Little Pagan Acorns – Website for Pagan Children

[Not just for Pagan children that are homeschooled but for any Pagan child)

WHY PAGAN?

The world of homeschooling is dominated by Christians, and the majority of online resources are Bible-based. For someone who is Pagan, it gets pretty frustrating to find great printables that aren’t filled with Bible scriptures or Christian phrasing. So I wanted to create a resource for all of us who are parents and/or homeschoolers who are following other spiritual paths.

My purpose is to create pages that can be mixed in with other resources to add some Pagan terminology, ideals and history so that people can teach their children something that is uniquely Pagan.

I also intend to have selections of nature-based and generically “spiritual” material that could be used by folks who aren’t really Pagan but want an option away from the Christian materials as well.

I know that the term “Pagan” covers a huge range of faiths and beliefs, and I hope that I can properly respect them all here. My own path is more Wiccan and you’ll tend to see more material along that slant (lots of altars, Sabbats and pentacles!). I’d welcome any comments or suggestions from other beliefs so that I can accurately cover them. I apologize in advance if I have included anything that is inaccurate about other religions. Feel free to let me know.

So, welcome to Little Pagan Acorns and I hope that there is something here to help with your Pagan homeschooling and parenting!

Little Pagan Acorns – Website for Pagan Children

One last thought


Mabon Comments & Graphics

We were talking about our basic beliefs in our different traditions. When we got right down to it, we all believed in the Ways of Old. There is that basic teaching in all of us. We were all taught Mabon/Fall Equinox was celebrated on September 21st.

It seems like now days our celebration of Mabon has changed. Who changed it and why? I know every time a Sabbat comes up, you hear the same thing from me. I am also defending why we celebrate our Sabbats on a certain day. We celebrate them on the dates our ancestors celebrated them. This is our core belief.

Why someone who didn’t know a thing about our practices or religion would go and change our holiest of days, is beyond me. These individuals have us celebrating Mabon anywhere from September 21 to September 23. It seems someone has tampered with our celebrations. I have my own opinion on the matter but we won’t get into that. Our point is simple, these people knew nothing about our religious belief or practices. Since they knew nothing, they should have left all our Sabbats alone. I don’t see any practitioners trying to tell other dominations when to celebrate Easter or Christmas. Do you?

All we want is for our celebrations of the Sabbats to be left alone. For us to return to the Ways of Old. The ancient ones founded our religion and we have to maintain their practices. It is passed down from generation to generation. Our beliefs are our own. No one has the right to meddle in our affairs, let alone our religious practices.

I know it has to be confusing to those new to the Craft. Just think how we feel when we are celebrating our Sabbats on their appropriate date and every where you turn, you are getting a different date to celebrate.

It is a known fact, that certain groups have tried to destroy our religion and beliefs. They have meddled in our practices for centuries. They have lied on us, twisted our practices, and even went so far to kill those who would not back down from their faith and their Goddess.

We must and we shall rewrite our history. That is why it is so very important that we continue to spread our word and our beliefs. We have to bring the Craft back to its rightful place in mainstream religion. Only then, will the truth about us be known. Most importantly, we will write our own history. Who better to do it than those who know it.

I am sorry I had to get off on this subject but I don’t appreciate people meddling in our affairs. We are very tolerant of other religions. We respect other religions. We would never consider doing some of the things that have been done to our beliefs. All we want is to be able to tell the truth about witches & witchcraft and correct the mistakes that have been taught about us.

We hope you have a very blessed Mabon,
Till tomorrow,
Love & Hugs,
Lady of the Abyss & The WOTC Staff

Being An Upside Down Witch – for those Living in the Southern Hemisphere

Goddess Pages
British spiritual magazine

Living in Australia – or anywhere in the southern hemisphere for that matter – can be a little confusing for a witch. All the books about magic print elemental correspondences that are back to front (the fire of the sun is certainly not in the south down here!), and list dates for the sabbats that bear no relation to the actual cycle of our seasons. I’ve met a surprising number of people from the US and UK who didn’t realise that our seasons are six months behind (or ahead, depending on how you look at it) the northern ones. Our Midsummer falls around December 20-23, when the north is blanketed in snow, while our winter solstice falls around June 20-23, the height of summer up there.
Perhaps long ago we may have followed the oft-printed dates and celebrated these rituals along with our northern friends, linking up psychically in December to celebrate Yule and welcome the birth of the sun god, even as here he was about to start fading as summer reached its peak, or doing autumn rituals of harvest and release while our land was quickening with the new growth of spring.
But I don’t know of a single southern witch who follows the northern model. At coven rituals, open celebrations and alone at home, groups and solitary practitioners follow our own seasonal cycle, because paganism and goddess worship are intimately attuned to the heartbeat of the planet and the seasons, and these festivals are prescribed by the movement of the earth in relation to the sun, not a fixed date on a modern calendar. The land, as the embodiment of the goddess, speaks to all of us, and the goddess path is about learning to hear this language of nature, to sense the movement and emotional shifts as the earth moves through its cycles, and feel the rhythm of its turning. And so a spring fertility festival will be marked in spring, when the planet is alive with new life and energy, regardless of what is happening on that day in the other hemisphere.
There has been mention in these pages that it is wrong to import “northern” festivals to the southern lands. But celebrating the beauty and bounty of nature and the dance of the seasons is not anyone’s exclusive right. Maybe people in the Celtic lands can feel historically possessive of the names themselves (Lughnasadh, Beltane), but they have no ownership of the winter solstice or the first day of spring, and this is what these festivals are.
The Wheel of the Year reflects the constant universal cycle of life, death and rebirth. Mythologically it is tied to the story of the god and goddess as she shifts from young lover to mother to crone, and he is born, grows in power, sacrifices himself then is reborn, but literally it refers to the changing seasons – the fertility and vibrant life force of summer, the balance and harvest of autumn, the introspection and endings (death) of winter, and the rebirth of spring. Being in the southern hemisphere doesn’t necessarily change this seasonal pattern, it merely shifts the dates. There are parts of Australia such as the Red Centre – and parts of the northern hemisphere too – where the seasons don’t play out in a standard, balanced rhythm through summer, autumn, winter and spring. Some places experience just two main seasons, wet and dry, yet even there the people living in harmony with the land are able to feel the earth as it surges with new life, grows, becomes ready for harvest then withdraws its energy within the earth again, and celebrate their own personal Wheel that reflects their reality.
But in much of the coastal region of the country, where around eighty per cent of the population is based, the seasons do follow a regular pattern, and many witches celebrate the traditional Wheel of the Year, moved forward six months to reflect their personal experience. Of course it can seem a little strange and out of whack sometimes, because the Christians hijacked so many of the magical sabbats and they have become such a part of western life. So how and when do we celebrate the turning points of the witches’ year Down Under, and how do we deal with the inconsistencies of modern festivities?

