Praises to the Snow Queen

Winter Comments & Graphics
Praises to the Snow Queen

The lightness of Your touch may not be noticed
The brightness of Your presence may not be seen
The coolness of Your body may not be felt
Until You, Goddess of Snow, fall heavy
Until You, White Lady of the Forest, reflect sunshine
Until You, Ice Queen, want to be felt

Praises to the White Goddess
Praises to the Lady of the Ice Forest
Praises to the Snow Queen

Blessed Be

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The Maiden, Mother and Crone Within the Mundane

The Maiden, Mother and Crone Within the Mundane

Author:   Horizons Coven 
 

The Maiden

There was once a time in your life that everything was filled with wonder and hope. Everything was brand new, colorful and the world immense and full of beauty. We were young and innocent. Life was the priceless pearl we discovered by opening the shell. There were Fairy Tales with happy endings where everyone lived happily ever after, and we believed in this possibility. Dandelions were just as lovely as roses and we gathered them as offerings of love to our mothers. We were imaginative; our creative spark took us anywhere we wished to be. Strangers were exciting and mysterious, but were not to be feared. Instead they were heroes with make believe talents and abilities. Clouds became a never-ending parade of circus animals. Unicorns danced in our dreams. We were open to possibilities. We could be anything we wanted to be. We knew without a doubt that some day we would meet our prince charming. We would live happily ever after.

Over time, we were taught to be strong and capable. We were taught that dreams were okay, but we needed to keep our feet on the ground. Our heads were filled with ideals that weren’t our own. We learned to be afraid. The world wasn’t what we imagined, but a place where danger lurked at each corner.

Childlike and innocent is the Maiden. Her hopes and dreams are as certain as truth. Loving and gentle, her world is very fragile as her trust rules over fears. She dreams of a loving relationship that will outshine any tale. Yet she blushes easily when admired. She has not experienced the ways of the world. She is the eternal optimist. Her spirit cannot be crushed and hope reigns eternal. The world is enchanting and magickal. She resides within each of us as the innocent one. She dances with us in a field of wildflowers and tumbles to ground next to us in ecstasy. She whispers her secret desires to the winds and they tickle our ears as the find their place in our heart. We are the oysters and she is the pearl contained within. She is the beauty emanating from within our being for the world to see. She is pure, untouched by the harsh reality of the mundane world.

I can see her as if standing before me, her long hair flowing about her as she dances with the Fae in a circle beneath the crescent moon. Her graceful, lithe body moves gently in the rhythm of lunar energies. Her spirit glows, the radiant light emanating from her heart. Her long flowing gown cannot hide the young woman’s frame beneath. Her laughter is like chimes in my ears. Her smile lights the universe.

Growing in strength and brightness each night, the Maiden, known as Diana and Artemis in the Mediterranean area, is usually depicted carrying a bow and quiver. She is the first aspect of the triple Goddess. Sometimes called the virgin or huntress, she represents the spring of the year, the dawn, fresh beginnings of all life, the repeating cycle of birth and rebirth, the waxing moon and the crescent moon, enchantment and seduction. She shows the way through the inner labyrinth to the divine center where the greatest of spiritual mysteries lie. She is matter and energy held in suspension until the right time arrives. She is a shape shifting Goddess who drives a chariot pulled by silver stags. She helps women who are threatened or harassed by men.

She rules over animals, singing, enchantment, psychic power, fertility, purification, magic, sports, mental healing, dance, forests, and healing. She carries the seeds of all potential: anything is possible and all possibilities are within her. She does not limit herself by the needs or beliefs of others. She is in love with the mystery of life. The Maiden represents expansion, the female principle, and promise of new beginnings, youth, and excitement. The Maiden is associated with the colors white, light pink and light yellow. She symbolizes youth and anticipation of life. Associated with purity and nature, She is usually seen in the company of animals. In the aspect of the Maiden we see the world with child-like wonder, and also huntress and warrior, as Athena and Artemis are known to be.

The Mother
There is nothing like being pregnant. When I was pregnant with my daughter I was happier than I had ever been in my life. Knowing that a life was growing inside me was amazing. I felt more alive than ever before. I could not wait to hold this little miracle of love.

Okay, there are times where you are so sick you want to die. When the baby decides to try to use your rib cage to score a touchdown it doesn’t feel great. You have weird cravings for food.
You are swollen and can’t see your toes and feel like a blimp that swallowed a blimp.

When a child is born, we always want to count fingers and toes and to know once and for all, girl or boy. We have such great expectations for this tiny bundle of joy. Perhaps he will be president. Perhaps she will be a ballerina. We cannot wait to dress them, to show them off and to take pictures of everything from their first diaper change to the first smile.

Fear sets in once you get home. You call the doctor often. Is this the best formula? Are these the best diapers? She/He spit up, is she sick? Do I need to bring the baby to the hospital! The baby gets colicky and cries all the time. You can’t sleep because you worry excessively. You can’t sleep because the baby is crying. Is she hungry or sick? You have to go check and make sure she is breathing! Our maternal, protective instinct has kicked into high gear.

