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Celebrating Autumn with Norma Clark of Forevrgoddess Boutique

September, 2018

 

Autumn Smudge Bundle with Gemstones

Hello, I’m Norma with Forevrgoddess Boutique, I wanted to share some info on Smudging herbs, gemstones and smudge rituals.  I don’t know about you, but the first day of September feels magickal, with apples and pumpkins abundantly everywhere.  I think it’s the perfect time to do an Autumn ritual smudging to cleanse home, sacred space or people, to remove negative or stale energy, banish and release emotions, illness, and other energy needing to be removed from home or person, to prepare for the coming of the Autumn Equinox & Samhain. You might have seen a few smudging herb bundles in new age stores, witch shops or online, there are many to choose from.

Smudging has been done in ancient cultures to Native American, in Spanish countries like Mexico, through Central and South America. Some of these herbs are used in smudging rituals by Shamans.  Some of these herbs can also be used in blessings, after ritual cleansings of homes or people. You can perform a blessing within a home  to invite harmony, love, laughter, tranquility, happiness and prosperity, or what ever is needed at the moment. For personal blessings you can do any of these ideas as well.

You can typically find in stores or online: White sage,  Juniper, cedar, Yerba Santa and Palo Santo. Any of these bundles of herbs can be helpful. Combining them with gemstones and crystals is an additional bonus and can help give healing/loving energy to aid with manifesting the properties you need most. I’m going to talk about a few of my  small smudge sets from Forevrgoddess Boutique, what they can do to help cleanse, rebalance and refocus energy to a positive and harmonious environment or how they can be used for personal blessings.

 

Small Autumn Smudge Blend

Here we have a beautiful mixture of Mexican cinnamon, Cloves, Cedar, Rose, Rosemary and White Sage. Very aromatic smell. Here’s a information on a few herbs we use for our Autumn blend.

White Sage: Can be prefect for magickal workings – protection, banishing/ releasing, seek wisdom through meditations, helps with grief, good health, healing, longevity, and psychic awareness.

Red Roses: Love, respect, beauty, courage, passion, romantic love, blessings, attract, banish, consecrate/bless, devotion, happiness, harmony.

Palo Santo (or Holy wood): from Ecuador forests, Palo Santo – Shaman have used it to clear energy, and positive energy. To reestablish peace, balance enhance focus to meditation, heals people physical and spiritual level.

Cedar: Calming, comforting, purify, protection, healing, harmony, prosperity, abundance, cleansing, helps focus on goals and meditation.

Mexican Cinnamon: Brought from Mexico to USA. – actions, attraction, inner balance, dream work, harmony, healing, attract luck, peace, passion, protection, wishes, consecrate/blessings.

Our Small Smudge Set is portable, you can do a quick smudge ritual anywhere. The Small Smudge Set is in a little tin box (we’ll provide ritual at bottom of this article). You can either burn them together or separately.  If you decide you want it to be stronger then make a bigger flame.  You can  always break the smudge blend into little burnable pieces and use a small abalone shell to burn it in. (We carry various abalone shell in boutique in 2 sizes.) If you wish to get a little smell burn small bit of each, cinnamon, cloves, rose, and rosemary with a bit of sage. The choice is yours.

 

Autumn Gemstones

We selected these from our Wiccan Magickal Sabbat Mabon and Samhain box sets.  With autumn equinox coming soon, seasons are changing for fall. It’s the time of balance between day and night, before night takes over and brings winter.

Here are the Stones for Autumn:

Citrine: Stone of happiness, positive energy and thought mental clarity, abundance, healing, uplifting.

Carnelian: Motivation, calm emotions, banishes negative emotions, replaces with love.

Smoky Quartz: Dispel negative energy, protection, grounding, transformation, brings calm.

Tiger eye: Stone of wealth, protection, self-confidence, balance, grounding.

When charging or programming your gemstone, keep in mind the goal or desire you wish to bring into your life. Help manifest this desire to life, say a prayer to your deity, angels, or elemental, ask for their support to bless this new path you wish to journey on. Keep them in your pocket, purse or coin purse as a reminder of what healing qualities you wish to be blessed with at the moment.

 

Autumn Smudge House Blessings Set

House Blessings Manifest Kit

Brightest Blessings, I’m so happy you decided to change a new part in your life, for the coming of Autumn and all her glory. This kit is designed to help you focus you and your home or sacred space to help “manifest” a new beginning and bring in the desires in your life..

How to Set up your Stones..

You will noticed you have 6 gemstones and an Autumn Smudge blend. The Autumn Smudge blend is to cleanse the area and give it a fresh start with positive energy.

Gemstone Selenite: ( Don’t rinse in water or leave in sun) quickly unblocks stagnant energy and removes negative energy. It magnifies the energy of any other gemstone that’s placed upon it. Combine selenite with black tourmaline. It will protect home and clear any negative energy, and help in protection crystal grids. Expands awareness opens psychic abilities.  Brings mental clarity and deep peace. Helps with angelic guidance.

Gemstone: Iron Pyrite ( fools gold): recall beautiful memories, protective stone, attract wealth and prosperity, energy shielding stone, blocks out negative energy, positive stone. Relieves anxiety frustration and boosts self-worth. Great for memory, this stone helps when depressed or deep despair, luck, money, protection, strength, willpower.

Gemstone: Pink Calcite: balance emotions, calming, grounding, spiritual growth, love, Healing, self work, well-being.

Gemstone: Carnelian: career success, grounding, motivation, personal power, helps with creativity, good health, protection, stop – negative energy, stimulates the conscious mind, helps you focus on the present and current needs, helps over come difficult times, manifesting energy to have your desire come to life.

Gemstone: Amethyst: all healing (mind, body, spirit) inner peace, calming one’s mind, a sense of spiritual insight when in a deepen stage of meditations, protective stone, esp, psychic attacks, helps with grief or loss, releases tension, helps over come bad habits tendencies, and calm anxiety attacks.

 

Cleansing Stones

Cleanse each gemstone with smudging blend burning in shell, to ensure it’s a positive energy to help with your goal you wish to create. It’s to ensure the gemstones, which have passed through so many hands, to get to you at home, are cleaned of other’s energies that might not fit in. Hold stone in hand take shell and pass it over and under stone to encase it with smoke.

 

Arranging Gemstones

Once stones are cleansed, set up an area where your stones will be seen through the day (altar, mantel, etc..) arrange stones however you wish. I suggest to put selenite in middle and surround other stones around the selenite so the selenite will energize the other stones. Like a mini crystal grid. If you have more stones, flowers, candles feel free to add them, to help further the goal you have in mind.

 

Autumn Equinox Celebration Ideas

  • Take walks with autumn changing in your wooded area, feel the cool crisp air.
  • Collect leaves with family, and place them on your altar.
  • Or … Write with black Permanent marker in one word what your thankful for on your leaf then poke a hole thru it, tie a string and hang it where you can see it everyday.
  • Create memories with family and friends and bake autumn sugar cookies talk about what you grateful for or just spend time with them. (our Sabbat Mabon and Samhain cookie cutter and recipe box set is available check the boutique.)
  • It’s time to reflect this time of year on what Autumn means to you, the balance of day and night, finding balance within one’s life ( work, family, school, children, etc) and what goals you want to set for this month September or October.
  • Go to pumpkin farm.
  • Drink cider with friends and family, share sweet goodies.
  • Collect Apples.
  • Do some Autumn crafts with Family and Friends (look on Pinterest.com for ideas).
  • Go to some Fall Festivals.
  • Enjoy the fruits and the favorite foods we enjoy this time of year, did someone say “pumpkin spice.” Nothing to big, just go enjoy the Beauty of Autumn. May this Season of Autumn Bless you with Abundance, love, good health, and little wealth. Brightest blessings – N

 

Forevrgoddess Boutique Charge/Smudging Ritual

Ground/center calm mind, hold the Shell with Smudging inside in your Power hand and say a simple prayer ask for divine power, to bless the Smudging herbs, encircle Smudging herbs with white light.

Open a window.

Light your Smudging herbs in shell.

As it Burns try to focus on cleansing goal/ intent you wish help with. Feel smoke surround you.

Take cupped hand and brush smoke all over body or bless rooms of home, draw sigils with them in air and empower them to life, by visualizing a gold light and start to glow.

Visualize the negative energy, stagnant energy, negative emotions being removed and pushed out.

Feel free to use feathers or broom to push out smoke thru door way or window.

Visualize open window to push out negative energy and welcoming positive energy in. Feel spiritual and physical uplifting of emotions and cleansing.

Once done with smudging ritual, give thanks. Place Shell in a fireproof bowl if necessary to catch ashes and to let it burn out in a safe place.

Brightest Blessings to you – Forevrgoddess Boutique

Look for our Smudging set, blends in Candle, Incense, Sage Section.

***

About the Author:

Norma Clark I’m the owner of Forevrgoddess Boutique, I live in small rural Paris,Idaho Both me and Hubby are Wiccan with 2 beautiful children and gang of critters. I love to share, inspire, create many Magickal items for my Jewelry and Metaphysical boutique. Come sit for a spell and see the Magick of Forevrgoddess Boutique.

 

The Bad Witch’s Guide

September, 2018

The Bad Witch’s Guide Autumn Equinox

I have always enjoyed the light around this time of year. The beginning of mists at sunset and dawn. The first tinges of frost and the spider webs like diamond nets over the leaves that were beginning to turn. The dead summer grass rattling in a wind with a distinctly crisp edge.

The light and dark are in perfect balance. The Veil between this world and others is thin

Mabon has his name attached to this festival and I like that. I like Mabon in general. I like a seeker. I also like balance so equinoxes feel really good for me. It is neither thing, light and dark, hopeful and guarded, plenty and want. Perhaps that is why Pryderi, Rhiannon’s sacred son is often associated with Mabon for this reason.

Pryderi (or Prederin) is born of a Goddess (like Mabon). He enters the forest, the world between. His manners are rough and he insults a great King, Arawn. King Arawn switches places with him and during his quest into Awen learns to “dwell with desire” but to not act on it. He learns great self-control and in so doing wins a great battle. In learning mercy and abstinence (not sleeping with another’s wife) becomes a Great Leader. It is a great lesson. To not give into lust or vengeance, even you can “get away with it”.

Of course I love the food and while apples and pork are more Samhain for me, Mabon is full of cobnuts (fresh hazelnut), damsons, wild game like pheasant and venison and this year’s lamb tend to be fresh seasonal and excellent. In fact Mabon is the peak of vegetable harvest, from the last of the fresh garden herbs to runner beans and early potatoes. The sea also is full of wonders, oysters and mackerel, sardines and sea bass are plump and delicious.

