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Book Review – The Bardic Book of Becoming: An Introduction to Modern Druidry by Ivan McBeth with Fern Lickfield

February, 2019

Book Review

The Bardic Book of Becoming

An Introduction to Modern Druidry

by Ivan McBeth with Fern Lickfield

Ivan McBeth died peacefully at home on September 23.2016, and his name and work remains as that one of the penultimate Druids. Reading the introduction and the words of his partner, Fern Lickfield drew me into this book well before the actual meat of the book. And, the closing words of Orion Foxwood, completed a beautiful book of hope, teaching and wisdom in the way of the bard.

This is a book of beginnings that offers those new to the path of Druidry solid foundation in a style of mystery and magick that has survived and evolved into a modern practice that honors the earth that was, is and can be. This book is chockfull of visualizations, rituals and stories filled with the keys of understanding that will open the doors of personal experience.

A most endearing approach is that of Ivan offering his own stories of how he came to a path of Druidry, what it meant to him and how he wished to enchant the world with these teachings that emanate from a history that systemically wove the natural world and man into a dance of collaborative embrace and mutual support.

Ivan begins the teachings in Chapter One, entitled We Are One. A simple, yet profound statement that he continues to peel back the layers of in reminding us that we began inseparable from the Earth’s Mother and although we have recently lost our way, the choice is ours to return to that place of symbiotic union and relationship with everything.

We learn that there are three levels/grades of training that form the Druid Path, the Bard-the Ovate and finally the becoming of a Druid. This study and path is one of commitment, the early Druids training for at least twenty years and all of that training oral in its passing on. Nothing was recorded. That was the way of the ancient Druids. There have been revisions to this in keeping with the demands of modern society and the inability n most cases to devote all of one’s life and time to this training.

Part One moves smoothly and clearly through al that is required to begin the foundations of a Drudic practice. It is rich with visualizations, exercises, and opportunities to create your own experiences that will form the scaffolding of who and what you become as you evolve and grow in a natural and wholistic world. The mere telling of Ivan’s experiences is a mystical gateway filled with passkeys and inspired ways of practice. This style adds a personal approach and engages the reader into a palpable experience in the re-telling. This also exemplifies the ways of the Druids in past years and the power of their teachings handed down through storytelling and oral rendition. We are one and our stories all lead to the mysteries of who and what we are on this planet and in this time.

Part Two dedicates its chapters to the Elements and the role they play in the practice of Druidry. These are the cornerstones of the natural world and as such are held in the utmost sacredness to those on a Druid’s path. I particularly liked the way in which Ivan drew you in with experience and a very simple, yet rich in layers of meaning accounting of the energies.

In keeping with the tradition of experience that is so richly laden within a Druid’s path, I am purposefully keeping this review brief. The greater worth of its information is to be found by your diving into its pages and immersing yourself in an ancient practice of cultivating awareness of all that is of this natural world; most importantly ourselves. This book is a treasure of wisdom for anyone on a spiritual path that integrates our responsibility as stewards of our planet and our inter-connectedness. It is a read I would highly recommend, not as encouragement of taking this path as your own, although you may find that resonance, but simply as a book dedicated to living in accord with the mysteries and magic of the Cosmos and how we may empower that work within ourselves.

The Bardic Book of Becoming: An Introduction to Modern Druidry on Amazon

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About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Interview with Author Rose Orriculum

November, 2018

Interview with Author & Spell Writer Rose Orriculum

 

 

Rose Orriculum is the author of Pastel Spells & Of Witchcraft and Whimsy. She also hosts a blog on Tumblr with links to pages of great help and information from herself. She also has a YouTube Channel and her own Etsy. Her books, and the spells used in them, are from Rose’s personal collection. After reviewing her 2 books in this issue, I had the chance to interview her.

Deanna (D) – You currently have two books published, Pastel Spells and Of Witchcraft and Whimsy. Do you have any other projects in the works?

Rose Orriculum (R)- There’s one witchy project that is going very slowly, a potions recipe book. It keeps getting pushed to the back burner by other writing projects and schoolwork. I hope to dedicate some time to it soon.

D – Pastel Spells is full of different spells, “most of them centering around the concepts of love, self-care, and healing”, although there are a few curses towards the back. Do you find that it is important to know how to curse even if we never use them?

R – I think it’s important to be familiar with structure and practice of curses, if not for your own use but to be aware of how to recognize one in effect and how to respond. Just because someone never intends to, say, be an accountant, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a working understanding of taxes and the math behind it, because the need for at least some basic knowledge of those comes up in life every so often.

I know relationships and self-care seem sweet and clean, but I think healing is more complex than that. Healing involves expelling bile and sweating out fevers, and strong emotional scars that need to be processed are no different. Jumping immediately to forgiveness and happiness isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and not every situation calls for it, so sometimes healing is ugly and involves holding the people who hurt you responsible, sometimes healing means being proactive and binding them from hurting others the way they hurt you.

D – I was surprised to see how simple these spells truly are. The ingredients can mostly be found around the home, and the spell itself doesn’t seem to take very long. Pastel Spells really brings magic back to its simple core. What would you say to someone who believes magic should be more complicated?

R – I suppose I’d ask why they feel it needs to be complicated, what do we gain by making things needlessly complex and inaccessible? Does the same logic that more components to a spell will make it stronger rather than filled with redundancies or conflicting intents lend to the idea that simply more is better? Should then I stuff my spells with, say, several cups of salt rather than a teaspoon? What motivates the need to complicate things? Is it an agenda of aesthetic and pride or is it purely based in research?

While I suppose some spells may demand particular nuance in the correspondences of the ingredients and therefore demand several, not everything needs to be a strenuous production, not every spell is a goetic summoning. In regional and folk witchcraft, there’s a simplicity to them with practices that are so small they become ingrained in everyone as superstitions. Tossing salt over your shoulder, painting the porch ceiling faint blue, sprinkling a pinch of cinnamon out the window, all those little things. I really think that is the core of magic, a collection of little things that ease the way and blend witchcraft into everyday life.

