Articles

Merry Meet

May, 2017

beltane

 

                                 Welcome

 

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Happy Beltaine to All!  May this issue find you all Happy, Healthy, & Ready to Read some great interviews, reviews, & articles written by those you have come to know and love at PaganPages.org!

 

This Month we Have Some Great Features …

 

Emoji2

 

Review of WitchEmoji by Pam Grossman.  Witches now have their own charmed emoji to use with iMessenger, thanks to Pam Grossman, a Brooklyn-based writer and curator who focuses on witches, magic and esoteric art.

 

 

LoveMagic

 

 

We have a Book Review Of Lilith Dorsey’s Book Love Magic: Over 250 Spells and Potions for Getting It, Keeping It, and Making It Last.

 

leah2

 

 

An interview with author of The Fearless Path and Modern Sage; Leah Guy.

 

GoodWitchesGuide

 

 

A Special article just for OUR READERS!!  The Good Witch’s Guide by Shawn Robbins & Charity Bedell – Book Excerpt Exclusive: Spells for Money!!

 

Shamanism

 

A great book review of Neolithic Shamanism: Spirit Work in the Norse Tradition by Raven Kaldera & Galina Krasskova

 

And so much more for your reading enjoyment.  So sit back, grab a cuppa & enjoy!!!  

 

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Fox Dreaming: Family Magic

May, 2017

fox2

On Easter Monday 2017 I had a long and rather complex dream about a fox costume. (I had this dream during the night following the day where I had been running around a snowy forest in my bear suit while my husband filmed me, eating snow and sleeping in my cave. This actually happened, in ordinary reality! (The footage is part of an art film I am currently working on).

However, in my dream I had a very beautiful and realistic fox costume. The head was separate and fitted my head perfectly, like a helmet. It was also very life-like. I really BECAME A FOX wearing it. I decided to walk from the forest behind our house to the nearest town and enjoy the spring sunshine.

As I was strolling around a small market by the harbour, I got so hot that I took the fox costume off and put it down for a moment. Next thing I knew one of the stall holders was offering it for sale on her trestle table. I found myself faced with a dilemma: confront her? Buy my own costume back?! – At that point I woke up.

My husband served me a cup of tea in bed and I told him the dream. He makes daily phone calls to his elderly mother who lives about 400 km south of where I had the dream (in Sweden). Lo and behold : that day she too insisted on telling him her dream from the night before she lives in a small town (in real life) where she was running a market stall and looking for things to sell (something she does not do in real life!)

 

fox1

 

My husband said: “AHA! So now we can find out what happened to Imelda’s Fox Costume! Was there a fox costume for sale on your table? She said: “Yes there was, but it didn’t sell so Imelda can have it back!!”

To me this Family Magic! It is not just living with a husband who tolerates my “wyrd ways” (pun intended!) or raising three natural born shamans (which became the title of my first book). It is bringing a playful awareness to all we do.

It is setting out dinner plates for invisible but “not-so-imaginary” friends and companions. It is offering some food and drink to the ancestors as well on special occasions. It is asking the Spirit of our House to help all of us in our everyday endeavours and to provide safe space for all we do.

It is sharing our dreams over breakfast (and many days there is not much to share or we have more urgent thing to discuss, such as: did anyone borrow my calculator? I have a physics exam this morning!!

But sometimes we hit the jackpot!!

Imelda Almqvist

 

fox3

 

 

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About the author

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally.  She was a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit in July 2016.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

http://shamanismsummit.com/

ECO not EGO

May, 2017

Eco2

In truth don’t know all that much about plants – but I am still going to write a piece about plants!

For me summer 2016 was dedicated to learning about wild plants and communicating with plants and trees. We had just bought our dream house in Sweden. It is set on a huge rock in a pristine forest, on the Baltic coast just south of Stockholm. I spent a lot of time in the forest and walking down farm tracks. I also read some thought-provoking books written by people who have dedicated their lives to plants.

My key learnings about plants and trees in general were that

a) They live in communities

b) Unlike human beings they have no ego

c) They are genetic shape shifters with many strategies in place for coping with the unexpected

Here are a few more discoveries:

Trees and plants will send nourishment to specimens that are struggling.

Every plant community has some highly unusual species, often written off was “waste” or “random and useless” by clever humans. But actually those plants will often literally save the day when extreme circumstances (or even catastrophes) occur.

The larger picture I slowly gained was of plants as true teachers about community values, even Life and Death!

 

Eco3

(Great Marsh Thistle)

Indigenous peoples speak of something they call Original Instructions the ancient teachings for sustainable living that are safeguarded and maintained by indigenous (tribal) peoples. Sometimes those original instructions are referred to as The Law.

