What Does The Week Ahead Hold, Your Astrology Report for June 14 – 21

 

 

Weekly Astrology: June 14 – 21, 2015

Here comes the sun

t’s a simple, clean week ahead with straightforward Astrology and a gorgeous Summer Solstice. Read all about it!

Tuesday, June 16: New Moon in Gemini conjunct Mars

On Tuesday the New Moon in Gemini will cozy up to Mars and will stimulate your mind in the most extraordinary way. This lunation is all about planting seeds of a bright new idea and fleshing it out over the coming weeks. You will have a cosmic “green light” to initiate an important conversation, make a life changing decision, negotiate a contract or other agreement, or simply flesh out an idea that excites you.

This New Moon has plenty of pep in her step thanks to Mars, so you can expect communication matters to be put into action in the blink of an eye. You won’t second guess yourself and you’ll have extra confidence to talk to others.

Sunday, June 21: Summer Solstice; Sun enters Cancer

On Sunday the Sun enters Cancer and we celebrate the Summer Solstice. There’s a bright light shining on matters of home and hearth, so pay attention to what’s happening right in your own backyard. A family BBQ might be the perfect way to kick off the season. Then, put on your swimsuit and go have some much awaited fun in the Sun!

 

@Tarot.com is a Daily Insight Group Site

A Midsummer’s Celebration

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.

5 Easy Decorating Ideas for Litha

Need some quick and affordable decorating ideas for Litha, the summer solstice? Here are some tips on how to bring the season into your home without breaking your bank account!
Celebrate the sun at midsummer!. Image by Peter Cade/Image Bank/Getty Images

Suns and Solar Symbols

The Litha sabbat falls on the longest day of the year – that means you have more hours of daylight on the summer solstice than on any other day, and that’s definitely worth celebrating! Solar symbols like suns and circles, gods eyes, Brighid’s crosses and sunwheels are all perfect representatives of this season – hang them on your walls and doors, or add them to your Litha altar. More »

Fresh Blossoms and Blooms

By the time midsummer rolls around, our flower gardens are in full bloom. This is a time to gather up those blossoms and enjoy their beauty – collect an assortment of brightly colored flowers and bring them indoors to keep you company. Consider, especially, flowers in bright sunny colors like yellows and reds and oranges. Sunflowers, tulips, roses, tiger lilies, and black-eyed Susans are all associated with the sun at the height of its power.

Bring the bounty of your garden inside to celebrate the midsummer harvest. Image © Patti Wigington; Licensed to About.com

The Bounty of the Garden

In addition to fresh flowers, we’ve also got fresh produce rapidly filling our gardens. The sun brings warmth to the earth, which in turn brings new life to our plants. Harvest your midsummer fruits and vegetables, and leave them in bowls and baskets around the house. Some goodies, like onions and herbs, can be hung up to dry, which will allow you to enjoy the scents as well as the flavor.

Fire and Light

Carrying on the solar theme, Litha is a celebration of fire – after all, that’s what the sun is, right? Use big candles all around your home, in yellows and golds and other sunny colors. You can also string festively colored lights along your walls and windows, to bring that brightness indoors. For your outdoor decor, use a tabletop brazier or even Tiki torches to celebrate with flames and fire. More »

Litha is a time of opposites, between light and dark.Image by Alan Thornton/Image Bank/Getty Images

Opposites

At Litha, the summer solstice, it’s the last day of the sun’s full power. For the next six months, darkness will begin to take over, growing stronger until Yule, the longest night of the year. At that point, the process will reverse once more and the light return. Decorate your home with symbols of opposites – fire and water, earth and air, darkness and light, yin and yang.

 

Instant Witch

Instant Witch

Author:   Stephanie Arwen  

Gotcha! Now you know there is no $19.95 wayof being a Witch, don’t you? Sit down; take a breath…now that you havefound something you want you want it yesterday! I understand. I can rememberwhen I started. I remember that sense of urgency I got. That “I have toget there right now” I have to be just like Z. Budapest, Starhawk, Margo!I wanted to meet them. I wanted to talk to them yesterday! But most ofall and worst of all, I wanted to be them. Put pushing the river isn’tgoing to get you there any faster. And where is there anyway?

