Articles

Welcome

April, 2018

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Cover art: Voodoo Priestess original watercolor painting by artist Tara Reynolds of TaraFine Etsy shop.

About the artist: Tara Reynolds creates beautiful art that transports the viewer into another world. She believes art should serve as an escape from the ordinary & the mundane. That it should spark imagination & creativity. Tara gets her inspiration from nature, myth & her own personal spirituality. All of her art is created with love in her studio in sunny Orlando, Florida. To see more of Tara’s art, please visit her on her etsy shop, her Facebook, or her Instagram: tarareynoldsart.

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Welcome Readers to the April Issue of PaganPagesOrg!  From reviews & interviews, to, fun crafts & informative articles, have a read and learn something new with us!

 

 

There are a few cows Jason Miller does not consider sacred, including the reverence for the do-it-yourself approach and the notion that magick should only be used in emergencies…find out his thoughts and about his new book in this most interesting interview with Lynn.

 

The Spell to Bind Donald Trump and All Those Who Abet Him led to his latest, upcoming book.  Michael H. Hughes brings together activism & magic as tools for the resistance, and shares all the details in this fascinating interview.

 

Mabh Savage received a gorgeous set of new runes for Yule. She is learning to use them and taking you on her journey in her new column The Road to Runes: First Steps.

 

Jazz Reviews ‘Wicca, Plain & Simple’ by Leanna Greenaway and let’s you know if it really is The Only Book You’ll Ever Need!

 

See this beautiful Dragon’s Eye?  You can make one, too!  Guest Crafter, Kerry Bower, teaches us in Witchcrafts this month with full instructions.

 

Looking for something new to Learn?  How about a Toe Reading Course?  Read our Review on this intriguing Toe Reading Online Course taught by Katherine Veltri.

 

This month in Worth the Witch we review a New recurring Monthly Subscription Box by The City Witches.  The theme?  Moon Magick!  Come see what’s inside & what we thought!

 

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Right about now, we would like to take the time to thank all our readers for this beautiful award!!

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There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.

 

 

Sacred Art Video

April, 2018

YMIR AND ORION

First Ancestor, First Shaman

 

During a sunset walk in the snow, one afternoon in Sweden, the star constellation Orion appearing gave me a powerful vision that involved the primordial giant of Norse mythology: frost giant Ymir. (In truth I had never before assumed any connection between them!)

Ymir was the First Ancestor and First Shaman. The gods dismembered him and created the world from his body parts.

Therefore Ymir was the first person to die and he became the Lord of the Dead.

The word root of the name Ymir means “twins”. A profound mystery involving twins resides in both the night sky and world mythology.

Watch this video to find out more…

Imelda Almqvist

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About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit : Where Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

GoodGod!

April, 2018

Meet the Gods: Dian Cécht

(art by Jane Brideson)

Merry meet.

With so many people around me sick, it was probably no coincidence I came across Dian Cécht, the Irish god of healing. It so happens a story told about him is the same as the one told about Credne, one of the three craft gods, last month. He was described as a craftsman who worked mostly in bronze and when the High King lost his arm in battle, he fashioned a functioning replacement arm from silver.

In “Pagan Portals: Gods and Goddesses of Ireland: A Guide to Irish Deities,” Morgan Daimler also tells the same story, adding that Dian Cécht also healed Midir’s wounded eye and cured plagues disguised as serpents. “There is a reference in the St. Gall’s incantations to a salve of Dian Cécht, which is used for healing. Dian Cécht was invoked with healing charms into the 8th century CE and even in modern folklore is associated with an herbal oatmeal preparation that has healing properties,” Daimler wrote.

In the Ever Living Ones blogspot, Jane Brideson offered “a prescription for Dian Cécht’s porridge,” describing it as “the oldest-known Irish medical remedy.” It’s made of oatmeal, dandelion, hazel buds, chickweed and wood sorrel.

Multiple sources speak of Dian Cécht’s Well of Health, Tiopra Sláine, said to contain one of every herb that grew in Ireland. Wounded warriors bathed in the water were healed.

Daimler writes, “Dian Cécht was considered the supreme physician of the Gods and possessed a well or cauldron, the Sláine, into which the wounded could be placed and from which they would emerge restored. Throughout the Irish texts where he appears he is renowned for his healing skill and he is called ‘the healing sage of Ireland’ and ‘God of health.’”

As the god of healing, he is associated with physicians and restoring of the body.

He is not only a god of active healing, but also of the knowledge of healing arts and of healing magic. He is known as a superlative healer with any method. We don’t have many existing myths featuring Dian Cécht, but the ones we do have generally center on his healing skill in one way or another,” Daimler wrote.

His name is thought to translate as swift for dían and power for cécht, yet another source said the name appeared to mean God of the Plowshare.

Dian Cécht was also known as Cainte, a chanter of spells and prophecy. His titles include god of power and health and sage of leechcraft,” Brideson wrote.

A well or a cauldron are associated with him, and can be used to symbolize him. Offerings could include water, medicinal herbs or herbal tea. He may be called on for anything related to healing or medicine, when wishing to heal or be healed.

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Merry part. And merry meet again.

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About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Finding Our True North

April, 2018

“The person we choose to be … automatically creates a dark double
— the person we choose not to be.”
– Thomas Moore in The Care of the Soul

I was the presenter for the Super Blue Blood Moon on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True recently. One of my missions for years has been creating opportunities for the voices and visions of young people to be heard by the world. On the Big Night I was joined by a “surprise co-presenter”: my 13-year old son Brendan, who took the global audience on a journey to a very special place on the The Dark Side of the Moon!

Right now the theme of young people speaking up for themselves and for the world they are going to be Earth Keepers for – long after we older ones leave the planet – is looming very large. I am proud of young people all over the world speaking out against all that is imbalanced or hurting in our world. May we all listen to the wisdom of young voices and bright visions!!

For me personally this winter has truly been a period of sacred Darkness. What I mean by this is that I faced a potentially serious health issue and some dark nights of the soul – in an entirely good way. For me it proved that “the illness IS the soul medicine”, as some authors claim, because the pickings (learnings) have been rich beyond measure.


When the spirits call us, we embark on a spiritual quest. The one thing that is for sure about the journey that unfolds is that there are no end destinations – just the journey. The spirits will always ask us to take the next step (usually “the thing that frightens us most” or  “the thing that forces us to leave the comfort zone”).  Some people call this finding our True North. For me my True North 
is literally found in the North.

