Daily Magickal Applications for Wednesday

Veteran's Day Comments
Daily Magickal Applications for Wednesday

 

To the Romans, this day was called Dies Mercurii, or “Mercury’s day” Mercury was a popular character in the Roman pantheon. A messenger of the gods, he presided over commerce, trade, and anything that required skill or dexterity. The Celts also worshiped Mercury and eventually equated him with the Norse god Odin (some spelling variations on this name include Wotan, Wodin, and Wodan). In Norse mythologies, Odin, like Mercury, is associated with poetry and music. Interestingly enough, both Odin and Mercury were regarded as psychopomps, or the leaders of souls, in their individual mythologies.

Odin, one of the main gods in Norse mythology, was constantly seeking wisdom. He traveled the world in disguise as a one-eyed man with a long gray beard, wearing an old, beat-up hat and carrying a staff or a spear (which brings to my mind images of Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings). In the Old English language, this day of Mercury evolved into Wodnes daeg, “Woden’s day,” or Wednesday.

Wednesday carries all of the planetary and magickal energies and associations of the witty and nimble god Mercury himself. Some of these mercurial traits included good communication skills, cleverness, intelligence, creativity, business sense, writing, artistic talent, trickiness, and thievery. And don’t forget all of those wise and enigmatic qualities associated with the Norse god Odin/Wodin, not to mention the goddess Athena’s contributions of music, the arts, handmade crafts, and writing. Wednesdays afford excellent opportunities for seeking wisdom, changing your circumstances, and improving your skills, be they in trade and commerce, music and art, or in communication and writing.

 

Source:

Book of Witchery: Spells, Charms & Correspondences for Every Day of the Week

Ellen Dugan

Nine Elements of the Druids

Nine Elements of the Druids

 

 

The importance/significance of the number three in Celtic mythology and spirituality has been documented in many sources. It makes some sense then, that three times three would be a particularly auspicious number. There isn’t much in the way of documentation to support this, however the speculation has a great deal of support in the Celtic Pagan Spiritual Community. There are probably as many different ways of looking at these nine elements as there are groups who consider them important.

The Nine Elements, and correspondences

Macrocosm

Microcosm

Directions

Sun

Face

South

Moon

Mind

Inwards

Sea

Blood

West

Wind

Breath

East

Sky or Heavens

Head

Above

Green-growing things

Hair

Outwards

Land

Flesh

Below

Stone

Bones

North

Clouds

Spirit

Through

As you can derive from this table, the Celts do appear to have grasped the concept of microcosm vs macrocosm quite well, albeit without the fance nomenclature.

The elements composing the tree principal realms of Land, Sea and Sky; also compose three of the most primary element of human life: Flesh (Land), Blood (Sea), and Breath (Sky or actually “wind”). Actually all nine elements would be considered needful for life, however these three would be the most obvious to our ancestors (with one obvious exception – the head – but we will get into that discussion in a moment. No _Highlander_ correlations yet!)

If a body lacked flesh, or that flesh became diseased or too old, the body died. If the body lacked blood, the body died. And if the body did not breathe – lacked wind – the body died. Simple, and I’m certain quite obvious to the ancient Celts.

The next most obvious fatal deficiency is the lack of a head. Physically, losing one’s head will in fact make you quite irretrievably dead. However, it is rather doubtful that the ancient Celts understood the finer points of neurology (although there is evidence that the ancients did practice some fairly advanced neurosurgical techniques). The ancients believed that the immortal spirit resided in the head: if the head were separated from the body (or in some cases, cut open sufficiently) the spirit of the person would leave – and the person would therefore die. Their ‘fire in the head’ would be lost (Insert _Highlander_ theme music here).

For those of you familiar with the _Highlander_ shows, perhaps their special effects aren’t that far from off. Upon the death of the physical body, the Celts believed that the spirit – the immortal being – was released, to be ‘reborn’ in another form. Contrary to the series, it isn’t re-absorbed by another immortal, but may be reborn as a new person, or into a spirit of an animal, plant or even an inanimate object: all depending upon the lesson needed by that particular spirit. The technical term here is transmutation. We’ll discuss this more thoroughly at another time.

