seeds

Gael Song

December, 2018

Midwinter and Christmas Spirit Magic

 

(Image from http://visitstonehenge.com/)

As nearly everyone knows, light seeds of what will manifest during the coming year, are sent by the spirit world down hur’s sword of light to the base of everyone’s spine on Midwinter dawn. I can usually feel a sizzling at the base of my spine that day, when I first step out of my little cottage into the daylight. But there’s much more that follows after, which no one at all seems to recognize. As a light healer, reading energies, it’s easy for me to see these. And so, this month, I want to write about what I’ve observed over many years. Those hurian light seeds of the year ahead settle down into the energetic soil of everyone’s womb (both men and women have inner female and male structures inside in light), where they remain for three days, while the Goddess decides the exact form and timing the new impulses of light will take over the year to come. The dark cosmic sea, keeper of all things unborn, floods every person’s abdomen as well. One could call it the unconscious, for it is.

Always, there’s one central thrust of growth for each person over the year to come, growth that will involve facing specific fears or outer challenges meant to build a brand new part of the self within. This new gift or talent is always divine, a small piece of each person’s self-of-light or highest destiny that will eventually emerge during everyone’s final lifetime on earth. This divine self was seeded into us at the very moment of our creation into light, long, long, ago, on the Creator Sun, the highest light structure in the seventh heaven, so say my druid guides. You could think of this new self-of-light that grows into fulness each year as each person’s own divine child of that cycle, too. That’s how my guides speak of it, anyway. Our own divine qualities always reflect the Creators, too, the White Tara and Oghama, Goddess and God.

So, after three days in the cosmic sea, the first structures of the year’s divine child emerge from everyone’s abdominal unconscious and move into each person’s high heart or thymus. The thymus is the inner child heart, where our divine children anchor in most strongly. This happens on Christmas dawn. This child within looks like an infant-of-light, and I find this time most magical, for I can always feel the soft loving-kindness essence of the divine children filling my spirit on that morning. Even amid the bustle of cooking for visiting relatives, I try to find a few moments of quiet to sense what this impulse of growth for the year ahead may bring for me. And this divine infant is one of twelve parts of our inner spirits that everyone has, all twelve with specific vibrations, regencies of the spirit, and directives in life. You could call these twelve parts of everyone’s spirit their personality, too. These twelve parts of our inner spirits exactly match the twelve gods and goddesses of the Creator Sun as well.

And always this emergence of the divine child inside everyone releases a bright beam of hope, a ray of clear diamond light. It will see that, during this first druid moon of the year, the Birch moon, some memory or long-cherished desire will be brought to each person’s attention. This is the first hint of what will manifest for each of us at the end of the coming year, something we’ve long wished for. And this promise of fulfillment stirs up desire from our depths to face and heal whatever fears may be in its way, so this dream will definitely come to be at the end of the year.

Over the year ahead then, this impulse get fleshed out as we push against the thorns and briars in our paths. On Imbolc, the little girl part of each person’s spirit emerges from this abdominal sea. On the Vernal Equinox, the toddler boy emerges. Then the feminine virgin on Bealtaine, the masculine virgin at Midsummer. The inner god and goddess are active during the Oak (May/June) and Apple (July/August) moons, not the solstice/equinox/cross-quarter-day festivals. The inner mother part of our spirits arises at Lughnasa, the inner father at the Autumnal Equinox, the feminine grandmother at Samhein, and finally, the inner grandfather at Midwinter. This is when our new divine part of self is finally complete, fully born into all twelve parts of our inner selves-of-light. It’s the realization of our sweet dream of the year before.

May your own divine child for the year to come be utterly miraculous, bringing an end to want, perhaps, a special destiny, a love like no other. I always hope for the beginning of real peace, unity between peoples, an end to war and privation in the places of most intense global suffering. But these are dreams that will take us all to achieve. For now, it’s enough to feel that sword of light and let it lead you all year long. Let’s walk this road together into the awakening of everyone’s divinity, all of us a shining star in our own personal areas of endeavor. May this season of magic be the very best you’ve ever had!

***

About the Author:

Jill Rose Frew, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, energy healer, workshop leader, and author. She will be opening a school teaching light healing and the Celtic path of enlightenment in 2019. For information, please see www.CelticHeaven.com

She is author of Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to arthurian Fulfillment (her name was Jill Kelly then), and Alba RebornAlba Reborn, Book One, RevisedAlba Reborn, Book Two, and Alba Reborn, Book Three.

Guardians of the Celtic Way: The Path to hurian Fulfillment on Amazon

Notes from the Apothecary

September, 2018

Notes from the Apothecary: Calendula

Calendula or marigold? Last month we explored the magic and mystical beauty of the true marigold and I mentioned in that article that marigolds are often confused with calendula. Botanically they are actually very different. Calendula are often called pot marigolds or common marigolds, but true marigolds are in the genus tagetes although both tagetes and calendula are in the Asteraceae family, along with sunflowers. Tagetes are native to North America, whereas calendula came to America from the Mediterranean. They have beautiful orange or yellow blooms, with an extremely long flowering season.

