Friday Form A Circle – Sun Circle: A Ritual for A Group of Children

June 18, 2010 at 9:51 am (Ancestors, Associations, Blessing, Children, Circle, Friday, Kids, Litha, Magic, Midsummer, pagan, Ritual, Sun, Witch, Witchlets)

Sun Circle: A Ritual for A Group of Children
From Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children
by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac;

Activity: Form a circle and use oranges to symbolize the sun. Recall the many gifts that we receive from the sun.

Goals: Understand the important things that the sun provides for us, such as food, energy, heat and light. Understand that we can show our appreciation for these gifts.

Age: Younger Children and Older Children

Procedure: Have the children stand in a circle with their eyes closed. Have each child hold one hand open, palm up, in front of him or her. Take chilled orange sections, or pieces of other bright, sunshine-like fruit, and place one in each waiting hand. Ask the children to guess what you have passed out. Once someone has guessed correctly instruct the children to open their eyes but not to eat the oranges yet. Hold up a whole orange and tell the children that it represents the sun. Have each child name one thing that we receive from the sun; then he or she can eat the orange slice. Remind the children that it is the food energy created from sunlight by plants that enables people to do this, or any other activity.

Materials: Sunny area, enough chilled and peeled oranges to provide one section for each child, a whole orange.

A suggestion from BabooKyra: I’m going to do this with my campers. The only thing I’m going to change is that we will pick the oranges ourselves and use whole oranges. After the ritual, I’ll give them spices to make pomanders. The scent will remind them of camp for years.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Friday Form A Circle – Litha Ritual

May 28, 2010 at 9:47 am (altar, Ancestors, Circle, Dedication, Friday, Litha, Magic, Midsummer, pagan, Ritual, Witch)

Litha Ritual
From Dragonshadow Lair

Special notes: Rededication to the Great Goddess and Great God. Time when the Sun casts three rays to light the world.

Altar supplies: Incense, burner, chalice of water, salt, pentacle, dagger, 4 element candles, chalice of wine, wand. A red candle (set to the right of cauldron)cup of fresh water set in the cauldron with a green or blue candle on the left.

Cast the Circle
Light the green candle to the left of cauldron

Green forest Mother, bless this water, I do ask. 
Great One of the stars, spinner of fates, I give honor to you, 
and call upon you in your ancient names, known and unknown.

Light the red candle to the right of cauldron

Mighty Sun God, god of fertility and plenty, be here with me now, I do ask. I give honor to you, and call upon you in your ancient names, known and unknown.

Raise your arms over the cauldron and say

This is the sacred cauldron of the Triple Goddess. 
The touch of its consecrated water blesses and renews, even as the rays of the Sun nourish and bless all life.

Pass your hands/arms between the two candles, making wishes as you do; or set them on the floor and walk between them. Dip forefinger of your power hand into the cauldron water and trace a pentagram on your forehead. Kneel before the altar to rededicate your life to the Old Gods.

I will serve the Great Goddess and give reverence to the Great God. I am a pagan, a stone of the ancient circle, standing firmly balanced upon the Earth, yet open to the winds of the heavens, and enduring through time. May the Old Gods witness my words!

Place wine chalice on pentacle and lift it high

Honor to the Old Gods! Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again!

Drink the wine, saving some to be put out for the little people or to be given to the earth

Continue with a Simple Feast and Closing the Circle 

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Wednesday Whatever – Summer Solstice: Ura, the Night of the Heather

May 19, 2010 at 9:02 am (Ancestors, Associations, Fae, Faery, Fairies, Fairy, Flowers, Folklore, Heather, Herbs, History, Lore, Magic, pagan, Wednesday, Wisdom, Witch)

Summer Solstice: Ura, the Night of the Heather
by Sarah the SwampWitch,
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002

The moon is perhaps humankind’s oldest form of marking time. According to some scholars, the Celts used a Lunar Calendar that consisted of 13 months, each 28 days in length. Each month of the Celtic Lunar calendar bears the name of a tree, which also stands for one of the consonants in the Celtic ‘tree alphabet’. There are basically two different versions of this Lunar calendar: the Beth-Luis-Nion (which begins on the Winter Solstice) and the Beth-Luis-Fearn (which begins on Samhain). I work with the Beth-Luis-Nion simply because it seems to work the best for my style of Witchcraft.

Beth-Luis-Nion version of The Celtic Tree calendar

  • B – Beth, the Birch Month (December 24th – January 20th)
  • L – Luis, the Rowan Month (January 21st – February 17th)
  • N – Nion, the Ash month (February 18th – March 17th)
  • F – Fearn, the Alder Month (March 18th – April 14th)
  • S – Saille, the Willow Month (April 15th – May 12th)
  • H – Huath, the Hawthorn Month (May 13th – June 9th)
  • D – Duir, the Oak Month (Jun 10th – July 7th)
  • T – Tinne, the Holly Month (July 8th – August 4th)
  • C – Coll, the Hazel Month (August 5th – September 1st)
  • M – Muin, the Vine Month (September 2nd – September 29th)
  • G – Gort, the Ivy Month (September 30th – October 27th
  • Ng – Ngetal, the Reed Month (October 28th – November 24th)
  • R – Ruis, the Elder Month (November 25th – December 23rd)

The five vowels I, A, O, U, and E have corresponding tree names to the nights of the solstices and equinoxes:

  • I – Idho, the Night of the Yew, Winter Solstice Eve
  • A – Ailm, the Night of the Silver Fir, Winter Solstice
  • – Herb too sacred to have a Celtic name, the Night of Mistletoe, Day after Winter Solstice
  • O – Onn, the Night of the Gorse Bush, Spring Equinox
  • U – Ura, the Night of the Heather, Summer Solstice
  • E – Eadha, the Night of the White Poplar, Alban Elfed or Autumnal Equinox

Here Is Lore On The Tree Of The Summer Solstice – Heather:

  • Latin name: Calluna vulgaris
  • Celtic name: Ura (pronounced: Oor’ uh)
  • Folk or Common Names: Common Heather, Ling, Scottish Heather
  • Parts used: herb, flowering shoots.
  • Herbal usage: Heather’s flowering shoots are used to treat insomnia, stomach aches, coughs and skin problems. The plant, used fresh or dried, strengthens the heart and raises blood pressure. It is slightly diuretic and a Heather Tea is often prescribed in cases of urinary infections. Heather is sometimes used in conjunction with corn silk and cowberries.
  • Magickal History & Associations: Heather is associated with the sun, and with the planet of Venus. Its color is resin colored and its element is water. Heather’s bird is the lark, and its animal association is the honey bee. In ancient times the Danes brewed a powerful beer made from honey and Heather. And for centuries the heather flowers have also been a special beverage to the bee, who in return creates delightful Heather honey! Its stones are amethyst, peridot, and amertine – and it is a feminine herb.