TRUE NORTH is the North according to the Earth’s axis
as opposed to the Magnetic North (when you use a compass)


My own recent journey has been about owning and recalling many parts of myself that had been pushed away. To find the essence of those things I had to walk “the shadow lands”. I had to own the fact that I cannot discount (for instance) my Roman Catholic upbringing – the saints literally “came marching in”! I had to acknowledge how years of training in core shamanism have only awakened an urge to follow my true (and first) calling: Norse shamanism and the Norse gods. For that reason the focus of my courses is changing: I will continue to teach courses in sacred art and specialist courses (such as shamanic work with children – the Natural Born Shamans material described in my first book – and advanced ancestral healing work), but my main focus will shift to offering courses in Norse shamanism. Courses that reflect the indigenous ancestral path of Northern Europe.

I had the incredible privilege of doing powerful work with two groups in Philadelphia recently. One group came together to study the Anatomy of Soul through the lens of ancient Norse cosmology. They were a dream group and it was a thought-provoking day! I was obviously asked questions about how Norse shamanism is different from core shamanism. Answering those questions it dawned on me that core shamanism presents simplified models for certain things. (One obvious example is the claim that “there is no underworld, only a lower world”. Many of us will know that this is not true: when we move through dark nights of the soul, initiations and periods of dismemberment we make the pilgrimage to the underworld (and the underbelly of our own consciousness). We spend time there – just as the Sumerian goddess Inanna made her Descent to The Great Below!)

In Philadelphia I took my sacred art students through an enactment of this ancient Sumerian myth. You could say that we all participated in a mystery play. It was challenging but it was also eye-opening and life-changing. My own life changes every time I do this work with a committed group!! (And the same thing is true for ancestral healing work, which I taught in London last week, with another dream group: my current Circle of shamanic practitioners).

Another issue that came up in our “Soul” group was the question of black magic and all things dark. Some people translate the word “seidr” as “sorcery”. I do not agree with that translation as I feel the original meaning relates to both the old customs (sed in contemporary Swedish)  and spinning the lines of Destiny (here think of the figure of the V?lva or Völva and the Norns).

I look around me today and it is very clear to me that for all of us to truly and effectively counter the shadows being enacted on the world stage – we can no longer study spiritual material without studying its darker applications and manifestations. Not to practice it, NO!! – But to understand its workings and deepest recesses –  in order top formulate an adequate response to it.

If we do not personally and collectively embrace the need to do this much-needed shadow work, it seems possible that our shadow taking physical manifestations (in corrupt politicians, greedy corporations, terrorists and so forth) will decide the future of The Human Family on Earth. That cannot be right –  let’s wake up, step into our power and dream (co-create) a different outcome together!!

I said to my shamanic practitioner students in London last week: I am not really a “Love and Light teacher”, I teach from a place of profound willingness to find the treasure in darkness: the dark time of the year, my personal darkness, our collective darkness. That is where the treasure is hidden.

 

 “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light,
but by making the darkness conscious.”
– C. G. Jung

In Norse shamanism the forces of Chaos are often linked to the Giants. The god Thor is always busy in the East fighting the Giants and keeping them at bay. Yet the ancient texts also inform us that the giants walked the Earth long before human beings did. That makes them our ancestors, especially the primordial giant Ymir from whose body our world was created!

For more information I invite you to watch my brand  new art video,

Ymir and Orion, First Ancestor, First Shaman

 

My own allies are urging me to drop ever deeper into my connection to the goddess Skaði – The Winter Goddess – and her (our!) giant lineage. They have also asked me to state publicly where my spiritual home is and from what place within myself I teach. Just so people who believe that all we need is “love and light” will not choose me for their teacher. This article meets their request.

May you too find your True North!

 

***

About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist

If you’d like to be added to Imelda’s mailing list and receive soul food and updates on courses and events, please drop her a message through her website!

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit : Where Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

Click Image for Amazon Information

www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist  (Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

“Pagans are Rejecting the Gods”

April, 2018

(Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash)

And so I shake my head.

The new trend, the hip trend, the “youth” trend is gender-fluid and “godless”. Well because I read, and I am both old and young for the generation I happen to have peers with I can tell you categorically and excuse me: THIS IS NOT A NEW IDEA TO PAGANS.

Pagans have always been more open to what gender and identity can mean. From the trans priests of Inanna (4000 BC) to pagan Gods like Thor dressing as a woman. In fact hard concepts of what was male and female are really a Renaissance or post-Mediaeval idea. There have always been gender fluid and trans people. Hidden perhaps, and definitely not usually written about but always there.

The idea there is one kind of “acceptable” Wiccan belief, one kind of “acceptable” paganism belief is wrong. It has never been right. In fact in books by Stewart Farrar and Lois Bourne while the ritual always included a God and Goddess or Lord and Lady there was no strict idea of what this meant. To some it was a psychological construct! That’s right! It was for some about ritualised spiritual and psychological healing. A form of catharsis based on Jungian ideas that humans contain both male and female aspects that required care. As such the female that is often extremely suppressed culturally was brought into the fore to heal and educate. It was never about having a universal meaning. The ritual was the important thing. What you did and said, how you said it, but everything else was open to interpretation.

The idea that Goddesses and Gods must mean the same thing to everyone is an internet idea.

While Wicca exploded as a concept once the anonymous online happened in the 1990’s it also allowed there to be “experts” who wouldn’t have been given the time of day in their local moot, to have an equal or even raised standing. Some of that is fine, but it tends to make folks zealous and preachy. It needed to make itself a “proper” religion and it lost some of the intellectual and gnostic meanings.

If you go back and read occult books written before we were “out and proud” there are bread crumbs, ideas about balance. Ideas about magickal, spiritual and life balance gained through ritual and through sexual relationships*.

The idea that we have to be one thing or another, believers or cynics, rational or spiritual is a false dichotomy. This ignores the complexity of the human experience. In Farrar’s work it states women could be a substitute “man” in a ritual context with the addition of a belt and athame. Men (whom were the socially privileged and dominant cultural force) were not permitted to take a woman’s place. This is often seen as intolerance but it is about the balance. The social, spiritual and ritual balance of energy. That said there were ritual where men did dress as women but it was a deep and hidden ritual about ultimate spiritual balance and enlightenment. It is also true that the Hierophant was often a role in 20th century ritual and even before that. A gender neutral older magickal practitioner role to aid, observe and conduct the balance between the male and female aspects. Sounds pretty gender fluid to me.

To recap: your personal belief in Lord and Lady was largely considered irrelevant and you could be either or both within a ritual setting for a very long time. What mattered was the ritual. The concepts of balance within and without. That female was not lesser, but powerful and beautiful. Whether you felt that the Gods were ideas, internal and or magickal concepts or living breathing beings or all of these things was not a debate. Not important at all. It was the gnostic ideas of revelation, balance and growth.