It is pickling season. From Yule onions (the ones you break out with your cold cuts) to some kimchi because the cabbages are amazing this year, preserving your own food is fun and relatively simple. Part of me wonders if Mabon isn’t a pickling party that got out of hand so marvellously they did it every year! That is the light in the dark; planning the plenty in a time of ice and snow. It is in the wine and vinegar, the syrups and treats, the medicine and the merriment.

The dark is something else. The dark is in the journey work, the intoxication*, the self-exploration and releasing of our leaves to feed our next year’s growth. This is not ancestor work or work with the dead. This is honouring our deaths. All of the people we have been that are no longer. It is letting go of all we have been carrying, good and bad, at least for a while.

Many traditional wiccan rites around this time of year feel like hollow reflections of Lughnasadh or Samhain. Yet this is as powerful as midsummer or Yule to me. A time of beginnings and endings, of big and small changes. It is the bloom of mushrooms, the food of the Gods after all. *While I don’t condone their use it is an ancient part of ritual practice. It is a time of sacrifice and plenty.

Ritual

What you will need:

A fire (or safe heat source)

A large pan or cauldron.

A sterilised bottle or jar

Elderberries

Caraway seeds (a pinch)

White rose petals (13)

Elder leaves (13)

Water

Sugar (to make a syrup)

A sieve or strainer

If you are using freshly picked seasonal berries you will need to double what you would be using for dried and make sure they are well washed and dried.

Heat your water and add your sugar. When up to a simmer, bless your pot or cauldron with a seven pointed star. Make sure your sugar is dissolved.

Add your leaves one at a time with the following charm.

Dark mother, Matrona,

Modron

Sweet Moon:

I call you

I evoke

For your healing and protection,

The Birch, the Rowan, the Ash, the Alder, the Willow, the Hawthorn, the Oak, the Holly, the Hazel, the Vine, the Ivy, the Reed, and the Elder Moons.”

Add the elderberries and stir it gently in a figure of eight pattern.

Add your caraway seeds and then a rose petal at a time saying the following

Light mother, Matrona,

Modron

Bitter Goddess:

I call you

I evoke your healing and protection.

By blood and thorn, by your magick and power

The charm is made by seed and flower.”

Remove the cauldron from the heat and let it sit for about five minutes before you carefully strain it, mashing the berries a little to get as much juice as you can and bottle it and seal it.

This syrup is good for flus, and colds it can also be used as a blood substitute or made into a tea to replace wine in most other rituals.

Mindful Meditations

September, 2018

 

     As we honor the energies of the West while entering Autumn — the season of reaping what we have sown during the second harvest of Mabon – we are encouraged to take a moment to show gratitude for our abundance. Our crops have borne fruit which is being stored for the darkening season and our fields are growing hearty vegetables which we will reap at the third harvest, Samhain.

 

Items Needed

-sunset location

-cup of drinkable water

-writing utensil

-paper (or the like)

 

Choose a preferably clear day to watch the sunset while sitting in nature. This mediation will still work from indoors but we are Pagan so nature is our place of worship. Face the West as you observe the colors of the sky, hear the sounds around you, feel the wind. Acknowledge that with each setting sun, completes the cycle as the day transforms into night, just as summer turns to autumn. Now get into a comfortable position and sit with your cup of water. Stare into the water, scry upon its surface. Reflect upon 20 things you are grateful for in this moment, this day, this year, this lifetime. Jot them down as they come to you. Feel free to write more than 20 but do not write less. When you are satisfied with your list, notice the feeling of gratitude within you. Imagine you are channeling that feeling through your hands and into the cup of water you’re holding. Imagine the molecules gently vibrating with warm, white light. Acknowledge your gratitude for the water and drink from your cup. Thank the water for nourishing you. Thank the West, the sunset, and nature around you, for holding sacred space during your Mindful Meditation. Thank yourself for taking the time to reflect upon your abundance in gratitude.

 

Blessed Be!

 

***

About the Author:

(Amy Dubenetsky & Becky Coates, respectively; Writers of the Mindful Meditations column & Coven Sisters.)

This Mindful Meditation is brought to you by Amy Dubenetsky, a Bodyworker/Reiki Practitioner/Witch based out of Manchester, CT whom leads group meditations as well.  Amy is deeply involved with her Coven, Organic Farming, and various Dance Communities across the country.

Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @bodyandbeyond444.

Mabon Correspondences

September, 2018

(Persephone’s Descent Goddess Harvest Mabon Fine Art Print by Tammy Mae Moon of MoonSpiralArt on Etsy.)

 

MAY-bon, MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon or MAH-bawn, – Lesser Sabbat

Fall/Autumn Equinox, September 21-23

Michaelmas (September 25th, Christian), Second Harvest Festival, Witches’ Thanksgiving, Harvest Home (Anglo-Celtic), Feast of Avalon, Wine Harvest, Festival of Dionysus, Cornucopia, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Chung Chiu (China), Night of the Hunter, Alban Elfed “The Light of the Water”(Caledonii/ Druidic-celebrates Lord of the Mysteries), Winter Finding (Teutonic, from Equinox ’til Winter Night or Nordic New Year, Oct 15th.)

Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life. May your Mabon be memorable, and your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing!

Purpose: Second harvest festival, new wine pressing/making preparation for winter and Samhain, rest after labor, Pagan day of Thanksgiving, honoring the spirit world, celebration of wine.

Dynamics/Meaning: death of the God, assumption of the Crone, balance of light and dark; increase of darkness, grape harvest, completion of the harvest.

Essence: Beauty, joy; fullness of life, harvest of the year’s desires, strength; laughter; power; prosperity, equality, balance, appreciation, harvest, protection, wealth, security, self-confidence, reincarnation.

Symbolism of Mabon: Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance.

Symbols of Mabon: wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of plenty.

Tools, Symbols & Decorations: Indian corn, red fruits, autumn flowers, red poppies, hazelnuts, garlands, grains especially wheat stalks, and colorful, fallen leaves, acorns, pine & cypress cones, oak sprigs, pomegranate, statue/or figure to represent the Mother Goddess, mabon wreath, vine, grapes, gourd, cornucopia/horns of plenty, burial cairns, apples, marigolds, harvested crops, burial cairns, rattles, the Mysteries, sun wheel, all harvest symbols.

Herbs & Plants: Acorn, aster, benzoin, cedar, ferns, grains, hazel, honeysuckle, hops, ivy, marigold, milkweed, mums, myrrh, oak leaf, passionflower, pine, rose, sage, solomon’s seal, tobacco, thistle, and vegetables.

Foods of Mabon: Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, cornbread, wheat products, grains, berries, grapes, acorns, seeds, dried fruits, corn, beans, squash, roots (ie onions, carrots, potatoes, etc), hops, sasssafras, roast goose or mutton, wine, ale, & cider.

Incense & Oils of Mabon: Pine, sweetgrass, apple blossom, benzoin, myrrh, frankincense, jasmine, sage wood aloes, black pepper, patchouly, cinnamon, clove, oak moss, & sage.

Colors/Candles of Mabon: Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, gold, deep gold, green, orange, scarlet, all autumn colors, purple, blue, violet, & indigo.

Stones of Mabon: Sapphire, lapis lazuli, yellow agates, carnelian, yellow topaz, & amethyst.

Customs: Offerings to land, preparing for cold weather, bringing in harvest, cutting willow wands (Druidic), eating seasonal fruit, leaving apples upon burial cairns & graves as a token of honor, walk wild places & forests, gather seed pods & dried plants, fermenting grapes to make wine,picking ripe produce, stalk bundling; fishing,. on the closest full moon (Harvest Moon) harvesting corps by moonlight.

Activities of Mabon: Making wine, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.

Spellworkings and Rituals of Mabon: Protection, security, and self-confidence. Also those of harmony and balance. Celtic Festival of the Vine, prosperity rituals, introspection, rituals which enact the elderly aspects of both Goddess & God, past life recall.

Animals/Mythical beings: Dogs, wolves, stag, blackbird, owl, eagle, birds of prey, salmon & goat, Gnomes, Sphinx, Minotaur, Cyclops, Andamans and Gulons.

Goddesses: Modron (Welsh), Bona Dea, Land Mother, Aging & Harvest Dieties: the Triple Goddess-Mother aspect, Persephone, Demeter/Ceres, Morgan (Welsh- Cornish), Snake Woman (aboriginal), Epona (Celtic-Gaulish), Pamona (roman), the Muses (greek)

Gods: Mabon ap Modron (Welsh), Sky Father, The Green Man, Wine Gods, Aging Gods, John Barley Corn , the Wicker-Man, the Corn Man, Thoth (Egyptian), Hermes, Hotei (Japanese), Thor, Dionysus (Roman), Bacchus (Greek) & all wine Deities

Element: Water ‘

Threshold: Evening

GoodGod!

September, 2018

Meet the Gods: Mabon

Merry meet.

The fall equinox sabbat takes its name from the Welsh god Mabon. He was called “Mabon, son of Modron,” which means “Great Son, Son of the Great Mother.” The great mother, his mother, was the earth.

According to Arwynn MacFeylynnd, who wrote “A Guide to the Sabbat’s Symbolism” found on WitchesOfTheCraft.com, “In the myth of Mabon, the god disappears, taken from his mother, Modron, when only three nights old. Mabon is freed with the help of the wisdom and memory of the most ancient living animals – the blackbird, stag, owl, eagle and salmon.

All along, Mabon has been quite happy, dwelling in Modron’s magickal Otherworld – Modron’s womb – to be reborn as his mother’s champion, the Son of Light. Mabon’s light has been drawn into the Earth, gathering strength and wisdom to become a new seed.”

In that way, his fertility is recognized as we harvest the bounty of the earth. During this the time of abundance, Mabon is putting his energy and light into the seeds that will be planted for next year’s harvest.

As one of the ancient, most likely lesser gods, most stories about him have been lost.

All we know is that he was stolen away from his mother when he was only three nights old and imprisoned until he was rescued by King Arthur’s companions,” MacFeylynnd stated.

Knowing what it was like to be held captive in a dungeon, Mabon was said to be a god of freedom, freeing caged animals and those unjustly imprisoned.

He protects all that is wild and free. His animal totems are the owl, the blackbird, deer, eagle and salmon. We honor Mabon when defending the animals, and when we work for the freedom of all people,” is written on witchingtime.com.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Mabon Correspondences

September, 2017

 

MAY-bon, MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon or MAH-bawn, – Lesser Sabbat

Fall/Autumn Equinox, September 21-23

Michaelmas (September 25th, Christian), Second Harvest Festival, Witches’ Thanksgiving, Harvest Home (Anglo-Celtic), Feast of Avalon, Wine Harvest, Festival of Dionysus, Cornucopia, Equinozio di Autunno (Strega), Chung Chiu (China), Night of the Hunter, Alban Elfed “The Light of the Water”(Caledonii/ Druidic-celebrates Lord of the Mysteries), Winter Finding (Teutonic, from Equinox ’til Winter Night or Nordic New Year, Oct 15th.)