The Kitchen Garden

From Mrs Grieve’s Modern :

It was well known to the old herbalists as a garden-flower and for use in cookery and medicine. Dodoens-Lyte (A Niewe l, 1578) says:

‘It hath pleasant, bright and shining yellow flowers, the which do close at the setting downe of the sunne, and do spread and open againe at the sunne rising.’

She refers to calendula as the common marigold, and notes that it is easy to grow as long as the position is slightly sunny and the ground kept free of weeds. Calendula self-seed, and can spread quite easily although they are annuals so the new foliage replaces last year’s plants, rather than joining them. The seeds are curly little horns, perfectly beautiful and very decorative in their own way.

Calendula petals can be used as a substitute for saffron, but only for the yellow colour they impart, not the taste. The flowers make a tasty and beautiful garnish for salads and other foods, and can be mixed into butters and cheeses for colour and flavour. Even the peppery leaves can be eaten to add spice to a salad.

The Apothecary

Natural Living Magazine published a great feature on calendula and its many practical uses. The publisher, Amanda Klenner, notes that she uses the petals in skin lotions, body butters and salves. She also makes marigold tea which soothes irritated mucous membranes and internal tissues. She uses the tea for digestive health, and adds that the petals are used in some cold and flu remedies. She also believes it supports the lymphatic system, crucial for our immune systems.

In the same publication, Nina Katz states that the herb is, “Anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-septic, vulnerary, cytotoxic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulant, immunostimulant, cholagogue, heart tonic, hypotensive, lymphatic, respiratory tonic, emmenagogue, anti-spasmodic, astringent, aperient, diaphoretic…”

Many of these terms might be unfamiliar to you if you’re not an herbalist or phytologist. Vulnerary means healing of wounds or inflammation. Cholagogue means to stimulate the gall bladder to produce bile. Emmenagogue means to promote menstrual flow. This means it can be useful for period pain or delayed periods, as it stimulates the uterus. Pregnant women should not ingest calendula for this reason. Always check with a medical professional before changing or starting any type of medication.

The Witch’s Kitchen

Many believe that the term marigold comes from an association with the Virgin Mary. However, that supposition is a little backwards. The marigold (calendula) became associated with the Virgin Mary because the name sounded a little like Mary’s Gold, however the term ‘marigold’ was first coined by pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons, when referring to the marsh marigold, a plant related to neither calendula or tagetes (true marigolds). However, calendula has been used to honour Mary for so long that, if your path leans this way, it still makes a fantastic offering or altar decoration. It’s just good to know the origins and history so you can make your own mind up about what’s appropriate.

Cunningham tells us it is a masculine herb, which I presume is because of the plant’s association with the sun, and fire. I find it has a very feminine energy, but plants are complex and it’s often hard to pigeon-hole them. He advises picking calendula at noon in bright sunlight to ‘strengthen and comfort the heart’. He also states that calendula is used for protecting the home from evil, and scattered under the bed can give you prophetic dreams and ensure a safe night’s sleep. Calendula petals in the pocket will keep justice on your side if you need to attend court. His final and my favourite point about calendula magic is that, if a girl touches calendula petals with her bare feet, she will be able to speak to birds in their own language. How wonderful that would be!

Calendula has historically been used in divination, particularly relating to love and knowing who one’s true love may be. Rachel Patterson recommends the flower for spells or incense blends involved with psychic powers. She also writes that they promote happiness and uplifting energies, and can be used to make gossip about you cease.

Home and Hearth

As we move from summer into fall, calendula should still be flowering for some time yet. If you are lucky enough to have calendula in your garden, pick a few of the flower heads and separate the petals out. Create a circle of petals on a clean cloth or on your altar, one petal at a time. Have the base of each petal pointing toward the centre of the circle, so the end of the petal points outwards. As you lay each petal, think of something in your life you are happy about, or grateful for. You don’t need to write this down or prepare for it. It should be spontaneous and from the heart.

The bigger you make your circle, the longer it will take to complete, but you will think about more happy things! If you have been struggling with dark feelings or depression, it may be sensible to start with a small circle. This can prevent you feeling like you ‘should’ have more to be happy about, which can actually make you feel worse. Sometimes, we may only have a few bright sparks in our lives, and that’s okay. We can still celebrate that, and as we move into the darker months, focusing on the good things we have becomes even more vital and soul supportive.

I Never Knew…

A snuff of marigold leaves was sniffed up the nose, to encourage sneezing to rid the sinuses of excess mucous. Lovely!

