOnline’s Wicca Editor

Though it seems like a contradiction, many Wiccans do not experience obvious magic or other mystical states. Understandably, no one wants to admit to being too mundane, earth-bound, or any other label that implies that we are not real Wiccans who walk around in continuous mystical state. So should we just work harder to force the magic? Give up? Or accept our inferior lot in life?

One of the most appealing things about Wicca is its emphasis on each Wiccan’s personal connection with magic and deity. Wiccans are expected to communicate directly with their patron gods and goddesses. Most religions expect you to interact with the divine through an ecclesiastical authority such as church, minister, or priest. Others emphasize the need for metaphysical intervention such as with saints, lwa, or ancestor spirits. But Wicca is built on an acceptance of personal mysticism. This includes the possibility that Wiccans may experience extensive psychic phenomena such as seeing ghosts, having visions, divining the future, accessing past lives, and casting spells with immediate and obvious results.

So what happens if you are a Wiccan who has never had a mystical experience? The gods have never spoken to you – not even a few cryptic lines in a dream. You try divination and are successful only fifty percent of the time. You have never glimpsed an aura or a ghost. When you attempt to practice witchcraft, the results from your spells are so open to interpretation that you feel you are fooling yourself. You might feel frustration, guilt, shame, and even desperation.

Meanwhile, your envy may intensify as you encounter other Wiccans who seem to live with one foot in a supernatural realm. Some claim to have such a close connection to their patron god that they are spouses or lovers. Others see portents and currents of psychic energy everywhere. Many speak of extensive exploration of past lives, or long meaningful conversations with spirit guides. Are these Wiccans faking it for competitive reasons? Are they completely deluded? Or is all this magical stuff really happening? And why isn’t it happening to Wiccans like you and me?

Believe me, I can relate to these questions. I have been studying Wicca and paganism for years – reading the right books, meditating, and observing the sabbats. However, I have never had a profound mystical experience. The gods have never spoken to me though I have always been drawn to Odin All-Father (or Wotan, as we Anglo-Saxons call him), and was even born on his day (Wednesday). When I hear about other Wiccans having a close connection with the gods, I sometimes I wonder if I am feeling the same way as most of the Carmelite nuns did, plodding along with their bookkeeping and chicken raising while living in the shadow of the great Spanish mystic Saint Teresa of Avila.

I wish I could offer reassurance that you and I will have a dramatic supernatural break-through someday, if we work hard enough. But I don’t know for sure. Opening up to the otherworldly realms is not something that we can force. For most of us, it might have to happen naturally in a state of pure relaxation. This means that we should probably let ourselves forget about it while concentrating on learning as much as we can about the Wiccan path. Meanwhile, our subconscious will be free to open to the mystical realms. Maybe the gods intend some of us to walk our Wiccan path, feeling alone amidst self-doubt, and we will never communicate directly with them. Maybe they know that we can develop the strongest and deepest faith of all Wiccans because we are not getting rewarded with obvious feedback from our efforts. Therefore, our faith has to be strong enough to guide us.

Try not to compare your own Wiccan path to anyone else’s or you may come to the false conclusion that you are doing something wrong, or even that you are not intuitive, psychic, or spiritual enough to be Wiccan. There are many ways to be Wiccan, and not every path is the path that gets the most publicity – the magical mystery tour. Your intuition guided you to Wicca for a reason. Until you feel in your heart that it is not right for you, you should practice Wicca with an open heart and an inquiring mind to find out not what marvels Wicca can show you, but how you can refine yourself through Wicca in order to help bring light to the world.

BellaOnline

Enhanced by Zemanta

Celebrating Our Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Yule, Winter Solstice

Yule Comments & Graphics
December 19, 20 and 21st

Winter Solstice, Midwinter

The Solstice, taken from the Latin for “the Sun stands still,” is considered to be the true New Year—astronomically as well as spirituality. At this time, we see the simultaneous death and rebirth of the Sun-God, represented in the shortest day and longest night of the year. From this time forward, the Sun grows in strength and power as the hours of daylight increase.

Midwinter, or Winter Solstice, marked the end of the first half of the Celtic year. As with Samhain, which was the Roman festival of Pomona and the Christian All Souls grafted on to it, the Celtic Winter Solstice was subsequently confused with the Roman Saturnalia, and later the Christian Christmas. Mythologically, most of the Midwinter celebrations focused on the symbology of a new or younger God, overthrowing the older or Father God, which would then bring forth a new and more potent life to the people and the land.

Although the Solstice takes place on December 21, Midwinter(renamed Yule by the Anglo Saxons) covers several weeks on either side of the Solstice. In medieval times, Yule began around St. Nicholas’s Day and ran until Candlemas. Eventually, Yule was redefined to mean either the Nativity (December 25) or the 12 days of celebration beginning on this date. The word Christmas then replaced Yule in most English-speaking countries. However, the Danish preserved Yule as a way of maintaining their old style of festivities that incorporated several weeks of celebration.