Mabon is considered a time of the Mysteries. It is a time to honor Aging Deities and the Spirit World. Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life. May your Mabon be memorable, and your hearts and spirits be filled to overflowing!

Purpose: Second harvest festival, new wine pressing/making preparation for winter and Samhain, rest after labor, Pagan day of Thanksgiving, honoring the spirit world, celebration of wine.

Dynamics/Meaning: death of the God, assumption of the Crone, balance of light and dark; increase of darkness, grape harvest, completion of the harvest.

Essence: Beauty, joy; fullness of life, harvest of the year’s desires, strength; laughter; power; prosperity, equality, balance, appreciation, harvest, protection, wealth, security, self-confidence, reincarnation.

Symbolism of Mabon: Second Harvest, the Mysteries, Equality and Balance.

Symbols of Mabon: wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of plenty.

Tools, Symbols & Decorations: Indian corn, red fruits, autumn flowers, red poppies, hazelnuts, garlands, grains especially wheat stalks, and colorful, fallen leaves, acorns, pine & cypress cones, oak sprigs, pomegranate, statue/or figure to represent the Mother Goddess, mabon wreath, vine, grapes, gourd, cornucopia/horns of plenty, burial cairns, apples, marigolds, harvested crops, burial cairns, rattles, the Mysteries, sun wheel, all harvest symbols.

Herbs & Plants: Acorn, aster, benzoin, cedar, ferns, grains, hazel, honeysuckle, hops, ivy, marigold, milkweed, mums, myrrh, oak leaf, passionflower, pine, rose, sage, solomon’s seal, tobacco, thistle, and vegetables.

Foods of Mabon: Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, cornbread, wheat products, grains, berries, grapes, acorns, seeds, dried fruits, corn, beans, squash, roots (ie onions, carrots, potatoes, etc), hops, sasssafras, roast goose or mutton, wine, ale, & cider.

Incense & Oils of Mabon: Pine, sweetgrass, apple blossom, benzoin, myrrh, frankincense, jasmine, sage wood aloes, black pepper, patchouly, cinnamon, clove, oak moss, & sage.

Colors/Candles of Mabon: Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, gold, deep gold, green, orange, scarlet, all autumn colors, purple, blue, violet, & indigo.

Stones of Mabon: Sapphire, lapis lazuli, yellow agates, carnelian, yellow topaz, & amethyst.

Customs: Offerings to land, preparing for cold weather, bringing in harvest, cutting willow wands (Druidic), eating seasonal fruit, leaving apples upon burial cairns & graves as a token of honor, walk wild places & forests, gather seed pods & dried plants, fermenting grapes to make wine,picking ripe produce, stalk bundling; fishing,. on the closest full moon (Harvest Moon) harvesting corps by moonlight.

Activities of Mabon: Making wine, gathering dried herbs, plants, seeds and seed pods, walking in the woods, scattering offerings in harvested fields, offering libations to trees, adorning burial sites with leaves, acorns, and pine cones to honor those who have passed over.

Spellworkings and Rituals of Mabon: Protection, security, and self-confidence. Also those of harmony and balance. Celtic Festival of the Vine, prosperity rituals, introspection, rituals which enact the elderly aspects of both Goddess & God, past life recall.

Animals/Mythical beings: Dogs, wolves, stag, blackbird, owl, eagle, birds of prey, salmon & goat, Gnomes, Sphinx, Minotaur, Cyclops, Andamans and Gulons.

Goddesses: Modron (Welsh), Bona Dea, Land Mother, Aging & Harvest Dieties: the Triple Goddess-Mother aspect, Persephone, Demeter/Ceres, Morgan (Welsh- Cornish), Snake Woman (aboriginal), Epona (Celtic-Gaulish), Pamona (roman), the Muses (greek)

Gods: Mabon ap Modron (Welsh), Sky Father, The Green Man, Wine Gods, Aging Gods, John Barley Corn , the Wicker-Man, the Corn Man, Thoth (Egyptian), Hermes, Hotei (Japanese), Thor, Dionysus (Roman), Bacchus (Greek) & all wine Deities

Element: Water ‘

Threshold: Evening

SpellCrafting: Spells & Rituals

September, 2017

 

Mabon Blessings

 

 

(Mabon Table)

 

Merry meet.

 

As the second harvest, Mabon is the pagan’s version of Thanksgiving. It’s also the autumn equinox when day and night are equal before we begin slipping into the dark half of the year.

 

What follows is a collection of blessings and inspiration you might use as you celebrate the sabbath and welcome the dark half of the year.

 

Prayer to the Dark Mother”

by Patti Wigington on thoughtco.com

Day turns to night,
and life turns to death,
and the Dark Mother teaches us to dance.
HecateDemeter, Kali,
Nemesis, Morrighan, Tiamet,
bringers of destruction, you who embody the Crone,
I honor you as the earth goes dark,
and as the world slowly dies.”

 

A Prayer for Mabon”

by Jenny on owlsandindigo.com

Gods of Mabon

Spirits of Fall

come to my side

& gather ’round.

Bless this Harvest

& this Home.

Help us to find

Balance & Harmony

this Harvest Season

& let us give thanks

for our spiritual growth.

 

 

Simple Mabon Candle Spell of Thanks”

by Kris Braley, “Mrs. B’s Guide to Household Witchery: Everyday Magic, Spells, and Recipes”

I light this candle to honor the season and to give thanks for the abundance in my life. I strive to remember these blessings and give thanks for them throughout the entire year. I strive to remember to share these blessings with others not as fortunate as I am, even when I have little to share. I give thanks to the Lord and Lady for all my blessings the Mabon season, and give thanks for all those blessings that will come to me this glorious fall season. So mote it be!

 

 


(Mabon Altar)

 

The world is revolving into the year’s dark half.

Now, while it is still bright, we celebrate what summer’s warmth has brought us.

When our hearts teeter on a point between happiness and despair,

may we remember this moment,

and how it brought us harvest,

and how it comforted us,

and encouraged us to plant hope’s seed in the waiting earth,

Mother of All.” –“A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book” by Ceisiwr Serith

 

 

Now comes the time of reckoning, the season of limits.
There will never be more than there is now. Harvest is done, the cellars are full. Two seasons of growth have lead to this richness, this security, this abundance. Now is the time to celebrate the plenty that work and time have wrought. Now, the time to feast with friends, share the bounty, toast the work well done.” –from “Fall” by Patricia Monaghan

 

 

The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let go of dead things.” –Unknown

 

 

I offer to the gods of the dark season this fruit of the light.”
–“A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book” by Ceisiwr Serith

 

 

Now is the time of Mabon, marking summer’s end. On this day of balance, day and night treat each other as equals, and we give thanks to the Earth’s bounty, laid before us. We give thanks to the harvest, brought to our table, and for the bond of family and friends. By the grain, by the fruit, by the corn, by the root, and by the hands of all the Gods and Goddesses, may this meal be blessed.” –Winifred Tannetta for About.com

 

 

May your Mabon be blessed.

 

Merry part. And merry meet again.

 

***

 

About the Author:


Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

MagickalArts

September, 2017

Opening to the Anima Mundi – The Gift of the Equinox

 

 

The Great Wheel has turned once again and we find ourselves at the time of the Autumnal Equinox. The air is cooler, the leaves are turning and beginning to fall from brittle branches and all of life is giving pause to prepare for what changes lay ahead. This is the second of the three harvests and the fields are already beginning to brown as the day’s light gently wanes and we are enveloped in the quickening darkness of the setting sun. It is at this time we begin to gather our stores of ripened summer foods and draw the remainders of outdoor activities into ourselves to carry us through the winter months ahead. Soon the time for introspection and the gentle quickening of the light that will be birthed at Yule will be at hand. 

 

Many will celebrate this Sabbat as Mabon and give honor to the God as the wild lord of the hunt and Green Man of the forests. The Goddess becomes Gaia, the great earth mother who offers up her lands as sacrifice in the cycle of life and death and to that, which will be prey and those that must be predator. In her form as Lady of the Beasts she will guide and protect her animals to insure that new life will come from those that survive the harshness of winter. 

 

If we look to the astronomical energies that are occurring we celebrate the space of balance between the waning light of the year and the waxing of the dark. The energy of Virgo readies itself as bridge and gateway to the opening of Libra as the transition is made from one solar month to the other. This is the action of the Mutable (Virgo) flexibility reaching out towards the Cardinal newly formed growth that is the balance of Libra. And for those moments in time when the midpoint of transfer of these energies is achieved we stand at the center of the Autumnal equinox; each being in balance with the other; equal day and equal night. 

 

One of the ways I use this turning of the Great Wheel is to reaffirm my connection to the greater world and the deeper exploration of the Anima Mundi- the World Soul. I reflect on my place in this world and on what helps to sustain that presence. I reflect on the connection that I have with all that surrounds me, and the actions that I will put into motion to strengthen and deepen that connection at all levels. Using the energy and balance of the equinox offers the space of intent that establishes a closer relationship between man and animal and the acknowledgment of the collective consciousness of the world soul that is informed by both. 

 

By definition, the Anima Mundi is considered to be the pure ethereal spirit that is contained and disseminated throughout all nature. This spirit was thought to animate all matter of the natural world in the same sense in which the soul is thought to animate the human form. If we reach back in time, our ancestors had great understanding of this premise and perceived all of life as interconnected with no separation between the human and natural world. Each was dependent upon the other for its survival and the cycles of planting and harvesting flowed smoothly and in harmony. Gaia, the goddess as Mother Earth holds within her being the essence of this animating spirit and is the sustainer of all life that is enfolded in her body.

 

If we use the dynamics of this concept of a World Soul, we can draw on the energy of this cycle to bring about a balance of animal and man; humanity and the natural world in which we are all participants. The potential is in the opening to a wholistic state of consciousness that is inclusive of the collective awareness of all levels and streams of existence that comprise our Greater Earth. 

 

So, how do we reaffirm our connection? Being guided by an ecological conscience is a given expectation of all who consider themselves pagan and follow an earth-based spirituality. The actions that are in support of living lightly and respectfully on our planet is a commitment made because it is the right thing to do. This mindset is the beginning of making personal commitment to remain in balance with our world. We must also consider the natural world as inclusive of city streets, malls, the urban sprawl and clutter as well as the preserved forests, protected lands and spaces of wildlife and clean air. All are alive and all are part of the greater whole each having its own dynamics, rules, detriments and positives. That which we consider as polluted and over trafficked are the result of man’s creation and as such are connected to the spirit of man and therefore also that of nature.