The elements of “sun” and “moon” may seem a bit odd to our modern sensibilities, used to a more “scientific” analysis of the elements. Even for those more familiar with the Pagan (really Wiccan) wheel of elements will find the whole of the Celtic nine elements a bit unusual. In the Celtic elements, the Sun element takes on some of those properties familiar with the Wiccans’ fire element. The Sun correlates with the human face: preservations of this can be seen in common speech. A person’s face may be “shining”, or the Sun may be “smiling”. The moon, on the other hand, has long been associated with aspects of the mind. Specifically, the moon (in folklore) directly affects madness/sanity. Even today, common folklore reflects this: lunacy or lunatic (luna = moon). Superstision holds that the full moon drives a person insane. This may actually be related to superstitions regarding werewolves.

The correlations between the element of “Green Growing Things” and human hair may not be too obvious at first. It may have been as simple as the human hair being likened to the slow-growing English Ivy – they actually grow in length at about the same speed. This outward growth is a clear expression of the direction most associate with this element: that of “outwards”.

Stones were seen as the bones of the Earth: hard, shapable into toods, and maintaining the structure of the “body” (that of the person or the world). Even through the great stone circles pre-date the Druids (and perhaps the Celts), one has to wonder if there’s some relation between these stone monuments and the Celts own belief in the significance of the stones.

 

Source:

Empathy’s Mystical Occult Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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Giving Thanks to Brighid – Meal Blessing

Giving Thanks to Brighid – Meal Blessing

By , About.com

 
 
Giving Thanks to Brighid – Meal Blessing
 
This is the season of Brighid,
She who protects our hearth and home.
We honor her and thank her, for keeping us warm as we eat this meal.
Great Lady, bless us and this food,
and protect us in your name.

 

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Imbolc: Emerging Into Light

Imbolc: Emerging Into Light

The Celtic festival of Imbolc celebrates the return of Spring from underground and the soul to renewed life.

BY: Mara Freeman

Once again, it is time to welcome in the early Spring and the festival of Bride, or Brigid, the Goddess who brings Light and Life to the land. The ancient Celts called it Imbolc, the time when the new lambs were born, the Earth is beginning to thaw, and new, impossibly fragile-looking green shoots start to emerge through the bare soil.

This miraculous emergence into light is one of the major themes of the holiday. An old Scottish rhyme tells us that this is the time when Bride emerges from the Earth, just as in the Greek myth, enacted at this time of year as part of the Eleusinian mysteries, the goddess Persephone came out of the underworld and Spring returned once more.

These myths are not only about the return of Spring to the land, but also the return of the Soul–traditionally depicted as feminine–from its dwelling in the obscurity of the subconscious mind. In the western world, we tend to get so caught up in material pursuits that the soul is forgotten most of the time – even though we never feel truly at home to ourselves without that connection. At the dawn of the modern age, a poet wrote that “affairs are now soul size.” His words are even more true today: with the escalating crises in the world from wars to global warming, now is the time to fully awaken into what each of us has been called to do during our time on Earth, to emerge into a life that catches fire from the soul-flame within each of us.
When humanity listens to the voice of the soul, rather than being seduced by the astral glamour of consumer-driven culture, then the Soul of the World, the Anima Mundi, will also emerge, like Bride or Persephone, from deep within the Earth where it has been hidden, and its long estrangement from the human race will be over. This is the true meaning behind the Quest for the Holy Grail, a symbol of the Divine Feminine that was withdrawn from the world when our insatiable desire for dominance turned it into the Wasteland. For the Grail to be found, for the Wasteland to be restored to the Courts of Joy, we must learn to become co-creators in partnership with all the Living Intelligences of our planet: human, animal, faery or Devic.
The Festival of Bride is also known as Candlemas, for it is marked by the lighting of candles to brighten the long February nights. This also gives us an opportunity to rekindle our own inner flame upon the shrine of the soul. So light your own candle this season, and as you do so, see this tiny flame as a spark of the One Light that shines through all the worlds. Then sense your own inner flame within your heart and know that you, too, are a spark of the Divine. Breathe in the peace of this knowledge, and listen to your soul telling you how to fully awaken into Light in the emerging year.

Source:

Beliefnet.com

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Imbolc: A Midwinter Festival

Imbolc: A Midwinter Festival

Spring is stirring just beneath the surface at Imbolc, a Wiccan holiday when we anticipate the earth’s rebirth.

BY: Kaatryn MacMorgan

On January 31st, many Wiccans, practitioners of the religion of Modern Wicca, will celebrate Imbolc, a midwinter festival halfway between the beginning of winter, at the Winter Solstice, and the beginning of spring, at the Spring Equinox in March. The actual date of Imbolc varies within the many sects of Wicca, falling as early as January 29th and as late as February 3rd, but like all Wiccan holidays, it begins the moment the sun sets and ends just before sunset on the following day.