The herb is sacred to many Goddesses: Isis, Venus-Erycina, Uroica, Garbh Ogh, Cybele, Osiris, Venus, Guinevere, and Butes among them. White Heather was considered unlucky by Scottish loyalists because of its connection with the banishment of Bonny Prince Charles. Haether is the home to a type of Fey called Heather Pixies. Like other Pixies, the Heather Pixies have clear or golden auras and delicate, translucent wings. But these faeries are attracted specifically to the moors and to the Heather which covers them. They are not averse to human contact, but they don’t seek them out. They have a pranksterish nature.

Magickal Usage: Heather is sacred to the Summer Solstice. Heather is used for magick involving maturity, consummation, general luck, love, ritual power, conjuring ghosts, healing, protection, rain-making and water magick.

Charms made with Heather can be worn or carried as protection against danger, rape and other violent crimes. This flower represents good fortune and Heather can also be carried as a lucky charm. It was believed that wearing the blossom associated with your month of birth would bring exceptionally good luck – therefore people born in the month of Heather (August) should carry White Heather, for even better luck throughout the year.

Legend has it that a gift of white Heather brings luck to both the giver and the receiver, whereas red Heather is said to have been colored by heathens killed in battle by Christians, so is less lucky. Heather is associated with secrets from the Otherworld.

A sprig of white Heather placed in a special place of silence and meditation has the power to conjure ghosts, ‘haints’ or spirits. After picking a piece of white Heather at midnight, place it in a glass of river water in the darkest corner of your home. Sit and think of a departed loved one and it is said that the loved one’s shadow will visit you. Heather is said to ignite faery passions and open portals between their world and our own. Heather represents solitude because it thrives in wide open spaces, and Faeries who enjoy living in such undisturbed places are said to feast on the tender stalks of Heather.

The Fey of this flower are drawn to humans who are shy. Heather is useful for Solitary healing work (going within). Heather, if used along with Mistletoe, creates powerful healing medicine in both spiritual and physical aspects.

Heather can be used at Midsummer to promote love – carry red Heather for passion or white Heather for cooling the passion of unwanted suitors. If you give someone a gift of Heather it means: ‘Admiration’. A charm bag filled with Heather can be carried for decreasing egotism or self-involvement. As a water herb, Heather is very useful in weather magick. When burned outdoors with Fern, the herbal smoke of Heather attracts rain. Bouquets of Heather and Fern can also be dipped in water to call rain.

***Document Copyright © 99, 00, 01,02 by Sarah Nunn (Sarah the SwampWitch). This document can be re-published and shared only as long as no information is lost or changed, credit is given to the author, and it is provided or used without cost to others. Other uses of this document must be approved in writing by Sarah Nunn.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Wednesday Whatever – Midsummer Hail and Farewell

May 5, 2010 at 9:39 am (Ancestors, Associations, Faery, Fairies, Fairy, Folklore, History, Litha, Lore, Magic, Midsummer, pagan, Wednesday, Wisdom, Witch)

Midsummer Hail and Farewell
by Ahneke Greystone, Midsummer 2000;
excerpt from:
Cauldrons and Broomsticks
A newsletter for and by the Pagan/Wiccan Internet Community,

That I am mortal I know and do confess
My span of day:
but when I gaze upon
The thousandfold circling gyre of the stars,
No longer do I walk on earth but rise
The peer of God himself to take my fill
At the ambrosial banquet of the undying.

– Claudius Ptolemaeus,
Greek-Egyptian, 2nd Century

Such a wonder, this season of paradox! A vibrant moment of existence, warm caresses from the Sun, long days to share with family and friends. It is a time for first harvest and second sowing. For some there is more to do than a day’s time allows; for others it is a time of sweet pause and respite. We are poised between increase and decline. Balanced on the Mystery.

Gathered around the fires of Midsummer Eve, we reflect on the turn of the Wheel and the symbolism of fire as a sign of our consciousness. The awakening we experience, as did the God, when times of frivolity and independence turn to times of responsibility and community. It is a time of maturity and reflection. On Midsummer Day our focus will be on celebration; a time for living in the moment and making merry. A Dance of Life, with our minds and bodies attuned to the awesome possibility and promise of existence. Tonight we are comforted knowing that as fire burns it cleanses and purifies, clearing the land and our psyche for the time of repose ahead. Providing the fertile source from which the cycle turns again in Winter.

This holiday transcends all time and culture. The heritage of the celebration is sometimes unacknowledged, and sometimes celebrated much as it has been for hundreds of years. Modern pagans recognize several names; it was called Litha or Vestalia in ancient Rome, Gathering Day in Wales, Feill-Sheathain in Scotland, Alban Heflin in the Anglo-Saxon tradition, Thing-Tideln in Scandinavia, All Couple’s Day in Greece, and it is the Celtic Feast of Epona. It was and often still is celebrated throughout Russia, Europe, the East, Africa and the Americas, and other places throughout the world honoring the season of ripeness and the advent of the harvesting.

In ancient times Midsummer was as well a time for celebration and reflection. Rites were ecstatic, celebrating fecundity and harvest, placating the gods for gentle rather than destructive weather. We knew that Divine whim could destroy the crops we needed to harvest in order for human and animal to survive the upcoming Winter. This was the most powerful fire festival of our solar holidays.

Summer was a time of war, a time of invasion and defense. Our ancient family connected the death of their compatriots with the peak and passing of Summer. The symbolism of the burgeoning land, cut into harvest, and the strong men who died in war was a powerful and integral part of the holiday. Even in ancient times, the paradox prevailed. Life and death.

The wedding month of June traces to our pagan roots. Courting traditionally began at the Winter Solstice, when days were not as filled with tasks, and there was time to focus on familial matters. Towards Spring, pregnancies became obvious. Marrying in May was considered unlucky, as that was the time of the Sacred Marriage. Thus, marriage became common after Beltane. Mead was traditionally drunk for the month following the bonding to guarantee fertility and the health of children conceived. The Full Moon in June is known as the Mead Moon, and we honor this today in our reference to a wedding holiday as a honeymoon.

Midsummer, especially the Eve, is a time when the Fairie become visible to our human eyes. The boundaries between the worlds are thin. Even those of us who rarely experience fey moments can be caught up in the mischief and mayhem brought to us this evening. We will be reminded that our world is a quixotic one. If we have become too staid, that will be remedied this evening! The fairies delight in revealing our human foibles and turning our world on end.

Midsummer in some traditions was the time the Ivy King was seen as battling and overcoming the Oak King. He ruled for the next six months, until the Winter Solstice when the fated battle began again, with the Oak King then victor. In other traditions, the Sun King was seen as born on the Winter Solstice, reaching his peak at Midsummer, to decline and pass either into the Underworld as reigning King there or into repose until his rebirth in Winter. The myth of Demeter and Persephone gave inspiration to a yearly cycle of the Feminine Divine, who at Midsummer is seen as the Daughter who has just begun her journey to the Underworld and the Mother who has not yet realized that her beloved daughter has gone. She will shortly understand this, and she will send the Earth into decline and mourning.

