October, 2014

Merry Meet

October, 2014

Welcome to the October Issue of PaganPages! 

 

Samhain

 

 

In this  issue …

 

Learn to make your own hat

hat1

 

 

Get all your Samhain correspondences

 

samhain__s_night_by_wiccancountess08-d4b3obh

 

 

 

An exciting  Interview with Author Simon Stirling

 

samhain12

 

 

As a Special Thank you to all our readers, we are offering THIS MONTH ONLY a 25% off coupon for PaganPages Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/PaganPagesOrg).   The Coupon Code for the month is:  POPUP

 

We are currently looking for someone interested in reviewing pagan shops and someone interested in reviewing pagan sites.  If you are interested please contact us at admin@paganpages.org

 

Join us on Facebook and Twitter to get updates and info!

 

samhain

NATURE ALCHEMY ~ A Journey to Yourself

October, 2014

DARING DRAGONFY
~ Gift of Opportunity ~

When a great moment knocks on the door of your life,
it is often no louder than the beating of your heart. ~ Boris Pasternak

This is a journey into the Gift of Opportunity, a state of natural harmony with all life…and yourself…deep within the Universal Soul, of which you are a cherished and intimate part. Allow yourself to go on this inner journey…into the Spirit of your Beautiful Infinite Self. For here is where you shall find your Truth.

Begin by getting comfortable. Find a space that feels at ease with your body, and allow yourself to get into a soft state of relaxation. Take some deep, healing, cleansing breaths…gently inhale and exhale…slowly and deeply…in and out…until you feel rested to begin your inward journey. …imagine that with each breath, you begin to relax and release tension…let your breath flow freely, following its natural rhythm, and feel the gentle movement of your chest and abdomen…as you inhale and exhale, your mind can become quiet and still…with each breath, allow yourself to relax more deeply, and become more comfortable…now invite your body to rest, supported by the surface around it…There is nothing you have to do, nowhere you have to go, nothing to figure out, nothing to decide. Just let it all go…let your mind release all the ties that bind…just for now. You are just here…right now…in this gentle state of rest, and it is good…it is peaceful…it is soothing. Let yourself soften into this quiet space.