Image credits: Flower of calendula by Wouter Hagens, public domain; Calendula officinalis, Seeds by H. Zell, copyright 2009 via Wikimedia Commons; Calendula officinalis – Botanischer Garten Mainz by Natalie Schmalz, copyright 2011, via Wikimedia Commons.

***

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: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.

A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors

 

Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways

MagickalArts

August, 2018

Let freedom Ring-Part Two

The Cosmic Horae: Order, Justice and Peace Shall Rule

The Executors of Divine Order

Dike(Order) – Eunomia(Justice) – Eirene(Peace)

Dike: Hora of Order

Themis’ daughters are the seeds of extension for maintaining what has been decreed within the heavens. These are the controls that remand the individual to the laws of karmic order when encountered at death by their mother Themis. Their attributes are the affirmation of cosmic and earthly law being reflections of the same dynamics of order and balance that are upheld in both heavenly and earthly matters.

Dike, in her role as keeper of justice and order made judgment of the moral order of humanity. Dike is often associated with the astrological sign of the Virgin, Virgo. The analytical and careful attention to detail being the primary energy called upon to maintain moral order and justice for all mankind. Hers was the responsibility to ensure that man acted in accord with right action and bestow swift punishment for any infringement, especially in the case of one who was acting as judge and counsel.

The Greek poet, Hesiod speaks of Dike in this way in his epic poem, Works and Days:


“Listen to right and do not foster violence; for violence is bad for a poor man. Even the prosperous cannot easily bear its burden, but is weighed down under it when he has fallen into delusion. The better path is to go by on the other side towards justice; for Dike (Justice) beats Hybris (Outrage) when she comes at length to the end of the race. But only when he has suffered does the fool learn this. For Horkos (Horcus, Oath) keeps pace with wrong judgments. There is a noise when Dike (Justice) is being dragged in the way where those who devour bribes and give sentence with crooked judgments, take her. And she, wrapped in mist, follows to the city and haunts of the people, weeping, and bringing mischief to men, even to such as have driven her forth in that they did not deal straightly with her. But they who give straight judgments to strangers and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just, their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Eirene (Irene, Peace), the nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus never decrees cruel war against them. Neither famine nor disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but lightheartedly they tend the fields which are all their care. The earth bears them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns upon the top and bees in the midst. Their woolly sheep are laden with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents. They flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit.”

Eunomia: Hora of Justice

Eunomia exerted her power as provider of governance of justice through good law. Legislation, judicial determination and their processes and the ultimate outcome of enforcing those determinations made were her specialty. Eunomia’s name is used to describe the “principle of good order”. Her image was often painted on vases and in the company of Aphrodite as a reminder of the need for lawful action in matters of the heart, marriage and loving relationship.

Eunomia was the mother of the three Graces; Aglaea (Grace and Beauty), Euphrosyn (Good Cheer, Mirth and Merriment), and Thalia (Festivities and Banquets). Again, we see the disbursement of the mother’s gifts flowing through the Graces, each needing the space of governance to ensure neither excess nor poverty in their expression.

Demosthenes, the prominent Greek statesman speaks of Eunomia in his rhetoric, Against Aristogeiton :

“You must magnify Eunomia (the Goddess of Order) who loves what is right and preserves every city and every land; and before you cast your votes, each juryman must reflect that he is being watched by hallowed and inexorable Dike (Justice), who, as Orpheus, that prophet of our most sacred mysteries, tells us, sits beside the throne of Zeus and oversees all the works of men. Each must keep watch and ward lest he shame that goddess, from whom everyone that is chosen by lot derives his name of juror, because he has this day received a sacred trust from the laws, from the constitution, from the fatherland,–the duty of guarding all that is fair and right and beneficial in our city.”

Eirene: Hora of Peace

Eirene was the personification of peace. Hers was the final blessing of the action of rightful justice exacted in a lawful way with resolution that would ultimately restore and disperse the Divine Justice of her mother, Themis. So great was her influence that the citizens of Athens set up an altar and erected a votive statue to her in the Agora of Athens. The statue shows her as a young beautiful woman holding the infant Ploutos (the God of wealth) in her arm. In artwork she is also depicted carrying a cornucopia, the symbol of the abundance that may be gathered when peace rules every action.

The poet, Hesiod describes Eirene in this way:


“But they who give straight judgments [i.e. those who invoke the goddess Dike (Justice)] to strangers and to the men of the land, and go not aside from what is just, their city flourishes, and the people prosper in it: Eirene (Irene, Peace), the nurse of children, is abroad in their land, and all-seeing Zeus never decrees cruel war against them. Neither famine nor disaster ever haunt men who do true justice; but hardheartedly they tend the fields which are all their care. The earth bears them victual in plenty, and on the mountains the oak bears acorns upon the top and bees in the midst. Their woolly sheep are laden with fleeces; their women bear children like their parents. They flourish continually with good things, and do not travel on ships, for the grain-giving earth bears them fruit.”

