May, 2015

Merry Meet

May, 2015

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            Welcome

 

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In this Issue…

 

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Interview with Luke Eastwood: A Druid’s Journey

 

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Learn to make your own Altar Maypole in Witchcrafting: crafts for witches

 

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The 2nd part of the Croning Series is featured in SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

 

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Learn The art of Reading Tea Leaves in The Enchanted Cottage

 

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Interested in becoming a writer with us? Pitch us your ideas at admin@paganpages.org

 

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MoonOwl Observations

May, 2015

My Journey to Paganism

Discovering Paganism wasn’t easy for me. I took several steps in my religious history to find it. I was born into a Roman Catholic family. I was baptised, as most Roman Catholic children are, and I was in an environment where I was told there was one true God, that Jesus had died for my sins, and I wasn’t really told about any other options. Sometimes we would live with my Grandma, and she was quite religious. She was a bit more ‘old school’ than most, and so she had different views than my parents or other relatives. She was much stricter and lived but an entirely different version of the bible. Sometimes as a child I would question things in the bible. I couldn’t wrap my head around some of the ideas and concepts. I read the new and old testament and could not understand why people would follow some of the guidelines set out. Even as a child I spotted a lot of sexism, and I didn’t think that was fair. Of course, I could go on for a while about things that I didn’t agree with within the bible, but that could take a while. To sum it up, the bible didn’t really do anything for me. If I looked to it for guidance or help, I received none, and just had more questions.
We moved around a lot, and so I ended up going to lots of different schools, I had a hard time making friends, and in general had a hard time with life itself. I thought my home life was normal. I thought it was normal for bad things to happen, and really, that abuse was a way of life. I had trouble understanding how so many of the kids in my class could be happy, when I was so miserable. I never wanted to go home, and these kids had no issue with that. Why didn’t all these other kids feel like I did? It wasn’t until I got invited to another classmate’s home that I realized my life was different. When I saw how loving and happy this family was, I knew there was something wrong. And I started to question a lot more.
Now, granted, I know a lot of people can put on a front. I myself, can be one of those people. But going into that other house, with that other family, was eye-opening. There was no fighting, that child was welcomed and loved. That child felt safe in their own home. I never felt safe in my own home, I dreamed of a day when I could leave. Around this point I started questioning religion even more. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. No child should have to live in fear.
As I grew up I became depressed. I was riddled with anxiety and was even more terrified of sleep and the dark. When it became dark and everyone else was asleep, that was when my step-dad would come into my room. I’m not going to get into details, but it was very traumatizing. I thought about suicide starting around the age of 8. I got shingles from stress and all I thought about was a way to get out. A way to escape. I was singled out and bullied at school for being skinny and poor. I wore my brother’s old hand-me-downs and I hated people. I loved school since it was an escape, but people were terrifying to me. I had major trust issues.
Due to me becoming so solitary I escaped into the world provided by books. I also escaped into the woods when I could. I am allergic to the sun, and growing up, it was much worse, but the woods were shaded and beautiful. I felt calm and relaxed when out in nature. I was never afraid. It was the one place I felt safe. I would climb up a big tree and stay up there for hours. At this point I was finding myself more and more drawn to the beauty of nature. I spent as much time as I could in the woods. We moved around a lot, so if we lived in a city, I would be drawn to the nearest park. I enjoyed sitting up in trees and reading. As a kid, that was my paradise.
During all this I became less and less interested in the Roman Catholic life. I found myself reading more and more on various religions. I discovered at that point I was Agnostic. But I was drawn to the ideas of Buddhism. I loved the respect for nature and life. It seemed like such a caring, peaceful religion. I read numerous books on the subject. I felt like I was in between Buddhism and Agnosticism. But it didn’t seem quite right.
As life went on, I realized that the night can be a good thing too. After my step-dad would leave my room, if I was brave enough, I would sneak out and enjoy being out under the moonlight. The panic would slowly go away. Sometimes I would just sit outside and cry. For some reason I felt like the moon was understanding and caring. That it helped to heal me, physically and mentally. I didn’t have to hide from it, I could lay out on the grass and feel peace and love radiate from it. The moon became a symbol of happiness for me. Nature was the only positive I seemed to have. Nature provided the much needed love to keep me going.
Then, there was one night that changed my life. I was in grade 8 and at this point I was in the hospital, and was on the brink of entering foster care. It had been a pretty rough day and I had fallen asleep crying. It was then I had the most fantastic dream. A beautiful woman came walking out of the forest. She came to me, embraced me and told me she was here to keep me safe. That she was sorry she wasn’t there for me earlier. She told me she would do her best to keep me out of harm’s way. In the dream I collapsed into her arms, crying heavily. I felt like a bunch of weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that finally, someone was going to help me. I asked her who she was, and she told me her name was Gaia. At that point, I woke up.
When I woke I had tears in my eyes, but a smile on my face. I fell back asleep quickly, and slept soundly for the rest of the night. The next morning I got a nurse to take me up to the hospital library and I looked up Gaia. To my surprise I found information on her. I then spent hours reading up on her, mythology and Paganism. I instantly felt a great connection and felt like I had found just the right thing for me. To this day I feel a strong connection with Gaia, and I feel she has helped me though a lot of tough times and when I feel depressed, or am suffering, I remember that dream. I remember that night, when Gaia saved my life, when she gave me purpose and strength to push through the pain and to find happiness.