In Wicca and modern Paganism, the Winter Solstice is the time of new beginnings, a time to reflect on the past and project for the future. Magickally, the Winter Solstice affords us a perfect time to formulate a plan of action, a goal we can work towards during the coming year.

Goddess of the Day – The Moirae

Goddess of the Day – The Moirae

 
The Moirae, also known as the Fates
“O Fates of Life, I ask your aid.
To clear my path and set me free.”
(Prayer to the Fates)
 

The Greek Goddess of Fate is a daughter of Nyx, Goddess of the Night. In Her singular form, the Goddess of Fate is called Moira; and in Her triple form She becomes three sisters known as the Moirae. The Moirae are: Klotho the Spinner, who spins the thread of a person’s life; Lachesis the Measurer, who decides how much time is to be allowed each person, and Atropos the Cutter, who cuts the thread when you are supposed to die. The name ‘Moira’ actually means ‘part and in fact, the triple form of the Fates mimics the triple moon phases and the three phases of life – maiden, mother and crone. Moira is known to the Romans as Fortuna, to the Scandinavians as Norns, to the Anglo-Saxons as Wyrd, and to the Celts as Morrigan. During the middle ages, the Fates became known as the Parcae.

As the spinner of Fate, Moira spins out the days of our lives as yarn and weaves it into a tapestry. The length of the yarn – hence your life span – is decided solely by the Goddess of Fate. All the Gods are subject to the whims of the Fates as are mortal man. Because of this, even though the other Gods are almighty, and supposedly immortal, even Hera has reason to fear Moira. Moira’s function is to see that the natural order of things is respected and She possesses the gift of prophecy – Her priests and priestesses are always oracles or soothsayers (seers of the future). Moira is often accompanied by the Keres (Dogs of Hades), who are three beings with sharp teeth and who are robed in red. In ancient times, the Fates were honored by sacrifices of honey and flowers.

Moira is associated with December’s full moon – which is often called the Cold Moon or the Wolf Moon. The colors of Moira are red, black and white.

Wednesday – The Day of Wisdom, The Day of Mercury

blog

WEDNESDAY

The Day of Wisdom
 The Day of Mercury

wodensdaeg (Anglo-Saxon)
mittwoch (Germanic)
dies mercurii (Latin)
budh-var (Hindu)
boodh (Islamic)
mercredi (French)
sui youbi (Japanese

Traditionally known as the fourth day of the week. This day was associated with Odin the God of War, Wisdom, Agriculture and Poetry. He was also regarded as the God of the Dead. The Anglo-Saxons changed the name from ‘Odin’s Day’ to ‘Woden’s Day’, whilst the French referred to the day as ‘Mercredi’ or ‘Mercury’s Day’, Mercury being the God of Science, Commerce, Travellers, Rogues, and Thieves.

In most of Europe Wednesday was thought to be a very unlucky day whilst in the USA quite the opposite was believed as the following New England rhyme shows: ‘Monday for health,
Tuesday for wealth,
Wednesday the best of all.
Thursday for losses,
Friday for crosses,
And Saturday no luck at all!’

The above rhyme has according to research also been associated with selecting days to get married. The Persians associated Wednesday with the name ‘Red Letter Day’. It is believed that this was because they believed that the moon was created on this day.

According to the English historian Richard Grafton certain dates of the month were unlucky as published in the ‘Manual’ in 1565. Days throughout the year were identified and of course could have related to any day of the week. The date was the most important point to consider. The work was reputed to have some credence with support given by astronomers of the day.

(For more information see Mystical WWW Mystical Time : Mystical Months).

TUESDAY – The Day of Mars
, The Day of Honour

TUESDAY

The Day of Mars
 The Day of Honour

tiwesdaeg (Anglo-Saxon)
dienstag (Germanic)
dies martis (Latin)
mangal-var (Hindu)
mungul (Islamic)
mardi (French)
ka youbi (Japanese)

Traditionally seen as the third day of the week. ‘Tiu’, also ‘Tiw’, was associated with Mars who was the Roman god of War. Tiu was the younger brother of Thor and son of Odin. The French later closely translated this name to ‘Mardi’ or ‘Mar’s Day’. Mars has also been associated with Zeus or ‘Zeus’s Day’ later being developed by the Anglo-Saxons. It was thought that to meet a left-handed person in the early morning on a Tuesday would bring misfortune for the rest of the day according to a traditional Scandinavian belief. It has been suggested that this may because of the fact that the day related to the God of War. According to the English historian Richard Grafton certain dates of the month were unlucky as published in the ‘Manual’ in 1565. Days throughout the year were identified and of course could have related to any day of the week. The date was the most important point to consider. The work was reputed to have some credence with support given by astronomers of the day.