D – In the foreword of Pastel Spells, you mention “blowing out birthday candles and hoping it would draw whatever student I had a crush on that week closer”, it seems that you have been practicing magic from a young age. How old were you when you started practicing?

R – Ooh, hard to put a number on that. I think children tend to believe in a more fairy-tale idea of magic being inherent in the world, and as a child I really tried to hold onto that. It was definitely somewhere in high school I discovered witchcraft was practiced by real people in real life, and I began to ease into that.

D – Out of all the spells listed in Pastel Spells, do you have a favorite one or one that you seem to cast more than others?

R – I think it’s called the “sweet and salty love spell”, probably because I have all the ingredients on my desk. It happens more by accident than anything else, I think to myself I’ll do a little impromptu magic, cobble together some things within reach, and then oh dear I’ve made that one again, sugar, salt, and rose petals. It’s a weird habit now and I’m too embarrassed to count how many jars of that I have lying around.

D – Of Witchcraft and Whimsy is listed as a beginner’s guide to witchcraft but it is truly more than that. What were you hoping to accomplish with this book?

R – Honestly all I ever intended it to be was just a beginner’s guide. It was a summation of the general basics that seemed to be agreed upon the pagan and witchy people I’d come across, a series of notes and a rundown of topics in witchcraft that I might as well put together. It still doesn’t feel like much of a book to me, maybe a pamphlet. Someone remarked to me that it felt like a very brief overview on a bunch of smaller topics, and I wish I had put more into it and gone into the depth each topic deserved.

D – One of my favorite sections is on coffee, tea, hot chocolate and infused water. “There are plenty of ways to work a little magic into your day without doing a full-on ritual…”, this is a great reminder that spells can be very simple but effective. Do you have a go to drink concoction that you use daily?

R – It’s a little silly but the two main things in my life I focus on are my projects and love in all things, so coffee with chocolate. That’s a Capricorn sun and moon in the fifth house for you. Also doesn’t hurt that it’s just a good drink.

D – Witchcraft is never just white and black, and there are many different areas, sects, and branches. However, witchcraft always seems to teach us something. What is the biggest lesson that witchcraft has taught you?

R – The power of names and the act of naming something. Those hold more weight than we think, but rarely do we take on the power of naming, of deciding and designating, but it definitely starts when someone first chooses to call themself a witch. That’s the beginning of discovering what personal agency is, and it lends to just how much control you have over yourself, inside and out, that I don’t think we’re ever reminded to stop and consider.

D – If you could give a beginner a piece of advice, what would it be?

R – Well, a question I get a lot is always where specifically to start, so I’d say to take time to assess what you are already, because the dearest parts of your craft will grow from what’s already in you, whether they were childhood superstitions, or a topic you’ve always found fascinating. Your craft isn’t a performance for other people, it’s a celebration of yourself, and an exercise in introspection.

D – In Pastel Spells you mention a blog. How can people get in touch with you?

R – The easiest way might be my blog Orriculum.tumblr.com, but there is also an email Orriculum.rose@gmail.com.

 

We’d like to thank the beautiful Rose Orriculum for sharing some of herself with us and our readers!

 

Where You can reach Rose Orriculum:

Email: Orriculum.rose@gmail.com

Tumblr Blog: Tumblr

YouTube Channel: YouTube Channel

Etsy: Etsy

 

Her Works:

Of Witchcraft and Whimsy: A Beginner’s Guide to Basic Witchcraft on Amazon

Pastel Spells on Amazon

Book Review – In Focus Meditation: Your Personal Guide by Jacqueline Towers

October, 2018

In Focus: Meditation

Your Personal Guide

 

by Jacqueline Towers

© Zambezi Publishing Ltd.

imprint of Quarto Group

page count 144

One of the first things Ms. Towers says about meditations is “meditations aren’t something you need to work because they just start” I like the way this book is laid out, Ms. Towers has done an excellent job of presenting this material.

In the first chapter, entitled “About Meditation,” Ms. Towers lists 12 benefits of meditation and eight different techniques. Of the eight different methods of meditation, not all of them require you to quiet your mind. (Which is a good thing, because I never have a quiet mind.) In chapter 3 on equipment and products for meditation, the author lists a few meditation cushions or zafus that you can use. In chapter 3, she also includes a list of incense or essences, and these she has broken down into wood or mineral, fruit or plant.

Chapters 4 through 15 are about the different types of meditations. Ms. Towers has them broken down, in such a way that if you are looking for a meditation on chakras, or knowledge, or angelic, or emotional, they are easy to find. One of the meditations in chapter 7 that I found interesting was the Flower of Life. I have several flowers of life around my desk where I work, and where I do most of my reading, so it was easy for me to envision this image while meditating.

In chapter 12, Ms. Towers starts talking about psychic techniques, and how meditation can help you heighten them. The author also talks about how psychics use meditation before doing readings. Chapter 13, Ms. Towers writes about using a meditation to do a past life regression. While reading this meditation, I went into the meditation and was able to explore part of a past life that comes to me during a dream. So, I can say without a doubt, this meditation works.

In chapter 14 Ms. Towers covers mindfulness meditation. The author includes information about mindfulness, yoga, and even doing a meditation upon the five principles of Reiki. Within the five principles of Reiki meditation, the author breaks it down even further into helping you meditate on why you may have an issue with one of the five principles.

In the last chapter, chapter 15, Ms. Towers has a meditation with candles. In this meditation. She explains how the flames may behave during your meditation and what that can mean for you. She also covers Christian contemplation, Buddhist meditation, cosmic ordering, and astral travel. In Focus Your Guide to Meditation is a well-written book, and it’s laid out intuitively. I’m glad I can add it to my library, I hope you will be too.