One night after a blissful day of plant-studies I had a dream where a plant community appeared as ‘the school play’, where all pupils in a class were allocated roles, robes and props. But when the curtains fell the kids were just kids again and next year they’d all be allocated different roles and robes. The child who was the star of the show this year might have only a minor role next year and so forth. That way the children learned not to over-identify with their roles.

Sitting out in the forest, or walking the farm track, I started seeing glimpses of plant and tree communities where all members play the role that is required of them to keep the collective healthy, balanced, fertile and vital.

In contrast to such eco-systens we human beings live in ego-systems. We become attached to our roles and over-identify with them. Not unlike the child starring in the school play refusing to take off his or her crown when the curtains close, reality comes calling and a reshuffle is in order. We stay put! We dig our heels in! We push others aside or speak disparagingly of them. (Just watch politicians on the world stage right now!)

 

Eco5

(Orange Rowan Berries)

To thrive human beings need to find meaning in what happens to them. They (WE!) need to feel valued, needed and appreciated for the unique contribution we make to the larger whole. This is fair and it is not an ego-need. I would call this a need of the human soul instead: to evolve in reciprocal partnership with All That Is (all sentient beings including non-human beings). However, when we human beings cling to our roles, we become attached to them. We call this ‘ambition’ and ‘career progress’. Often we end up standing in the way of a new generation, younger voices, fresh ways of thinking and shaping reality.

Remember that some plants are annuals: they die and re-seed themselves. Others are perennials. This allows for fresh constellations of ‘known’ and ‘new’ elements every year., in response to environmental conditions. One thing that plants and trees can teach us is how to die with grace. To leave when it is our time to go but also to return (or re-seed) when and where we are needed.

 

Eco4

(Yellow Foxgloves)

Because plants live by eco-principles (not egoic drives), whatever they do is in service to the larger whole, the greater good. Within that some flower extravagantly and others cook up mighty poisons. And some plants do both!

Plants have roots and they wilt the moment they lose their roots. Many humans today try hard to thrive without knowing and honouring their roots or their ancestors.

So… if plants really are the keepers of the Law, of the Original Instructions, then I sense that we can learn the following lessons from plants:

– Eco not Ego

You cannot thrive if you pollute or disregard your environment

Living in communities

We can greatly enjoy the roles we are asked to play – but we need to be ready to hand our robes and crowns to others when the time comes. And often a new role awaits when we do so…

– The weirdest, most unprepossessing plants often save the day when catastrophe strikes

What if we take that teaching to heart and accept the mirror it holds up: how can the disabled, the sick, the elderly, the dispossessed save our planet today? What keys do they hold that we are not seeing? (What if we miss out on medicine that can save our planet because it comes from – say – a black lesbian autistic herbalist – rather than a medical doctor?)

What if a young child sees new ways forward?!

Where are we NOT looking?

What are we thoughtlessly disregarding (or not aware of at all?)

Individualism gone mad has no place in any eco-system

Plants show a vast array of individual expressions, colours, shapes, behaviour and adaptations. Even secrets, tricks and strategies! But plant spirits know that individualism gone mad has no place in the eco-system (it is an expression of an ego-system).

Today my question is: are we willing to learn fron plants and trees?

It is time to pay more attention to non-human teachers in our efforts to save the planet and arrive at sustainable ways of living?

I think so! I will spend summer 2017 in the same place learning more and I may well write another piece about my discoveries.

 

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Imelda Almqvist, 5 April 2017

About the author:

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon on 26th August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally. 

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

Check out TRUE NORTH (the school of Sacred and Norse Shamanism Imelda is opening in this location in Sweden in 2018):

Eco1

 

http://www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=224450

Beltaine Correspondences

May, 2017

beltane

Also known as: May Day, Bealtaine, Beltane, Bhealtainn, Bealtinne, Festival of Tana (Strega), Giamonios, Rudemass, and Walburga (Teutonic), Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),Fairy Day ,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)

Date: May 1

Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard

Deities: Flower Goddesses, Divine Couples, Deities of the Hunt, Aphrodite,artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.

Tools: broom, May Pole, cauldron
Stones/Gems: emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartz
Colors: green, soft pink, blue, yellow, red, brown

Herbs and Flowers: almond tree/shrub, ash, broom, cinquefoil, clover, Dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, frankincense, honeysuckle, rowan, sorrel, hawthorn, ivy, lily of the valley, marigold, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, thyme, woodruff may be burned; angelica, bluebells, daisy, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, primrose, and rose may be decorations, st. john’s wort, yarrow, basically all flowers.

Incense: frankincense, lilac, rose.

Symbols and Decorations: maypole, strings of beads or flowers, ribbons, spring flowers, fires, fertility, growing things, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers, butterchurn, baskets, eggs

Food: dairy, bread, cereals, oatmeal cakes, cherries, strawberries, wine, green salads.