The Summer Solstice
As the western world gears up for Christmas and northern witches mark Yule, in the southern hemisphere we are celebrating the summer solstice. In 2008 this fell on December 21, and in 2009 it will fall on December 22. This is Midsummer Day, when the sun reaches its southernmost latitude before it turns and heads back towards the north. In some ways it would be easier to celebrate Yule during this festive season, as our northern hemisphere counterparts do, when everyone is feasting, exchanging gifts and acknowledging the birth of the son of God – or the sun god. But Down Under this is the longest, not shortest, day of the year. The sun is strong (some would say merciless), and the energy is fast and active. It’s a time of abundance, achievement and culmination. Despite the snow-covered decorations, men sweating in Santa suits and hot roast dinners – a legacy of our ancestors – on this day we absorb the solar energy, feast on luscious summer fruits, give thanks for the goals we’ve reached and revel in the strength and heat of the long day of sunshine and the power of the sun god.
Sometimes I go to the beach at dawn and watch the sun rise over the ocean, or climb the hill in the park near my house at sunset, farewelling it as it begins its journey back to northern parts, and its energy starts to wane from this day forward as it begins its descent into the dark half of the year. Sometimes I do a formal ritual with a group, or have a feast of celebration with my magical friends, wrapping pots of sunshiney flowers and summer herbs in gold and red velvet as gifts, and breathe in the scent of orange blossoms, lavender and rosemary. I celebrate Christmas with my family too, but I see no conflict here, as the modern version has little to do with the real Yule in intent or meaning, and I’m quite happy to honour the power of the summer solstice and then a few days later enjoy the spirit of giving of the festive season.

Lughnasadh
In the first week of February we celebrate Lughnasadh, the cross-quarter day that marks the end of summer and the first day of autumn, although where I live it will still be hot and fiery for some time to come. In the north it’s Imbolc, linked to fertility, love and Valentine’s Day, but down here it’s the opposite. The earth is still throbbing with life and energy, but it’s mature, fully ripened and almost over-abundant. This is the first harvest festival, and fruit picking becomes a popular form of employment for many travellers, with farms all over the country taking on seasonal workers. The grape harvest begins, to make the wine that is now internationally renowned, and an abundance of other delicious fruits and vegetables, as well as golden wheat and other cereal crops, are also picked at this time.
As well as a time of feasting and of thanksgiving for the life-giving properties of our crops, and recognition of the cycle of sowing and reaping, Lughnasadh is also about the symbolic things we grow and create in our life. It’s a day of harvesting the fruits of our labours and acknowledging our successes and what we’ve achieved in the past year. A month after New Year’s resolutions are made, it seems a good time to take stock. On this day I perform a ritual to celebrate and acknowledge the goals I’ve reached, making a list of all the things I’ve gained – the gifts I’ve been given, the new talents I’ve developed, the friends I’ve made, the experiences I’ve had, the healings I’ve received, the opportunities I’ve pursued – and giving thanks for it all. We may no longer be so connected to the creation and production of our food, as in days gone by, or believe that our prayers or sacrifices influence the success of the crops, but being grateful for what we have and giving thanks is still a beautiful way to live. I also try to pass on some of my good fortune so the energy of abundance continues and is strengthened, by giving time or money to a charity of some kind.

Autumn Equinox
Late March is another strange time for Down Under witches, because the stores are filled with chocolate bunnies and eggs in preparation for Easter, the Christian holiday based on the spring festival of Ostara, which northern hemisphere witches are marking now. While most of the world – both pagan and non-magical – celebrates rebirth, resurrection and new life with the fertility goddess Ostara’s symbols of eggs and hares, in Australia it’s the middle of autumn, a time of crisp, chilly mornings, pale blue skies and a world aflame with colour as the trees turn a hundred shades of red-orange-yellow-brown. Daylight savings ends, and from the autumn equinox onwards, which this year falls on March 20, the days start getting shorter and the weather cooler, but this day of equal light and dark is the moment of balance in nature and within – a time of harmony, joy and gentle calm. While I certainly eat my share of chocolate eggs at this time, acknowledging on some level the energy of Ostara, I also prepare a harvest feast of richly coloured fruits and root vegetables, golden grains and heavy warm breads, and start drying my herbs. I feel immense joy as I skip through the crackling autumn leaves and chart the turning of the seasons by the patterns of leaves on the trees. I give thanks for my metaphorical harvest, honouring my achievements, experiences and wisdom in a way that feels right to me, be it with a big celebration or a personal ritual of gratitude. It’s a time of balance – my world is poised between summer and winter, and day and night are in harmony, which is reflected in the earth’s energy and within me.

Samhain
In the first week of May we celebrate the cross-quarter day that marks the end of autumn and the beginning of the coldness and dark of winter. In the north it’s all hot, fertile love energy, with abundant blossoms, the hatching of birds, bees pollinating flowers and lovers leaping the Beltane fires. But in the southern hemisphere at this time it’s the opposite. It’s the start of winter, a season of introspection and darkness both metaphorically and literally. Traditionally this was the time to store food for the cold barren months ahead; symbolically it’s about rest and renewal, of preparing for what’s ahead and withdrawing a little to conserve your energy. While the grass becomes green and lush at this time with the onset of rain, many of the trees are stripped bare, and bitterly cold winds add to the starkness of the season. This is the time we start readying ourselves for the rebirth we’ll experience at Yule, a time of inner reflection and contemplation, of studying the Mysteries (of our tradition or our life), and scrying for answers and illumination. It’s also the night when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest, and we honour our ancestors and commune with the dead. Of course southern witches do find it hard to explain to people that we are celebrating “Halloween” at this time, but if you pay attention to the earth, to nature, to the seasons, it’s very clear that this is our Samhain.