My advice, which you can of course take or leave, would be do the work. Read the older books. Look within and without and find those balances. Do a ritual that draws in or balances your energies with your opposite. Embrace those whom and different than you. Embrace the God and Goddess within yourself. It will change you. Not because you abandon reason, but because you take into yourself more than you think you can be.

*This is a complicated and often dated concept but the idea that you have lovers to learn and heal yourself and this person is a lot more modern that Dion Fortunes 1920’s Britain would have largely accepted.

 

 

Gael Song

April, 2018

Healing the Pagan-Christian Divide

An ongoing sadness of my life has been the great divide between Celtic Pagan practices and Christian ones. Folks I’ve met are nearly always vehemently for one and against the other. But I love both traditions (though each has some pretty hefty distortions that need to be healed!). My own inner feminine has been a Pagan Priestess over many lives, my masculine, a Christian Minister several times over. It isn’t always easy for them to get along, either. So, during this Christian Holy week, just past the celebration of Alban Eiler, I think it’s a good time to ponder the intermingling of the two and, hopefully, soften the miasma between more recent and older spirit ways.

As I moved up through planes of light on my own path of transformation over the past 22 years, I was led into understandings about the Ogham letters and their meanings. And one of the hidden Celtic streams associated with those symbols, I discovered with great surprise, was identical to the Christian calendar. So, let’s go through it, shall we? Over those 22 years of daily healing meditations, I moved up through seven heavens in the inner planes: sensate, soul, spirit, logos, cherub, centerpoint, and diamond core realms.

If you look closely at the structure of the human energy field, you can also see seven concentric rings of light or sheaths, matching those seven heavens. Folks move from outside to core in an ascension process during their personal transformation as the spirit initiations are completed: first earth, then water, air, fire, cherub, centerpoint, and finally diamond initiations.

In the seventh heaven, the highest one, the Diamond Core, there are also 15 cosmic light structures that regulate many, many cycles of life on earth and across the universe. See my first article for a fuller description of those, if you like. This time, we’ll focus only on the lowest of these light structures, the cosmic first chakra, the White Pentagram. It’s the light structure of the Goddess, the White Tara, and it overlights the birth of everyone’s inner divine child during each solar year, a bit of every individual’s divinity reawakened, always carrying one spark of the cosmic God/Goddess to be revealed on earth. But this cycle actually is the progress of the yearly growth impulse through those seven sheaths of light within. This time, the impulse moves from inner light sheath to outer, a descent process though the heavens, as some new part of the self is manifested into our physical world. And there are Ogham letters which signify the birth-pushing forces through these inner sheaths of light. But more to the point, these phases of the year and of this hidden druid cycle precisely match the Christian calendar! I found all this quite fascinating. Maybe the two aren’t so different after all!

The seeds of light for the year ahead, which include one major growth vector for every individual, are implanted into each person’s womb of light (both genders have inner male and female aspects of the spirit) on Midwinter dawn, Alban uran. Then these seeds of light steep in everyone’s pelvic bowl, the unconscious, for three days, while the Goddess chooses the exact timing and form the new growth impulse will take over the year ahead. So, after three days, the first seeds lift up and out of Her cosmic ocean, the very first inkling of what is to come. This is Christmas morning!

And the growth impulse enters the very inmost sheath of light, matching the diamond core, the seventh heaven. Always, the feminine lights up during the first half of these growth phases, the masculine during the second half. In the spirit world, I’ve noticed, it is ever ladies first! The inner divine child spark also grows from an infant form to an elder during the yearly cycle, so this first sheath contains infants of light, baby girl and boy. The Ogham letter A for Ailm, Elm, signifies the yearly growth through the core sheath then, when fears and blocks from the seventh heaven are brought forward into each person’s life to be faced and healed. Then the new aspect of self is fully released into the core sheath on Candlemas eve, the first birth. So, this long A sound means having the faith of a child and the fortitude to move through our deepest fears to birth new life. (The Ogham symbols for each letter are given below each paragraph.)

Then the growth impulse enters the centerpoint sheath, the next one out, on Candlemas day, Feb. 2nd, the date Mary brought Jesus to the temple for sanctification after his birth. Quite appropriate to this inner cycle! This second growth phase brings forward fears from the centerpoint realms, the sixth heaven, usually hurrying or overwork challenges (the sixth heaven holds the abyss, where intense fears were built into each one of us during our long-ago fall to earth), and the inner divine child looks like a toddler this time. The centerpoint phase ends on the eve of Lent. And then the divine child or yearly growth impulse enters the cherub sheath, the next one out, and the fears of that heaven come into each person’s life during the Lenten season. These fears relate to dark mother memories, ancient sacrifice or cruelty that once caused the closing down of each individual’s inner divine child.

On Easter dawn then, the three core fears of winter (that opened in early November, on the cross-quarter day, Samhein), heavy bands over the heart, are removed, and the divine child within is also born out of the cherub sheath. It’s the long O sound, Onn (ohn) or Gorse, the struggle and sweetness of growth, succeeding through both centerpoint an’ cherub challenges. So, it’s a VERY sweet morning, Easter, named after the Celtic goddess who overlights the inner climb through these two heavens, Eostre (or Ostara). On Easter dawn, I always go to a sacred place in nature to really FEEL and enjoy those dark bands coming off and my own birth out of the centerpoint/cherub difficulties!

Then there’s a period of rest and integration for a quarter moon, after which the logos sheath lights up. The inner divine child has become an adolescent now. Then, the inner feminine is fully built into this logos sheath by Pentecost, fifty days past Easter. The virgin goddess’s element is fire, too, so this passage can bring great passion into play. At Pentecost then, the virgin masculine half o’ the logos sheath within lights up until late June, as the old logos fears are faced (often male domination or brute force impulses). By John the Baptist Day, (June 24th), the masculine of the logos sheath is fully formed, and this new logos-self is birthed into the spirit sheath. This logos birth-pushing force is the long U sound, Ur or Heather, signifying the wild passion, backbone strength, freshness, and heart love of the inner virgins. And on this day as well, all fear debris of the first half of the yearly cycle is washed away within. It’s inner baptism, the halfway point of this hidden divine child stream for the year. No wonder it’s named for John the Baptist.

Then again, there’s a short period of rest. But usually, some project will surface that grounds the growth of the first half of the year into action. Then, the spirit sheath opens, the feminine, on July 22nd, Mary Magdalen day. That’s the time the Goddess sends some personal message to everyone, a hint of what the fears of the coming winter will be like. And the feminine climb, now in a mother form, lasts until August 15th, Ascension day, when Mary of the Christian tradition was said to rise up to heaven. The challenges of this level usually involve exhaustion, the inner mother giving so much to others that her own needs don’t always get met. And then, the masculine half of the spirit sheath opens with some strong action-oriented drive that’s needed to bring in the harvest for the year. This divine child, who looks like a father now, opens new intellectual interests for the coming year at this time, too. The divine child of the spirit sheath is fully formed by Sept. 9th.