In Focus Meditation

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About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

Book Review – In Focus Palmistry: Your Personal Guide by Roberta Vernon

October, 2018

In Focus Palmistry

Your Personal Guide

by Roberta Vernon

© Zambezi Publishing Ltd.

First published in 2018 by Wellfleet Press

an imprint of the Quarto group

page count 160

Ms. Vernon has written a very interesting book on palmistry\and reading. This is the subject, that honestly, I have enough knowledge on to fill a thimble. So for me, this book was really interesting. Ms. Vernon talks about looking at the whole hand when doing a palm reading.

I like the way Ms. Vernon breaks this book down, she has a chapter for fingers, thumbs, the lines, mounds, and marks, colors, and warts. The writing of the book helps you to integrate everything that you read in the book. I found that as I read each entry on the hands, it helped to then look at my own hands to see if I could find what I had just read on my own hands.

I had heard about elements in astrology and other areas, but I’d never really heard about them in palmistry. But again, as I said what I know about palmistry will fill a thimble. The author also reminds people to read both hands, and to read both sides of the hand. Ms. Vernon points out there are four distinct and different areas of the hands to read. There is the palm of the hand, which is divided into two sides (Radial and Ulna), and the back of the hand.

Ms. Vernon packs a lot of information into the rest of the book. When it comes to talking about the different planetary rulers of the mounds on the hand, she’s very insightful without being dry. The chapter on the fingers, goes into depth in areas I had not heard about before. She devotes a different chapter to each of the major lines on the hand. She even has a chapter devoted to the minor lines on the palm of the hand.

The last few chapters in the book are where Ms. Vernon shares information that some may find interesting. She talks about how different signs, i.e.; squares, stars, and triangles can appear on the hand and what they mean. She even talks about warts on the hand and the different meanings they hold depending on what area of the hand they appear. In the chapter on skin ridge patterns, she has a funny story and that’s well worth reading. Ms. Vernon concludes the chapter on how to tell the health of the client whose hand you are reading. (She even gives some sound advice on how to broach what it is you see in the hand.)

Ms. Vernon closes the book in much the same way she opened it, she states, “hand reading does give information about the future, that within certain limitation because the whole of one’s life is shown in one’s hand, so questions about a current situation can be hard to answer. Most palmist, however, quickly develop a bit of intuition and even a psychic nudge as they learn the art of reading hands.” This book is truly about reading a client’s hand, you bring the intuition yourself.

 

In Focus Palmistry: Your Personal Guide

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About the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Readings-by-Dawn-1608860142735781/

Sacred Place, Sacred Space

March, 2018

LABYRINTHS

(Photo Credit: almanac.com)

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The point of a maze is to find its’ center.

The point of a labyrinth is to find your center.

– Unknown

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Labyrinths are found in more places than I originally thought. While I have a finger labyrinth, I had not given labyrinths, in general, much thought. However, as they have come up for me in my own personal soul work, I chose to look into them a bit further.

A labyrinth is a single path that tends to curl in on itself and always leads to the center. The center of what is up to each individual person who undertakes that journey. They date back at least 4,000 years ago.

They are associated with spiritual, religious and magical undertakings. They can be a place of ritual and other personal ceremonies.

Even though the words are used interchangeably, a labyrinth is quite different from a maze. A maze is set up to confuse you and trick you into thinking you are moving toward the center when you are most likely headed toward a dead end. Labyrinths are for meditation, reflection and contemplation. For most, it is a personal journey.

There are several different types of labyrinths – 11 circuits, 15 circuits, concentric – but all have the same purpose, to aid in personal and spiritual growth.

While they are abundant in all parts of the world, these are just a few of them. Links will follow on how you can find a labyrinth near you, if you choose.

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A labyrinth is a spiritual journey……but it is a map we can really walk on,

blurring the difference between map and world.

-Rebecca Solnit, “Wanderlust, A History of Walking”

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(Photo Credit: crusaderhistory.wordpress.com)

CHARTRES LABYRINTH, CHARTRES, FRANCE

Found at the Chartres Cathedral, this rose labyrinth dates back to 1205.

It is a single path that curls, turning back and forth on itself within

a 40-foot circle.

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(Photo Credit: smithsonianmag.com)

Photo by Andrew Gurthrie

DUNURE CASTLE, SCOTLAND

This rock labyrinth dates back to the 13th century.

It is not only beside a beach, but in view of the Dunure Castle ruins.

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(Photo Credit: www.smithsonianmag.com)

THE EDGE, HOGSBACK, SOUTH AFRICA

A one-mile long labyrinth located at The Edge Retreat. The town itself is famous for attracting, yogis and yoginis, crystal healers and spiritual seekers.

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(Photo Credit: listserve.com)

LABYRINTH OF THE BLUE VIRGIN

Located off the coast of Sweden on an uninhabited island is this labyrinth.

It was already there in the 18th century. It is believed from archeological dating that rituals were held in the nearby caves back to 7,000 BCE.

It also has a history of curses, the supernatural and witches. You might find yourself having extreme bad luck if you take one of the stones from the labyrinth site.

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With a labyrinth, you make a choice to go in –

and once you have chosen, around and around you go.

But you always find your way to the center.

— Jeff Bridges

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(Photo Credit: www.aruba-travelguide.com)

ARUBA PEACE LABYRINTH

Based on the Chartres model, it is located at the Alto Vista Chapel and on the front gate is a pole with the words, “May Peace Prevail on Earth”.

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(Photo Credit: smithsonianmag.com)

DAMME PRIORY, DAMME, GERMANY

Owned by the Munsterschwarzach Abbey, which also owns another nearby labyrinth, you find yourself walking through a rock path, surrounded by trees in the middle of the woods

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I thought of a labyrinth of labyrinths, of one sinuous spreading labyrinth that would encompass the past and the future and in some way involve the stars.