(For more information see Mystical WWW Mystical Time : Mystical Months).

Dieties of Marriage

Dieties of Marriage

by Divine Spirits

Deities Of Marriage These deities can be invoked in rituals concerning the family and the home. Frigg Frigg was the Viking Mother  Goddess whose jewelled spinning wheel formed Orion’s belt; as patroness of marriage, women, mothers and families, she can be invoked for all rituals  concerned with families and domestic happiness. She invited devoted husbands and wives to her hall after death so that they might never be parted again and  so is goddess of fidelity. As Ostara, goddess of spring, she was known among the Anglo-Saxons and is remembered in the festival of Easter as a fertility  goddess and bringer of new beginnings. In her role as Valfreya, the Lady of the Battlefield, Frigg recalls the Northern tradition of warrior goddesses and  offers courage to women. Hera Hera, the wife-sister of Zeus, is a the supreme Greek goddess of protection, marriage and childbirth whose sacred bird is the  peacock. She is a powerful deity of fidelity and is called upon by women seeking revenge upon unfaithful partners. Hestia Hestia is the Greek goddess of the  hearth and home, all family matters and peace within the home. She is a benign, gentle goddess and so can be invoked for matters involving children and pets.  Juno Juno, the wife-sister of Jupiter, is the Roman queen of the gods, the protectress of women, marriage and childbirth and also wise counsellor. Together  with Jupiter and Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, she made up the triumvirate of deities who made decisions about humankind and especially Roman affairs. Her  month, June, is most fortunate for marriage and, like Hera, her Greek equivalent, her sacred creature is the peacock. She is invoked in sex magick as well as  for all matters concerning marriage, children, fidelity and wise counsel. Parvati Parvati is the benign and gentle Hindu Mother Goddess, consort of the god  Shiva and the goddess daughter of the Himalayas. Her name means ‘mountain’ and she is associated with all mountains. She and Shiva are often pictured  as a family in the Himalayas with their sons Ganesh, god of wisdom andlearning, and six-headed Skanda, the warrior god. She is invoked for all family matters  and those concerning children and by women in distress. Vesta Vesta is the Roman goddess of domesticity and of the sacred hearth at which dead and living  were welcomed. The Vestal Virgins of Rome kept alight the sacred flame in Vesta’s temple and this was rekindled at the New Year, as were household  flames. Vesta can be invoked in rituals centred around the element Fire.

TUESDAY – The Day of Mars, 
 The Day of Honour

TUESDAY

The Day of Mars
 The Day of Honour

tiwesdaeg (Anglo-Saxon)
dienstag (Germanic)
dies martis (Latin)
mangal-var (Hindu)
mungul (Islamic)
mardi (French)
ka youbi (Japanese)

Traditionally seen as the third day of the week. ‘Tiu’, also ‘Tiw’, was associated with Mars who was the Roman god of War. Tiu was the younger brother of Thor and son of Odin. The French later closely translated this name to ‘Mardi’ or ‘Mar’s Day’. Mars has also been associated with Zeus or ‘Zeus’s Day’ later being developed by the Anglo-Saxons. It was thought that to meet a left-handed person in the early morning on a Tuesday would bring misfortune for the rest of the day according to a traditional Scandinavian belief. It has been suggested that this may because of the fact that the day related to the God of War. According to the English historian Richard Grafton certain dates of the month were unlucky as published in the ‘Manual’ in 1565. Days throughout the year were identified and of course could have related to any day of the week. The date was the most important point to consider. The work was reputed to have some credence with support given by astronomers of the day.

(For more information see Mystical WWW Mystical Time : Mystical Months).

The Sacredness of Halloween

The Sacredness of Halloween

Author:   Tut 

One of my Pagan friends has the same admonition for us each October. “Don’t try to contact me on Samhain, ” he informs, “I’ll be busy.” Of course, by “busy” he means that he’ll be deep in the midst of a self-imposed seclusion, fasting, meditating and performing solitary rites from sunup on October 31st to more or less sunup on November 1st. As a fellow Solitary Pagan, albeit of a different path, I can respect that. I also know members of an area coven that observe Samhain communally, going to the cemeteries to clean graves and make offerings or holding a silent supper before observing their Sabbat. I have to applaud them for their efforts as well. Even as an Egyptian Pagan, I consider October 31st a holy day, and I typically observe the Osiris Mysteries as close to that date as possible.

But I find one element of the sacred that still seems overlooked by both Solitaries and covens each October 31st. In our efforts as Pagans to mark the solemnity and sanctity of Samhain, we miss what probably made the day so hallowed and special for so many of us in the first place: dressing up, trick-or-treating, and celebrating all things spooky. In other words, we miss the importance of celebrating Halloween.

