Leap Day Customs & Traditions

Black cats:-)
Leap Day Customs & Traditions

Leap Day, on February 29, has been a day of traditions, folklore and superstitions ever since Leap Years were first introduced by Julius Caesar over 2000 years ago.

Women Propose to Their Men
According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every four years.
This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how leap day balances the calendar.

In some places, leap day has been known as “Bachelors’ Day” for the same reason. A man was expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refused a marriage proposal from a woman on Leap Day.

In many European countries, especially in the upper classes of society, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal on February 29 has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. The intention is that the woman can wear the gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring. During the middle ages there were laws governing this tradition.

Leap Day Babies World Record
People born on February 29 are all invited to join The Honor society of Leap Year Day Babies.

When do Leap Day Babies Celebrate Their Birthdays?
According to the Guinness Book of Records, there are Leap Day World Record Holders both of a family producing three consecutive generations born on February 29 and of the number of children born on February 29 in the same family.

Unlucky in Love
In Scotland, it used to be considered unlucky for someone to be born on leap day, just as Friday 13th is considered an unlucky day by many. Greeks consider it unlucky for couples to marry during a leap year, and especially on Leap Day.

St Oswald’s Day
Leap day is also St Oswald’s Day, named after the archbishop of York who died on February 29, 992. His memorial is celebrated on February 29 during leap years and on February 28 during common years.

Advertisements

Magical Workings for The Full Moon

Loving Wolves

Magical Workings for The Full Moon

The full moon is the point at which we can see an entire side of the moon. For magical purposes, many modern Pagans consider the full moon to include the day before and the day after a full moon, for a total of three days. If your tradition requires you to follow the phases of the moon for your magical workings, this is a good time to do rituals focused on personal growth and spiritual development. Some examples would include:

For many Pagans, this is also a time to celebrate with an Esbat ritual. Dorinda is an eclectic witch who lives in Nevada, and she says, “Once a month, during the full moon, I drive out to the desert about half an hour away. There’s a spot that I go that’s really off the beaten path, and I can stand up on a hillside and watch the moon rise, and it’s just magnificent, because there’s no one out there but me.

It’s always a very meditative experience, and I can really feel the connection that my body has to the full moon, as well as connecting on a spiritual level. This is when I call upon the gods of my tradition, ask for intuitive guidance, that sort of thing. I always feel so refreshed and aware afterwards, it’s almost hard for me to get to sleep when I get back home.”
 

Author

Patti Wigington, Paganism/Wicca Expert
Article Published on & owned by About.com

 