— Jorge Luis Borges, “The Garden of Forking Paths”

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(Photo Credit: thegreenrevolution.it)

REIGNAC SUR INDRE, FRANCE

This is the largest garden labyrinth in the world!

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(Photo Credit: uncharted101.com)

REDSUN LABYRINTH, VICTOR, MONTANA, USA

This labyrinth pattern was made with 25 tons of

fieldstone!

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To enter a labyrinth is to choose to walk a

spiritual path.

— Reverend Dr. Lauren, ress Grace Cathedral

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(Photo Credit: Susan Morgaine)

DUNCAN CONFERENCE CENTER, DELRAY BEACH, FL

I was fortunate enough to visit the Duncan Conference Center in FL recently.

There are two labyrinths located there.

The outdoor one, pictured above, is quiet and peaceful.

The indoor one is located within The Schofield Chapel, pictured below, is absolutely gorgeous.

(Photo Credit: southfloridafoodandwine.com)

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I have found that there are at least three labyrinths near me, which I have plans to visit once it warms up a bit here in New England. If you feel that you would like to find one near you, both of these websites (with which I have absolutely NO connection) will help you find one:

www.labyrinthlocator.com

www.labyrinthsociety.org

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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 Womens 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

For Amazon Information Click Image

 

Spiritual Warrior Woman

February, 2017

As I write this, it is the middle of January, 2017. It is a cold, dreary, overcast day in Massachusetts. A perfect day to journal, to meditate, to contemplate.

warrior1

It is also the week of the inauguration of a president-elect that many, many people feel is repugnant, an insult to the office of President. I must say that I am one of those people. Everything I stand for and believe in runs completely counter to what that man represents.

I have been on my spiritual path for four decades; yes, 40 years. I am a daughter of the Goddess. I love my path. I love my Goddess. I love to meditate; I taught Kundalini Yoga and Meditation to women for years. I taught about the Goddess through the art of belly dance. I am a healer, a Reiki Master and a Crystal Healer. All of this, I did, and do, in the name of the Goddess.

Women, just by the nature of their being, are Warriors. We come into a world that is ready to beat us down simply for being female. We are taught to act a certain way; to be quiet, not loud; dress to look like a lady, not a woman, not a whore; don’t swear; don’t try to get ahead in your job because you will be seen as aggressive, a bitch. We walk down a street and men feel they can say the most disgusting things to us by virtue of the fact that they are men, and we are not. This does not even take into account the physical fear that we deal with on a daily basis, because we are Woman.

The man who has been elected to the highest office in the US is the personification of what a woman fears, what a woman hates; he triggers us with his misogyny and predatory sexism. He is the type of man who brings out the Warrior in a certain type of woman.

There are those, women included, that feel that you cannot fight for what you believe, stand up for your principles, and still be a feminine woman. Not only that, but fighting back is the “dark side” of the spiritual coin. Who wants to go to the dark side? I do, and many are there right along with me.

Politically speaking, to some, this week feels like Darkness personified. Many fear the path the world, in general, and the US, specifically, seems to be traveling. Many different communities are feeling afraid, confused as to what their future will hold.

So, yes, it is dark. But it does not make me weak. It makes me strong

Yes, it is dark. We should look that dark right in the face and confront it.

Yes, it is dark, but cliche as it is, you cannot have the light without the dark.

As women, we have all spent time in the darkness, whether by choice as it was dictated by our spiritual path, or because we fell into the darkness due to life’s circumstances. But whatever reason we were there, alone, in the dark, whether we embraced it or fought it, we learned from it. Take the knowledge, the wisdom that you have acquired on your path and apply it to what is in front of you. What have you learned in the darkness that you can bring into the light?

Maybe the country, the world, is seeking the magic that we, as women, hold. Maybe, we were born for this time, this reason, to fight the darkness that threatens to overcome.

These are the times that our faith in the Goddess comes to the fore. We may see what is happening and feel helpless and/or hopeless. But we are neither. We have faith, which makes us strong. We are women with an inbred indomitable Warrior spirit. As women, we become warriors in the fight for what is right and what is good.

So, for myself, I will take the dark and use it to fuel the flame that brings the light to the fight. I will be a Warrior. A Beautiful, Spiritual Woman Warrior!

warrior2

Finding the Pagan Way

May, 2015

This month, I want to talk about healing, drumming, and an amazing personal experience that involves both activities. Tina and I have been drumming for several years now, travelling to venues around Lincolnshire and demonstrating Shamanic Drumming.

Many people have reported good effects and inner experiences which have helped them in their lives. I saw Tina trance many times and manifest her guide, Nicholas Black Elk.

I even had an hour long training session with him at Cleethorpes beach in Lincolnshire,- when He/Tina demonstrated many variations of the basic shamanic beat and left me exhausted from trying to keep up!

When I started writing these articles, it was with the foolish notion that there were few surprises left in store for me. I have always wanted to write, but I have never maintained the effort for long enough to accomplish much until a few years ago. I started to showcase my poetry online because I was impelled to do so by Spirit, and I had thought no further about my writing than that.

Then, as I have mentioned in an earlier article , I was cajoled into contacting Bill Oliver ( boysoblue.com) by a well known local medium, Eileen Akrill. From the Muse was born, and shortly afterwards, we had the artwork and manuscript ready for our first book, “The Faery Realms” (soon to be released) by Galde Press.

Almost two years ago, I had some terrifying news. After months of arguments and insistence by Tina, I went to the doctor to get treatment for a cough that would not clear.

I was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

I was not long married, and had I realised in time that I was so ill, I would have cancelled our ritual of handfasting. As it was, Tina was amazing, as always, so I swallowed my dread of the future and I pressed on.

I realised that I could not work for too many more years as a welder and metal fabricator and I put much more effort into my writing.