Allow the gentle opening of your Divine Gift of Imagination. Imagination is a powerful tool which can guide you into the transformation of Self. Imagination is your spiritual inheritance which can touch into the heavenly realms – a portal into worlds within and without – a safe place to explore and discover…to grow and embrace yourself, and the beauty of all life.

~~~

Now, visualize resting outside on a bright sunny day. It feels like glorious Spring, oh yea! You are basking in the warmth of this balmy, beautiful day, and the serenity and ambiance brings peace. Surrounding you, in all their glory, are vibrant, verdant trees, filled with rich life and sweet birdsong.
Suddenly, appearing before you, a luminous dragonfly darts around. Then he hovers, ever so blithely, in front of your eyes. He is exploring you, as you are him. What a sweet exchange! His wings are radiantly iridescent, as is his body, and he begins to dart to and fro, showing you his colours sparkling in the sun. Daring Dragonfly has befriended you!
He begins to fly quickly – around, up and down, backwards, sideways – displaying his master craft of flight. What a sense of wonder the miraculous Dragonfly portrays! Watching his exciting aerodynamics display, you begin to sense an inner communiqué from him:

~ DRAGONFLY SPIRIT POWER MESSAGE ~
As you see me fly,
There are no boundaries –
No limits, no borders, no restrictions.
This is my message to you:
Your opportunity of flight is boundless!
Your Soul is Free!
This can be your driving force,
Your sense of direction, you see…
As you fly towards new Opportunity with me.
Remember your sparkle as you go,
For this is truly you and me, as you well know!

Now you are on your way! Daring Dragonfly shows you that freedom of flight is inherent within – a part of your Divine Being. Whatever way you can, however you are moved, join in the sky-dance with Dragonfly! Remember that opportunities abound – this is the magickal stuff of life – what keeps the eternal in Eternity.
Watching Dragonfly shimmer, as he flashes and dashes in the air, can bring a sense of inner joy, and outer sparkle. He is telling you that when you are bold enough to embrace a sense of Opportunity in your life, it can open doors to delight and fulfill you, because its source comes from within – from the desires of your True Self. Don’t deny yourself the Bliss! Fly high and thrive!

A Prayer of Thanksgiving to this Divine Being:

~ DREAM SONG TO OPPORTUNITY ~
You are my wings!
I take flight with you!
I can see opportunities before me,
And know that all they need is me!
What about this one, or that one…
It is all up to me.
Whither I go, or stay – is up to me.
My opportunities come from within…
As I call them forth to flourish.
Ho! The ones I choose will Sparkle and Fly!

I thank you, O Daring Dragonfly, for your Great Gift of Opportunity

~ From Heaven Sweet Nature Springs ~

BRIGHT BLESSINGS!

Samhain Correspondences

October, 2014

Other Names:
celtic ~ Summer’s End, pronounced “sow” (rhymes with now) “en” (Ireland), sow-een (Wales) – “mh” in the middle is a “w” sound – Greater Sabbat(High Holiday) – Fire Festival Oct 31-Nov 1(North Hemisphere) – Apr 30-May 1 – The Great Sabbat, Samhiunn, Samana, Samhuin, Sam-fuin, Samonios, Halloween, Hallomas, All Hallows Eve, All Saints/All Souls Day(Catholic), Day of the Dead (Mexican), Witches New Year, Trinoux Samonia, Celtic/ Druid New Year, Shadowfest (Strega), Martinmas or Old Hallowmas (Scotttish/Celtic) Lá Samhna (Modern Irish), Festival of the Dead, Feile Moingfinne (Snow Goddess), Hallowtide (Scottish Gaelis Dictionary), Feast of All Souls, Nos Galen-gae-of Night of the Winter Calends (Welsh), La Houney or Hollantide Day, Sauin or Souney ( Manx), oidhche na h-aimiléise-the night of mischief or confusion(Ireland), Oidhche Shamna (Scotland)

Rituals:
End of summer, honoring of the dead,scrying, divination, last harvest, meat harvest

Incense:
Copal, sandalwood, mastic resin, benzoin, sweetgrass, wormwood, mugwort, sage, myrrh or patchouli

Tools:
Besom, cauldron, tarot, obsidian ball, pendulum, runes, oghams, Ouija boards, black cauldron or bowl filled with black ink or water, or magick mirror

Stones/Gems:
Black obsidian, jasper, carnelian, onyx, smoky quartz, jet, bloodstone

Colors:
Black, orange, red

Symbols & Decorations:
Apples, autumn flowers, acorns, bat, black cat, bones, corn stalks, colored leaves, crows, death/dying, divination and the tools associated with it, ghosts, gourds, Indian corn, jack-o-lantern, nuts , oak leaves, pomegranates, pumpkins, scarecrows, scythes, waning moon

Foods:
Apples, apple dishes, cider, meat (traditionally this is the meat harvest) especially pork, mulled cider with spices, nuts-representing resurrection and rebirth, nuts, pomegranates, potatoes, pumpkins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted pumpkin seeds, squash.

Goddesses:
The Crone, Hecate(Greek), Cerridwen(Welsh-Scottish), Arianrhod(Welsh), Caillech (Irish-Scottish), Baba Yaga (Russian), Al-Ilat(persian), Bast (Egyptian), Persephone (Greek), Hel(Norse), Kali(Hindu), all Death & Otherworld Goddesses

Gods:
Horned Hunter(European), Cernnunos(Greco-Celtic), Osiris(Egyptian), Hades (Greek), Gwynn ap Nudd (British), Anubis(Egyptian), Coyote Brother (Native American), Loki (Norse), Dis (Roman), Arawn (Welsh), acrificial/Dying/Aging
Gods, Death and Otherworld Gods

Herbs and Flowers:
Almond, apple leaf , autumn joy sedum, bay leaf, calendula, Cinnamon, Cloves cosmos, garlic, ginger , hazelnut, hemlock cones, mandrake root, marigold, mums, mugwort (to aid in divination), mullein seeds, nettle, passionflower, pine needles, pumpkin seeds, rosemary (for remembrance of our ancestors), rue, sage, sunflower petals and seeds, tarragon, wild ginseng, wormwood

Animals:
Stag, cat, bat, owl, jackal, elephant, ram, scorpion, heron, crow, robin

Mythical Beings:
Pooka, goblin,medusa, beansidhe, harpies

Essence:
Magick, plenty; knowledge, the night, death & rebirth, success, protection; rest, new beginning; ancestors; lifting of the veil, mundane laws in abeyance, return, change

Dynamics/Meaning:
Death & transformation, Wiccan new year,wisdom of the Crone, end of summer, honoring, thinning of the veil between worlds, death of the year, time outside of time, night of the Wild Hunt, begin new projects, end old projects

Work:
Sex magick, release of bad habits, banishing, fairy magick, divination of any kind, candle magick, astral projection, past life work, dark moon mysteries, mirror spells (reflection), casting protection , inner work, propitiation, clearing obstacles, uncrossing, inspiration, workings of transition or culmination, manifesting transformation,creative visualization, contacting those who have departed this plane

Purpose:
Honoring the dead, especially departed ancestors, knowing we will not be forgotten; clear knowledge of our path; guidance, protection, celebrating reincarnation

Rituals/Magicks:
Foreseeing future, honoring/consulting ancestors, releasing the old, power, understanding death and rebirth, entering the underworld, divination, dance of the dead, fire calling, past life recall

Customs:
Ancestor altar, costumes, divination, carving jack-o-lanterns, spirit plate, the Feast of the Dead, feasting, paying debts, fairs, drying winter herbs, masks, bonfires, apple games, tricks, washing clothes

Element:
Water

Gender:
Male

Threshold:
Midnight

Tink about It

October, 2014

Initiation & Dedication

For as long as I’ve been active in the pagan community certain themes or questions keep coming back. In forums, blogs, study groups and now in Facebook groups people come up with the same old issues. That’s fine, it’s the natural cycle of things. One of those topics is initiation.