The Winter Solstice
In late June we celebrate the winter solstice; this year it will fall on the 21st. This is our midwinter – the longest night and shortest day of the year, when the sun is as far north as it will get, making it midsummer in the northern hemisphere. Snow falls in some parts of Australia, and in others it’s cold and rainy. Even in the Red Centre, where winter is their dry season, nature is introspective at this time – the seeds are all closed up, waiting for the heat and rainfall of summer to explode into life. Winter, and this midpoint in particular, is a time to rest and reflect, to acknowledge sadness and loss – of dreams, of friendships, of parts of your self – and conserve your energy and life force.
Yet it’s a day of hope too, for the solstice is the turning point in this time of darkness, introspection and dreaming. Considered the dark night of the soul that gives birth to the creative spark, it marks the period when the dark half of the year relinquishes its hold to the light half. From this day forward the days slowly start to lengthen, the sun becomes stronger and the energy within and without increases and builds. On Midwinter’s Night Eve I light a candle to symbolise the sun and its activating energy, and list my dreams for the coming year. Sometimes I stay up all night to await the return of the light, other years I get up for the sunrise and toast the dawn and give thanks for this energetic reawakening. As the sun is reborn I open myself up to the promise of new growth and achievement, the energy of renewal and the rebirth of my own self and creativity.
I’m more inclined to refer to this festival as Winter Solstice rather than Yule, because the latter has connotations of Christmas, which is still six months away for us, yet many southern witches retain the traditional name, particularly in colder areas where open fires and Yule logs are more typical. Interestingly, there is now increasing recognition in Australia that Christmas is based on a winter tradition that involves magic, and many mainstream events are planned to coincide with our winter solstice. The Pagan Awareness Network holds Hollyfrost, an annual Midwinter retreat and ritual, and in the Blue Mountains the Winter Magic Festival is held on the day of the solstice and is open to everyone, regardless of beliefs. And the more touristy than magical Yulefest and Christmas in July are also celebrated around this time, in recognition that here Yule should not take place in December, in the heat of the Australian summer, but in the cool of winter.

Imbolc
In the first week of August, we in the southern hemisphere honour the cross-quarter day that marks the end of winter and the first day of spring. The earth starts to shake off the severity of the cold period and emerge back into the light. Some of our stunning wildflowers, like the delicate golden wattle, explode into glorious bloom, and it’s a time of hope, renewal and fresh starts after winter’s sluggishness. The sun starts to strengthen and the days grow longer, symbolising the return and renewal of the life force of the land and its people. Energetically it’s a time of awakening and new energy, and is the day we sow the seeds of what we want to achieve in the coming year. It’s also a time of purification and cleansing after the long dark of winter, when I feel motivated to physically clean my house and energetically clear my space, sweeping out old energy and thoughts so the new can thrive. Imbolc represents new beginnings, initiations and inspiration, and the budding plants, swooping baby birds and buzzing bees always fill me with vitality, passion and the impetus to start (or rededicate myself to) new projects.

The Spring Equinox
In the southern hemisphere, the spring or vernal equinox falls in late September – this year it’s on the 23rd. It’s a beautiful time of year, with bright blue skies and pale sunshine without the merciless heat of summer… perfect temperate weather. It’s one of only two times of the year when the length of day and night is equal, and on a personal level it’s a time of balance and harmony too, of union between the physical and spiritual as the balance of universal energies is reflected within. It’s also a time of growth and fertility, when crops are sown, the buds on the trees open, birds build nests and lay eggs and new life is celebrated. Energetically it’s also a very fertile time, as the seeds we sowed of our goals begin to sprout and gain momentum. Traditionally the spring equinox is tied up with rabbits, eggs and fertility goddesses, so it does feel a bit strange to be celebrating “Easter” at this time, but the beautifully blossoming and budding earth and the wild energy and vitality make it obvious that it’s the time for it. It’s a celebration of new life, hope, passion, growth and energy, the time of year that I meditate on my metaphorical fertility and my ability to manifest dreams into reality. In many ancient cultures, including the Romans whose calendar ours is based on, the spring equinox was the first day of the year, and the sense of new hope and optimism inherent in this day remains. It hasn’t always fallen around March/September 21 – our dating is a modern invention – and there are still countries where this is the first day of the year. The Ancient Roman year began on the spring equinox, the day they called Martius 1, which is March 21 in Gregorian terms. In the modern Iranian calendar, used in Iran and Afghanistan, each new year begins on the spring equinox as precisely determined by astronomical observations from Tehran and Kabul (making it the perfect solar calendar, because each calendar year corresponds exactly to the solar year, with no leap days necessary). The Baha’i calendar also begins on the spring equinox.
I got married on September 22 – our spring equinox – a few years ago, so we celebrate our anniversary on Ostara each year. Yet we ran away and wed in the northern hemisphere, which means where we were that day was actually the autumn equinox. Thus each year as we celebrate our anniversary at home, in the springtime, we also acknowledge the energy of autumn. I add a few autumn colours to my spring bouquet, and consider not only what seeds we want to plant for the next year of our relationship, but what we have harvested over the previous one. As Mabon and Ostara are the two days of the year when all is balanced, within and without, they are both good days to renew commitments or pledge a new one, be it a vow of love, magic, career or anything else. I feel like I incorporated the best of both worlds by making my wedding day span both festivals.

Beltane
In the southern hemisphere, the first week of November brings the cross-quarter day that marks the end of spring and the start of the heat and energy of summer, and the festival of love. It’s a time of lovers and spells to attract love, and celebrating the fertility of life, not just physically, but also of our dreams and ambitions. Symbolically this day marks the igniting of the fires of creativity and passion, of the fertility of our desires being made manifest, as the universe bursts with a raw energy and power that we can tap in to simply by breathing it in.
In the northern hemisphere Beltane falls around May Day, and while it has no relevance to us in terms of timing, I have been part of a coven ritual that involved a maypole dance, to represent the union of god and goddess at this point in the Wheel of the Seasonal Year. I’ve also leapt over the Beltane fires, although that was before I met my husband, when I jumped over it with friends as part of a personal ritual of purification and preparation, leaping out of my past, burning away the relationship issues that had kept my heart closed, and towards a future where love was possible (I met my partner two months later).
While I’ve been known to dress up as a vampire or a fairy and go to a Halloween party on October 31, privately or with coven members or witchie friends I’m celebrating the new blossoms and the vitality and fertility of Beltane at this time.

