Your Charm for October 27th is The Utchat

Your Charm for Today

The Utchat

Today’s Meaning:    

You must take steps to make this aspect safe. There are issues you may not be aware of that may cause harm or injury.

General Description:

Much importance was attached to this lucky talisman in Egypt, the Utchat, or Eye. The word Utchat means primarily strength, and was, at the summer solstice (about June 22nd), applied to the Sun at that time when at its greatest strength and power on earth. The Eye of Horus was supposed to bring strength, vigor, safety, good health, and protection to the wearer. Many of these charms were engraved by the Egyptians with the 140th chapter of their Book of the Dead. This was considered to endow the Utchat with particularly strong and effective magical powers.

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Your Magickal Charm for December 11th is The Utchat

Your Charm for Today

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The Utchat

 
Today’s Meaning:

You must take steps to make this aspect safe. There are issues you may not be aware of that may cause harm or injury.

General Description:

Much importance was attached to this lucky talisman in Egypt, the Utchat, or Eye. The word Utchat means primarily strength, and was, at the summer solstice (about June 22nd), applied to the Sun at that time when at its greatest strength and power on earth. The Eye of Horus was supposed to bring strength, vigor, safety, good health, and protection to the wearer. Many of these charms were engraved by the Egyptians with the 140th chapter of their Book of the Dead. This was considered to endow the Utchat with particularly strong and effective magical powers.

THE FULL MOONS OF THE WITCHES

THE FULL MOONS OF THE WITCHES

November: The Wheel of the Year begins anew once more.

December The Holly-King dies, and the Oak-King is born.

January: Bid the past farewell, and receive the year that Web of Days has just
been born.

February: Welcome Spring! Now is the time for banishing Winter.

March: Feel the shift of balance from darkness to light growing stronger.

April: The time of fertility and growth is upon us.

May: The time of the Sacred Marriage of the God and Goddess.

June: Here comes the Sun! The Holly-King replaces the Oak-King.

 July: The first harvests begin ; time to give thanks and celebrate.

August: John Barleycorn must die. The harvest begins in earnest.

September: The cycle of growth draws nears its end.

October: The Horned One steps forward bringing darkness, and the end of the year.

November: Snow Moon; the snowy brightness and coolness of Her light is upon us.

December: Cold Moon ; the Sun is at its lowest point, and Lunar Nights the Moon is a little colder.

January: Wolf Moon ; gather close to the hearth, for wolves draw closer now.
February: Ice Moon ; beneath a blanket of snow and ice, Nature rests.
March: Storm Moon ; the boisterous storms of the light half of the year begin.
April: Growing Moon ; seeds are ready to be planted, and growth begins.
May: Hare Moon ; rabbits leap and play in their mating games, and fertility
abounds.
June: Mead Moon ; as in days of old, honey is gathered for fermentation into
mead.
July: Hay Moon ; a potent moon, as tides of psychic energy flow freely.
August: Corn Moon ; a time to contemplate the eternalness of life.
September: Harvest Moon ; time to collect the harvest and seed for new
beginnings.
October: Blood Moon ; spirits of the departed join the sacred dance.

Your Charm for August 16: The Utchat

Your Charm for Today

The Utchat

Today’s Meaning:  You must take steps to make this aspect safe. There are issues you may not be aware of that may cause harm or injury.

General Description:  Much importance was attached to this lucky talisman in Egypt, the Utchat, or Eye. The word Utchat means primarily strength, and was, at the summer solstice (about June 22nd), applied to the Sun at that time when at its greatest strength and power on earth. The Eye of Horus was supposed to bring strength, vigour, safety, good health, and protectionn to the wearer. Many of these charms were engraved by the Egyptians with the 140th chapter of their Book of the Dead. This was considered to endow the Utchat with particularly strong and effective magical powers.

