To Our Northern Hemisphere Sisters, Brothers, and Guests…

Samhain blessings from WOTC

WOTC Samhain

A Thought for Today

I pulled this from an older post because it fits with my post of yesterday.

We can help the most by showing society we are peaceful, loving people just like everyone should be.

We can help be leading by example living in harmony with Mother Earth and doing all we can to help her heal. Such as recycling anything we use that has that option, pick up others track including cigarette butts when out for a walk or hiking. Use earth friendly laundry soap, liquid fabric softener, dish soap, body soap (bar or gel), shampoo, paper products made at least in part with recycled paper.

We can help by saying hi or just smiling at people We walk pass or inter act with.

Please share your thoughts or things you already do to live in better harmony with all living things. Especially the talking humans who can really get under your skin.

A Short Introduction to Celtic/Druid Ogham or Ogma Alphabet and How to Use it For Divination

The Celtic’s used a writing system called Ogham or sometimes spelled Ogma which dates hundreds of years BCE (Before the Current Era). Most of the time the credit for the alphabets origins are given to the Druid Priests. As only they could read the meanings of the “Ogham Staves” when they were thrown. The Ogham alphabet consists of 25 different symbols which in turn are associated with specific trees or shrubs.

The alphabet can either be written vertically or horizontally but the actual marking for the symbol or letter always appears on the same side and location on the straight line that all the symbols/letter stem off of.

The Ogham Staves are used as a form of divination. You can use them the same as you would Runes or Tarot cards. To make Ogham Staves they should be craved into a piece of the tree or shrub they are associated with, all 25 pieces of wood should be the exact same length and when possible diameter.

How to use the staves is simple you hold them together in both hands, and roll them on your palms while you ask your question of them (be sure to keep your question clear and concise). When you feel it is time and with the question firmly fixed in your mind you let the staves drop from about 4 to 6 inches off the ground. Those closest to you are the future, the middle ones are for the present, and those furthest away are read for the past which led up to the present which will lead into the future.

Here is a picture of the alphabet writing, name of symbol/letter, and which tree or shrub is associated to it:

Other examples of the alphabet:

Here is are the symbols/letters on the tree or shrub they are associated with:

This is the first in a series of posts on the use and meanings of the Ogham alphabet and staves. I will also be posting an Ogham Symbol for the day starting Monday, August 13th both on here and on WOTC.

If you have questions about this topic please write to LAdy Beltane at covenlifescoven@gmail.com Please put Ogham Question in the “Subject line”

 

Let’s Talk Witch – Pantheon Pathways

witchcraft

Pantheon Pathways

 

As Witches, we often draw upon the mythology of many different lands to find the god and goddess figures that we identify with most strongly. And while this can vary greatly from Witch to Witch (like everything else we do-hey, at least we are not a bunch of boring conformists), many of us are drawn to the pantheons (from the Greek “temple of the gods,” meaning the officially recognized gods of a particular people) of the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Celtic cultures, with a few Norse and Hindu gods thrown in for good measure.

It is interesting to see how much the gods from one culture resemble the gods in another. It makes sense, I suppose, when you consider that most Pagan peoples had the same interests as we do today: love, protection, prosperity, the moon, growing things, etc.

In addition, it is historically possible in many cases to follow the path that a god took from one culture to another. For instance, many of the Roman gods and goddesses were taken more or less directly from the Greeks who preceded them.

It is fine to focus on one pantheon or culture, but it is also okay to mix and match. The gods that want you will find you, that much is for sure.

 

 

Everyday Witch A to Z: An Amusing, Inspiring & Informative Guide to the Wonderful World of Witchcraft

Deborah Blake

 

Some Changes in Directions in Posts on Coven Life

Merry meet brothers and sisters. Since I no longer classify myself as pure Wiccan and as my pagan spiritual path encompasses other traditions as well, I feel it is time I step away from only posting things based upon Wiccan tradition. The reason for this is so I and my site can introduce other types of pagan spirituality both from modern and ancient times to those who take lessons from me will have a broader range of what pagans and witches can believe in. Also for anyone interested in learning more about different pagan spiritual paths.

A pagan spiritual path is also referred to as ‘ The Old Ways” The definition of Pagan is:

noun
1.