MagickalArts

May, 2015

The Flames of Beltane

The column for this month focuses on Beltane and the creative Fires that are in abundance. We stand at another season and another turn of the Great Solar Wheel. We gather in the fertile space of circle greenery anchored well with phallic maypole standing tall. We dance around the potent fires of Beltane celebrating the sacred union of God and Goddess, youth and maiden and the polarity of seed and womb offered by male and female. The air is fragrant with the promise of summer’s musky scent and shoots of fresh grass elongate delicately upwards, stretching towards Father Sun and longer days to bask in His brilliance. We can see the lengthening of the days and feel the gentle caress of warm sun-kissed air on skin that has just recently shed its winter clothing. In the continuous cycle, darkness gives way to light and so also the sparse flora of the fields gives way to the thick verdant splendor of late-Spring growth.

This is the magickal season of the thinning of the veils between ancestor and human, spirit and Deva and the gifts of connection to seen and unseen. We bow to the enlivening of all of the fruits of mother earth’s bounty that will herald summer’s gifts of ripening. We joyfully and with purity of intent and heart give offering to the Fae to aid us in our endeavors and make promise that the progeny of our union with nature and all of its life will make good in keeping her healthy and whole.

The potency of sexual union and the energy that is the by-product of the sexual act is one of the most potent and its heady scent seductively calls to all to join in the dance. If guided and directed towards enlivening and magickal working its raw force has the power to manifest form. In alchemical and Tantric practice, using this energy as a means of self-enlivening and energetic renewal and healing is the goal. It is this energy that is celebrated and called into action as we wait in anticipation of the Beltane’s lovers sacred union. The heat of passionate longing and the desire to join as one ensures the continuance of life’s pleasure and humanity’s legacy. It pulses with a lusty rhythm that mesmerizes and magnetically draws to itself the object of its seeking. And, life continues in the throes of human passion and Divine synthesis.

This is the time of spiritual union. When the potency of the energies and the fires of devotion are most fertile and ready to be held in loving embrace in hopes of creating connection and bond that will move us forward on our spiritual paths. We stimulate the fires of our own will and exhale into the heat of our yearning. At this turn of the Wheel, I would like to propose a deeper union; a quickening of your own solar union.

A Meditation of Quickening Light

Choose a space where you will not be disturbed. Relax into a comfortable chair or other space. Establish an even and steady flow of breath, allowing your focus of awareness to gently settle into the space just at the level of your legs and thighs (Root Chakra) . Breathe into this space and open your senses to the experience of your legs resting on the surface below you and the feel of leg and thigh pressing into the chair or floor. Gently tense the muscles in your lower limbs and make note of the strength and feel of flesh, bone, tendon and muscle.

Move your awareness up to the space of your pelvic bowl (Sacral Chakra) . This is the creative vessel that holds the seed or egg of potential for life. This is the space of release and container of womb of receipt. Breathe into the spaciousness of this part of your body. Feel the warmth and sensation of awakening as you allow the energy of breath to flow through this creative gateway. Move this area of your body rocking gently side to side envisioning the flow of creative potency and vitality. Breathe into this movement as the bowl of your creative desire fills with life force.

Draw this energy up into the space of your center core (Solar Plexus) . Focus your awareness on the filling of this core with the flowing life force of your creative potential and the anchoring of the physical support of leg and thigh. Breathe into this space allowing the energies to co-mingle, feeling the warmth of the inner sun as it generates it life-sustaining power to what you have called forth. Breathe deeply and fully into the experience of enlivening this central space within. These are the spaces of physicality that flow into heart, lung, arm and head. These are the anchors that hold your physical form connected to the earth and the instinctual urges towards procreation and survival. Envision light filling your lower body and mid-section. This light glows brightly, expanding with each breath and radiating throughout all of your body. You feel the heat of the sun and the flow of creative energy moving strongly and purposefully. Allow these energies to move as they will for as long as you wish.

When you have received all that is needed, envision all of the energy that has run through you coming into the core center of your solar plexus. See and feel it all moving deep into the center of this inner sun creating the space of renewal and stimulation for everything that you wish to bring to manifestation. Inhale deeply taking from the waves of energy flowing into this center. Offer thanks for this experience of quickening and the uniting of all that makes you fully human.

Allow your awareness to return to focus on your breath, the rise and fall of your chest and the physicality of your being in the space you are at present. Each breath brings this awareness into sharper focus and attention. And, when you are ready gently flutter your eyes open and be present in the here and now.

Interview with Luke Eastwood: A Druid’s Journey

May, 2015

Luke Eastwood: A Druid’s Journey

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Luke is a musician, poet, painter, photographer and the author of The Journey and A Druid’s Primer, as well as numerous articles on subjects ranging from politics to horticulture. He currently writes a blog for Moon on Druidry and Celtic belief. I caught up with Luke to quiz him on his many projects.

Mabh: What inspired your original interest in Celtic culture?

Luke: It has been so much part of my life for so long that I can’t remember where it started. My father sometimes enthused about Bonnie Prince Charlie and King hur, which left a deep impression; my Granny bought me fairy tales – I remember being read ‘Peronique’ (a Breton tale I still have) in a picture book version before I could read myself. I had a set of Ancient Briton and Roman soldiers about 1 inch high that often fought for hours on my bedroom floor, the Romans usually won as they had all the sexy weaponry!

MS: And how did this lead to your involvement with Paganism?

