Calendar of the Moon for December 3rd

Calendar of the Moon

3 Ruis/Poseideion

Pandora’s Day

Colors: Grey and white
Element: Air
Altar: Upon a grey cloth set a large wooden box covered with carvings of horror, blight, and disease. It should be filled with two layers of rolled papers, separated by a cloth. The first layer is rolled papers tied with black string, which are assignments as to what offering of aid to the unfortunate should be given. The bottom layer is rolled papers tied with silver string, each of which has a saying of hope written upon it. Aside from the box, the altar should be starkly empty.
Offerings: Give aid and hope to those who are suffering outside the House. The following day should be a day of helping other organizations.
Daily Meal: Give food to others; the House fasts tonight.

Invocation to Pandora

Sweet Pandora,
Lady All-Gifted,
You were made like a toy by the Gods
To take revenge on the world,
Yet you hold your own mystery.
You were constructed with all gifts,
Yet we must never forget
That suffering, too, is a gift.
Though it may seem like the greatest of evils,
The pain that you bring hones us,
Tries us, trials us, tests our mettle,
And teaches us the limits of Life.
Help us to honor these gifts of yours,
These thorns and hails and lightning strikes,
This pain and weakness and suffering.
And help us to always remember,
Lady All-Gifted,
The final gift in the bottom of your box,
Which is hope for the future.

(All come forward and kneel before the altar. The keeper of the box says, “Choose your suffering.” One at a time, each comes forward and takes a paper from the top layer of the box. Then the keeper of the box says, “Choose hope,” and each comes forward and takes another paper from the bottom. The box is closed and all leave in silence.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Calendar of the Sun for November 28th

Calendar of the Sun

28 Blutmonath

Sophia’s Day

Colors: Red and white
Element: Air
Altar: Upon a red cloth lay a white cloth, and upon that set a lit lantern, a glass chalice of clear water, incense of frankincense and lemongrass, and let each place upon the altar a book which they find to be great in wisdom.
Offerings: Promise to grow in wisdom, even when the path is difficult.
Daily Meal: Simple and communal.

Invocation to Sophia

Hail, Great Mother of Wisdom!
Consort of the One Whose Name May Not Be Spoken,
Lady whose still small voice
Echoes through every one of us,
Teach us to listen, Lady,
Teach us to pay attention
And to consider well our actions,
Lest we may come to regret them.
Teach us to walk each of our words
Through the door of truth,
Through the door of necessity,
And teach us to know when
We must walk them through
A door yet narrower than those,
The door of kindness to the hearer.
Let our words be heard
By ears who will listen,
And show us how to speak their language
That no misunderstanding
May mar what flows between us.
Lady of Wisdom, speak to us,
And we will strive to hear your voice.

(Each comes forward and takes the book from the altar, and speaks to what that book taught them, and how they are the wiser for it. Then each speaks to another lesson that taught them wisdom, a lesson that did not come from books but from life. Each person thanks Sophia for these lessons, and bows before her altar. Her lantern is carried from the room in procession, and set to hang, still lit, in the main room of the House, where it will remain lit for seven days.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Feast of the Dead

Feast of the Dead

Communication with the spirits is easiest at this time, for the veil between our world and theirs is very thin. It is a time to reflect on our ancestors and those who we have lost.

For the Witch, it is a holiday where we honor our dead friends, relatives, ancestors, and even pets who have passed on. We remember them by putting an extra plate at the dinner table for them.

Along the north wall of the dining room there is a small table prepared as an unobtrusive altar, and without preamble or fuss each person places there some small token or photograph of their dearly departed, some person or being whose memory or influence in their life still means something to them.

Each person quietly lights a candle for his or her various dead, and then they bow their heads in a moment of silence. Memories spill forth and emotions run deep. When it is time a bell is softly chimed and all stand.

A shared moment of silence is observed, and then everyone takes a turn making a toast to his or her chosen ancestor. The bell is sounded once more and everyone takes his or her place at the dining room table to partake of a feast enjoyed. In silence, each guest communing with their own spirits and remembrances.

We honor our ancestors at Samhain as they have honored us in the days before we were born. And as they shall honor us in the nights ahead when we eventually cross the river to take up our place beside those who have gone before into the greatest Mystery of all.

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!

Samhain Cemetery Visit

Samhain Cemetery Visit

Honoring the Dead in the Midst of Life

By , About.com

In many cultures, the late fall is a time in which the dead are honored with great ceremony. A wonderful example of this is in Mexico, where Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) celebrations are a joyful and festive part of the season. Rather than being sad and mournful, families go to cemeteries where they honor their loved ones with picnics, colorful altars, and even parades.

You don’t have to be part of the Hispanic community to celebrate the season in this manner, though. Many non-Hispanic Pagans see Samhain as a time to honor their dead with happy remembrance. There are a number of ways you can do this, and incorporate a visit at your family’s cemetery into your Samhain festivities.