(no longer in technical use) one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks.
2.

a member of a religious, spiritual, or cultural community based on the worship of nature or the earth; a neopagan.
3.

Disparaging and Offensive.

  1. (in historical contexts) a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim; a heathen.
  2. an irreligious or hedonistic person.
  3. an uncivilized or unenlightened person.
adjective
4.

of, relating to, or characteristic of pagans.
5.

Disparaging and Offensive.

  1. relating to the worship or worshipers of any religion that is neither Christian, Jewish, nor Muslim.
  2. irreligious or hedonistic.
  3. (of a person) uncivilized or unenlightened.

This came from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pagan If you want to know the origins or other information on the word just click on the link. You may find other definitions for the word pagan in different dictionaries, but this is the definition that I have been taught.

If there is an area of interest that I don’t post on and you would like me to please let me know and I will see what I can do. I won’t be posting daily horoscopes, runes, tarot cards or the other types of daily posts as seen on Witches of The Craft as Lady of the Abyss and her staff do a fantastic job covering those areas.

Let’s Talk Witch – The Eight Keys to Celtic Magic

Flower Graphics
Let’s Talk Witch – The Eight Keys to Celtic Magic

Every folk group has special traditions with regard to magical practice. To the contrary of trends in modern occultism these traditions are not merely windaw dressing on a universal pattern- the differences reflect real and often profound variations between and among traditions. In studying the Celtic traditions of magic certain unique themes occur which are worth pointing out. These themes help distinguish the Celtic traditions from others. If these themes are found inspiring, then the Celtic tradition is a place to explore them further in the environment of ideas which will lead the seeker to deeper findings along the same path.
1. Magic of the Head
NO other tradition, with the possible exception of the Slavic, is more focused on the human head (and brain) as the seat of magical powers. When one reads the ancient Irish tales one becomes aware of the degree to which the Celts were head hunters. The reason for this is that their magical physiology holds that the head is the seat of power- an honour. This a warrior attempts to steal from an enemy, and assume himself. Hence the ancient Irish were known to eat a portion of a slain enemy’s brain. The head-hunting practices of Irish fighters continued until the mid-19th century, when early Irish immigrants to North America fighting for the Confederacy were known to have hunted the heads of Union soldiers. (See Professor Grady McWhiney’s book Attack and Die.) Also, however, the heads of one’s own ancestors were to be preserved- and displayed at certain holy times. This “cult of the head” is conspicuous at the Celtic temple at Roquepertuse, which contains stone pillars with niches into which the heads of ancestral heroes were placed. This is without doubt also the ultimate origin of the “jack-o-lantern”the carved cephalomorphic gourd familiar in Halloween customs. It is thought by many that the myth of the head of Mimir, which informs the God Odin, is ultimately a Celtic influence.
2. Memory
Mimir means memory- and the exercise of memory in and of itself seems to have a magical importance for the Celts. This is a trait they share with the Aryans of the east. The Druidic training program is said to have consisted of twenty years of learning lore by memory. The exercise of this faculty for its own sake, beyond the ready access to information it provides to the subject is something the Celts seem to have especially appreciated. the ogham system was most certainly one of the practical tools used in this exercise. Poems and stories were among the things memorized.
3. Story-Telling
The stories recited by Celtic tellers of tales were not merely for entertainment- they were also not merely mythic tales in which the traditions of the people were encoded. Stories are actually said to have operative magical effects. It might be said that the hearing of a certain story would bring a number of years of good fortune, but the telling of a story would bring even more. (See Rees and Rees, The Celtic Heritage.)
4. Language and Music
No people seem more Iyrical than the Celts. The linkage between music (harmonics) and language (meaning) is strong. In the lore of magic this reaches its apex in operative techniques by which changes in the environment, or in the human mind, can actually be effected by means of musical strains alone. This is a theory explored by the Pythagoreans, but in the lore of the Celts it appears to have been an ancient traditional operative technique.
5. Inter-Dimensionality
No other traditional lore seems to have a better or more realistic understanding of the magical experience of inter-dimensionality. The regular interaction with the “otherworld” or the “underworld” is a common feature of Irish and Welsh mythic tales as well as folktales from the Celtic cultures. It is from these that the Arthurian legends inherit their “inter-dimensional” features- such as the Grail Castle appearing and disappearing from various “places” at various “times.” This mutual effect of one “world” upon another is reflected in the very grammar of the Celtic languages wherein one word, when juxtaposed to another for a specific grarnrnatical, syntactic and semantic purpose, will cause the latter word to change its shape (sound). For example the Irish word for “cow” is bo, and the word for “white” is ban, but to say “a white cow,” one must say, or write, bo bhan [pron. boh-vawn].
6. “Satirizing”
By the use of words – of poetry – the fili(“master poets”) were able to cause physical changes in the bodies of other individuals. This was done with “satire.” The fact that satirical verse has a patently humorous aspect is the essentially Celtic dimension here. Because Celtic kings could not rule if they suffered any physical defect or blemish, all the satirists had to do in order to depose a king was to, by means of a satirical verse, raise boils on his face. All would see the blemish, and his rule would be at an end.
7. Operative Fasting
Fasting for “spiritual” reasons is familiar throughout the world. To fast-really to starve the body – in order to make subjective changes is obvious. Celtic magicians could, however, “fast on” their enemies as an operative curse formula. By starving himself to near death the sorcerer can actually cause the death of his enemy. This technique is something entirely different from, though apparently related to, the use of fasting as a way to “protest” supposed injustices. This latter technique works only through the medium of information in the context of public morality, whereas the operative fasting of the ancient Celtic magicians worked in a mysterious way.
8. Magical Taboos
Again “taboos” – negative prohibitions against certain behaviours– and other behavioural sanctions are familiar in most religious traditions. The Irish gess [pron. gaysh] (plural gessa) is most often translated something like “taboo.” It is, however, something quite different from what is usually meant by this word. A gess, although usually a prohibition against behaviour, actually provides power to the individual. The more gessa that have been “put on” a person (usually by a sorcerer) the more danger recipients live with- but also the more power recipients have at their disposal. To have a gess is both a curse and a boon simultaneously.
These eight distinctive points of Celtic magic, being aspects which distinguish that tradition from others, should be focal points of research and practice in any program to develop a true magical renaissance of the Celtic tradition.