Seventeen years down the road now and I cansay to you that you will NEVER be a Z a Starhawk a Margot a Silver Ravenwolf, a D.J. Conway, a Scott Cunningham. Oh no, you can’t be them. You can onlybe you. And that you is going to be a beautiful thing!

So I was 20 and I finally knew what I wantedto be when I grew up, but no one could give me enough information. I wasneither as fortunate nor as cursed as you are in today’s world of a dozenbooks per subject. Fortunate because you can go into almost any Barnesand Noble, Waldenbooks, or even Amazon.com and just pick up a book. Doyou have any idea how hard that was in 1981? Finding a copy of ZsuzsannaBudapest’s The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries, pt 1 was an experience.I was living in Louisiana at the time and a friend had introduced me toStarhawk’s The Spiral Dance. I was hooked. I am also a bibliography reader.If an author I like mentions a book, then I want to get my hands on thatbook and see what it is about!

But you are cursed as well because thereis so much witchcrap out there. So many people who have written books thatare a total waste of paper. But the books that I think are a waste of papermay be the ones that speak best to you. That is a clue, my new Witch friend.Never let me or anyone else tell you that a book is useless. Learn to readfor yourself and think critically while you read. Does the author makesense or is there a nagging feeling you have that this person is a completeflake? If there is, then do yourself a favor and research the subject.You don’t think that author woke up one morning and knew everything therewas to know about their subject do you? Patricia Telesco, one of my favoriteauthors, has a page on her website that tells new authors to plan for 800hours per book. And that 800 hours includes research as part of it! Soif Ms. Telesco must research, why shouldn’t you?

The web has wonderful places for that kindof research, but don’t forget your local library! Find authors you admire.Then try to discover why you like them. Is it because they have writtenbooks period? Or is it in the way that they deliver their information?Dorothy Morrison has a style that I adore! She is personable and approachablein her books as well as accurate and knowledgeable. Or you might preferFrancesca De Grandis style that has the feel of teacher walking with herstudent and talking.

And don’t just read websites! A website ownercan be someone with less knowledge than you but has the ability and know-howto scan books and copy things wholesale without credit. Don’t be takenin. Go to your local library (you remember, that large brick building onthe corner?) and check out books on anthropology, archaeology, history, etc. Learn where our roots come from. And please, don’t let someone tellyou Wicca is an ages-old religion! It is not. It is a new religion. I liketo say Wicca is a new dress on a very old set of bones. We do have someancient roots, but the branches we have today are new. But you have tolearn to let the urgency not rule you. Do read everything you can get yourhands on. Read “Witch” books. Read all the books! But don’t forget to takeyour salt cellar with you.

Huh? Arwen? What the heck are you talkingabout and what is a salt cellar?

Your Salt Cellar is that thing you carrysalt in so you will always have a grain of salt to take things with. Don’taccept something simply because it is published in a book or on the web.Learn to believe in yourself. Learn to listen to your inner voice. Theone telling you that maybe what you just read is a load of manure …ormaybe it is saying that there is a pearl in that load of manure. Trustin the reality of self. I can’t stress this enough. If you will give yourselfthe tools of knowledge and discernment, then you can begin to hear thetruth in things as well as the lies and mistakes. Do listen to what otherssay about books, but don’t take their word for it. Figure it out for yourself.

The sense of urgency you feel now may makeyou too intent on getting there. But, here is the question. Where is there?Are you so focused on your race to the finish that you are not enjoyingthe journey? Be too intent on getting there wherever there is and not intentupon enjoying the journey and the journey will pass you by! I don’t knowif this message will reach you, but I am 38 (b. 1961). I began my journeyon the path to Wicca in 1981 (or 2). That was 17 years ago. I am stillon the journey of getting there. I will always be on that journey. Learnto enjoy the Trip. There is no there. When you get there, you will havereached the end and that means starting again.

Once you learn that the journey is the meansand the end, then you realize how much more you have to learn.