 

One very concrete and tangible effort is volunteering at an animal shelter. My daughter walks dogs for the local shelter and has fostered kittens. Food, blankets and carrier donations are gratefully accepted by most. Spending time in a nature preserve and observing animals in their natural habitat gives a greater sense of the beauty and complexity of exchange between nature and her inhabitants. At a spiritual level, spending some time in meditation to connect with your own power (or Totem) animal will open up other pathways of understanding. Regularly working with this animal and asking it to share its mysteries and place among all of the wild can help to guide you towards those physical steps you can take in the manifest realm. 

 

If you are so inclined, planting a garden and dedicating it as green space with emphasis on those plants that attract butterflies and birds gives sanctuary to the animals in your neighborhood. Working with medicinal herbs and plants and getting to know the energies of the Devas and land spirits will connect you more deeply with the green world. Their healing and opening properties will offer opportunity to feel the potency of their energy and listening to the wisdom of the land spirits will guide you in living in a manner that is in support of sustainability and maintenance. 

 

And, a key component to all of these is the work we do for ourselves to align and balance those parts of ourselves that act as interface for this exchange. When we work in balance with our parts of self, we are working in accord with the world around us. In order to connect with our natural world we must first find those places of connection to the wild within our selves. The Lower Self is the place of direct connection with our instinctual and basic survival nature. This is the place of the animal and of the wild that makes decision propelled by its basic needs. Those things within us that stir the desire to interact with others, to form community and to create safe haven are part of the order of the natural world. 

 

The Middle Self draws that basic instinct up to a place of balance so that the excess of these things is in agreement with our place in the world as we know and perceive it to be. It, in effect acts as the gatekeeper allowing what is productive at any given moment to be given the pass-go so we may remain effective in our work as part of a larger whole. 

 

The Higher Self is the point of connection with the Divine and the Higher mind. It is this self that streams information from the collective conscious and informs the actions that will ultimately be taken by the Middle Self. It is the connecting point of the highest levels of understanding of the unity and thread of commonality in all things and the source from which they originated. The work that we do in aligning these aspects of our true nature eventually brings us to the center point of balance and it is from this point that we find our place in the natural world as participant and guardian of the life that is contained therein. This is the space where our perceptions broaden and we sense the entirety of the world and can then be effective in all of our workings within it. 

 

I invite you to join me at this time of the Autumnal Equinox and celebration of the wild. Breathe into the space of yourself in all of your parts and then breathe out the blessed gift of your power to the Earth.

 

***

 

About the Author:

 

 

 

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author. She is the author of:

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the spheres

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen, Volume One

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or website and her Blogs can be found at: Robin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Facebook and on Instagram

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

September, 2017

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times Mabon 2017

Bright Blessings!

 

The harvest is in full force now. It is hard to believe it was just Lammas, and already, it is nearly Mabon!

 

Some of you are hard at work, gathering the fruits of your labor from your gardens, others, reflecting upon the fruits of your labors in your lives.

 

At my garden, we’ve had a very small harvest so far this year, but it’s not over yet.

 

We got six zucchinis, and three cucumbers. One cucumber is left on the vine, and then I think I will be pulling them out of the ground, as they have turned mostly to brown crispy dried up leaves, with a few scattered bright gold blossoms. The sunflowers, however, are the stars of the garden. We planted giant ones that are about eight feet tall now.

 

Our tomatoes are just now starting to produce. We shall see how well we fare!

 

Since the last Sabbat, however, I have harvested much more, personally than my garden has. I have somehow been lucky enough to grow closer to some loved ones, and to get back in touch with some I’ve not visited with in quite some time.

 

A visit with a friend I met 22 years ago reminded me of how we die back, and rejuvenate ourselves after rest.

 

This friend is in her mid 70’s, and died back for a bit when her husband passed. She’s back in full force, the spitfire matron of her family, and she’s out there running circles around many of us decades younger!

 

Not everybody has been as lucky as my friend. She was able to rebound from this horrible tragedy, and is still going strong. I know other people whose tragedies slowed them down much more, and they are still recovering, trying to get their lives back on track.

 

I told one such friend who is nearly recovered, that we need to strive to be like my matron friend! We have a lot of years ahead of us, hopefully, and we want them to be productive, happy, and blessed with the abundance of love, and prosperity.

 

It gave me a lot think about in regards to thankfulness, reaping what we sow, and good fortune. It also makes me think of how much we have to be thankful for from our elders.

 

All the things they did before us are the things we now build upon. Then, what we do adds to the foundations our children build their futures upon. Our elders shaped us so we could further shape others. Where would any of us be today without them?

 

Mabon is about the dying back of the god, who will be reborn, as does the earth. It is when day and night are equal, and afterwards, nights lengthen, creating shorter days. We move toward Samhain, the beginning of Winter.

 

The turning wheel of seasons and Sabbats reminds me of how, as human beings, we move through our own personal cycles. Time not being linear, we often come back around to what we began.

 

One way we do this is that, as we age and grow, we become wise, and share our wisdom with those we are mentoring. They in turn, mentor others. We become, for one another, the eternal and never-ending cycling life, and time, creating, and changing traditions, and sacred ways together.

 

This month…

I made the mistake of waiting until only a couple days of due date to start thinking of what I wanted to write about for this Sabbat! Likely, I will be a day or two late turning this article in! As usual, I pulled up the past couple years of articles to ensure I don’t write about the exact same thing again.

 

It dawned on me I’d only read of Mabon ap Modron. I knew we called the Sabbat Mabon, and yet I’ve never met a devotee of his, nor have I attended ritual that specifically venerated him. I was reminded that one of the early Wiccans, Aidan Kelly named the Sabbat Mabon…and lucky for me, he is on my friends list on Facebook. I say that he is one of my elders being what I consider a founder, and I consider him an elder of everybody who calls themselves Wiccan today. We are more than blessed for all he is done, and very lucky he is still there for us.

 

He was kind enough to agree to let me ask questions and include what he answered in this article.

 

First, a bit about him.

 

Aidan Kelly

 

 

A picture when Aidan Kelly was younger- even younger than I am!

 

 

A more recent photo of him!

 

Born in 1940, Kelly is known by many as one of the co-founders of Covenant of the Goddess, and the writer and researcher for the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn.

 

I, however, first heard about him from my Priest, Lord Shadow, who is a strong believer in dispelling all forms of bullshit. He spoke highly of Kelly’s publication Crafting the Art of Magic, which enjoyed a second edition in 2008 as Inventing Witchcraft.

 

This publication gave evidence that Wicca was created by Gardner, and showed where he got inspiration for certain things used in it. For example, there are some things that were garnered from sources like Crowley, which were in no way an unbroken set of practices from pre-Xtian British practice. Kelly listed plenty of reasons there is no evidence Gardner was actually initiated in 1939 by an established coven as he claimed.

 

Some people were highly pissed off by this.

 

Some said Kelly published secret information from Gardner’s Book of Shadows, supposed to be for Coven members only.

 

I always get a kick out of how somebody could be upset by the public having knowledge of Gardner’s work since he actively published so “secret” information, himself. There were actually early Wiccans who were quite upset Gardner spoke so publicly about Wicca, and they, personally were concerned about being outed from the broom closet. Much could be written on just this topic itself.

 

You can find Gardner’s Book of Shadows to read for free on Sacred-texts.com. Better yet, I will provide the link here. I am sure plenty of Gardnerians have personal Books of Shadows that are different from this one, however, as some create their own Books.

 

http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/gbos/index.htm

 

Gardner also drew much inspiration from Margaret Alice Murray’s writings. She had been a prominent Egyptologist, and her claims the witch trials were persecuting actual practices were not well received by everybody. Gardner was, however, more than inspired by her claims.

 

While some hold fast the belief what we do in Wicca is what has always been done, others reject the idea that Wicca was the folk religion of ancient Britain that went underground during “burning times”. Many assert it is modern practice, created in modern times, and inspired by modern writings, interpretation of ancient lore, and the very creative minds of Gardner and others.

 

Just because it’s neo practice, and an attempt to revive veneration of these old gods does not make it any less valid to many of us. With the evidence out there that Gardner created Wicca, and others like Doreen Valiente helped polish it, I have never understood the need some have to believe Wicca is a carbon copy of pre-Xtian Pagan practice. Wicca today is changing, and means many different things to many different people. Fifty years from now, it will be even more different. Wicca is a living tradition, and that means it evolves, which suits the people who practice it. That’s a good thing.

 

Thankfully, Kelly, himself is still teaching and writing various topics, and he’s sharing the beautiful poetry he composes.

 

Here is the short interview I did with him about Mabon.

 

Mabon Interview of Aidan Kelly

 

Saoirse– “Why, specifically did you name the Sabbat Mabon is my big question?”

 

Kelly– “Archaeological and mythological evidence is that the fall equinox is an ancient ( at least 5k years) fest associated with death and rebirth of a young person (Kore, Issac) . Mabon is the only one I could find in the Northern myths.”

 

Saoirse– “ I was marveling that I have NEVER met a devotee to that god, however, I have attended plenty of Mabon rites. I am wondering if you think this is typical these days, and Neo-Pagans have broadened pantheons?”

 

Kelly– “Actually, he is a minor character in an obscure tale in the Mabinogin, so that’s not surprising. But lots of people want to argue that he should be honored on some other Sabbat, because they don’t get what question I was asking.”

Saoirse– “And what was the question you were asking?”

 

KellyWhat myth about a child rescued from death night have been associated with the equinox in Northern cultures?”

 

Saoirse– “And Mabon was, absolutely. That is interesting that although we don’t venerate Mabon specifically, we call it Mabon anyhow in the rites I have seen, the god who dies is not named- he is just called the god.”

Kelly– “We have the four Gaelic names for the Celtic Sabbats, but only three Saxon names for the other four, which are far older. I wanted a name poetically parallel to Yule, Eostre, and Litha. I would have preferred a Saxon name, but could not find one. And Mabon ap Modren means “son of the mother” just as Kore (girl) is “daughter of the mother.” 

 

Saoirse– “I am thinking Balder, except he was not resurrected- unfortunately

What initial reactions did people have to your naming it Mabon? Did those reactions change over time?”

 

Kelly– “I used the name in the “Pagan-Craft” calendar I was putting out in 1974 (first of its kind, AFAIK), sent a copy to Oberon. He liked it, started using it in Green Egg, and it went the 1970s equivalent of viral. I don’t remember when I started getting arguments, because they are not important enough to qualify for being remembered.”

 

Saoirse– “I agree! Did you specifically write Autumnal Equinox rites that included Mabon ap Modron? Or had you attended any? I have not, myself, and I am wondering what you feel would be appropriate in ritual?”

 

Kelly– “No, our Mabon Sabbat is a commemoration of the Eleusinian Mysteries and so is focused on Kore/Persphone, with Demeter, Hades, Hermes, and Hekate and a couple of other gpoddesses in supporting roles.”