As a kid, I loved Halloween. Sure, Christmas was when I got presents and time off from school, but Halloween was a time when my creativity and imagination were allowed to soar. What am I going to be for Halloween? was a question I typically started asking myself around late August or early September, and by the time I was ten I was building my own costumes. Ironically, the Irish in my heritage was perhaps better celebrated through Halloween than it was through Saint Patrick’s Day. As a very young child, my mother told me the story of Jack and his Jack o’ Lantern while we carved pumpkins or colored paper decorations, and on occasion she would share ghost stories that her father had told her. The decorations we put up, combined with my own vivid imaginings of her stories, painted dark yet intriguing mental images of primeval forests stalked by fantastical creatures and lonely moonlit moors traversed by wandering souls.

Whether these images came from some collective inherited subconscious reaching back to our distant forbears in Ireland or from my own super-active brain, I will never know, but I still see them in my mind every October as I watch the sun go down and the full moon rise. Another source of inspiration are the handful of decorations and other items I inherited directly from family members: my uncle’s black light, my mother’s pack of Gypsy Witch Tarot Cards (which by this point must be at least forty years old) , my paternal grandmother’s tabletop decoration of a black cat on a tombstone (I’ve had offers from friends to buy it, but it’s not for sale) , and most especially the cassette dub my late grandfather made for me from his old record of Halloween sound effects, complete with a playlist in his own handwriting. While he was alive, my maternal grandfather instilled in me a love of technical toys, especially recording and sound equipment, which carried over into my Halloween decorations–especially the screaming doormats I became notorious for in college!

From the general Pagan perspective Samhain, of course, is a time of transition when the Corn King dies and enters the Underworld (with variations depending on tradition) . It is a time to honor the dead, and an opportunity for divination because the veil between worlds is at its thinnest. The focus is on death, aging, and mortality, much the antithesis of childhood revelry. But when I think back to those Irish forbears–and probably our Welsh ancestors as well–observing the onset of winter, huddled around a bonfire as darkness closed around them and cries of wild animals echoed through the distant hills, I think of grandparents telling their grandchildren those same stories I heard about Jack with his lantern, the Will o’ the Wisp, the Banshee, and probably more I would never hear.

I think of children wrapping themselves tighter in Grandpa’s cloak, staring with wide eyes of wonder at the curtains of shadows beyond the fire, experiencing for the first time that thrill of a good ghost story, and the eternal question, Oh, that’s not real–is it?. Imagination is a sacred gift from the Gods Themselves, the more so when it is handed down from one generation to the next. The Irish and Anglo-Saxons that travelled from their native lands to North America passed down those stories, those characters, and that love of a good fright, regardless of whether they called it Samhain or Halloween, and that lively spirit lives on in our modern holiday.

Indeed, today Halloween is considered a major “kid” holiday, driving a multi-million-dollar industry fed every year by the young and young at heart. And as we all know, Halloween has no shortage of detractors among the evangelical Christian community who denounce it as a “devil’s holiday”–forgetting, of course, that it has long been celebrated as a Catholic holiday, whence it earned the name All Hallow’s Eve. The Mexican communities who observe Dia De Los Muertes two days later are no less devout in their Catholicism. But as we Pagans strive to reclaim the Samhain heritage of October 31st, establishing its legitimacy as a sacred occasion and not a night of “devil worship”, lost in the debate and dogma is the holiday’s golden opportunity to enhance the bond between generations, something just as spiritual and important as its ritual aspect.

A coven member once told me that children are not allowed at their Samhain rituals, owing to the dark and serious tone required to participate. How, then, are the next generation of Wiccans and Pagans going to identify with Samhain, especially if their Pagan parents are spending all their time observing the Sabbat for themselves? How are kids today to understand trick-or-treating, costumes and other traditions surrounding Halloween–and its Celtic prototype? Are we going to fill their heads with ideas of October 31st as Samhain, the misunderstood holy day they’re expected to defend against ignorant schoolmates but wait until they’re older to participate in; or as Halloween and Samhain, a time of year that has something for everyone to enjoy?

For my own part, I’m already planning how I will decorate for this year’s trick-or-treaters; I had better, considering I’ve gained a neighborhood reputation for having the best candy! I take joy in observing Halloween with the neighborhood kids, regardless of their religious affiliation–besides, if their parents opposed Halloween, chances are they wouldn’t be coming to my door (unless they snuck out to do so, in which case who am I to discourage defiance…?) . By doing so, I contribute a tiny part of my own heritage, passed down through the ages, to the next generation so that it won’t one day die with me.

I will have plenty of time to observe the Osiris Mysteries in private after the trick-or-treaters have all gone to bed. But whenever the time comes that I have others observing the Osiris feast with me, I will make sure that they know ahead of time to pitch in for the trick-or-treating first. A child’s imagination is just as sacred as any service, and it should be celebrated accordingly.