Seasons of the Witch – Legends and Lore, Ancient Holidays And Some Not So Ancient!

Seasons of the Witch – Legends and Lore, Ancient Holidays And Some Not So Ancient!

 

Today Is …

 

Native American: Changing Woman Ceremony – The Apache tribe in Arizona hold this rite-of-passage festival at sunrise. The ritual lasts four days, and marks the coming of age of a pubescent girl.who ritually transforms into the spirit-goddess known as Changing Woman and blesses all who are in attendance.

Ladon, Hopi Woman’s Healing Day. Light candles for your own health today in colors connected to your own healing needs.

Catholic Saint Days: St. Hermione, a prophetess. One of the daughters of Philip the Deacon who is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. Martyred c.117 at Ephesus. St. Ida of Herzfeld, who grew up in Charlemagne’s court, and was married to a Lord by arrangement of the Emperor. Her only child became a monk

Ghana: Path Clearing Festival – held by the Akan people of Ghana to honor and receive blessings from the ancient God of the sacred well.

  1. American: Lakon – Hopi tribe women’s festival in honor of The Maidens of the Four Directions. Christian mapmakers once depicted angels as representing the four directions.

Slavic Pagan: The Day of Remembrance for the Pagan People of Novgorod – Ruen (September) 3. The events which happened on this day demonstrate all the “love” and essence of Christianity.

Egyptian; Ceremony of Transformation through Anubis Mummification of Osiris

Greek: The fourth day of every month is sacred to the Goddess Aphrodite and the God Hermes.

Aug 29 -Sep 11 – Return of Isis – Egyptian festival marking the return to Egypt of Goddess Isis (as the star of Sept/Sirius) and God Osiris (as the rising Nile River).

Aug 30 -Sep 10 -Ganesha Chaturthi – Hindu festival honoring God Ganesha (son of Goddess Parvati and God Shiva) as the challenger, creator and remover of obstacles.

GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast Archives Remember the ancient ways and keep them sacred! )0( Live each Season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. ~Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

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Courtesy of GrannyMoonsMorningFeast

 

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Let’s Talk Witch – Sanctifying the Temple of the Body

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Let’s Talk Witch – Sanctifying the Temple of the Body

Of all the spaces that surround us, of all the blessings we send out into the world, of all the things we honor and consider sacred, it is often our own bodies that are most in need of honor and celebration. Considered by many to be the vehicle through which our soul experiences the physical world, our bodies are indeed worthy of recognition as the spiritual temples they are. Too frequently we focus on our perceived physical imperfections, forget the miracle of the body’s ability to heal itself when we are ailing, or take for grannted the fragile balance our bodies need to sustain us, instead choosing to abuse ourselves with excess, deprive ourselves of adequate sleep or nourishing food, and engage in other physically and psychologically damaging behaviors.

For women especially, how we carry ourselves and think about our body is incredibly emotionally charged. We are constantly being bombarded with messages telling us how we are suppose to look and what we are supposed to wear. Women’s bodies have been objectified by a culture that has also programmed us to believe they are objects of sin and shame. Reclaiming the sacred nature of our physical form is a service both to our selves and to our sisters—it is a rejection of the old paradigm and a reframing of how women think about themselves on their own terms.

There is a Hermetic Axiom that states: “As above, so below. As within, so without.” One treatment and reverence for our body both reflects upon, and is a reflection of, the spirit that dwells within. How can you bring a sense of the sacred to your physical self? Perhaps you can incorporate a daily routine of self-anointing with oils you have blessed for this purpose and chosen to consciously eat wholesome foods to power your body-temple. Indulge in sacred spa days and pamper yourself with a luxurious bath scented with herbs and flowers that stimulate the essence of the Divine within. Wear colors and styles that reflect your personality and make you feel beautiful, rather than feeling like a slave to the trends of fashion. Adorn yourself with stones and symbolic jewelry that serve as reminders of your holy nature. And, perhaps most importantly, support other women in cultivating a sense of the self as sacred: discourage self-deprecating remarks, do not engage in disempowering body behaviors, and praise your sisters and brothers as the beautiful and perfect being they are.

