Gracious Goddess, Let Me Be My Best Self Ever

New Age Comments & Graphics

Great Goddess
I ask that You lend me
Your strength
That I might excel
And be my best self.
 
At all times and places
When I need it most
Let my brightest self
Shine out like a star.
 
Help me to succeed
At all tasks at hand
And make the most
Of all the possibilities
made available to me.
 
Great Goddess
Lend me your light
That I might excel
And be my best self ever.
 

So Mote It Be.

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Setting Up Your Imbolc Altar

Setting Up Your Imbolc Altar

By , About.com

It’s Imbolc, and that’s the Sabbat where many Wiccans and Pagans choose to honor the Celtic goddess Brighid, in her many aspects. However, other than having a giant statue of Brighid on your altar, there are a number of ways you can set up for the season. Depending on how much space you have, you can try some or even all of these ideas — obviously, someone using a bookshelf as an altar will have less flexibility than someone using a table, but use what calls to you most.

Colors

Traditionally, the colors of red and white are associated with Brighid. The white is the color of the blanket of snow, and the red symbolizes the rising sun. In some traditions, the red is connected with the blood of life. Brighid is also tied to the color green, both for the green mantle she wears and for the life growing beneath the earth. Decorate your altar with a white cloth, and drape a swath of red across it. Add green candles in candleholders.

The Beginnings of New Life

Altar decor should reflect the theme of the Sabbat. Because Imbolc is a harbinger of spring, any plants that symbolize the new growth are appropriate. Add potted bulbs — don’t worry if they’re blooming yet — and spring flowers such as forsythia, crocus, daffodils, and snowdrops. If you don’t have much luck planting bulbs, think about making a Brighid’s crown as a centerpiece — it combines flowers and candles together.

Celtic Designs

Brighid is, after all, a goddess of the Celtic peoples, so it’s always appropriate to add some sort of Celtic design to your altar. Consider adding a Brighid’s cross6 or any other item incoporating Celtic knotwork. If you happen to have a Celtic cross, don’t worry about the fact that it’s also a Christian symbol — if it feels right on your altar, go ahead and add it.

Other Symbols of Brighid

  • Cauldrons or chalices — she’s often connected to sacred wells and springs
  • A small anvil or hammer — Brighid is the goddess of smithcraft
  • A Brighid corn doll and Priapic wand
  • Sacred animals such as cows, sheep or swans
  • A goddess statue
  • A book of poetry, or a poem you’ve written — Brighid is the patroness of poets
  • Faeries — in some traditions, Brighid is the sister of the Fae
  • Healing herbs — she’s often connected to healing rites
  • Lots of candles, or a cauldron with a small fire in it
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Prayer for Imbolc

Imbolc/Candlemas Comments
Prayer for Imbolc

On this Imbolc day, as I kindle the flame upon my hearth,
I pray that the flame of Brigid may burn in my soul,
and the souls of all I meet today.

I pray that no envy and malice,
no hatred or fear, may smother the flame.
I pray that indifference and apathy,
contempt and pride,
may not pour like cold water on the flame.

Instead, may the spark of Brigid light the love in my soul,
that it may burn brightly through this season.
And may I warm those that are lonely,
whose hearts are cold and lifeless,
so that all may know the comfort of Brigid’s love.

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TREE MAGICK

TREE MAGICK

WILLOW FOR LOVE, OAK FOR STRENGTH
by Edain McCoy
(from the ’97 Llewellyn Magickal Almanac)

Many mystical and magical uses have been found for the thirteen trees which
symbolize the months of the Celtic lunar year, and it is likely, considering the
popularity of Celtic Paganism, that many more will be discovered. However you
choose to observe the lunar months, it can be helpful to first imbibe a magical
brew designed to attune your body and spirit to the occasion.

Following are the recipes for thirteen teas which will accomplish just that. The
measurements given are approximate, and for making one eight-ounce mug full you
should use no more than a single heaping teaspoon of dry herbs placed inside a
tea ball or cheesecloth strainer. All liquid measurements should be added to
taste. Allow the tea to steep at least two minutes, longer if you prefer a
stronger flavor. As always, when ingesting untried substances, be sure to test
for any allergic reactions first, and remember that no herbal preparation should
ever be taken over the long term without consulting an expert pharmacologist or
botanist.