Activities and Rituals: fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting

Wiccan mythology: sexual union and/or marriage of the Goddess and God

It’s association with fire also makes Beltaine a holiday of purification.

Wiccan weddings are frequently held on or around Beltaine.

A Spiritual Toolkit for the Exam Period

May, 2017

Revision

 

A year ago I started using some tried and tested  techniques from shamanism (the most ancient spiritual practice known to humankind) to support my eldest son through his GSCE exam period (those are general exams for all 16 year olds in the UK). I can’t be the only parent who is actively looking for a spiritual toolkit specific to the challenge of exams. In this article I will share some tried and tested things that work well for our family.

Powering up!

Our society has (largely) replaced religion with science. This means that most people roll out of bed and start their day without prayers, meditation or actively setting their focus and intention for the day.

In shamanism we greet every day as a wonderful gift, not a God-given right. Before we do anything else we power up! By this I mean that we greet our personal allies and helping spirits. We seek alignment with luminous beings more powerful than ourselves . My son knows how to do this for himself (for him this means calling in his power animals: e.g. his Clan of Monkey Spirits!)

 

Monkey Clan

(Clan of the Monkey Spirits)

As the exam period arrived, my son asked me to do some spiritual work on his behalf every day. At 8.45 a.m. on school days you will find me standing by my altar: drumming, rattling singing. (Not only for him, also for family members, clients, students and colleagues who have asked for spiritual support). Next I make the procedure a little more specific: e.g. my son had a poetry exam recently, so I call in the full ‘society of dead poets’ in the Other World and ask them to watch over his shoulder and guide his hands. For an exam in mathematics I call in the great mathematicians of all time. For the Newtonian type of physics 16-year olds study in the UK, I call in Isaac Newton. For the Quantum Physics my son is studying this year I do not shy away from calling Niels Bohr, Max Planck and of course and Einstein himself!

And so it goes…. I always get the feeling that these great spirits LOVE being of help. The essence of those great minds lives on outside time (one of shamanism’s great teachings) and you may call on them – in my experience there is always an instant response. – And isn’t that cool, seeing your son walk up the Hill in his school uniform accompanied by Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and a veritable society of long-dead poets? I love the limitless potential of creative shamanism!!

and that includes Calling In The Ancestors!

On a similar note: make a point of also calling in your child’s compassionate ancestors. We have an Ancestor Gallery in our house (where I have photographs of ancestors up and a special cupboard where I keep family heirlooms). I go there every day to light a candle, place a small vase with flowers from our garden and so forth. I talk to them and tell them what is happening in the family, who needs spiritual support. Then I ask them to watch over all our three children: to please walk with them, keep them safe, help them make good choices and so forth.

 

Ancestor Gallery

(Ancestor Gallery)

In exam periods I especially call on those ancestors who share the same talents and interests as my son. After all those passions were passed down the blood line, they didn’t come out of nowhere! I thank them for watching over him and nudging him in the right direction when it comes to choosing a profession later in life. And I have no doubt that they do this. They are only too happy to be asked!

In our society we have lost the concept of ancestor veneration but in any tribal communities this is seen as essential to the well-being of members of the Tribe and to maintaining the balance between worlds. (Take just one moment to think about how relatively short a human lifespan is: we are ancestors for a much longer period than our own “butterfly lifetime” on Earth!)

Revision Parties” + extra attention on your son or daughter’s emotional life

For most parents unconditional support is a given at any time in a child’s life. However, as they grow older (taller than us and very independent and opinionated!) there can be a tendency to get busier with our own personal and professional lives and miss those little hints that something isn’t quite right. That lovely boy who used to drop in three times a week – why hasn’t he been here for nearly two months now? Have they fallen out? Has something happen in their friendship group??

Our own son’s first serious girlfriend broke up with him (after 17 months together!) just before their exams started. He was feeling rough and in the end we hosted a Revision Party with unlimited supplies of chocolate and crisps. It was really a getting-over-the-girlfriend party but we couldn’t call it that! A posse of teenagers came around, dressed up in animal costumes (that I keep around the house for workshops), played four-handed piano and actually studied some physics. My son was his normal self after that. Equilibrium had returned, PHEW!