So, while it’s perhaps a little easier for northern hemisphere goddess worshippers to celebrate the cycle of the seasons, given that so many of them are actually woven into “normal” life, when you tune in to the earth and the rhythms of nature it is easy to know when it’s the right time to celebrate any of the old festivals. Because whether you live in the north, where they began, or the south, adding your own personal meaning to the traditional forms of celebration, the sabbats are still relevant to our lives. Even today, when we no longer live in harmony with the earth’s rhythms or agricultural cycles, modern pagans celebrate the Wheel of the Year as an honouring of nature and an acknowledgement of the continuing cycle of life, death and rebirth, both literally and symbolically. Becoming aware of the seasonal shifts and the patterns of nature wherever you live, and celebrating these ancient but still relevant festivals, is a simple way to tap in to the magic of the universe and harness it for your own growth. We may no longer grow our own grain or purify the fields with fire, but these celebrations still have power, particularly in the symbolic form – planting the seeds of our dreams in the metaphorical spring, watching them grow and manifest in the world before we give thanks for our literal harvest, then allowing the things that no longer serve us to die off or be released in our own personal winter, then starting all over again with new dreams as we celebrate our own rebirth.
I’ve spent a few sabbats in the northern hemisphere, leaping the Beltane fires in Glastonbury’s Chalice Well Gardens, sitting inside the Great Pyramid on the morning of the summer solstice, watching the sun set over the Hill of Tara at Lughnasadh, and the energy of each season is intense, real and tangible no matter which hemisphere I am in. Whenever I celebrate these magical turning points of our planet I feel so strongly a part of the earth, at one with nature and the universe. And so, regardless of which half of the world I’m in, I always acknowledge the opposite festival as well, in some small way. Perhaps this isn’t as important for those in the north, but for me it seems right to acknowledge the turning seasons all over the world, the beautiful, gracefully balanced dance of light and dark, heat and cold, day and night, that makes up this world that we are all a part of.
We are all connected to the earth, no matter where we live, and we need to learn how to (and accept that we can) follow the seasons of nature in our own unique way, based on the rising and setting of the sun in our own home town, the cycles of the moon as it crosses our part of the sky, and the very personal language of nature that is so different – and yet so similar –according to our own unique landscape.


Serene Conneeley is a healer, writer and witch who lives in Sydney, Australia. She is a reconnective healing practitioner and has studied magical and medicinal herbalism, reiki and many other healing modalities, as well as politics and journalism. Her first book, Seven Sacred Sites: Magical Journeys That Will Change Your Life, has just been published. Visit Goddess Pages magazine here.

WOTC Extra – Which Witch Are You?

Witchy Comments
WOTC Extra – Which Witch Are You?

Solitary: Practices the craft alone and does not work with a group or coven. By the Gardnerian and Alexandrian way solitary witches are not witches. In order to be considered a witch you must work with a coven.

Eclectic: These witches pick chose and mix various traditions. They have no set path.

Hereditary: These are the practitioners who have been taught the craft from their relative. The craft was passed, unbroken, from generation to generation.

So, now, do you want to be a solitary witch or work with a coven? Let me give you a few Pros and Cons to consider.

PRO

If you join a coven you will receive lots of support. There are people available with the same beliefs to talk to. You will also get some structure. You can work your way up from dedicant to High Priest(s).

CON

Just by the fact that there is structure in a coven may discourage some people. The coven decides on the where, when at time of the Sabbats and meetings. If you break the laws of the coven (dishonor) you will be asked to leave. The cons of a coven are not unlike those that relate to any group activity.

PRO

OK, so you will go solo and be a solitary. This means that you can learn at your own pace. You can follow your own schedule for Sabbats, within reason. You attire is strictly up to you. Some solitaries will join with a know coven to celebrate Sabbats. You can design your own rituals.

CON

The major downside is that you are on are on your own. Help and guidance from knowledgeable witches are not going to be readily available. The solitary had no linage to look back on for guidance. Solitary witches are looked down on by name of the coven witches. What do you know – a class structure L

So what type of training do you want? You can find metaphysical shops and seek help from them. You can use the local library or book shop. If you have internet access there is a wealth of information available for you.

You may want to join a coven. This decision must be made carefully. Some covens are basically nothing more than social groups. Others are based on the D & D games. Be selective, just as they will want to interview you, you should reciprocate in kind.

NOTE: Witches do not try to convert people.

Once you have decided upon a coven go to a few open Sabbats and meetings, if permitted. If you can not attend an open Sabbat write the coven off. With the exception of two Sabbats, all others can be open.

Sit down with the Priestess / Priest and see what the coven will want of you. The will also ask what you can bring to the coven. Remember, a coven becomes your family away from home. The coven should NEVER supercede your home life. You family will always come first.

Once you are in total agreement – both ways you can apply to become a dedicant. During this time you will be kept under the eye of the Priestess and Priest. Your initial training will last for a year and a day. After that time, if upon the agreement of all, you can become an initiate. From that point on you will go through the three degrees of initiation. Each degree will take a minimum of a year and a day to complete.

Being a member of a coven is a commitment. You will be expected to attend coven functions. Covens usually meet to celebrate the 8 Sabbats – holidays of the God and 13 Esbats – holidays of the Goddess. Members of the coven are given a part to perform during the rituals. Not showing up for ritual is a major NO-NO. If you do not make it you can ruin the ritual.

You may also be asked to help the coven. Many covens take on community work to help the community.

Many covens plan outing and fun events for their members…

One thing to remember no matter what path you choose; When the Student is ready, the Teacher Will Appear.

So Exactly How Do Witches Celebrate the Sabbats?

Imbolc/Candlemas Comments
So how does a Witch celebrate the Sabbats? Hmm, we always take for granted that each of automatically know what they are suppose to do on our Sabbats. Well, at least I did to recently. I was talking to a dear friend and I asked them how was your Yule. Did you do anything special? The reply was, well we did whatever Pagans are suppose to do, whatever that is! It didn’t dawn on me till a few days later. Perhaps we aren’t doing the job I thought we were doing. I decided to make a commitment to all of you. The commitment is before each Sabbat (over a few days) we will give your morning prayers, rituals, spells, activities, the correspondences and the Deities of that Sabbat. You will have the information to celebrate that Sabbat correctly.