Order, Justice and Peace Shall Rule

There is much we can learn from the Horae and much we can apply to the way in which we live today. The principles of lawful order and justice for all of humanity remain the same. The desire for a peaceful coexistence and the balance and Karmic blessings that are the products is still a dream for many. Remembering the work of the Horae and the natural cycles that surround and are in support of a balanced and orderly life are the beginning steps towards establishing Themis, or Divine order. Taking time to honor and show devotion to the order that is established within your life already and then seeing it grow and extend exponentially into every facet of your life’s work, much like the energy imparted in the daughters of Themis and Zeus, will feed the archetypal energy of these Deities and draw the power of their pursuits back into balancing chaos and discord.

And, the ultimate blessing will be that of knowing the peace of living a life that has come full cycle in embracing the cycles of the seasons, the will of the fates and scales at life’s end of Themis.

References:

1. Hesiod, Works and Days 212 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :

2. Demosthenes, Against Aristogeiton 25. 11 (Greek rhetoric C4th B.C.) :
3. Hesiod, Works & Days – Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.

***

About the Author:

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

She is the author of:

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

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.

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

May, 2018

Dandelions


Merry meet.

I think the very first spell I ever did involved a dandelion. I can see myself as a young child, picking dandelions with the dried puffy seed ball, making a wish, and blowing them onto the wind. I would watch as they danced on the wind like whimsical little fairies.

Someone later told me if I got all the seeds off with one breath, my wish would come true.

Magic doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. Just as simple as tossing a coin into a wishing well and the first star spell, “Starlight, star bright / First star I see tonight / I wish I may, I wish I might / Have this wish I wish tonight.”

As I got older, I came to know how much adults with lawns hated the intense yellow flowers atop long stems, swaying in the breeze, and didn’t appreciate my spreading the seeds to make even more weeds. But I saw something special about them as they opened and closed with the light. I saw little suns looking up to the big sun in the sky, later equating it to male God energy. Then, when the plant went to seed, I saw it as the silvery full moon, or feminine energy which I later equated to feminine energy I came to call Goddess. The dandelion illustrated how both male and female vibrations coexist.

As I got older, my wishes turned into dreams, and the abundance seeds floating off meant an abundance of chances that my desires would take root. I also, without really thinking about what I was doing, would blow on them to release what I no longer wanted, giving it back to nature to absorb and transform. It was like blowing a kiss goodbye to something.

Now I see dandelions as containing the elements: the seeds are air, the flowers are the sun, the liquid in the stems as water, and both the green leaves and the moon I associate with north and the earth. Eat them (flowers, leaves, roots) and you will literally be taking the plant’s magic into yourself.

This is the perfect time of year to be doing dandelion spells. Where I live, they have burst into full bloom this past week. They’re a powerful little plant; their name means “lion’s tooth,” thanks to their yellow “mane” and their jagged “tooth” shaped leaves.

Look for that first seed head and let it carry your wishes, landing and planting, growing and prospering in the coming summer months.

If you wish, add a chant:

Dandelion, carry my wishes for me / Grant all that I wish for, so mote it be”

One spell I saw called for picking four seed heads, speaking your wish out loud to each of the four directions and then blowing a dandelion head in each direction, assuring they reach to the whole universe around you. Their proliferation helps in spreading possibilities and success.

You could also blow on the seeds to send a message to someone or someplace.

If you’d like, aim to blow all the seeds off an individual dandelion in one breath as an extra bit of good fortune.

Offering other ways they can be used in magic, Mackenzie Sage Wright wrote in “Lessons in Magical herbalism: Dandelion” for Exemplore April 4, 2018, “Dandelion tea is said to aid psychic visions and astral projection. The steam of the tea can be used to conjure spirits.”

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.

 

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

February, 2016

Blessing Seeds

seeds

Merry meet!

One of the things I like to do on Imbolc is bless the seeds I will plant in the spring. The seeds represent what I wish to sow in the coming months – both figuratively and literally. For me, they help mark the turning of the wheel.

At Imbolc, they are blessed, at Ostara some are planted indoors in pots to be put outside at Beltane. Others are planted in the garden as the soil warms and the weather allows. They will grow and bear fruit to be harvested at Lughnasadh and continuing into Mabon; their seeds are then saved from Mabon to Samhain.

While most of the varieties of vegetables and flowers I put in my community plot are plants – because I generally want three or four of something, not 25 – I use seeds for some crops that are easily started on the windowsill or directly in the ground.

Brigid is about planting seeds for the future. Just as a seed grows, flowers and produces a crop, so do thoughts need to be planted and nurtured so they will grow and produce results. That’s why I infuse one intention into the sunflower seeds and another into the miniature pumpkins.