 

Then, Kelly was good enough to scan, and send me a copy of the ritual, which I will share here. It is a full eighteen pages long!

 

So, before I share it, I will share my suggested working if you don’t want to use Kelly’s, that is!

Before you read the rituals, here is the link to last years article I did for Mabon, which has a little more historic information.
http://paganpages.org/content/2016/09/celebrating-the-old-ways-in-new-times-22/

******************

Saoirse’s 2017 Mabon Working

 

I suggest an honoring of an elder.

 

How you do this all depends on what your own particular elder appreciates.

 

For me, I’m baking my Priest a pie. He loves my pies.

 

Some like to be taken out for dinner. Some just like a visit.

 

If however, you prefer an actual ritual, I suggest a blessing of your elder.

 

Unless you have your own way of doing this, I suggest a simple way of doing so.

 

You may prefer to do this with just the two of you, or you may do so before a group.

 

I love to do blessing rites at night, and by candlelight, or around a fire outdoors, personally.

 

Use whatever oil you deem appropriate for anointing. Be aware some people have sensitive skin, and some essential oils will burn skin if applied full strength. You can use a drop or two of your chosen oil with light olive oil, or just use olive oil, itself, which you can easily say a prayer over to bless.

 

Select the incense you feel is appropriate. I prefer Nag Champa for everything, personally. It’s a sandalwood blend which I use to cleanse and bless.

 

Select the appropriate candle. I use plain old white tealights.

 

Then, you will need a small bowl of water. Some people buy filtered water for this. I just use tap water, myself.

 

For this working, I do not suggest blessing the materials used first, because YOU are the one doing the blessing, and the materials you use to represent the elements are just representations of your, personal blessing. I realize not everybody feels his way about magical materials. If you feel more comfortable blessing the items beforehand, I agree you should do so in your own way.

 

You will light the candle first, then light the incense from the candle. Place the candle, incense, oil, and water on your chosen table, or altar.

 

Standing or sitting by your elder, tell them how much they mean to you. Tell them how thankful you are to them. (You might want to have a box of kleenex handy!)

 

Pick up the incense. Smudge your elder with this, and say “You are a lifegiver, breathing your wisdom and words of truth into me. I will never be lost in ignorance or confusion thanks to your words. Because of all you have taught me, I will be as a voice of truth, and teach others. “ Put the incense back in its place on your altar.

Then hold the candle up before your elder, and say, “You are a beacon in the darkness, lighting the way for me. I will never be lost in the dark thanks to your love and guidance. Because of all you have done for me, and taught me, I will be as a bright light to guide others.” Replace the candle on the altar.

 

Pick up the water, and you don’t want to splash a lot on your elder. Just dab a few dots of it on them here and there, or sprinkle it around them. Say, “ You fill me with the waters of life. Because of you, I will never be empty. I will never thirst. Because of all the life you have filled me with, I will go forth, and fill others.” Replace the water in its place on the table.

 

Pick up the oil. Put a little drop of it on your thumb, and trace your sacred symbol on their forehead. Mine is of course, the pentagram, yours might be something else. As you trace your symbol, say, “My beloved elder, I bless you in the name of our faith and our gods. May you be blessed with good health, great wealth, long life, and great love. Blessed Be.”

 

And then feed them something yummy!

****************

Aiden’s Kelly’s Elusinian Ritual for Mabon Sabbat 

 

This is a total of 18 pages, and was kindly provided for education including footnotes! Kelly wrote this, including the poetry, and its first full scale performance was in 1973. Blessed Mabon, and Blessed Be!

H. The Eleusinian ritual for the Mabon Sabbat

Celebrants:

Singing parts:

White Priestess, or Priestess of Jana;

Green Priestess, or Priestess of Sophia;

Black Priestess, or Priestess of Persephone;

The Black Man;

Dancing parts:

Kore;

Demeter;

Persephone;

Hades.

After all have been gathered into a circle, the Black Man makes needed announcements, such as about “Rain/Grow” and what to do with candles. The normal NROOGD Opening is then done, down through the Calling of the Quarters. At that point, with the Black Man still holding the sword in the center of the circle, the special ritual begins.

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

[First Speech of the Sacred Herald]

It happened one day that the Lord of All Unseen was driving his char­iot around the boundaries of Sicily, checking the firmness of its foundations, to be sure that the giant who is pinned beneath the island could not tear it up, and so expose those who dwell below to the frightening rays of the Sun. As he drove, he was seen by the Lady of Mount Eryx, whom some call Aphrodite, and some call Perse­phone, as she sat upon her airy throne.

 

WHITE PRIESTESS [Music #1, Venus’s Song]1

Here I sit upon my hill,

Maiden of every young man’s dream,

But I am living proof, my love,

That women are rarely what they seem.

For here I am the Queen of Death

And yet the Queen of Love:

My right hand holds the pomegranate

And my left, the dove.

I dance in many masks for men,

Sing many songs, play many parts,

And by my hands tell who I am,

Just before I break your heart.

I am the White Lady of your dreams

Whom you both long and fear to seize.

I lead you on through silver lands

Of singing stones and melting trees.

Wherever you look, you see me there:

Aphrodite on her shell,

Luna sailing through the leaves,

Persephone in Hell.

And now, my love, a tale we’ll tell

Of lovely wars and witty strife:

As poets always have foretold,

Death will be overcome by life.

This mountain is an organ pipe:

Beneath it Typhon groans and shakes

Where Zeus has trapped him for his crimes,

Breathing fire and belching quakes.

 

Hades, Lord of All Unseen,

Rides around the island’s coasts,

Fearing the quakes will let in light

To terrify his subject ghosts.

So, love, go pierce his gloomy heart

And let him chase me by the shore

Until I turn and capture him

And win the last third of my war.2

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

And so, resolving to regain the rest of her former realm, she dis­patched her Eros to pierce his heart. Thus it happened that, heart­sore and lonely, Hades came to Zeus, to ask for the hand of Kore, the only daughter of Zeus and Demeter; and Zeus, for his own reasons, gave his permission.

Soon afterward Kore was out one day, gathering flowers beside the sea with her companions, the daughters of the ocean. Suddenly, wild a wild clamor, there appeared a great golden chariot. Its driver scooped Kore up in his arms, and disappeared with her into a chasm that opened in the earth.

Demeter, her mother, hearing Kore’s fading cry, ran to find her, but she was nowhere to be seen. Demeter searched over the entire world, until finally, weary and despairing, she came to Eleusis, in disguise, and accepted a position as nursemaid to the King’s infant son. In gratitude for the royal family’s hospitality, she began the make the child immortal, by laying him in the fire every night. But one night the Queen came upon them, and screamed in terror. In sud­den anger Demeter cast the child upon the ground, and told the Queen that her child would remain mortal. Then, revealing her true iden­tity, she ordered that a temple be built for her and that the myster­ies of Eleusis be founded.

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES raises sword and sings the following as recitatif.

[Music #2, Agyrmos]

Keep solemn silence! Keep solemn silence! We sing, to Demeter and Kore, to Her who bears fair offspring, to the nourisher of youth, to the wealthy one, and to the threefold Graces. If your tongue is comprehensible, and no blood is on your soul, attend! Attend! For here we begin the mysteries of the Twofold Goddess, and of Her gift to mankind, that death is no longer our evil. To all who do this with us, abundant good shall come. Io! Evohe!

 

The BLACK MAN/HERMES steps back to the altar, and the three priestesses step forward.

[Music #3, Kore’s Song]

 

GREEN PRIESTESS

Cora, my child, so gentle and wild,

Dance, while flowers sing praises for you.

Kore dances into center of circle and continues dancing.

Soon you must pass into woman’s knowledge;

Dance in your innocence, soon to be lost.

 

BLACK PRIESTESS

The Gods have their plans, despite those of man,

For all of nature depends on changing.

You have been chosen to turn the seasons:

Soon will the Lord of the Night share his throne.

 

WHITE PRIESTESS

Behold, He comes, the Lord of the Drum,

Hades dances into circle; he and Kore dance a duet of seduction.

With his brilliant white hair and laughter.

He who rules Death is the perfect lover:

He brings you flowers though snow’s on the ground.

 

ALL THREE PRIESTESSES

Persephone, what do you see

From your throne in the land of secrets?

The flowers of summer have long since faded;

Yet even in winter there’s fire in the ground.

Hades and Kore conclude their duet by dancing out of the circle and down to the sea. The priestesses return to the altar.

[Music #4, Demeter’s Dance of Grief]

 

DEMETER

dances into circle and mimes a search for her daughter, then lights her two torches at the cauldron. She gestures all to come forward to light their candles, then leads all down to the sea.

BLACK MAN/HERMES

To the sea! To the sea! Haladay mustai!

At the sea, BLACK MAN/HERMES halts the procession.

DEMETER

plants her torches in the sand, strips, and plunges into the sea. Rising from the sea, she stands briefly between the torches, then her attendants wrap her in towels, then replace her robe. Picking up her torches, she now leads the procession on a devious path to the underworld.

At the entrance to the underworld, all are instructed to put out their candles as soon as they have found a place to stand inside. The next speech is said in the dark, as bullroarers sound.

BLACK MAN/HERMES

Here, in the lands below the earth,

We come to seek a recompense.

A girl is dead. That’s clear,

And all too close to home, for every time

We ask “What does it mean?” and, being human,

Cannot rest until we have an answer.

For behold! Demeter, the mother of all life,

In rage at the loss of her daughter,

Has sealed herself up in her temple,

And all life has slowed and stopped.

Here time itself stands still.

But now Zeus nods, the knot unties,

The balance is transcended.

For it is not Kore who’s restored, but us:

It is Persephone who comes, and she is every girl

Who faces a door she must go through,

Through which she can never return.

Hear the mystery of Eleusis!

The Queen of the Dead is the source of our life!

sings, to tune of Music #1

Our Lady is the Queen of Death,

And yet the Queen of Love:

Her right hand holds the pomegranate,

And her left, the dove.

[Music #5, Proclamation of the Mystery]

Holy Brimo, the raging slayer, has born the holy child, Brimos, in fire!

The mighty Goddess has given birth to the mighty God!

Io! Evohe!

All sing back “Io! Evohe!” and orchestra immediately breaks into Persephone’s Dance.

[Music #6, Hymn to Victorious Persephone]

 

ALL

Khaire, Persephone Nike!

At the crash of the gong, the underworld is flooded with light; Persephone leaps into view and dances wildly to the music of the hymn.

Who is great in the sheaves of the last of the wheat

When the mowers cut it all down!

She is the one with the power!

She will dance on the skulls of the last of the great

As they turn to honey and wine.

She holds the branch of renewal!

For the sword cuts the branch to the ground in the fall

But the branch will blossom in spring.