Wiccan holidays celebrate transitions, the passage from spring to summer, and from winter to spring, for example, so it is not surprising that the name of this holiday, also called Imbolg, the feast of Brighid, and the Calends of February, found its way into Wicca from its native Celtic peoples. Of course, it is not only the Wiccans who have decided to honor this holiday, as its main focus–the change from winter to spring–is most assuredly the point of our secular “Groundhog Day.”

The ancient Romans, Celts, Greeks, Chinese and many Native Americans all have similar holidays at this time of year, and many Reconstructionist, followers of ancient religions being resurrected through a combination of faith, scholastic research and imagination, practice Imbolc in forms far closer to the originals than the modern holiday practiced in Wicca.

For Wiccans the holiday is a break from the gloom of winter, a macroscopic version of the Wednesday parties that celebrate having more of the workweek behind you than before you. It is the day when spring begins to appear like the light at the end of a long tunnel, not really perceptible at first, but affecting the earth nonetheless.

Though we can’t see it through the cover of white, at Imbolc we know the spring bulbs have sent runners into the earth, that the ice floes on our lakes and rivers have begun to thin and move, and that the first of the young animals due in spring have been born. Many Wiccans celebrate this holiday as a group by standing in a dark room, with one small candle flame lighting their way, each Wiccan then lights their candle from that flame, until everyone in the room is bathed in the great light of their community’s bounty. Prayers are said for a gentle spring, and that stores of food and money, greatly depleted by the festivities of the winter solstice, last long enough to be supplemented by the first crops.

It is a holiday of preparedness. The houses of Wiccans are scrubbed floor to ceiling, bills are paid, and taxes are filed, so that none of the business of the winter interferes with the pure joy of the earth’s rebirth. When this has been done, we determine, by logic, by divination, or just an educated guess, what will not last until spring, or what excess is present in our houses. These things become a great feast, in my house, a huge kettle of “stone soup,” soup made by what is brought to it by those that would eat it. We share together in this great pot of soup, complete with a version of the stone soup story and send everyone home with a jar of it as a reminder of how the simplest things can become fantastic with the addition of one magic ingredient–community.

—beliefnet

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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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Your Ancient Symbol Card for Dec. 11th is The Tree

Your Ancient Symbol Card for Today

The Tree

The Tree symbolizes spiritual health and growth. The healthy tree is rooted in a rich, nurturing medium, has a strong trunk from which leaf laden branches fan out to capture the sun’s energy. The Tree represents a healthy spirit entrenched in experience and strengthened by wisdom. It is a spirit that is happy with itself, but continues reaching to become even wiser, more complete, happier, stronger. While The Tree represents a strong and independent spirit, it is also a life-force that owes much of its strength and growth to being surrounded by other healthy spirits.

As a daily card, The Tree denotes a time when your spiritual self is especially powerful and open for further growth. Now is a time for you to seek out streams of wisdom and knowledge that you can not only draw from but contribute to as well. Don’t disregard sources that seem improbable, as they often produce the most profound revelations and spiritual expansion.

Reindeer Folklore

Reindeer Folklore

Santa’s reindeer most probably evolved from Herne, the Celtic Horned God. Eight reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh, representative of the eight solar sabbats. In British lore, the stag is one of the five oldest and wisest animals in the world, embodying dignity, power and integrity. From their late Autumn dramatic rutting displays, stags represented strength, sexuality and fertility. As evidenced by multiple prehistoric excavations of stag antler ritual costumes, the wearing of stag antlers in folk dance recreated the sacred male shaman figure called Lord of the Wild Hunt, Cernunnos, or Herne the Hunter, among others–he who travels between worlds, escorting animal spirits to the afterlife and sparking wisdom and fertility in this world. Likewise, the stag’s branching antlers echo the growth of vegetation. In America, the stag represents male ideals: the ability to “walk one’s talk,” and powerfully, peacefully blend stewardship and care of the tribe with sexual and spiritual integrity.

In Northern European myth, the Mother Goddess lives in a cave, gives birth to the sun child, and can shape shift into a white hind, or doe. Therefore, the white hind was magical, to be protected and never hunted. In myth, graceful running women of the forest–who were actually magical white hinds–brought instant old age or death to hunters who chased them.

To the Celts, all deer were especially symbolic of nurturing, gentle and loving femaleness. White deer hide was used to make tribal women’s clothing. White deer called “faery cattle” were commonly believed to offer milk to fairies. In Britain amongst the Druids, some men experienced life-transforming epiphanies from spiritual visions or visitations by white hinds, balancing and healing their inner feminine energy. In Europe white hinds truly exist, and are many shades of warm white cream-colors, with pale lashes–otherworldly in their peaceful and modest behavior. To many Native American tribes, deer are models of the graceful and patient mother who exhibits unconditional love and healthy, integrated female energy.

