offerings

GoodGod!

February, 2019

Meet the Gods: Eros

Merry meet.

With the Hallmark holiday, Valentine’s Day, falling in February, it is fitting to turn to lusty Eros, the Greek god of sensual love and primal desire. The word erotic comes from his name.

In some tellings, he is the son of Aphrodite, the goddess of sensual love and beauty, and Ares, the god of war, or of Aphrodite and Zeus, the king of the gods, or of Hermes, the divine messenger of the gods, according to Britannica.

Others say he is a primordial god, the son of Chaos, the emptiness of the universe. Later depictions show him not as an adult male, but as a mischievous child. At sometime he became a winged youth that was made younger and younger until he was the infant we see as a Valentine’s Day mascot that the Romans knew as Cupid.

“In early Greece, no one paid much attention to Eros, but eventually he earned a cult of his own in Thespiae. He also was part of a cult along with Aphrodite in Athens,” according to “Deities of Imbolc” by Patti Wigington on ThoughtCo.com.

In another article for ThoughtCo.com, Wigington wrote, “As a god of lust and passion,?and fertility as well, Eros played a major role in courtship. Offerings were made at his temples, in the form of plants and flowers, vessels filled with sacred oils and wine, beautifully crafted jewelry, and sacrifices.

“Eros didn’t have too many boundaries when it came to making people fall in love, and was considered the?protector of same-sex love?as well as hetero relationships.”

In honoring the lusty Eros today, and asking for his help in matters of love, consider leaving him roses or other flowers symbolic of love, apples or grapes. Offer eggs or hares if it’s the fertility god you wish to honor. Wings, and a bow and arrow are also representative offerings.

An offering to a god is an invitation for him to enter our life. Gods cannot force or demand our worship and cannot violate our freedom or our conscience. Expressing gratitude, appreciation and love toward them, allows their energy to flow back to us.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

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.

Bringing Up the Next Generation of Witches

July, 2018

As a child, I led such a weird childhood. I was known for seeing things that weren’t there and knowing things before they happened. I felt like a sin in my parent’s household as I was being raised in a Christian church. As I aged, I found solace in Wicca. Life and the things going on finally made sense.

When I was pregnant with my son (Little Bear), I made the decision to raise him in a Pagan household and support him, no matter what religion he decided on. Little Bear is now 4 years old and this has proven to be the best decision. He has shown signs of experiencing the same things that I went through as a child. Little Bear is a natural born healer, empath, and animal lover. He has to sleep with a light on because the dark brings weird things with it. While I cannot confirm it yet, it sounds like he is seeing people that have crossed over.

One of the major things that Little Bear and I have started doing is celebrating the Sabbats. Any reason to celebrate, right?

June 21st was Litha or the Summer Solstice. This is the longest day of the year and Little Bear and I took full advantage.

Every Sabbat, we discuss the Wheel of the Year. This helps remind us where we are on the Wheel and where we are headed. Because this follows the seasons, it is easy for Little Bear to understand. We discussed how Litha falls in the summer and some of our favorite summer activities. Little Bear loves grilling out, riding his bike and playing in the water.

The day started before sunrise. I poured out orange juice and we headed to the porch to watch the sun. It was a warm, quiet morning. I explained to Little Bear that we should be grateful for everything we have. I asked him what he was happy to have. “My bike, my mom, my bed, my dog” and the list went on and on. I smiled at his innocence and gave my own thanks internally. As the sun rose above the horizon, the world started coming alive. The birds started singing, the neighborhood stray cat came to visit, and we watched a herd of deer in the field across the street. We ended the morning with a barefoot walk around the property. We stopped at the outside altar and poured orange juice into the fairy dish as an offering. This is one of Little Bear’s favorite parts. We actually had to make a fairy altar closer to the house so he could easily access it without supervision.

After work, I had Little Bear help with dinner. We were preparing Grilled Chicken Salads. As we pulled the vegetables out, we talked about each one. Where they came from, how they grow, what the health benefits are, and what kind of super powers the vegetables might give us (This was Little Bears idea). I feel that knowing the health benefits of each vegetable will help Little Bear develop his Kitchen Witch side as he grows.

While making the salad, I noticed Little Bear had made a pile that contained a piece of each vegetable that went into the salad. It was his offering for the fairies.

We ended the night with a bonfire and watching the sunset. The longest day of the year had officially ended.

It may seem like I do a LOT of talking with Little Bear and I do. Little Bear is at the age where he is like a little sponge. He is asking tons of questions and curious about everything.

The next Sabbat is Lammas and I’m excited about it. This has always been a personal favorite because I love to bake bread. Lammas is the start of the harvest season. So breads, wheats, grains, grapes, apples, corn and wild berries are great foods. While I don’t have recipes pulled together yet, corn dollies and bonfires are part of the ritual for sure!

Some ideas to do with children are:

-Corn Dollies

-Magical Picnics (Make sure to leave an offering!)

-Collect berries for jams or jellies

-Time to harvest the garden

-Create a Witches Bottle (smaller children will need help with this since you will be working with sharp objects!)