 

Author:

by Edred Thorsson

An Assue Wytch’s Book of Correspondences

February 18 – March 17: Celtic Tree Month of the Ash Tree

 February 18 – March 17

Celtic Tree Month of the Ash Tree

Those born under the Celtic tree astrology sign of the Ash are free thinkers. Imaginative, intuitive, and naturally artistic, you see the world in water-color purity. You have a tendency to moody and withdrawn at times, but that’s only because your inner landscape is in constant motion. You are in touch with your muse, and you are easily inspired by nature. Likewise, you inspire all that you associate with and people seek you out for your enchanting personality. Art, writing (especially poetry), science, and theology (spiritual matters) are areas that strongly interest you. Others may think you are reclusive, but in all honesty, you are simply immersed in your own world of fantastic vision and design. You are in a constant state of self-renewal and you rarely place a value on what others think about you. Ash signs partner well with Willow and Reed signs.

WHATS-YOUR-SIGN.COM

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About Those Born Under the Sign of the Ash Tree (Feb. 18 – Mar. 17)

About Those Born Under the Sign of the Ash Tree – The Enchanter

February 18 – March 17

Those born under the Celtic tree astrology sign of the Ash are free thinkers. Imaginative intuitive, and naturally artistic, you see the world in water-color purity. You have a tendency to moody and withdrawn at times, but that’s only because your inner landscape is in constant motion. You are in touch with your muse, and you are easily inspired by nature. Likewise, you inspire all that you associates with and people see out for your enchanting personality. Art, writing (especially poetry), science and theology (spiritual matters) are areas that strongly interest you. Others may think you are reclusive, but in all honesty, you are simply immersed in your own world of fantastic vision and desire. You are in a constant state of self-renewal and you rarely place a value on what others think about you. Ash signs partners well with Willow and Reed.

Source
Whats-Your.Sign.Com
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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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OIMELC – February 2

OIMELC – February 2

Down with Rosemary and so
Down with baies and mistletoe;
Down with Holly, live and all
Wherewith ys drest the Yuletide Hall;
That so the superstitious find No one least Branch there left behind;
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected there, maids, trust to me,
So many goblins you shall see.
–Robert Herrick

Oimelc – Imbolc in the Saxon – marks the first stirring of life in the earth.
The Yule season originally ended at Oimelc. But with increasing organization and industrialization, increasing demands for labor and production, the holiday kept shrinking, first to the two weeks ending at Twelfth Night, then to a single week ending at New Year’s, then to a single day.