Now, imagine for a moment, we may have a few children; some families have 13 or more, think how many the Goddess has! We are all children of the Goddess, no matter our age. Our child learns to speak and says Mama so many times we want to pull our heads off! Imagine all of the voices and prayers going out at any given time to our Mother, the Goddess.

Our Goddess Mother has our best interest at heart. She wants for us to be happy and healthy. She never turns away because she is tired and wants some peace and quit. She loves us unconditionally. She understands our hopes and desires and dreams. She lives within our hearts. You can lean on her when you need strength and patience with your little one. You can place your child and yourself within the love and light of the Great Mother and trust that she will always be there for you.

The second Goddess aspect is the Mother, the archetype involved in active creation. She represents the summer, blazing noon, reproduction and fertility, the ripeness of life, the Full Moon, and the high point in all cycles. Her traditional color is red, the color of blood and of life itself. She is the great teacher of the Mysteries. The Romans named her Ceres and the Greeks named her Demeter. A virgin of the oldest sense, independent and unmarried, this Goddess gives birth to a son. Called the Grain Mother, the Eternal Mother, and the Sorrowing Mother, she is the mother of Persephone, who wed the lord of the Underworld. Her power extends over protection of women, crops, initiation, renewal, fertility, civilization, law, motherhood, marriage, and higher magic.

The mother devotes herself to “other”: people and things outside of herself. Though the archetype of the mother often makes one think of a woman giving birth to or devoting herself to her children and family, here we are speaking of all of the possibilities of creation. She is a selfless soul whose devotion and love are unconditional. It is here that responsibility and commitment is established.

Some of the symbols of the goddess in the Mother aspect include the serpent, the poppy, and the symbol of Underworld Goddesses, the torch. The Mother also represents fulfillment, stability, and power. The color associated with the Mother is red, the color of blood and the life force, and green, a fertile color. In ancient societies, the pregnant Mother was a metaphor for the fertile fields that sustained the people of the land. The menstrual blood of the Mother has been associated with magick and ritual since Paleolithic times and was thought to have power for healing and fertility.

The Mother is a pillar of grace under pressure. She is capable, strong, and loving. She smiles as the young child plays, joy flooding her heart as her offspring giggles in delight at some new discovery. She keeps the fear and panic hidden when we are sick, be it in body or in spirit. She continually prays for us. She wipes the tears from our eyes, chases us down to give us medicine, and helps to build a pretend fort with blankets. She watches you while you are sleeping and love fills her heart. She is like a tree in that she is able to bend, but is has a strong foundation supporting her.

Climb into the Mothers arms and be nurtured. Within her embrace we are ever safe and loved. Share your dreams with her. She will do all things possible to help you to achieve them and more.

The Crone

We have all seen the little old woman, her hair thin and sparse, her skin aged with wrinkles, her smile crooked as her false teeth lay in a glass to the side. Many associate this image with the Crone. Her hands tremble as she brings food to her mouth. She looks like a baby with food dripping down her chin. Time isn’t always kind to us in that our bodies betray us. But if you were to take some time with this woman, you would find a font of wisdom, a history of love, of sorrow, of experience.

Her spirit still shines. Her face is soft and compassion flows from her heart. Though she appears weak, her essence is strong and sure. She understands your dreams and desires. She has shared them and she has experienced them. She knows what is important in life. She no longer rushes about headstrong seeking. She delights in the memories of all she has seen and known. Some think she has endured. The truth is, she has lived. That is what is important, the living and loving.

Pain causes a momentary tremor in her voice. She will tell you truths. Will you be willing to listen, to hear her words? Can you sit and hold her hand and experience the journey she is willing to share with you? Can you look at her with respect? Can you look beyond the fears of your body aging?

I see my grandmother, gentle and soft spoken, holding me close in her lap. Beside her lays some yarn and knitting needles. She always has time for me and my questions. She receives great joy in watching the young ones at play and reminiscing about her life as the children begin their lives. There is depth to her heart and eyes that show the years of learning the importance of compassion. There is understanding well beyond that of the dreamer’s hopes.

She moves a little slower now and can no longer bare children. In this day and time, people tend to cast the elderly aside. This is heartbreaking. There is so much love and wisdom they have to share. It may be a time of rest, but it isn’t a time to be tossed away. They should not have to live through memories, as they are still able to give so much to this world!

Most cultures cherished their grandmothers and counted them as wise ones once upon a time. They had seen things and done things to survive in new worlds. Once upon a time they were maidens. Once upon a time they were mothers. They know the mysteries of womanhood.

As I entered into the stage of the Crone, I realized that all I have seen and done helped me to become whom I am today. I am a little slower, but I have more patience, more love, and more compassion. I know there are times to sit quietly and say nothing. I know there are times I should offer my wisdom. What others think of me isn’t important, as I know self-love. I know how precious life and time are. I have found that worry does not save me from sorrow or pain. I have found that life isn’t about satisfying the ego. Life is about acknowledging the blessings we have received from joy and from pain, from fear and from faith. I realize that I cannot change the past but that what I have learned from it provides comfort. She is a fount of wisdom, untapped by a modern world. Not because she isn’t willing to share her wisdom, but because we are so self-involved. I cry for the Crone because so many have forgotten her value.