Headstone Cleanup

Start by cleaning up headstones. Pluck or trim any overgrown grass or weeds from around the gravesite or sites. To clean a headstone, you should be sure to check with the cemetery operators (if you can find them) about any cleaning policies. In general, a good guideline is that if a headstone is made of marble, limestone or or sandstone, you can use water (bring a couple of gallon jugs along) and a SOFT nylon bristle brush.

For older headstones, which may crumble from age when you clean them, water alone may be your best bet. A headstone that is cracked or damaged shouldn’t be cleaned at all, at the risk of causing more damage. Do the best you can with what you’ve got – but for more detail on how conservationists suggest you clean an old stone, read here: Association for Gravestone Studies..

If you’d like to make a grave rubbing of a headstone, read here: How to Make a Grave Rubbing. Keep in mind that you should always follow the rules of the cemetery. Remember that while doing a rubbing usually doesn’t cause damage to headstones, particularly newer ones, there are certain precautions that should be taken. If a stone is worn or crumbling, pass on it. Rubbing an already-damaged stone can cause it to flake and chip to the point where it’s irreparable. Instead, choose stones which are in good condition – the best results come from either polished granite stones or solid slate markers. If there’s any doubt about the condition of the stone, don’t use it for a rubbing.

 

Ancestor Altar

Many people like to have an ancestor altar in their homes during the Samhain season, but you can set one up at the cemetery as well. It can be as simple as a few candles, a photo, and some flowers, or more complex. If the grave is an older cemetery, you may want to bring a small flat object to use as an altar – bed trays work well for this – so as not to damage the headstone. Be sure to check with the cemetery for guidelines, if you choose to leave your altar in place after you’ve left. If you do take it with you when you go, be careful to pick up any stray bits and pieces that may have scattered around. Don’t leave a mess behind.

Flowers and colorful ribbons are also a popular addition to headstones during this season – if you have wreaths, feel free to add those as well. In Mexico, another offering is travel items – razors, a bowl of water, and soap are a great addition, because your deceased loved ones can use these items to clean up after their journey.

For more about how different cultures venerate their ancestors, read here: Ancestor Worship. The concept of ancestor worship is not a new one for many Pagans today. Ancient cultures often venerated those who came before them, and even now, in our contemporary society, it’s not uncommon at all to find celebrations that honor the ancestors in a variety of different ways.

 

Sugar Skulls and Candy Coffins

You can make a batch of Sugar Skulls, which are confectionaries traditionally made at Day of the Dead celebrations. If you’re not sure about how to make them – or don’t feel confident in your own candy-making skills – check at your local Hispanic marketa – they almost always have them in stock in the fall. Another popular item is the candy or chocolate coffin – again, if you aren’t able to make them, an alternative is to use small boxes made of cardstock or lightweight cardboard to create coffins, and fill them with candy, trinkets, and tiny skeletons.

 

Cemetery Supper

For many people who celebrate Day of the Dead, a huge part of the day involves a meal. You can pack up a picnic supper, and visit your family at the cemetery while you eat. Some ideas you might try:

  • Bring loaves of sweet, dessert breads, which are traditional in many cultures, as a Samhain offering.
  • If you know a particular family member really loved a favorite dish, include that as part of your picnic supper.
  • Be sure to bring an extra plate for each of your beloved dead – they are with you in spirit, and should be offered a seat at the table (or picnic blanket).
  • You can either make your picnic formal and serious, like the Dumb Supper, or joyous and fun – it’s up to you.
  • Consider singing songs – if you have drums or a guitar, bring them along, and after you’ve eaten, sing your family’s favorite tunes to serenade your ancestors. If you know the traditional folk songs of your family’s culture, this is a great time to share them – and if you don’t know them, now is a good time to learn and pass on the traditions.

 

Saying Farewell… For Now

Finally, before you leave, be sure to say a last farewell to your ancestors, thanking them for joining you, and letting them know you will honor them all year long. If your celebrations have spilled over onto other gravesites, you may want to leave a small offering of thanks for those residents as well – broken pieces of bread are a good symbolic offering. Spend a day visiting with those who came before you, remember them well, and let them know that someday, you will see them again.

Calendar of the Sun for October 20th

Calendar of the Sun

20 Winterfyllith

Festival of the Boychild

Colors: Any mix of bright colors
Element: Water
Altar: Lay cloth of bright colors. On this day, let boy children below the age of puberty come into the house and lay upon the altar their most beloved toys, and hang pictures that they have drawn, and set on the altar what food they would offer, of their choice, to be provided by the house.
Offerings: Give gifts to boy children, especially of time and attention and companionship.
Daily Meal: What the boy children choose, so long as it is within the eating rules of the house.