Hail to the dance of the Black One!

She has trampled on death and has shown us the path

That will bring us each to rebirth!

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

Make way for the Queen of Hell!

Persephone marches out, followed by the BLACK MAN/HERMES. She takes one torch and begins to lead the procession back to the circle.

BLACK MAN/HERMES uses other torch to relight everyone’s candles, then joins end of procession, followed by the musicians. Back at the circle site, Persephone continues dancing as the circle reforms. When it is complete, BLACK MAN/HERMES signals the musicians to silence.

Persephone draws an ear of wheat or corn from her bosom and holds it aloft for all to see. Demeter screams in anguish as Hades crawls forward from under her skirt, then leaps to his feet and dances over to join Persephone in their Wedding Dance.

[Music #8, Marriage Song of Moon and Sun]

 

WHITE PRIESTESS

I am the white and somber wench,

Knife of the hunter,

New of the moon.

I climb the hill of the changing halves

And burn in leaves of the verging trees.

Leap of the shadow,

Flash of the arrow,

Crimson and silver I reap and weave.

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

I am the gold and amber man,

Sired by the sun,

Born of the moon.

I slay the Gorgon for my shield

And take the musing Moon to wife.

Sword of the father,

Wand of the mother,

Sunwise and whirling I ride the sea.

 

GREEN PRIESTESS

I am the green and secret wife,

Fire of the wedding,

Bells of the sea.

I wind the round of the breeding moon,

O furrow the earth beneath my knees!

Blue of the harpers,

Gold of the pipers,

Threefold and singing I plow the seed.

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

I am the iron and scarlet man,

Blow of the hammer,

Cry of the steel.

I riddle the secrets of the trees

and lead the dance of the harvest moon.

Forge of the mother,

Spark of the maker,

Fourfold and lightning in every nerve.

 

BLACK PRIESTESS

I am the black and comely bitch,

Pipes of the crescent,

Beats of the Earth.

I stir the fire of the howling night

and bless the cup of the fertile seas

Gongs of the dancers,

Flames of the banners,

Sunwise in silence I clear and sow.

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

I am the black and violet man,

Branch of renewal,

Words of the owl.

I guide the track of the spiral dance

Across the sky and under the waves.

Mask of the hero

Reversed in a mirror,

I am the reaper who stays to sow.

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES AND GREEN PRIESTESS

now charge the “eggs and tea”: chopped hard-boiled eggs in a tambourine or other drum, and the “kykeon” (mixture) tea in a cymbal.

[Music #9, Blessing of the Offerings]

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

When Her name is memory, Her voices are a choir.

They stir the cup of music, of poetry and fire.

 

GREEN PRIESTESS

And when Her name is Mystery, She brews the cup that sings,

“All who drink shall be reborn;

All shall have the gift of kings.”

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES AND GREEN PRIESTESS

She stands before, she stands beside:

The Maiden has become the Guide.

The spiral dance, the egg of life

Replace the apple and the knife.

The priestesses and any helpers now serve the eggs and tea around the circle.

Demeter brings a vessel of water to the center, and three times casts a handful of water into the air. Each time she does so, Black Man/Hermes cries out loudly

Rain!

 

ALL

Grow!3

[Music #10, Blessing of the Initiates]

 

BLACK PRIESTESS

There is an immortality

Of the spirit and the body and the mind,

And all three immortalities

Are my gift to mankind.

There is always more; there is no end.

So rejoice! For death cannot win!

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

Whenever the serpent begets the bull,

The bull will father the serpent.4

 

ALL

Blessed be they who have seen beneath the surface of the world.

They have seen the end of life, and its Goddess-sent beginning.

Thrice blessÇd5 are they who have seen these mysteries,

For when they go to the house of the Unseen Lord,

They alone shall live in happiness.

But those who have never shared in such holy rites

Will suffer every sorrow in that house,

Until they fade away into the darkness.6

 

BLACK MAN/HERMES

Sing each phrase back to me after I sing it to you.

[Music #11, Marturo hos Pepoika]

I have fasted.

I have drunk the kykeon.

I have eaten from the drum.

I have drunk from the cymbal.

I have entered the wedding chamber.

A kid, I have fallen into milk.

I have seen beneath the surface of the world.

I have seen the end of life

And its Goddess-sent beginning

And they are the same.

I am an initiate of mysteries.

I shall not fade away.

Evohe!

 

ALL

Evohe!

The ritual now ends with the normal NROOGD “Grounding and Opening of the Circle.”

 

 

Important Links:

Aiden Kelly’s Facebook Page

Covenant of the Goddess’s Facebook Page

Covenant of the Goddess’s Web Page

 

 

 

Appendix to the Sabbats: Eleusinian Mysteries

 

The most important Athenian festival was that of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which have intrigued scholars for centuries: because the contents of the Mysteries were an Athenian state secret, we cannot be sure we have any clear idea of what happened during them. The Mysteries fell into two periods: the earlier, in Anthesterion, was called the Lesser Mysteries, and probably involved a ritual or drama about the life, death, and resurrection of Dionysos; the later, in Boedromion, was called the Greater Mysteries, and was definitely centered on the myth of the Rape of Persephone, as told in the Greek poem called the Homeric Hymn To Demeter. It has often been thought that initiation into the Lesser Mysteries was required before initiation into the Greater Mysteries, but this does not seem feasible, since in Roman times many people came from around the Empire in Boedromion to be initiated at the Greater Mysteries. (Of course, it could be that the earlier requirements were liberalized during the Imperial period.)

 

The Mysteries, according to both Greek legend and archaeological data, originated around 1500 B.C.E., give or take many decades, and were at least in part imported from Crete. Preserved by the local families, the Mysteries underwent a theological reform, as evidenced by the Homeric Hymn To Demeter, around 700 B.C.E., that is, at about the same time that the Athenians annexed Eleusis to their state and made the Mysteries the official religion of the Athenian empire. The Mysteries remained the central rite of Greco-Roman paganism — every civilized person tried to make the pilgrimage to Eleusis at least once in a lifetime, just as Muslims now make their Hajj to Mecca — until the fifth century C.E., when an army of Christian monks was sent in by the Byzantine emperor to tear the buildings at Eleusis down to the ground brick by brick, in order to prevent the people from going there, as they had continued to do.7

 

Despite the famous “secrecy” of the Mysteries, it was no more effective than the current “secrecy” of the Craft movement. We have more data about Eleusis than about any other pagan religion of antiq­uity, and we almost certainly do know what was done there. There is a famous story that Aeschylus, who was a native of Eleusis, as soon as his first tragedy had been produced, was called before a council of priests and accused of giving away the secret of the mysteries. Aes­chylus, however, responded, “I didn’t know it was a secret”8 — which became a catchphrase in the classical world — and proceeded to dem­onstrate that, since he had never been initiated, it was the council of priests who were giving him information they were oathbound not to reveal (a position I have found myself in relative to the more ortho­dox Gardnerians). He was acquited, of course, and the Eleusinian families then proceeded to adopt the new costumes that Aeschylus had designed for his actors as the official ceremonial robes for the Mys­teries9: even in the classical world, life imitated art. Since this very first tragedy would have enacted scenes perfectly familiar to us from the Greek myths, we do know what happened at Eleusis — but since we don’t know even the title of that first tragedy, we don’t know exactly which myth holds the secret. Still, it is possible to make some educated guesses, and I believe that Professor Walter Burkert of Zürich has broken the code.

 

Month 3. Boedromion, “month of helpers,” 30 days; began in August or September.

 

5 — Genesia = Nekusia = Nemesia, the clans’ feast of the dead.10 On the Proerosia see Clinton p. 22. In “the ritual of the sacred plowing observed at Eleusis, . . . members of the old priestly family known as the Bouzygai or Ox-yokers uttered many curses as they guided the plough down the furrows of the Rarian plain.”11 That “fair-tressed Demeter, yielding to her passion, lay in love with Iasion in the thrice-plowed field” (Odyssey 5.125-7) is the mythic analog to the folk ritual worked at this festival. As Plutarch (Moralia 144) comments about the three sacred plowings, “most sacred of all such sowings is the marital sowing and plowing for the procreation of children.” Obviously this Greek ritual, at the beginning of their growing season, is quite parallel to those in northern Europe associated with Beltane.

11 — The epheboi sacrifice a bull to Dionysos, under direction of the archon.12

13 — Preparations for the Eleusinian Mysteries begin: a troop of epheboi, perhaps having been purified at the Nekusia, in their “customary dress,” march from Athens to Eleusis.

14 — The epheboi escort the priestesses, and probably the other officials, from Eleusis to Athens. The priestesses carry the sacral items kept at Eleusis to the Eleusinion at the foot of the Acropolis.13 They halt for a rest at the “Sacred Figtree” in the suburbs of Athens.14

15 — This day was the Agyrmos, “assembly,” which was, according to Hesychius, the first day of the Mysteries. The Archon Basileus summoned the people to the Painted Porch to hear the Hierokeryx, the sacred herald of Eleusis, in the presence of the Hierophant and the Dadouches, call, “Keep solemn silence. Keep solemn silence. We pray to Demeter and Kore, and to Ploutos and to all the other gods, for here we begin the Mysteries of the Twofold Goddess . . . “15 The Hierophant then declared, “I speak to those who lawfully may hear: depart, all who are profane, and close the gates. . . . If your hands are impure or your tongue unintelligible, I charge you once, I charge you twice, I charge you thrice to stay away from the sacred dance of the chorus of initiates. Let all others who believe in the Two Goddesses perform the Mysteries, under the blessing of Heaven. Lady Demeter, nourisher of our souls, make us all worthy to celebrate your Mysteries.”16 He also apparently declared that initiates (at least for the duration of the festival) had to abstain from the flesh of barnyard fowl, eggs, fish, beans, pomegranates, and apples (these seem to be the rules of the nine-day “fast” that probably began on this day), and that touching these things made a person as taboo as touching a woman in childbirth or a corpse.17 He then probably announced, “At our sacred Mysteries, all Hellenes shall offer first fruits of their crops, according to ancestral usage. . . . To those who do these things shall come much good, both good and abundant crops, to whomever does not injure the Athenians, or the city of Athens, or the Two Goddesses,” that is, Demeter and Kore.18

16 — Synoekia: sacrifice of 2 oxen to Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria, “of the clans.”19 On this day the cry was Halade mustai20, “Initiates, to the sea!” All who were going to be initiated had to walk the six miles to Piraeus, driving a piglet before them, be purified in the sea with the pig21, then drive it back to Athens. We can be sure the day’s events were not overly dignified. It was to this day that Athenaeus (13, 590) referred when he wrote, “Phryne [a famous courtesan] was even more beautiful in her unseen parts. . . . At the great assmbly of the Eleusinia and at the festival of Poseidon, in full sight of the whole Greek world, she removed her cloak and let down her long hair before she stepped into the water. It was she whom Apelles took as the model for his `Aphrodite Rising from the Sea.'” (This passage is especially valuable in proving Aphrodite’s connection with the Eleusinian Mysteries.) Clement of Alexandria, in revealing what he says are the secrets of the Mysteries, begins with Aphrodite, saying, “a cake of salt and a phallus are given to the initiates, . . . who bring the tribute of a coin to the Goddess, as lovers do to a mistress.”22