The Crone, also called the Dark Mother, the Old Wise One, or the hag, represents winter, the night, the universal abyss where life rests before rebirth, the gateway to death, reincarnation, the waning moon and the New Moon, and the deepest of Mysteries and prophecies. She is the third aspect of the Triple Goddess. Her traditional color is black and sometimes the deepest of purples or dark blue. She is the initiator into the Mysteries. This aspect symbolizes death and dissolution. Everything in the universe has a life cycle, at the end of which they malfunction, decay, and transform into a different set of materials, elements that are recycled and reformed into something new. The souls of humans are recycled by the Crone and her cauldron, into a new incarnation.

The embodiment of the Crone, Hecate, Queen of the world of spirits, Patron of Priestesses, and the Goddess of Witchcraft, has keys and cauldrons as her symbols. She has power over enchantments, averting evil, dark magic, riches, wisdom, transformation, purification, limits, incantations, and renewal. She is not detached from the world; just not involved in the ways she was before. She can be completely honest because she has nothing to lose. She holds the wisdom, teaches and shares stories with those who will listen.

The crone was once revered as an old woman embodying wisdom and for her knowledge of the truth of cyclic existence. Crones cared for the dying and were spiritual midwives at the end of life, the link in the cycle of death and rebirth. They were known as healers, teachers, way-showers, and bearers of sacred power. They knew the mysteries, were mediators between the world of spirit and the world of form. In pre-patriarchal societies, women’s wisdom held healing power. The crone wisdom was the most potent of all. For nearly thirty thousand years, old women were strong, powerful sources of wisdom. Crones were respected and honored in their communities.

Our appearance may show a lot about our lives. Weathered hands showing our hard work. Our skin weathered like tanned hides show we spent a lot of time outdoors. These outward appearances don’t begin to show the person beneath the surface. They don’t show the entire journey. Look beyond the obvious and you will discover the treasures of life, the joy, the sorrow, all blessings, to the Crone. Don’t sorrow for her because her time draws nigh upon this plane. Rejoice with her. Embrace what will come, accept what has been, and dare to experience all.

From my manuscript – From My Pagan Heart by Lady Kiya

Inviting Magickal Fey Into Your Garden

Inviting Magickal Fey Into Your Garden

by Jimbo

Fairies, Gnomes, Nymphs, Sprites… Creatures of the Earth,  Air, Fire and Water… those who live in the veil between this plane and the  next… mischievous, lucky, magickal, beautiful and grotesque, large and  small… All fey friends welcome! Welcome! We invite you to inspire us! We invite  you to invigorate us! Infuse us with mirth and laughter! Excite us with  your magick and mischief — in a good way. Come! Play with us! We welcome you.

Many a tale has been spun throughout the ages involving  some sort of mysterious creature. Fairy Tales, Fables, Folk Tales — often  with a trickster, prankster, or magical creature that grants wishes!

I believe that these creatures exist all around us — often unseen  in the nooks and crannies of our lives. Where many often banish the fey, I  invite them into my rituals — to aid me in my magick.

What do the fey represent?

Every person has their own relationship with the archetypes  represented by different fey creatures. I like to think of the fey as a  “personification of nature”.

The apple tree in the back yard has a true personality — it’s an  old, chatty wise woman, with her sweet apples and knobby branches. She  is great for climbing, and if you sit in a particular spot, she tells you  stories about the orchard that used to live there, and all sorts of things that  have happened. She loves to cradle you as she sings you the song of the  sunset, and whispers as the breeze flows through her leaves. She is a tree  nymph _ and she is wonderful. Also in the yard are lots of little fey — a  family of gnomes under the shed, and a whole clan of fairies in the back  fence overgrown with prickly blackberries. (They like to steal a tool or two  and bury them somewhere in the lawn)

You, too, can bring the fun and  frolic of the fey alive in your personal space as well. You can create a  special garden or shrine devoted to the fey.

Be creative! There are so many ways to invite these wonderful  creatures into your life! From simply hanging a sparkly wind chime outside,  to placing a sweet cookie on a pretty plate on your altar, gestures to  the fey really make a difference.

Here are some ideas on how to create a garden for your yard or  a smaller one for indoors. But this is by no means a limit to the different  ways you can connect with that special inspiration we can only attribute to  our beloved fey friends.

Indoors

Bring some of that ethereal inspirational spirit into your apartment  with an indoor fey shrine.

Start with a miniature arboretum. It can be planted in any size or  shape of container — many of which are available at home and garden stores.

Fill the planter with soil and plant herbs, moss and even  mushrooms. Smaller leaved herbs work well, like thyme and oregano. If well  clipped, rosemary and dill are great too. Think about the type of fey that may  live with you in your space, and allow them to inspire the selection of plants.  Add some rocks, crystals, and a pretty ceramic bowl to use as a reflecting pool.

You can also create a hidden garden in a large houseplant you  already have. Beneath the broad leaves of a Peace Lilly or the branches of a  Fichus tree, arrange some small sparkly stones, and tie some colorful  ribbon to the stalks. With two different colors of fish-tank pebbles, create a  pattern on the soil.