Oimelc begins a season of purification similar to that preceding Yule. It ends
at Ostara. No marriages, initiations or puberty rites should be celebrated
between Oimelc and Ostara.

The candles and torches at Oimelc signify the divine life-force awakening
dormant life to new growth.

THEMES

Growth of roots begin again. Bare branches begin to swell with leaf buds, and
growth appears at the tips of evergreen branches. The tools of agriculture are
being make ready for Spring.

Xian feasts of St. Brigid, and Celtic feast of Brigit, the maiden aspect of the
triple goddess and mother of Dagda. Her symbol is the white swan. A Roman feast of Bacchus and Ceres. The Lupercalia, a feast of Pan. The Nephelim or Titans, those offspring of human-divine unions said to have ruled Atlantis.

Grannus, a mysterious Celtic god whom the Romans identified with Apollo.

PURPOSE OF THE RITES

To awaken life in the Earth. Fire tires to strengthen the young Sun, to bring
the fertilizing, purifying, protective and vitalizing influence of fire to the
fields, orchards, domestic animals, and people. To drive away winter. To charm
candles for household use throughout the year.

FOLK CUSTOMS

The three functions of Oimelc – end of Yule, feast of candles or torches, and
beginning of a purificatory season – are divided by the Xian calendar among
Twelfth Night, Candlemas and Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras, Carnival). The customs of all three feasts are derived from Oimelc, with at most a thin Xian gloss.

Parades of giant figures (Titans?) in rural towns in France and at Mardi Gras
and Carnival celebrations. A figure representing the Spirit of Winter or Death,
sometime made of straw, sometimes resembling a snowman, is drowned, burnt or in once case, stuffed with fireworks and exploded. They symbol of Montreal’s Winter Carnival is the giant figure of Bonhomme di Neige (snowman).

Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year and St. Valentine’s Day customs.

The French provinces are so rich in Oimelc customs they cannot be listed here.
Refer to “The Golden Bough”.

Wassailing the trees: at midnight, carolers carry a bucket of ale, cider or
lamb’s wool in a torchlight procession through the orchards. The leader dips a
piece of toast in the drink and sedges it in the fork of each tree, with the
traditional cheer (variations exist) of: “Hats full, holes full, barrels full,
and the little heap under the stairs!”.

Who finds the bean in the Twelfth Night cake becomes king of the feast; who
finds the pea becomes queen – never mind the gender of the finders. Rag-bag
finery and gilt-paper crowns identify the king and queen. The rulers give
ridiculous orders to the guests, who must obey their every command. They are
waited on obsequiously, and everything they do is remarked and announced
admiringly and importantly: “The King drinks!”, “The Queen sneezes!” and
everyone politely imitates the ruler’s example.

SYMBOLIC DECORATIONS

Snowdrops are picked for vases, but otherwise no special decorative effects are
indicated. Go carnival, balloons and confetti.

SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Parades, with showers of confetti, gala balls, masks, street dancing, mumming,
winter sports, ice and snow sculpture.

THE RITE

Dress in dark colors with much silver jewelry. Outdoors, after dark on the Even,
have the site arranged with a fire in the cauldron and the altar draped in
white, at the Northeast. The fire may be composed all or in part of Yule greens.

Go in a torchlight procession to the Circle. Include a stamping dance, possibly beating the ground with sticks, before the Invocation. The invocation may end with the calling of Hertha, a Teutonic goddess of the earth and the hearth. Call her name three times and at each call beat on the ground three times with the palms of both hands.

A figure representing Winter should be burned in the fire. Communion may consist of Sabbat Cakes or a Twelfth Night cake (there are many traditional recipes) and cider or wassail. A procession may leave the Circle for a time to wassail a nearby orchard. Couples may leap the bonfire. Supplies of candles brought by the coveners are blessed.

Boys puberty rites may be celebrated. These usually include mock plowing by the boys.

Close the Circle and go indoors for the feast.

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