-Time to redecorate the altar

-Visit an apple orchard (bring some home if the apples are ready!)

-Collect rain or storm water

-Bake bread, cakes, or muffins (cookies could be substituted so the little ones can decorate)

The biggest thing to remember, “It’s not about the action you are doing but the intent you are putting into it”.

What are some fun ways you are celebrating the Sabbats with your child/ren?

Blessed Be!

Book Review: Pagan Portals – Rhiannon, Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons by Jhenah Telyndru

June, 2018

Book Review

Pagan Portals: Rhiannon, Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons

by Jhenah Telyndru

There is knowledge, and there is wisdom; one comes from the mind and the other from the heart and soul. Jhenah Telyndru has both of these in abundance.

As the founder and Morgen of the Sisterhood of Avalon, Ms. Telyndru’s love for her subject comes through in every page and word.

With a Bachelor’s degree in Archeology and a Master’s in Celtic Studies, her knowledge has been attained through years of study.

“Rhiannon” is well-researched via many avenues, i.e. etymology, story-telling, mythology and literature. Rhiannon’s connections to other Goddesses such as Epona, Morrigan and the Matronae (Divine Mothers) is explained in the earlier parts of the book.

While Rhiannon, herself, is not identified as a Goddess in history, this does not stop many women from around the world from worshiping her as such, and the whys and hows of her divinity and sovereignty are explored within the pages of this wonderful book. Ms. Telyndru draws in each reader as she shares her own insight and wisdom, and helps us to more fully come to know Rhiannon.

For those who know nothing of Rhiannon, this is the perfect introduction. To those who know of her and yearn to learn more, this book is a stepping-stone to knowing her more fully and deeply, how to understand her and use her stories on our own journey to Sovereignty. We can begin to learn how to build and deepen our own relationship with her, through the use of shrines, altars, offerings, her symbols and meditative trance journeys.

Allow Jhenah Telyndru to guide you in your journey to Rhiannon.

(Disclaimer: While it in no way deters from my recommendation of this book to all, it bears mentioning that I am proud to be a member of The Sisterhood of Avalon – SM)

***

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”, 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

My Name is Isis: The Egyptian Goddess

Feeding the Ancestors

October, 2017

offerings

 

 

Samhain is almost upon us. We’ve passed the equinox, the point of no return; the balance of light and dark; the perfect union of night and day. The nights are visibly longer now, and we know we are heading into the winter months. In years gone by we would be storing our food away, slaughtering beasts that could not survive the harsh winter and carefully caring for those that would.

 
We may now live in a world of supermarkets and central heating, but for those of us who feel the turn of the wheel in the changing of the season, Samhain (in part) is still about making sure everyone is fed; that’s everyone, including those who are no longer with us.

 
Most of you will know that Samhain is generally regarded, in most paths that fall under the Pagan heading, as a festival of the dead. This often sounds bleak and morbid, but in my experience it is about celebrating the lives of those who came before us, the joy they brought and the gifts they have left behind. It’s also about looking further back into the past and honouring our distant ancestors, perhaps those that aren’t even our direct bloodline but influenced the path you are now walking, or the decisions you have made to be where you are today. Mentors, friends and treasured animal companions can all be thanked and called into our homes for a short period before they return behind the veil, and become memories or history once more.

 
This idea of sharing our home or sacred space with those important to us in some way is almost universally appealing. So how do we make them welcome? Well, how do you make any guest feel welcome and relaxed? Simple: you offer them food and drink. Sometimes we forget that the ‘offerings’ we leave upon our altars, doorsteps, crossroads or shrines are more than simply fulfilling ritual obligation. We are literally offering something good to someone (or something) we want to please in some way.

 

offerings2

 

 

How to decide what sort of sustenance to offer? Again, return to the theory of adding offerings to a sacred space. You may use bread and mead. Why? What significance does this have? Does your deity/spirit have a history of being offered these? Or is there a myth which involves said delights? Research is key when deciding what offerings to use, and often we can use the experience of those we are learning from which is fantastic. For reaching out to or honouring your ancestors or forebears, the same applies. If this was a person (or pet) you know, you may already have a choice snack in mind. I leave a cup of tea out for my nana, in a china cup if one is available. Have a think about what that person or animal loved. I’m not suggesting you go all out and make a four course meal, but perhaps a favourite item from within a favourite meal, or a small glass of a beloved tipple. Or perhaps a taste that you once shared, that is representative of the bond between you and this person.

 
For those more distant ancestors, more traditional research may be required. If you are hoping to welcome members from way back in your family tree, but still within the last few generations, you may have the luxury of asking grandparents or great-grandparents. Sadly all my grandparents have moved beyond the veil now, and it is them I leave the offerings for at Samhain. But yours may be a wealth of information about older or more distant relatives.