 

Revision Gorilla

(Revision Gorilla)

This is obviously a very tricky area: some teens want to talk and others feel the last person they’d ever speak to is the weird creature commonly known as a parent. The trick is to be available but not in their face. They will talk to you when it suits them  – not when it suits you!! In our house this means me settling down again for a long midnight conversation when I was just heating a mug of milk and headed for bed at 10.30 pm. Losing sleep (even daily, large amounts of it!) is definitely the lesser evil when compared to losing touch with the emotional life of a teenager…

 

Spiritual Principles for navigating Teenage Tempests

I have discovered that the general principles of shamanism (and shamanic healing) work perfectly well for the dilemmas that this age group runs into. With my son I make a point of reinforcing the following core principles:

  •  Fair Energy Exchange – in all of your relationships/friendships observe how energy is flowing. Does it freely flow both ways? Do you support your friend and does he or she support you back? When it becomes one-sided, something tilts out of balance. Perhaps a heaviness or lack of joy sets in. Time to renegotiate?!  Example: my son has been going to parties but he is very anti-alcohol at the moment (“I can’t afford to lose brain cells when I want to get into a good university long-term!”) This meant that at parties his friends get drunk and he gets involved in cleaning up vomit and seeing them home safely etc. He does not find this role entirely enjoyable. In the end I have said to him: when a friendship starts to feel like social work you may just want to reflect on the energy balance. He took that on board and made changes in his choices.
  • Reflection on what we can control and can’t control Change the things I can and accept the things I cannot change (the Serenity Prayer is very useful here, I will paste the first part below) – My son has a heavy dose of teenage idealism, meaning that he doesn’t always see clearly where we need to draw a line goes between “what we can control”, “what it not worth even trying to control” and “where we can actually make positive changes by shifting our own perception”. Lucky for me he has always been a talkative child. He processes things by talking them through. This means I am on an intensive course in understanding the world of teenagers (because I work in a professional capacity with them as well, meaning I see a wider range of expressions, boys/girls, all ages…)

God/Higher Power grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

  • Doing Inner Work with Noticeable Results Outside Us – When we cannot engage with something externally (meaning: in the world around us) we can always work on things internally. We can put focus on things, we can hand issues over to spirit allies for safe keeping or resolving, we can ask our power animals to go talk to the other person’s power animal and ease the way between us and so forth. There are always more options that we commonly realize when we get frustrated. (Teenagers often feel frustrated: they have the bodies of adults but not yet the freedom of choice, lifestyle or financial freedom that adults have).
  • You remain responsible for your own choices and actions, no matter what another person does! My son has been on quite a journey with this one. He is a little hot-tempered and has an over-developed sense of fairness. He gets upset when people break promises or mess around with the feelings of others in any way. On a few occasions I have had to invite him to express his anger (safely, without directing it at anyone) but then think long and hard: what kind of person do I choose to be? Do I choose to meet this person on their level of functioning or do I set my own code of ethics for how I behave and respond? On reflection my son will agree that he needs to actively choose his own actions. Meaning that he is acting, not re-acting to others the whole time.
  • When we set strong intentions, energetically speaking we set events in motion. E.g. my son felt he needed to talk to one person in private because she was blanking him in school. I helped him formulate a strong intention for what he actually wanted most of all: to meet up privately, after school, and discuss whatever is going on. My son didn’t believe for one minute that this would produce a result. He said: “OK Mum, we try this and maybe by the end of the school year something will happen” (this was in March). The next day he came home from school and reported that this person had approached him and asked to meet up after school.  My son was suddenly very impressed by “the stuff shamanic teacher mum peddles”!

Last but not least:

Teenagers are fully fledged sexual beings…

I could go on and on – but if I do this article turns into a book! However, one final thing I want to say is this: by the time young people are 16 years old, they are fully fledged sexual beings. The statistics tells us that young people are sexually active at an earlier age than we ourselves (perhaps) were. However you privately feel about this, it is a fact of modern life. As regards my own son I recently made some comment that my child-bearing days are in the past and that any babies arriving in our family might just be courtesy of son #1, one day. Oma (Grandma, my own Dutch mother, who happened to be visiting) was aghast and accused me of “promoting teenage pregnancy in my house” – am I mad or what?!

However, my son looked quite pleased to be acknowledged as capable of fathering a child but he said: “Not for years and years Mum! I still remember vividly what it was like when my baby brother (son #3) was born and I want to enjoy my years of freedom before I embark on any of that!” So he and I were in total agreement and he gave me a lovely smile. I knew that we had understood each other. Only grandma (aged 77 1/2) nearly had a heart attack. A different generation and in truth my mother has always been “elderly” in her approach to life. (My brothers says she was middle-aged by her late twenties). I doubt that this is going to change as she sails through her 8th decade on this planet!

If you like the sound of using shamanism in parenting and you want more suggestions or tools, I invite you to check out my book. Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit for Life (using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages). It can be ordered from amazon (as well as any quality bookstore).Soon after publication it was listed as “a hot release in shamanism” and it even achieved best-seller status…. As my own son concluded: the stuff I teach must be effective – why else would people show up for my courses or read articles I write?!