Let me start with a recurring misconception, that can be disputed by grammar and common sense. You can NOT initiate yourself, that’s simply impossible. The definition of initiation can slightly differ from source to source but the essence remains the same. Initiation is a process and/or ceremony by which a person is admitted to an organization / group or to knowledge. This is typically done by someone else: members of the group or people who already have the knowledge. Hence, you can’t initiate yourself. You can’t introduce yourself to knowledge you don’t have. You can’t welcome yourself into a group you aren’t part of yet…
When the above definition is given, you can sit and wait for the next question to pop up: “If that’s true, then who initiated the first member, the first witch?” The answer is simple. No-one did. That doesn’t make the definition less valuable though! Someone has to start a group or tradition; that can be one person or more. Knowledge is gathered, experiences happen and the first person or original group decides to keep that knowledge and experiences to themselves as a group. Only people who become part of the group can share in this: a person has to be initiated into the group. Some groups initiate a person from the moment they make the commitment and become part of the group. Other groups require a certain time of study beforehand, or a test. Every group has its own requirements.

So you can’t self-initiate, but there is an alternative for solo-practitioners. You can do a self-dedication in which you can dedicate yourself to the gods, or to your own path. This is by no means less than an initiation; it’s simply something different. A dedication can be a wonderful and valuable experience. You can write your own ritual, or you can perform an existing one. For example, in “A Witch Alone” Marian Green describes a way to prepare and perform a self-dedication and Scott Cunningham offers one in his book “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner”, but there are more examples to be found online and in books. Personally, I did several dedications at various times in my life. I see a dedication as a commitment to myself, my path and the gods. I wrote my own rituals for it, using ideas from books and others but moulding it into my own thing.

 

Dion

 

(quote from Dion Fortune’s “Esoteric Orders and Their Work and the Training and Work of the Initiate”)

 

 

(British traditional) Wicca is initiatory by definition and thus initiation is a very important ritual. You can’t blatantly ask for a first degree initiation, it is offered to you when you are considered to be ready for it. It’s more than just a ritual to become part of the coven and the wicca community. It is a rite of passage, a personal journey, a consciousness-altering experience, a commitment with rights and obligations, and so much more. Initiation into the mysteries is an ongoing process, not a one-time event.
As with everything these days, you can find the complete rituals on the internet. Although I’m good at finding stuff online, I deliberately and consciously decided not to look for them. That was a challenge, because I like to have control and be prepared by knowing what’s coming. It is much better though to go in without knowing, trusting yourself and your initiator(s). Perfect love and perfect trust if you will. Let go, give in, surrender to the moment. If you’re able to do just that, it will be worth it.

Of course wicca isn’t the only tradition that works with initiation. Lots of other pagan traditions, paths, communities or whatever you want to call them have their own system. Every group is free to model it according to their own ideas. Some choose not to perform official initiations, but just have a welcoming ritual. Others have one or more degrees of initiation, each with their own requirements and purpose.

When talking about initiation in the pagan community, another question often pops up: is initiation necessary to be a witch? Well, that completely depends on whom you ask… Some will say it is absolutely necessary, others say it’s not. Nobody is wrong. It all comes down to which path you prefer. When you choose (British traditional) wicca, then yes: initiation is necessary. There are also paths that don’t require initiation, and groups that have inner and outer courts in which inner court is initiatory and outer court is not. ‘Witch’ and ‘wicca’ aren’t protected terms, so anyone can use them, initiated or not. They definitely don’t mean the same to everyone though, which can cause some discussion. Likewise, ‘initiation’ doesn’t always mean the same to everyone. A traditional coven won’t acknowledge the initiation of an eclectic coven, but it will accept the initiation of another coven within the same tradition. And then there’s something called an ‘initiation by the gods’, but that’s a subject for a new column someday.

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

October, 2014

Bright Blessings.

My favorite Sabbat is upon us soon. Samhain. 

Images of cute witches on broomsticks and the popular “The Witch is in” decorations hanging about come to mind. The popular saying “Ghoulies and ghosties, long leggety beasties and things that go bump in the night” comes to mind as well. Jack-o-lanterns- seances, and if course the Christian All Saints day. Not to mention candy and costumes are all some thin gs I hold sacred at this time of year. But Samhain is more, so much more than these awesome things.

This blessed High Day has roots in Pre-Christian Celebrations and is named in the famous Coligney Calendar from Ireland. Most any article you read about Samhain will tell you it was the beginning of Winter and they brought the livestock in from the Summer grazing fields and into Winter quarters. They slaughtered the last of the meat for the season. They had a big celebration, bonfires, did divination, asked blessings, and believed evil spirits had to be warded off to assure everybody survived the dark, cold Winter.

They were agricultural people, dependent on the land and animals to survive. Today, we just go to the grocery and do not think of all that goes into feeding us. They were very aware, and gave offerings to gods and goddesses of the land as thanks and asked for safe passage for Wintertime as the earth fell fallow. For us, we buy a bag of apples anytime- or meat- or milk- or whatever we need. It was not so for them. So assuring they had all they needed had high religious importance. This is how they were earth based in those days and the celebrations and rites that took place in Western Europe prior to Christianization were different than the ones we do now.

Animal sacrifice and sometimes, human sacrifice was a part of those celebrations. Today’s Pagans do not like to be reminded of this. There is stigma and it is looked down upon these days. There was practical reason for this, however. Sacrifice was given to the gods in prayer and as offerings to plead for survival. Itb was for protection from death, starvation, and illness wintertime brought. If you were going to give something to assure life- exchange of life for life made sense. You give the best to the gods- and human life was right at the top of the list as the best thing there was.

Since Christianization, we have forgotten how many people asked for the opportunity to have the great honor of being given to the gods to assure the people’s survival. It was not seen as devil worship or barbaric as it is today. It was a privilege and people willingly gave themselves.

Today, Pagans who sacrifice lives give their lives in service as living sacrifices to the gods.