Let’s Talk Witch – The Eight Keys to Celtic Magic

Flower Graphics
Let’s Talk Witch – The Eight Keys to Celtic Magic

Every folk group has special traditions with regard to magical practice. To the contrary of trends in modern occultism these traditions are not merely windaw dressing on a universal pattern- the differences reflect real and often profound variations between and among traditions. In studying the Celtic traditions of magic certain unique themes occur which are worth pointing out. These themes help distinguish the Celtic traditions from others. If these themes are found inspiring, then the Celtic tradition is a place to explore them further in the environment of ideas which will lead the seeker to deeper findings along the same path.
1. Magic of the Head
NO other tradition, with the possible exception of the Slavic, is more focused on the human head (and brain) as the seat of magical powers. When one reads the ancient Irish tales one becomes aware of the degree to which the Celts were head hunters. The reason for this is that their magical physiology holds that the head is the seat of power- an honour. This a warrior attempts to steal from an enemy, and assume himself. Hence the ancient Irish were known to eat a portion of a slain enemy’s brain. The head-hunting practices of Irish fighters continued until the mid-19th century, when early Irish immigrants to North America fighting for the Confederacy were known to have hunted the heads of Union soldiers. (See Professor Grady McWhiney’s book Attack and Die.) Also, however, the heads of one’s own ancestors were to be preserved- and displayed at certain holy times. This “cult of the head” is conspicuous at the Celtic temple at Roquepertuse, which contains stone pillars with niches into which the heads of ancestral heroes were placed. This is without doubt also the ultimate origin of the “jack-o-lantern”the carved cephalomorphic gourd familiar in Halloween customs. It is thought by many that the myth of the head of Mimir, which informs the God Odin, is ultimately a Celtic influence.
2. Memory
Mimir means memory- and the exercise of memory in and of itself seems to have a magical importance for the Celts. This is a trait they share with the Aryans of the east. The Druidic training program is said to have consisted of twenty years of learning lore by memory. The exercise of this faculty for its own sake, beyond the ready access to information it provides to the subject is something the Celts seem to have especially appreciated. the ogham system was most certainly one of the practical tools used in this exercise. Poems and stories were among the things memorized.
3. Story-Telling
The stories recited by Celtic tellers of tales were not merely for entertainment- they were also not merely mythic tales in which the traditions of the people were encoded. Stories are actually said to have operative magical effects. It might be said that the hearing of a certain story would bring a number of years of good fortune, but the telling of a story would bring even more. (See Rees and Rees, The Celtic Heritage.)
4. Language and Music
No people seem more Iyrical than the Celts. The linkage between music (harmonics) and language (meaning) is strong. In the lore of magic this reaches its apex in operative techniques by which changes in the environment, or in the human mind, can actually be effected by means of musical strains alone. This is a theory explored by the Pythagoreans, but in the lore of the Celts it appears to have been an ancient traditional operative technique.
5. Inter-Dimensionality
No other traditional lore seems to have a better or more realistic understanding of the magical experience of inter-dimensionality. The regular interaction with the “otherworld” or the “underworld” is a common feature of Irish and Welsh mythic tales as well as folktales from the Celtic cultures. It is from these that the Arthurian legends inherit their “inter-dimensional” features- such as the Grail Castle appearing and disappearing from various “places” at various “times.” This mutual effect of one “world” upon another is reflected in the very grammar of the Celtic languages wherein one word, when juxtaposed to another for a specific grarnrnatical, syntactic and semantic purpose, will cause the latter word to change its shape (sound). For example the Irish word for “cow” is bo, and the word for “white” is ban, but to say “a white cow,” one must say, or write, bo bhan [pron. boh-vawn].
6. “Satirizing”
By the use of words – of poetry – the fili(“master poets”) were able to cause physical changes in the bodies of other individuals. This was done with “satire.” The fact that satirical verse has a patently humorous aspect is the essentially Celtic dimension here. Because Celtic kings could not rule if they suffered any physical defect or blemish, all the satirists had to do in order to depose a king was to, by means of a satirical verse, raise boils on his face. All would see the blemish, and his rule would be at an end.
7. Operative Fasting
Fasting for “spiritual” reasons is familiar throughout the world. To fast-really to starve the body – in order to make subjective changes is obvious. Celtic magicians could, however, “fast on” their enemies as an operative curse formula. By starving himself to near death the sorcerer can actually cause the death of his enemy. This technique is something entirely different from, though apparently related to, the use of fasting as a way to “protest” supposed injustices. This latter technique works only through the medium of information in the context of public morality, whereas the operative fasting of the ancient Celtic magicians worked in a mysterious way.
8. Magical Taboos
Again “taboos” – negative prohibitions against certain behaviours– and other behavioural sanctions are familiar in most religious traditions. The Irish gess [pron. gaysh] (plural gessa) is most often translated something like “taboo.” It is, however, something quite different from what is usually meant by this word. A gess, although usually a prohibition against behaviour, actually provides power to the individual. The more gessa that have been “put on” a person (usually by a sorcerer) the more danger recipients live with- but also the more power recipients have at their disposal. To have a gess is both a curse and a boon simultaneously.
These eight distinctive points of Celtic magic, being aspects which distinguish that tradition from others, should be focal points of research and practice in any program to develop a true magical renaissance of the Celtic tradition.