LE: I had been a Roman Catholic but found myself dissatisfied with it, although I did feel attracted to the teachings of both Jesus and St. Francis. I could see that the true roots of Christianity had become obliterated by the Romans and in looking through the dark history of the Church I discovered that much of R.C. ritualism is derived from European and Middle-Eastern paganism. At this point in time I had come to regard Jesus as a prophet, like Moses or Muhammad, so it was not much of a leap for me to abandon Christianity completely and become a Pagan. Being strongly connected to nature, Druidry/Druidism seemed the obvious best fit, although I did investigate Buddhism, Hindu pantheism, Hermeticism and Wicca on the way to choosing this path.

MS: I know from experience that studying Celtic history and mythology can be arduous and time consuming, although always rewarding. What have been your finest resources, and what source do you return to again and again?

LE: Yes it is extremely time-consuming but ultimately rewarding as you say. Apart from the many people I’ve learned from (often informally) I’ve found many books to be incredibly useful and/or insightful. To name just three I’d suggest – ‘The Religion Of The Ancient Celts’ by J.A. McCulloch, ‘Irish Trees – Myths, Legends & Folklore’ by Niall Mac Coitir and ‘The Celtic Heroic Age’ by John T. Koch & John Carey. can be wonderful but book knowledge alone is useless in my opinion. Experience of living and working spiritually is far more important but at times the ‘knowledge’ accumulated suddenly elucidates an experience or gives some frame of reference that completes the picture. Without the living and breathing experiences, the sum of all I’ve read is just so many pages in a dusty old tome, as dead as the wood from which the pages came!

MS: You paint, write poetry, books and articles, make music and take some beautiful photos as well. Is there any particular medium in all this creativity that you connect to more than the others, and why?

LE: No, there isn’t a preference I’m aware of. It has occurred to me that I’ve gone through several creative phases in my life, some overlapping slightly. In the last few years writing has been my main focus and it will probably continue to be so until my intuition draws me elsewhere. I am unable to work to order creatively for myself, I do only what feels right, so I’d be hopeless if I had to rely on it for an income. I suspect I’ll return to playing music fairly soon, it’s something that has always been part of my life in some form.

MS: What drew you to Druidry initially?

LE: I can’t really explain it. I think it appealed on a subconscious level. I had great difficulty in finding out about it, most of the books I found were very shallow and uninformative, which lead me to explore other less obscured areas, such as Hindu Culture. However, I remember walking past a bookshop in Swiss Cottage, London in 1996 and seeing ‘The Book Of Druidry’ by Ross Nichols in the window. I rushed in and bought it, even though it was £20 or something ridiculous like that. This was the first book I’d come across that was written by a real Druid as opposed to some academic or historian.

MS: And now, what is the most vital part of being a Druid for you?

LE: For me, being able to go outside and watch the world happening seems more vital than anything. If I were unable to do that I think I’d be incredibly unhappy.

MS: Was this part of what inspired you to write The Druid’s Primer?

LE: I didn’t feel that any one single Druid 101 book was sufficiently in-depth or comprehensive to provide a useful guide in one volume. I’m not sure that TDP is either, but it is my attempt to compile all the basics from all of the Celtic traditions I could find. In particular I was keen to promote the Irish traditions and knowledge which has been neglected, as well of that of the other Celtic/ex-Celtic nations.

MS: What advice would you give to someone with an interest in pursuing Druidry?

LE: Try to find the fine line between experiential, intuitive practice and academic, knowledge acquisition. Knowledge was always an important aspect of Druidry but so too was creative, empathic and intuitive skill. To be balanced I think we need to try to develop both sides of ourselves in a harmonious way so that what we do and what we know become integrated completely into who we are.

MS: Can someone be a Druid without worshiping any particular deity, or perhaps without honouring a deity at all?

LE: Not everyone would agree with me, but I would say yes to both. I would say that it is essential to have some understanding of the Celtic concept of deity and the mythology associated with it. However, many people have a nebulous sense of deity or even regard nature itself as the source of divinity or perhaps even just the source of life. I don’t see why such theological differences would stop someone from being able to live a Druidic life; I’d say that sincerely walking the path is more important than points of dogma.

MS: Tell us a bit about your recently republished book, The Journey. What was the key message you wanted to convey?

LE: In truth the way that we live is more important than what we profess to believe. Our deepest beliefs and concerns are demonstrated and manifested by the choices we make in how we live in the world. Much of the truths about human experience and the universe (from a human perspective) seem to me to be independent of the religion from which they originated. It strikes me (using a crude analogy) that many religious people are obsessed with the colour of the car they are driving or that other people are driving, when what is really important is keeping your own car on the road!

MS: You play an astonishing range of musical instruments; do you think this talent ties back to Celtic ancestry at all?

LE: I really can’t give a definite answer. I can say that my recent ancestors and relatives, including my father and grandfather have been very musical. I’ve been listening to music since I was born so it’s almost part of me at this stage. My siblings and my daughter all play instruments too, I guess it’s a minor compulsion in my family!

MS: And do you have a favourite instrument?

LE: I suppose guitar is my most played instrument but recently I’ve an urge to get back to playing the cello. I’m very rusty right now, but it has such a wonderful sound I really think I should make more time for it.

MS: Your bio says you are currently working on a novel; can you tell us a bit about that?