Animal sacrifice had practical reason for being utilized as well. Without refrigeration, meat spoiled more easily. You wanted fresh meat for the harvest celebrations. The meat was profaned and the blood given to the gods, and also used to bless the people. Modern medical science has demonstrated that blood is actually the stuff life is made of. It carries oxygen and the necessary nutrients to the brain and all organs of the body. The old ones somehow realized this. The sacrificed animals created a meal the gods partook of with the folk.

Since modernization, we do not raise and butcher our own meat. For folks who have never killed in order to eat, we often see these practices as inhumane and backwards.

Few Pagans condone live sacrifice at Sabbat. Some Heathen groups do in trying to keep modern practice as close to the old practices as possible. The debate rages as to whether it is useful even or necessary in modern times. We realize blood does not turn the wheel of the Year as was once thought. We realize the sun will rise and set, food will grow, life will go on, and the gods do not need to be appeased or evil spirits driven off so that we may survive Wintertime.

While the exchange of life for life may no longer happen, honoring the dead, which was very important is still a huge part of Samhain observances.

The old ones believed the veil between the land of the dead and the land of the living was super thin at that time. So they took precautions to assure nobody was carried off by the dead when they went back. Wearing costumes to “trick” the dead into thinking people were spirits was one way they protected themselves. People still dress in costumes at this time of year. Turnips carved into faces to ward off malevolent spirits were another way they protected themselves. This survives today as carving pumpkins.

Christianization brought changing Samhain into All Saints Day. The dead were still remembered and the Christian god became the harvest god who was thanked and asked to bless to hold the devil and his army at bay. The god changed, but the observances were still held sacred.
As Pagans reconstructing these observances, we don’t slaughter our own meat- we buy it. We don’t bring livestock in from the fields. We don’t ask protection from spirits. We typically invite the easier communication.
Times have changed, our culture has changed, but people have not. We still need that connection to the earth, and we need Sabbats to help us transition for the changes Wintertime brings. Like our ancestors from centuries ago, we need to celebrate and enjoy the bounty this final harvest brings, and we need to laugh at ourselves as well as memorializing our dead.
The folk I gather with always make a big deal out of Samhain. Always costumes. Always a potluck. And always a gathering inviting our beloved dead in. Every year, whoever gathers goes to an ancestor altar we build together, leaves a gift or lights a candle for our individual ancestors, and we have a very nice service.
Every year, the ritual is different somehow, as we take turns writing ritual. The year it was my turn, we created a path of flower petals we walked and invited our dead to walk, and each went up lighting a candle for our dead. Afterwards- we feasted.
Rather than write out a detailed ritual, I will write about how to create an ancestor altar.
Each tradition has beliefs about what colors are best, what is appropriate to give to the dead, and when and how you should do so. Unless you have strict guidelines you feel you should follow, put whatever matters most to you on your ancestor altar.
The basics are going to be
1) A space set aside for nothing but the altar, which can be a small shelf or a whole piece of furniture if you prefer. It can be enclosed in a box you put away for safekeeping or left out indefinitely. I have a chest of drawers I use. One drawer holds supplies, another has things I do not want to be disturbed so I can close the drawer. On top are things I keep out at all times.
2) Items that represent the dead. This can be pictures of them or even just something like papermache skulls. These things can be hung on the wall or set on or around your altar. Images of them you created seem to work best. I am not sure why. Perhaps creating a portrait of them with your own hands and energy creates a better connection. I have just found communication to be stronger if I create my images of the dead.
3) Things that were meaningful to them or belonged to them can be included as well. Pieces of clothing they wore can be reuses and made into things like altar cloths. Dirt from their graves, cremated remains, or even strange looking things like cuttings of their hair or their dentures can be used if you like. The more personal the item, the better it is. When my mother passed on, some of her jewelry was given to me by family. All of it went on the altar. Cards from funeral services are on my altar. Whatever you can put on there that holds meaning for you works for this.
4) Gifts. Whatever they liked is most appropriate. It seems universal to give the dead tobacco. This can be burned, or just left on the altar. A bottle of their favorite wine or soda works. Foods they loved. Perfumes. A sweater they might have liked. A book they would have read. Some traditions include setting a place for the dead at the dinner table certain times of the year or leaving offerings at their graves. Feeding your dead is not the same as feeding the living, but giving them something to show you remember them is always welcomed by them. You can even show their favorite movie in the altar room facing their picture. So much can be done to welcome them, and focus your own time on them outside formal ritual, thus keeping the connections strong.
And it can be as simple as that. I always keep candles on my altar and my dead love candy! I have some jewelry that belonged to my mother, cremains from a couple relatives, tobacco for relat9ves who smoked, and whatever may strike me as something they would like. Your ancestor altar can become the focus point for all communications with them and the more you build it and work near it, the stronger communication with them will be.
My ancestor altar has been set up for about six years now. I have lived three different places during that time and had two different pieces of furniture for it. I cannot express how important this has been for me and how much closer I have grown to living family members I visit with since I have my ancestor altar. I know an ancestor altar is not for everybody, but if you decide it’s for you, my above suggestions can help to get you started.
Below I wil add some articles online that have further info. Some of the articles discuss ancestor veneration around the world, and included are pictures of examples of ancestor altars. Since I have written this article, I know I probably ought to include photos of my own altar. It is a private, personal thing I do not want to post online, though. Please accept these other examples if you would like to draw inspiration and have a Blessed Samhain.

 

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veneration_of_the_dead
2) A google search reveals multiple images and examples- https://www.google.com/search?q=ancestor+altar&es_sm=93&biw=1366&bih=635&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=Ua8ZVMatDcX4yQTTm4LYCw&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ
3) What discussion of ancestors would be complete without an article about the Day of the Dead? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead
4) A tidbit from a Catholic article- that mentions Samhain! Their All Saints Celebration is worth learning about. http://www.catholic.org/saints/allsaints/