But then, there come extra difficulties or delays that must be faced, heavy darkness as the dark child of the year or major fear impulse falls away on October 6th, one full gestation cycle after Midwinter. And the new child of light finally emerges two mornings after, on October 8th, both feminine an’ masculine fully formed in the spirit sheath. This is a momentous shift, for descent into the lower worlds is the major birth for the skyturn, when the most significant gains are achieved. This very long birth-pushing force is signified by the letter E, the long sound, Edad, Aspen, meaning significant victory over fear, with only a short way to go to completion.

October 8th is when the autumn celebrations begin, a moon of rest after the long trials of birth. And toward the end of this moon, some recognition of the newly born divine child will be given by the tribe. But within each individual, there can be lingering uncertainty about the new aspect being observed, for the deep fears that kept this part of the self hidden for so long are not yet forgotten. But it’s a joyous fulfilling time as well.

Then, on Halloween, the soul sheath lights up. Often costumes worn that night foretell the fears of the soul or second heaven that will be brought up during the next moon. But this shift is really on All Saint’s Day because in Celtic life, days were counted beginning at sunset. Soul fears can be quite dark and slippery, and nearly always involve letting something cherished go. But the healing of them brings the divine child through the soul sheath climb, though this inner child is in a grandparent form now!

The breakdown process greatly intensifies during the five intercessory days of the Celtic calendar, too, Nov. 24rd-28th, the old gratefulness celebration to the Goddess for the living of the year. And double II is the letter for this Goddess time, when the White Tara washes off all inner debris in the sheaths that have been lit up since John the Baptist Day; logos, spirit, and soul, all except the sensate that remains to be faced. This letter signifies the washing down of the inner self, cleansing and letting go, to make way for the new light seeds soon to come.

And finally, one moon before Midwinter, the sensate sheath opens, this phase identical to Advent. Often this moon entails facing strong challenges, too, for sensate is the densest level. But it’s the final climb of the passing skyturn. The darkest impulse of the sensate phase, the minotaur, opens on Midwinter Eve. And it’s the girl within who goes to meet it with that circle of light round her head to pave the way for the new implantation in the morn. At midnight then, both feminine and masculine divine children of the passing skyturn are fully born, the androgyne for the year, all the way through the sensate sheath! And the spirit world celebrates around them, for it’s the goal of all life on earth, the building of divine Ogham/Tara children into our sensate realms. And the birth-pushing force through the soul and sensate sheaths is the long I sound, Ioho, Yew, signifying some new aspect of the divine or forever self fully individuated into this world.

Then, the yearly cycle begins again on Midwinter dawn with the implantation of new divine child seeds for the year ahead. That’s the Ogham letter J, mistletoe, Iulioc, with no Ogham symbol for it, though. (There are short vowel streams of light, too, small a, o, u, e, and i sounds, which relate to the ethers within each sheath of light; mind, emotion, and action ones. But it all gets too complicated for a single article.)

And lastly, I’d just like to add that one morning several years ago, in the midst of a healing meditation, the similarities between Pagan and Christian traditions came into me with the most startling intensity. Usually, I invoke the White Tara and Oghama to overlight me in my healing times, the Celtic high Goddess and God. But for some reason that day, I called in the Magdalen and Christ, instead, for old time’s sake, I guess. And feeling those spirit Presences surround me, I suddenly realized They were IDENTICAL to the Celtic Ones! And I was utterly stunned, opening my eyes and literally shouting out, “WHAT have we been fighting for all these centuries then?” And I heard just one quiet word in my mind, “illusions,” Oghama/Christ’s voice. And a bright wave of joy washed through me as my inner feminine (Pagan to the core!) and my inner masculine (a very upright Christian that she persuades to dance skyclad in the moonlight now and then!) merged together in spirit in the deepest way possible. Ahhh! Thank Goddess for healing! I hope your day is just as glowing as that one! Blessed be.

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About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She is hoping to found an intentional community in southern Scotland in the near future. For information, please see www.thehomestarcommunity.org

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornVolume One Revised, and Volumes Two and Three.

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Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

April, 2018

Bright Blessings!

We have “sprung forward”, and are rejoicing that the daylight hours are longer. Some of us are STILL adjusting to the time change, however happy we are about it. Spring officially starts in four days from the time I am writing this, and many have already had their Sabbat celebrations for it.

Like many others, I am coming out of hibernating with the warmer, longer days. My energy levels have increased, and my mood is more enthusiastic. I have been a LOT more busy, and that means that I have forgotten to pace myself. As a result, I have had a couple days when absolutely nothing got done, and I sat around a whole lot.

One thing that has gotten done is massive patio cleanup, and hand fertilizing of the raised garden bed we built some years ago. I have carefully crumbled eggshells, cut up fruit peels, and thrown in both tea grinds, and used coffee grinds.

I am glad I live in modern times and get to “cheat” and throw in store bought soils as well. Soon, peas will be planted in the beds, and after those are spent, pretty flowers, all of which I have seeds for already!

Spring is a big deal at our house!

In Nature, everything is sprouting, and the snowdrops are already glittering through last fall’s dead leaves, on the forest floor. Daffodils are about to sprout, and our crocuses came up first, and soon, fritillaries will follow suit.

Birdsong has returned, and gets louder daily. Squirrels, and bunnies are jumping all over the place, reminding us of how very alive the Earth is. I’ve even seen a couple of mosquitoes already!

Everything in creation from plants, to animals, and even people , are seemingly awakening from Winter’s deep sleep, and are raring to get out in the sunshine and enjoy life!

Some of us spend time outdoors, gardening, and “grooving with Nature”, as my Priest puts it, but are more into the arts. We create, we dance, we enjoy music and theatre. Many of us LOVE to read! What is better than a nice book, and a hot cuppa’ in a cozy room with Spring light streaming in?

Those who are prolific readers are in for a real treat!

A new book was published recently, and let me tell you, it’s an exquisite read.

It’s called Megge of Bury Down (The Bury Down Chronicles) (Volume 1), which is part of The Bury Down Chronicles by Rebecca Kightlinger and is set in Thirteenth Century Cornwall, England. It is magical, chock full of mystery, the Old Ways, and Family Traditions. This book draws you in immediately, and Kightlinger’s descriptive narrative voice is so deep, you actually FEEL like you are THERE, watching in person. The firelight flickering in the darkness is so well detailed, you can almost smell the woodsmoke, and the faces of the women are so well described, you can almost reach out and touch them. You need this book, like , yesterday. Step into Bury Down with Kightlinger’s book.

 

 

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to speak with Kightlinger via emails, for an in depth, very intimate interview, in which she speaks not only of her book, but her own background, and women’s issues.