Heather (Aprox. June 20)

HEATHER LORE

  • Tree of the Summer Solstice (Aprox. June 20)
  • Latin name: Calluna vulgaris
  • Celtic name: Ura (pronounced: Oor’ uh)
  • Folk or Common names: Common Heather, Ling, Scottish Heather
  • Parts Used: herb, flowering shoots.
  • Herbal usage: Heather’s flowering shots are used to treat insomnia, stomach aches, coughs and skin problems. The plant, used fresh or dried,  strengthens the heart and raises blood pressure. It is slightly diuretic and a Heather Tea is often prescribed in cases of urinary infections. Heather is  sometimes used in conjunction with corn silk and cowberries.
  • Magical History & Associations: Heather is associated with the sun, and with the planet of Venus. Its color is resin colored and its element is  water. Heather’s bird is the lark, and its animal association is the honey bee. In ancient times the Danes brewed a powerful beer made from honey and  Heather. And for centuries the heather flowers have also been a special beverage to the bee, who in return creates delightful Heather honey! Its stones are  amethyst, peridot, and amertine – and it is a feminine herb. The herb is sacred to many Goddesses: Isis, Venus-Erycina, Uroica, Garbh Ogh, Cybele, Osiris,  Venus, Guinevere, and Butes among them. White Heather was considered unlucky by Scottish loyalists because of its connection with the banishment of Bonny  Prince Charles. Haether is the home to a type of Fey called Heather Pixies. Like other Pixies, the Heather Pixies have clear or golden auras and delicate,  translucent wings. But these faeries are attracted specifically to the moors and to the Heather which covers them. They are not averse to human contact, but  they don’t seek them out. They have a pranksterish nature.
  • Magickal usage: Heather is sacred to the Summer Solstice. Heather is used for magick involving maturity, consummation, general luck, love, ritual power,  conjuring ghosts, healing, protection, rain-making and water magick. Charms made with Heather can be worn or carried as protection against danger, rape and  other violent crimes. This flower represents good fortune and Heather can also be carried as a lucky charm. It was believed that wearing the blossom  associated with your month of birth would bring exceptionally good luck – therefore people born in the month of Heather (August) should carry White Heather,  for even better luck throughout the year. Legend has it that a gift of white Heather brings luck to both the giver and the receiver, wheras red Heather is  said to have been colored by heathens killed in battle by Christians, so is less lucky. Heather is associated with secrets from the Otherworld. A sprig of  white Heather placed in a special place of silence and meditation has the power to conjure ghosts, haints or spirits. After picking a piece of white Heather  at midnight, place it in a glass of river water in the darkest corner of your home. Sit and think of a departed loved one and it is said that the loved ones  shadow will visit you. Heather is said to ignite faery passions and open portals between their world and our own. Heather represents solitude because it  thrives in wide open spaces, and Faeries who enjoy living in such undisturbed places are said to feast on the tender stalks of Heather. The Fae of this  flower are drawn to humans who are shy. Heather is useful for Solitary healing work (going within). Heather, if used along with Mistletoe, creates powerful  healing medicine in both spiritual and physical aspects. Heather can be used at Midsummer to promote love – carry red Heather for passion or white Heather  for cooling the passion of unwanted suitors. If you give someone a gift of Heather it means: ‘Admiration’. A charm bag filled with Heather can be  carried for decreasing egotism or self-involvement. As a water herb, Heather is very useful in weather magick. When burned outdoors with Fern, the herbal  smoke of Heather attracts rain. Bouquets of Heather and Fern can also be dipped in water to call rain.

The New Moon Report for June 27 – Venus Direct

Venus Direct

Wednesday, June 27

The love planet’s return to forward motion after six weeks in reverse should get relationships moving ahead again. Spicing up an existing partnership with new attitudes and activities rediscovers lost passion. Singles seeking companions may finally be ready to try out a different look or an unfamiliar social activity that increases chances for making connections.

June 21 – Daily Feast

 

Chances are we never recall just when we made the biggest decisions in our lives – unless we can remember some of our quietest moments. We think of change coming with fanfare, but that so seldom happens. Most of the time we silently recognize the great things in our lives long before we bring them our to be known by everyone. It is hard to say just when the change began. Some of it is even ga lv quo di, sacred to us, not easily shared – nor wise to share, because it is our own that comes from somewhere deep within us. There is an inner life that makes changes easier because it prepares us to accept what we cannot change – and more importantly, to change what we can.

~ The whole world is coming. A nation is coming, a nation is coming. The Eagle has brought the message to the tribe. ~

WOVOKA

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

A Midsummer’s Celebration

 by Mike Nichols

The young maid stole through the cottage door, And blushed as she sought the Plant of pow’r; — “Thou silver glow-worm, O lend me thy light, I must gather the mystic St. John’s wort tonight, The wonderful herb, whose leaf will decide If the coming year shall make me a bride.”