The Goddess at Midsummer is the Lover-Mother. She is pregnant and aware of the life within. This is a bittersweet time. The mature God is her husband and the father of her child. He is more her partner at this time than at any other. Emotionally and intellectually they are equals. She is enjoying this time of mundane connection. It is as though her tasks are done and she finds the time to relax and enjoy life. She who always leads and inspires can briefly lay her head upon the shoulder of her consort and let someone else take charge.

Shadowing her joy is the knowledge of what will come. Her lover will pass over and she will evolve once again separate from him. The child within is her connection to this Earthly time and the wonders of physical existence. It is also her connection to Eternity. What agony she will suffer, though, to see all that she loves pass. Even as her wiser self knows the purpose.

Goddesses for Midsummer include Earth Mothers and Goddesses of beauty and mature sexuality, fire Goddesses and Goddesses of the animals and the hunt. They include: Aine, Ameaterasu, Anahita, Aphrodite, Artemis, Asherah, Brighid, Cardea, Coaltique, Corn Mother, Danu, Erzulie, Esmeralda, Freya, Flora, Gaia, Hera, Hestia, Iamanja, Inanna, Ishtar, Li, Litha, Mawu, Oraea, Oshun, Oya, Pele, Rhea, Rhiannon, Spider Woman, The Corn Mothers, Tiamat, Tonantzin, Vesta, Yellow Land Earth Queen, Yemaya.

The God has matured from the free and independent young man to the wise elder, the King who has learned of commitment and responsibility to his Queen, his family and his community. He is the counselor and the person others turn to for leadership and guidance. The Lord of the Greenwood is now the Sun King. He wears his crown with dignity and with some sorrow. For he remembers how at Beltane he envisioned the blood upon the corn. He knows his time is about to end. He reflects on a life of joy and abandon, of peace and contentment, of accomplishment and triumph. It is the time when he looks back on his life, rather than forward. The time remaining is short. With age and maturity comes the wisdom in him that accepts his life, is aware of the contributions he has made and acknowledges his fate. He looks to the end with peace now, fearless and aware of his role in the theater of life.

The Gods of Midsummer are the Gods of the hunt, Gods of the Sun, Father Gods and the Gods of the Arts. They include: Apollo, Arthur, Balder, Balin, Cernunnos, Faunus, Gwynn ap Nudd, Hades, Heimdul, Helios, Herne, Hugh, Lugh, Pan, Perkunis, Phol, Ra, Taliesin, Woden.

Midsummer Correspondences

  • Colors – Verdant and growing shades, colors of light and fire – gold, green, hazel, orange, peridot, pink, red, yellow.
  • Trees: The most powerful being the oak, ivy and mistletoe, but also including evergreen and fruit-bearing trees – fir, holly, mistletoe, pine, hawthorne, maple, oak, peach, palm, rowan.
  • Crystals/Stones: Amber, carnelian, cat’s eye, citrine, clear quartz crystal, copper, emerald, garnet, peridot, ruby, sulfur, yellow topaz.
  • Flowers: Red flowers, carnations (red), honeysuckle, iris, lily, marigolds, nasturtiums, rose, sunflowers, trefoil, wisteria, witches’ broom.
  • Creatures: Cardinal, dove, lizard, magpie, parrot.
  • Herbs: Basil, chive, chervil, dragon’s blood, fennel, lavender, mint, parsley, Rosemary, rue, sage, St. John’s wort, tarragon, thyme, vervain, violet.
  • Incense: Carnation, cedar, cinnamon, copal, fir, frangipani, frankincense, myrrh, pine, rose, rosemary, sandalwood, tangerine, thyme, vervain, violet, wisteria.
  • Oils: Carnation, citronella, geranium, lime, musk, orange, tangerine, ylang-ylang.
  • Foods: Hot and spicy foods, corn, dark breads, tomato and red vegetable juices.

And now it is Midsummer! May you cherish the special moments of your life, honoring them as Divine gifts. May the love you have for family and community be paramount today, and may you see in the eyes of your mates, children, family and friends that spark of eternity that is a part of each of us. Celebrate!

Blessings of the Sun King and the Queen of Summer to you!

The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun.

– William Bourdillon

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Friday Form A Circle – Solitary Beltane Ritual

April 30, 2010 at 9:57 am (altar, Ancestors, Beltane, Circle, Friday, Magic, May Day, pagan, Ritual, Solitary, Witch)

Solitary Beltane Ritual
Found at
Spells Of Magic

A low altar should be built partially or entirely of stones at the middle of the ritual area.

What you will need:

  • God & Goddess candles
  • four spring-colored candles
  • 3 foot piece of wood to be used as a pole
  • fruit, flowers, bright ribbons to decorate the pole
  • 1/2 cup of wine
  • Beltane incense***
  • Your ritual tools (wand, bell, athame, etc)
  • parchment
  • writing implement

Place the God & Goddess candles on the altar, and arrange the altar as you usually do. (if the ritual is performed outdoors, the candles may be replaced be torches. These may be stuck in the ground on either side of the altar.)

Place the other four candles (or torches) before the altar to be lit later. The  pole should be erected on the far side of the altar: it should be decked with fruits, flowers, and bright ribbons. A half full cup of wine should be placed before the image of the Goddess.

Before dressing for the ceremony, take a ritual cleansing bath. For this ritual one should dress brightly and strikingly, wearing flowers and greenery according to taste. When ready to go on with the rite, meditate for a while before going into the ritual area, thinking strongly on the old pagan ways and trying to imagine the rituals which took place on this night in ages passed. Go alone to the ritual place. Kneeling before the altar, light the candles or torches on the altar, and the incense. Set alight the four candles before the altar and place them 3 to 5 feet from the altar at the North, then going deosil, saying:

Here at this spot do I create a place Sacred to the Gods of old. For a while, here and now shall the ancient ways live again!

Take the wand and hold it out and salute toward the East, saying:

Oh winds of the East blow sweet and pure! For the Lady reigns again!

Hold the wand out and salute toward the South, saying:

Oh warmth of the South bring forth life from the earth! For the Lady reigns again!

Hold the wand out and salute toward the West, saying:

Oh waters of the West glisten clear and fresh! For the Lady reigns again!

Hold the wand out and salute toward the North, saying:

Oh lands of the North grow rich and bounteous! For the Lady reigns again!

Replace the wand and hold your arms out over the altar, saying:

Gracious and lovely Lady of the moon, of joy and love, Protecteress of forests and wild things, this place is consecrated to Thee.

Take up the wine cup, hold it out at arm’s length, and pour out a few drops, saying:

To the Great Ones of old and to the joyous times to come!

Drink some of the wine (or if you cannot drink alcohol, use an appropriate substitute). After a brief pause, rap three times on the altar with the wand saying:

As woods and meadows flower forth I celebrate the ancient rite, as the Ancients did before me. I cast the words into the mists of time and space and otherwhere: Where one stays now, in years to come, may scores of others revel there. So may it be!

Rap once upon the altar. (More incense should be added now. Ad-lib additions are appropriate at this time – meditations, poetry and the like.) (If a source of proper music is available, a solitary Dance of the Winds may be improvised.)