I am very glad that my dear friend made this comment. I believe there are others that might be saying or thinking the same but have never told us. So now, we are going to provide you with everything you need. There will be no more wondering what Pagans/Witches do on the current Sabbats as the Wheel turns.

I hope you enjoy the information. If you ever have any questions or concerns about any issue, please contact us. Because if you don’t contact us, we won’t never know where we are lacking in our service to you.

Lady A & The WOTC

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The Law

Witchy Comments & Graphics
The Law

 We are of the Old Ways, among those who walk with the Goddess and God and
receive Their love.

Keep the Sabbats and Esbats to the best of your abilities, for to do otherwise
is to lessen your connection with the Goddess and God.

Harm none. This, the oldest law, is not open to interpretation or change.

Shed not blood in ritual; the Goddess and God need not blood to be duly
worshipped.

Those of our ways are kind to all creatures, for hurtful thoughts are quiet
draining and aren’t worth the loss of energy.

Misery is self-created; so, too, is joy, so create joy and disdain misery and
unhappiness. And this is within your power. So harm not.

Teach only what you know, to the best of your ability, to those students who
you choose, but teach not to those who would use your instructions for
destruction or control. Also, teach not to boost pride, forever remember: She
who teaches out of love shall be enfolded in the arms of the Goddess and God.

Ever remember that if you would be of our way, keep the law close to your
heart, for it is the nature of the Wicca to keep the Law.

If ever the need arises, any law may be changed or discarded, and new laws
written to replace them, so long as the new laws don’t break the oldest law of
all: Harm None.

Blessings of the Goddess and God on us all.

(* Wicca – S. Cunningham)

The Witches Magick for Oct. 30th – Solitary Samhain Ritual

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Solitary Samhain Ritual

Place upon the altar apples, pomegranates, pumpkins, squashes and other late autumn  fruits. Autumn flowers such as marigolds and chrysanthemums are fine too.  Write on a piece of paper an aspect of your life which you may wish to be free of; anger, a baneful habit, misplaced feelings, disease. The cauldron or some similar tool must be present  before the altar as well, on a trivet or some other heat-proof surface (if the legs aren’t long enough). A small, flat dish marked with an eight-spoked wheel symbol should also be there. [This is just what it sounds like. On a flat plate or dish, paint a large circle.  Put a dot in the center of this circle and paint eight spokes radiating out from the dot to the larger circle. Thus, you have a wheel symbol  – a symbol of the Sabbats, a symbol of timelessness.]

Prior to ritual, sit quietly and think of friends and loved ones who have passed away.  Do not despair. Know that they have gone on to greater things. Keep firmly in mind that the  physical isn’t the absolute reality, and souls never die.

Arrange the altar, light the candles and censer, and cast the Circle of Stones. Recite the Blessing Chant. Invoke the Goddess and God.

Lift one of the pomegranates and, with your freshly-washed Boline, pierce the skin of the  fruit. Remove several seeds and place them on the wheel-marked dish. Raise your wand, face the altar and say:

On this night of Samhain I mark Your passing,
O Sun King, through the sunset into the Land of the Young.
I mark also the passing of all who have gone before,
and all who will go after.
 
O Gracious Goddess, Eternal Mother,
You who gives birth to the fallen,
teach me to know that in the time of
the greatest darkness there is the greatest light.
 

Taste the pomegranate seeds; burst them with your teeth and savour  their sharp, bittersweet flavour. Look down at the eight-spoked symbol on the plate; the Wheel of the Year, the Cycle of the Seasons, the End and Beginning of all Creation.

Light a fire within the cauldron (a candle is fine).  Sit before it, holding the piece of paper, gazing at its flames. Say:

Wise One of the Waning Moon,
Goddess of the Starry Night,
I create this fire within
Your cauldron to transform
that which is plaguing me.
May the energies be reversed:
From the darkness, light!
From bane, good!
From death, birth!

Light the paper in the cauldron’s flames and drop it inside. As it burns, know that your ill diminishes, lessens and finally leaves you as it is consumed within the universal fires.  [The cauldron, seen as the Goddess.]

If you wish, you may attempt scrying or some other form of divination, for this is a perfect time to look into the past or future. Try to recall past lives too, if you will.  But leave the dead in peace. Honor them with your memories but do not call them to you. [Many Pagans  do attempt to communicate with their deceased ancestors and friends at this time, but it  seems to me that if we accept the doctrine of reincarnation, this is a rather strange practice. Perhaps the personalities that we knew still exist, but if the soul is currently incarnate in another body, communication would be difficult, to say the least. Thus, it seems best to remember them with peace and love – but do not call them up.] 

Release any pain and sense of loss you may feel into the cauldron’s flames. Works of magick, if necessary, may follow. Celebrate the Simple Feast. The circle is released.

 

The Herbs Of The Sabbats

The Herbs Of The Sabbats

To be used as decorations on the altar, round the circle, in the home.

Samhain:
Chrysanthemum, wormwood, apples, pears, hazel, thistle, pomegranates, all
grains, harvested fruits and nuts, the pumpkin, corn.

Yule:
Holly, mistletoe, ivy, cedar, bay, juniper, rosemary, pine. Place offerings of
apples, oranges, nutmegs, lemons and whole cinnamon sticks on the Yule tree.

Imbolc:
Snowdrop, rowan, the first flowers of the year.

Eostara:
Daffodil, woodruff, violet, gorse, olive, peony, iris, narcissus, all spring
flowers.

Beltane:
Hawthorn, honeysuckle, St. John’s wort, woodruff, all flowers.

Midsummer:
Mugwort, vervain, chamomile, rose, lily, oak, lavender, ivy, yarrow, fern,
elder, wild thyme, daisy, carnation.

Lughnasadh:
All grains, grapes, heather, blackberries, sloe, crabapples, pears.

Mabon:
Hazel, corn, aspen, acorns, oak sprigs, autumn leaves, wheat stalks, cypress
cones, pine cones, harvest gleanings.