 

Author:

by Edred Thorsson

An Assue Wytch’s Book of Correspondences

Principles of Belief For Wiccans

Book & Candle Comments 

 Principles of Belief For Wiccans

 “The council of American Witches finds it necessary to define modern Witchcraft in terms of the American experience and needs.
We are not bound by traditions from other times and other cultures, and owe no allegiance to any person or power greater than the Divinity manifest through our own being.

As American Witches, we welcome and respect all life-affirming teachings and traditions, and seek to learn from all and to share our learning with our Council.

1)  We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon and the seasonal quarters and cross-quarters.
2)  We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.
3)  We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than is apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary, it is sometimes called “supernatural,” but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.
4)  We conceive of the Creative Power in the Universe as manifesting through polarity – as masculine and feminine – and that this same creative Power lives in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and  feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sexuality as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of Life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magical practice and religious worship.
5)  We recognize both outer worlds and inner, our psychological worlds – sometimes known as the Spiritual world, the Collective Unconscious, the Inner Planes, etc. – and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magical exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.
6)  We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and  acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.
7)  We see religion, magic, and wisdom-in-living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it – a world view and philosopy of life, which we identify as Witchcraft or the Wiccan Way.
8)  Calling oneself “Witch” does not make a Witch – but neither does hereditary itself, or the collecting of titles, degrees, and initiations. A Witch seeks o control the forces within him/herself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well, without harm to others, and in harmony with nature.
9)  We acknowlede that it is the affirmation and fulfillment of life, in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the Universe we know, and to our personal role within it.
10) Our only animosity toward Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy-of-life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be “the one true right and only way” and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practices and belief.
11) As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present, and our future.
12) We do not accept the concept of “absolute evil,” nor do we worship any entity known as “Satan” or “the Devil” as defined by Christian Tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor do we accept the concept that personal benefits can only be derived by denial to another.
13) We work within Nature for that which is contributory to our health and well-being.”

Source:
Witch Crafted

TO BE A WITCH

Witchy Comments
TO BE A WITCH

To be a witch is to love and be loved.
To be a witch is to know everything, and nothing at all.
To be a witch is to move amongst the stars while staying on earth.
To be a witch is to change the world around you, and yourself.
To be a witch is to share and give, while receiving all the while.
To be a witch is to dance and sing, and hold hands with the universe.
To be a witch is to honor the gods, and yourself.
To be a witch is to be magick, not just perform it.
To be a witch is to be honorable, or nothing at all.
To be a witch is to accept others who are not.
To be a witch is to know what you feel is right and good.
To be a witch is to harm none.
To be a witch is to know the ways of old.
To be a witch is to see beyond the barriers.
To be a witch is to follow the moon.
To be a witch is to be one with the gods.
To be a witch is to study and to learn.
To be a witch is to be the teacher and the student.
To be a witch is to acknowledge the truth.
To be a witch is to live with the earth, not just on it.

To be a witch is to be truly free!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Religious Tolerance in Wicca

Religious Tolerance in Wicca

Author:   Aphrodisios   

For the most part and in my experience, Wiccans seem to be religiously tolerant. Wicca is one of those things that will call to you if it is your path. I have been to open circles though and after the ritual, one often will hear one or two witches ‘Christian bashing’. In some ways, I can understand the sentiment because there are fanatics of other religions who likewise judge us. On the other hand, this only causes more intolerance and misunderstanding of our religion.

If we want to be recognized as a positive religion, I believe we must show what Wicca is about through our actions and words.* Not something I normally throw out there but, as an example, I know a doctor who is a Christian clergyman. By being respectful, and over time explaining our belief, he thinks it is positive for some people. When we disrespect other religions, it only makes others frown upon our beliefs.

There are so many things you can do to show the positive sides of Wicca. Do something for the community or to help others…something as simple as sending a happy holiday card around times the times we have holidays. Basic positive actions and friendliness can go a long way, even helping people via some simple magicks if you know they won’t be offended. I have programmed appropriate gemstones before to help people I know who are afraid of witchcraft and after respectfully explaining their history and meaning, the people were in fact happy to receive those gifts.