Draw the Fertility talisman on the parchment, suffumigate it thrice, bow humbly and say:

Friends of the nether worlds Now, come and assist us in our humble workings. Follow us to another sacred place of ours, and join your forces with ours, on this Fertilization Day.

Bury the talisman into the ground under an oak tree (if available), saying an ad-lib statement on the meaning of the talisman and its correspondences. Go back to the circle. When all is done, close by rapping four time with the wand, saying:

Friends of the nether worlds who have been about me for a while you may, with thanks, return from whence you came.

Hold out arms and say:

Blessed Lady of joy and laughter I thank Thee for Thy presence. May some of your love and power remain with me. Blessed Be!

Put out the lights about the altar. As the two on the altar itself are darkened, say:

This rite is ended…

Note: Alter this ritual as needed to fit your circumstance. Note that many Beltane celebrations extend roughly one week past the May 1’st date, so any time in early May is appropriate to celebrate, in case you miss celebrating it on the May 1st date.

***Beltane Incense
from
Mooncrafts

Ingredients:

  • 3 Parts Frankincense
  • 2 Parts Sandalwood
  • 1 Part Woodruff
  • 1 Part Rose petals
  • a few drops Jasmine oil
  • a few drops neroli Oil

Burn during rituals on Beltane or May Day for fortune & favors & to attune with the changing of the seasons.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Wednesday Whatever – Mystical May

April 28, 2010 at 9:09 am (Ancestors, Associations, Beltane, Fertility, Folklore, Greenman, History, Lore, Magic, Mysteries, pagan, Wednesday, Wisdom, Witch)

Mystical May
From the Mystical World Wide Web

‘But I must gather knots of flowers,
And buds and garlands gay,
For I’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother,
I’m to be Queen o’ the May.’

(Alfred Lord Tennyson)

Introduction

The name for the month of May has been believed to derive from Maia, who was revered as the Roman Goddess of Springtime, of Growth and Increase, and the mother of Mercury, the winged messenger of the Gods. Yet this is disputed…before these deities featured in mythology, the name Maius or Magius, taken from the root Mag, meaning the Growing month or Shooting month was used. May has also been known as:

  • ‘Thrimilce’ (Cows go to milking three times a day) – Anglo-Saxons
  • ‘Bloumaand’ (Blossoming month) – Old Dutch

As part of the seasonal calendar May is the time of the Hare Moon according to Pagan belief and the period described as the Moon of the Shedding Ponies by Black Elk (Black Elk Speaks, Neihardt). This is the first month of Beltaine (May – July) within the Celtic calendar, the onset of summer. It was the traditional practice of shepherds to follow and stay with the flock when out to pasture, this being known as transhumance.

This is one example of how daily life was closely tied to that of the animal and the earth, an awareness of the balance and harmony needed between man and nature, something today we are desperately trying to save. In ancient times such practice would daily remind the people of the Creation myths, the power of evil, the potential of its destruction, hence their folklore is full of such references. In pagan beliefs man believed himself to be the guardian of nature, perhaps this is one reason why today we also see the close bond between the so called green movement and the knowledge, rituals and beliefs of pre-Christian practice, further connections being made with what is known as the new age movement.

This period has also been associated in the Christian church with St John, the Evangelist (27 December), or John in the Celtic church (6 May) who describes this month as having the longest days, indicating that light has triumphed over darkness, positive over negative, life over death. The symbol of the eagle is given to St John, emphasizing the need for a keen eye and sharp awareness, an eye that does not stray from the task. This could be seen as a metaphor to remind the people of the need to focus on refining the spirit and not being tempted to folly, for not letting the sun affect the work on the land, for pleasure to be kept at bay (hence another indication that love and courting is a distraction at this time despite its natural associations with fertility).

This is the time associated with the ritual of baptism too, when the joy of the spirit is given, being seen in all things. It was a time of many rituals establishing man’s relationship and commitment from the earth to a higher level of being. Here the folklore of birds comes in to focus, as it is the power of the invisible spirit, or the wind, which brings hope anew. In Christian beliefs this is reflected in the story of the raven and the dove with Noah, whilst in pagan practice it is a time of peace, when thanks and hope was asked for of Bel the Sun God.

Surprisingly perhaps May was believed generally to be an unlucky month which may be linked to the possibility of failure. This belief is thought to be of ancient origin as it was known to be the best time to plant and sow for the next year. It was a time when all spare hands were expected to work the land with no time for personal celebrations and/or courting. It was a time when the food supplies for the rest of the seasonal year were sown and therefore the health of the community depended upon it. An old country (UK) rhyme

Marry in May and rue the day!

Perhaps then quite naturally, it was also believed by many rural communities that a baby born in May would always be sickly. It was traditionally believed that any cats born in this month would not be good rat or mice catchers.

As part of the astrological calendar, May has many associations. This is the month of the house of Taurus (April 21 – May 21) and the house of Gemini (22 May – June 21). Taurus is the second sign of the zodiac, symbolized by the Sacred Bull or Heavenly bull and has close associations with all cattle. In ancient Persian astrology Taurus translated as the Bull of light, and in ancient Egypt Taurus represented fertility and development or growth and was linked closely with the success of the land to produce. The sacred bull was also seen by the ancient Egyptians as the vessel in which the God Osiris was celestial. Taurus reflects the second phase of the journey of the sun, and of the child relating to the early teen years.

Venus is the ruling planet of Taurus and the Roman Goddess of Love. To the ancients the planet Venus was seen as highly important being second to the Sun and the Moon. The ancient Greeks believed that Phaeton nearly destroyed the earth, known as the Blazing Star, the earth became consumed by fire and Phaeton was transformed into Venus. The ancient Assyrians knew the planet as the fearful dragon…who is clothed in fire. The Aztecs, called it The star that smoked, the Quetzalcoatl called it The feathered Serpent, and the Midrash knew it as The brilliant light… blazing from one end of the cosmos to the other. Venus, is often used to symbolize the inner qualities of romance, loyalty, practicality, caution and charm whilst also having a love of the land, art, of the finest luxuries that can be obtained with a powerful desire for beautiful possessions, (so there is a danger of excess in all things).

Aphrodite, the ancient Greek Goddess of Love was seen to influence those around her by the use of her magic girdle. One fitting and you were smitten. Taurus has a way of encouraging this response. Venus also brings the need for affection and a search for love, as those born during this time are also generous in love, sharing their enjoyment and their warmth. Taurus is a fixed, negative earth sign and the first earth sign associated with the statements ‘I am steadfast and provide stability’, ‘Mine’ and ‘I value possessions and enjoy indulgence’. It rules the throat and the neck. Taurus is associated with the Daisy, Dandelion, Foxglove, Lily of the Valley, Narcissus, Poppy and Rose. Taurus is further associated with the Apple, Blackthorn, Fig, Hawthorn, Pear, Vine and Willow.

Colors associated with Taurus are pale blue, all shades of green, pink and yellow. The main stone associated with Taurus is the Emerald, whilst the main stone associated with the month of April is the Diamond. Lucky number is seven, lucky day Thursday. Metal associated is copper.