What it Means to be Pagan

What it Means to be Pagan

Author:   Orion Guardian-Elm 

I have been thinking recently about what it means to be Pagan, and how one can be defined as Pagan. Some would say anyone who is part of an ‘Earth-based religion’, and yet I have met many Pagans who are not Earth-based at all (except that they live on it perhaps) . Some would say anyone who is a member of a polytheistic religion, and while I would agree that practically all polytheists are Pagan, what about the ones who pantheistic, pane theistic, monotheistic (yes, there is some) , or even agnostic or atheistic?

One of the things I love most about Paganism is its diversity. I love that it is such a broad category. I mean it would be pretty boring if we were all exactly the same right? There are Witches, Shamans, Druids, Reconstructionists, Wiccans, Heathens, Christo-Pagans, Eclectics, possibly even Hindus and Buddhists, and many others, all of whom are Pagan. I have even come across a number of non-religious Pagans before (and a non-religious person is one of the dictionary definitions of what a Pagan is) .

Some of us love Nature. Some Witchcraft and Magick, others mythology and ancient history. And some of us love all of them and more! Some Pagans are practicing, others non-practicing. Some would consider themselves Neo-Pagans, others Meso-Pagans, and others yet, Recon-Pagans. The diversity within Paganism may mean that sometimes we will disagree with one another on a certain subject but hey, we’re all individuals – that’s what makes us special.

I have always been Pagan, though I didn’t know it until recently. As a child I was fascinated with Celtic mythology and the ancient Pagan sites of Britain (my homeland) , such as Glastonbury Tor and Stonehenge. I felt a strange connection to the sites, which I still can’t explain. I always felt at home among trees, and loved to go for solitary walks across the field near my house (which was, ironically, on a Bible College campus!) . I felt a connection to the Celtic god Cernunnos and the goddess Morrighan, and often found myself wondering what it would have been like to worship them in the old, pre-Christian days.

It was not for some time that I came across Neo-Paganism. My Christian mother was convinced I was a worshipper of the devil (Yes, even before I even looked at Magick and Witchcraft) , due mainly to the heavy metal music I was into. She started to buy Christian books about Witchcraft and Satanism, including one called Protecting Your Teen from Today’s Witchcraft (1) .

Surprisingly, it was this book that got me into Wicca (after a brief period of Satanism which I mainly got involved in to freak out my parents) . One of the first sites I came across on Wicca was “Witch School”, and I instantly signed up for a few of the courses. I searched through all the sites I came across on the subject, devouring as much information as I could find. I was amazed that such a movement as Neo-Paganism existed! I had been brought to believe that Paganism only existed in the ancient, pre-Christian days, and that all that survived of it now were the superstitions and old wives tales.

I went to my library where I came across a copy of Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance (2) . Despite the feminist sentiments, I found the book gave me a foothold in understanding what Wicca and Witchcraft was actually about. That was the real beginning for me, the transition from the religion that my parents wanted me to be a part of to the religion that my spirit cried out to embrace.

To cut a long story short, I turned from a fluffy bunny to a devout Witch in a short amount of time, and read everything I could on the subject of Witchcraft and Paganism (mainly online due to a limited access of books on the subject in my area) . After six months or so I became drawn to Asatru and Odinism, and for a while followed the Heathen path. It was then that my deep interest for my ancestry and for the traditions of Northern Europe developed. However, I still felt drawn to Wicca and Witchcraft at the same time, and found myself unable to choose between the two.

For a short while I considered Druidism, having always been intrigued by the ancient Celts and their religious practices. However, I was unable to find any groups of Druids here in New Zealand, and most of the online courses cost a lot of money. For some time I was simply unsure of my beliefs, knowing that I was definitely Pagan, yet unsure of what specific tradition to claim.

Eventually I decided to return to my old path, yet to continue working with the deities I had come to see as my patrons and matron (Odin, Thor and Freya) . I decided that the best way to define my path would be ‘Eclectic Pagan’, seeing as I drew from more than one source in my practice.

And so this is how I came to be where I am today. I still consider myself a beginner, and know I have a LOT to learn. I read a lot more than I practice, though I do try to pray every day and to be aware of the Nature around me. I have come to love being a Pagan, and the diversity of it, and have realized that one of the most beautiful things about Paganism is the fact that you can follow your own path, and do what feels right to you.