First, please have a look at her amazing website:

https://www.rebeccakightlinger.com/

 

And next enjoy the interview! Afterwards, this month’s working will be provided below.

 

Interviewing Rebecca Kightlighter

 

Saoirse (S)– Bright Blessings, Rebecca. First, tell me a bit about yourself and your work!

 

Rebecca Kightlinger (R)My book, Megge of Bury Down (The Bury Down Chronicles) (Volume 1), is about the daughter of a midwife in medieval Cornwall. Megge’s mother and aunt– a healer and a seer, respectively—each hold an ancient grimoire that they must pass down to their daughters, who will then become their apprentices. The books are companion tomes that together enable the women to harness the knowledge and wisdom of every previous heir to the books. They are able to query these ancestors in order to learn the secrets that enable them to serve the people of their village. The problem is that although Megge wants nothing more than to become a woman of Bury Down and be truly a part of her family, she is frightened of her mother’s book. When the time comes for her to accept it, she refuses. 

The stakes are very high for Megge’s mother, so she and Megge’s aunts must bring Megge to accept her charge and assume her role as a woman of Bury Down.

The themes are the desire to belong while being unable or unwilling to do the one thing that will make you a part of the group; the desire to find and follow your own path despite pressure to follow one laid down for you; and the closeness that can unite two people of different generations, the younger being able to learn from the elder, who brings wisdom and unconditional love.

I was an obstetrician gynecologist for many years; but in  2010, a serious injury to my right hand brought that work to an abrupt end. It was then that I started writing fiction. One day in 2011, when I was writing another story, letting scenes play out in my mind and describing them on paper, I saw not New York City or Amsterdam, where that story was set, but a pastoral scene: a grassy hill where sheep were grazing and a girl dressed in rough, heavy woolens was sitting on a big rock at the top of the hill. The girl seemed to look right at me and said, “When you’re done with those Dutch people, I want to go next.” And when I had finished the other story, she showed up again and just started telling me about her life and the lives of her ancestors. At the time, I knew very little about Cornwall and even less about the middle ages. But Megge spoke to me clearly, and with humor, showing me the scenes, and I felt this was something very real, though I had never before experienced anything quite like it.

Having been a visitor to Lily Dale spiritualist community many times, I called a medium, Jackie Avis, to talk to her about it. We had a telephone visit, and even before we started to talk about Megge, Jackie said she was seeing near me a big, very old book with a heavy wooden cover carved with symbols. She perfectly described The Book of Seasons, the book Megge was so afraid of. Our long conversation set my mind at ease, making me comfortable inviting Megge into my life. 

I knew that in order to tell this story well, I would need some serious writing skills, so I applied to The University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program. Poet Annie Finch was the director, and we spoke by phone. It was she who accepted me into the program.

In the summer of 2013, I went to Cornwall to visit the place I thought might be the region Megge had described as home. Arriving at Botelet Manor, where I was staying, was an incredible experience. Everything Megge described was right there. There is even a house on the manor that had been there during Megge’s day. The remains of Bury Down hillfort, built thousands of years ago, stood at the site Megge had described as the healer’s grove, where women came for healings at night. The church, the village location, and the castle were all as I had seen as she spoke.

Writing this book has been the most rewarding experience, and I hope this comes through in the book. 

 

S- I will add, I am a psychic advisor/seer/reader, or whatever people choose to call me also. I am thrilled you spoke with a seer! I refer to this as a gift of spirit, as do many others. I feel we all have gifts of spirit including, speaking with the dead, healing, comforting the grieving, ability to use prayer to intervene in other’s lives, etc. What are your personal beliefs and views about oracles/seers?  Do you feel you have gifts of spirit, and if so, what are they? It sounds like a spirit showed up and told you her story! Is that right? What is your spiritual path, and how does that influence your writing of this book, and your writing in general?

 

R- My mother and great-grandmother had strong spiritual gifts, and it may have been their openness to spiritual communication that has enabled me to accept this communication without fear, judgment, or censure. Like you, I think we all have the ability to perceive the presence of some who are now, as Megge says, in the ether. I sometimes feel my mother or father very near and have had communication of a sort with my mom through dreams after she passed. She told us in her final days that she would “stay nearby as long as possible” to comfort us after she passed, and when she did, I felt her spirit in the room with us for a good long time. It was a sense of joy I’ve never forgotten. 

I believe strongly in the power of intention and prayer, and I know that people’s needs are somehow made clear to the person who can help. I’ve been in that situation many times as a physician, and I know it’s true.

Is Megge a spirit? I can’t say. All I know is that when I’m ready to write, she seems to come and take me through her story. I don’t see or hear her with my senses, but her words come through me onto the page along with scenes as clear as any you’d see in a movie. And the only time this happens is when I’m at my typewriter or keyboard, ready to write. Her home, her village, and all the people in her world are just as vivid and consistent as anything in this world. 

I don’t know what my spiritual path is or where it is leading. One thing for sure is that my daily life is much more solitary that it ever was, and this feels right. It’s not lonely or boring in any way. The writer’s life seems to suit me now, where it would have been wrong for me before this. I used to have a busy practice, which I loved, and I worked with and taught some wonderful, caring, skilled, intelligent people. My patients, mostly middle-aged and elderly women for the last ten years of my practice, were smart, canny, funny, and insightful. I loved being their doctor. I remember talking to a lot of them about matters of the spirit, and I saw that as we all got older we seemed more in touch with it. It stopped seeming like something outside ourselves and became a source of both comfort and, well, interest, for lack of a better word. As I and my patients and friends began to experience more of the spiritual, we began to talk more openly about it and realized that we were having many of the same experiences. 

Other authors, I’ve learned, experience a similar kind of communication in their writing. One young man related in a lecture that when he sat down to write, he would close his eyes and see his narrator arrive at the door and ring the bell. He would let her in, and she would tell him her story. At a recent book-signing event, I asked the author how he invented his characters, and he kind of laughed and shook his head. “They just show up,” he said. “They do whatever they want. I had no control over this story.” Other writers have no idea what this means. They construct charts and plot points and have the beginning, middle, and end mapped out before they even start their story. Many search newspapers for inspiration or ideas, or capture snippets of conversation that they write down and build a story around. That sounds harder to me, more cognitive, but is probably a more efficient use of writing time!

For me, the cognitive part begins after a scene is down. I research the era and place–I visited the place Megge described–and cut and splice scenes, sometimes changing names or details where needed. But I don’t change the overarching story. I stay true to what I’m seeing so the story can continue to move forward. It may sound funny, but I want my narrators to trust me. I want the narrators who are waiting in the wings to tell their stories to know that I won’t mess with them too much. 