In the past year, Bill and I revamped the Faery Realms and collected enough material for several other books. We are waiting on the publication of the “Faery Realms” before deciding how to proceed with them. I was anxious to write as much as possible while my health was still good.

About one month ago, I received a phone call from the doctor’s that left me in a state of shock. However, my story starts a little further back in time….

Faery Healing

Sparkling lights that fly and flicker in the corners of your eyes.

Clouds of butterflies that rise in multi coloured clouds into a pale blue sky.

Shivers softly spread across a cloud of daisies on a sunny day.

Blossoms blow like warm pink snow and decorate the hedgerows,-

That the faeries blessed to bring the little creatures rest,

So many years ago.

Can’t you hear them laughing in the wind?

Chattering with the magpies and engaged in huddled whispers with the trees.

Listen to the happy songs of faeries singing in the breeze.

Watch them flitting by, as laughingly they chase the last of winters leaves.

Let their laughter chase away your troubles,

As they fill your heart with ease.

When the warmer days allow,

Stretch out on the leafy ground beneath a shady bough.

Feel the winter darkness drain into the soft and yielding earth.

Let the fairies fill your heart with joy, and all the sadness of the winter fly,

Let the pains and strains of life just gently flow away.

Let your world begin again , and start afresh, a brand new day.

Patrick W Kavanagh 09/03/2015

paganway1

 

By: Boy So Blue Graphic s and photography

 

An amazing experience

About eight weeks ago we were having a small drumming circle at a friends house. Most people there had been members of the “Spirit of the Drum” group since its creation. We also had a friend of our hosts who had previously trained with a shaman and who had just joined our group after attending several of our Open Drumming Circles. After we have raised the energy with drumming, we usually take turns to sit in the centre and receive healing from the group.

I do not often volunteer, but on this particular night I did. Our new member said that he would take the healing and I sat in the centre and closed my eyes. Often, people have visions and journeys during the healing, but although I was not in a normal state of consciousness, I was very aware of everything happening in the room.

I was surprised to hear strange voices around me. I was convinced that I had an aboriginal gentleman chanting and dancing in a circle around me. I saw a creature appear in front of me, which I later realised was a bush baby. Then someone I took to be a South American witchdoctor or shaman ( by the sound of their voice) started to pull something from my lungs. I was very curious at this stage, as only Tina and my doctor knew of my illness. When I eventually opened my eyes.. Our new member looked like a completely different person for a moment. Then I slowly came back to normal awareness.

About three days later, I realised that I had not been coughing or wheezing since the healing. I had a strong feeling that I had to stop smoking. It was like a quiet voice in my head telling me that I had a good reason to stop. So I did. It took several weeks to arrange an appointment and have my breathing checked. My initial results came back normal, and I asked if I could stop taking the respirator. I was told I had to keep taking it as my condition is incurable.

Then a week later, the doctor’s office phoned to tell me to stop taking the medication as, having examined all the results,- it seems that I do not appear to have the disease. They recommended that I pick up another type of inhaler as a standby, in case I ever had a relapse. But, told me to stop taking any treatment.

The reality of having more time to live a full life has slowly dawned on me over this past month.

I had not realised how much the shadow of sickness, and a slow death, had preyed on my mind.

Spirit of the Drum will be making even more vigorous efforts to spread our message of spirituality without dogma. As the years go on, we will make every effort to share our experiences of the power of the drum for healing and enlightenment.

Of this, I am very certain….

Sleeping Hearts.

In the misty forests from our memories and dreams,

The lives of ancient ages are relived, as worry fades away.

The balance that we lost so long ago is once again returned.

Our sleeping hearts are healed to help us face the coming day.

Stay a while and let your spirit play among the joyful Fae.

Running barefoot through the ever-morning mist.

Who could ever love this daylight world where greed holds away,

Once we have but tasted, just a single faery kiss.

Let us watch the sun arise once more, above the mystic western shore.

Tinkling laughter in the shelter of the trees, and fragrant blossoms scent the breeze,

Jewelled webs adorn the daisy chains as sunlight sparkles on the fields.

Our child-like eyes absorb the beauty all around, and all the peace this faery land can yield.

Rest a little while as tiny angels dance in joyful circles in the rising light.

Let their music fill your heart and fill your soul with healing light.

Join in with the dance and let your body glow with pure delight.

Hand in hand we spin and spin, and weave the faery spell to heal all wrongs,

For here among the gentle Fae, is truly where our sleeping heart belongs.

Patrick W Kavanagh

27/09/2014

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Picture by Bill Oliver (Boy So Blue Graphic s)

Finding the Pagan Way

April, 2015

I was sitting and gazing out across the fields this morning in the bright sunshine. My mind was wandering,- as it often does, and I was pondering on the concept of “Faith “ or “Belief”.
Many years ago, as a Christian child, “Faith” was deemed a very important thing to have.
We were expected to accept everything we were told, “on Faith”,- even though those individuals who held themselves up as examples were very obviously flawed. In the end I simply accepted that those who were in charge of my education were somewhat lacking in honesty.
I looked it up in the dictionary, later on today. According to the Oxford Dictionary,- “Faith is the… “Strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof”.
For most of my life, I have refused to take anything on faith. This, more than anything, has fuelled my journey towards paganism.