5) There were sites the dead were said to emerge from at Samhain in Ireland- this lists a few. Because we are in 2014 CE, we will never know all the sites the old ones held auspicious, but we know a little bit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rathcroghan#Oweynagat

Astro Report for October 2014

October, 2014

Uranus still Retrograde in Aries – 14 degrees

Uranus is that Planet that hates to be confined. It is known as the “break out” Planet for that reason. When Retrograde, Uranus can be responsible, more traditional and relaxed. As Uranus goes Retrograde in Aries, there is a feeling of enthusiasm and courage to take responsibility. It is not a time to worry about what others think about you. Do your own thing at your own pace and life will be grand. Uranus goes direct Dec 21 in Aries – 12 degrees.

 

 

Neptune still Retrograde in Pisces – 5 degrees

Ah, the simple pleasures of seeing more clearly. The continued Retrograde of Neptune raises a few eyebrows. The realization of the clarity of futuristic vision and how we need to continue certain aspects will shine light on any subject as a higher echelon. Neptune usually likes to cloud issues, especially when spiritual love is in order, but that tends to fade away during a Retrograde. Neptune goes direct next month on Nov 16th in Pisces – 4 degrees.

 

 

Mercury goes Retrograde in Virgo

Saturday, October 4, 20145:19 pm EDT

When Mercury goes Retrograde in general, it’s time to take caution with anything electronic, especially where Communication is involved. Back up computers and remember to weigh your words, so they aren’t misconstrued or misunderstood. Retrograde Mercury can help you take steps forward, but you might fall two steps backward. As a minor Planet of Health, be aware of health concerns and issues. What might seem miniscule now could end up being a major dilemma later. When Mercury slides thru Virgo, Communications want to be precise and exact, but throw a monkey wrench in the scheme of things when Mercury goes Retrograde! Always err on the side of caution when Mercury goes Retrograde.

 

Eclipsed Full Moon in Aries

Wednesday, October 8, 20146:50 am EDT

The Moon builds up energy and finally comes to fruition with robust energy when it is Full. If you had started anything special at the New Moon, you should see a significant end result upon this Full Moon. Emotionally, the Moon generally helps to create an inner power or Ki that will grow and manifest with enthusiasm and passion. This is a time to challenge yourself and overcome the oddest of struggles. When eclipsed, this energy can sometimes hide itself to reveal itself later at the most inopportune time.

 

In the eastern part of the US, we should see the eclipsed Moon or its remnants as it rises above the horizon.

 

 

Retrograde Mercury enters Libra (going backwards – 29 degrees)

Friday, October 11, 20141:27 pm EDT

Communications are weighed heavily against all odds. When you speak, you try to find balance in your words that will neither negate nor accent a subject. It is all about finding the truth in the matter and analyzing it for an honorable result. When Mercury is Retrograde, though, you have to really weigh your words heavily or you may find your proverbial foot in mouth too often. Libra is that funky Sign, which tries to find balance on most occasions, but with Mercury Retrograde, Libra might attempt to play the Devil’s Advocate more often than not.

 

 

Retrograde Mercury conjuncts the Sun in Libra

Thursday, October 16, 20144:23 pm EDT

When Mercury is Retrograde, it glides across the face of the Sun. As you view this small Planet, it appears to go backwards thru the Zodiac. The Sun always travels forward. As Mercury gains speed towards the Sun, it appears they will collide. This action is called “double applying”, because they appear to be traveling in a head-on collision. Applying energy of the self-centered, personal Sun to Retrograde applying energy of Communication, can bestow and very fanatical self-expression – egotism. If you are confronted on an issue, remember to breathe in slowly and take control of what and how you state your side. Otherwise, you could go off the handle and seem like your demanding your own way by proving your own worth in your own words. You know what you’re trying say, but it’s coming off as something maniacal.

 

 

Sun enters Scorpio – Happy Birthday, Scorpio!!

Thursday, October 23, 20147:45 am EDT

As the Earth revolves around the Sun, the geocentric perspective places the Sun in Scorpio. Personal leadership and courage become sensitive, yet organized. Take a moment to challenge yourself to learn something new or try a new angle on an old habit. Make changes for the better – prepare to make resolutions. Scorpio is beginning the final countdown of darker days as the light continues to dwindle before the New Solar Year begins at the onset of Capricorn. Scorpio adds an element of surprise and mystery to the world as the Sign continues to unfold its energy.

 

 

Venus enters Scorpio

Thursday, October 23, 20144:36 pm EDT

When the Planet of hedonistic Love enters its detriment of hidden sexual desires, there is an air of caution when entering into a new arena. Be mindful of your partner and their actions with you. Proceed with diligence and self-empowerment. Read up on the actions you would like to partake before you indulge. Once you start, there’s no going back.

 

 

Eclipsed New Moon in Scorpio

Thursday, October 23, 20145:56 pm EDT

The New Moon will begin its trek across the Sun’s face just before the sunset in Scorpio. Although New Moon energies are good for fresh and initiating energy, eclipses tend to hide any well-put intentions. The Sun in Scorpio typically allows us to take control of our personal convictions, but an eclipse could thwart those energies, throwing us for a loop. Beware that overt emotions can be masking underlying issues. During the Dark Times, this would be a good time to explore those issues. When the Moon is eclipsed, it tends to shield you from others and they may not see how you truly are. Sometimes, an eclipsed Moon will hide your intentions, too.

 

 

Native Lore

Native Americans called the Full Moon by different names depending upon the season or month of the year. October is no different. The Hunters Moon allowed Natives to hunt at night for food that would otherwise hide during the day. Many animals begin to bed down earlier to conserve body heat as it begins to get cooler. The Travel Moon is for migration. Some animals that take flight to migrate will often do so during the Full Moons at this time of year. The Dying Moon adds its energies to the final countdown of the Solar Year. Full Moons add illumination to the dark half of the Earth and this allows many aspects of nightly huntings and traveling for this time of year and season.

 

 

Stellium Conjunction of the Moon, Venus and Sun in Scorpio

Thursday, October 23, 2014 – 5:52 pm to 5:56 pm EDT

A Stellium is when there are three Planets working together within the same Sign or House. This particular Stellium is placing these three Planets in conjunction with each other for a total of 44 minutes in Scorpio. An emotional Moon conjunct with love-starved Venus is all about getting affection at any price. Marry that energy with a very personal Sun and you have a temper-tantrum of emotions trying to get any kind of personal attention. Venus can be quite beguiling, so try to avoid falling into her trap, if you can help it. Eventually that energy will taper off after the Moon slides past the Sun. Scorpio adds an element of surprise and mystery to the mix.

 

 

Venus conjuncts the Sun in Scorpio

Saturday, October 25, 20142:26 am EDT

Venus is all about love and affection, trying to gain it at any cost typically. When she conjuncts the Sun, it becomes very personal. Venus can be very hedonistic when it comes to gaining love and affection. And Scorpio adds that element of surprise and mystery to the mix.

 

 