The fey (and cats) that live in your house will enjoy discovering  these elusive hideaways!

Outdoors

Outdoors, the possibilities are endless. Use rocks or bricks to  build some sort of altar to the fey. Landscape a small area of your yard  with pebbles, crystals and a variety of plants. Transplant that  bothersome moss in your lawn to your fey garden — it will really grow! In the  spring, plant Lobelia, Forget-me-nots, Baby’s Breath, and even Cosmos. I enjoy  planting purple flowers in the spring that  bloom all summer. In the winter there are all sorts of perennials that can  be planted: herbs, grasses, ferns and succulents are good ideas.

Using found materials that are attractive to the fey is a good  approach, especially in residential areas. Tiles, which can often be obtained  inexpensively, are a nice touch to a garden. You can also place special crystals  here and there. I like to work small, and create little wee places for my  fey friends to play.

If you see mushrooms in your yard, dig up a small patch around  them, and transplant to your garden. They will spore there and more will  grow next season.

You can add a fairy mound — a small hill covered in moss, with a  small door (from a doll house, or hand crafted) on the side. A variation is  a small round mirror or reflecting pool on the top.

Even branches tied together with an old window, arranged rocks, a  shiny pinwheel, and ribbon streaming from the fixture is sure to keep the fey  as well as your human guests enchanted.

There are so many little things to do in the mundane world that  attract the fey. Perhaps the best idea of all is to allow these magickal creatures  to speak to you in meditation — they will let you know what they want  (believe me!).

The Snow Maiden

The Snow Maiden

(Russia)

Many readers will already be familiar with the tale of the Snow Maiden. It come to us from Old Russia, a land of sparkling forests and frozen palaces. The tale begins, as do so many folktales the world over, with an old childless couple. They are poor and devoutly religious (poverty and piety being de riguer for old childless couples in folktales). While cutting wood in the forest, they take a break to build a snegourochka, a little girl made of snowballs. Lo and behold, the snegourochka comes to life, and she is everything the old couple ever dreamed of in a daughter. She is pretty, respectful and well dressed in fancy boots, cloak and diamond tiara. She helps out around the house and conveniently for her elderly parents, she’s bypassed the diaper stage.

The storyteller would have us believe that this Snow Maiden is a gift from God, a reward for the old couple’s unwavering faith. Given the outcome of the story, however, the exercise seems cruel and pointless in God’s part. For Snegourochka is not a child of flesh but of snow. In some versions of the story, she crumples at the first sign of spring. In others, she lasts until Midsummer, only to be vaporized by the St. John’s Day fires. A few writers hint at the possibility that, like Frosty, she’ll be back again someday, but this is a modern gloss. When the girl is gone, she’s gone and the old couple is left with nothing but a soggy patch of forest floor.

No doubt it was a witch and not an angel hiding behind one of the snowclad fir trees in the forest that day–perhaps Baba Yaga or one of those pesky German witches flown over from the west. “Be careful what you wish for, “ she might have cackled to herself as she worked her magick over the doomed little snegourochka.

Excerpt from:

The Snow People
Linda Raedisch
Lllewellyn’s 2012 Witches’ Companion
An Almanac for Everyday Living

The Threefold Law in Folktales

Author: Nukiuk

Three is a magickal number. It is the number of forms of the Goddess – Maiden, Mother, and Crone. Likewise, it is the form of the God as Father, Sage, and Son. It symbolises the Druidic elements of Land, Sea, and Sky. It is the number of times you chant a charm, the number of times you walk around a circle… and it is the basis for the three-fold law.

We all know the Wiccan Rede, or some variation of it. My favorite version is one I read long ago, although I cannot remember the author who so cleverly put it into rhyme:

“Three times three, what you put forth comes back to thee.”

Simply put, the threefold law speaks of karma. The energy you put out is the energy you get back, three times over. It is the basis for yet another popular Pagan tenet: “An ye harm none, do they will.” Putting forward negative energy will bring you nothing but negativity in return.

Old folktales are full of this concept, although they may never state it directly. Whether the tale is from Western or Eastern Europe, whether it is written about magical creatures or just about lucky noblemen, the importance of both karma and the number three are readily apparent. In most fairy tales, people get what they deserve for their efforts. My favorite example of this is from The Girl in the Well. In this story, a girl drops her spindle down a well. Her stepmother forbids her to return home without the spindle, so the girl dives into the well.

At the bottom of the well, the girl finds an alternate world. There she meets three groups of people, who each ask her a favor: a group of shepherds who need help cleaning their sheep, a group of cattle herders who need a similar favor, and a rich couple who ask her to work for them for one year. She aids each group, and is rewarded.

When she returns home, her stepmother grows jealous and sends her own daughter into the well. However, the stepdaughter refuses to aid the shepherd and the cattle herders and when she gets to the elderly couple, she is so lazy that after three days they send her home. She bears no rewards, but arrives home covered in bugs and filth. The moral of this story is obvious: put forth good effort, and you will be rewarded; act lazy and mean, and you will be punished. The energy you put out is what you get back.

In this tale, the number three is easily visible. The girl meets three groups of people seeking her aid, and is rewarded when she passes their tests. The stepsister fails all three – in fact, she is sent back home after three days.

