April 17 – Daily Feast
We want to do the right thing, say the right thing, be the right person. We try to be in tune with life, to find harmony within to blend with all that surrounds us. It just seems that so much has been borrowed from us – time, concern, spirit – until we cry for restoration. Like children, we want to ask, “Are we happy yet?” Is there a time of rhythm and order and an even beat, so that we may walk without running, laugh without tears, care without fear of giving too much? Yes, beyond the slightest doubt we can renew and we can overcome the feeling of being totally taxed to despair. Speak to yourself, said the little Cherokee grandmother. Tell yourself you are u wo du hi, fine looking, and your surroundings will see it and want you to be happy. In other words, change your attitude and the world will respond.
~ Why do you take by force what you could obtain by love? ~
‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler
The Water Witch puts great store in the powers of her holy waters. Natural waters on which she performs a blessing are usually the best for use as holy water, as they are pure. Clear quartz is often added to boost the power of the water even more. A blessing from a Water Witch removes all negative vibrations and recycles them within the water. In effect, she is using the power of water to cleanse the water. The Water Witch knows that all water is blessed from the start by the Goddess. All that is required of a Witch to bless water is a simple statement of intent, something along the line of, “I cast out all negativity and proclaim this water as pure and good. Blessed am I to have access to it, and blessed is it, for it is my mother’s tears and love.” She might choose to be more eloquent at times, but usually she goes with the flow and follows her instincts.
Water collection methods can be elaborate or simple. A jar placed outside during a thunderstorm, a special gourd dipper used to pull water from a crystal-clear brook, or simply cupping your hands under a natural spring-all of these methods are proper.
St. Mary Magdelene
She is called “the Penitent”. St. Mary was given the name ‘Magdalen’ because, though a Jewish girl, she lived in a Gentile town called Magdale, in northern Galilee, and her culture and manners were those of a Gentile. St. Luke records that she was a notorious sinner, and had seven devils removed from her. She was present at Our Lords’ Crucifixion, and with Joanna and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, at Jesus’ empty tomb. Fourteen years after Our Lord’s death, St. Mary was put in a boat by the Jews without sails or oars – along with Sts. Lazarus and Martha, St. Maximin (who baptized her), St. Sidonius (“the man born blind”), her maid Sera, and the body of St. Anne, the mother of the Blessed Virgin. They were sent drifting out to sea and landed on the shores of Southern France, where St. Mary spent the rest of her life as a contemplative in a cave known as Sainte-Baume. She was given the Holy Eucharist daily by angels as her only food, and died when she was 72. St. Mary was transported miraculously, just before she died, to the chapel of St. Maximin, where she received the last sacraments.
More about this saint: St. Mary Magdalen (Feast day – July 22) Mary Magdalen was well known as a sinner when she first saw Our Lord. She was very beautiful and very proud, but after she met Jesus, she felt great sorrow for her evil life. When Jesus went to supper at the home of a rich man named Simon, Mary came to weep at His feet. Then with her long beautiful hair, she wiped His feet dry and anointed them with expensive perfume. Some people were surprised that Jesus let such a sinner touch Him, but Our Lord could see into Mary’s heart, and He said: “Many sins are forgiven her, because she has loved very much.” Then to Mary He said kindly, “Your faith has made you safe; go in peace.” From then on, with the other holy women, Mary humbly served Jesus and His Apostles. When Our Lord was crucified, she was there at the foot of His cross, unafraid for herself, and thinking only of His sufferings. No wonder Jesus said of her: “She has loved much.” After Jesus’ body had been placed in the tomb, Mary went to anoint it with spices early Easter Sunday morning. Not finding the Sacred Body, she began to weep, and seeing someone whom she thought was the gardener, she asked him if he knew where the Body of her beloved Master had been taken. But then the person spoke in a voice she knew so well: “Mary!” It was Jesus, risen from the dead! He had chosen to show Himself first to Mary Magdalen, the repentent sinner.
The chalice is a smaller version of the cauldron as a representation of the eternal feminin and the element of water. We’re talking about a goblet, usually of the round type, in which we’ll have water represented during rituals, even though on ocassions it might contain some other liquid, for example wine during the simple feast.
The selection of the apropriate chalice is a delicate task. We could use a glass one, even though the traditional is made of metal: gold, brass, silver or the like. We must be very careful when choosing, preffering the ones with their inside covered in glass, silver or stainless steel, because metals like copper and brass can be poisonous when in contact with alcohol. We must also consider the size, preffering the middle-sized, to make it easier to handle. It’s not necesary to get a very ornated one; it’s perfectly valid to use, if wanting to, one of grannie’s crystal glasses, if we perform the appropriate ritual cleansing.
Shops specialising in wedding gifts are bound to have sets of two metal gobblets perfectly capable of handling alcoholic beverages (the ones that have problems when reacting chemically with the metal), and so can be a good place to find our chalice. Having an extra one can be useful if we want to perform rituals where we need both water and wine (or similar), and we won’t have the cauldron available or we’ll be using it for other purposes. Personally, I’d rather have two chalices: a brass one for solar celebrations, and a silver one for the lunar ones.
The ritual uses of the chalice centre mainly in being the holder of the chosen liquid, whether it’s water to purify the circle, or the chosen drink for the simple feast or ritual libation. Usually it’s use will be the first, and even if we can replace it with any glass, due to the ease of getting hold of one, I think it’s better to chose once and for all, and use the chalice regularly, not ocassionally.