You don’t need a certificate to be Pagan, nor a degree, nor the approval of anyone else – you can just be. What makes one Pagan is their identification with the term, and that’s what’s so great about it. You don’t need to be an adept at Magick, nor a scholar of ancient history – if the term Pagan resonates with you, then you can claim it. All you need to be Pagan is to feel that you are in your heart.

_____________________________

Footnotes:
1 Steve Russo, Bethany House Publishers, 2005
2 Starhawk, HarperCollins Publishers, 1979

Embraced by the Goddess

Embraced by the Goddess

Author:   Elwin Shadowstrider   

Originally I was planning to place this in my Book of Mirrors, as you see; I changed my mind for many reasons. Some were to let others know of a beautiful life-changing event that forever changed me. I felt that to some it may help, for others maybe just to remind them of when they first set their own two feet on their Path.

Without a short background some of this will not make any sense at all, I will not go into gory detail. Some things are very tragic, some of those things I draw a great deal of strength from. However, my childhood was beyond horrible, abuse was prevalent, both physical and mental abuse. A great deal seems to come from Stephen King’s worst nightmares.

I have been asked many times by those who know me well how I did not become badly damaged goods…I attribute that to strength of will. I refuse to give up, especially when I know there are greater things out there than what I have to experience at that moment in time then. In time, I proved myself right, as you will see.

I was forced as a child to attend church; I really had no interest in going. They never could answer my questions to my satisfaction. The usual Cain slew Abel, then where did his wife come from if there were only four people on this planet at that time? Many explained that it was more than likely his sister, which I went up in flames then. Letting them know that only last week we were told that was forbidden to lie with your sister or brother. Or was it just holier then than it is now? You get the picture; I was seven when this took place.

My parents were begged not to bring me back to Sunday school. They said that I asked questions that no normal seven year old should ask, and that I should take more on “faith” and to be still and be quiet when the teacher was talking. I felt they were legitimate questions and still do, no pastor or otherwise could ever answer what I asked.

Many referred me to so and so apologetic pastor or seminary college since I was so questioning within the “faith”. Faith, no, I wanted clear concise answers as to WHY these things I was to take on “faith” had to not be asked. Too many holes within their stories and parables, I wanted straight facts that they were not equipped to give.

My teen years were pretty much the same; I was honestly kept as a house slave or servant, I was allowed no bed of my own, any furniture, and the least expensive clothes they could find and was told that it was “good” for my soul.

That got really old really quick, I grew up in Miami, Florida, and I had no air conditioning in my room either. The rest of the household had everything; this is just to give you an idea. By now, I had finally begged and cried to this “god” for deliverance, anything, just I wanted out of this household.

I begged for many years, all I got in return was silence…no answers.

I thought at first maybe I was “imperfect”, a “sinner” and god wanted nothing to do with me; just like everyone else in my life then. My despair began to grow to stellar heights, just what was I supposed to do? I left my Dad’s house when I was sixteen; I refused to put up with it any longer.

As the years passed as years will, I occasionally begged “god” for help, by now, I have been begging for years, still, no answer. I sought “help” from pastors; I got the usual praying over, and one even suggested performing an exorcism on me to cast out any “evil spirits” that might have taken up residence within.

Being that my family is from central Ireland we were brought up to trust and believe the clergy. Mostly Catholics, a few Protestants, was what ran in my family. I never could understand just how they could take so much on faith and let it go at that.

I was the one who always read everything, but my favorites still to this day is the “Sword and Sorcery” type epics that I learned so much from. I was the cast off, the one who believed that the Elves still existed and Dragons were around the next corner; during what free time I could steal away I walked the woods, searching for something, just what I never knew then.

What I didn’t know was that our beloved Green Man was whispering to me all that time. There were days I could almost hear what He was saying, almost; but not quite getting it.

Often, I just shrugged my shoulders and continued on, learning what so many just didn’t see. To learn of beauty, to know some small peace in my life. To see animals as more of my friends than Man, to know trees, to breathe in what I needed. In these times I didn’t feel lost at all, I felt at home then.

Here I will leave the past behind, these memories are very painful in ways, but I learned how to be what many never do, Human. To know the fullness of sorrow, anger, and hatred is something I do not recommend to anyone. Better to not know the fullness of what those emotions can do to a person, the hardness in can put in place of what should be someone’s heart.

This is when I looked back on my life, and wanted to know why, just why, “god” never answered me. Why my life was, so far, was so cold inside, why can’t I be happy like so many others here in this world?