While it’s useful and beneficial to create a physical sacred space, such as a hearth or garden, creating sacred space within yourself may be the best thing you can do for your spirit.

Excerpt from:

Making Space Sacred
Author Jhenah Telyndru
Llewellyn’s 2012 Witches Companion

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 21

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – November 21
“In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred — everything is for sale.”

–Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA
The Elders often say that when something is sacred it has spiritual value. You’ll hear, on the Earth there are sacred spots. You’ll hear, our ceremonies are sacred, our children are sacred, marriage is sacred. When something is sacred it means it’s so holy you can’t attach a value to it. Therefore, it’s not for sale. It’s an insult to suggest buying something sacred. On the other hand, if we look at it differently, as there is no sacred land, ceremonies are not sacred, our children are not sacred, etc., then everything is for sale. Sacredness creates spiritual space. Sacredness makes things holy. Sacredness shows respect for God.
Great Spirit, let me honor things that are sacred.

Thoughts on Death

Thoughts on Death

Author: Crick

As I walk about within the comfortable embrace of the forest, my thoughts begin to take shape. High above me in a sky draped with dark clouds, sits our Sacred Mother upon her regal throne. She is in her fullness on this special night. She is sending out energy that very nearly takes me to my knees. As I gaze upon her, I can feel a light drizzle, the remnants of her tears, as they cascade out of the sky. It is then that I begin to think about the concept of death as seen by her children here on Gaia.

Some of her children express their beliefs in such a way that one would think that there was an indivisible split between her and our sacred father. Like naughty children seeking the favor of one parent, they deny the existence of their sacred mother.

As part of this denial they espouse divergent views about the wholeness of life. A wholeness which not only encompasses that which we as their children know it to be, but that of which we have as yet to develop an awareness and acceptance of. In an effort to distinguish themselves from the sacred mother, they offer a distorted concept of the sacred wheel of spiritual growth in its glorious entirety.

A jaded concept that gives power and control to those blighted children who would choose one parent over the other. For such misguided children have not the maturity to embrace both as one. Their love is one-sided though they recognize this not.

They would use this impaired knowledge to frighten others into their fold. They would cast fear upon the concept of death by portraying our spiritual voyage as being limited to just this one and only realm. As a final journey as per their view, they would offer but one of two extremes.

And who goes to either extreme is determined in great part by those jealous children who have closed their hearts to the whole and who in turn have chosen but a part of that whole. Their focus is limited to the greed and power that corrupts their handicapped souls. For a partial love is far less then the greatness of the whole and thus leaves them impaired in their vision of real spiritual growth.

Then there are those children who suspect that perhaps loving but one sacred parent to the exclusion to the other is not entirely what is intended for those who travel through this humanly realm. They will mouth the words of love and acceptance of both sacred parents, but deep within, their hearts are paralyzed with a fear like a slow moving poison.

They claim an understanding of death as proffered by their newly chosen set of beliefs, but the words of their former association with those of narrow mind still reverberates in their minds. They become torn between both sacred parents and the beliefs as espoused by their various children, as if there was an overwhelming requirement to choose between the two.

Thus they follow the examples of those who are sorely limited in their love while secretly and with divided attention they attempt to associate with those whose hearts fully embrace both sacred parents and who have not the fear and the misguided notions of life and death. Such children go through life without the sense of security and serenity that is just beyond their fingertips.

Such indecision must be a terrible burden to bear, for such fears are spurned not by Deity but rather by their own brothers and sisters who are hobbled by their own lack of understanding. Nor will they acknowledge such insecurities, for to do so would require them to actually devote to one path or the other. And yet there can be no solutions or peace within the soul without such acknowledgement. And so they go through this life torn between the realities of spiritual growth and the misnomers of human will.