Seeds can be blessed by singing, chanting or directing energy in some way such as dancing, or passing over a flame. Hold them in your hands and charge them with energy and your intentions.

If you are looking for inspiration, here is a prayer adopted from Llewellyn’s “Spell A Day” by Rev. Raven Rin:

Blessed Goddess, mother of us all

Make these plants grow strong and tall.

A bountiful harvest is in sight,

With flowers sweet and bright,

Blessed by the sun and the pale moonlight.

In addition to seeds I collected from tiny pumpkins I grew from seed in my garden, I have collected seeds from two of the tomatoes that came from seeds my grandmother grew each year since leaving Sicily in the 1920s when she was still a teenage wife to a widow with four children. The seeds will sit on my altar until conditions are right for planting, at which time I’ll water them with rain or melted snow collected on full moons, dark moons and sabbats throughout the winter.

Because spring signals new beginnings, this ritual is also fitting for Ostara. Please share how you adopted this for your celebration.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

September, 2015

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

Mabon 2015

I have been so busy gardening and learning about seeds, soil, and planning next year’s planting that Mabon, or second harvest, snuck up on me this time. I just can’t believe how fast this year is going by!

Friends all shared their first harvests at Lughnasadh time. Some grew veggies, others flowers and herbs. Everybody gave thanks for the first things they harvested. My husband was so proud to bring the first tomato and the first berries of the season in to eat.

Fast forward a month and a half, and we are cleaning up some garden debris and saving seeds from things we want to plant next year. Next comes pumpkins, of course, and the radishes and peas I put in the ground for fall harvesting.

In today’s households, most produce is from the store, but some of us cannot resist planting gardens of our own. It’s not like I had anything better to do this year.

It has been ten months since I have worked outside of the home. You guessed it, I am not well enough to go back to work yet. Truthfully, NOT working has taken a major toll on my self esteem. Of course, my husband LOVES coming home to a clean house and a hot meal every day. I, on the other hand, feel like my life is on hold and my perception of who I am has suffered. Who am I if I am not doing those things that I always considered to make me who I AM? I am still myself, despite what I do, and I discovered that while what I do changes from time to time, who I am really does not.

At one time, I was a director where a lot of people relied on me to make things happen. Now, by professional definition, I am a nobody who has not earned one penny in months and is completely dependent on others. There was a time I gave rides to other people on a regular basis. Now, I can’t even drive myself anyplace at all most days.

So you see, my focus went from being on worldly things, to being… well… sick. Anybody who has struggled with a chronic illness can tell you it is counterproductive to just focus on what you CANNOT do. It became crucial to focus on what I CAN do.

And all year, I have done those things to the very best of my ability.

I have continued my normal crafting, painting, beading, and cooking, of course, but gardening and touching the earth every day is genuinely what kept me sane. (Assuming that I am sane!) I have gardened for at least an hour a day, for seven days a week since the first week of May. Sometimes, that just entails watering plants. Some days it entails crushing eggshells into soil for organic fertilizing. Some days it entails research about certain plants. We planted something new almost every week, and started planning next year’s planting. Every day it entails going outside and being with Nature.

As I age, my body is more and more affected by the seasons. I noted I could tell, based on joint stiffness, when rain was coming. After getting on hands and knees and standing up countless times to do garden work, and my blood pressure yo-yoing to the point I saw stars and psychedelic colors, my mood was always better. Not because of the blood pressure variance, but because touching the ground, tending the plants, and being outdoors in nature is naturally good for the human body.

Besides making you more aware of coming weather, gardening also plugs you in to the seasons. A lot of people, for example, just cannot understand why they start to feel sleepier in late summer and early fall. A gardener knows it is because the days are shortening and the body is getting less vitamin D from the sun. The earth’s fruits have reached their limit and are ready to harvest. The nights are getting cooler and it gets light later in the morning. Our bodies respond to all of this.

We have an illusion that we are separate from everything. We believe we are individuals who exist apart from all other individuals. We also have the illusion that other species are not as valuable as we are. Many of our creation stories even interpret gods or goddesses to be immortal human beings, and the earth and the animals were created simply for the purpose of satisfying human beings. We can kill another creature with no consequence, and we can step on other human beings to get ahead.

But if you think about it, we really are not separate at all.

Like I used to mistakenly consider myself an individual who could do everything all on my own, many modern people miss the fact that we are inter dependant on one another, and the earth, as well as members of the other species. Notice I said INTER dependant. Not CO dependant.

Even if you work, live alone, and pay all of your own bills, somebody had to work to build that car you drive. Somebody further produced the parts it was made of. Then somebody had to ship the parts to the place where they built the car. A salesperson had to handle the sale so you could buy the car. The bank staff had to approve the loan. Even your boss has to sign your paycheck so you can have the money to pay for things.