Despair grew yet again, yet despair this time was very deep. It lasted for many months instead of just a few days.

I once again went to begging “god” for answers, help, anything; just one answer is all I required, just one. It never came, that answer. Finally, I broke down, after thirty-six years of fighting I broke down.

I gave up, entirely. I had nothing else to believe in.

Yes, I do have a wife and son; I do have family of my own. I love them both very dearly. I wanted faith. I wanted faith to believe in myself, to believe that when this path here on earth is over there is something other than nothing. As I said, I broke down, I wanted nothing anymore, and I gave up.

With that, I began the soul wrenching crying that signified total defeat; “god” wasn’t there. I was truly lost, and that’s what broke my heart more than anything. I was lost.

During this time of defeat, a PRESCENSE is the only way I could begin to describe it. Something unbelievably beyond me, something that radiated Love, I really gave in then. I felt as if I should know who this was, but for some reason I didn’t.

Then in a voice that was VERY female, soft, full of understanding and infinite Love spoke to me, ” Why do you weep? Why is your heart so heavy within your breast? Where is the laughter that I love to hear from you? Where are your smiles?”

I was dumbfounded, I could only answer, “I am lost, god doesn’t answer me, I am alone here, and I want faith in the universe around me.”

She laughed, not a mocking laughter, one full of understanding, and Love. “I have known your ancestors, the Celts, I know you. Why is it you don’t know me?”

I answered, ” My lady, I don’t know you I wish I did, I am tired of not knowing anything.”

She answered, ” So you shall, you are my child, none other’s, you are my son. Love shall be yours.”

At that moment, all the years of hatred, anger, sorrow, animosity, and narrow-minded beliefs fell away, replaced by Love. I fell to crying out of sheer joy and happiness.

At that, she laughed again, full of mirth, and joy that I did remember who She was at last. As I lay there my Goddess embraced me, not in the spiritual sense, it was very physical, yet I couldn’t see Her.

Her embrace was like nothing I have ever known in my life, for just one moment here on this plane of existence, I knew what it was like to Love all, to realize that Love was all my Goddess wanted from me; that and my laughter, my happiness.

Since that day, the Wiccan Rede is indelible upon me. I will harm NONE. I became a vegetarian; I refuse to harm anything, even so much as a bug outside.

My son (Goddess Bless him) came to me not two weeks ago and asked what was making me so happy, why I laughed at nearly everything now. I want to tell him, he’s only eleven, and I won’t alter his Path in life. When he gets a little older and he asks again, then I will tell him.

Just three days later, flying in the face of tradition, I gave myself to my Goddess. It’s been only five weeks from that wonderful day. I oath bound myself to Her, and laughed with Her when she accepted me as her child.

After the turn of events in the beginning of my life I had indeed proven myself right, that there are greater things out there. You just have to look in the right place sometimes.

There may be a few others out there who may have experienced something like this. I do not know, I do not claim to know. I know what gift was given to me, and that gift will be cherished until I see my Goddess yet again.

Please understand I have no hatred for the Christian religion. I have left hatred behind, and that is no longer who I am. I have many friends who are Christians; they know that I am a Witch, a Wiccan. They also know that I will never turn away from my Goddess; they know I will lovingly tell them that I have found my Path if they begin to preach at me.

I have also lost a great deal of friends who were too judgmental and walked away from me. Some of those were indeed painful, many were very good friends. Their children played with my son quite often, now I have yet to see them again.

I am at Peace with their choice; they too have a Path they must follow. As any Pagan, I just send them my Love from time to time. Many of my relatives also have nothing to do with me now, that too I have taken in Peace.

It is somewhat difficult to convey what exactly has happened to me. My life was filled with so much negative energies that I never believed that something such as this could really happen. Life has truly begun for me, to feel Love as never before, to Love all that I see. To feel the sense of the Spirit’s whisperings in all that is around me, to know and see indescribable beauty in all that my eyes behold.

The most fun part is to finally hear the Green Man’s laughter, to hear His dancing steps, to know His Love for all things that grow. I know who He is as well, no longer just whispers that I can’t quite catch, to hear His voice is truly wonderful. To also hear God’s voice in laughter with the Goddess’ laughter as I take my first tentative steps in Life, my heart is full.

There are days I wonder if I can really Love more than the day before, the answer is yes. Goddess, YES! Tears of true joy fall these days; the Goddess has embraced me. I have just scratched the surface of what I will know before I must return to Summerland.