I wish you good fortune on your travels.A part of me wishes I was at the beginning again, but most of me is quitecontent to be where I am. I am still experiencing new thoughts, new thingsand new people on a daily basis. Remember to enjoy the trip. Oh, and don’tforget to send a postcard from some of those exotic places you visit.

Ok, for those of you who still want all theanswers.

All The Answers ™

Red, blue, green, yellow, white, Hallows, Samhain, Winter Solstice, Yule, Candlemas, Brigidmas, Imbolg, Vernal Equinox, Spring Equinox, Ostara, Beltain, Mayday, Lady’s Day, Beltaine, Litha, Midsummer, Summer Solstice, Longest Day of the Year, Lammas, Lugh’s Feast, Lughnassadh, Autumnal Equinox, Mabon, cakes and wine, Heiros Gamos, 42, North, East, South, West, Water, Fire, Air, Earth, Center, Above, Below, salamander, dragonfly, snake, dolphin, Raven, Morgan, WildHawk, Hawkdatter, OakStandingTall, cat, dog, frog, toad, A, B, C, D, All Of The Above, True, False, myrrh, frankincense, pine, oak, holly, Cerridwen, Cernnunos, Herne, Hecate, Isis, Tammuz.

Now…you have to supply the questions.
Arwen NightstarThe Instant Witch Graphic was done by Andra (webmistress for http://www.spiritonline.com) This graphic is one she made in response to a flurry of “insta-witch” questions she received on her discussion board Spirit Online, an interactive resource for those interested in understanding and discussing religion and metaphysics.

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Daily Cosmic Calendar for December 21st

Before Venus becomes today’s star attraction, the mental and emotional realms seek to harmonize as Mercury makes a supportive, 60-degree link with Juno (3:52AM) while the Sun makes headlines by entering Capricorn (9:12AM). This is one of four, sacred turning points of the calendar year and known as the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Capricorn is the fourth of what are known as the cardinal signs that begin each season. The other three signs — Aries, Cancer and Libra — initiate their seasons via the elements of fire, water and air, respectively. Capricorn begins the new season with a focus on earth — which translates as the need for energizing career aims and being industrious with your business acumen.  However, there is a one-two Venusian punch about to be delivered as Venus parallels Pluto (11:59AM) followed by Venus at 29 degrees of Capricorn beginning a six-week reversal at 1:55PM. It is hard to sugar-coat this double-edged, Venusian sword and make it sound appealing. The truth is that you should be much more careful right now on the monetary, romantic, and social fronts. Doing anything underhanded or secretive could come back to haunt you. Say no to plans or ventures that have a controlling or manipulative aura. During the Venus retrograde cycle — that lasts until January 31, 2014 — you want to review and reflect about loved ones, artistic expression, and all of your most significant relationships. [Note to readers: All times are calculated for Pacific Standard Time. Be sure to adjust all times according to your own local time so the alignments noted above will be exact for your location.]

Instant Witch

Instant Witch

Author:   Stephanie Arwen  

Gotcha! Now you know there is no $19.95 wayof being a Witch, don’t you? Sit down; take a breath…now that you havefound something you want you want it yesterday! I understand. I can rememberwhen I started. I remember that sense of urgency I got. That “I have toget there right now” I have to be just like Z. Budapest, Starhawk, Margo!I wanted to meet them. I wanted to talk to them yesterday! But most ofall and worst of all, I wanted to be them. Put pushing the river isn’tgoing to get you there any faster. And where is there anyway?

Seventeen years down the road now and I cansay to you that you will NEVER be a Z a Starhawk a Margot a Silver Ravenwolf, a D.J. Conway, a Scott Cunningham. Oh no, you can’t be them. You can onlybe you. And that you is going to be a beautiful thing!

So I was 20 and I finally knew what I wantedto be when I grew up, but no one could give me enough information. I wasneither as fortunate nor as cursed as you are in today’s world of a dozenbooks per subject. Fortunate because you can go into almost any Barnesand Noble, Waldenbooks, or even Amazon.com and just pick up a book. Doyou have any idea how hard that was in 1981? Finding a copy of ZsuzsannaBudapest’s The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries, pt 1 was an experience.I was living in Louisiana at the time and a friend had introduced me toStarhawk’s The Spiral Dance. I was hooked. I am also a bibliography reader.If an author I like mentions a book, then I want to get my hands on thatbook and see what it is about!