“Samhain Dream”

“Samhain Dream”

by Myria/Brighid

It is Samhain …The Night of Shadows. The Circle is cast around the fire, And through the darkness, we glance, For the veils are thin, in this sacred night! Ancient voices around us, Whispering old and forgotten songs, While we dance the Spiral Dance, To meet Her. And there She comes, The Lady of the Gate! Power and compassion evolving us, As a dark but comforting wave. Beautiful Queen of the Dark Night! With Her mantle of raven’s feathers, And eyes deep with wisdom. Cerridwenn! She opens Her arms, in a welcoming embrace, We feel around us the flow of love, Of Her Eternal Grace. And then we hear Her voice, Melodious and grave, That speaks from inside our soul, As an echo in a cave. Blessed Daughters of My Heart, I hear your prayers from afar. And that is why I came tonight! Do not despair when the times are hard! Do not abandon the Path you found! For time has come for My return, And you, Loved Ones, shall open the way, Singing my name as the ancient bards. I am always with you, do never doubt that! I am the Old and the Young One! I am the Keeper of the Gate! I am the Master of Time! I am the Dark Goddess of Death! I am the Bright Goddess of Dawn! I am The One! I am Cerridwenn!

‘Twas the Night of Samhain

‘Twas the Night of Samhain

 

 

‘Twas the night of Samhain and all through the house,
Not a creatures was stirring except for my spouse.
The incense it burned in his cauldron so black,
For witchcraft and magick he’d a wondrous knack.
The circle was drawn with the athame of power,
The guardians were called to each quarter tower.
The Lord and the Lady attended our rite,
In wonder and glory and power and mite.
The dearly departed came as our guest,
To live once again after their rest.
We bid them goodbye with a tear in our eye,
Such a lovely presence of loved ones so nigh.
The candles danced in the flickering light,
With the Great Rite we bid them all a good night.
The guardians thanked, have all sped away,
The Lord and the Lady, thanks for the day.
The night of Samhain, Gods bless this house,
A circle of wonder ’round me and my spouse.
—(Unknown)

Buzzing In To Say Have A Super Tuesday!

Hi there, Bye there, lol! Sorry I am running late. I am worse than Lady A on being prompt anywhere. But today I have a good excuse. We were debating over what we were going to do for Samhain. We still didn’t come up with anything and we were at it for about two hours. Maybe by the time Samhain gets here, we will know what we are doing. I hope!

That would be a good topic for discussion, what are your plans for Samhain?

 

More Tuesday Comments

PRACTICING WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT TODAY

PRACTICING WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT TODAY

 

Starting something new can be frightening; this applies also to a new religion.  You will be taught the basic tenants, but in the long run, it will be up  to you to make of it what you want.

There are many different witches, each with their own set of rituals.  Some witches prefer to work alone, other like working within a coven.  Once again  this is a person choice.  Let no one force you into joining anything with which you are not comfortable.

Let me give you an idea of the various forms of the craft that are available to you.

Gardnerian Wicca:  Started in 1950’s by Gerald Gardner.  Groups tend to work skyclad.  Covens use a degree system.  Individuals are initiated by the  coven.

Alaxandrian Wicca:  Started in the 1960’s in England.  In many aspects they are like the Gardnerian Wicca.

Georgian Wicca:  Founded by George Patterson in the 1970’s.  They are known as the Georgian Church and draw their rituals from the Alaxandrian and  Gardnerian crafts.  Members also write their own ritual.

Algard Wicca:  Founded in 1972.  Mary Nesnick combined Alexandrian and Gardnerian Wicca to form the Algard tradition.  They are very close to the  Gardnerian tradition.

Seax-Wica: Founded in 1962 by Raymond Buckland a protégé of Gardner.  He moved to the U. S. A. and in 1973 started his own tradition based on Saxon  traditions.  Hence Seax-Wica.

Feri Tradition: Victor Anderson is credited to bringing this tradition to America in the late 1960’s.  Feri teacher tend to add something of  themselves to the religion as they teach.  They can be solitary or work in small groups.

Dianic Tradition: This religion focus strongly on the Goddess with little or no interact on the God.  This is a feminist movement of the craft.  The  covens are women only.

British Traditional: There are a number of different British Traditions that are based on the Pre Christian traditions of Old England.

Celtic Wicca:  The tradition looks to the Celtic and druidic deities, with an emphasis on magickal and healing properties.

Northern Way or Asatru.  This tradition is based on the Old Norse gods.

Pictish Witches:  This is a solitary Scottish Tradition that is based on nature.

Strega Witches:  This tradition is from Italy.

You will notice that this list is long, but not complete.  Many witches are drawn to the “way” because of their background.  This need not be  so.  Follow the one that calls to you.

What type of a witch are you?

Solitary:  Practices the craft alone and does not work with a group or coven.  By the Gardnerian and Alexandrian way solitary witches    are not witches.  In order to be considered a witch you must work with a coven.

Eclectic:  These witches pick chose and mix various traditions.  They have no set path.

Hereditary:  These are the practitioners who have been taught the craft from their relative.  The craft was passed, unbroken, from    generation to generation.

So, now, do you want to be a solitary witch or work with a coven?  Let me give you a few Pros and Cons to consider.

PRO

If you join a coven you will receive lots of support.  There are people available with the same beliefs to talk to.  You will also get some structure.    You can work your way up from dedicant to High Priest(s).

CON

Just by the fact that there is structure in a coven may discourage some people.  The coven decides on the where, when at time of the Sabbats and    meetings.  If you break the laws of the coven (dishonor) you will be asked to leave.   The cons of a coven are not unlike those that relate to any group    activity.

PRO

OK, so you will go solo and be a solitary.  This means that you can learn at your own pace.  You can follow your own schedule for Sabbats, within    reason.  You attire is strictly up to you.  Some solitaries will join with a know coven to celebrate Sabbats.  You can design your own rituals.

CON

The major downside is that you are on are on your own.  Help and guidance from knowledgeable witches are not going to be readily available.  The    solitary had no linage to look back on for guidance.  Solitary witches are looked down on by name of the coven witches.  What do you know – a class    structure L

So what type of training do you want?  You can find metaphysical shops and seek help from them.  You can use the local library or book shop.  If you    have internet access there is a wealth of information available for you.

You may want to join a coven.  This decision must be made carefully.  Some covens are basically nothing more than social groups.  Others are based on    the D & D games.  Be selective, just as they will want to interview you, you should reciprocate in kind.

NOTE:  Witches do not try to convert people.

Once you have decided upon a coven go to a few open Sabbats and meetings, if permitted.  If you can not attend an open Sabbat write the coven off.  With    the exception of two Sabbats, all others can be open.