17 — A sow is officially sacrificed to the Two Goddesses in their temple in Athens. Each initiate sacrifices a sheep, whose fleece is needed for the initiation, as well as the purified piglet.23

18 — The initiates remain indoors, preparing the Kykeon, “mixture,” a tea of barley and mint, and baking pastries, probably in the shapes associeted with fertility. Outdoors, the uninitiated engage in a procession honoring Asklepios, and pour libations to Dionysos.24

19 — Early in the day the initiates, the Eleusinian officials, and all others gather in the main square of Athens, all wearing myrtle wreaths and white robes or other special garb; the priests and priestesses wore red or purple cloaks, and the Hierophant and Dadouches wore a strophion (a twisted piece of cloth, worn like a sash) and had long hair.25 The statue of Iakkhos (in late class­ical times thought to be Dionysos as an infant) is brought from the Iakkhaion, to be carried on its annual visit to Eleusis. The same band of epheboi (obviously an “honor guard”) serve as an escort for the Eleusinian priestesses, carrying the sacra, in baskets on their heads, back to Eleusis to begin the celebration of the Mysteries. The procession is headed by the pais ap’ hestia, the “child initiated from the hearth,” whose initiation was paid for by the state26, and who represented the entire Athenian people; he or she wore a garment that left the right shoulder bare, and a short chiton (to just above the knee), carried a myrtle staff, and was followed by all the other such children from preceding years who had not yet reached adulthood.27 Everyone in the procession wore a myrtle wreath on his or her head. The 14-mile procession to Eleusis begins, passing out of Athens via the portico at the Keramicos. There are many stops for resting and performing rituals at places along the way thought to figure in Demeter’s search for the lost Kore. One is a sanctuary devoted to Zephyrus, Demeter, Kore, Athena, and Poseidon, at the place where Phytalus invited Demeter into his home to rest, in reward for which she give him the fig tree.28

At the Kephisos bridge, the crowd is entertained by a woman who plays the part of Baubo or Iambe, telling “obscene” jokes and performing “obscene” dances (which certainly included exposing her genitals to the crowd).29 There was apparently another purification in the salt lakes, the Rheitoi,30 and after crossing the narrow Rheitos bridge, the Initiates apparently were challenged by priests and had to give passwords, then had a thread tied between the right hand and left foot.31 We can also suppose that Aristophanes’ rather mild parody in The Frogs, lines 324-459, gives us a very good idea of what was actually sung during the procession to Eleusis.

20 — At sunset, when the next day began, torches were lit, and because the Greeks would have used a 7/8 rhythm (or something similar) for a procession, it turned into a torchlit dance. It may well be that they now went not directly into Eleusis, but instead down to the beach, where there may have been a ritual concerning Aphrodite, and where the initiates were probably sworn to secrecy by having the Hierophant’s key placed upon their lips.32 The torchlit procession then proceeded up from the beach and into Eleusis proper.33

The first event within the sacred grounds of Eleusis was probably a women’s dance around the Kallichoron, the “well of fair dances,” where Demeter was believed to have sat and mourned. The next would have been the Kernophoria, the offering of first fruits carried in the traditional kernos (a vase with multiple chambers), in the small temples of Demeter, Persephone, and Ploutos in the Eleusinian precinct — and offerings to chthonian deities were normally carried out at or after sunset.34

21 — On the day of the 20th and on through the 21st, the initiates were probably taken blindfolded through a series of purifications and consecrations one at a time. They probably each had a guide who had been initiated in a preceding year35, who could actually now see the procedures and so became known as an Epopt, “wit­ness.” We have descriptions and vase paintings of candidates seated on a low throne, with left foot on a fleece, veiled and holding a torch, with a priestess holding a winnowing basket overhead, then with priests and/or priestesses dancing in a circle and singing around them.36 Judging from the “password” quoted by Clement of Alexandria — “I have fasted; I have drunk the kykeon; having worked with what I took from the basket, I placed it in the chest, then back in the basket” — each initiate must have worked some ritual with some of the sacral objects in the baskets that the priestesses carried on their heads in the procession. Clement also lists what these objects were: sesame cakes, pyramidal and spherical cakes, cakes with many navels, balls of salt, a Dionysian snake (which is obviously a phallic symbol), pomegranates, fig branches, fennel stalks, ivy leaves, round cakes, poppies, marjoram, a lamp, a sword, and a “comb,” which Clement explains is a euphemism for something that represents the female genitals.37 Perhaps the ritual worked involved placing the phallic symbol in the vaginal symbol, as some scholars have guessed, but obviously innumerable different kinds of rituals were possible with such objects.

22 — The central event in the Mysteries was a night-long ritual in the Telesterion, the Hall of Initiation, and this was the logical night for it to have happened. The initiates stood on raised steps around the edges of the Telesterion, and saw and heard something like a ritual drama.38 As Plutarch describes, “Just as persons who are being initiated into the Mysteries throng together at the outset amid tumult and shouting, and jostle against one another, but when the holy rites are being performed and disclosed, the people are immediately attentive in awe and silence . . . he who has succeeded in getting inside and has seen a great light, as though a shrine were opened, adopts another bearing, of silence and amazement, and, humble and orderly, attends upon” the gods.39 Similarly, Dio Chrysotom says, “This is like placing a man in a mystic shrine of extraordinary beauty and size to be initiated. There he would see many mystic sights and hear many mystic voices, light and darkness would appear to him alternately, and a thousand other things would occur.”40 Galen mentions that an initiate would have given himself up “wholly to the things done and said by the Hierophants.”41 Lucius of Apulia says of his own initiation, “I approached near to hell, even to the gates of Persephone, and after I was ravished throughout all the elements, I returned to my proper place. About midnight I saw the sun brightly shine. Likewise I saw the Gods celestial and infernal, before whom I presented myself and worshipped them.”42 Perhaps this is metaphor, but it could easily be a description of a Craft initiation.

Proklos relates that, “In the most holy Mysteries, the initiates at first meet many sorts of spirits . . ., but on entering the interior of the temple, . . . they genuinely receive divine illumination, and divested of their garments [my italics] they participate in the divine nature.”43 (Proklos, as a devout dualist, obviously disapproves, but I think it must look familiar to any modern Witch.)

It is very difficult to assign a sequence to the events that may have taken place in the Telesterion, but I think Harrison’s logic holds water: the Sacred Marriage would probably have been celebrated before the birth of the Sacred Child.

Asterius44 wrote, “Isn’t there the descent into darkness, the sacred intercourse of Hierophant with Priestess, he and her alone? Aren’t the torches extinguished? Doesn’t the vast assembly believe that what is done by the two in darkness is their salvation?” He was probably misinformed about Eleusis; yet his words describe precisely the attitude of Witches toward the Great Rite.

Apparently what happened next is that the doors of the central chamber, the Anaktoron, were thrown open in a flood of light from a great fire that could be seen for miles from the open roof of the Telesterion45, and the Hierophant appeared, displaying an ear of wheat to the silent crowd and shouting, “Holy Brimo has brought forth a mighty son, Brimos!”46 We know that the Hierophant displayed the “secret sacred objects” (and that is what his title means) kept in the Anaktoron, into which only he was allowed, as only the High Priest of Jerusalem was allowed into the innermost sanctuary in that temple; and that he had an extensive speaking or singing part in the proceedings, partly from within the Anaktoron.47 He may have carried the sacred objects around the Telesterion in a procession, followed by all the other priests and priestesses48; this would be parallel with the Torah procession in the synagogue. There was also much dancing; Lucian commented that there are no Mysteries without dancing, and that those who violate the secrecy of the Mysteries are said to “dance them out.”49 With a rolling beat upon a gong that produces a roar louder than a jet plane,50 Persephone herself appeared — or so her priestess would have appeared, to the eyes of faith.51 Apparently her wedding to Hades was celebrated, for Michael Psellos asserts that the words, “I have eaten from the drum, I have drunk from the cymbal, I have carried the kernos, I have entered the bridal chamber,” were sung as an accompaniment to the Anakalypteria of Kore; this term might mean only “unveiling” or “reappearance,” but it is the common Greek term for a wedding.52

Walter Burkert also argues that another key event would have focused on the pais ap’hestia, the “child initiated from the hearth,” who represented the Athenian people, and who was the ritual analog of the infant Demophon, “voice of the people,” in the Eleusinian myth. Burkert argues that the child, doped with opium from Demeter’s own poppies, was placed in a swing, and swung through the fire — but when the swing returned, in it was a ram, which was then sacrificed, and its fleece used for the next year’s initiates. Obviously this ritual is related to the story of Abraham and Isaac, and it seems fitting that the same story should turn out to underlie both Greek and Hebrew religion, whose roots all go back to the eastern Mediterranean culture of ca. 1500 B.C.E. Burkert also feels that the key to the Greeks’ strong feelings about the ritual at Eleusis is that during it they were formally adopted as children of Demeter — perhaps in a ritual that involved marching under her throne53 — so that when they went before Persephone’s throne to be judged, they would be judged according to the rules for kin, not those for strangers — and that made all the difference in the world for Greeks.

23 — The final events at Eleusis included the rite of the Plemochoai, top-shaped vases, which were tipped over, one toward the east, the other toward the west, just about at sunset, to pour a libation down into the earth, perhaps into a chasm.54 It was probably also on this last day, and perhaps as part of the same ritual, that “looking up to the sky they cried `Rain!’ and looking down at the earth they cried `Grow!'”55

 

 

1

2 I shouls asmit that this song was asses in the version that was part of my “doctoral dissertation in the form of a three-act myisical comedy” and was not in the original script.

3 We know from Hippolytus 5:2 (Ante-Nicene Fathers, V, 51) and from Pro­clus on Plato’s Timaeus 293 (cited by Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 161) that this “Rain/grow” bit of fertility magic was among the closing ceremonies at Eleusis, perhaps out on the Rharian plain, where it could not have been kept secret.

4 This is obviously a fragment from some sort of ritual; it is given by Fir­micus Maternus 26; Arnobius 5:21; and Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation, 2:14.

5 This “thrice-blessed” term was standard in wedding songs; e.g., see Odysseus’s remarks to Nausicaa in the Odyssey.

6 This stanza is a rather free amalgam of the “beatitudes” in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter 480-482; Sophocles fragment 753 Nauck (from Plutarch, Moralia, 21F); and the Pindar fragment (137 Sandys) from Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, 3:3,17.