‘The time of fertility and growth is upon us.’
‘I could tell you of my adventures –
beginning with this morning.’

Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac symbolized by the ‘Celestial Twins’. The word Gemini is Latin meaning ‘twin’. It has often been suggested that this symbolism indicates the need for the Gemini to find a partner, someone close or to feel needed, an important part of something. In ancient Greek mythology the twins of Castor (mortal) and Pollux (immortal) were associated with the sign, being the sons of Zeus and Leda. Zeus gave immortality to both upon the killing of Castor.

Gemini reflects the third phase of the journey of the sun, and of the child developing from the teen years through adolescence to young adulthood. Here we see the curious mind developing further, also to becoming aware of the close connections between thought and action. Gemini possesses the duality and contrast in nature, that of the light and dark or night and day, summer and winter, and the growth and decay in all things.

Mercury is the ruling planet of Gemini. In Roman mythology Mercury was the Messenger of the Gods, son of Jupiter and Maia and the equivalent of the God Hermes of ancient Greek mythology. Mercury is often used to symbolize the inner qualities of vitality, intelligence, quick thinking, restlessness, co-ordination and flexibility. One drawback of this being that settling upon and fully completing a task was very difficult, due to the need to explore and develop new projects before boredom set in. Despite the possible unreliability alluded to Gemini, they have a lot of energy and can bounce back, which means they can adapt well to changing situations and hence they love to be part of a group – although their membership is not always maintained.

It was once believed that as Gemini represents the twin, that those born in Gemini would also be ambidextrous. Gemini is a mutable, neutral sir sign and the first air sign associated with the statements ‘I encircle the earth’, ‘On the wings of the wind’ and ‘With the swiftness of sound’. It rules the nervous system, the hands, shoulders, arms and lungs. Gemini is associated with Heather, Lavender, Lily of the Valley, Privet, Tansy, Violets, Yarrow and also Ferns. Gemini is further associated with all nut trees, and also the Cedar, Chestnut, Hawthorn, Hazel, Linden and the Oak.

Colors associated with Gemini are light green, slate gray, yellow and any color combinations of spotted mixtures. The main stone associated with Gemini is the Agate, whilst the main stone associated with the month of May is the Emerald. Lucky number is five, lucky day Wednesday. Metal associated is quicksilver or mercury.

Holidays On May 1

May Day

This day is believed to have been a replacement of the Beltaine or Beltane when Celts celebrated the beginning of Spring often by the building and burning of huge bonfires to honor the Sun. In later times young people would collect any greenery and flowers from the woods and forests to decorate their homes (See also Mystical WWW Trees & Plants). This was to indicate the power of nature to fertilize and rejuvenate the land and so affect the prosperity and health of a community. The festivals that still continue can be seen to be examples of the fertility of the earth, with many prevalent in the UK. May Pole dancing, based around the White Hawthorn was later replaced by the garlanded Maypole (a pole decorated with bright ribbons and flowers which was to show the transition of fertility from Winter to Spring), and Morris Dancing.

Beltane

Beltane or Bright Fire pagan celebrations, half-way between Midsummer and the vernal equinox. The first day of summer. Focus of the celebrations was courtship and love, and also of mating/fertility, being a time to start new relationships. The bee and the cow are symbolic of the goddess at this time, being able to create an endless supply of milk and honey. Oats, too, are connected with the goddess at this time.

The Green Man is also associated with Beltane as are the Goddesses Aphrodite and Maia. Brigid (1 February) and Columcille (7 June) were joint protectors of cattle and it was usual practice to ask for protection during the periods of Samhain, Imbolc to Beltane:

‘Everything within my dwelling or in my possession,
All kine and crops, all flocks and corn,
From Hallow Eve to Beltane Eve.’

It was traditionally believed in many parts of rural England (UK) that a beautiful complexion could be achieved by collecting dew on this day and gently smoothing it over the face.

‘The fair maid who at first of May,
Goes to the fields at break of day,
And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree,
Will ever after handsome be.’

Slovakia Day

Dedicated to Kupula, a Goddess of Fertility, and Poludnitsa, honored as Goddess of the Fields. Similar in traditions to that of Beltane.

Brioc

Celtic feast day of Brioc, Patron Saint of purse makers. Born near to Cardigan, Wales, died 530. Lived fifth-sixth century, traveled to Cornwall, England and later Brittany where he was revered as on of the seven saints. The pagan prince Conan is said to have requested that Brioc baptize him after having witnessed Brioc sit calmly amongst a pack of wolves when reciting psalms. The wolves moved away strangely calmed by their meeting. Known for his charitable works and generous nature. Reputed to have accompanied Mawgan (24 September) to Cornwall from Wales.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Friday Form A Circle – Wiccaning Ritual

April 23, 2010 at 9:52 am (Acceptance, Ancestors, Blessing, Children, Dedication, Friday, Kids, Life, Magic, pagan, Spell, Wisdom, Witch, Witchlets)

Wiccaning Ritual
from
Phoenix McFarland’s
"The Complete Book of Magickal Names"

This is written as a ceremony for a new child, but as we find our way through the world, and discover that we are, indeed pagan in our beliefs, we are as children, learning to walk & talk and think in new ways. Though I, personally have not, many take a new name to themselves. I can see no reason why this same ritual couldn’t be used in that instance as well 🙂

I’m just sayin’…

gypsywitch.gif

(Written as instructions for priest/ess)

For this celebration of birth, set up the altar, call the quarters, cast the circle, and invite the deities.

"We have come together to celebrate the birth of this soul. We all began so. We all were once so small. We grow and learn as we walk on the path of the Goddess. This person has begun again and will learn again. There WILL be growth, for that is life. Change is the only constant. From infant to parent to elder. From elder to death to rebirth. Such is the path of the circle of life. In our excitement in the beginning of life, we do not forget the turning of the wheel. We honor the maiden, mother, and crone. We are here to celebrate a new beginning, to welcome a new person into our midst, and to name that person."

Ask the parents to bring the baby forward to the altar.

"Who is this person?"

Parents answer with the child’s name.

"Welcome, (new name)!"

Take the censer and trace a pentacle before the child saying:

"(New name), by Fire and Air I honor you."

Draw a pentacle on the baby’s third eye in salt water, saying:

"(New name), by Water and Earth I honor you."

Hold the child and turn to the East saying:

"Hail, East! Know (new name), a child walking once more upon the path. Help (new name). Protect [new name]. Bless [new name]. Let (new name) fly into the unlimited skies of imagination and thought. Send (new name) gentle breezes and freshening winds to gently guide him/her along his/her path. Favor (new name) with all the airborne powers of the East!"

Stepping to the South, hold the child and say:

"Hail, South! Know (new name), a child walking once more upon the path. Help (new name). Protect (new name). Bless (new name). Let (new name) warmly pursue his/her life’s desire. Let (new name) bask in the glory of the golden light of passion. Let (new name) run with the lions of courage, never shrinking from the light of day. Send (new name) purifying candles to light his/her way and gently guide him/her along his/her path. Favor (new name) with all the fiery, sunlit powers of the South!"