Having transportation and all the things that go into maintaining it is just one example of the fact that people rely on one another for everything, really.

We further rely on animals. Even vegans do. Animals, aside from providing food sources, maintain populations. Predators, even domestic cats, keep critter populations in check so we are not overrun with them. Their bodies further decompose into the earth when they die, fertilizing it so our soil can support plant life. Plant life is both food, and a way to clean carbon dioxide out of the air so we can breathe.

In this way, from death comes all life.

Being part of nurturing plants entails prepping soil, planting seeds, caring for baby plants, harvest, and then saving their seeds for future planting. It creates understanding of how life cycles and our role in that.

All this year, that has been my “job” instead of earning money. I always had plants, but never like this year. This year’s gardening has changed my perception of the cycle of life and my role in it drastically. It helped me realize that I am more than just somebody who earns money to pay bills. I realize we all are.

This Mabon will be the first one I have fully participated in an entire cycle of life of plants. So this harvest will hold different meaning than if I just bought plants and tossed them after a few months.

Mabon itself was first named by Aiden Kelly in 1970. He was referring to Mabon ap Modron from Welsh myths. He is associated with Irish god Oengus, ruler of Tir na Nog, land of eternal youth.

Mabon is the Autumn Equinox. Day and night will be equal, and afterwards, the nights will lengthen. I always think of Mabon as the right time for Thanksgiving. In the US, we celebrate that in November instead.

Mabon is really the time people are finishing up harvesting and storing the last of the crops and fruits before it gets cold. And of course, since foods are ripe and ready, it is the perfect time to feast and give thanks.

Throughout history, many people have celebrated harvest.

In Ireland, equinoxes were tracked and possibly celebrated at Loughcrew. Light strikes a burial cairn on both Spring and Autumn equinoxes there. The burial site dates back to 3500 BCE to 3300 BCE. Little is known about exactly what celebrations entailed back in

Pre- Christian days. The burial site was also used to keep track of seasons for agriculture. In a way, the dead were reminding their descendants of what to plant and harvest when!

In England, Stonehenge is one place where the Autumn Equinox sunrise is still observed, the sun rising above the stones. Farmers would begin slaughtering animals and prepping meat for winter use as well as finishing up the harvesting of crops at Autumn equinox.

In the British Isles, at sites like Loughcrew and Stonehenge, more than just burials were held. Some of those places had multiple structures for multiple purposes. Like the Hill of Tara, these ancient complexes seemed to be the sacred centers of all rites of passage, religious celebrations, and in some cases, lawmaking, matchmaking, and even places for royal or chieftain residence.

In Japan, Autumn Equinox is a time for visits from the ancestors. Visits to families graves and tombs as well as making offerings of foods and incense are given.

Greek myths say the goddess Persephone returns to the underworld at Autumn. When she leaves, wintertime starts to come in, when she returns in Spring, the warm days and growing season begins again.

The god Kelly chose to name the Sabbat after is related to the god Maponos who comes from Gaul and Britain. He is compared with Apollo, of course, since Romans compared other gods with their own. In Britain, he is the son of the Dagda, father of the gods. In Wales, he is the son of Modron, a matron goddess.

In modern Wicca, the god dies, a willing sacrifice into the earth. He will be reborn to the goddess come Springtime.

Christianization brought Michaelmas, which is still celebrated. It is the feast of the Saints Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael. Those who use the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram will recognize those names right away as being those of archangels!

Michaelmas at some churches specifically honors the archangel Michael, who is credited with defeating the devil.

It was also a time when harvest was over, and workers would need new jobs. Hiring went on and accounts were settled during this time.

Christianization bumped Lughnasadh sporting festivities to Mabon time instead.

All was kept alive by the Christian church. Timeframe was rearranged and patrons were changed, but once again, the Christians kept the Pagan ways alive and well.

The founder of modern Wicca, Gerald Gardner, gives a ritual in the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, which can be read for free on the Internet at sacred-texts.com. The altar is of course, decorated with seasonal offerings, and the Priest says, “ Farewell, O Sun, ever returning light. The hidden god, who ever yet remains. He departs to the land of youth, through the gates of death, to dwell enthroned, the judge of gods and men.“ More beautiful things are said, and a procession around the altar is lead. Dances and games are called for as well.

Personally, I always have a feast when I am hosting with a very short ritual and blessing of the foods. By then, the exhaustion of festival season has set in, and people will soon begin Samhain planning, which for a lot of us, is a very big deal. This “in between” harvest, as some call it, is more enjoyable for some of us if it is kept simple and low fuss.

Here is a simple, suggested working for you and your loved ones.

Simple Mabon by Saoirse

Invite everybody over for the Sabbat and tell them you will potluck it.