Another tale, The Three Feathers tells us of three princes who are in dispute over who should rule the kingdom. His siblings consider the youngest brother a simpleton. The king decides that he shall give them a quest to determine who shall inherit; he sends them out to see who can bring him the most beautiful rug in the land. To settle any dispute, he throws three feathers into the wind, so that each brother can follow one in the direction it went.

One of the feathers goes straight up and down again, so the simpleton remains behind while his two brothers set off, one to the east and one to the west. However, he happens to notice a trap door beneath his feather, and follows it to find a court of toads. He asks the queen of these toads for the finest carpet she has, and it is delivered. Meanwhile, his brothers figure that he won’t be able to find a rug from anywhere, so they decide not to waste their money and each bring back a handkerchief.

When they return, the king declares the simpleton to be the inheritor. The brothers protest, and manage to talk the king into two more challenges – for a beautiful ring, and for a beautiful woman. The feathers do the same thing, and both times the youngest brother wins the challenge in the same manner, and so is crowned king, with his beautiful bride (who was once a young toad maiden) . The two elder brothers put forth no effort in their quests, and thus received nothing. Meanwhile, the supposed “simpleton”, instead of trying to outwit his father, simply does as he is told, and through this wins the crown. This tale has three brothers, sent to find objects three times, who are guided by three feathers. Once again, the number three shapes the way the story turns out.

Finally, the third example of this is in a strange little story call The Three Spinners. A girl refuses to spin flax, so her mother beats her. The queen is passing by and hears the girl’s cries. When she comes into the hut to investigate, the mother is so embarrassed by her daughter’s lack of spinning ability that she instead brags and claims the inverse – that she is beating the girl because she will not stop spinning, even though there woman can afford no more flax. The queen is impressed by this lie, and has the daughter brought to her castle to spin. She says if the girl can spin three roomfuls of flax, she will be able to marry the prince.

Of course, the girl cannot spin. So she cries for three days. After this period, three old women appear who offer to spin the flax for her, if only they can attend the wedding and be treated as the girl’s aunts. They each have a different deformity: a large, flat foot. a massive hanging lip, and an oversized thumb.

The girl agrees, and the rooms of flax are spun quickly. When the wedding comes around, the prince asks the old women how they got their deformities; they respond that they are through treading the pedal, licking the thread, and pinning it down with their thumb, respectively. The prince is alarmed and says that his beautiful bride shall never be allowed to spin again. And so the girl gets everything she wanted from life. The girl in this tale is by no means a paragon of goodness; she is rather lazy and disobedient. However, she made a promise to the three old women, kept it, and was rewarded almost three times as much as was worth such a favor.

This story has three women – specifically crones, the third incarnation of the Goddess. There are three rooms of flax to be spun, and the girl cries for three days. Three three’s – a powerful number, which potentially aided the magic that helped her out of her predicament.

The rule of three is written in many old fairy tales, if you just know where to look. In these stories, the rewards for basic kindnesses are often overdone; but then again, energy does tend to return threefold as much. These three stories are but a small example of the multitude of such tales that fill the body of European folklore. All throughout these tales, the number three is woven into stories of karma that have been told for generations.

Once Upon A Time: Make Your Own Good Luck

Once Upon A Time: Make Your Own Good Luck

Author: etain.butterfly

After watching two episodes of the new series Once Upon A Time I remembered the old nursery rhymes I used to read to my children when they were young.

There was Rumpelstiltskin a tiny little man who spun straw into gold for the miller’s daughter, but for a price. The first time he spun the straw into gold she gave him her necklace; the second time it was her ring and the third time she had nothing to give him. Rumpelstiltskin made her promise to give him her first child if she became Queen. The tale continues…the King was young and handsome and saw the miller’s daughter leaving the castle and fell in love with her. They soon married and she became pregnant. Rumpelstiltskin returned to collect on the promise of her first born child. The Queen cried so hard that Rumpelstiltskin had pity and gave her three days to find out his name and if she did she could keep her child. The Queen was determined to change her luck. She sent out messengers all over the land to find different names. One messenger returned with a rhyme he heard a strange little man singing:

Tonight I brew, tomorrow I bake,
And then the child away I’ll take.
For little knows the Royal Dame
That Rumpelstiltskin is my name.
[1]

The Queen was so delighted and immediately summoned Rumpelstiltskin to let him know she knew his name. “A witch has told you that – a witch has told you that!” shrieked the little man as he fled into the woods in a rage never to be seen again.

Beauty and the Beast is another fairy tale that taught us that beauty is only skin deep and that what is in you heart is most important. As Beauty got to know the Beast he appeared less ugly in her eyes. As the story goes, the Prince had a spell put on him by the magician because he was proud, thoughtless, vain and selfish. He was to remain that way until a beautiful girl consented to marry him of her own free will.

The Prince did not give up. He was determined to change his luck and break the spell. He succeeded and Beauty and the Prince got married and lived happily ever after.