LE: It’s a sci-fi with a spiritual element to it. I’ve projected some of the current concerns relating to secularism and religious strife into the future surrounding one particular character who experiences a momentous, life-changing event. That’s about all I want to say, any more might reveal too much.

MS: What other projects do you have on the horizon?

LE: I’d very much like to write a book on sacred sites, cross referenced with some of the most ancient writings related to each of them. Although I love photography it might be interesting to work on this in conjunction with a photographer with a different view of such places.

MS: Do you still write poetry? What themes inspire you?

LE: Yes I do, but only when I feel inspired. That might happen three times in one week or once in a year. I appear to have no control over when I write poems. Nature, love and modern society are three themes that seem to crop up over and over again; usually something that has happened or something I’ve seen will inspire me and the words will just come flooding out.

MS: You write on many socio-political themes. What currently has you fired up?

LE: Injustice is something that makes me very angry – injustice to the weak and impoverished of the world and also injustice to the natural world. I think that inequality is a perennial problem and in some countries it seems to be getting worse not better. As the human population grows the stresses on the planet and on human society are growing, I really think that we need to collectively find creative and fair solutions fast if there is going to be any kind of future worth having.

MS: Tell us a bit about Éigse Spiriod Ceilteach. [Gathering of Celtic Spirituality]

LE: I was very inspired by Féile Draoíchta (Festival of Magic & Spirituality) in Dublin, which is run by Barbara Lee and Lora O’Brien. Basically I decided to copy their idea and move it outside into a rural setting, but focusing more specifically on the Celtic end of magic/spirituality. Both ladies have been very supportive with advice and Lora also gave us a talk in August just gone. 2014 was our 5th year and I’m delighted by how it has gradually grown since the first one. For me being outside is the main plank of my spiritual practice and I’m keen to provide others the opportunity to share that kind of experience with other like-minded people.

MS: You’ve had a very interesting spiritual journey it seems; from being raised Catholic to an interest in Buddhism, to studying Wicca and eventually becoming a Druid. Do you feel that where you are now is where you are meant to be, or is there still a further journey ahead for you?

LE: Yes I suppose it is a bit strange, I guess I’ve wandered like a stray dog until I found a comfortable spot to rest! I’ve learned a great deal from exploring these different paths and I’d be a different person than I am today if I had not done so. I do feel that I am where I am meant to be right now but of course there is still more to come. We are always learning every day, there is always something new to learn. I think that the day that I feel I have nothing further to learn from life is the time for me to shuffle off this mortal coil.

Luke’s books are available through Moon books, from Amazon and other retailers, and you can find his other projects on his website. Éigse Spiriod Ceilteach has its own Facebook page and more info can be found on the Irish Druid Network.

Witchcrafting: Crafts for witches

May, 2015

Altar Maypole
Merry Meet.

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For some, it wouldn’t be Beltane without dancing around the Maypole. While not everyone gets to have a 20-foot pole sunk into a 3-foot hole in the middle of a field, everyone can have a mini version on their altar.

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You just need a dowel or stick about a foot long, a base and ribbon.
Let a stick find you, or buy a dowel about a foot long. You will also need a base: a piece of wood from the craft store, a slice of a thick branch or a mound of air-hardening clay. Use a screw, nail or glue to anchor one end of the pole to the base.
An old wooden paper towel holder might also work. Children could use Tinkertoys.

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Cut ribbon of various colors at least twice the height of the pole and glue or tack to the top.
If desired, put a bead on top to finish and decorate the base, perhaps with a crown of flowers.
This Maypole can be placed on your altar or holiday table. You can braid the ribbons as a ritual or just let them hang.
Merry part. And merry meet again.

 

Photos: 

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This Maypole has been a Beltane decoration at the Church of Eternal Light in Bristol, Connecticut for longer than some people can remember.

Pole Parts
All the parts for a Maypole can be found at a large chain craft store.

 

 

Tarot Talk

May, 2015

Let’s review the Court Cards of the Tarot this month by examining another Tarot “royal,” the King of Cups. First, let’s review the information we went over the last time we discussed the royal family of the Tarot.

A Tarot deck has 78 cards. There are 22 Major Arcana cards, 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. There are 56 Minor Arcana cards that are customarily grouped into four categories or suits that represent the four elements (sometimes called “Pips” or “Pip Cards”), with numbers from Ace to 10; the Minors usually deal with day-to-day issues.

The Court Cards are actually a part of the Minor Arcana, acting as a representation of the family unit. Individually, the members of the Tarot Court represent particular personality traits, traits of people, places and events in our lives. These cards can also tell us about our own personality, and how it is perceived by others. Thinking of my Tarot cards as people, with each card having an individual personality, is one method I have used with success in order to connect with my cards. This is particularly appropriate for the Court Cards, as they are the most human of all the cards in a Tarot deck. Even the illustrations for the Court Cards show humans in the majority of Tarot decks. Generally speaking, there are three different ways that Court Cards can speak to us in a spread: they can indicate personality traits of our Seeker or someone affecting the Seeker; they can refer to actual individuals in the Seeker’s life, including the Seeker; and they can refer to the general aura or atmosphere of a place or situation.

Court cards offer us these descriptions of personality traits and of different ways of being or acting, so we can make use of these styles or avoid them, whichever is appropriate. Of course, the trick is to know which message is being given in a particular spread! One way to become more confident in determining this is to learn about the Court Cards themselves, and how the personality of each Court Card interacts with its particular suit. Many times if you break a particular Court Card down to its rank and correspondences, you will understand its message. Let’s get started.