I invite you to find me on Facebook and join my Closed Group NATURAL BORN SHAMANS where anyone can ask questions, start discussions or share interesting links and information for parenting and working with children. Welcome!

 

***

(Please note: this article was adapted and expanded from a blog by the same title I wrote a year ago).

Imelda Almqvist

 

***

About the author:

Imelda Almqvist’s book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in August 2016.  She is based in London,UK and teaches shamanism and sacred art internationally.  She was a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit in July 2016.

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/

http://shamanismsummit.com/

Amazing Essential Oils for Beautiful Skin

May, 2017

10 Amazing Essential Oils for Beautiful and Flawless Skin

 

*This article is based on information fount at  https://www.thankyourskin.com/best-essential-oils-for-skin/ using information found at https://www.thankyourskin.com/best-essential-oils-for-skin/  for more information, please visit their site!  

 

Essential oils are helpful in a variety of areas. They can, also, remedy and soothe a variety of skin issues.  Here are 10 amazing essential oils for beautiful and flawless skin.

 

1. Rose

Rose

 

Rose essential oil acts as a natural toner on the skin and evens out texture with continued use.  Rose oil is used as an alternative to lemon, which causes skin sensitivity to light.

 

 

2. Sandalwood

sandlewood

 

A good essential oil to use that will provide your skin with moisture is sandalwood.  It is known to hydrate the skin and treat wrinkles.  It is an oil preferred by aging women.

 

 

3. Coriander

coriander

 

If your concern is blackheads, those stubborn pimples found on and around the nose, try coriander essential oil paired with turmeric power in your skincare regimen.

 

 

4. Carrot Seed

carrotseed

 

Carrot seed is abundant with benefits for your skin.  It acts as a mild sunscreen from UV rays.  It’s rejuvenating effects are great for tired, aging skin.

 

 

5. Ylang-Ylang

Ylang-Ylang Flowers

 

A great oil for any skin type is Ylang-Ylang.  It is known to balance the skin on your face whether it is overly dry or overly oily.  It is, also, known to stimulate hair growth when used on the scalp.

 

 

6. Camomile

chamomile

 

 

Camomile Oil acts as a barrier from infection so it is a great oil to use on treating cuts and wounds.  It, also, helps with the fading of scars and stretch marks.

 

 

7. Jasmine Oil

jasmineoil

 

Jasmine oil is good for those with sensitive skin to use.  Use Jasmine oil with regular body or face lotion for the treatment of dry or patchy skin.  The oil is also used to diminish scarring and stretch marks.

 

 

8. Peppermint

peppermint

 

Peppermint oil is a good oil to have in your medicine bag or cabinet.  It has a cooling effect and is good for clearing up rashes.  It works on chapped skin caused by bug bites, plant allergies, or other irritants with it’s cooling effect.

 

 

 

9. Lemongrass

lemongrass

 

Lemongrass oil is known to add firmness back into your skin.  You can use it to replace toner in your skincare routine.  Use a few drops of lemongrass oil, applied directly to your face, to minimize pores.

 

 

10. Tea Tree

tea tree

 

 

Tea Tree oil is great for drying out blemishes and clearing up acne.  Using a q-tip, directly apply the oil to the affected areas on your face.  With every use of the essential oil the swelling and redness of the acne will decrease.

 

 

 

Other Important Tips

  1. Many essential oils are too concentrated to apply directly to our skin, so try combining your oils with some lotion, water, or a powder to dilute them.
  2. Try combining  a half a teaspoon of olive oil with one drop of essential oil then place this mixture on the inside of your upper arm to test your tolerance to  essential oils as a whole.

 

This article is based on information found at  https://www.thankyourskin.com/best-essential-oils-for-skin/ using information found at https://www.thankyourskin.com/best-essential-oils-for-skin/  for more information, please visit their site!  

 

MagickalArts

May, 2017

All Hail to Astrological Beltane and the Parting of the veils to New Life!

 

magickalartsmay

 

A little background……

In many traditions the date of celebration for Beltane is May 1st and that of its counterpart, Samhain is Oct. 31 or Nov. 1. Although these dates have accumulated much astral energy from repeated use, if you wish to follow the astronomical approach, which is where the origins of the cross-quarter days lay, those dates are premature.

Beltane falls mid-point between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice. Each of the cross-quarter Sabbats – Beltane, Lammas, Samhain and Imbolc fall within that half way point between an Equinox and a Solstice. And, for those ancient practitioners who strongly followed the correlate of Solar tides, this placement provided very specific energy in relationship to the line of the Sun’s outpouring onto Earth, its placement during these times between and what was called into action in celebration, ritual and devotion.