And lastly there are those children who refuse to differentiate one sacred parent from the other. Offering their unrequited love with no restraints placed upon them by the words and actions of their spiteful and somewhat confused brothers and sisters. Such are those who fully embrace the pagan way without the taint of hypocrisy or the blinding dogma of those who would choose sides where both sides are actually one.

For their love is pure and has no such obstacles. They go through this realm without the self imposed obstacles and instead tackle those obstructions, which are necessary in gaining a deeper understanding of the spiritual whole.

Death like its counterpart; life, are necessary parts of the whole. As a witch I fear neither, for both states of being emanates from our sacred parents. It is a trial of experiences that our spirits will undergo in its goal to become as one with the whole. As a child of Deity I fully understand that there will be limitations on our knowledge and direction of spiritual progression. There may be other states of being that we are not aware of as yet, and may not be aware of until we progress into death.

As I look around at the spirits that are gathered all about me as I stand here in this mist covered forest, these beings who are currently living in that realm we call death, I can’t but help to wonder if they are afraid of the next step in their spiritual growth. You know… that realm that we call life.

As a witch I personally do not believe that to end our existence here in this realm pre-maturely is within our proper arena of decision-making. That is the province of Deity alone.

But as a witch I walk with one foot in the light, a light that represents our awareness within this realm and with one foot in the dark, a light that represents knowledge yet to be learned. And so I fear neither life nor death for to do so is deny oneself the experience of the whole. And is not that what the sacred wheel supposed to represent?

Or do we just take to heart those segments of the wheel that appeals to us while in this realm?

Elder's Meditation of the Day – August 28

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – August 28

“With prayer and good intentions, we make our lives sacred and so come to balance.”

–Don Jose Matsua, HUICHOL SIERRA MADRE MEXICO

Only through prayer can we make spiritual changes that are permanent. You have told us that all life is sacred. Today I intend to serve you, my Creator. Allow me to overcome temptation, and if one comes along, let me see the lessons that will give balance. You have told us that all life is sacred. Let me see today with a sacred eye. Let me see beauty in all things.

My Creator, let me know what You would have me be today. Let my intentions be honest, respectful, humble and loving.

Calendar of the Sun for October 1

Calendar of the Sun

1 Winterfyllith

Festival of Fides

Color: White
Element: Air
Altar: Today the altar and the altar room is stripped, swept, and cleaned, as are all the shrines and altars about the House. The invocation is spoken to the empty libation altar, and each person wraps a strip of white cloth about their right hands in token of their faith. Then the room and the altar are cleaned and anointed with sacred oil, and any sacred items are cleaned, mended, and returned to their places. Once the cleaning is done, the altar is draped again with clean white cloth. The Book of Hours is placed upon it, wrapped in white cloth, to be blessed. It is censed and the room closed for the afternoon.
Offerings: Cleaning of sacred objects and shrines.
Daily Meal: Fasting.

Fides Invocation

Call: We who are the bodies of the faithful,
Response: We lend our bodies to this cleansing.
Call: We who are the minds of the faithful,
Response: We lend our sight to the purification of what is holy.
Call: We who are the hearts of the faithful,
Response: We lend our passion to the healing of the space.
Call: We who are the souls of the faithful,
Response: We lend ourselves, and everything we are.
Call: We give our hands over to the Gods,
Response: We give our hands over to the future,
Call: And may they bless us in our work.
Response: And may they bless us in our work.

(All proceed to cleaning for the rest of the Hour.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – August 28

Elder’s Meditation of the Day – August 28

“With prayer and good intentions, we make our lives sacred and so come to balance.”

–Don Jose Matsua, HUICHOL SIERRA MADRE MEXICO

Only through prayer can we make spiritual changes that are permanent. You have told us that all life is sacred. Today I intend to serve you, my Creator. Allow me to overcome temptation, and if one comes along, let me see the lessons that will give balance. You have told us that all life is sacred. Let me see today with a sacred eye. Let me see beauty in all things.