It feels like there are countless narrators/spirits out there waiting to tell their stories and searching for someone who can “hear” them. Is this how we return to the living world? Through a storyteller? Is this why many stories somehow just ring true? I can’t say. The first novel I wrote was narrated by an entire town. I had asked my husband for a manual typewriter for Christmas one year. He bought me an Olivetti, and I sat down at it for the first time ever and had no idea what to write. So I closed my eyes and thought, “Who has the story?” And in seconds, probably thirty or forty people showed up in my mind’s eye, all looking like working-class people and farmers from the 1930s, and all jostling to be the one to tell the story. It seemed they had all come back to tell their part of a horrific event that involved all of them but that that none of them knew the whole story of. Each one ended up telling his or her part, often interrupting each other and correcting details. Every night, at 8 pm, I sat down to write. For an entire year. And the whole story came out, all the details that had been kept secret. When it was done, those narrators disappeared. I’ve not heard from them again. One day, when Megge’s story is done, I’ll go back to that one. I hope I will have developed the skills by then to tell it well.

And this is probably much more than you wanted to hear! But it is unusual for me to be able to relate this kind of information about myself and my writing to someone who will understand and not judge. I’ll be very interested to learn if others have this experience and how they deal with it. How it first started and how they reacted. To me, it felt natural, inviting. I’ve never questioned it, and I hope it never stops

 

S- As somebody with a medical background, how does the past misunderstanding of illness, combined with superstition strike you? What do you have to say about it? Have you ever seen similar attitudes in today’s world?

 

R- There have always been and probably always will be superstitions about illness. Back in the Middle Ages, when so little was known about the body in health or illness, it’s understandable that people would confuse association with causality. The scientific method hadn’t yet been designed to distinguish between the two. So, when a patient made a spontaneous recovery from illness after taking a remedy or submitting to bloodletting, charms, or prayers, the association of that treatment with recovery meant that it must have worked! Word went out, and the treatment became more widely used.

My feeling is that even today there are treatments that work but whose mechanism of action we don’t understand despite considerable scientific research. Additionally, there are many treatments and remedies that might be beneficial but that will never be adequately studied simply because no one has a sufficient stake in the results of controlled, double-blind studies. And if the research might show that the product doesn’t work, it’s a gamble. For this reason, some approaches that are considered “superstitious” or “magical” may never be scientifically proven safe and effective, even if they are. 

But, while superstitions in healing can sometimes result in harm, I’m less concerned about that than I am about people harnessing the power of superstition to do ill to the most vulnerable in society. We saw this in Megge’s story just as many have seen throughout history: the most powerful in society using both superstition and strong beliefs against the most vulnerable.

In the worst cases, superstitions are thinly-veiled excuses for committing violent acts. In The Midwife and the Witch, author Thomas Forbes cites “the crowing hen.” From the time of Aristotle until as recently as the late 1800s, a female showing masculine characteristics or behaving “like a man” (i.e., talking) was said to foretell doom. Often, this resulted in the death of the offender.

Whistling maids and crowing hens

Should have their necks wrung early.

(Scheftelowitz, 1913; Jones 1880)

A German proverb prescribed punishment for both hens and women who would dare make their voices heard:

When the hen crows before the cock

and the woman speaks before the man,

then the hen should be roasted 

and the woman beaten with a cudgel. 

(Abbot, 1903)

So, to my mind, the danger of superstition is not so much that the superstition itself will directly harm the believer, it is that others often use the power of belief to control and punish. In the case of Megge and the midwives in her life, someone uses both religious dogma and fanciful beliefs as an excuse to harm both women and children. 

 

S- Attending University in Maine placed you in New England- not horribly far from Salem, Mass. where one of the most famous accounts of witch scare happened. Have you studied this much, or have any insight into it? 

 

R- I’ve studied witch trials from all over the world and in different eras. When I first started looking into the history of this horror, I went to the Cornell University special manuscripts library and studied some original trial transcripts. 

I came away with a picture of ordinary women being tried, often tortured, and put to death after having been accused of witchcraft, sometimes by her neighbors, and often out of fear or retribution. The accusations rarely made sense, and the atmosphere of misogyny and hatred was almost palpable in these documents. Those who controlled communities engaged in witch trials needed a scapegoat for their rage and to control those in their jurisdiction, and this was often either the most vulnerable member of the community or the outsider.

Midwives were often targets of accusations, especially in the Middle Ages, as they treated the most frequently maligned portion of the population–women–and they often did so through techniques and remedies outside the understanding of the medical and religious communities. This made them suspect, and suspicion made them victims.

 

S- Magic is all around us, and in many forms. Your ladies in your book understand this, and practice well. They understand the power of blood bonds, as well as adoptive family bonds. They understand the power of women working together in a man’s world. They understand the power of working in generations. Today’s neo-practitioners are 50/50 in love or hate with this idea. Some shun it, and recognize no elders, believing they are born very powerful and don’t want anybody telling them how to practice. Some like me value our elders, who are passing our craft on to us. This is more ancient, and what the women of Bury Down are doing. I see value in both, personally. In your historic readings, what have you read about passing traditions down? About mentors and students? About family traditions? What examples can you share from history?

 

R- Nearly every profession, skilled trade, and educational or spiritual community relies on one generation teaching the next through both formal, didactic education and mentorship or apprenticeship. The alternative to being thought by someone more skilled or educated is to be an autodidact. People will dispute this, but while I understand that many of us possess innate talents and gifts that we can develop to some extent on our own, I think raw talent needs shaping from the outside, otherwise one’s learning tends to center on readings and teachings that substantiate our own theories and biases rather than challenging or questioning them with an eye to dispelling misconceptions, arriving at a truth, and honing our skills. 

Living by and passing down traditions is documented in religious, cultural, medical, artistic, and every other societal group or profession I can think of. While there are many short-lived splinter groups organized and led by one person, religion and spiritual traditions probably provide the most universal example of laws, rules, mores, and history transmitted to children through their parents, their schools, and their religious/spiritual leaders and teachers, with didactic learning supplemented by sometimes very intimate, inter-generational mentorship in the home. This is documented throughout history in religious texts and in literature ranging from The Iliad to the Mists of Avalon and The Red Tent

Another example of passing down traditions is the oral, storytelling or bardic tradition strikingly manifest in The Mabinogion, a suite of eleven Welsh prose tales passed through generations by storytellers (another profession whose practitioners learned from masters from the preceding generation).