If you look a bit closer at the timing of the astrological correlates and know, even a bit, about the energetics of the zodiacal signs as they move through the Solar Year, there is a wellspring of underlying meaning that can be drawn from as you open to new levels of connection that deeply inform how you construct your personal ritual or celebration of these cross-quarter days.  One observation is that this timing allows for points of rest and integration from one-quarter event, such as the equilibrium of the Equinoxes or the waxing or waning of the Sun’s light at the Solstices, to the next.

Astrological Beltane

May 5.2017

Sun in Taurus

Waxing Gibbous in Virgo

 All Hail to the Maiden of Fire and the Youth of Earth!

On this day of celebration we honor the Goddess and God as pro-creators of what will come to fruition at the Summer Solstice. She holds the fertility of a womb that is ripe and ready for the implantation of His seed of potency that offers the promise of new life from that union. Her Fires are those of heated waters that catalyze and quicken. And, His Earth is that of a seed of potential for manifestation required as the expelling of a potent energetic force strives towards taking form.

Adding to this are the astrological energies of God as the Youth wearing the mantle of Taurus, the Bull. We often speak of the fecundity of the God at this point of the Great Wheel and the Solar energy that is inherent within the God’s being is amplified by that of an astrological sign of Earth that is stable, strong and able to protect and claim the progeny of his seed.  The Bull is virile in seed and the animal instincts for survival inform the encoding of that seed to take root. Another attribution to this astrological sign is that of stubbornness. I prefer to think of it as longevity and commitment. And, are these not qualities you would seek in a mate?

The Maiden on this year’s date wears the Lunar gown of astrological Earth, Virgo. As a sign of detail and analysis, this wise Maiden offers the gift of sorting through what is possible and what is a waste of precious energy. And, although this may feel very labored and not of the wild spirit that is inherent in this sabbat, it is indeed the ability to trust in your choices that is enabling a wildness that is ready to co-create within the Lover’s embrace. She is the Maiden of earth’s Divinely organized Will; holding within her womb a potential for birthing anything she can imagine.

Virgo’s energy is one of strengthening a foundation that works in accord with the natural ebb and flow of what its wishes to create. Given that this energy is held in a Moon tide that is waxing towards its full expression, that foundation will serve to provide the fertile womb of potential for what will “become”.  And, that becoming will emerge and take clearer form as the Moon Maiden languishes in the a waxing phase of newness as Sun and Moon, Youth and Maiden continue their consummate efforts, as both unite in the fertility and strength of Taurus.

This sacred union of Earth reflecting on itself (Youth) and (Maiden) could be likened to the container that provides the structure and just enough containment to allow a quickening of its combined union to take hold and burst into the life that emerges from this space.  The heat and light of the sun are required to quicken the seeds that lay beneath ground that is fertile and supportive as roots take hold and stem pushes through.

The Veils of Beltane and Samhain

We hear much talk of the “parting of the veils” that occurs during the season of Beltane and Samhain. These are times when the separation between the earthly realm and the other worlds is thinner and the inhabitants of each may more easily interweave ad interact with the other. I have always envisioned these two distinct, yet similar parting of the veils as one of ushering new life and one of re-connecting with those lives that have departed. In my imaging, the Maiden dons the veiling that entices and calls forth the desire of the Youth to mate and from that mating as the veil is lifted, the seeds and embryos of new life have begun their time of fertilization and the ultimate birthing of new form to come. I have always felt that these veils between the worlds were softer and gentler in both their opening and closing. Unlike those of Samhain that generally feel very dense (and crowded), almost an overload of sensation as those departed crowd in to make their presence known and share their messages.

At Samhain, this Veiling is one of the grieving Wife; having seen the demise of her Lover (Lammas’ Sacrificial God) and is heavier and laden with the energy and tears of sorrow. She ages from this sorrow; yet deep within lay the seeds of new life waiting to be brought forth at the Solstice. These veils hold the wisdom of those who have left behind the physical existence and loved ones and their sorrow has become the tomes from which the living will draw their lessons of hope in wait of the growing light to be held at the Solstice.

Another Type of Sacred Union

So, why do I keep going back and forth between Beltane and Samhain? We can consider both as being reflections of the other. We can expand the story of consummate union of the Maiden and Youth and use the dynamics of each as feeding the desire of the other towards creation. Beltane’s Fires of new life will become those of wisdom that pass through the veils of Samhain. And, those who exist behind the veils of Samhain have potential to be those called back into life at Beltane.  This is the truth of our own nature. We are born, we live, we die and during this lifetime we are continually creating from the inner union of the Sun and Moon, Male and Female and all that contribute towards the consummation of our intent.

May the blessings of this Beltane grace and inform all of your creative efforts. May those gifts of yourself that need uniting and a space of loving care be gifted by the passions of Beltane’s fires. And, may you always be mindful of the Great Wheel as a continuum; each flowing into the other and each reaching across to what will be at the half turn of that wheel.