These fairy tales always had an evil villain that made life almost unbearable and emphasized the determination of the recipient to figure out a way to beat the odds. Isn’t that what real life is all about? Well, maybe not the ‘evil villain casting spells’ part but the concept of triumph over adversity is the same. Life is filled with all kinds of plunges and how we choose to handle these obstacles is the key to survival.

As Witches, we have many tools that can help us on this journey we call life. However when things get really tough we sometimes forget to use them. One of my most beloved techniques is ‘grounding and centering’. It’s an easy ritual to use. You can take it anywhere and using this ‘tool’ can show results almost immediately.

In times of stress or anxiety, grounding is a way to release excess energy and allow you to calm down and think things through. At times when you need energy, grounding enables you to draw energy up from the Earth, offering a wellspring of power that can flow through you without exhausting your own resources.

Another tool that we as Witches have at our fingertips to help detangle life’s hard knocks is meditation. Just like grounding and centering, it’s simple and inexpensive and it doesn’t require any special equipment. You can practice meditation wherever you are. Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance. When you meditate, you clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to your stress. The emotional benefits of meditation include: gaining a new perspective on stressful situation, building skills to manage your stress, increasing self-awareness, focusing on the present and reducing negative emotions.

By clearing away the informational overload, you reclaim the ability to think clearly, allowing you to formulate plans that will help you get through the tough times. It is all about survival. There can always be a new beginning.

The concepts behind “Once Upon A Time” gave me the inspiration to create this poem:

Fairy Tales (by Terry Moore / Etain.Butterfly ©)

Jack and the bean stalk, Cracker Jack box,
Life isn’t a fairy tale; it does have some hard knocks.

Mary had a little lamb and little Bo Peep,
Sometimes things plunge and sometimes things peek.

There is Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and lots of happy endings,
So keep in mind when life gets tough there is always new beginnings.

Like hay diddle – diddle, the cat and the fiddle and the cow jumped over the moon,
Remember to keep a smile on your face, for your luck will change real soon.

For all things we cannot control, just remember those old rhymes,
Never give up, make your own good luck and create your own good times.

My Witchy philosophy is to use all the tools that are available to me to help me to create a life that sustains my mind, body, and spirit for a “happy ever after” in this lifetime. For real, life is not a bowl of cherries and I have experienced some really hard knocks. The key is that I did not give up. I got back up determined to create my own good luck. I did not rely on someone else to fix the bumps in my road of life – I used the tools I had within myself to resurface my own road.

Once I figured out that I have the ability to ‘act on’ instead of ‘react to’ those obstacles that everyday life throws my way, I learned it is easy to make my own good luck. I am a Witch and I am truly blessed. I am living the “happy ever after” in this lifetime.

Blessed Be.


Footnotes:
1. Rumpelstiltskin; Shirley Temple’s Storybook – Random House 1958

Blessed Holidays to all my dear friends!

Winter Comments & Graphics
Frosty the Snowman

by Steve Nelson, Jack Rollins  

 

Frosty the Snowman was a jolly happy soul
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal

Frosty the Snowman was a fairy tale, they say
He was made of snow, but the children know
How he came to life one day

There must have been some magic
In that old top hat they found
For when they placed it on his head
He began to dance around!

Frosty the Snowman was alive as he could be
And the children say he could laugh and play
Just the same as you and me

He led them down the streets of town
Right to the traffic cop
And he only paused a moment when
He heard her holler, “Stop!”

Frosty the Snowman had to hurry on his way
But he said goodbye, saying
“Don’t you cry, I’ll be back again some day!”

  

Pagan/Wiccan Yule/Solstice Carol Collection

~Magickal Graphics~

The Maiden, Mother and Crone Within the Mundane

The Maiden, Mother and Crone Within the Mundane

Author: Horizons Coven
The Maiden

There was once a time in your life that everything was filled with wonder and hope. Everything was brand new, colorful and the world immense and full of beauty. We were young and innocent. Life was the priceless pearl we discovered by opening the shell. There were Fairy Tales with happy endings where everyone lived happily ever after, and we believed in this possibility. Dandelions were just as lovely as roses and we gathered them as offerings of love to our mothers. We were imaginative; our creative spark took us anywhere we wished to be. Strangers were exciting and mysterious, but were not to be feared. Instead they were heroes with make believe talents and abilities. Clouds became a never-ending parade of circus animals. Unicorns danced in our dreams. We were open to possibilities. We could be anything we wanted to be. We knew without a doubt that some day we would meet our prince charming. We would live happily ever after.

Over time, we were taught to be strong and capable. We were taught that dreams were okay, but we needed to keep our feet on the ground. Our heads were filled with ideals that weren’t our own. We learned to be afraid. The world wasn’t what we imagined, but a place where danger lurked at each corner.

Childlike and innocent is the Maiden. Her hopes and dreams are as certain as truth. Loving and gentle, her world is very fragile as her trust rules over fears. She dreams of a loving relationship that will outshine any tale. Yet she blushes easily when admired. She has not experienced the ways of the world. She is the eternal optimist. Her spirit cannot be crushed and hope reigns eternal. The world is enchanting and magickal. She resides within each of us as the innocent one. She dances with us in a field of wildflowers and tumbles to ground next to us in ecstasy. She whispers her secret desires to the winds and they tickle our ears as the find their place in our heart. We are the oysters and she is the pearl contained within. She is the beauty emanating from within our being for the world to see. She is pure, untouched by the harsh reality of the mundane world.