Instead of numbers, Court Cards have rank. The lowest ranking Court Card is the Page, the messenger or intern or apprentice who is still learning of life and living, but who is also good at dealing with the unexpected. Next comes the Knight, the representation of strong, focused and even excessive manifestations of his suit.

Both the Queen and the King represent mature adults. The Queen manifests her suit in a feminine or yin or inner way, and the King manifests his suit in a masculine or yang or outer way. This manifestation does not necessarily correspond to gender; a man can be represented by a Tarot Queen if he has a strong inner focus, and a woman can be represented by a Tarot King if she projects a strong sense of authority. Since we are talking about the King of Cups today, we already know that our King will manifest his suit in an outer yet mature manner. Our King is concerned with results; he exhibits outer, public expertise in his field, and he is an authority figure. In many ways, the Kings of the Tarot Court can be seen as four facets of The Emperor of the Major Arcana.

Our King’s suit this month is Cups. The suit of Cups corresponds with the element of Water, and many Tarot decks use images of cups or chalices and water on their Minor Arcana Cups cards. A nice place to begin our exploration of the suit of Cups is with the element of Water itself.

In its natural state, Water is cool and wet. When amassed, it has weight, and it tends to gather or pool at the lowest place. Because of this tendency, Water creates its own roadways or channels, and it prefers to use those already-in-place channels if it can. Water is used for cleaning and purifying, and Water can be a carrier for other substances. For instance, we can dissolve salt or sugar into warm Water, and use that concoction for other things. A body of Water can be calm and deep, or it can be dangerously churning and filled with powerful currents.

The element of Water corresponds to our feelings and emotions, and this makes sense. Emotions flow and have currents and eddies, a powerful wave of emotions can be cleansing, emotions can be hot and expanding or they can be bubbling upward, like steam, or cold and contracting and heavy, like ice, and our emotions can affect our physical bodies (which contain a lot of Water) and our health. Often, tears appear when we feel things strongly through sadness or joy or anger, as physical manifestations of those emotions.

Water also represents the Inner Voice and the subconscious. If we were to sit beside a lake on a calm, clear day, we can understand this connection. As we look out on the surface of the lake, we will see a reflection of the trees and hills, and even the clouds and the sky, on its surface. We can’t tell how deep the center of that lake will be by looking at it from the shore; it might be shallow and easy to cross, or it might be deep and dark and cold, the home of mysterious creatures. If we were to step into that lake and keep moving away from the shore, we will discover the hidden depths of that lake, not visible from the surface.

Water is not the only element that corresponds to our King. In the Tarot Court, the suit of the card has an elemental correspondence, and the rank of the card has an elemental correspondence. Pages correspond with Earth, Knights correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck), Queens correspond with Water, and Kings correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck). Since we are talking about a King today, we are also talking about the element of Air, or the element of Fire, depending on the deck. For our purposes today, we will see the King of Cups as Fire of Water.

In its natural state, the element of Fire is hot and dry. It tends to bring spontaneous change or impulsive, energetic effects. Fire is passionate in nature, and transforms everything in our world. Fire can sanitize or cleanse, and it can destroy everything in its path; Fire can warm us and keep us safe, or it can kill us. Fire corresponds with creativity, ambition, growth, passion and actions, and how their presence or absence can affect our lives. Fire also represents Spirit or the Divine Will, and Wands cards also can present the possibility of some interaction with Spirit or the Divine.

Like the other cards of the Tarot, Court Cards have astrological correspondences. Our Queen of Swords corresponds with the cusp or joining point of the signs of Libra and Scorpio. Libras are usually very focused on the people around them, and how they interact with those people. Libras always put their minds to good use, considering and balancing carefully before choosing a course that brings the highest good to all. Scorpio is about beginnings and endings, and about understanding the deep, dark secrets of the self. Scorpios stick to the plan; they are intense and passionate, even if they appear quiet on the surface.

A Libra-Scorpio combination can be attractive and seductive. This combination makes for a person who is a natural in any social situation, a good communicator who can handle abstract reasoning with ease, but who can also come across as bossy or sarcastic, manipulative or sly. This is a person who is interested in both the mystical and the scientific, who can see all sides to any situation and who has a passion and strength that is admirable. This combination can also create someone who has trouble letting go, or who wants everything to be perfect, and if something has to be presented in a lesser state the Libra-Scorpio will be embarrassed.

Because they are Minor Arcana cards, Court Cards also correspond with a sephira on the Tree of Life. The Kings correspond with the sephira of Chokmah, along with all of the Twos of the Minor Arcana and the element of Fire. The Kings sit at the top of the Pillar of Force in the sephira of Chokmah, representing the Sacred Masculine and the Catalyst of Life. Chokmah is seen as dynamic thrust, the Ultimate Positive, the Great Stimulator and the Great Fertilizer (one of the symbols of Chokmah is the penis), and thus is connected to the Wheel of the Year. The energies of this sephira represent dynamic male energy and is the origin of vital force and polarity.

Let’s recap! Our King of Cups is Fire of Water, and Fire and Water are not friendly. This could mean that our King feels divided between his sensitive side and a world where power and dominance are respected. Here is the source of the idea that while the King of Cups is very qualified to see to the emotional needs of his subjects, he is not real good at dealing with his own emotions. Again, we are reminded of The Emperor of the Major Arcana, the benevolent yet strict Father Figure who maintains structure and order so that we all can thrive.