Blessed Be!

Image Credit:  Emily Balivet 2011

The Wild SHE

May, 2017

THE WILD SHE – KALI

The Wild SHE – Which Goddess comes to your mind when you hear “The Wild SHE”? For me, that will always be Kali.

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“By you this universe is borne, by you this world is created

By you it is protected, O Devi. By you it is consumed at the end

You who are eternally the form of the whole world,

at the time of creation you are the form of the creative force,

at the time of preservation you are the form of the protective power
and at the time of the dissolution of the world
you are the form of the destructive power
You are the Supreme Knowledge, as well as ignorance,
intellect and compassion”
From the Devi-Mahatmya

In Hinduism, the Goddesses are “Devi”, which means “deity”. She, of course, has different aspects: Durga, Lakshmi, Tara, Sarasvati, Parvati, Kali. Kalis name means “Time”.

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Her stories are bountiful. Born from the brow of Parvati, Kali killed the demonic forces that were threatening. She danced with the Lord of the Dance, Shiva, and it is said the dance grew wilder and wilder, and as the dance continues, it will one day shake the world to pieces. She killed other demons during another battle, and it is said that after they were dead, exhilarated, laughing and roaring, Kali happily drank their blood and began to dance wildly, hence Her dance of death and destruction.

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She is seen as a Dark Goddess, as she dances the dance of death and destruction, but She is also keeper of time and will be there when new things emerge from Her destruction. When you see Her, there is no mistaking Her. She wears a necklace of skulls around Her neck, She holds weapons in her numerous hands. Her tongue protrudes from Her mouth. She can be terrifying to behold and to work with. Do not ask from Her which you are incapable of receiving as she is fierce in her love for Her daughters.

This is why She is also worshipped by many as the Mother Kali or Kali Ma, in which Her worshippers surrender to Her utterly. Abrahim Khan, an anthroplogist, said that to belong to Her, the worshipper must surrender not jus the intellect, but the entire self, that is the mind, the body.To me, that is the key to working with Kali.

To this day, Kali is still one of the most worshipped Goddesses in India and other parts of the world. Kali is more than a Dark Goddess who destroys. She is also the Goddess who helps us to face our fears head on. She is strength. She is courage. She helps us to face our own darkness. She will help you destroy the obstacles blocking your path.

The following is a meditation from one of my workshops called *Healing Dance of the Kali Dakini*.

Sit quietly, breathing deeply, closing eyes. Visualize yourself in darkness, a cave, deep within the womb of the Earth. Breathe into your sacred feminine energy. Now, open yourself to She, who is Kali, who is both fearsome and spiritually liberating, offering you healing from your emotional wounds. Sense Her in whatever way you wish and allow her to see you in your entirety, the good and the bad. Let your breath connect to her. Draw her presence into your body, into each part of yourself. As you do this, allow the release of all obstacles, accepting the freedom that She offers.

This is a lovely song for a Kali meditation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJa4r-OydDM&list=PL_dIya2JbVnTkujuSpjPc-hZV6LbKSnTX&index=2

I also recommend what I call the Dance of Kali’s Dakini,(also from my workshop). The idea behind this is to just dance, allowing your body to move freely without inhibition. Feel free to stomp your feet or yell loudly, mouth open, tongue out. You may find it helpful to start with a slower song, moving into progressively faster ones to get the full benefit of the dancing meditation. As you dance, visualize yourself healed – a blissful Kali Dakini dancing in the light in service to Kali.

(Note: a Dakini translates as sky dancer. She is a spiritual disciple of Kali, the creative personfication of the Divine Feminine)***

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I would recommend lying down and relaxing with long deep breathing for at least 10 minutes after the above meditations. Take several long, deep breaths, stretching fully and completely before rising.

May Kali bless you (and challenge you)on your journey!

)O(

Resources: ***The Healing Dance of Kali, Workshop taught by

Susan Morgaine

Kali, The Feminine Force by Ajit Mookerjee

**Previously published at Motherhouseofthegoddess.com

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

May, 2017

Bast/Bastet

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 (Graphic: ancientegyptonline.com)

The Egyptian Goddess Bast or Bastet was originally a Lion-Headed Goddess, who gradually changed into the Cat-Headed Goddess we are more familiar with.

Even though Her outward appearance changed, Her temperament did not. She was still as fierce as a lion, while having the playfulness, grace, and dignity of a cat, sometimes affectionate, sometimes not, depending upon Her mood. Those of us who have a cat for a companion can certainly attest to that!

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(Graphic: Wikipedia)

Bast was thought to be the daughter of Ra, and as such, was called the “Eye of Ra”. It is said that She rode with her father in his chariot, pulling the sun across the sky.