Finally, witchcraft and magic have a long tradition of being practiced by those who draw on ancient knowledge coupled with the skill and insight of a master practitioner. In preparing the manuscript of Megge of Bury Down, I studied numerous grimoires including Picatrix, a compilation of works from the ancient, the medieval and the Renaissance eras, which urges its readers and students to learn from sages: “The wise who are endowed by nature with intelligence never cease nor neglect to seek and inquire that they might learn and understand the secrets of the sages, who sealed them up in their books and wrote them in hidden words, that the aforesaid might search them out by careful investigation until they attain what they desire…” [The Picatrix, Trans. Greer, John Michael, and Warnock, Christopher. Adocentyn Press, 2010, 61.] 

While I am neither witch nor magician, I see in the writings about spiritual practice the value of sages, of teachers, of mentorship. This is the basis of Megge’s story and path. She seeks and finds mentors throughout her life; and this, I believe, is what many people have always intuitively known they’ve needed, have sought throughout history, and continue to seek.

 

S- What that we have not discussed would you like included in my article, please?

 

R- Megge of Bury Down is the story of a young girl growing up in another time and place. It is historical in that it takes place in the past. But it is not really about the history. It is magical realism in that Megge’s family is charged with passing down two grimoires whose power preserves the spirits of their ancestors. But it is not about the genre of magical realism. 

The historical research and the literary technique here serve story: the story of a girl growing up in a family of women. A girl who wants to be one with the mystical women she admires but whose fear and misconceptions keep her apart. A girl who must find the courage to look past her fears to a terrible truth and find a new path. It is about the love, the traditions, and the teaching that unite generations. It is about the women of Bury Down, but it is mainly about unbreakable bonds, crafted over lifetimes, that precede us into each life, sustain us as we find and do the work we came to do, and then guide us into the next. 

 

Many thanks, Rebecca for this amazing interview! Blessed Be!

 

Click Image for Amazon Information

 

This Month’s Working

Our next Sabbat after this is published is Beltaine. For the first time in years, I am not hosting!

I’m also not planning to attend Sabbat anybody else hosts!

What will I do with myself for Beltaine this year?”, I wondered.

I thought on it, and was inspired by some things I saw, and decided to send out an appeal to other women to do a One Month Challenge with me instead of a one-time Sabbat rite.

In Wicca Beltaine, May traditions crown a May King and May Queen, and they represent the Goddess and God in ritual, blessing everybody, and bringing life, growth, and in some traditions, sexuality to the people in the ritual.

There are a lot of “Sabbat Pagans” who attend Sabbat, and seemingly forget they are Pagans until the next gathering.

What can I say? It saves time for some folks.

Not everybody has the time, or ability to do lengthy daily, or even weekly devotions. It is easy to assume that we do, but the truth is, for some people, it’s just not happening, and it’s not in any way a choice.

What I thought of was a way to, for 30 days, bless other women, and ourselves, thus blessing, venerating, and adorning the Goddess in each of us women. Collectively, then, we adorn the Mother Goddess through the bodies , hearts , and souls of her daughters, the Earthly representations of her.

The topics brought up in the interview, specifically of abuse of women, and children made me think of an ugly truth. We often focus on abuse men direct at women, and completely ignore the toxic competitiveness we have with one another.
“That bitch thinks she is something, doesn’t she? I’m prettier than her!” Instead of “You go girl! Shake that tailfeather!” We sometimes become jealous that another woman has pride, and we are afraid if she is proud, she will take away the good things about us. Instead, we need to ALL root for one another.

It is not a competition- we should ALL want to help each other succeed.

I see examples of women who are not fat at all get attacked online, and called fat by women who are obviously jealous. Why does this happen? Because we think we don’t look as attractive? Because we would rather she be physically ill and bulimic or anorexic than comfortable in her skin, and healthy?

And why do we make fun of the “scrawny” girls? Maybe they DO have an illness, but this does not mean they should shroud themselves away, unfit to be seen.

Why do we place unfair demands on mothers? If they work, they are accused of putting career before family. If they are stay at home moms, they are accused of being ambitionless freeloaders. If they are tired, and not all made up fancy from keeping up with kids, we accuse them of “letting themselves go”. If they do not want children, they are accused of refusing the “responsibility” of being moms. If they have a lot of kids, we ridicule them, calling them breeders, sluts, and baby factories.

These harsh words do not just come from men. They oftentimes come from other women.

We cannot do this.

We need each other.

We need to build one another up.

This is the inspiration for my working.

Without Further adieu, I would like to share my working with you.

If you would like to, do this working with me.

 

Saoirse’s Solitary 30 Day Adornment of the Goddess/Crowning of the May Queen

For thirty days, do these three things. If you forget a day, oh well, nobody will know!

You may journal every day what you do if you like, but you don’t have to.

  1. For 30 days, give an honest compliment to one woman per day. Build another woman up with your words. Words are mouth magic, and we create whatever we want to with them. Use your words every day to build one woman up to bless, and adorn the Goddess.
  2. Reach out to one woman in the next 30 days, and do something nice for her that will make a difference in her life. It can be small, or great. Maybe you know a lonely woman who loves coffee. Dedicate one day every other week from now on to sitting down to coffee with her. Say you know a woman who is trying to eat healthier. Encourage her, and share recipes with her if she would like that. Say your neighbor loves plants, but says she has no time to garden this year. Gift her with a hanging basket, and offer to help keep it watered if she needs it. What you do to make a difference in one woman’s life can be a great thing or a small thing, but it will make a huge impact.
  3. Finally, do not forget the Goddess in you. It might be easy to do something good for others, but not yourself. It’s time to do one of the kindest things for yourself.

We are often our own biggest, and harshest critics, and while yes, others may tear us down, we sometimes internalize toxic voices, and tear ourselves down worse than anybody else.

Think of something you really find frustrating about yourself. This can be something as simple as age spots on your skin, or something big like, having panic attacks. This is to be a thing that always bothers you. Something you are upset with yourself about.

Now, you are to start forgiving yourself of whatever this is.

This is going to be the most difficult part of the challenge, and it will last beyond 30 days. It may entail deprogramming, tears, or the resurfacing of past aches, but it’s very important.

While we can easily see the Goddess in others, and nurture that, we also need to see the Goddess in ourselves, and nurture that as well.

Enjoy the Spring, Beltaine and being the Goddess you are.

Blessed Be!

***

About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel

 

 

 

Beltane Correspondences

April, 2018

Beltane

 

(Hexenringe limited edition fairy ring screen print on handmade paper, by artist April Llewellyn of April H L Etsy shop.)

 

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.

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

April, 2018

Zemyna

(Photo Credit – Pinterest)

Zemyna is a Lithuanian Earth Goddess. She is the Mother of all things. As the Goddess of Childbirth, one of Her functions concerns fertility. She creates life out of herself and represents the rebirth and renewal of every living thing.

She is honored at the birth of every child. Offerings to Her are left at stones, near trees and in the water, thanking Her for a new life.