Though very few of the recipes actually contain any part of the trees to which
they are attributed, they work quite well because their ingredients rely on
using herbs and juices which share magical affinities with the properties of the
tree. These properties are listed after the name of each tree so that, if you
choose to, you can make substitutions based upon this knowledge. Depending upon
the particular Celtic tradition you follow, the lunar year starts with either
the first new moon closest to Samhain or the one just before Yule.

BIRCH MOON
Matter of beginnings and children, purification.
3 parts ginger
1 part lemongrass
pinch of dill
splash of lemon juice

ROWAN MOON
Empowerment, clairvoyance, air magic, exorcism.
1 part valerian root
3 parts peppermint
pinch of eyebright
pinch of ginger

Editors note: Valerian is a powerful sedative that affects each person
differently. You may wish
to use a very small amount of this herb at first to determine how it affects
your body chemistry.

ASH MOON
Matters of the intellect, magic, healing.
2 parts angelica
½ part sage
½ part black cohosh
pinch of rosemary

WILLOW MOON
Matters of the Otherworld, healing, love, water magic, feminine mysteries.
2 parts willow bark
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ part dried apples or a splash of apple juice
pinch of rosemary

OAK MOON
Lust, strength, energy, endurance, fertility, fire magic, male mysteries.
1-1/2 parts white oak bark
½ part mint
½ part orange peel
pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg

HAZEL MOON
Manifestations, protection, healing, fertility.
2 parts ginseng
½ part mugwort
pinch of savory
slash of any noncitrus juice

ALDER MOON
Spirituality, wholeness of being.
1 part linden
1 part hibiscus
2 tablespoons of cream or milk
splash of cranberry juice

HAWTHORN MOON
Peace, sleep, dreams, prosperity, happiness.
1 part hawthorn
1 part catnip
½ part rue
½ part chamomile

HOLLY MOON
Matters of animals, magic, prophecy.
1 part kelp
½ part rose petals
½ part raspberry
pinch of yarrow

VINE MOON
Earth magic, sex magic, overcoming difficulties.
1 part blackberry
1 part dandelion
splash of currant wine or grape juice
pinch of hibiscus

IVY MOON
Healing, cooperation, binding.
1 part mullein
¼ part eucalyptus
½ part barberry

ELDER MOON
Exorcism, prosperity, astral travel. Finding faeries.
1 part ginko
1 part mugwort
1 part valerian (see note under Rowan Moon)
1 part spearmint
pinch of anise (may substitute extract)
pinch of allspice

REED MOON
Fertility, love, protection.
1 part red clover
1 part hyssop
1 part boneset
pinch of slippery elm

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Brighid’s Mantle – History and Lore

Brighid’s Mantle – History and Lore

By , About.com

Brighid is the Celtic goddess who is the keeper of the hearth, the deity who watches over nursing mothers and pregnant women, and who is the overseer of all things domestic. She is also connected to healing and wisdom. One commonly found symbol of Brighid is her green mantle, or cloak. In Gaelic, the mantle is known as the brat Bhride.

Although her origins are that of a Pagan goddess, at one point she became associated with Christianity and St. Brighid of Kildare. The legend has it that Brighid was the daughter of a Pictish chieftain who went to Ireland to learn from St. Patrick. In one story, the girl who later became St. Brighid went to the King of Leinster, and petitioned him for land so she could build an abbey. The King, who still held to the old Pagan practices of Ireland, told her he’d be happy to give her as much land as she could cover with her cloak. Naturally, her cloak grew and grew until it covered as much property as Brighid needed, and she got her abbey. Thanks to her roles as both a Pagan goddess and a Christian saint, Brighid is often seen as being of both worlds; a bridge between the old ways and the new.

In Celtic Pagan stories, Brighid’s mantle carries with it blessings and powers of healing. Many people believe that if you place a piece of cloth out upon your hearth at Imbolc, Brighid will bless it in the night. Use the same cloth as your mantle each year, and it will gain strength and power each time Brighid passes by. The mantle can be used to comfort and heal a sick person, and to provide protection for women in labor. A newborn baby can be wrapped in the mantle to help them sleep through the night without fussing.

To make a Brighid’s mantle of your own, find a piece of green cloth long enough to comfortably wrap around your shoulders. Leave it on your doorstep on the night of Imbolc, and Brighid will bless it for you. In the morning, wrap yourself in her healing energy.