Why am I a pagan? I am a pagan because the mainstream explanations for what I see and feel and hear, have never fully satisfied me. They always seem to ask me to abandon my intellect at some stage, in order to fully accept their view of the cosmos. I am not denigrating the beliefs of others when I say this. I am simply explaining why I must chose a different path. My path is right for me, but it may not be helpful to the person next to me. We can only understand those things we are ready to understand, and only in the terms with which we are familiar.
I grew up in a world of faeries and fortune tellers. We sat around, as children, and listened to real-life ghost stories. I heard my own mum tell people things which she had no logical way of knowing. She even foretold very specific events in my own future which came to pass. Even as a child, I was no stranger to the operation of “Spirit” in the everyday lives of very ordinary people.
Omens and dreams were taken very seriously and it was impossible to separate out the real cause of unfortunate incidences which followed various “bad omens”.
To hear trusted relatives speak of ghostly happenings was much more convincing that anything that was read in a book or heard in the classroom. It was quite chilling to hear about the howl of the ‘Black Dog’ being heard, just before the passing of a neighbour into spirit. Yet in a strange way it was comforting to get even that vague sense of the connectedness of the world. I did not “believe” that ghosts existed,- I knew they did. This knowledge was based on my own experience and the testimony of trusted people.
My favourite story was one told by my mum and her sister, my aunt ‘Cissie’.
They were crossing the little bridge near my grandmothers flat in Ringsend, Dublin one night, when they were teenagers. Two sailors were sitting on the handrail and hailed them as they passed. I cannot remember the words spoken,- I think it was just light banter, and they walked on by. For some reason,- just as they passed them, they realised at the same time that the sailors had been dressed as ‘old tars’ and they turned around to find that they had vanished.
So many of the people I knew could see spirit, that I never thought of it as anything but natural.
Life was hard and often short, and more children died than survived. There was comfort in the church and its rituals, so we walked both worlds and never questioned the possible conflicts.

Be Gentle

Be gentle with your heart,
The world can change within a single beat.
Tread lightly in the world,
And treat with kindness, all the people you may meet.

Wisdom costs us dearly,
The price we have to pay,- we pay in sorrow and in loss.
And all the times we try,- we ask ourselves the reason why,
But still we carry on the burden of survival, for the sake of those we love.
And gaze in silent question at the grey and silent sky.

Rage against the storms that carry all we love away.
Turn your back against the setting sun that leaves us cold, or hungry or alone at end of day.
Shake your fist and cry out to the moon,- howling out with sorrow like the solitary wolf.
Touch the earth with dewy tears as sunrise makes us face another day.
But still the earth will turn and we will heal,- for that is nature’s way.

Patrick W Kavanagh
27/12/2013

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{Picture by Tina Kavanagh}

I realised that belief had a strong causal effect on life, but I felt that to abandon rationality was to abandon all hope of ever truly understanding the cosmos. I experimented with divination. “Cheiro’s Secrets of the Hand” was fascinating and fun. But, I never got around to practising it enough to become proficient at it. My biggest shock was when I tried to use the ‘I Ching’. I used coins instead of yarrow stalks, yet time after time, it was both very apt, and pretty specific within reason,- given the huge cultural change since it had last been added to.
Then, in my twelfth year, I bought a pack of Tarot cards. I had taken an after-school job in a local pub as a bar waiter, after my dad’s passing, and I now had the money to buy all the books and curiosities that were not available in the libraries. It was a deck by Richard Gardner, and both the cards and his books were to have a huge impact on my life.
I offered to give a reading for my oldest sister, Anne, at her home. My sister-in-law, turned up and asked for a reading. With the instruction book in one hand, I read for her, and told her that she would move home within one week. At the time she was living in a small flat across the road from my sisters cottage. She laughed at the reading and explained that she was on a very long waiting list, so I shuffled and read the cards again and got the same message. She left in good mood,- still laughing at my prediction. The following Monday she received an offer of a house.
I became a minor celebrity after that, and requests for readings came rolling in on a regular basis.

I found myself in the strange position of giving successful readings without really knowing how, or why it even worked. Having abandoned all association with the church, and all thoughts of becoming a priest,- I was faced with the uncomfortable knowledge that something intangible, but powerful, was still working in my life. My dearest wish was to step away from any form of spirituality or restriction, but to do so, I felt that I had to find some rational explanation for what was happening.
In many ways I was angry with the world for the death of my father. I did not want to find that there was a god to deal with or rules to be obeyed. I had even forgotten, somehow, that I had grown up in a world where magic was an everyday event. I had forgotten the ghosts and the faeries and the Banshee.
I had forgotten my vision of the Goddess in her aspect of “Our Lady of Sorrows.
I spent the next fifteen years in attempting to ‘debunk’ my own talents and every belief system that I encountered. I tested and analysed every spiritual encounter, despite being saved and warned on many occasions, by what I now realise was a guiding spirit.
Finally at the age of twenty seven, I visited my dad’s grave for the first time ever. Finally, I was ready to let go of the terrible anger for the imagined desertion. It was the beginning of a long slow process of healing and learning.

Childhoods Dream.

Twinkling eyes that shimmer like a dew drop on a sunlit rose.
In my mind I hear the singing of the birds to greet the day.
As if I shared the magic and the mystery that live in childhood dreams.
As If I was still young enough to know what magic means.

The magic of a butterfly with eyes upon her wings.
The ladybird that creeps along your finger-tips before she flies away.
The wonder of a robin as the winter turns to spring.
The mystery of all the colours of a sunset at the end of fun-filled days.

Every rainbow hides a tiny pot of faery gold.
Every tree a perilous ascent to castles in the sky.
Every patch of shrub’s a forest,- with a story to be told.
Every woodland trail a huge adventure waiting to unfold.

Would that I still had such twinkling eyes,
Living in a world of endless mystery and play.
Would that I still gazed in wonder at the evening skies.
What sweet amazing dreams I’d have to share with you each day.