My Creator, let me know what You would have me be today. Let my intentions be honest, respectful, humble and loving.

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 9

Elder’s Meditation of the Day May 9

“Without a sacred center, no one knows right from wrong.”

—- Thomas Yellowtail, CROW

In the center of the circle is where the powers reside. These powers are called love, principle, justice, spiritual knowledge, life, forgiveness and truth. All these powers reside in the very center of the human being. We access these powers by being still, quieting the mind. If we get confused, emotionally upset, feel resentment, anger, or fear, the best thing we can do is pray to the Great Spirit and ask Him to remove the anger and resentment. By asking Him to remove these obstacles, we are automatically positioned in the sacred center. Only in this way do we know right from wrong.

Great Spirit, allow me this day to live in the sacred center.

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Calendar of the Moon for April 21st

Calendar of the Moon
21 Saille/Mounukhion

Aphrodite Urania’s Night

Colors: Blue-green and blue-violet
Element: Water and Earth
Altar: Upon a cloth of blue-green and blue-violet, set forth a bowl of henna mixed with water, wreaths of flowers, and a chalice of mixed fruit juice and tea.
Offerings: Flowers in water. This is an appropriate night for ritual sex, although the emphasis should be on exploring sexuality that is different, or with someone different, than one’s normal mode, provided that it does not violate vows and strictures. If this is not possible, then meditate on what it is to have a love for another human being that is not accepted.
Daily Meal: Fish/seafood and meat together. Fruit.

Invocation to Aphrodite Urania

Hail, Aphrodite Urania, Lady of Unconventional Love!
You who are the patron of love in all its forms,
Love between too young and too old, beautiful and plain,
Rich and poor, men or women or the sacred third,
Healing and codependence, joy and obsession,
The love that plays havoc with family and society,
The love that breaks down boundaries.
No act of love and pleasure is less than sacred to you.
Hail, Builder of Bridges, who will bear us up!
You are the slender line of love across the deepest of abysses.
When we leap off that cliff, holding our breath,
Knowing nothing is certain but our feelings,
We find ourselves not tumbling terror-stricken as we had feared
But walking safely on the great span of your heart
Where we meet each other on the sacred middle ground
And cross to a more joyous land.
Bearded Aphrodite of Cyprus,
Who moved to the sacred ground of the Third
In order to love Hermes,
Whose child is Hermaphroditus,
You are the bridge between the sweet waters of the heart
And the earthy depths of the body,
The mud that we first crawled from,
The love we will always turn back to,
The quicksand that mires us,
Our tears crashing against the rocks like tides.

(One who has been chosen to do the work of the ritual, and who is closest to the Sacred Third, goes about with the henna, marking the hands of each in turn, and saying, “Love and be loved.”)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

The Sacred Symbology of Trees

The Sacred Symbology of Trees

Author: Eldyohr

It is difficult to imagine a more perfect symbol than the tree. This may seem a bit odd at first glance, especially in comparison with other such powerful symbols as the pentacle, the cross, Thor’s hammer, etc. On both a physical and spiritual level, however, the tree provides a symbol that speaks to any and all earth-based religions in a powerful and meaningful way. The best way to begin is by noticing the appearance of the tree in various world religions and mythologies.

Trees have been sacred for as long as we have had the written word and probably long before that. The sorcerer of Trois Ferrois was depicted next to a tree and is one of the oldest known glyphs of in mythico-religious iconography.

The Hebrew Goddess, Asherah, who was later known as Ishtar, Astarte, or Inanna, had as her sacred symbol the tree groves. The druids long held trees, especially the oak, ash, and yew, to be sacred and divine symbols and their bardic schools were located within the heart of the forests.