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Today Begins The Celtic Tree Month of Rowan

Celtic Tree Months

By , About.com

Rowan Moon: January 21 – February 17

The Rowan Moon is associated with Brighid, the Celtic goddess of hearth and home. Honored on February 1, at Imbolc, Brighid is a fire goddess who offers protection to mothers and families, as well as watching over the hearthfires. This is a good time of year to perform initiations (or, if you’re not part of a group, do a self-dedication). Known by the Celts as Luis (pronounced loush), the Rowan is associated with astral travel, personal power, and success. A charm carved into a bit of a Rowan twig will protect the wearer from harm. The Norsemen  were known to have used Rowan branches as rune staves of protection. In some countries, Rowan is planted in graveyards to prevent the dead from lingering around too long.

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Blessing For Hearth-Keepers

Brighid of the Mantle, encompass us,
Lady of the Lambs, protect us,
Keeper of the Hearth, kindle us.
Beneath your mantle, gather us,
And restore us to memory.

Mothers of our mother,
Foremothers strong.
Guide our hands in yours,
Remind us how
To kindle the hearth.
To keep it bright,
To preserve the flame.
Your hands upon ours,
Our hands within yours,
To kindle the light,
Both day and night.

The Mantle of Brighid about us,
The Memory of Brighid within us, The Protection of Brighid keeping us
From harm, from ignorance, from heartlessness.
This day and night,
From dawn till dark,
From dark till dawn.

(Brighid is the Irish saint whose following draws strongly upon the Celtic goddess of the same name; as hearth-keeper, she is venerated throughout the Celtic world.)

The Wicca Book of Days for May 6th – A Carved Cernnnnos?

The Wicca Book of Days for May 6th

A Carved Cernunnos?

Today’s element is Earth, and it is at this time of year that the Horned God is at his most rampant, making this a particularly apt day to familiarize yourself with one of his most impressive representations:  the Cerne Abbas Giant. Thought to represent Cernunnos, the Celtic god of fertility, the 180-foot tall outline of this club-wielding figure was carved ut of a chalky hill in the English county of Dorset nearly two thousand years ago. It has long been the custom for women hoping to conceive a child to perch themselves on the tip of the giant’s phallus.

Super Six

On this sixth day of the month, meditate on the number six. This numeral has many associations it’s the six dots on a die, it can represent victory, for instance; as the six points of Solomon’s seal, it signifies cosmic harmony, and in triplicate, as 666, it is reputed to identify Christianity’s Anti-Christ.

Earth Gods – THE GREEN MAN

Earth Gods – THE GREEN MAN

The Green Man is the vision of a face in the leaves – a face surrounded by or made from leaves. He embodies nature – wild, free, and primitive. He is known as Cernunnos, Herne, Pan, Faunus, Puck, John Barleycorn, and the Horned God, to name just a few. The Green Man is the male essence of nature. His face graces more churches and cathedrals than one can imagine, a unique feat for a pagan god.

Cernunnos is the Celtic god of nature. He is commonly seen as a horned god. The horn is a symbol of virility and fertility. As Cernunnos, his worship can be traced back to the Iron Age Celts through historical artifacts; however, very little is known about how he was regarded or worshipped.

In Britain, the nature god is known as Herne the Hunter. Herne was a favorite of King Richard II. He saved the king from a raging stag and was severely wounded. A stranger tied the antlers of the stag to Herne’s head, claiming his hunting talent as payment. Herne, devastated at this loss of talent, ran off into the woods. Later a man found his corpse hanging on a tree. Herne is said to appear in spectral form and to indulge in his favorite pastime – hunting. He is aid to lead the Wild Hunt.

Pan is the Greek nature god who watches over the shepherds and their flocks. He is known as Faunus in Roman mythology. Pan is consider to be older than the Olympians. He gave Apollo the secrets of prophecy and gifted Artemis with her hunting dogs.

Pan was originally an Arcadian god. He is described as a man with the legs, horns and hindquarters of a goat. Due to the Olympians disdain of Arcadians, they always treated Pan as a second-class god. However, his popularity among the primitive mountain people of Arcadia never lessened.

Pan was thought to inspire a type of sudden fear. In fact, the world panic is a derivation of his name. Pan was a lecherous god and was well-known for his indulgence in amorous affairs. One nymph name Pitys turned into a pine tree to escape his advances, while another, Syrinx, turned into river reeds. At the exact moment that Syrinx did so., the wind blew, creating a melodic sound. Pan much intrigued picked several of the reeds and turned them into his signature pan pipes.

All of the deities that are considered to be the male essence of nature are thought to follow a cycle of life, death and rebirth in sync with the seasons.