Mercury goes Direct in Libra

Saturday, October 25, 20147:34 pm EDT

Finally, we can all breathe easier. When Mercury goes direct, Communications seem to re-align better and folks begin to understand logically. Mercury no longer takes on the role of Devil’s Advocate and tries to find balance – it becomes a mediator. Communications are still weighed heavily against all odds. When you speak, you try to find balance in your words that will neither negate nor accent a subject. It is all about finding the truth in the matter and analyzing it for an honorable result.

 

 

Mars enters Capricorn

Sunday, October 26, 20145:59 am EDT

Mars enters its Sign of exaltation. Mars is a Planet of action, where it can be impulsive and assertive. When it is exalted, those strengths can exceed their boundaries and become aggressive, defiant and combative. Mars can be a downright, dominating force to contend with. Although, the Sign of Capricorn tries to allay those strengths with its conservative energies, Mars can build up energy and blow things out of proportion.

 

 

Hallowe’en – Sun in Scorpio – 7 degrees

Friday, October 31, 2014 – sunrise at 7:41 am EDT

From the earliest times of the Catholic Church, when they were converting the Celtic locals away from Paganism, they started renaming the Pagan Holidays or Feasts that would help the locals segue toward the Catholic Church. Hallowe’en is noted in the Gaelic as “Samhain” meaning “summer’s end”. It is a time when the ancestors were honored. It is a hallowed time of the year.

The new name used this term to its advantage and while the celebrations always began on the eve, this Pagan Holiday was renamed Hallows Eve also referred to as All Hallows Eve. Eventually, the name became shortened and the “v” was lost and an apostrophe replaced it, giving the indication something should be there, but it is silent. This is much like our contractions today.

 

And the word Hallowe’en was the name invented to represent the Holiday celebrated before November 1st. In modern times, the apostrophe has been dropped, but few that are not ignorant of the past, often (re-)place the apostrophe where it belongs – Hallowe’en.

 

 

Samhain – Sun in Scorpio – 8 degrees

Thursday, October 31, 2014 – sunset at 6:02 pm EDT

Names – Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve, Hallowe’en, Allhallowmas/Hallowmas, All Saints’ Eve, Last/Blood Harvest, Ancestor Night, Festival/Feast of the Dead, Last Harvest Festival, Nos Galan Gaeaf (Welsh)

Date: Nov 1st (sometimes celebrated on the eve – Oct 31st)

Astro Correspondence: 15 degrees Scorpio
Color: oranges, purples, blacks

Food: ground tubers and vegetables, gourds and pumpkins, pork, wine, tree fruits, cakes, ale, mead, red foods, nuts, herbal teas, cider, chicken, scones/cakes/pies, mushrooms, fish.

Common Info: All Hallows Eve (Hallowe’en – note the apostrophe as the word is correctly spelled), Veil between the worlds is thinnest, Pelen Tans are made to thwart the Devil, Dead Times, Shapeshifting (Masks and Costumes), Story of Jack (pumpkins, gourds and turnips), witchy stuff (Conical Hats, Black Cats, Brooms, Cauldrons, et al), Pagan New Year, Transitional/Inner Work (Dark Shadow Work) is performed ending with a resolution at Yule, last Harvest Fest (vine vegetables and underground tubers mostly), Ancestral Calls/Celebration of/for deceased family, Fairies leave for Winter, Wassailing,

 

Samhain is the Celtic Feast of the Dead, when anything left to be harvested is pulled in, typically root or ground vegetables. The date is usually celebrated October 31st or November 1st or when the Sun is 15 degrees Scorpio (Friday, November 7, 2014 at 6:55 am EST) and celebrated as All Hallow’s Eve or All Saints Day. It is the time when the Veil between the Worlds is thinnest and we are able to communicate with our ancestors. Gwyn ap Nudd, Samhain and Ceridwen are associated mostly with this Sabbat. Foods sacred to the Sabbat tend to be the latest harvested items. Jack O’Lantern pumpkins were carved and lit by candles in the new land to help thwart the persecutors while the Witches met deep in the woods to communicate with the Dead. Although it is known as the Celtic New Year, it is not considered the first Sabbat of the Wheel of the Year – Yule hails as the first Sabbat due to its first day of the new Solar Year. There is a transition time between Samhain and Yule. Samhain is translated as “end of summer”. It represents death and transformation.

Wassailing comes from the term “Wass Hael,” meaning “be whole” or “be well”. It was a toast to good health using fresh fruit punches, cider ales, wines or meads.

The period between Samhain and Yule is known as the Dark Times (or the Dead Times). It is a time when you are supposed to delve into your personal issues to resolve them by Yule – making resolutions for the new Solar Year. Work those Dark Shadows during the Dark Times!!

 

 

Note: The time changes NEXT month.

Witchcrafting: Crafts for Witches

October, 2014

A Mad Hatter

This month’s craft describes the making of my black, conical, wide-brimmed witch’s hat.

 

hat1
We can debate whether or not these hats are cones of power reflecting the concentration of spiritual potency or just the echo of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. While it’s probably safe to say that most witches, including myself, do not often wear their pointy hats during ritual, I must admit, wearing it puts me in a witchy frame of mind faster than almost anything else. It can be playful sometimes and regal other times.
I began with a plain black witch nylon hat bought at a craft store. I admit to going a bit overboard at the store, also buying a thin black velvety material for the cone and similar material in a dark purple for the brim. I found wide purple lace to go around the brim and some back tulle fabric with purple glitter to wrap around the base of the cone and let hang down my back.
I also bought a few black artificial flowers, made a dark moon face out of black clay, found a black feather, and gathered up a small raven who is one of my totem animals and a large spider who is another.
Once you’ve decided to make a hat, take some time to discover what objects you are drawn to incorporate. Look around the house for a scarf you might not be wearing, a bow off a present, broken jewelry, fabric scraps, glitter and ornaments typically hung on a Yule tree. There are also seasonal accessories galore at drug stores, craft stores, supermarkets and dollar stores.
I think the secret to my success was the six-ounce bottle of Mighty Mendit I used to stick everything together. A flexible bonding agent, it was sometimes a bit messy to work with, but I found I liked it more than fabric glue which I thought took longer to dry.
First, cover the hat with a fabric of your choice. I made patterns from a paper bag – one for the cone and one for the brim – cut the material and glued it to the hat. I cut the fabric on the underside of the brim about even with the edge and cut the fabric on the top of the brim about a half inch larger. Then, I folded the fabric over the edge of the rim and glued it to the bottom side of the brim. I hand stitched the lace trim along the edge.

 

hat2
I gathered the tulle fabric and wrapped it around the base of the cone, covering the coming together of the two fabric pieces. I cinched it in a few places with some beaded wire that was given to me, and used both stitching and glue to hold it in place. It was loosely knotted in the back and the spider glued on top of that with its feet bent around the tulle. The flowers, feather and moon were glued to the hat as well. The bird’s feet were sown to the fabric to hold it in place.