If someone becomes open to it and understands, then invite him/her to observe a ritual, solitary or not. They don’t need to be in the circle but if they have an understanding, curiosity, and respect, there should be no concerns about letting people see what Wicca is about. I do not think in any way we should push our religion, but if we want others to be more accepting, we should explain and show them what we are about.

Once I went to an eclectic open training circle; I noticed that when the ‘religion bashing’ started the high priestess got quiet and then simply walked away. I don’t think most people noticed it, but in my opinion, she took the higher road, so to speak.

Many Abrahamic religions associate Wicca with evil and dark magicks because they do not understand us. If they were to see us out in nature casting our circles, calling upon the elements and Gods or Goddesses it would scare them. Many people fear what they do not understand. This goes both ways, because I’m sure many Wiccans have encountered Christians they do not understand.

I know many that say they just blow off or ignore the people that come to their door to talk religion. Whenever a Mormon, Christian, etc. has come to my door, I invite them in and am polite. They tell me about what their religion has done for them and tell me about their beliefs. I always explain I follow a pagan path and talk shortly about religion with them. I imagine in some cases you may find a fanatic, but being respectful I have not once been insulted by a person I invited into my home to talk about his/her religion.

There are so many misunderstandings and symbols that scare people and I think we need to be aware of that. Someone who has not been exposed to Wicca and notices a pentagram on you may think you’re worshipping Satan. This can be somewhat blamed on movies and that is how it is introduced to most people in today’s society… as an evil symbol. Most people don’t know the inverted pentagram was adopted as satanic symbol. Now, I may be wrong but if I remember correctly, I believe the inverted pentagram is sometimes used in Wicca as well depending on tradition or coven at a certain degree, the reason being for the individual to understand and accept the darker aspect of self but not let it take control. That may even cause more confusion for someone only vaguely familiar with Wicca. (Please feel free correct me if I’m wrong about why the inverted pentagram is sometimes used, as I’m not well educated on when or how it is used in Wicca) .

Disrespect will get us nowhere, when someone says, “God bless you”, “you will be in my prayers” or maybe even offers you a paper to attend their church, there is no reason to be rude. Also, tactfulness is something I believe we should always keep in mind as witches or pagans. When dealing with people who don’t understand us and want to tell us about their religion, we should think of a way to politely tell them that we are not interested.

You will run into your religious nuts but just keep a low tone and be a better person. Making off color comments or insulting them only makes their negative attitude towards other religions stronger. For that matter, when it comes to the fanatics, I sometimes find it useful to use their own book against them (politely, of course!) One of my favorite quotes, if being judged is: “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”. (Matthew 7:2; New International Version 1984, ©1984)

I know some Wiccans or pagans say they never touched a Bible, but sometimes reminding a person of his/her own religious text can be your best weapon. Using that as tool, tactfully, can put them at a loss for words.

Respect is earned, and if we want to receive it we must do so through positive actions. While I do think many of us try to respect other religions, we need to keep in mind religious tolerance means respecting all religions.

Namaste,
Aphrodisios

___________________________________

Footnotes:
* I would like to say I did start this as a topic on another site just a few moments ago but it was ¼ the length of this article. I wanted to expand on it though but just felt it appropriate to say this was partially posted elsewhere. For reference I posted the short version on
http://online.fireflyacademy.org/

The Witches Magick for Dec. 17th – Faeryland Thyme Magick

Faeryland Thyme Magick

After dark, go outdoors and look straight at the new moon. Then go indoors and put on some upbeat Celtic music.

You will need a green candle, a bowl filled with soil, a pinch of dried thyme, a pinch of dried nutmeg, five small stones from nature and a half cup warm milk with three teaspoons of honey mixed in.