But you are cursed as well because thereis so much witchcrap out there. So many people who have written books thatare a total waste of paper. But the books that I think are a waste of papermay be the ones that speak best to you. That is a clue, my new Witch friend.Never let me or anyone else tell you that a book is useless. Learn to readfor yourself and think critically while you read. Does the author makesense or is there a nagging feeling you have that this person is a completeflake? If there is, then do yourself a favor and research the subject.You don’t think that author woke up one morning and knew everything therewas to know about their subject do you? Patricia Telesco, one of my favoriteauthors, has a page on her website that tells new authors to plan for 800hours per book. And that 800 hours includes research as part of it! Soif Ms. Telesco must research, why shouldn’t you?

The web has wonderful places for that kindof research, but don’t forget your local library! Find authors you admire.Then try to discover why you like them. Is it because they have writtenbooks period? Or is it in the way that they deliver their information?Dorothy Morrison has a style that I adore! She is personable and approachablein her books as well as accurate and knowledgeable. Or you might preferFrancesca De Grandis style that has the feel of teacher walking with herstudent and talking.

And don’t just read websites! A website ownercan be someone with less knowledge than you but has the ability and know-howto scan books and copy things wholesale without credit. Don’t be takenin. Go to your local library (you remember, that large brick building onthe corner?) and check out books on anthropology, archaeology, history, etc. Learn where our roots come from. And please, don’t let someone tellyou Wicca is an ages-old religion! It is not. It is a new religion. I liketo say Wicca is a new dress on a very old set of bones. We do have someancient roots, but the branches we have today are new. But you have tolearn to let the urgency not rule you. Do read everything you can get yourhands on. Read “Witch” books. Read all the books! But don’t forget to takeyour salt cellar with you.

Huh? Arwen? What the heck are you talkingabout and what is a salt cellar?

Your Salt Cellar is that thing you carrysalt in so you will always have a grain of salt to take things with. Don’taccept something simply because it is published in a book or on the web.Learn to believe in yourself. Learn to listen to your inner voice. Theone telling you that maybe what you just read is a load of manure …ormaybe it is saying that there is a pearl in that load of manure. Trustin the reality of self. I can’t stress this enough. If you will give yourselfthe tools of knowledge and discernment, then you can begin to hear thetruth in things as well as the lies and mistakes. Do listen to what otherssay about books, but don’t take their word for it. Figure it out for yourself.

The sense of urgency you feel now may makeyou too intent on getting there. But, here is the question. Where is there?Are you so focused on your race to the finish that you are not enjoyingthe journey? Be too intent on getting there wherever there is and not intentupon enjoying the journey and the journey will pass you by! I don’t knowif this message will reach you, but I am 38 (b. 1961). I began my journeyon the path to Wicca in 1981 (or 2). That was 17 years ago. I am stillon the journey of getting there. I will always be on that journey. Learnto enjoy the Trip. There is no there. When you get there, you will havereached the end and that means starting again.

Once you learn that the journey is the meansand the end, then you realize how much more you have to learn.

I wish you good fortune on your travels.A part of me wishes I was at the beginning again, but most of me is quitecontent to be where I am. I am still experiencing new thoughts, new thingsand new people on a daily basis. Remember to enjoy the trip. Oh, and don’tforget to send a postcard from some of those exotic places you visit.

Ok, for those of you who still want all theanswers.

All The Answers ™

Red, blue, green, yellow, white, Hallows, Samhain, Winter Solstice, Yule, Candlemas, Brigidmas, Imbolg, Vernal Equinox, Spring Equinox, Ostara, Beltain, Mayday, Lady’s Day, Beltaine, Litha, Midsummer, Summer Solstice, Longest Day of the Year, Lammas, Lugh’s Feast, Lughnassadh, Autumnal Equinox, Mabon, cakes and wine, Heiros Gamos, 42, North, East, South, West, Water, Fire, Air, Earth, Center, Above, Below, salamander, dragonfly, snake, dolphin, Raven, Morgan, WildHawk, Hawkdatter, OakStandingTall, cat, dog, frog, toad, A, B, C, D, All Of The Above, True, False, myrrh, frankincense, pine, oak, holly, Cerridwen, Cernnunos, Herne, Hecate, Isis, Tammuz.