The possibilities are endless for decorating your hat. While this time of year, black would be traditional, I liked our coven craft so much, I went on to make two additional hats: a silver and white one for Yule and Imbolc, and a green one with a crown of pink flowers I made for Beltane but would also use for Ostara. My goal at the time was to make one for every Sabbat. I may still get there if I can find a place to store them.

 

hat3
The biggest problem I’ve had with my hats over the years has been the dust that accumulates on them. I use a damp cloth to freshen them, but I would imagine that hitting bursts from a can of compressed air would work well.
If I’ve inspiried you to make a hat, I hope you’ll post photos of it in the comment section.

 

hat4

Bardic Song of the Month

October, 2014

This month’s Bardic Song is called “As You Cross the Veil”. It is a simple tune that has 4 lines for easier repetition and the melody line is rather easy. It is something to use in your Samhain Rites or during a Memorial Service.
When I initially created this song, I wanted it to be celebratory with a positive sound and melody. Too many times, dirges are written in a minor key, making them sound sad and mournful. Thus, this simple ditty was written in a major key. The message instills the concept that we accept the person is crossing the Veil and we wish them peace on their Journey.
As much as possible, all songs are created as a single page in pdf format for easier printing and reading. If you play the piano, these songs are simple enough to pick up right away. If you don’t have the musical inclination, a wav file is attached for easier listening and learning.
All songs for this and future monthly articles are published by the Blue Ridge Mountain Clan by Lord Fairy Bottom Educifer aka Wayne Minich, II. Any similarities to other songs is coincidental and not intentional.

 

Musings of a Hereditary Witch

October, 2014

DIY: Healing Blanket
In last month’s column, I shared about my grandma’s healing blanket. This month I thought I would share some ways to create your own healing blanket or an alternative to a blanket. I am going to take a leap here and assume you follow some kind of ritual/magical path and know how to empower objects. If not, let me know and I’ll be happy to lend some guidance.

Blanket:
Choose a blanket made of natural fibers like, cotton, wool or bamboo (yes, I said bamboo). A twin size blanket should be large enough. Think about what color represents healing to you. Do you want a solid color blanket or one with a pattern? As to colors, remember that darker colors are more absorbing than lighter colors.

After you have chosen your blanket, wash it according to instructions and add capful of white vinegar to the wash water (purification). While your blanket is in the wash, you might want to decide if you are going to leave the blanket plain or add some magical embellishments. You can do this by embroidery, cross stitch, fabric markers, appliqué or some other method you may know of. If you are a Reiki practitioner, you can empower your blanket with the Reiki symbols. Some of the symbols my grandma used were an equal armed red cross and healing herbs embroidered on the blanket.

Another option here would be sewing a quilt. I feel cotton fabrics work best for this. For the inside layer of the quilt, use a cotton blanket Instead of the poly batting. There are so many options when it comes to making a quilt: colors, the quilt pattern itself, and the actual quilting can be done in magical symbols. Are there any quilters out there?
To cleanse your blanket after a healing, wash it and then smudge with white sage, rosemary, cedar, or juniper. We always had plenty of rosemary in the garden. You can also use Reiki to clear the blanket of energy.
Shawls:
Shawls work wonderfully as a substitute for a blanket and is my personal favorite. Like with the blanket, choose a natural yarn. I’m looking forward to making one of my triangular shawls from some bamboo yarn.

If you knit or crochet, go through your pattern books or check online and pick out something you like. Working with crochet or knitting lends its self well to knot magic. You can say a blessing for every knot or row that you create. Adding fringe to your shawl will help trap in the sickness.

Once your shawl is finished, I suggest reading the care instruction on the yarn sleeve. Most yarns can be laundered and now would be a good time to wash your shawl.

If you want to embellish your shawl you can sew crystals, tiny bells, shells, beads, and charms to your shawl. Remember to make sure your embellishments have been purified first. Of course once you add embellishment, you won’t be able to launder your shawl and should cleanse it like for the blanket above.

Quick No-Sew Fabric Shawl
Purchase at least 2 yards of cotton fabric, some fusible hemming tape, washable fabric glue and enough trim (op) to cove the short ends of the fabric when folded. Wash the fabric, iron if needed. Fold the fabric, wrong sides together, in half lengthwise and iron the fold. Read the instructions on the fusible hemming tape. Cut 3 lengths of tape (1 the length of the long edge and 2 the length of the short edge). With the right side out (printed side) unfold the fabric and line the long edge and both short ends inside the fabric with the tape. Refold the fabric and following the package directions to iron and seal all the edges. Use the fabric glue to glue your trim to the short edges. Wash in a gentle cycle. See blanket instructions above for spiritually cleansing your shawl.
Note: if you do know how to sew; turn the fabric wrong side out, sew a ¼” seam around the three open sides, leaving a place to turn right side out. Turn right side out and iron, hand stitch the opening closed. Now you can sew your trim to the short ends.

How to Use:
How you use your blanket/quilt/shawl is up to you. You can reread my column post from last month for an example. If someone in your working group is sick, if possible, you can sit them in the center of your circle, wrap them in the blanket and use group energy to either remove the sickness or send healing.

I would love to hear from anyone who has tried one of the methods above or who have any ideas that I haven’t covered here.
Blessings on your Hearth & Home

Tarot Talk

October, 2014

This month, we will return to the Major Arcana, and talk about The Emperor. Before we begin breaking down The Emperor, let’s define and remind ourselves of some terms.

There are 22 Major Arcana cards in a Tarot deck, with numbers from 0 to 21; the Majors usually deal with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives. An archetype (pronounced “ark eh type”) is a generic, idealized model of a person, an object, or a concept which can be copied, patterned, or imitated. In psychology, an archetype is a model of a person, a personality, or a behavior. In the analysis of personality, the term archetype often refers to one of two concepts: a “stereotype” (a personality type observed multiple times, especially an oversimplification of a personality type; for instance, “girls make good cooks” is a stereotype), or an “epitome” (the embodiment of a particular personality type, especially as the “greatest” or “best” example of the particular personality type; for example, Venus is said to be the epitome of feminine beauty). Archetypes present personality traits that are common enough to be known by us all, through images (rather than words) that contain symbolism that connects with our subconscious in a universal manner. Each of us can understand the symbolism of archetypes and connect with that symbolism because each of us has (or will) personally experienced these archetypes.