She is portrayed as holding an ankh, for immortal life, and occasionally, a papyrus wand, which was a symbol of Lower Egypt, as well as the all-seeing eye of Horus.

She is known to have protected Her father, Ra, from Apophis/Apep, the serpent, who was one of Ra’s greatest enemies. When Ra’s priests could not vanquish the serpent with their magic, Bast, who saw all with her eyes, killed the snake. Due to this, She was known as a Goddess of Protection.

As most Goddesses, She has many aspects and names. Because of Her travels across the sky with Ra, she is known as the Lady of the East and Goddess of the Rising Sun. She is a Moon Goddess, as the glowing eyes of the cat remind one of the radiant moon.

She was the Goddess of Health, as it was believed that she bestowed both physical and mental health. She was the Protector of the Household, as cats protected homes from both rats and snakes.

She has Warrior aspects, as we have seen; but She is also a Lover. She ruled sensual pleasure, dancing and music. At Her temple in the city of Bubastis, Her priestesses wore red and danced erotically at Her festivals. These festivals were always joyous occasions filled with the music and dancing that Bast loved. She also loved erotic scents. The scents most sacred to Her were musk, cinnamon and sandalwood.

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(Graphic: Pinterest)

Bast is closely linked to Hathor; She sometimes carried a sistrum which was one of Hathor’s symbols. They are both honored at the Temple of Denderah, which was sometimes called the Bubastis of the South. They are both in the Kafre Temple at Giza – Hathor for Upper Egypt and Bast for Lower Egypt.

The Temple of Bupastis was filled with sacred cats, which Her priestess believed to all be incarnations of Bast herself. When the Temple was excavated, more than 300,000 mummified cats were found at the cat cemetery located there.

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In honor of Bast, cats were sacred to the population of Egypt and were cherished. Cats were dressed in beautiful earrings and other jewelry. It was a serious crime to harm a cat and those who did, were punished.

Bast was also honored as a Goddess of Fertility and Childbirth, due to the ease with which cats seem to deliver their kittens, and the nurturing shown to the kittens after their birth.

Bast’s colors were black, silver, turquoise and red; Her gems were lapis lazuli, jasper and, of course, cat’s eye. It should come as no surprise that Her plant was catnip.

No matter which aspect was primary at any one given time, Bast was always who

She was, totally accepting of the being that She was. If there is anything that one can learn from Her, it is that we are who we are and we should accept and embrace ourselves.

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May the Blessings of Bast be upon you!

Yoga, Meditation & Wisdom

May, 2017

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

This month we move on to the most recognizable of the Eight Limbs.

The third limb is asana, which is Sanskirt for “abiding”, meaning the physical postures within yoga. Even if you have never taken a yoga class, you are most likely aware of some of the yoga postures.

meditation (Graphic: food.ntv.com)

The benefits of asana are balance, strength and flexibility. Flexibility is a necessity as we age; the more flexible we are, the better we will move and the younger we will feel.

In asana, the body is challenged. With the physical challenge, your body grows stronger and the mind, through control and focus, becomes quiet, more focused. You will find a deeper sense of conscious awareness.

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(Graphic: renewing all things.com)

Asana is necessary to prepare for meditation.

The control we have over our physical bodies during asana comes to us through control of our breath. The awareness that we strive for begins with the breath This is pranayama, which is the fourth limb. (Please see my Meditation article from 12/2014: http://paganpages.org/content/2014/12/a-moment-for-meditation-4/

Prana is your life force; it is energy. The breath can cleanse toxins from your body, strengthen the lungs, calm the nervous system. This energy, combined with asana creates a balance of mind, body and spirit. Breath control allows us to control the mind, and not the other way around. Self-control and discipline come from the breath.

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(Graphic: genesisgym.com)

Using various breath techniques such as 4/4 breath, breath of fire, long deep breathing will give you energy, release stress, strengthen your aura – your projection to and protection from, the world around you. When you begin to notice and focus on your breath, you can actually feel yourself transforming, it is that powerful.

In some yoga traditions, like Kundalini Yoga, the breath is combined with moving asana, or a kriya (action) to bring about that transformation.

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From the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

As Interpreted by Mukunda Stiles

***

Yoga pose

is a steady

and comfortable position

***

Yoga pose is mastered

by relaxations of effort,

lessening the tendency

for restless breathing,

and promoting an identification

of oneself as living

within

the infinite breath of life.

***

From that

perfection of yoga posture,

duality

***

When this is acquired,

pranayama naturally follow,

with a cessation

of the movments

of inspiration and expiration.

***

***

As a result of this pranayama,

the veil obscuring the radiant supreme

light of the Inner Self dissolves.

***

meditation5

And as a result,

the mind attains fitness

from the contemplation

of the True Self

NAMASTE

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