I also no longer fear to die, I actually look forward to the day when I can return to all that knows me, to see those whom I know. To find so many there waiting for my return. I will also state I don’t think I will return to Mother Earth, I will stay in Summerland.

I know that I may return if I wish, however; I will stay. There is work to do there as well.

In closing, yes, I am indeed VERY new to Wicca; I have learned what Wiccan Pride is truly all about. I have learned what Love really is, what Peace, true Peace really is.

I have also learned what Magick is all about. Magick in one word, WOW! I had no real idea of what can be done; it’s real, and its mind blowing of what we can do with it.

I will leave you Sisters and Brothers here, know that one more Wiccan has joined your ranks. Thanks for taking the time to read of my experience with the Goddess. Know that She Loves us all; no matter what Path we take.

Merry Meet, Merry Partings until we Merry Meet again.

Abundant and Brightest Blessings to all,

Elwin Shadowstrider ) O (

Celebrating Our Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Samhain

Samhain Comments & Graphics
October 31st

Samhain, Halloween

Samhain (pronounced Sow-in) marks the end of the agricultural season and the beginning of Winter. For the Celts, who inhabited the British Isles more than 1,000 years ago, Samhain was the beginning of the year and the cycle of seasons. It was a time when they turned to their Gods, seeking to understand the turning of the cycle of life and death. For the Celtic people, Samhain was a time when the gates between this world and the next were open. It was a time of communion with the Spirits who were believed to roam free on this night. It was a time of divination, when the ancestors were contacted for warnings and guidance through the dark Winter months.

In medieval Ireland, Samhain was the major festival that marked the opening of Winter; it was sometimes spelled “Samain” or “Samuin,” although still pronounced the same. It was believed that Samhain was a time of unusual supernatural power, when all manner of fairies, goblins, and monsters roamed the Earth. It was unfavorable to walk about on this night, lest one might stumble onto an open fairy mound and fall victim to the fairy’s enchantment.

Samhain was also a time of truce with no fighting, violence, or divorce allowed. Hence it was a time of marriage. Acounts were closed, debts collected, contracts made and servants hired. Magickally, Samhain is a time of reflection, ending thing that are not producing results, and releasing negative thoughts. Samhain is the perfect time to make a talisman for self control and protection of the family and home.

You Call It Hallowe’en… We Call It Samhain

You Call It Hallowe’en… We Call It Samhain

by Peg Aloi

 

October 31st, commonly called Hallowe’en, is associated with many customs, some of them mysterious, some light-hearted, some of them downright odd. Why do we bob for apples, carve pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, and tell ghost stories on this night? Why do children go door-to-door asking for candy, dressed in fantastical costumes? How is Hallowe’en connected to All Soul’s Day, celebrated by some Christian denominations on November 1st? And what is the significance of this holiday for modern-day Witches?

A Brief History of Hallowe’en

Hallowe’en has its origins in the British Isles. While the modern tradition of trick or treat developed in the U. S., it too is based on folk customs brought to this country with Irish immigrants after 1840. Since ancient times in Ireland, Scotland, and England, October 31st has been celebrated as a feast for the dead, and also the day that marks the new year. Mexico observes a Day of the Dead on this day, as do other world cultures. In Scotland, the Gaelic word “Samhain” (pronounced “SAW-win” or “SAW-vane”) means literally “summer’s end.”

Other names for this holiday include: All Hallows Eve (“hallow” means “sanctify”); Hallowtide; Hallowmass; Hallows; The Day of the Dead; All Soul’s Night; All Saints’ Day (both on November 1st).

For early Europeans, this time of the year marked the beginning of the cold, lean months to come; the flocks were brought in from the fields to live in sheds until spring. Some animals were slaughtered, and the meat preserved to provide food for winter. The last gathering of crops was known as “Harvest Home, ” celebrated with fairs and festivals.

In addition to its agriculture significance, the ancient Celts also saw Samhain as a very spiritual time. Because October 31 lies exactly between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice, it is theorized that ancient peoples, with their reliance on astrology, thought it was a very potent time for magic and communion with spirits. The “veil between the worlds” of the living and the dead was said to be at its thinnest on this day; so the dead were invited to return to feast with their loved ones; welcomed in from the cold, much as the animals were brought inside. Ancient customs range from placing food out for dead ancestors, to performing rituals for communicating with those who had passed over.

Communion with the dead was thought to be the work of witches and sorcerers, although the common folk thought nothing of it. Because the rise of the Church led to growing suspicion of the pagan ways of country dwellers, Samhain also became associated with witches, black cats (“familiars” or animal friends), bats (night creatures), ghosts and other “spooky” things…the stereotype of the old hag riding the broomstick is simply a caricature; fairy tales have exploited this image for centuries.