Patrick W Kavanagh
06/05/2014

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By Bill Oliver boysoblue.com

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

November, 2014

Yule Part 1

Bright Blessings,
I am writing two Yule articles. The first is unresearched and lacking history or citation of sources. I’m struggling with mono right now and not only is my energy sapped, but my concentration is completely blown. This article will be a personal essay and the next will be filled with all the good well-researched stuff. If I keep it interesting, maybe our editors and admins will be magnanimous and forgive me for straying from assignment this time. Pretty please?
By the time you read this, you will likely be in the frenzy of Yule Planning as well as caught up in the responsibilities of being an American at Christmastime. Weather may be icy and nasty. Days are short and nights long. Energy levels drop with less vitamin D absorption from the sun, and vitamin supplements just are not the same! Even though- there is so very much for you to do!!!!!
shopping. Costly and you find yourself entangled in traffic and swimming in agitated, angry shoppers who may resort to mob violence, and pick merchandise right out of your buggy and stuff it into their own. I knew a girl who had this happen to her, and she snarled they better put that toy back because she was a witch, and she could curse them!!!!!!!!! It worked. My friend’s kid got the toy and the other shopper ran like mad out of the store.
Tree trimming. You might be like some of us, and make your own ornaments. Or your own gifts to give loved ones. If this is the case, you better start crafting and baking a few months in advance. And gather those supplies maybe five months in advance if you don’t want to fight a throng or run out of what you need!
Hanging lights outside your house and in the yard.
Scheduling attendance at Sabbat or officiating or hosting dinners or parties. Plan your menu weeks in advance, and depending on your crowd and or family, you may have some fun stories. My favorite is the green bean casserole story. My mom wanted to prepare the green bean casserole one year. One of my aunts told mom people expected HER to, not my mom. My uncle decided to speak up and say “Nobody ever remembers that I like rice!” My aunt, not missing a beat, turned to him and said “Boy, you just HAD to get your dig in, didn’t you?” Me and mom brought the rice that year, my aunt made the green bean casserole, and everybody was happy! I am reminded of the year the master bedroom closet collapsed days before I was to host dinner. Naturally, I called a closet installer and left a message. The day of the holiday came, and I was up to my ears preparing what was to be the FIRST holiday dinner for my first husband’s family. I really wanted to please them all, and insisted on preparing everything from scratch- I even made my own pie crusts that year! I was scared stiff! In the middle of the cooking frenzy, the phone rang, and it was none other than the closet installer, insisting I drop what I was doing and set up an appointment. Dinner went down nicely, but not before I took all my frustrations out on the overly ambitious salesperson. I was all of 22.
Then comes planning Twelfth Night and the days leading up to it as well as New Year’s Festivities.
Some of you may even be dreading duties to non-Pagan family members who do not share or understand your faith, and expect you to ACT Christian for attendance at their Christmas festivities.
This may include dressing up, traveling, and or attendance at their churches where you are asking your gods and guides to please keep you from bursting into flames for another year!
This is all enough to make some folks wish they could be like TV witches and at the snap of their fingers be halfway through January already and bypass every little thing that November 1 through mid January brings.
Some of you LOVE all of this and absolutely LIVE for the winter holidays.
I am sure that you can tell I am not one of those people.
Not only did I appoint myself host for as many gatherings as I could, I did Activities in Nursing Homes. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years was always the busiest time of year at work. We decorated “everything that did not move” as one lady said. We hired a Santa Claus or “appointed” one from the staff. Nobody will ever forget the year I, a woman had to be Santa because none of the men, except our 499 pound volunteer, Ricky, who the costume did not fit, wanted the part. We bought gifts for each of the residents, organized countless parties, invited many many carolers and Church groups in, had open houses for the families, and some years, even did fund raisers for local charitable organizations.
Then I started studying to be a High Priestess, which meant hosting Yule Sabbat. I also studied in a band, and made holiday gifts for the band members. I made all the decorations for my home and yard. I would personally drive out to all friends’ houses and give them gifts I had for them. I sent Holiday Cards to all the folks I knew and loved. Some years, I hosted, and also drove to my stubborn mother’s house on the day of the holiday when she did not want to leave her house.
I did not take off any time from work at all. And somehow, it all got done.
It got to be quite a lot, as you can imagine.
The longer I was Pagan, the more the years changed me. Or maybe as I got OLDER, I changed. I stopped enjoying all the hustle and bustle and frankly, felt stressed and exhausted by the expectations I had created others to have of me. I began to dread November 1 at work because the very moment that day came, it was a mad dash to get through the Holidays. It seemed like no matter how many gifts I got my residents, some Administrator or family member yelled for more. I almost always had to work Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve, and New Years Day too. There were Residents who had no family for various reasons, and Activities filled in and did what little good we could to make holidays less painful.
Besides that, my own family started fighting for me. Some of my family members refused to accept I wanted to take turns spending time with them and my husband’s family, and I never heard the end of it. While I eventually put my foot down, and went one place or the other rather than to multiple households if I was not hosting, certain family members never forgave me, and seemingly, carried a grudge to the grave.
It was also quite expensive buying for so many people, and mailing cards out cost more each year as I made more friends. We got as many cards and gifts as we sent out, of course, but these things were just things and did not prove friendship.
One year, I just gave up decorating the house and yard. After doing so very much at work, the last thing I wanted to do was come home and look at more decorations I’d have to labor to put out and labor to put away.
Quite frankly, I hated the holidays.
After my initiation into Wicca, I decided to change my holiday traditions.
First off, I told my husband- husband number two, that is- he could decorate and tear down all he wanted, but all I was doing was lights outside and one tree inside. Previous years I’d strung garlands and had centerpieces and knick knacks everyplace like my mom had. Decorations had been left up for about two months. My tree ornaments fit into a shoe box, and I set the tree skirt and tree topper atop this box when I store it in the closet. The tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving and goes out to the curb no more than a week after New Year’s Day.
I stopped sending cards cold turkey. I told my loved ones I love them, but I do not send cards. I also stopped giving gifts, and I told them I love them but gifts are not affordable and I love them all year round. As a result, we get few cards, and the gifts I give go to our parents and to my husband. Nobody has ever gotten angry at me for this. As a result, I do not have to fight the throngs at the stores and get stressed or go broke shopping. I stay out of stores, except the one I work in almost entirely from November 1 through mid-January.
I visit my family in the space of the time between Thanksgiving and January 1. The huge gatherings where attendance was mandatory or else you got a tongue lashing disappeared as my family members aged and mellowed.
Hosting Yule has always been easy because it is ritual and potluck. If we exchange gifts, we just do the White Elephant game and spend under $10 per person.
I also no longer work in Nursing Homes. After eleven and a half years, I “retired” and took a job in retail as a cashier. Sure, I get the occasional customer who can get kind of evil from their own holiday stress, but they are in and out of my life in less than five minutes- or even less if the transaction is faster.
Casting off all the secular distractions that were only exhausting me, and quite frankly, were neither appreciated sometimes, nor necessary had one unified result. I was able to focus on the religious observances I very badly needed but was lacking. I had to un-learn years of bad conditioning partly caused by anxiously and blindly obeying clever advertizing, and partly caused by trying to appease other people who were both anxiously and blindly obeying clever advertizing.
Giving thanks for all we have, celebrating life in the early to mid winter, and celebrating WITH one another had nothing at all to do with decorations, gifts, or special foods. I realized, though, the reason people want to do special things to make a big deal out of it all. Because WHAT we are celebrating is beyond important. It is more sacred than sacred. It is our connection with one another, and all these years, while I was racing to make it special for other people, I somehow failed to see how special the other people were.
I hear stories from a lot of people who say they feel the same. In the frenzy to make the winter holidays “perfect”, we sometimes wind up ruining them. If I was able to cast off the things that ruined the holidays for me, I know anybody can.
There were a couple of Yules when I lived alone and was not hosting Sabbat. What I did was have a big bonfire (in the fire pit, okay it was not THAT big!) after saluting the sun, and pouring offerings into the ground- oftentimes alcohol! I smudged the whole house, and spent quiet time alone and ate whatever I pleased. These personal rituals meant so much more to me and made me feel so much more connected to the gods than any of the secular observances.
The purpose of the holidays is to make us feel close to the gods and to each other, not be times when we accumulate things. I have found modern day observances focused on lining some CEO’s pockets in exchange for things we do not need, and oftentimes fight over completely defeats the purpose.
I hope all of you can have Winter Holidays that are as meaningful to you as mine are to me, now. There is not any right way to celebrate them except what is right for you. The second article I write will focus on historic observations with some suggestions for ritual you may like.
Until next time, Blessed Holidays, and Blessed Be.