Draw a sacred circle. Now draw a second circle of forest-green light on top of the first circle. Light the candle, dedicating it to the elves and faeries.

Put the bowl of soil in the center of the altar. Cover the top of the soil with the pinches of thyme and nutmeg. As you do this, say three times:

Faery spice, blessings thrice.
 

Position the stones in a star, pentacle pattern around the bowl. Now take a few deep breaths to center your awareness. Imagine descending a long natural rock stairway into the earth. At the end of the stairs is a circular doorway. Now open your eyes for a few moments and take the cup of milk from the altar. Pour the milk and honey over the earth and thyme in the bowl as you say:

To the woods and wild land,
With a faery band in hand.
Mind and spirit, now set free,
Open the faery door, so mote it be!
 

Once again, close your eyes and see the circular doorway in your mind’s eye. See and sense yourself opening the door and stepping into the magickal world of the faeries. Allow the candle to safely burn down. Let the music continue playing as you drift to sleep. If you dream of the elves and faeries, your wishes will all come true.

In the morning pull up the circle, and take the earth and stones, putting them in a sunwise circle around a plant while whistling or humming a little tune. When you are done, be sure to thank the faeries.

The Witches Magick For December 9th – Three-Stone Home Magick

The Witches Magick For December 9th

Three-Stone Home Magick

Cast this spell to bring more harmony and happiness into your home by way of benevolent faeries.

You will need three small white stones you find in nature.

At 6:07 p.m., draw a magick circle and call in the elements. Hold each of the three stones in your power hand, one at a time, and face your altar. Take a deep, complete breath in and out. Merge with the faeries and charge each of the stones by saying:

“Blessed be, blessed three moon and star stones,
Please bring harmony and happiness to my home.”

Now, slowly spin clockwise three times. When you are done spinning say:

“Helpful, bright, and friendly faeries
Please bring harmony and happiness to my home
Ayea, Ayea, Ayea, blessed fae! So Be It!

Sit or stand quietly in the middle of your circle and imagine the helpful powers of the earth, air, fire, and water faeries bringing more harmony and joyful happiness to your home forever and a day. Do this for at least fifteen minutes, then offer the stones to the faeries by placing them gently on the ground beneath a flower, bush or tree. As you do, repeat with each stone:

Blessed be, blessed three moon and star stones
Please bring harmony and happiness to my home.

A Recipe to See The Fae

A Recipe to See The Fae

On a Dawn morning or Evening dusk, find a special bottle, a pretty one that the fae will love.

Pour into it the following:

1 cup spring or rain water

1 teaspoon of Pink Rose Petals

½ teaspoon Lavender flowers

Add 3 quartz crystals

Add 3 amethyst chips

1 pinch of Faery sugar

Nine inch piece of pink ribbon

Hide this away in a dark place for three days. On the third day, again at dawn or dusk, in a place you think you might spot the Fae, like an Oak tree, backyard or mushroom patch in the forest. Even a potted plant, herb, or flower will do. Tie a nine inch piece of Pink ribbon around bottle neck. Next, close your eyes and spinkle 9 drops over each eyelids of your “faery potion water,’ care not to get it in your eyes. Next recite thie incantation and watch for the Fae.

Ribbon of pink, I just might think,
I would like to see the Fae today.
Special sight of Faery’s flight,
Send to me the way today.
A sprinkle here a sprinkle there,
A secret spell I say today.
Wispy wings and little things,
Are what I’d like to see today.

Mabon Comments & Graphics
Blessing, Consecration, and Procession of the Elements Now Begins

Four members of the coven who have been chosen beforehand now approach the
Priestess.  Each holds one of the following: an  incense burner, a candle, a vessel of water, and a vessel of salt.  Each in turn approaches the Priestess, recites their piece, receives her blessing, and then processes deosil around the perimeter of the circle while stopping to bow at each of the quarters.

(If you have any of these objects that you would like to be blessed, hold them to the computer screen at this time. Repeat what the member has to say to the High Priestess)