Have everybody bring with them a symbol of their own personal harvest. It can be things like garden plants, or evidence of accomplishments, or even a few extra dollars to donate to some cause. For many of us, the fruits of our labor are what we earn at jobs, and that is as good a harvest as any.

Have everybody also bring something to give as tribute for thanks. This is an easy opportunity to raise donations for some cause. It can be as simple as asking people to bring non perishable goods for a local food pantry, or as fancy as doing a raffle, or even arranging to do some volunteer work together.

My favorite harvest altars are not covered with ritual items, or decorations. They are loaded down with the fellowship gathering’s food. Have everybody put the fruits of their harvest on the table amongst the food, and the tribute on or around the table as well, if it is physical tribute gifts.

To cast circle, join hands circled around the table, and take a moment of silence for everybody to focus.

Then have everybody take turns, clockwise, starting at the East, saying a short prayer or blessing directed into the food, their harvest items, and the donations. The best part of this is that shy people who are not comfortable speaking in front of others can say their blessings silently while they direct the energy and well wishes into everything.

This ritual form, as opposed to traditional Priestess and Priest and attendees puts everybody in the same role. Symbolic of community, it reminds, we all bring something to the group. Each person blesses every other attendees harvest, the food everybody will eat, and also the tribute. Together.

When each person has done their blessing, let the fellowship begin. Eat, drink, and be merry!

Blessed Mabon. Blessed Be.

Spiralled Edges: Finding Nature in the Edges

April, 2015

Spiralled Edges: Seeds of Change

We are moving out of winter, a season of potential and stillness, a time for reflecting on the past and planning for the future. There may still be days with snow and frost, or where I live rain and chilly mornings, but the subtle signs of a month ago that the Earth was waking from slumber are now clearly visible. I saw a magnolia tree in bloom the other morning, and every day I pass dozens of patches of blooming daffodils and crocuses.

I’ve noticed that I am becoming more fully awake as well right now. Ideas and thoughts which I had begun ruminating over back in December are starting to come together. Gentle synchronicities are guiding me to put thoughts into actions.

In thinking of these things, I am reminded quite clearly of the Amulets I use in divination and oracle work. Winter’s time of stillness can be found in the ‘Hand with Seeds’ amulet. This is an amulet of responsibility, or as I like to say it “response – ability”, but it is also an amulet of potentiality.

spiral

 

A potential for growth is present, but is not yet ready to emerge. The tools for change and growth are in your hand, but you have not yet planted them.

This is where I was over the past few months. Slowly finding and gathering the seeds needed for my next stage of growth. One very clear message I kept getting is that I need to find a ‘warrior’s healing’ and continue practicing being in my body.

Not sure where it would lead, I planted those ideas, those seeds, and left them to grow. The thing with seeds is that once planted, you can’t keep digging them up to check their progress. Have they grown enough? Are they ready to come up through the soil yet? Doing so will kill them.

It’s the same with our own potential for growth when we plant our ideas. We have to allow them to grow in darkness. We have to trust that even though we can’t see results, things are happening as they should.

Some seeds peep through the soil in a matter of hours, some take days, some may take months. Some ideas may be planted in a place that can’t sustain growth, others fall on fertile ground. I am reminded of one of the parables of the New Testament Christian Bible.

The Parable of the Sower.

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

This parable, according to biblical passages refers to people hearing the messages of God and heaven which Jesus was telling.

I think it can also very easily bring meaning to the Hands with Seeds amulet. We each hold the seeds for change and growth which we need in our hand. Those seeds which we plant in good soil are the ones which will come to fruition. Those which we carelessly scatter on unsuitable ground may begin to grow but will quickly perish.

I planted my own seeds over a month ago, and in recent days and weeks I have seen the beginnings of growth starting to emerge. My seeds in hand have become seedlings.

spiral2

 

These ideas which were planted are beginning to emerge. One friend’s off hand comments about Forrest Yoga which led to me reading “Fierce Medicine.” A Tai chi/qigong class I started taking in February. An opportunity to be a case study for someone seeking certification in Emotion Code Healing, and work I have been doing on myself in this area. A link a friend sent me on a global EFT webinar which led to reading a book on using EFT for body acceptance. Another friend’s random recommendation to her Facebook followers for a book on learning to love one’s self. “I (heart) Me: The Science of Self Love”. A computer generated book recommendation based upon other things I have read which led to my finding “Warrior Goddess Training Becoming the Woman You are Meant to Be”.

Some seeds which relate to ideas I have on my own body image have emerged that I don’t particularly like and believe me I would love to be able to stamp them back down into the ground, but I can recognise that these seedlings are opportunities to remove obstacles from my past which have held me back and kept me from being fully present inside my skin.

It may be that over time some ideas will be thinned away so that the strongest can thrive as I re-evaluate just what it is that I want and need. For now though, I am letting each grow to see what it can become.