Her name, literally, means “Earth”. She is also called *Blossomer*, *Bud-Raiser* and *Flower-Giver*.

All that comes of, and from, the Earth returns to the Earth and so, She also is related to Death.

She is the personification of the fertile earth and nourishes all of the life on Earth, whether is be plant, animal or human. Trees with three leaves or nine branches were especially connected to Her, the most revered being oak, linden and spruce.

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Her people believed that all plant and human life were connected and flowed together. They believed that souls took up residence in the trees that have died. The souls of women went in to lindens and spruce; men in to oaks, maples and birches, while the ancestors of the village would be within the fruit trees. Birds nesting in these trees became symbols of the force of life itself.

The love that the people had for the plant life of the Earth is in the “dainas”, spiritual folk songs of their culture.

With the people being a part of nature, Zemyna helps and supports those who treat the Earth with respect, and helps Her in Her mission of defending the Earth.

It was a terrible thing to dig or strike into the Earth with an iron implement before March 25, as the Earth is pregnant at that time.

If you were to kill an animal for food, Zemyna would forgive you. If, though, you were to kill an animal for fun, or for the pleasure of it, Zemyna would not let you get away with that, and consequences will surely follow. The more you negatively do to Nature, the more She will make you pay. You can pray, but you will not deflect Her anger.

(Photo Credit – lituanus.org, Sculpture by Vytautas Maciuika)

Beyond this, Zemyna is loving and good-natured. She rewarded those who took care of the Earth. She was a source of strength and power to Her people. Respect could be shown to Her by pouring some of whatever you were drinking upon the Earth itself.

Offerings were also left at regular intervals, mostly of bread and ale. If offerings were not made, there could be dire consequences. These offerings were left at Her places of worship, near large stones, which were a representation of the Omphalos, the power center of the Earth.

She may have been married to Perkunas, the thunder God. The wedding is celebrated in the Spring, when the Earth reawakens.

Her greatest festival is at Summer Solstice. Families bathe in streams and rivers in celebration of the moisture of the earth.

(Photo Credit – Pinterest by Jennifer Kuhns)

The worship of Zemyna is different than that of the patriarchal religions, which state that the Earth is secondary to man and that it is here for man’s consumption. For Zemyna, Her people know that Nature is sacred and permanent. While we, as humans, may die, Nature is always here.

“When we are gone,

they will remain,

wind and rock, fire and rain

They will remain

when we return

the wind will blow

and the fire will burn”

~~ Reclaiming

***

About the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis, the Egyptian Goddess”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is MysticalShores@gmail.com

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About Airports and Plastic Water Bottles

April, 2018

 

I am writing this piece at Gatwick airport where my flight to Reykjavik is delayed by three hours. I treated myself to a chai latte but that made me thirsty.

I visited the ladies room where I found a plastic bottle someone had abandoned (half full). I decided to do the unfashionable thing: I took off the plastic top and rinsed it for several minutes under extremely hot water before wiping it down. Then I filled it up for my flights (destination Newark aiport in New York via Kevlavik in Iceland).

On the Friday evening just before Christmas I was flying from Stansted Airport to Stockholm with my youngest son. I decided to bring my own (long-life metallic) water flask for the trip. This turned into an adventure: the train to Stansted was so packed that we couldn’t even get the bottle up from my backpack.

Then we had to drink all the water really fast because you can’t take water through security. Fortunately there were two of us!

We found some chairs and inevitably got thirsty again. There were plastic bottles of water for sale absolutely everywhere (it is an industry!) but we were determined to use our long-life bottle. I sent my son on a mission to find a drinking fountain – he couldn’t find one. I asked him to guard the bags and took a hike myself: I didn’t find one either.

I asked a member of staff who directed me to the rest rooms. There were only very futuristic taps designed for hand washing. I asked another member of staff who said: go to one of the cafes – they will fill your bottle up for you! I know this because I work there. Right….

People were all queuing for their Friday night beer or glass of wine. The staff looked harassed and worn out, the queues were ten people deep.

I took my flask back to the rest rooms and managed to fill it under one of the very low taps (spilling lots of water). My son was relieved to see me. He had started to wonder if the The Airport Monster had perhaps eaten me.

Some people try to bring their own plastic bottles to the airport but in the stress and collective stripping at security – it is easy to forget there is water in your bottle – so they confiscate it and throw it out. I know that this is for good reason. I also know that we all pay a price for the shadow that 21st century terrorist attacks cast.

We have all seen photographs of beaches awash in plastic bottles and whales which died after eating plastic. How can this collective dystopian dream (trance?), that it is somehow OK to buy water in a plastic bottle every time we travel, continue?!

Do we need to start a campaign to have water fountains and flask filling stations made available at airports?

Access to drinking water is a core human right – is what has always been drilled into me.

And yes, I am well aware that flying too carries a huge carbon footprint. When your job is international – as mine is, it cannot always be avoided or replaced by on-line seminars and classes. As a teacher I know very well that when students or participants are not in the room with you – you can only take them so far. Therefore there is a weighing of costs and benefits when it comes to flying out to teach life changing material. (I am a teacher of shamanism, sacred art and mystery school work).

I know that I carry karmic consequences for the air travel I do but the water bottle situation is inexcusable because there are alternatives. Just as shops don’t automatically provide bags any more (we make a habit of carrying a fold-up long-life bag on our person) I suggest that airports stop selling water bottles but arrange flask filling stations near ( but for reasons of hygiene not in) the public toilets.

Oh and one more thing: instead of receiving a disposable cup every time we buy a hot drink (I stand accused of buying myself a chai latte!!), what about carrying a long-life cup with a lid on our person (same as the long-life bag – it is just a habit really!) so we can rinse out the cup and use it thousands of times?

Just saying…..

Imelda Almqvist, 2 February 2018

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About the Author:

Imelda Almqvist is an international teacher of shamanism and sacred art. Her book Natural Born Shamans: A Spiritual Toolkit For Life (Using shamanism creatively with young people of all ages) was published by Moon in 2016.  She is a presenter on the Shamanism Global Summit  2017 as well as on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True. She divides her time between the UK, Sweden and the US. Her second book SACRED ART, A Hollow Bone for Spirit – Where ART Meets Shamanism will be published in December 2018.

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www.shaman-healer-painter.co.uk  (website)

https://imeldaalmqvist.wordpress.com/  (blog)

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=imelda+almqvist 

(Youtube channel: interviews, presentations and art videos)

Imelda is a presenter on Year of Ceremony with Sounds True

http://affiliate.soundstrue.com/aff_c?offer_id=124&aff_id=2260&url_id=86

And she presented on the Shamanism Global Summit with The Shift Network in both 2016 and 2017

http://shamanismsummit.com/program/132

 

 

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