I can see her as if standing before me, her long hair flowing about her as she dances with the Fae in a circle beneath the crescent moon. Her graceful, lithe body moves gently in the rhythm of lunar energies. Her spirit glows, the radiant light emanating from her heart. Her long flowing gown cannot hide the young woman’s frame beneath. Her laughter is like chimes in my ears. Her smile lights the universe.

Growing in strength and brightness each night, the Maiden, known as Diana and Artemis in the Mediterranean area, is usually depicted carrying a bow and quiver. She is the first aspect of the triple Goddess. Sometimes called the virgin or huntress, she represents the spring of the year, the dawn, fresh beginnings of all life, the repeating cycle of birth and rebirth, the waxing moon and the crescent moon, enchantment and seduction. She shows the way through the inner labyrinth to the divine center where the greatest of spiritual mysteries lie. She is matter and energy held in suspension until the right time arrives. She is a shape shifting Goddess who drives a chariot pulled by silver stags. She helps women who are threatened or harassed by men.

She rules over animals, singing, enchantment, psychic power, fertility, purification, magic, sports, mental healing, dance, forests, and healing. She carries the seeds of all potential: anything is possible and all possibilities are within her. She does not limit herself by the needs or beliefs of others. She is in love with the mystery of life. The Maiden represents expansion, the female principle, and promise of new beginnings, youth, and excitement. The Maiden is associated with the colors white, light pink and light yellow. She symbolizes youth and anticipation of life. Associated with purity and nature, She is usually seen in the company of animals. In the aspect of the Maiden we see the world with child-like wonder, and also huntress and warrior, as Athena and Artemis are known to be.

The Mother
There is nothing like being pregnant. When I was pregnant with my daughter I was happier than I had ever been in my life. Knowing that a life was growing inside me was amazing. I felt more alive than ever before. I could not wait to hold this little miracle of love.

Okay, there are times where you are so sick you want to die. When the baby decides to try to use your rib cage to score a touchdown it doesn’t feel great. You have weird cravings for food.
You are swollen and can’t see your toes and feel like a blimp that swallowed a blimp.

When a child is born, we always want to count fingers and toes and to know once and for all, girl or boy. We have such great expectations for this tiny bundle of joy. Perhaps he will be president. Perhaps she will be a ballerina. We cannot wait to dress them, to show them off and to take pictures of everything from their first diaper change to the first smile.

Fear sets in once you get home. You call the doctor often. Is this the best formula? Are these the best diapers? She/He spit up, is she sick? Do I need to bring the baby to the hospital! The baby gets colicky and cries all the time. You can’t sleep because you worry excessively. You can’t sleep because the baby is crying. Is she hungry or sick? You have to go check and make sure she is breathing! Our maternal, protective instinct has kicked into high gear.

Now, imagine for a moment, we may have a few children; some families have 13 or more, think how many the Goddess has! We are all children of the Goddess, no matter our age. Our child learns to speak and says Mama so many times we want to pull our heads off! Imagine all of the voices and prayers going out at any given time to our Mother, the Goddess.

Our Goddess Mother has our best interest at heart. She wants for us to be happy and healthy. She never turns away because she is tired and wants some peace and quit. She loves us unconditionally. She understands our hopes and desires and dreams. She lives within our hearts. You can lean on her when you need strength and patience with your little one. You can place your child and yourself within the love and light of the Great Mother and trust that she will always be there for you.

The second Goddess aspect is the Mother, the archetype involved in active creation. She represents the summer, blazing noon, reproduction and fertility, the ripeness of life, the Full Moon, and the high point in all cycles. Her traditional color is red, the color of blood and of life itself. She is the great teacher of the Mysteries. The Romans named her Ceres and the Greeks named her Demeter. A virgin of the oldest sense, independent and unmarried, this Goddess gives birth to a son. Called the Grain Mother, the Eternal Mother, and the Sorrowing Mother, she is the mother of Persephone, who wed the lord of the Underworld. Her power extends over protection of women, crops, initiation, renewal, fertility, civilization, law, motherhood, marriage, and higher magic.

The mother devotes herself to “other”: people and things outside of herself. Though the archetype of the mother often makes one think of a woman giving birth to or devoting herself to her children and family, here we are speaking of all of the possibilities of creation. She is a selfless soul whose devotion and love are unconditional. It is here that responsibility and commitment is established.

Some of the symbols of the goddess in the Mother aspect include the serpent, the poppy, and the symbol of Underworld Goddesses, the torch. The Mother also represents fulfillment, stability, and power. The color associated with the Mother is red, the color of blood and the life force, and green, a fertile color. In ancient societies, the pregnant Mother was a metaphor for the fertile fields that sustained the people of the land. The menstrual blood of the Mother has been associated with magick and ritual since Paleolithic times and was thought to have power for healing and fertility.