In addition to the four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic year, there are four lesser holidays as well: the two solstices, and the two equinoxes. In folklore, these are referred to as the four “quarter days” of the year, and modern Witches call them the four “Lesser Sabbats”, or the four “Low Holidays”. The summer solstice is one of them.

Technically, a solstice is an astronomical point and, due to the calendar creep of the leap-year cycle, the date may vary by a few days depending on the year. The summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer, and we experience the longest day and the shortest night of the year. Astrologers know this as the date on which the sun enters the sign of Cancer.

However, since most European peasants were not accomplished at reading an ephemeris or did not live close enough to Salisbury Plain to trot over to Stonehenge and sight down its main avenue, they celebrated the event on a fixed calendar date, June 24. The slight forward displacement of the traditional date is the result of multitudinous calendrical changes down through the ages. It is analogous to the winter solstice celebration, which is astronomically on or about December 21, but is celebrated on the traditional date of December 25, Yule, later adopted by the Christians.

Again, it must be remembered that the Celts reckoned their days from sundown to sundown, so the June 24 festivities actually begin on the previous sundown (our June 23). This was the date of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Which brings up another point: our modern calendars are quite misguided in suggesting that ‘summer begins’ on the solstice.  According to the old folk calendar, summer begins on May Day and ends on Lammas (August 1), with the summer solstice, midway between the two, marking midsummer. This makes more logical sense than suggesting that summer begins on the day when the sun’s power begins to wane and the days grow shorter.

Although our Pagan ancestors probably preferred June 24 (and indeed most European folk festivals today use this date), the sensibility of modern Witches seems to prefer the actual solstice point, beginning the celebration on its eve, or the sunset immediately preceding the solstice point. Again, it gives modern Pagans a range of dates to choose from with, hopefully, a weekend embedded in it.

Just as the Pagan Midwinter celebration of Yule was adopted by Christians as “Christmas” (December 25), so too the Pagan Midsummer celebration was adopted by them as the Feast of John the Baptist (June 24). Occurring 180 degrees apart on the wheel of the year, the Midwinter celebration commemorates the birth of Jesus, while the Midsummer celebration commemorates the birth of John, the prophet who was born six months before Jesus in order to announce his arrival.

Although modern Witches often refer to the holiday by the rather generic name of “Midsummer’s Eve”, it is more probable that our Pagan ancestors of a few hundred years ago actually used the Christian name for the holiday, “St. John’s Eve”. This is evident from the wealth of folklore that surrounds the summer solstice (i.e., that it is a night especially sacred to the faerie folk), but which is inevitably ascribed to “St. John’s Eve”, with no mention of the sun’s position. It could also be argued that a coven’s claim to antiquity might be judged by what name it gives the holidays. (Incidentally, the name ‘Litha’ for the holiday is a modern usage, possibly based on a Saxon word that means the opposite of Yule. Still, there is little historical justification for its use in this context.) But weren’t our Pagan ancestors offended by the use of the name of a Christian saint for a pre-Christian holiday?

Well, to begin with, their theological sensibilities may not have been as finely honed as our own. But secondly and more  mportantly, St. John himself was often seen as a rather Pagan figure.  He was, after all, called “the Oak King”. His connection to the wilderness (from whence “the voice cried out”) was often emphasized by the rustic nature of his shrines. Many statues show him as a horned figure (as is also the case with Moses).  Christian iconographers mumble embarrassed explanations about “horns of light”, while modern Pagans giggle and happily refer to such statues as “Pan the Baptist”. And to clench matters, many depictions of John actually show him with the lower torso of a satyr, cloven hooves and all! Obviously, this kind of John the Baptist is more properly a Jack in the Green! Also obvious is that behind the medieval conception of St. John lies a distant, shadowy Pagan Deity, perhaps the archetypal Wild Man of the wood, whose face stares down at us through the foliate masks that adorn so much church architecture. Thus, medieval Pagans may have had fewer problems adapting than we might suppose.