What seeds are you growing right now in your life?

 

Hand with Seeds and Sprouting Seed Amulet images are both taken by NanLT.

Thriftcrafting: Witching on a budget

February, 2015

Grow Your Craft
seeds

 

Merry Meet!

Because a common Imbolc ritual is to bless seeds, the timing is right to plan a magical herb garden.

Do you find yourself buying chamomile and rosemary for magical purposes? Do you use vervain or St. John’s Wort? Would you use lavender and rue more freely if you didn’t have to buy it? Do you think you’d like to make an offering of tobacco now and then, but you don’t smoke?

Make this the year you grow your own.

If you have a garden center close by, you might be able to find everything you’re looking for there. If not, there are many places online. If you can’t get the packets in time for Imbolc, you can still set your plans in motion.

Packets of organic seeds cost from about $2.50 to $3.75 or so. Chances are, you won’t be able to use all 200 seeds, or 100 seeds, or even 20 seeds. Save money by finding more people who want to do the same thing and divide up the seeds. You might also save on potting material this way. Plant in egg cartons, tin cans and other throwaway containers, reclaimed pots or even simple ones made from newspaper.

Start simply and do a bit of research. Some seeds like to be presprouted, others do better if the hull is scraped up a bit. Once sprouted, thin out the weaker plants. Keep them watered and give them lots of light. If there are several in one container, you might want to transplant them into their own containers if the weather does not yet permit them to be put outdoors.

If you only want two or three different plants, consider buying them as seedlings. It’s more expensive than starting them yourself, but less expensive than buying the herbs fresh at farmers markets – if you can find them. Look for plant sales and seasonal events put on by your local herb association for the very best quality and selection. Ours has an Earth Day celebration in April and often a vendor or two will sell plants at our Pagan Pride Beltane Festival.

Consider reaching out to coven members, co-workers, neighbors or Facebook friends to swap seeds, seedlings or harvested herbs. Be sure to save seeds for your plants next year.

Even cheaper is wildcrafting. Learn to identify magical plants in the wild. Do your research to be sure the plant is what you think it is, and harvest it responsibly. Mugwort grows in the parking lot of my former office building, there’s mint growing wild by one of the water faucets in the community garden, and there’s a patch of violets that increases every year along the perimeter of the condominium complex. Pay attention when you’re outside. Ask for guidance. And when you are rewarded, offer gratitude.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

Seed, Root & Stem

June, 2013

 

I love this time of year. I say that about every season, but it’s always true. There is a palpable sense of excitement as the homestead burst into life courtesy of a fortnight of unexpectedly sunny days and warm nights. The stalks of velvety silver-green, now taller than my 63” frame, boast eleven of the wine and green globe artichokes already. The nearby honeysuckle has inched its way along several feet of the hedge-frame; the lemon balm, mint and oregano are clamoring for my hand and the pruning shears.

 

As the Witch of this place, my work has been reclaiming yard, garden and field; removing, recycling, composting, disposing, replanting and nurturing.  Three years in with a long way to go to reach my goal of homestead sustainability, but it’s taken me that long to get to know all of the plantfolk of my domicile, their habits and desires, their companions above and below, their vibrations, sounds and quirky attitudes.

 

Sitting practice for me is often in the garden, against a rubicund cedar or at altars of stone, wood and composted earth.  This past month I’ve been sitting with seeds; the ones I’ve saved and the ones I have received from other seed savers. Why did I sit with them?  Because I’ve recently become acquainted with Demeter who prompted me to sleep with some under my pillow for a week.  I now hear the almost inaudible tones coming from between the folds of paper and through the sealed, plastic bags. They’re alive in there, awaiting the impetus that will transform them from tiny speck and pellet to root and stem, flower and seed once again.

 

Saving seed has become a focus this year more than in the past. Perhaps because the garden is showing more traits and characteristics and I’m gaining better sight and recognition, it feels like the beginning stages of a new homestead ritual requirement. I’ve saved seed before, periodically, casually without much thought or foresight invested. I took a short class on permaculture seed saving to expand my knowledge base on the subject. It was both informative and inspirational, but as with all knowledge gained along this path, it comes with sacrifice to be made. An investment that all seed savers must make in order to preserve the code of perfection – the stock seed.

 

Now that many lovelies are bearing handsomely and fruits are hanging on the vines and stalks, I am called to sacrifice my own consumption of them for the sake of their legacy. To save seed is to recognize the characteristics and traits of the right plant and carry those genetics into the future. This is a more familiar mantra to me – an inherent principal of my practice. To sacrifice, refine and preserve the best, to let go of old roots that have died or no longer serve well and make room for the chosen ones to thrive in abundance.

 

Seeds are dynamic – like dreams, ambitions and desires; they are alive and metabolizing.