Ivy (Sept 30 – Oct 27)

IVY LORE

  • 11th Moon of the Celtic Year – (Sept 30 – Oct 27)
  • Latin name: Osirian Ivy – hedera helix
  • Celtic name: Gort (pronounced: goert).
  • Folk or Common names: Ivy.
  • Parts Used: leaves, bark, berries. Caution: Some types of Ivy are poisonous.
  • Herbal usage: The leaves of Ivy can be used to make a douche for treating female infections. Ivy leaves can also be used externally for poultices to heal  nerves, sinews, ulcers and infections. Tender ivy twigs can be simmered in salves to heal sunburn.
  • Magical History & Associations: Ivy is the symbol of resurrection. Ivy is an herb of Jupiter and the sun, and is associated with positive ego  strength. The bird associated with this month is the mute swan, the color is blue, and the gemstone is yellow serpentine. Ivy is sacred to Osiris and Saturn.  It is also connected with the god Dionysus. When Zeus’s wife Hera, discovered that Zeus had bedded Semele, the daughter of Cadmus, King of Thebes, Hera  suggested to Semele that she should ask Zeus to unveil himself to her. When he did so, his divine flames consumed her and almost killed her unborn child,  Dionysus, but for a sudden growth of ivy. In still another story of the deities, Kissos is the name given to a nymph who dances so furiously at a Dionysian  feast that she collapses and dies of exhaustion. Dionysus, grieving her untimely death, changes her into ivy. Most Ivies have five-pointed leaves which are  sacred to the Goddess.
  • Magickal usage: The month of Ivy is a good time to do magick for rebirth and tenaciousness. Ivy has attributes of restraint of fear and dealing with  Emotions. Ivy grows in a sacred spiral, which symbolizes reincarnation, from lifetime to lifetime, and from minute to minute, day to day. Ivy travels  everywhere – it spreads happily and thrives in many places where no other greenery could survive – its determination to reach through obstacles toward light  and food is well known, and therefore Ivy symbolizes strength. Ivy has many uses in Magick done for healing, protection, cooperation, and exorcism, and is  very useful in fertility magick. Ivy is also equated with fidelity and can be used in charms to bind love, luck and fidelity to a person. A talisman made of  Ivy would be good to give a friend since it will help ensure eternal friendship. Ivy provides protection against evil when growing on or near a house but  should it fall off and die, misfortune was said to be on the way. Ivy was sometimes used in divination: an ivy leaf placed in water on New Year’ s Eve  that was still be fresh on Twelfth Night foretold that the year ahead would be favorable. Should ivy not grow upon a grave, the soul of the person buried  there is said to be restless – and should it grown abundantly on the grave of a young woman, then this meant that she died of a broken heart. Ivy is also  connected with the Winter Solstice and is often used for decorating at Yule-tide. Ivy, intertwined with Holly, is traditionally made into crowns for the  bride and groom at weddings/handfastings. Ivy was also used in ancient times for poet’s crowns, since Ivy was believed to be a source of divine  inspiration. Ivy was also used by the Greeks to make victory crowns for conquering heroes in the games held at Corinth. Holly and Ivy make excellent  decorations for altars. An early church council even attempted to ban the use of Ivy in church decorations because of its Pagan associations.
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Actaeon

Actaeon

by Micha F. Lindemans
The legendary huntsman of Greek myth, a grandson of Cadmus. During a hunt, he left the party and wandered alone through the forest when he suddenly came upon a clearing. There he saw the goddess Artemisbathing in a large pool, surrounded by her nymphs. When they noticed the hunter they flew themselves before the goddess, but he had already seen her splendid nakedness. Angered, she turned him into a stag for she refused to let any mortal say that he had seen Artemis naked. 

Actaeon moved away from the clearing feeling different and confused, not yet realizing what had happened to him. The truth hit him when he saw his own reflection in a river and he knew he was no longer human. In the distance he heard the sound of his own hounds. A brief moment of joy quickly turned into fear when he realized they were hunting him now, not recognizing their former master. He fled but was eventually overrun and torn to pieces.

A different version of the myth tells that Artemis turned him into a stag because he boasted of excelling her in hunting. (Ovid III, 193)