In England, it was the ancient custom on St. John’s Eve to light large bonfires after sundown, which served the double purpose of providing light to the revelers and warding off evil spirits.  This was known as “setting the watch”. People often jumped through the fires for good luck. In addition to these fires, the streets were lined with lanterns, and people carried cressets (pivoted lanterns atop poles) as they wandered from one bonfire to another. These wandering, garland-bedecked bands were called a “marching watch”. Often they were attended by morris dancers, and traditional players dressed as a unicorn, a dragon, and six hobbyhorse riders. Just as May Day was a time to renew the boundary of one’s own property, so Midsummer’s Eve was a time to ward the boundary of the city.

Customs surrounding St. John’s Eve are many and varied.  At the very least, most young folk plan to stay up throughout the whole of this shortest night. Certain courageous souls might spend the night keeping watch in the center of a circle of standing stones. To do so would certainly result in either death, madness, or (hopefully) the power of inspiration to become a great poet or bard. (This is, by the way, identical to certain incidents in the first branch of The Mabinogion.) This was also the night when the serpents of the island would roll themselves into a hissing, writhing ball in order to engender the “glain”, also called the “serpent’s egg”, “snake stone”, or “Druid’s egg”. Anyone in possession of this hard glass bubble would wield incredible magical powers. Even Merlyn himself (accompanied by his black dog) went in search of it, according to one ancient Welsh story.

Snakes were not the only creatures active on Midsummer’s Eve. According to British faery lore, this night was second only to Halloween for its importance to the Wee Folk, who especially enjoyed a ridling on such a fine summer’s night. In order to see them, you had only to gather fern seed at the stroke of midnight and rub it onto your eyelids. But be sure to carry a little bit of rue in your pocket, or you might well be “pixie-led”. Or, failing the rue, you might simply turn your jacket inside out, which should keep you from harm’s way. But if even this fails, you must seek out one of the “ley lines”, the old straight tracks, and stay upon it to your destination. This will keep you safe from any malevolent power, as will crossing a stream of “living” (running) water.

Other customs included decking the house (especially over the front door) with birch, fennel, St. John’s wort, orpin, and white lilies. Five plants were thought to have special magical properties on this night: rue, roses, St. John’s wort, vervain, and trefoil. Indeed, Midsummer’s Eve in Spain is called the “Night of the Verbena (Vervain)”. St. John’s wort was especially honored by young maidens who picked it in the hopes of divining a future lover.

And the glow-worm came With its silvery flame, And sparkled and shone Through the night of St. John, And soon has the young maid her love-knot tied.

There are also many mythical associations with the summer solstice, not the least of which concerns the seasonal life of the God of the sun. Inasmuch as I believe that I have recently discovered certain associations and correspondences not hitherto realized, I have elected to treat this subject in some depth in my ‘Death of Llew’ essay.  Suffice it to say here, that I disagree with the generally accepted idea that the Sun God meets his death at the summer solstice. I believe there is good reason to see the Sun God at his zenith—his peak of power—on this day, and that his death at the hands of his rival would not occur for another quarter of a year. Material drawn from the Welsh mythos seems to support this thesis. In Irish mythology, midsummer is the occasion of the first battle between the Fir Bolgs and the Tuatha De Danaan.

Altogether, Midsummer is a favorite holiday for many Witches in that it is so hospitable to outdoor celebrations.  The warm summer night seems to invite it. And if the celebrants are not, in fact, skyclad, then you may be fairly certain that the long ritual robes of winter have yielded place to short, tunic-style apparel. As with the longer gowns, tradition dictates that one should wear nothing underneath—the next best thing to skyclad, to be sure. (Incidentally, now you know the real answer to the old Scottish joke, “What is worn beneath the kilt?”)

The two chief icons of the holiday are the spear (symbol of the Sun God in his glory) and the summer cauldron (symbol of the Goddess in her bounty). The precise meaning of these two symbols, which I believe I have recently discovered, will be explored in the essay on the death of Llew. But it is interesting to note here that modern Witches often use these same symbols in their Midsummer rituals. And one occasionally hears the alternative consecration formula, “As the spear is to the male, so the cauldron is to the female.” With these mythic associations, it is no wonder that Midsummer is such a joyous and magical occasion!


Document Copyright © 1983 – 2009 by Mike Nichols. Text editing courtesy of Acorn Guild Press. Website redesign by Bengalhome Internet Services, © 2009