In the dying/resurrecting God myths, the tree plays a prominent role. Christ was sacrificed on a cross made from a tree, Odin hung himself from Yggdrasil to gain the secret of the runes, and Osiris’ maimed body was recovered by Isis from the root of a tree and later resurrected. The most ancient cross-cultural symbolic representation of the universe’s construction is the world tree.

For instance, the Norse considered Yggdrasil, a giant Ash, to be the central structure of their various worlds and, in essence, it contained all of the worlds within it. Other examples of trees featured in mythology are the Bodhi tree in Buddhism and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Judaism.

In folk religion and folklore, trees are often said to be the homes of tree spirits. The tree plays a central role in world mythology and religious iconography, but why would its inclusion be of such importance to religions with such widely different belief systems?

The tree is powerful for human beings because it mirrors, symbolically, the way we should be living our own lives. First of all, the tree is rooted to the earth; it is grounded. Just as the Muladhara chakra at the base of the spine, grounds all of our spiritual energy, so the tree is grounded to the earth.

Grounding is as important as reach enlightenment. If we are always trying to spiritual and focused on the heavens, we will not be able to care for our physical needs. As pagans, we celebrate our physical life so grounding is especially important and almost sacred to us.

The tree is rooted in the earth, but it grows upward and its branches constantly stretch out and reach towards the heavens (for sunlight) . Just as it is important for us to be grounded, it is equally important to strive towards something greater than our physical selves, or at least to have recognition of it.

Pagans meditate, pray, celebrate the sabbats and commune with their Gods. All of these actions move away from the strictly physical and open us up to the spiritual. Thus the tree is grounded in the earth, but reaches towards heaven. Like the trees, we should be rooted in reality, but striving towards the spiritual until we unite the two in the dance of life, symbolically represented by Shiva’s dancing form.

The tree, like the pentacle, also represents the elements of the world in which we live. The pentacle has four points representing earth, air, fire, and water while the fifth point represents the spirit that binds them all. The tree also symbolizes these qualities. The roots of the tree draw up the water from the deep earth for nourishment. The tree is rooted in the earth and the soil provides nutrients for its continued development and growth.

The tree takes the carbon dioxide exhaled by humans and uses it to assist with its energy requirements. It is interesting to note that the tree exhales, as it were, oxygen. Thus we live with the trees in a symbiotic relationship proving the tree with the carbon dioxide it needs, while they provide us with the oxygen we need. Finally, the tree uses the sunlight for photosynthesis to create its own food via internal chemical reactions (fire) . As discusses earlier, the model of the tree being grounded, but reaching for the heavens is a symbol of spirit. Thus, the tree shares the major symbologies of the pentacle.

The tree is also symbolic of the cycle of death and rebirth. Some trees follow the natural cycles of the seasons. They blossom in spring and thrive in the summer. The light of the God brings them renewal and life. The leaves begin to change and the trees symbolically begin to die in the fall and meet their death in the winter when the light of the God resides in the womb of the mother. This cycle repeats itself every year and we can see in the trees the truth of our being. On the other hand, some trees are deciduous and thrive the entire year and this, too, is symbolic. Our true selves, the essence or soul, never dies, but lives on after death in a different form. So while certain trees provide a reminder of physical death and rebirth, other trees serve as a reminder of the eternity of our spirit. In many of the world mythologies, the tree is central to the dying/resurrecting myth of the Gods, such as Odin, Osiris, and Christ.

In summary, the tree provides a near perfect symbol for the pagan. It is a reminder to be both earthly and spiritual, it is reflective of the elements that created and sustain life, and it is a symbol of death and rebirth. While the pentacle and other such symbols may be as equally powerful in their own way, the tree is something we see every day and they as diverse as the people who see them. We have fat, skinny, tall, short, green, and variegated trees reflecting the diversity inherent in our world.

The next time you see a tree, stop and spend a moment with it. Look at its roots and its mighty branches. Sit beneath its canopy and listen to its story for it is a story of magick and hope.