The Mother is a pillar of grace under pressure. She is capable, strong, and loving. She smiles as the young child plays, joy flooding her heart as her offspring giggles in delight at some new discovery. She keeps the fear and panic hidden when we are sick, be it in body or in spirit. She continually prays for us. She wipes the tears from our eyes, chases us down to give us medicine, and helps to build a pretend fort with blankets. She watches you while you are sleeping and love fills her heart. She is like a tree in that she is able to bend, but is has a strong foundation supporting her.

Climb into the Mothers arms and be nurtured. Within her embrace we are ever safe and loved. Share your dreams with her. She will do all things possible to help you to achieve them and more.

The Crone

We have all seen the little old woman, her hair thin and sparse, her skin aged with wrinkles, her smile crooked as her false teeth lay in a glass to the side. Many associate this image with the Crone. Her hands tremble as she brings food to her mouth. She looks like a baby with food dripping down her chin. Time isn’t always kind to us in that our bodies betray us. But if you were to take some time with this woman, you would find a font of wisdom, a history of love, of sorrow, of experience.

Her spirit still shines. Her face is soft and compassion flows from her heart. Though she appears weak, her essence is strong and sure. She understands your dreams and desires. She has shared them and she has experienced them. She knows what is important in life. She no longer rushes about headstrong seeking. She delights in the memories of all she has seen and known. Some think she has endured. The truth is, she has lived. That is what is important, the living and loving.

Pain causes a momentary tremor in her voice. She will tell you truths. Will you be willing to listen, to hear her words? Can you sit and hold her hand and experience the journey she is willing to share with you? Can you look at her with respect? Can you look beyond the fears of your body aging?

I see my grandmother, gentle and soft spoken, holding me close in her lap. Beside her lays some yarn and knitting needles. She always has time for me and my questions. She receives great joy in watching the young ones at play and reminiscing about her life as the children begin their lives. There is depth to her heart and eyes that show the years of learning the importance of compassion. There is understanding well beyond that of the dreamer’s hopes.

She moves a little slower now and can no longer bare children. In this day and time, people tend to cast the elderly aside. This is heartbreaking. There is so much love and wisdom they have to share. It may be a time of rest, but it isn’t a time to be tossed away. They should not have to live through memories, as they are still able to give so much to this world!

Most cultures cherished their grandmothers and counted them as wise ones once upon a time. They had seen things and done things to survive in new worlds. Once upon a time they were maidens. Once upon a time they were mothers. They know the mysteries of womanhood.

As I entered into the stage of the Crone, I realized that all I have seen and done helped me to become whom I am today. I am a little slower, but I have more patience, more love, and more compassion. I know there are times to sit quietly and say nothing. I know there are times I should offer my wisdom. What others think of me isn’t important, as I know self-love. I know how precious life and time are. I have found that worry does not save me from sorrow or pain. I have found that life isn’t about satisfying the ego. Life is about acknowledging the blessings we have received from joy and from pain, from fear and from faith. I realize that I cannot change the past but that what I have learned from it provides comfort. She is a fount of wisdom, untapped by a modern world. Not because she isn’t willing to share her wisdom, but because we are so self-involved. I cry for the Crone because so many have forgotten her value.

The Crone, also called the Dark Mother, the Old Wise One, or the hag, represents winter, the night, the universal abyss where life rests before rebirth, the gateway to death, reincarnation, the waning moon and the New Moon, and the deepest of Mysteries and prophecies. She is the third aspect of the Triple Goddess. Her traditional color is black and sometimes the deepest of purples or dark blue. She is the initiator into the Mysteries. This aspect symbolizes death and dissolution. Everything in the universe has a life cycle, at the end of which they malfunction, decay, and transform into a different set of materials, elements that are recycled and reformed into something new. The souls of humans are recycled by the Crone and her cauldron, into a new incarnation.

The embodiment of the Crone, Hecate, Queen of the world of spirits, Patron of Priestesses, and the Goddess of Witchcraft, has keys and cauldrons as her symbols. She has power over enchantments, averting evil, dark magic, riches, wisdom, transformation, purification, limits, incantations, and renewal. She is not detached from the world; just not involved in the ways she was before. She can be completely honest because she has nothing to lose. She holds the wisdom, teaches and shares stories with those who will listen.

The crone was once revered as an old woman embodying wisdom and for her knowledge of the truth of cyclic existence. Crones cared for the dying and were spiritual midwives at the end of life, the link in the cycle of death and rebirth. They were known as healers, teachers, way-showers, and bearers of sacred power. They knew the mysteries, were mediators between the world of spirit and the world of form. In pre-patriarchal societies, women’s wisdom held healing power. The crone wisdom was the most potent of all. For nearly thirty thousand years, old women were strong, powerful sources of wisdom. Crones were respected and honored in their communities.

Our appearance may show a lot about our lives. Weathered hands showing our hard work. Our skin weathered like tanned hides show we spent a lot of time outdoors. These outward appearances don’t begin to show the person beneath the surface. They don’t show the entire journey. Look beyond the obvious and you will discover the treasures of life, the joy, the sorrow, all blessings, to the Crone. Don’t sorrow for her because her time draws nigh upon this plane. Rejoice with her. Embrace what will come, accept what has been, and dare to experience all.

From my manuscript – From My Pagan Heart by Lady Kiya