Now…you have to supply the questions.
Arwen NightstarThe Instant Witch Graphic was done by Andra (webmistress for http://www.spiritonline.com) This graphic is one she made in response to a flurry of “insta-witch” questions she received on her discussion board Spirit Online, an interactive resource for those interested in understanding and discussing religion and metaphysics.

Calendar of the Sun for October 12

Calendar of the Sun

 

12 Winterfyllith

Feast of the Spirits of the Fire

Color: Red
Element: Fire
Altar: This ritual shall be held outside, and a great fire built open to the sky.
Offerings: Food to be thrown into the fire.
Daily Meal: Any food cooked outdoors over the flame.

Invocation to the Spirits of the Fire

Hail to the Spirits of the Flame!
Hail to the Powers of the South,
The Daystar and the Summer Solstice,
The burning heat of the desert!
Hail lioness that walks the golden sands,
Hail tiger that prowls the stifling jungles,
Hail horses stampeding on the sun-drenched plains,
Striking sparks from their hooves!
Hail to the Power of Rage that rises in us,
Hail to the Power of Passion that rises in us,
Hail to the Powers of Will that channels that fire.
Hail to the campfire around which we gather
Ensuring our survival in the cold world.
Hail to the Hearthfire around which we gather
Creating family with our warmth.
Hail to the Bonfire around which we gather
Creating community with our warmth.
Hail to the Flame of Inspiration around which we gather
Linking all the world in our warmth.
Hail to the Spirits of the Flame,
And may they ever bless us with their brief, beautiful lives.

(All take food that they have made with their hands and throw it into the fire, speaking out their thanks to the gifts of the Spirits of the Fire.)

Song: All That Burns

Chant:
Fire flow, fire flow through me,
Bonfire, brush fire, lightning strike,
Fire flow, fire flow through me,
Fire burn, give me light.

 

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Holly (July 8 – Aug 4)

HOLLY LORE

  • 8th Moon of the Celtic Year – (July 8 – Aug 4)
  • Latin name: English Holly (also called Scarlet Oak) – ilex aquilfolium; American holly – ilex opaca. The Holly is an evergreen tree.
  • Celtic name: Tinne (pronounced: chihn’ uh
  • Folk or Common names: Holly, Scarlet Oak, Kerm-Oak, Holy Tree. Holly actually means “holy”.
  • Parts Used: Leaf, berry, wood.
  • Herbal usage: The leaf of the Holly can be dried and used as teas for fevers, bladder problems and bronchitis. The juice of the fresh leaf is helpful in  jaundice treatment. Holly can be used homeopathically as a substitute for quinine. Note: Holly berries are poisonous!
  • Magical History & Associations: The Holly, a masculine herb, is associated with the element of fire, and is an herb of Saturn and Mars. The bird  associated with this month is the starling, the color is green-gray, the gemstone is yellow caingorm, and the day of the week association is Tuesday. Holly  is the first moon of the dark half of the year, and the Holly is sacred to both the Winter and Summer Solstices. Summer Solstice is the time when in  mythology, the Oak King is slain by his twin, or tanist, the Holly King, who rules until the Winter Solstice, when he in turn is slain by his tanist, the Oak  King. Tanist is related to the tannin found in an Oak tree; Oak and Holly are two sides of the same coin, the end of one cycle and the beginning of the next.  The Holly is also sacred to the deities of Lugh, Habondia, Tina Etruscan and Tannus. There are special spirits that dwell within Holly trees: the Holly Man  lives in the tree that bears prickly Holly, and the Holly Woman dwells within that which give forth smooth and variegated leaves. Holly is also associated  with unicorns, since the unicorn is one of the Celtic symbols for this tree – the other symbol is the Flaming Spear.
  • Magickal usage: The month of Holly is a good time to do magick designed to help bring about a successful harvest. The Holly has applications in magick  done for protection, prophesy, healing, magick for animals, sex magick, invulnerability, watchfulness, good luck, death, rebirth, Holiness, consecration,  material gain, physical revenge, beauty and travel. Holly also has the ability to enhance other forms of magic. As a symbol of firmness and masculine energy,  Hollywood was used by the ancients in the construction of spear shafts, which were thought to then have magickal powers. Uses of Holly in protective magick  includes hanging a sprig of Holly in the home all year to insure protection and good luck. Holly is also an excellent charm to wear for protection.  ‘Holly Water’ can be made by soaking Holly overnight in spring water under a full moon. This water can then be sprinkled over infants to keep them  happy and safe. Holly Water can also be used to sprinkle around the house for psychic cleansing and protection. Holly leaves can be cast around outside to  repel unwanted spirits or animals and a Holly bush can be planted close to houses to protect against lightning. Ensure that the Holly has a place in your  garden because its presence wards off unfriendly spirits. Do not burn Holly branches unless they are well and truly dead, for this is unlucky. Holly,  intertwined with ivy, is traditionally made into crowns for the bride and groom at weddings/handfastings. Holly and Ivy also make excellent decorations for  altars. Holy is also a traditional decoration for Yuletide as in sung in the traditional Yuletide song:”Deck the halls with boughs of Holly, fa la la la la, la la la la.”

