The Witches Magick for March 20th – Ritual for Growth, Healing and Renewal

The Witches Magick for March 20th

Ritual for Growth, Healing, and Renewal

Tools

Black candle

White candle

Athame

Goblet filled with water

Note: this is best performed skyclad, but the same effect can be obtained while fully clothed.

Diety

Ereshkigal, Assyro-Babylonian goddess of the Underworld, known for the ability to shed dead skin to grow and the deep power of renewal.

Setup

Facing north, place the black candle on the altar at south, the white candle at north, and the goblet in the middle.

Cast the Circle

Invocation

Light the black candle.

“Oh, great goddess Ereshkigal, join me in this sacred place. Help me to grow and leave behind the petty ways of the world. Assist me in healing the scars that I have been inflicted with through other’s cruelty. Teach me to respond with love and kindness.”

Passing your athame three times through the fire of the black candle, say:

“Great goddess of the Underworld, as this black candle burns, help me to also burn away the blackness in myself.”

Feel and envision yourself burning away the blackness that you carry with you. Blow out the candle.

Take a drink of water from the goblet. Say:

“With this drink of purity, help me to flush away the cinders left by the burning, so that I may be completely free from maliciousness.”

Take a drop of water from the goblet and place it on the wick of the black candle.

Light the White candle.

Reflect on the purity of the color and the healing power of the light. Say:

“Ereshkigal, assist me in this time of renewal. Help me to heal from the scars that the world has left on me and to rejuvenate myself. Through this renewal, I will be better able to act with compassion and patience towards those that seek to hurt me.”

Take time to reflect on this renewal proccess. Feel every part of your body become stronger, healthier, and more pure. Say:

“Oh, Great goddess Ereshkigal, help me to carry this growth and renewal with me in daily life.”

Extinguish the white candle.

Open the Circle

Source:
Author Amy D. Guthrie

Website: Pagan Library

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Calendar of the Sun for February 18th

Calendar of the Sun

18 Solmonath

Ishtar’s Day

Color: Pottery red, terra cotta
Element: Earth
Altar: Set with a cloth of earthy red, and on it place a pitcher of milk and another of wine, bowls of wood and clay filled with grains, olives, figs, and dates, a star, and the figure of a lioness.
Offerings: Grains. Stars. Give food to those who need it.
Daily Meal: Wholegrain bread. Cooked grains. Milk and dairy products.

Ishtar Invocation

I beseech thee, Lady of Ladies,
Goddess of Goddesses,
Ishtar, queen of all cities,
Leader of all men.
Thou art the light of the world,
Thou art the light of heaven.
At thy name the earth and the heavens shake,
And the gods they tremble;
The spirits of heaven tremble at thy name
And the men hold it in awe.
Where thou glancest the dead come to life,
And the sick rise and walk;
And the mind that is distressed is healed
When it looks upon thy face.

Call and response:
For lo, I am the Keeper of the Storehouse
And I am generous to all men!
From my breasts nourishment spills
From my hands nourishment flows
From my heart nourishment streams
I am the Morning Star
I am the Evening Star
I am the Star of Heaven
And I give unto all humanity.

(After this, all should being the work of inventorying all the resources of the house, in Ishtar’s name, so that they may be used more efficiently and that it can be known what can be given to others out of generosity.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Mabon History: The Second Harvest

Mabon History: The Second Harvest

By , About.com Guide

The Science of the Equinox:

Two days a year, the Northern and Southern hemispheres receive the same amount of sunlight. Not only that, each receives the same amount of light as they do dark — this is because the earth is tilted at a right angle to the sun, and the sun is directly over the equator. In Latin, the word equinox translates to “equal night.” The autumn equinox takes place on or near September 21, and its spring counterpart falls around March 21. If you’re in the Northern hemisphere, the days will begin getting shorter after the autumn equinox and the nights will grow longer — in the Southern hemisphere, the reverse is true.

Global Traditions:

The idea of a harvest festival is nothing new. In fact, people have celebrated it for millennia, all around the world. In ancient Greece, Oschophoria was a festival held in the fall to celebrate the harvesting of grapes for wine. In the 1700’s, the Bavarians came up with Oktoberfest, which actually begins in the last week of September, and it was a time of great feasting and merriment, still in existence today. China’s Mid-Autumn festival is celebrated on the night of the Harvest Moon, and is a festival of honoring family unity.

Giving Thanks:

Although the traditional American holiday of Thanksgiving falls in November, many cultures see the second harvest time of the fall equinox as a time of giving thanks. After all, it’s when you figure out how well your crops did, how fat your animals have gotten, and whether or not your family will be able to eat during the coming winter. However, by the end of November, there’s not a whole lot left to harvest. Originally, the American Thanksgiving holiday was celebrated on October 3, which makes a lot more sense agriculturally.