In the West, hold the child and say:

"Hail, West! Know (new name), a child walking once more upon the path. Help (new name). Protect (new name). Bless (new name). Let [new name] swim uninhibited in the waters of the Mother. Let (new name) dive freely into the depths of his/her own feelings. Allow (new name) to swim with the blue dolphins and sing with the mermaids. Send (new name) the soothing sounds of the waves to calm his/her ruffled emotions. Favor (new name) with all the blue-roaring waterfall powers of the West!"

To the North, hold the child and say:

"Hail, North! Know (new name), a child walking once more upon the path. Help (new name). Protect (new name). Bless (new name). Let (new name) walk safely within the darkest places. Lead (new name) to safety in the night. Let (new name) climb the apple trees, stroke the animals, and learn the wisdom in the sounds of an untouched forest. Send (new name) the cool, damp smell of a pine forest in the moonlight to ground and balance him/her. Favor (new name) with all the earthly solidity of the North!"

Give the child back to the parents.

"Hail, (new name), and welcome! May the Goddess bless you as you grow. May the God protect you your whole life long. Remember, parents of (new name), that this is a distinct and separate soul, not an extension of your own. Allow (new name) to flourish in his/her own way. Since we do not introduce babies or children into our religion before they are old enough and wise enough to understand the meaning of what they are doing, we do not come here today to make you a Wiccan. We simply welcome you and wish you great blessings. The existence of this new little body for this very old soul makes us more aware of the wheel of life as it ends and begins again. Merry meet. Merry part, and merry meet again!

Have cakes and wine (or in some circles, it’s more accurate to say cookies and juice). Give Wiccaning gifts to the parents. Close the circle, dismiss the quarters, and say farewell to the deities.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

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Wednesday Whatever – Beltaine

April 14, 2010 at 9:39 am (Ancestors, Beltane, Folklore, History, Lore, Magic, pagan, Wednesday, Wisdom, Witch)

Beltaine
by Iain MacAnTsaoir,
Clannada na Gadelica Academia Gadelica
(a nonprofit
educational corporation, registered in the State of Tennessee).

The season of Imbolc ended at Beltaine which falls on approximately May 1st. Beltaine literally means "Bel’s fire" (Beal-teinne). Beltaine’s origin is the landing of the Tuatha De Danaan upon the shores of Ireland. This is a between time, and between light and dark, day and night, has a profound meaning for Celts. These are in a very real way, a Third time. It marks the beginning of the summer and the light half of the Celtic year. Traditionally, all fires were extinguished on the eve of Beltaine, and were re-lit from the ‘Need Fire’ which was kindled at dawn. Our ancestors were predominantly a pastoral people. Beltaine was the time when the cattle were put out to their summer grazing pastures in the mountains. The cattle were

driven through (between) the Beltaine fires for purification. It was believed that the sacred bonfires would also, bring protection, good fortune and fertility to the people. It was also the time when the Ruadh or warriors would test their fighting skills in the Beltaine Games. With the hard work of planting accomplished, it was a time when the clans came together in celebration with the hope that the crops would grow and flourish in the months ahead. Beltaine is the beginning of summer. The following is a poem translated out of the Gaelic by the Dal Riadh Celtic Trust and said to be written by Finn himself:

May, clad in cloth of gold, cometh this way;
The fluting of the blackbirds, heralds the day.
The dust colored cuckoo, cries welcome O Queen!
For winter has vanished, the thickets are green.
Soon the trampling of cattle, where river runs low!
The hair of the heather, the canna like snow.
Wild waters are sleeping, foam of blossom is here;
Peace, save the panic, in the heart of the deer.
The wild bee is busy, the ant honey spills,
The wandering kine, are abroad on the hills.
The harp of the forest, sounds low, sounds sweet;
Soft bloom on the heights; on the loch, haze of heat.
The waterfall dreams; snipe, corncrakes, drum
By the pool where the talk, of the rushes is come.
The swallow is swooping; song swings from each brae;
Rich harvest of mast falls; the swamp shimmers gay.
Happy the heart of man, eager each maid;
Lovely the forest, the wild plane, the green glade.
Truly winter is gone, come the time of delight,
The summer truce joyous, May, blossom-white.
In the heart of the meadows, the lapwings are quiet;
A winding stream, makes drowsy riot.
Race horses, sail, run, rejoice and be bold!
See, the shaft of the sun, makes the water-flag gold.
Loud, clear, the blackcap; the lark trills his voice
Hail May of delicate colors, tis May-Day – rejoice!

Many folk customs have survived until very recently. These are clearly surviving pre-Christian elements of this ancient festival. Official records show that the last public Beltaine festival to be held on Arran was in 1895. On this occasion the men of a certain townland made a tein-eigen or need-fire Beltaine eve. They fueled it with the nine sacred woods. The local people drove their herds through the fire.

In the preface, I mentioned a special bread called the bannock. This is a special cake made of eggs, milk and oatmeal. These bannocks, which are kneaded entirely by hand cannot come into contact with steel. Well into this century it was common, in the places where the fires were still lit, to have one piece of the cake blackened with charcoal. That piece was distributed from a hat along with the other pieces. Whoever drew this piece out of the hat had to leap three times through the flames. This custom is thought to have originated in the late Bronze Age. Unlike with the Gaulish Celts, there is no evidence of human sacrifice committed by the late Bronze Age Gaelic Celts. By this time the practice of having a "scapegoat" or "Fool" had replaced human sacrifice. One variation of the "scapegoat" saw the person who drew the blackened bannock be separated from the tribal celebration for the rest of the festival, after they had jumped the fire.

In the Highlands, the Beltaine fires and festivals were common until the mid-nineteenth century. Also, in the Shetlands, up until at least the same time, dancing around the bonfires continued, and it was considered that to jump over the flames brought prosperity and plenty. The Shetland fires were kept going for three days. Word has it that in the out of the way places, these practices never did stop, even to this day.

There are places which are indelibly etched upon our Gaelic psyche as being the places most commonly associated with the Need Fires. These places are those which, in the more ancient times of our pre-Christian ancestors, saw the first fires lit. Tara in Ireland for example, was the place where the first fires were lit. Only after the fire had been lit there, did they spring up all over Ireland. Likewise, Arthur’s seat, Edinburgh, is a traditional site of Beltaine fires which were lit at sunrise. Many people still climb to the top of this summit to watch the May sunrise. I have not yet found reference to the place on the Isle of Man where the first fires were lit.

Amongst the ancient customs of this festival which survives to this day, is that young women will wash their face in the dew of Beltaine morning to preserve their beauty. May dew was indeed considered to be holy water. People who were sprinkled with May dew were assured of health, To ensure a good milk supply, dairymaids would draw a rope made from the tails of Highland cattle through the May dew grass saying:

"Bainne an te so shios,
bainne an te so shuas,
‘nam ghogan mhor fhein"

(Milk of this one down,
milk of that one up,
into my own big pail).