Sit down with the Priestess / Priest and see what the coven will want of you.  The will also ask what you can bring to the coven.  Remember, a coven    becomes your family away from home.  The coven should NEVER supercede your home life.  You family will always come first.

Once you are in total agreement – both ways you can apply to become a dedicant.  During this time you will be kept under the eye of the Priestess and    Priest.  Your initial training will last for a year and a day.  After that time, if upon the agreement of all, you can become an initiate.  From that point    on you will go through the three degrees of initiation.  Each degree will take a minimum of a year and a day to complete.

Being a member of a coven is a commitment.  You will be expected to attend coven functions.  Covens usually meet to celebrate the 8 Sabbats – holidays    of the God and 13 Esbats – holidays of the Goddess.  Members of the coven are given a part to perform during the rituals.  Not showing up for ritual is a    major NO-NO.  If you do not make it you can ruin the ritual.

You may also be asked to help the coven.  Many covens take on community work to help the community.

Many covens plan outing and fun events for their members…

One thing to remember no matter what path you choose; When the Student is ready, the Teacher Will Appear.

Things to Remember

There are possibly hundreds, possibly thousand different types of witches.

You need not join a coven to be a witch.

If any witch asks you to do something that is immoral, illegal or makes you uncomfortable, DO NOT DO IT.

You will find your teacher when the time is right.

Daily OM for August 28 – A Special Goodnight

A Special Goodnight

Creating a Nightly Ritual

by Madisyn Taylor

Bedtime can be a perfect time for a nighttime ritual of sending love to the world and finding gratitude for your day.

At the end of the day, as the sweet, dark stillness of night beckons us to lay down our bones and rest, we find ourselves at a clear transition point: Behind us lies the previous day and all that has come before; ahead of us, dawn heralds the unfolding of all that is yet to be. While many of us have morning rituals that connect us with our center and help us to set intentions, we may want to explore the magic and power of nighttime ritual as well. It holds for us a beautiful chance for self-appreciation and blessing. Before you go to bed each night, you can send gratitude, compassion, and healing to the being you have been up until this moment. And you can send lightness and love into the future for the one you are in the process of becoming.

Though simple, this action honors the journey you have taken thus far, while opening you to the wonderful possibilities still ahead. When you consciously engage with your own evolution this way, you may find that your sleep gets sweeter, filling your night with a deeper sense of trust and relaxation. As you rest, you can surrender to these peaceful hours, knowing that the road behind you has been seen and acknowledged with respect and kindness, while the path ahead now holds your own benevolence and well wishes.

This bedtime ritual empowers you as the only one who can determine the meaning of your own past and the hopefulness of your future. By setting this special time aside each night, you can begin to orient yourself on your path of growing. It allows you to let the past have its place, to trust that the future is taken care of, and to simply rest yourself in the graceful arms of the present moment.

Which Witch Are You?

Which Witch Are You?

Solitary:

Practices the craft alone and does not work with a group or coven. By the Gardnerian and Alexandrian way solitary witches are not witches. In order to be considered a witch you must work with a coven.

Eclectic:

These witches pick chose and mix various traditions. They have no set path.

Hereditary:

These are the practitioners who have been taught the craft from their relative. The craft was passed, unbroken, from generation to generation.

So, now, do you want to be a solitary witch or work with a coven? Let me give you a few Pros and Cons to consider.

PRO

If you join a coven you will receive lots of support. There are people available with the same beliefs to talk to. You will also get some structure. You can work your way up from dedicant to High Priest(s).

CON

Just by the fact that there is structure in a coven may discourage some people. The coven decides on the where, when at time of the Sabbats and meetings. If you break the laws of the coven (dishonor) you will be asked to leave. The cons of a coven are not unlike those that relate to any group activity.

PRO

OK, so you will go solo and be a solitary. This means that you can learn at your own pace. You can follow your own schedule for Sabbats, within reason. You attire is strictly up to you. Some solitaries will join with a know coven to celebrate Sabbats. You can design your own rituals.

CON

The major downside is that you are on are on your own. Help and guidance from knowledgeable witches are not going to be readily available. The solitary had no linage to look back on for guidance. Solitary witches are looked down on by name of the coven witches. What do you know – a class structure L

So what type of training do you want? You can find metaphysical shops and seek help from them. You can use the local library or book shop. If you have internet access there is a wealth of information available for you.

You may want to join a coven. This decision must be made carefully. Some covens are basically nothing more than social groups. Others are based on the D & D games. Be selective, just as they will want to interview you, you should reciprocate in kind.

NOTE: Witches do not try to convert people.

Once you have decided upon a coven go to a few open Sabbats and meetings, if permitted. If you can not attend an open Sabbat write the coven off. With the exception of two Sabbats, all others can be open.

Sit down with the Priestess / Priest and see what the coven will want of you. The will also ask what you can bring to the coven. Remember, a coven becomes your family away from home. The coven should NEVER supercede your home life. You family will always come first.

Once you are in total agreement – both ways you can apply to become a dedicant. During this time you will be kept under the eye of the Priestess and Priest. Your initial training will last for a year and a day. After that time, if upon the agreement of all, you can become an initiate. From that point on you will go through the three degrees of initiation. Each degree will take a minimum of a year and a day to complete.

Being a member of a coven is a commitment. You will be expected to attend coven functions. Covens usually meet to celebrate the 8 Sabbats – holidays of the God and 13 Esbats – holidays of the Goddess. Members of the coven are given a part to perform during the rituals. Not showing up for ritual is a major NO-NO. If you do not make it you can ruin the ritual.

You may also be asked to help the coven. Many covens take on community work to help the community.

Many covens plan outing and fun events for their members…

One thing to remember no matter what path you choose; When the Student is ready, the Teacher Will Appear.

The Unfinished Journey .. The Best Is Yet To Come ?

The Unfinished Journey .. The Best Is Yet To Come ?

Author: Crystal Crone

As I sat in the quiet of my sitting room last week, my mind drifted back over the years of my earth journey. I wondered to myself if this could be because I was now comfortably at ease in my life as the ageing crone. I tried to shake myself out of my mauling by focusing on all the things that were pressing my mind for attention.

Dinner lay uncooked on the kitchen unit, birthday cards lay unwritten on the table, and my journal had thrust itself under my nose as I had gone to my cupboard for candles, as if crying out for attention. Well, dinner can wait until I am good and ready, the pen is not my exclusive right in this house full of people and so what if I hadn’t made an entry in my journal for four days!