Thanksgiving was originally celebrated on October 3. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued his “Thanksgiving Proclamation”, which changed the date to the last Thursday in November. In 1939, Franklin Delano Roosevelt adjusted it yet again, making it the second-to-last Thursday, in the hopes of boosting post-Depression holiday sales. Unfortunately, all this did was confuse people. Two years later, Congress finalized it, saying that the fourth Thursday of November would be Thanksgiving, each year.

Symbols of the Season:

The harvest is a time of thanks, and also a time of balance — after all, there are equal hours of daylight and darkness. While we celebrate the gifts of the earth, we also accept that the soil is dying. We have food to eat, but the crops are brown and going dormant. Warmth is behind us, cold lies ahead.

Some symbols of Mabon include:

  • Mid-autumn vegetables, like squashes and gourds
  • Apples and anything made from them, such as cider or pies
  • Seeds, nuts and seed pods
  • Baskets, symbolizing the gathering of crops
  • Sickles and scythes
  • Grapes, vines, wine

You can use any of these to decorate your home or your altar at Mabon.

Feasting and Friends:

Early agricultural societies understood the importance of hospitality — it was crucial to develop a relationship with your neighbors, because they might be the ones to help you when your family ran out of food. Many people, particularly in rural villages, celebrated the harvest with great deals of feasting, drinking, and eating. After all, the grain had been made into bread, beer and wine had been made, and the cattle were brought down from the summer pastures for the coming winter. Celebrate Mabon yourself with a feast — and the bigger, the better!

Magic and Mythology:

Nearly all of the myths and legends popular at this time of the year focus on the themes of life, death, and rebirth. Not much of a surprise, when you consider that this is the time at which the earth begins to die before winter sets in!

Demeter and Her Daughter

Perhaps the best known of all the harvest mythologies is the story of Demeter and Persephone. Demeter was a goddess of grain and of the harvest in ancient Greece. Her daughter, Persephone, caught the eye of Hades, god of the underworld. When Hades abducted Persephone and took her back to the underworld, Demeter’s grief caused the crops on earth to die and go dormant. By the time she finally recovered her daughter, Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds, and so was doomed to spend six months of the year in the underworld. These six months are the time when the earth dies, beginning at the time of the autumn equinox.

Inanna Takes on the Underworld

The Sumerian goddess Inanna is the incarnation of fertility and abundance. Inanna descended into the underworld where her sister, Ereshkigal, ruled. Erishkigal decreed that Inanna could only enter her world in the traditional ways — stripping herself of her clothing and earthly posessions. By the time Inanna got there, Erishkigal had unleashed a series of plagues upon her sister, killing Inanna. While Inanna was visiting the underworld, the earth ceased to grow and produce. A vizier restored Inanna to life, and sent her back to earth. As she journeyed home, the earth was restored to its former glory.

Modern Celebrations

For contemporary Druids, this is the celebration of Alban Elfed, which is a time of balance between the light and the dark. Many Asatru groups honor the fall equinox as Winter Nights, a festival sacred to Freyr.

For most Wiccans and NeoPagans, this is a time of community and kinship. It’s not uncommon to find a Pagan Pride Day celebration tied in with Mabon. Often, PPD organizers include a food drive as part of the festivities, to celebrate the bounty of the harvest and to share with the less fortunate.

If you choose to celebrate Mabon, give thanks for the things you have, and take time to reflect on the balance within your own life, honoring both the darkness and the light. Invite your friends and family over for a feast, and count the blessings that you have among kin and community.

Calendar of the Sun for August 5th

Calendar of the Sun

5 Weodmonath

Dumuzi’s Day

Color: Golden
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a golden cloth is laid a sheaf of grain, two red candles, a cup of wine, incense, a sheepskin, a knife, and a bowl of blood.
Offering: Make a sacrifice of any kind.
Daily Meal: Meat and grain.

Invocation to Dumuzi

Hail, Lord of the flocks and herds
Who is slaughtered that we may live.
Hail, sacred king of Babylon
Who gives his life for Inanna’s freedom
And for Ereshkigal’s hunger.
Hail, reluctant one who goes unwillingly
To the sacrifice, as many of us do,
Yet who learns the beauty and dignity
Of the path of being an offering.

(The cup of wine is passed, and the remainder poured out as a libation.)

It is the nature of sacrifice
To be difficult.
If it was easy to throw away,
It was no sacrifice.
If it was did not miss it
It was no sacrifice.
If it was not the best you could give
It was no sacrifice.
If it was not agonizing to choose,
It was no sacrifice.
If it did not make you waver at least once in your choice,
It was no sacrifice.
If it did not make you weep,
It was no sacrifice.

(The bowl of blood is poured out as a libation.)

Song: Lammas Prayer

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for August 5

Calendar of the Sun

5 Weodmonath

Dumuzi’s Day

Color: Golden
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a golden cloth is laid a sheaf of grain, two red candles, a cup of wine, incense, a sheepskin, a knife, and a bowl of blood.
Offering: Make a sacrifice of any kind.
Daily Meal: Meat and grain.