The King of Cups is the most benevolent of all the Kings, mainly because of his association with the element of Water, and with feelings, emotions and instincts. He is the wise elder who is motivated to help others, the family friend who can overlook his own needs in order to serve those he cares for. This King aims to manifest the higher good of all by allowing himself to be guided by his own instincts, and by stirring and encouraging the feelings, emotions and dreams of others. This King often represents a healer, a counselor or a therapist, or anyone in a service-oriented field. He can also be a boat captain or an artist (remember, we are dealing with the element of Water). The King of Cups has his challenges as well, and may be oversensitive to criticism, pessimistic, delusional, passive-resistive, easily seduced, or co-dependent.

The King of Cups fits the description of a fairy tale king: he can see right into the heart of any matter, and can balance the needs of many people, while encouraging compassion, diplomacy and tolerance in all. He easily keeps his head in a crisis, and projects calm into every situation. He is usually the first person to volunteer to help others, or to use diplomacy to bring together opposite parties. The King of Cups is a protector who cares for and watches over all who are near him. He strives to balance the needs of others with his own needs. He has learned the value of doing less rather than more, and his inborn ability to care for others allows him to willingly meet his responsibilities with a smile on his face and love in his heart, and still be accepted by those under his care as the authority figure.

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

May, 2015

SHAKTI GODDESSES

Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Namo Namo
Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Namo Namo
Pritham Bhagvati, Pritham Bhagvati, Pritham Bhagvati, Namo Namo
Kundalini Mata Shakti, Mata Shakti, Namo Namo

Translation:
I bow to the primal power.
I bow to the all encompassing power and energy.
I bow to that through which Goddess creates.
I bow to the creative power of the Kundalini, the Divine Mother Power.

You Tube Link for above Mantra:

Shakti is, at it’s root, power; divine feminine creative power. This power is infinite and is always present; it manifests itself in awareness, in peace, in ecstacy, in our willfullness, in our intuition.

There are many Shakti Goddesses and here, we will meet four of them.
DURGA

durga

O Queen of the Universe, you protect
the universe. As the self of the universe,
you support the universe. You are the
goddess worthy to be adored by the Lord
of the universe. Those who bow in
devotion to you themselves become the
refuge of the universe.
~~ From the Devi Mahatmyam
Durga is usually seen riding a lion or a tiger. She is the Divine Feminine in action. She carries a discus, a spear, a mace, a sword and a lotus. Durga was brought forth by male gods, who found themselves unable to defeat an attacking demon. They sent their power out as light and Durga was born. As she is the Protector of the World, she is victorious in fighting the gods’ battle.

Later, when two brothers attempt to take over the world, the male gods once again turn to Durga, begging for her help. She assents and goes to them, whereupon she is insulted and offended by comments that she will be “of use” to the brothers. She informs the brothers that they both must fight her. Laughing, they agree and a great bloody battle ensues. Again, victory is hers.

Invoke Durga when you are in need of her help, when you find yourself lacking in strength and courage.

Mantra to Durga: Aum Dum Durgaye Namaha

(oom doom door-gai-yay nuh-muh-huh)

I bow to Durga
**********************************************************************************

KALI

kali1

O Warrior Goddess with streaming
black hair,
One swing from your sword of wisdom
Will cut every egocentric root
And clarify the heart forever.
I will tame the primal obsesssions,
Greed, anger, pride, hatred,
and use them as powerful bullocks
To plow the field of consciousness.
Sowing the seeds of Om Kali Ma,
Transmitted to me by a skillful farmer,
I will reap a vast harvest of illumination for all living beings.
~~ From the Ramprasad Sen
Kali, Divine Kali, born from the eye of Durga at the battle with the demon brothers, born with a sword in her hand, cutting down the demon hordes. It is said that she used her long tongue to lick and drink the blood of her enemies. The battle puts her into a frenzy and she begins to dance her dance of death, faster and faster, destroying her enemies, crushing them under her feet. This is the dance of Kali.

In more recent history, she is also Kali Ma, the Mother Kali, a loving presence to whom to pray.

kali2

As with so many Goddesses, Kali is both light and dark, Destroyer and Nurturer.

Invoke Kali when you are in need of having obstacles removed, when you need freedom from negative situations. Remember, though, do not call on Kali lightly, as she is fierce when invoked.

Aum Adyayai vidmahe
Parameshwarayai dhimahi
Tanno Kali prachodayat

Ohm ahd-yah-yai vid-muh-hey
pah-rah-mesh-war-ay-ai dhee-muh-hee
ta-no Kah-lee pra-cho-dah-yaht

Oh, may I know the primordial one
My the supreme goddess illuminate my intellect
May I meditate on Kali

************************************************************************************
LAKSHMI

lakshmi
I hereby invoke Sri Lakshmi
Who is the embodiment of absolute
bliss;
Whose luster is that of burnished gold;
Who is as wet as it were (from the Milky Ocean)
Who is blazing with splendour, and is the
embodiment of the fulfillment of all wishes;
Who satisfies the desire of her devotees;
Who is seated on the lotus and
beautiful like the lotus.
~~ From the Sri Sukta
As she floats on a lotus, Lakshmi is spiritual enlightenment. She is the symbol of spiritual prosperity, love and happiness. She embodies goodness. She is the symbol, also, of material prosperity and wealth. Her worship, in Hindu India, is the basis for the reverence of cows.