Invocation to the Sacred Boychild

I sing the song of the Boy Child,
Rising with the dawn,
Eyes full of wonder,
Spirit like a kite riding the winds,
Spirit flying among the gulls and swallows,
Golden with the light of all beginnings,
Explorer of the old seen anew,
You breathe possibilities.
By breath and scent, by bud and blossom,
By hands that play and feet that wander,
By eyes that see and touch the sky,
We hail you on this day,
Spirit of the Boychild
Who lives within each of us.
Spark of fire that will one day be a flame,
Rushing, tumbling brook that will one day
Become a river and roar into the ocean,
Leaping sapling who yearns to be a tree,
Climber of trees who will one day be
The climber of mountain peaks,
We hail you on this day,
Spirit of the Boychild
Who lives within each of us.
May you fill us with laughter
And with mischief, and wonder,
And the bright days of springtime
That rise with the dawn in our souls.

(All drum and dance in a circle, including those boy children who wish it.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

The Witches Almanac for *Wednesday, November 7th

The Witches Almanac for *Wednesday, November 7th

*Wednesday (Mercury): The conscious mind, study, travel, divination and wisdom.

Mayan Day of the Dead

 

Moon Sign: *Leo

*Leo: Draw emphasis to self, central ideas or institutions, away from connections with others and other emotional needs. People tend to be melodramatic.

*Waning Moon

*The Waning Moon is a time for study, meditation and little magickal work (except magick designed to banish harmful energies).

Moon enters *Virgo 11:35 pm

*Virgo: Favors accomplishment of details and commands from higher up. Focuses on health, hygiene, and daily schedules.

Moon Phase: Fourth Quarter

Incense: Lilac

Color: Topaz

 

 

More Autumn / Fall Comments

LIGHTING, EXTINGUISHING AND DISPOSAL

LIGHTING, EXTINGUISHING AND DISPOSAL

Light all candles with a lighter or another candle. Never use matches, as the sulphur will disrupt magickal workings.

To extinguish a candle, use a candle snuffer, or wave your hand over the top of the candle to create enough draft to extinguish it.

If you plan to use it again, store it carefully. If the spell calls for a virgin candle, bury it off of your property for spells involving the movement of things away from you and on the property if you wish to draw something toward you.

Keep candle drippings from all rituals, except those where you are repelling. You can add drippings to healing pouches (if the spell was for healing). Remelt them on a talisman consecrated and empowered during the same ritual, or keep them simply in the bottom of a purse or coat pocket for good luck, fertility, romance and fortune.

Seasons of the Witch

Seasons of the Witch

  • Birthstone: Topaz, signifying fidelity      
  • Third Station of the Year      
  • Kalends of November, ancient Rome      
  • The Isia, ancient Egypt (Oct 28-Nov 3)      
  • Day of the Awakeners, Bulgaria      
  • Day of the Banshees, Ireland      
  • El Dia de las Muerte, Mexico (Day of the Dead) – feast and festival celebrating Death and commemorating the dead.      
  • Voodoo: All Saint’s Day – ritual bonfires are lit for the sun loa Legba, symbolizing the re-firing of        the sun at the beginning of the new year.      
  • All Saints Day is a day of religious feasting that, with no coincidence, follows the originally pagan holiday of Halloween.  More than 2,000 years ago, Celtic peoples in Ireland, Scotland, and Great Britain held harvest feasts to which they believed the souls of their dead returned. These feasts evolved into what we now know as Halloween.
  • Voudun/Catholicism: All Saints Day – feast in commemoration of all the Christian saints. Moved from springtime to Nov. 1st to         counter the Druid’s celebration of Samhain.      
Kitano Odori, Kyoto, Japan (Nov 1-15) At Kamikyo-ku, Kitano Kaikan theatre, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture Dancing  groups and music.
World Community Day–Day for celebrating the unity behind diversity and remembering we are all one people – all  children of the one universal Deity of many names and aspects.
11/1 to 11/4: Diwali/Lunar New Year/Festival of Lights–Hindu festival for Goddess Lakshmi (source of health,  fertility, and prosperity) and Her consort, God Vishnu (the preserver); focus is on peace-making and new beginnings. [a/k/a Divali, Dipavali, Deepavali,  Bandi Chhor Divas]
Excerpted From GrannyMoon’s Morning  Feast Archives, Earth, Moon and Sky and/or School of Seasons .
Remember the ancient ways and keep them sacred!

Daily Feng Shui For Nov 1 ~ ‘All Saint’s Day’

Today’s ‘All Saint’s Day’ honors the nearly 10,000 saints canonized by the Christian church to date. All Saint’s Day was originally celebrated in May but was moved to early November to offset the perceived paganism associated with Halloween and tomorrow’s ‘Day of the Dead.’ Regardless of when you celebrate them, asking the saints for their intercession is always a good thing. Of late, I have found myself invoking Saint Basil, patron saint of Causes and Justice. Saint Basil also assists in righting wrongs, especially where legal cases are concerned. The specific ritual assigned to invoke Saint Basil says to light three red candles before asking to bring the right remedy to the concerning situation. After blowing out the candles and when your prayers have been positively answered, you must then thank Saint Basil for his attention and assistance. Can I get an amen?

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com