Invocation to Dumuzi

Hail, Lord of the flocks and herds
Who is slaughtered that we may live.
Hail, sacred king of Babylon
Who gives his life for Inanna’s freedom
And for Ereshkigal’s hunger.
Hail, reluctant one who goes unwillingly
To the sacrifice, as many of us do,
Yet who learns the beauty and dignity
Of the path of being an offering.

(The cup of wine is passed, and the remainder poured out as a libation.)

It is the nature of sacrifice
To be difficult.
If it was easy to throw away,
It was no sacrifice.
If it was did not miss it
It was no sacrifice.
If it was not the best you could give
It was no sacrifice.
If it was not agonizing to choose,
It was no sacrifice.
If it did not make you waver at least once in your choice,
It was no sacrifice.
If it did not make you weep,
It was no sacrifice.

(The bowl of blood is poured out as a libation.)

Song: Lammas Prayer

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Deity of the Day for Feb. 11 – ERESHKIGAL

Deity of the Day

ERESHKIGAL

Also known as ALLATU, ERESHKEGAL, ERISHKEGAL, ERISHKIGAL
 
Underworld Goddess of Death, Darkness and Dust.
 
The consort of NERGAL, and ISHTAR’s sister, she is a brooding moody figure who is prone to fits of fury and spasms of tearful temper. Particularly when she doesn’t get her own way. If you see her lips turn black, you know things can only get worse.

ERESHKIGAL is known as ‘Lady of the Great Place’. Which in this instance means Deadville. ‘Queen of the Great Below’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

In fact the locals referred to her domain as ‘The Land of Gloom’ — and were not impressed by a menu offering a choice between mud and dust. Dead boring really.

ERESHKIGAL’s Underworld realm is guarded by Seven Judges and Gatekeepers, who seem very zealous about keeping people out. Which, we feel, is hardly necessary.

Samhain Goddess – Ishtar

Ishtar’s Descent into the underworld

One of the most famous myths about Ishtar describes her descent to the underworld. In this myth, Ishtar approaches the gates of the underworld and demands that the gatekeeper open them:

If thou openest not the gate to let me enter,
I will break the door, I will wrench the lock,
I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors.
I will bring up the dead to eat the living.
And the dead will outnumber the living.

The gatekeeper hurried to tell Ereshkigal, the Queen of the Underworld. Ereshkigal told the gatekeeper to let Ishtar enter, but “according to the ancient decree”.

The gatekeeper lets Ishtar into the underworld, opening one gate at a time. At each gate, Ishtar has to shed one article of clothing. When she finally passes the seventh gate, she is naked. In rage, Ishtar throws herself at Ereshkigal, but Ereshkigal orders her servant Namtar to imprison Ishtar and unleash sixty diseases against her.

After Ishtar descends to the underworld, all sexual activity ceases on earth. The god Papsukal reports the situation to Ea, the king of the gods. Ea creates an intersex creature called Asu-shu-namir and sends him-her to Ereshkigal, telling him-her to invoke “the name of the great gods” against her and to ask for the bag containing the waters of life. Ereshkigal is enraged when she hears Asu-shu-namir’s demand, but she has to give him-her the water of life. Asu-shu-namir sprinkles Ishtar with this water, reviving her. Then Ishtar passes back through the seven gates, getting one article of clothing back at each gate, and is fully clothed as she exits the last gate.

Here there is a break in the text of the myth. The text resumes with the following lines:

If she (Ishtar) will not grant thee her release,
To Tammuz, the lover of her youth,
Pour out pure waters, pour out fine oil;
With a festival garment deck him that he may play on the flute of lapis lazuli,
That the votaries may cheer his liver. [his spirit]
Belili [sister of Tammuz] had gathered the treasure,
With precious stones filled her bosom.
When Belili heard the lament of her brother, she dropped her treasure,
She scattered the precious stones before her,
“Oh, my only brother, do not let me perish!
On the day when Tammuz plays for me on the flute of lapis lazuli, playing it for me with the porphyry ring.
Together with him, play ye for me, ye weepers and lamenting women!
That the dead may rise up and inhale the incense.”

Formerly, scholars believed that the myth of Ishtar’s descent took place after the death of Ishtar’s lover, Tammuz: they thought Ishtar had gone to the underworld to rescue Tammuz. However, the discovery of a corresponding myth about Inanna, the Sumerian counterpart of Ishtar, has thrown some light on the myth of Ishtar’s descent, including its somewhat enigmatic ending lines. According to the Inanna myth, Inanna can only return from the underworld if she sends someone back in her place. Demons go with her to make sure she sends someone back. However, each time Inanna runs into someone, she finds him to be a friend and lets him go free. When she finally reaches her home, she finds her husband Dumuzi (Babylonian Tammuz) seated on his throne, not mourning her at all. In anger, Inanna has the demons take Dumuzi back to the underworld as her replacement. Dumuzi’s sister Geshtinanna is grief-stricken and volunteers to spend half the year in the underworld, during which time Dumuzi can go free. The Ishtar myth presumably has a comparable ending, Belili being the Babylonian equivalent of Geshtinanna.