Lakshmi serves as a balance to both Durga and Kali.

Invoke Lakshmi for her blessings, for good fortune, wealth, success and goodness in life.

Aum Shrim Maha Lakshmyai Namahah

Ohm shreem muh-huh luhk-shmyai nuh-muh-hah

Om, I offer salutations to the Great
Goddess of good fortune

****************************************************************************
SARASWATI

swar

May Saraswati – goddess of knowledge,
who is praised by the wise, reside on my
tongue.
~~ Hymn to Saraswati
She whose name means “the flowing one”, you will find her on the lotus of upon a swan. She is the Goddess of water, from which all life flows. She is the symbol for creativity, writing, music. She has been here since the beginning and will always be here. She is the womb, the waters of life. She is there when we are inspired, when we are moved to *create*.

Invoke Saraswati when you need help with communication of all kinds, in music, in literary ventures, and when you need inspiration, or to just trust in your intuitive creativity.

Aum Aim Saraswatyai Namaha

ohm aim suh-ruh-swah-tyai nuh-muh-huh

I bow to the Goddess of Speech

************************************************************************
Each of these invocation mantras can be used to not only invoke, but to meditate upon each of these Shakti Goddesses. The mantras should be chanted 208 times, the easiest way being to use mala beads (http://paganpages.org/content/2015/03/a-moment-for-meditation-7/)
These are just some of the Shakti Goddesses. For further reading, I highly recommend the book, “Awakening Shakti” by Sally Kempton. For mantras, I would recommend the CD, “Goddess Blessings” by Mary Marzo

I am the sovereign queen, the treasury of all treasures,
whose breathing forth gives birth to all the worlds and yet
extends beyond them – so vast am I in greatness.
~~ From the Devi Sukta

altar
(My own personal Shakti Goddess altar)

May the Goddess Bless you!

Astro Report for May 2015

May, 2015

Saturn still Retro in Sagittarius – 3 degrees
Friday, May 1, 2015 – 12:01 am EDT
Goes Direct on Sunday, August 2, 2015 – 4:55 am EDT
The Planet of caution takes a break from its conservative ways. When it goes retrograde, the Planet actually lightens up on the reins a bit. It allows people to explore further than they normally would. Sagittarius allows it to open its mouth and to say things out of control. It’s time to make sure the brain is engaged before the mouth blurts away. Saturn goes Direct again in August.

Pluto goes Retrograde in Capricorn – 15 degrees
Friday, May 1, 2015 – 12:01 am EDT
Goes Direct on Friday, September 25, 2015 – 3:00 am EDT
Pluto resonates with mystery and transformation. While it is Retrograde, the energies become more stagnating, unchanging and powerless. When Pluto is Retrograde, mysteries and secrets are difficult to keep and sometimes are leaked to the world.

Beltaine (traditional) – Sun in Taurus – 10 degrees
Friday, May 1, 2015 – sunrise, 6:12 am EDT

Beltaine (Rudemas)
Names: Beltane, Beltaine, Baltein, May Day, Rood Day, Walpurgisnacht, Rudemas, Gwyl Galan Mai (Welsh)

Date: May 1st (sometimes celebrated on the eve – Apr 30th)
Astro Correspondence: 15 degrees Taurus
Color: reds for (menstrual) blood of the Goddess, whites for semen of the God
Food: fresh fruit and veggies, veal, ham, chicken, (but rarely any meat), pasta, breads, cakes, jams/jellies, wine/mead
Common Info: Maypole dancing to entwine the ribbons of red and white representing Goddess and God (phallic symbol and World Tree lore), Handfasting, Spiral Dancing, Bel Fires, last Fertility Fest, Decorating the Bush/Tree, Fairies return, Chaplets,

Beltaine is the Festival of Flowers, which tends to mark the first day of the Celtic Summer or growing season. The date is usually May 1st or when the Sun is 15′ degrees Taurus. As it is also called May Day, many celebrations surround the early flowers of the season. Belinos, Flora and Blodeuwedd are the deities celebrated most. The May Pole is erected and flower sprays are placed atop. and dancing is typical. Taliesin is typically honored, although the marriage of the God and Goddess is best described. Hedonistic license is prominent among the folk. Wearing of the “green” symbolized the fresh green Earth in growth and bloom. Foods sacred to the Sabbat were always fresh fruits and vegetables of the season and rarely any meat. Fresh scents of lilac, apple blossoms and heather lingered in the air. Women make rings of flowers (Chaplets) and wear them on their heads.

Bale Fires are typically burned at this time to honor the God Ba’al, a Mesopotamian God of Fire.

Full Moon in Scorpio – xx degrees
Sunday, May 3, 2015 – 11:52 pm EDT
A Full Moon tends to shine light on any subject and bring fruition to anything we have begun at New Moon. Scorpio doesn’t allow the Moon to feel comfortable though. If you started a project at New Moon, the result at Full Moon is not exactly what you had planned. It kind of irks and rubs you the wrong way. No worries though – make do with what you have, because in the long run, those results are what you needed, although not what you desired. The universe moves in a mysterious way like that.

Native Lore
The month of May brings us many delightful flowers after all the April showers. When the Moon is Full, the gravitational pull of the Moon brings the sap up thru plants faster, thus the Full Moon in May is also known as the Flower Moon.