    If you gather nine Holly leaves in complete silence on a Friday after midnight, wrap them up in a white cloth, use nine knots to bind the cloth,    and then place them under your pillow, your dreams will come true. When harvesting the leaves from the Holly, remember to ask the tree if it will allow you    to take the parts and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. Holly favors red and yellow stones as gifts.

Calendar of the Moon for August 5

Calendar of the Moon

Holly Tree Month

Colors: Iron-grey, red, and dark green.
Element: Fire
Altar: Upon cloth of dark grey set many sprigs of holly, real or created, four red candles, a spear and a sword.
Offerings: Honor your inner warrior, including examining the areas where s/he overreacts.
Daily Meal: Red food. Meat of any kind.

Tinne Invocation

Call: Hail the month of the Holly King!
Response: Hail the King of the waning year!
Call: Hail, sharp leaves and sharper eye!
Response: Hail, white flowers that give way to blood-red berries!
Call: Hail the month of the starling’s flock!
Response: For the starlings move together as one!
Call: Like them, we defend what is dear to us!
Response: Like them, we do not let each other stand alone against opposition!
Call: Hail the color of cold iron!
Response: Hail the sword and the spear!
Call: For our sword is Reason….
Response: And our spear is the death of Illusion!
Call: Hail the color of cold iron!
Response: Hail the armor and the shield!
Call: For our armor is Hope….
Response: And our shield is Love.
Call: The Oak King gives way to the Holly King…
Response: For all things have a time of increase, and a time of decrease.
Call: For all things wax and wane.
Response: For all things rise and fall.
Call: This is the moment just beyond the year’s apex!
Response: This is the time of the beginning of the end!
Call: May we take courage with every passing morning!
Response: May courage fill us with every breath!

Chant:
Spear of truth, find me,
I open myself to you.
Chains of honor, bind me,
Bound, I am free to hold true.

[Pagan Book of Hours]

The Wicca Book of Days for August 2 – Golden Gods

The Wicca Book of Days for August 2

Golden Gods

 

August 1 marked the sacrificial death of the Horned God in his incarnations as John Barleycorn, or the Corn King whose short-lived reign began on the Summer Solstice, and who willingly allowed his life to be reaped by the scythe-wielding Goddess at Lughnasadh. The King is dead, and the erstwhile Lord of Light is now preparing to begin his rule as the Lord of Darkness. Being a zodiacal day of Leo, August 2 is also a sun governed day, and myths the world over tell how Sun Gods such as the Egyptian Ra, must similarly survive a perilous period of darkness – night-before being “reborn” at dawn.

 

Soothe Sunburn

The sun’s rays are still powerful enough to burn, so remember to apply suntan lotion regularly when you are outside. If you do end up with sunburn, brewing, cooling, and gently dabbing tannin-rich black tea onto your sore skin may bring some relief.