Besides the symbolism in its traditional image, each Major Arcana card corresponds to a number, an archetype, an element, an astrological sign or planet, a Hebrew letter, and a Path on the Tree of Life joining two Sephiroth. Let’s start breaking this one down; we’ve got a lot of work to do!

The traditional image on The Emperor is of an adult man, often at least partially clothed in armor, seated on a throne, many times with his face turned to one side, and his legs crossed, appearing similar to the number 4. We see those crossed legs elsewhere in the Majors (take a look at the image on The Hanging Man, in many ways the polar opposite of The Emperor). The Emperor holds a scepter or some other symbol of his rank and authority, and often there is a shield nearby, sometimes decorated with the image of an eagle or a ram.

The Emperor card is numbered 4; the number 4 is about foundation being created, solidification, discipline, authority figures, self-imposed boundaries, or a too-tight focus. The number 4 adds dimension, stability, and solidity to the numbers 1, 2 and 3; this number offers the concept of depth, The Solid. Fours are stable numbers; four walls, four seasons, four corners. It takes a massive amount of energy to move them or tip them over. The Emperor is connected to the Death card, the 13th Major; in numerology, the number 13 has a connection to the number 4 (1 + 3 =4). Emperors often maintain their power through death and they receive it through succession, also connected to death.

The Emperor represents the archetype of the Father or the Hero. The archetype of the Father combines a talent for creating or initiating (as a catalyst) with an ability to oversee others, whether a biological family or a group of creative people. Although the Father has often been associated with the negative connotations of paternalism and male dominance, the primary characteristics of the Father are courage and protectiveness. A true Father guides and shields those under his care, sacrificing his own desires when that sacrifice is appropriate.

The Hero is a classic figure in ancient Greek and Roman literature, often portrayed as a person who must follow an increasingly difficult path of obstacles in order to become initiated into manhood. Many of the gods of the world’s ancient religions began their lives as heroes who performed amazing feats of strength or skill. Today the Hero is seen as an icon of both male and female power (Wonder Woman is just as heroic as Superman). Through facing physical and internal obstacles, the Hero confronts fear and taps into his own courage; he then returns to the tribe with experiences and wisdom that are of great value to the entire group.

The Emperor corresponds with the element of Fire, which is hot and dry, and shapes and separates. Fire manifests as spontaneous, impulsive and energetic change. Fire corresponds with the suit of Wands from the Tarot Minor Arcana, the playing cards of Clubs, the direction of South and the color of red. Fire represents ideas, seeds being planted, growth, ambition, and passion; Fire’s energies encourage us to move forward, to experience joy and passion (including sexuality), and to take action based on divine will rather than our ego-based self.

In astrology, The Emperor represents the astrological sign of Aries, a cardinal Fire sign that is a catalyst, a person that inspires others by being totally committed to his or her own vision. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the leader of the pack, first in line to get things going. Those born under this sign prefer to initiate, and they won’t shy away from anything new. Aries people are action oriented, assertive, and competitive. Aries is ruled by Mars, the God of War, bold and aggressive, and able to tap into the focus needed to take on any challenge. The symbol of Aries is the Ram, blunt and to the point, and a sheer force of nature. The great strength of those born under this sign is found in their initiative, courage and determination.

In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter is connected to the creative forces in the universe. These creative forces express themselves on three levels: one level is archetypical and runs from the first to the ninth letter; the second level is one of manifestation and runs from the tenth to the eighteenth letter, and the third is a cosmic level and runs from the nineteenth to the twenty-second letter. The Emperor corresponds with the Hebrew letter Heh, the fifth letter in the Hebrew alphabet, representing the window that allows light and air into a room. In Judaism, the letter Heh is often used to represent the name of God, as He stands for Hashem, which means The Name, and is a way of saying God without actually saying the name.

On the Tree of Life, The Fool represents Path 15, running between Chokmah (male in the electric sense, dynamic energy, the origin of vital force and polarity) and Tiphareth (the hub of the creation process where energies harmonize and focus to illuminate and clarify), the Path of Natural Intelligence. Chokmah (Wisdom) is the second sephira on the Tree, at the top of the Pillar of Force/Expansion. It is seen as dynamic thrust, and as the Ultimate Positive, the Great Stimulator and the Great Fertilizer (one of the symbols of Chokmah is the penis). It represents dynamic male energy and is the origin of vital force and polarity. Tiphareth (Beauty) is the sixth sephira on the Tree, the second on the Pillar of Balance (the first being Kether, the Crown), and represents harmony, equilibrium, and the epitome of balance. Tiphareth is the balance between active and passive, force and form; the hub of the wheel, the Sun in the sky.

The Emperor follows The Empress in the Tarot Majors, and he is indeed father to her mother and civilization to her nature; he imposes order, balance, form and structure onto her fertility and her creations. The strength of The Emperor is the stability he brings to a situation. In the best of circumstances, he is the intelligent, enthusiastic leader of an orderly, lawful, thriving family. He is the wise parent who offers his children the structure they need in their lives to help them to become responsible adults.

The reversed Emperor reminds us of the weaknesses he can bring to a situation, such as the risk of stagnation, or the risk that we may come to believe in our own entitlement beyond what we actually deserve. The Emperor can be a despot, imposing his own will on his subjects instead of seeing to their needs. Rather than the mature and caring parent, a reversed Emperor can be like a 2 year old, filled with enthusiasm and charm that easily morph into the personality of a demanding tyrant: impatient, demanding, controlling. The Father becomes difficult to deal with when caring guidance and protection turn into control or abuse of authority, and the Hero can sometimes fall into the trap of personal empowerment achieved through the disempowerment of others.

The Emperor has the vision necessary to create a dynasty, and the power, authority, experience and wisdom to manifest that vision. In a way, we each are one version of The Emperor, because whether we know it or not, we are the ruler of our immediate environment. The Emperor also reminds us that the good of the many must supersede the good of the few, and he reminds us that authority comes with responsibility, and even personal sacrifice. In order to be a good ruler, we sometimes need to put aside our personal needs in order to lead and serve others, and The Emperor is good at sacrificing all yet still inspiring others to reach upward and evolve toward fulfillment.

Next »