 
Honouring your spiritual ancestors is a different matter. For example, if you are on a Heathen path you may wish to honour the ancient Norse. If you are a follower of Lugh you may wish to honour the Celts. What foods should you choose then? There are, of course, no hard and fast rules but the clues are generally in the literature of the time, or in the case of the Celts, in what little literature we have from the Middle Ages when most of their tales were actually documented. Read the legends and absorb details of feasts, meals, celebrations; what did these people enjoy? What foods are mentioned again and again? Are they constantly boozing, or do they drink milk and water?

 
This is a very brief list that gives different foods for different peoples, and their associations. It is nowhere near exhaustive; indeed, it merely dapples the surface of an ever deepening pond. I hope it inspires you to find the perfect food to offer your ancestors this Samhain, and perhaps to find a deeper connection with those who came before you.

 

 

Celts
Apples- Longevity, health.
Honey- Spiritual connection.
Mead- Other realms, the place beyond death.
Salmon- Wisdom, intellect.
Lamb and pork- slow cooked is likely the way the Celts would have eaten it, as archaeologists across the UK have discovered what seem to be pits used for cooking meat with hot stones, which date from the Bronze Age.
Hazelnuts- The boundary of this world and the next, wisdom, magic.

 

Greeks
Honey- poetry, words.
Garlic- Protection.
Almonds- Hope, undying love.
Olive oil- Journey of dead souls.
Vine leaves- Freedom, revelry.
Fish- Traditional fare.

 
Egyptians
Honey- royalty.
Beer (something thick, ideally home brewed) – nourishment, sleep, new beginnings.
Bread, ideally barley- traditional fare.
Spring onions and Garlic- health and wellbeing.
Dates- traditional fare.
Figs- Mother and maternal instinct.
Dried Fish- companionship, comradery.
Garlic- courage.

 
Norse
Mead- spirit, poetry, ecstasy; inspiration, knowledge.
Ale- Earth, the power of earth.
Eggs- a traditional part of ancient Scandinavian diet and mentioned in the Egils saga Skallagrímssonar.
Fish, particularly salmon- as above.
Milk- Cattle farming was particularly important in the ‘Viking Age’, so beef is good as well.
Pork- represents Sæhrímnir, the beast eaten over and over in Valhalla. The beast may be a boar, but there is some debate over this.

 
Saxon
Bread- the union of the elements.
Barley beer- cleanliness, purity.
Wine- wealth, abundance.
Pork or ham- the most abundant meat for Anglo-Saxons.
Carrots or Parsnips- standard fare.
Onions- warding off evil.
Apples, cherries or plums- the gifts of nature.

 
Mexican
Marigolds are used to attract the spirits of the dead to the offerings.
Sugar skulls- remembering each soul; making the most of what you have.
Fruit- traditional offering.
Nuts- traditional offering.
Pan de Muerto- may be decorated with bones to represent the deceased, or a tear drop to represent the tears of the Goddess Chimalma.
Candied Pumpkin- seasonal.
Tequila- celebration!
Atole- warmth and nourishment.

 

 

offerings3

 

 

Remember; don’t attempt to contact your ancestors without experienced help. Speaking with or even simply sharing a space with spirits can be daunting for the inexperienced. If, indeed, you have that experience, or good company, then may you feast with all those you love, past and present. I wish you a blessed and delicious Samhain, with warmth for your hearts and hearths as we draw ever closer to winter.

 

 

***

 

About the Author:

 

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors and Pagan Portals: Celtic Witchcraft.

 

Follow Mabh on TwitterFacebook and her blog.



 

 

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

April, 2016

Offerings, Not Sacrifices

Merry meet.

offerings1

People have jokingly asked me about what I sacrifice on my altar. Occasionally, the person isnt joking. While a long involved response is not practical in a social setting, I wish to delve into the topic a bit in this column.

To sacrifice means to give up. In that sense, I sacrifice money when I donate to a charity and I sacrifice sleep to spend late-night hours on the phone with a friend in need.

An older meaning of sacrifice is to make sacred. When our ancestors dedicating something to the gods and goddesses during a ritual ceremony, such as a cow or a deer, it became sacred. They blessed or consecrated it before killing, cooking and eating it as a way to honor the gods. It was given to the gods so that the gods might give something in return.

In my practice, I dont use the word sacrifice. Rather, I use the term offering. I dont make offerings to have something granted to me, I do it as a gesture of honor and respect. They are little gifts given with love and gratitude.

These offerings can be many things. Candles and incense are most common letting them burn out on their own. I have offered flowers, natural finds, seeds, cornmeal, bounty from my garden, coins, bread, milk, honey and crystals.

During some rituals, my offering is a libation poured upon the earth, or into a chalice that is later poured on the earth typically mead, beer or wine.

Time spent volunteering can also be an offering. Dancing and singing can be offerings as well.

Throughout history, blood has been used in magic. It is primal and powerful. Today, very few traditions incorporate the use of blood. I have used it only on two occasions a protection spell and in a coven initiation ceremony. The blood of the witch performing the spell is more effective than that of anyone or anything else. A few drops will do. But more often, it is a symbolic representation of blood that is offered.

offerings2

When an offering has been made, it no longer belongs to the person who gave it. When it comes time to remove the items, they can be left in nature, burned or buried.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.