The Tree of Life

July, 2013

A Personal Wheel of the Year

 

I love the quarterly and cross-quarterly days that make up the Pagan Wheel of the Year – Samhain, Yule, Imbolg, Spring Equinox, Beltane, Litha, Lughnasadh, Autumn Equinox and back to Samhain again. The yearly cycle is a great excuse for seasonal celebrations – and a comforting reminder during difficult times that life goes on. Noticing the Wheel turn is a great exercise in keeping in touch with the natural world. Knowing that Imbolg is just around the corner you are on the lookout for the first signs of spring. At Litha you notice the long sunny days; at Lughnasadh the grain ripening in the fields has special significance and at Samhain both you and the Earth hunker down in preparation for the onset of winter.

 

But the quarterly and cross-quarterly days are just the beginning. Depending on their path, Pagans may celebrate – or at least mark in some way – many other days such as full moons, new moons or  the festival day of a particular deity, or honoured ancestor. Earth Day is now popular with many Pagans, who use it as a reason to get out and do something practical (litter picking, tree planting), or hold a ritual to honour our Mother Earth – or both!

 

I believe we should each create our own unique and personal Wheel of the Year, taking the eight main festivals as a starting point and adding dates meaningful to us as a way to really embody the Wheel in our lives. Possible additions to your Wheel could be (as previously mentioned) based on the lunar cycle, deity feast days or Earth Day. Or how about birthdays (of your Tradition’s founder, your Beloved Dead, or coven or family members), the anniversary of the date your group first met, the date a local harvest begins (Strawberries? Apples? Almonds? Olives? Honey?) or the date the first bread, or beer, or wine is produced from this year’s harvest. Local festivals could be incorporated too – does your town have an annual carnival, or country fair? Or maybe something more unique and distinctive like a folk custom or celebration of a local hero/hera. You can also make a point of noting and celebrating, say, the time of year that a migrant bird species arrives in your area, the leaves return to (or fall from) the trees or the first roses appear.

 

While developing your Wheel, you may like to make a visual representation to refer to. A circle divided into ‘pie slice’ sections is one way. Divide the circle into 8 equally spaced  sections first, for the quarterly and cross quarterly days, and then add more spaces for your chosen meaningful dates. Alternatively you could use a perpetual calendar or book of days as a starting point (note that if you want to add moon dates you will need to make a fresh chart each year as the lunar year and solar year are not synchronised). Your Wheel of the Year chart can be decorated with artwork, photographs, feathers, shells, beads, ribbons, tiny crystals, pressed flowers, leaves and herbs… let your imagination inspire you. You could also add information on seasonal changes in the natural world, astrological or astronomical information, folklore, herblore, weather patterns etc.

 

As your relationship with the Wheel of the Year develops and grows, you will no doubt discover or create rituals to mark the passage of the seasons and important dates. You may like to keep a special book of these – or perhaps a ring-binder so that the contents can be added to or adapted over time. Favourite rituals repeated year on year deepen in meaning, becoming cherished traditions in their own right.  Along with your Wheel of the Year chart the information will become a valuable resource and perhaps even a treasured heirloom to be passed on to your family or coven.

 

You can build on and adapt your Wheel over time. Gradually you will find you have created a rich and uniquely meaningful tapestry that is woven into and through the fabric of your daily life, bringing the sacred into your routine, adding significance to every day. Each of us will find we have some dates and practices in common with other Pagans and some which are special just to us. We are in unison and we are distinct at the same time. That is one of the great strengths of Paganism – let’s celebrate both our shared values/experiences and our diversity!