This day was one which saw visits to the holy well. A visitor would walk three times around the well, then they would throw in a silver coin, after which, while praying, they would drink from the well using their hands. When those things were done, they would then ties a bit of colored cloth or a piece of clothing, called a cloutie to a branch of a nearby tree. The above had to be done in complete silence. The visitor also had to be well out of sight of the well before sunrise.

As mentioned above, this is a time in between. Beltaine, being the calends of summer, is a time between, therefore the veil between words thins, allowing this world and Tir na Nog (OtherWorld) to intermingle. This has always been considered the other time in the year when the veil between the worlds was thin. Because of this it has been long believed that the fae were abroad. As the fae were prone to stealing milk from cows, or even turning it sour, rowan crosses were hung in byres, and domestic animals were sprinkled with water from holy wells. It was particularly important that no fire (kindling) should be given away at this time.

As at the other festivals, games and racing were the norm. With the marches and races, horses were a prominent feature. The usual music and singing, markets and feasting were also to be found. In many places, a May Queen was elected. The maiden was crowned by an elder lady of notoriety, after the new queen and her court had arrived at a predetermined place. Some believe that in the older times, it was the May Queen who led the hymns to the rising sun, as all the people congregated on the appropriate hill at Beltaine. She is also believed to have led some of the marches in the older times.

A very general format for the communal customs can be established by looking at all of the evidence from the old countries. The actual Beltaine festivities began a few days beforehand the festival date, by the collection of the nine sacred woods for the kindling of the fires. Each fire was built in two places, with a narrow passage between the two. A circular trench was cut round them symbolizing the sun. The area was a sacred hill, or set of hills, like the Paps of Anu, and these were large enough to hold the entire assembled community.

On Beltaine eve all the domestic fires of the community were extinguished. Then, long before the oncoming dawn, the folk left their homes. They took their livestock with them and made their way up to the site sanctified by centuries of such veneration. The ritual was carried out by the Fili or Draoi, (The word Draoi is used here in its ‘paleo’ sense of a teacher of the skills and not in its later ‘neo’ sense), who await the arrival of the community.

Once assembled the eyes of everyone turned towards the horizon awaiting the rise of the new sun. The king or queen recited verses of poetry just before the first rays of the sun peek over the horizon. As the small glimmer of light grew into blazing radiance, the voices of the people raised in praise with song. This as the chosen people begin creating the Need Fire, the virgin flame from which the fires are kindled.

The sacred fire now lit in greeting to the sun, the whole community then formed a procession. They traveled three times around the fires. They then drove all the animals through the passages between the fires three times to be blessed and purified. This was to ensure fertility in the coming months before being driven up onto the hillsides for summer. After the blessings, torches were lit and carried back to all the homes to re-light the fires that had been extinguished. The ending of the ceremony was the feasting in which everyone made votive offerings to the sun.

This format was perhaps the simple plan that was followed for each of the festivals. The embellishments would vary according to location and festival being observed.

Sources:

(prepared by Iain MacAnTsaoir; ©1996, 1998, 1999 Clannada na Gadelica)

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

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Thursday This Is Your Spell – Healing Spiritual Illness

April 8, 2010 at 9:10 am (Ancestors, Banish, Beltane, Circle, Cleansing, Depression, Healing, Hope, Life, Magic, pagan, Spell, Witch)

Healing Spiritual Illness
Source Unknown
 

A spiritual illness can be felt in a variety of ways. There may be a feeling of being totally drained, usually a result of depression (which is an illness of the spirit as well as of the mind), there may be addictions, there may be a string of bad luck, poor social relationships etc. Spiritual illness can also produce physical illness.
If it is you that is suffering from this illness, cast a circle and then visualize white light streaming from above into you. You should be able to feel this light like a warm wave of love. It is the love of The Goddess and of the spirits of your ancestors and guardians that you carry with you always. Concentrate on realizing that you are a Star of God sent into this world for spiritual experience and that the difficulties you are experiencing are only temporary and are a necessary part of your journey to spiritual enlightenment.
Incantation:

Great Goddess and all you spirits of love that surround me, bring me blessings. Be with me now and forever.

If this healing is for someone else, you will of course have to persuade them to be involved in this-if the person is a big cynic, this can be a difficult task, so perhaps one of the other healing spells would be a better choice. But if the person is into it, cast a circle, then, as before, visualize white light streaming from above, into your head, and through your body. Then lay your hands (which will probably have a slight to moderate tingling feeling) on the person and send the energy flowing into them.
Incantation:

You are filled with the white light of The God/dess. You are a Star of God. You are surrounded by loving spirits. Great God/dess and all you spirits of love that surround (person’s name), bring him/her blessings. Be with him/her, now and forever.

Fair Use Notice: This page may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. This website distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107.

Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader’s personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

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Wednesday Whatever – The Sacred Marriage

March 31, 2010 at 9:42 am (Ancestors, Associations, Beltane, History, Lore, Magic, pagan, Witch)

The Sacred Marriage
From Bonfire’s Beltane Page, link now defunct 😦

The pagan holiday of Beltane (May 1) marks the beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere. Beltane is a celebration of the new life that has emerged from barren winter, and for modern pagans, represents the passionate union of the Lord and the Lady. Many May Day customs have their source in the Beltane rituals of pagan Britain, most of which were suppressed by the Church as it struggled to gain supremacy over the existing pagan religions of the British Isles. One of the best-known folk-customs associated with Beltane involves having sex out in the fields to ensure that the next year’s crop will be bountiful. This custom is a remnant of a much earlier religious practice – the Sacred Marriage – was prominent throughout Europe and the Near East (Mesopotamia and Egypt) from ancient times until the first century C.E.

My honey-man, my honey-man sweetens me always, My lord, the honey-man of the gods, He is the one my womb loves best, His hand is honey, his foot is honey, He sweetens me always.

– from The Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi, in Inanna:
Queen of Heaven and Earth
by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer

"The sacred marriage was a fertility rite in which the current king of the land would publicly copulate with the high priestess, who represented the Goddess in her Earth Mother aspect. By joining with the king, the Earth Mother, through her priestess, demonstrated that he was her consort. This guaranteed that his kingdom would possess her good favor, and that they would enjoy fertile land and an abundant harvest. The king, in turn, became infused with the wisdom of the goddess, giving him the …[understanding] he needed to rule effectively. …the purpose of the Sacred Marriage is to use the sexual union of a man and woman to align and unite human will and the physical world with divine will and the supernatural world."