May also marks a time of births of many mammals. Nature is full of mother animals milking their babies. The Full Moon of May is also known as the Milk Moon. Typically, animals bear only one or two sets of babies per year and the spring is full of babies, who are breast feeding from their mothers.

Venus enters Cancer
Thursday, May 7, 2015 – 6:43 pm EDT
Love is blissful when Venus enters Cancer. There is deep concern and caring between partners. Love making is true to heart and offers emotional connections. Until Venus exits Cancer, be passionate and compassionate with your partner and the benefits will astound you.

Mother’s Day – Moon in Aquarius – 2 degrees
Sunday, May 10, 2015 – 12:01 am EDT
The mothering and nurturing aspect of the Moon seems to beckon to our emotions and how we feel about “mom”. Her mothering instinct seems to be spot on, offering advice with precision and care. She can take of herself – no problem – but offer her kind assistance in whatever she’s doing. Don’t ask, if she needs help; just jump right in.

Mars enters Gemini
Monday, May 11, 2015 – 10:26 pm EDT
The Planet of action moves into the Sign of versatility. Warriors can be impractical and superficial when Mars enters Gemini. They will weigh their words carefully and try to trap you in your words. When they do, they will make you eat your own words. Avoid giving them ammunition by side tracking the conversation. They will often trap themselves in their own words.

New Moon in Taurus – 26 degrees
Monday, May 18, 2015 – 12:13 am EDT
New Creativity abounds during a New Moon. Taurus makes sure your process is traditional, though. When you are in the creative mood, go with what you know best. Creativity lies within the right brain and your left hand. If you set your ideas and inspirations down on paper, you only need to tweak them afterwards.

Mercury goes Retrograde in Gemini – 4 degrees
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 – 2:06 am EDT
Goes Direct on Thursday, June 11, 2015 – 10:51 pm EDT
The Planet of Communication enters the Sign of Communication… Hmmm… Interesting how conversations go from subject to subject. It’s a wonder how each segues into the next. And while you’re talking, be wary of what you say about others not part of the conversation. Gossip can bite you in the end. However, when Mercury goes Retrograde, conversations can definitely be uncontrolled. The proverbial foot fits in the proverbial mouth too often.

Sun enters Gemini – Happy Birthday, Gemini!!
Thursday, May 21, 2015 – 4:33 am EDT
The Sun’s energy will change from conservative Taurus to versatile Gemini on the 20th. This mingling of energy, communications, generosity and banishing emotions can get folks to blast their enemies and confrontations to the point of releasing them. That new Sun in Gemini allows personal conversations to thrust that energy into effect, especially where reputations are concerned.

Memorial Day – Sun in Gemini – 3 degrees
Monday, May 26, 2014 – 12:01 am EDT
The Sun in Gemini can be lead to confusions of the mind, if you aren’t paying attention. Gemini likes to see both sides of an issue. So, when you are engaged in lofty conversations, keep a vigil eye out for anything out of sync. Be cautious when debating with a Gemini, though; they will trap you and use your words against you, when you least expect it.

Retrograde Mercury conjuncts the Sun in Gemini – 8 degrees
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – 12:35 pm EDT
When you mix miscommunication with personality, you get a state of confusion. People will not understand you, who you are or what you stand for. When Mercury crosses the face of the Sun, the energy is exponentially stronger. If you have to express who you are and what you stand for, be sure to enunciate clearly and think thru your thoughts before you verbalize.

No Planets go Direct in May.

Beltane Correspondences

May, 2015

Also known as: May Day, Bealtaine, Beltane, Bhealtainn, Bealtinne, Festival of Tana (Strega), Giamonios, Rudemass, and Walburga (Teutonic), Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),Fairy Day ,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)

Date: May 1

Animals: Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard

Deities: Flower Goddesses, Divine Couples, Deities of the Hunt, Aphrodite,

artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.
Tools: broom, May Pole, cauldron
Stones/Gems: emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartz
Colors: green, soft pink, blue, yellow, red, brown

Herbs and Flowers: almond tree/shrub, ash, broom, cinquefoil, clover, Dittany of Crete, elder, foxglove, frankincense, honeysuckle, rowan, sorrel, hawthorn, ivy, lily of the valley, marigold, meadowsweet, mint, mugwort, thyme, woodruff may be burned; angelica, bluebells, daisy, hawthorn, ivy, lilac, primrose, and rose may be decorations, st. john’s wort, yarrow, basically all flowers.

Incense: frankincense, lilac, rose.

Symbols and Decorations: maypole, strings of beads or flowers, ribbons, spring flowers, fires, fertility, growing things, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers, butterchurn, baskets, eggs

Food: dairy, bread, cereals, oatmeal cakes, cherries, strawberries, wine, green salads.

Activities and Rituals: fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting

Wiccan mythology: sexual union and/or marriage of the Goddess and God

It’s association with fire also makes Beltaine a holiday of purification.

Wiccan weddings are frequently held on or around Beltaine.

Bardic Song of the Month

May, 2015

Bardic Song of the Month – May 2015

This month’s Bardic Song is called “Peace Be With You“. It is a simple tune that has a nice poetic feeling to it for easier repetition and the melody line is rather easy.
I intended for this song to end a Ritual on peaceful terms, allowing the Participants to go off humming it in their heads feeling serene and at peace. It has a positive message that there is harmony in life and love is with you and kind. It also offers Gratitude to Deity at the end.

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, an MP3 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.

Peace_Be_With_You pdf

 

 

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