Divination of the future was also commonly practiced at this magically-potent time; since it was also the Celtic New Year, people focused on their desires for the coming year. Certain traditions, such as bobbing for apples, roasting nuts in the fire, and baking cakes which contained tokens of luck, are actually ancient methods of telling fortunes.

So What About Those Jack-O-Lanterns?

Other old traditions have survived to this day; lanterns carved out of pumpkins and turnips were used to provide light on a night when huge bonfires were lit, and all households let their fires go out so they could be rekindled from this new fire; this was believed to be good luck for all households. The name “Jack-O-Lantern” means “Jack of the Lantern, ” and comes from an old Irish tale. Jack was a man who could enter neither heaven nor hell and was condemned to wander through the night with only a candle in a turnip for light. Or so goes the legend…

But such folk names were commonly given to nature spirits, like the “Jack in the Green, ” or to plants believed to possess magical properties, like “John O’ Dreams, ” or “Jack in the Pulpit.” Irish fairy lore is full of such references. Since candles placed in hollowed-out pumpkins or turnips (commonly grown for food and abundant at this time of year) would produce flickering flames, especially on cold nights in October, this phenomenon may have led to the association of spirits with the lanterns; and this in turn may have led to the tradition of carving scary faces on them. It is an old legend that candle flames which flicker on Samhain night are being touched by the spirits of dead ancestors, or “ghosts.”

Okay, What about the Candy?

“Trick or treat” as it is practiced in the U. S. is a complex custom believed to derive from several Samhain traditions, as well as being unique to this country. Since Irish immigrants were predominantly Catholic, they were more likely to observe All Soul’s Day. But Ireland’s folk traditions die hard, and the old ways of Samhain were remembered. The old tradition of going door to door asking for donations of money or food for the New Year’s feast, was carried over to the U. S. from the British Isles. Hogmanay was celebrated January 1st in rural Scotland, and there are records of a “trick or treat” type of custom; curses would be invoked on those who did not give generously; while those who did give from their hearts were blessed and praised. Hence, the notion of “trick or treat” was born (although this greeting was not commonly used until the 1930’s in the U. S.). The wearing of costumes is an ancient practice; villagers would dress as ghosts, to escort the spirits of the dead to the outskirts of the town, at the end of the night’s celebration.

By the 1920’s, “trick or treat” became a way of letting off steam for those urban poor living in crowded conditions. Innocent acts of vandalism (soaping windows, etc.) gave way to violent, cruel acts. Organizations like the Boy Scouts tried to organize ways for this holiday to become safe and fun; they started the practice of encouraging “good” children to visit shops and homes asking for treats, so as to prevent criminal acts. These “beggar’s nights” became very popular and have evolved to what we know as Hallowe’en today.

What Do Modern Witches Do at Hallowe’en?

It is an important holiday for us. Witches are diverse, and practice a variety of traditions. Many of us use this time to practice forms of divination (such as tarot or runes). Many Witches also perform rituals to honor the dead; and may invite their deceased loved ones to visit for a time, if they choose. This is not a “seance” in the usual sense of the word; Witches extend an invitation, rather than summoning the dead, and we believe the world of the dead is very close to this one. So on Samhain, and again on Beltane (May 1st), when the veil between the worlds is thin, we attempt to travel between those worlds. This is done through meditation, visualization, and astral projection. Because Witches acknowledge human existence as part of a cycle of life, death and rebirth, Samhain is a time to reflect on our mortality, and to confront our fears of dying.

Some Witches look on Samhain as a time to prepare for the long, dark months of winter, a time of introspection and drawing inward. They may bid goodbye to the summer with one last celebratory rite. They may have harvest feasts, with vegetables and fruits they have grown, or home-brewed cider or mead. They may give thanks for what they have, projecting for abundance through the winter. Still others may celebrate with costume parties, enjoying treats and good times with friends. There are as many ways of observing Samhain as there are Witches in the world!

“An Autumn Chant”

“An Autumn Chant”

by Karen Bergquist

 
I will dance
The dance of dying days
And sleeping life.
I will dance In cold, dead leaves
A bending, whirling human flame.
I will dance As the Horned God rides
Across the skies. I will dance
To the music of His hounds
Running, baying in chorus.
I will dance With the ghosts of those Gone before.
I will dance Between the sleep of life
And the dream of death.
I will dance On Samhain’s dusky eye, I will dance.