– Sex, Magick and Spirit,
Bonnie L. Johnston and Peter L. Schuerman,
p. 170

The Sacred Marriage ceremony is one of the two forms of sacred sexuality which consistently appear in the ancient religions of Europe and the Near East. The earliest recorded Sacred Marriage comes from the cuneiform tablets of Sumeria, which describe the divine union of the goddess Inanna with her king and consort, Dumuzi. Kramer, the archaeologist who first uncovered the remains of the Sumerian civilization, believed that this first written version of the Sacred Marriage was actually rooted in an even older oral tradition (1). We may never know when humans first began to practice the Sacred Marriage, but two Neolithic carvings hint that Kramer was right in guessing that it was practiced even before the Sumerians began building their cities: the first carving, which depicts a man and a woman embracing, was found at Catal Huyuk (a Neolithic city in Turkey); the second was found at Cascioarele, and is thought to have been created around the end of the 5th millennium B.C.E. Both of these carvings have been interpreted by some archaeologists as depicting a sacred marriage. The earliest known depiction of a copulating couple comes from Ain Sawaki, and is dated9th millennium B.C.E. The couple in this early carving is seated in a position that is common in Tantra, an Eastern form of sacred sexuality. (2)

The Sacred Marriage ceremonies we are aware of span several thousand and a wide variety of cultures. The Sumerians required that their king undergo a sacred marriage to the goddess Inanna (through one of her priestesses) to gain her divine favor for their cities. By uniting with Inanna, the king gained her protection of their city and her blessing of their crops, guaranteeing their survival. (3) When the Akkadians conquered the Sumerians, bringing their own goddess Ishtar with them, they too carried on the tradition of the Sacred Marriage as a means of gaining the goddesses favor and justifying their kings’ divine right to rule. The Canaanites, another Mesopotamian culture, celebrated the Sacred Marriage of their goddess Anat (who is very similar to the Akkadian Ishtar) to the thunder-god Baal. And, as Jane Harrison points out, the Phrygian goddess Kybele may have involved a Sacred Marriage ceremony: the four symbols, or tokens, of initiation into her cult were 1) eating from the timbrel, 2) drinking from the cymbal, 3) carrying the kernos, and 4) going down into the bridal chamber. At Phyla, the sanctuary of the Great Mother also contains a bridal chamber. (4) The Greeks referred to this ceremony as the hieros gamos, and they celebrated it as a reenactment of the union of Zeus and Hera by a priest and a priestess. The mysterious rituals at Eleusis, where the Greeks honored Demeter for teaching them the secrets of agriculture, probably involved a Sacred Marriage ceremony between Persephone, Demeter’s daughter, and the underworld god Hades. The Greek goddess of love, in her aspect as Aphrodite Teleia, was a goddess of wedlock; she is known to have engaged in at least one Sacred Marriage with a mortal: Aeneas, the Trojan. The worship of Dionysos at Athens is also known to have involved a Sacred Marriage:

"In the Hellenic festival of the Anthesteria or Feast of Flowers, the sacrifice made by the wife of the king-archon to Dionysos in his temple …and her copulation with the god were the high points of the ritual."

(5) In another myth, Dionysos marries the Ariadne, who is thought to have been either a Cretan priestess of Aphrodite or an incarnation of Aphrodite herself. The Egyptians practiced the Sacred Marriage in the worship of Amun: Amun’s high priest would ritually unite with the Queen, reinforcing her children’s divine right to rule by ensuring that they were the offspring of Amun. The various folk rituals from around the world, in which humans have sex in the fields to ensure the fertility of their crops, are remnants of the Sacred Marriage ceremony: like their ancient ancestors, these agricultural communities seek the blessings of the Divine through sexual ritual. It is highly likely that the worship of Isis and Osiris also involved a Sacred Marriage rite of some sort, referred to in surviving mythology in the story where Isis reassembles Osiris’ body, creates an artificial penis for it (the only piece she was unable to find), and then unites with Osiris to conceive Horus, the son who will avenge Osiris’ death.

There is a fascinating body of evidence that the Hebrew tribes of the Old Testament originally worshipped Asherah, the wife of Yahweh, and celebrated the union of their Divine Father and Divine Mother until the reforms of the prophets stamped out the worship of Asherah among the Hebrews. (6) As Riane Eisler points out,

"…Goddess worship (and with this, sacral sex) continued to flourish in Canaan during the very years the Old Testament was being established as the only officially sanctioned religions text. …[the] Hebrew prophets are constantly exhorting their people against backsliding to the worship of the Queen of Heaven, railing against ‘the whore of Babylon’ and the sinful ‘daughters of Zion’ – obliquely confirming that the sacred marriage was still a popular rite." (7)

Even Christianity contains a remnant of the Sacred Marriage at the very core of its doctrine: Mary, the mother of Jesus, is united with Yahweh to conceive Jesus. It is Mary’s divine union with her God which signifies Jesus’ divine nature and his identity as the Son of God. Early Christians removed the sexual symbolism from this union, terming it an "immaculate conception", because they believed that the end of the world was near, and that therefore marriage (or any type of sexual relationship) was a waste of time that could be spent purifying oneself for the return of Jesus and the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. However, the symbolism of sacred sex has not been completely eradicated: Julius Evola points out the obvious sexual nature the Easter rite of the consecration of the water.

"…celebrated in particular by the Orthodox church, [this rite] preserves visible traces of sexual symbolism: the candle, which has an obviously phallic meaning, is dipped three times in the font, symbol of the female principle of the Waters; the priest touches the water and blows on it three times, making the sign of the Greek letter pi; the consecration works pronounced at this juncture include the phrase ‘May the power of the Holy Ghost descend throughout the whole depth of this font…and fertilize all the substance of this water for regeneration’". (8)

The Sacred Marriage ceremony is so widespread that remnants of it have been found throughout the world, even in modern times. "The most evident…contemporary remnant of the sacred marriage in Eastern tradition is a Japanese rite that made world headlines in 1990, when Japan’s new emperor was crowned. At that time the press reported that there raged in Japan a heated controversy about a secret ceremony said by scholars to have its origins in prehistoric times. It was not clear from the press reports whether the new emperor actually had sex with a young woman who, according to these reports, was brought into a shrine where this ceremony was held, or whether, as the Imperial Household Agency claimed, the bed in the shrine was used as ‘a resting place for the Sun Goddess, but the emperor never touches it.’ What was clear was that a matted bed and coverlet were provided in the inner sanctum where this rite was performed so that the new emperor could commune ‘in a symbolically sexual way, with the spirit of the Sun Goddess.’ And what was also clear was that as late as 1990 in modern Japan the sacred marriage to the goddess was still, as in the hymsn of Inanna, considered necessary to legitimize a new male ruler’s power. Because in Shinto tradition, it was this union that ‘rendered the Emperor into a deity.’

Moreover, according to Japanese scholars, this was a ceremony that had its origins in ancient harvest festivals where (as in the European Paleolithic and Neolithic) the union of the female and male principles was linked with the continuing fruitfulness of the Earth." (9)

Footnotes:

( 1 ) Sacred Pleasure, Riane Eisler, p. 67.
( 2) Spiritual Sex, Nik Douglas, pp. 31-32
( 3) Sex, Magick and Spirit, Bonnie L. Johnston and Peter L. Schuerman, p. 170.(4) Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, Jane Harrison, p. 535.
(5) The Metaphysics of Sex, Julius Evola, p. 185
(6) The Hebrew Goddess, Raphael Patai.
(7) Sacred Pleasure, Riane Eisler, p. 48.
(8) The Metaphysics of Sex, Julius Evola, p. 184
(9) Sacred Pleasure, Riane Eisler, p. 146.

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