No one would know that except me and as nothing ritualistic or momentous had happened during those days, why should I worry?

Now old girl, I thought wryly, is this you doing what you said would never happen and kicking back against this ageing process you have found so comfortable? I soon made up my mind that there was far more going on than this!

Life for Pagans is fairly disciplined by the very nature of our beliefs and for me to slip outside of what is the norm for me is both unusual and quite a shock to this fragile system.

So with all this in mind, I took myself off to the chopping board to redesign what was to have been a heartily cooked meal, to a hastily prepared salad. All the while my mind was ticking over, trying to establish what was going on here and why the rebel I never knew existed, was pushing its way to the front of my mind in an effort to be heard.

I hope I can be believed when I say that my life as a crone has never held any fears or regrets for me. In fact, I have never really noticed the transition in many ways as, following the passing of my daughter, I became both substitute mum and nan to my grandchildren. I guess there has never been time to notice those lines forming on smooth skin, or the vision that seemed slightly impaired, or the feet that ached at the end of a long day.

No, in all honesty my life seems to stretch down the years with fun, laughter, discipline of devotion and of course, tears of loss from my life of those who were part of me.

Thinking all this, I banged the hastily prepared salad onto plates (just to make it look as if some thought had gone into the preparation really) and returned to my chair in my now sun bathed sitting room, to mull over these new and disturbing thoughts in my head.

My long journey hasn’t always been easy, or even good in parts, but is has been mine to make. Along the path, I have met many people who have left their mark on my life, made a few mistakes, or errors of judgment had one or two regrets to I guess. Being me, I have never really focused on my destination (if you but knew my ability to get lost on a journey I may have made many times before, you would understand why that is :)), but my journey has been very important to me in terms of personal life satisfaction. I never ever got everything I tried to do right … why should I have done so, I am mortal after all, not some divine creature.

So with this in mind, I got to thinking about life in general and the world in particular!

To say it has changed beyond belief since I was a child is to state the obvious. After all, many rivers and streams have run under proverbial bridges since that time of old! I guess that the safest thing to say is that changes came, I complained, or rejoiced, as the case may be, that so much change was surely unnecessary, then continued to walk my path in a way that suited me and my way of life best.

I was always mindful of cause and effect, always as careful as I could be that my actions did not impact in a negative way, on the lives of others. Mostly, I was able to live as maiden, mother, and now crone, according to my own will.

I have had blessings, to many to recount, these were no doubt balanced in some way by my losses, which were fewer, but raw to my soul. I have reveled at Sabbats, danced at celebrations, performed my rituals and spells with honor and devotion and tried to point young seekers of paths to where the knowledge, or help, for their intent lies. All very satisfying one might think, so why this sudden departure from the norm, to the world of the ageing rebel?

Does this happen in the lives of everyone approaching a time in their lives when the end of the road is far more visible in the distance than the beginning ever was? And why is it that I had never given any thought to this before, I wondered?

As I grappled around my mind for something to blame for these phenomena (the human side of me looking to blame something again), I was consumed by laughter that bordered on hysteria almost! Of course this time will come upon all who are walking the path of life toward end destination, I was willing to bet that each and every one had reached the same impasse as I at some stage to.

The revelation it was to me to finally acknowledge the end destination should not have been the cause of my hysterical laughter for sure, so from that I had to assume that it must be my blessed peace that awaited me in the Summerlands, or that the “rebel” had been born, so to speak. I decided it was neither … I am as yet unprepared for journey’s end and nor am I about to rebel against that which has formed the foundations of my life.

My bemused sister, returning from a hard day at work, looked at me with something in her face close to an intention to call on the men in white coats, bearing a straight jacket. It took a very hastily thought up explanation to allay the fear I saw in her eyes for sure!

After she and the children had feasted on my oh so carefully prepared salad, we sat and spoke about the way she had found me when she came in from work. She has four years to catch up to this day in my life and I would like that she, or anyone else that may come to this, will realize as I did that it isn’t negative to think journey’s end, especially if you have tried to fill your life with all you wanted to do.

Being human, we will always find things we would like to have done, there will be many things we will wish we had thought more carefully before we did, but at end stage it was our journey to make whatever.

I can’t say this world is a good place to be; who could with all the abuse we make of the precious gift the Mother gave us to care for. People are feared for their safety as fundamental Islamists attempt to impose by terror, their beliefs on others who want nothing more than the freedom and peace to follow whatever faith they choose believe in.

Our wildlife is threatened by climate change and civil liberties we always took for granted are stripped away at an alarming rate these days. But even with all that, we live in a world that is so precious, we can choose to learn or not, we can follow a path we choose for ourselves because we are basically all spiritual beings living a human existence. This ageing crone has many of years of devotions under her belt (well maybe a skirt as the waistline has not been compatible with belts for some time now :)), so I am prepared to listen in reflective silence these days.

The people I have met have been there for a reason, a season and hopefully, many for a lifetime. I have hopped on and off “the bus of life” many times on my journey … on occasion I would have to be dragged back on board kicking and screaming, but all in all it has been good for me and mine.

I would say to young Pagan pathwalkers that if the experiences of an old crone count for anything, it is to say that the future lies in their hands now. There is much to be done, many voices to be heard, the young amongst us are our hope for the future. They must never forget that the best of learning comes from the voice of experience, so the elders amongst us must be heeded as they draw on those experiences.

But they are the absolute future.

We who travel on to journey’s end will do what we are able to save for them the wonders of our precious world, as we draw on their youth and strength to give power to our tasks yet to do.

The Mother never said it would be easy, no bump free ride was ever promised, but she did give us gifts in life that were ours to use, or not.

As I said, I have met many learned people who have inspired and enlightened me; I have thought at times that I know all the answers because of my age. I know now that we are never meant to have all the answers and that is not to be regretted, but rejoiced in, as it means that the best may still be yet to come.

My heart tells me that it is, even if the signs are not so good at this precarious time for our planet.

I wish all, Pagan or otherwise, a journey without fear, a life full of fun, laughter and adventure with the promise that age is interesting and not at all as bad as it may seem. For myself, I will journey on in the same manner I have lived my whole life, the destination may be over the horizon, but I have far to much to do to approach it willingly.

After all, I shall become a great grandmother of yet another soul needing the loving arms of this old crone I feel :).