7 Eunapius, Lives of the Philosophers, 475-6.

8 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, 3.1.17, and Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, 2.14 (p. 361, ANF).

9 Athenaeus 1.21d.

10 Farnell, III, 23.

11 Frazer’s ed. of Apollodorus, Library, p. 227.

12 Placement is best guess; Willetts, Cretan Cults, p. 49.

13 Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 151.

14 Philostratus, Lives of the Sophists, 602;20.

15 See Xenophon, Hellenica, 2.4, 20.

16 Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel, 3.13.118b; Tatian, In Graec. 8; Theon of Smyrna, On the Utility of Mathematics, p. 22; Aristophanes, Frogs, 369-70, 886-7; Lucian, Alexander the False Prophet, 38.

17 Porphyry, On Abstinence, IV.

18 Harrison, Prolegomena, pp. 150, 155.

19 Nilsson, 1951, p. 166.

20 According to Clinton, p. 13, the term muesis originally referred to the preliminary instruction, or catechesis, which could be given at any time during the year by any member of the Eumolpidai or Kerykes families; this was not an initiation, but quite parallel to the guidelines that any Witch would now give to a newcomer before bringing him or her to a circle. The final ritual of the Mysteries was the telete, which took place in the sanctuary of the Telesterion, per­formed by the Eleusinian priests and priestesses, only once a year. Thus mustes would be better translated as “catechist” than as “initiate,” and telete does have the sense of completion.

21 Plutarch, Phocion, 27,3.

22 On the events of this day, see Harrison, Prolegomena, pp. 152-4. Clement of Alexandria, Protreptikos, 2.13.

23 On all this see Aelian, Animals, 10,16; and Aristophanes, Peace, 373-5.

24 Aristotle, Athenian Constitution, 56.4; Philostratus, Life of Apollonius, 4.18.

25 Clinton, p. 33.

26 Initiation was expensive; it added up to at least 12 obols, ac­cording to Clinton, p. 13, and that was about a month’s pay for the average Athenian. Hence paying for someone’s initiation was a fre­quent gift, especially for slaves and courtesans (as we know from Demosthenes’ Against Naeara, 21), since it could not be taken away from them.

27 Clinton, p. 108, 111.

28 Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 151.

29 See Hesychius and the Suda under Gephuris.

30 See Hesychius on Rheitoi and Pausanias, Attica, 38.1-3.

31 See Photius, Krokoun.

32 See Sophocles, OEdipus at Colonus, 1045-53; Pausanius, Elis, 1.20.3.

33 The use of torches for nocturnal processions was no secret; and I think the “torchlit search for Kore” (as in, e.g., Lactantius, Divine Institutes, 1.21) was merely an allegorical interpretation of this procession in light of the story of Demeter and Kore.

34 Here Psellos’s second icon fits: torches because it was night; drums and cymbals as both musical instruments for the procession and vessels to pour the offering, in the form of a pelanos.

35 Referred to by Plutarch, Moralia, 765A.

36 See Dio Chrysostom, Discourse 12, 33; Plato, Euthydemus 277d; Eph. Arch. 1885, p. 150. Gilbert Murray, Five Stages, p. 23, says the Dadouchos is the initiator during this stage. If Aristophanes, Clouds, 259ff, is not just foolery, the catechist was also sprinkled with flour or chalk at some point.

37 Clement of Alexandria, Protreptikos, 2.18-9.

38 See, e.g., ibid., 2.12. That the rituals lasted all night is stated by Clinton, p. 38, citing I.G. II2, 3639; see also Greek Anthology, XI, Epigram 42.

39 Plutarch, Moralia, 81d-e.

40 Dio Chrysostom, Discourse 12, 33.

41 Galen, de Usu. Part., 7.14.469, cited by Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 157.

42 Lucius of Apulia, The Golden Ass, 11.23. For a similar description, see Plutarch, Moralia, frag.178.

43 Proklos, Platonic Theology, p. 7.

44 As cited by Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 563.

45 It is referred to by Plutarch, Themistocles, 15.1.

46 See Burkert, Homo Necans, for a convincing argument why this passage from Hippolytus, 5.4, is trustworthy. Brimo is a title of Hecate, who seems to complete a triad with Kore and Demeter; see Apollonios of Rhodes, Argonautica, 861-2, 1211, and Lycophron, Alexandra, 1175ff; Propertius 2.2.11 presents this Hecate Brimo as a lover of the Hermes who is a major deity of the Samothracian Mysteries. This line also seems to be reflected in Euripides, Suppliants, 54, which takes place at Eleusis.

47 See Clinton, pp. 39 & 46, citing I.G. II2, 3411, and Aelian, Varia Historia, frag. 10.

48 Clinton, p. 47.

49 Lucian, The Dance, 15.

50 Ovid, Art of Love, 610; Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 140, citing Apollodorus of Athens as quoted by the scholiast on Theocritus, Idylls, 2.10. Olivier Messiaen, scholar and classicist that he is, uses this sound in his Et Expecto Resurrectionem Mortuis, “I Expect the Resurrection of the Dead.”

51 See Clinton, p. 47, and the sources he cites.

52 These words are cited by Clement, op. cit., 2.14, and discussed by Psellos in his comments on the third icon. See also the scholiast on Plato, Gorgias, 497C, cited by Harrison, Prolegomena, p. 158.

53 E.g., see the ritual described at the end of the final myth in Plato’s Republic.

54 See Athenaios 11.496.

55 Given by Proklos on Plato’s Timaeus, p. 293; also mentioned by Hippolytus 5.2. Aeschylus, fragment 25, in which Aphrodite declares that she is the cause of the amorous rain that impregnates the earth to bring forth Demeter’s gifts, also shows that here again Aphrodite is tied to the Eleusinian rites. Hesychius gives “Konx hompax” as the final words of the initiation; despite much scholarly ingenuity at restoration, these appear to be indecipherable nonsense.

 

 

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About the Author:

Saoirse is a recovered Catholic.  I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the Arts Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.  

Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

September, 2016

Mabon 2016 for Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times

Bright Blessings!

Mabon, or Autumnal Equinox always sneaks up on me. It is August 19, and while our tomato and cucumber harvest is going well, I can hardly believe that in a little over a month, we will be harvesting even more, and we’ll be quickly headed to Samhain!

An especially harsh Winter is forecast for this year. I suppose that is the price some of us in Central Ohio will just have to pay for the fact last year’s Winter was quite mild! I was told the insects were heavier this year as a result of the mild Winter- so the shrieking little girl in me hopes next year’s insect population will be less thick!

I say this, covered in chigger bites from my knees to my toes. Every Lughnassadh that I garden finds me covered in bites and unable to sleep until they heal- which takes at least a month. I spend so much time in the garden, refusing to wear shoes, long pants, or DEET, and would rather struggle for a few weeks than cover up. I guess the bugs figure since I am harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers they feel I grew simply for their consumption, they will just eat me instead!

I always review last year’s article before composing this years to ensure they are not similar- you can read last years here-

http://paganpages.org/content/2015/09/celebrating-the-old-ways-in-new-times-11/

– and I was reminded that last year was the very first time I gardened from early Spring, all Summer long, and into Autumnal Equinox. I am pleased to say, this year, I did too!

The difference is that somehow, I failed miserably at radishes this time- but learned to grow cucumbers. We have about a dozen vines prolifically producing as I write this, as well as ten tomato plants, and new sprouts of snap peas- a first harvest of which was quite successful. I am pleased to say our blueberry we planted last year produced so beautifully, we bought another to plant beside it.

We are doing so well with veggies this year because of an agreement with a neighbor across the street. For the past three years, she has allowed us to grow things in her unused garden area. The first year, I planted perennial flowers- which did not come back. So, the next year, we planted lots of radishes and shared with her and a couple other neighbors. This year’s success with monstrous amounts of cucumbers and tomatoes came after amending the soil with a lot of compost and manure, diligent watering, and staking and careful managing of the long, flowering veggie vines. This is also the second year we have used mostly seeds as opposed to greenhouse sprouted plants.

As far as seeds go, marigolds can be planted from last year’s withered blooms, the flower heads opened up to get them, and each tiny seed laid about two inches away from the last. The rest of our seeds, we buy in Winter, usually starting in January or February, and they are gleefully planted after weeks of gawking at them in eager anticipation.

Our Own Harvests

Mabon, or time of Second Harvest is a good time to take stock of all you have accomplished and while some use it as time for review and of setting new goals, I see it as more of a time for building on what has already been done.

For example, one of my friends wants to do a full-house purge. He’s a pack rat and is too ashamed to let people into his house to see. I used to joke with him that I believed he had bodies stacked up from his serial killing sprees- until I caught a view of his back patio- in all of it’s cluttered glory- and I caught a glimpse of the disaster his living room is by peering in through his sliding glass door. There was not a body in sight, of course!

But realistically, he has already started his purge- it began in the front yard. He did quite a bit of the gardening WITH me this year. Any further progress is just building upon that. He is a big reason the garden has done so well. His encouragement was wind in my sails many times, and he even bought supplies and did some of the labor as well. He does not realize how much progress he has already made- but in the next couple of days, he will get back from a trip out of town and see the huge sunflowers that opened by his door while he was away- and I am pretty sure that will drive the message home.

Later on in the article, I will provide a working, but in the meantime, I’d like to share some information about an exciting historical landmark that shares the name with this Sabbat.

The Lochmaben Stone and The Once and Future King

The Lochmaben Stone is the one stone that is still visible of a ring of megalithic stones in Scotland- this one stone weighing ten tons just by itself. Local legend states it is from this stone that King Arthur drew his sword. Belief in the existence of a historical Arthur in general as well as him drawing a sword from a stone are worth discussing, and holds far more tradition than many modern folk suspect.

Sarmartians, Romans, and Brits, Oh My!

About him in general, it is speculated that many different warlords formed the basis for the legends about him, some of whom were not even British. One was a Sarmartian, and was named Batraz. The Sarmartians were from a confederation of Iranian peoples who dominated and later adapted the language of the Scythians, who gave us the torcs so cherished by the Celts. Like Arthur, Batraz had a magical sword of power that he had cast into the waters when he died. There was heavy Sarmatian presence in Britain just before Arthur was said to have lived. Sarmatians also buried their swords in the roots of trees, or stones where they buried their dead- and it is said Batraz pulled his magical sword from the roots of a tree.

The Sarmatians were there under a Roman military leader named Lucious Artorious Castus, and it is speculated the Sarmatians brought with them their stories of Batraz, which might have contributed to the Arthur myths. As you may have guessed, it is also speculated Lucious, whose middle named was Artorious, was the basis for the name Arthur as well. It is speculated he may have been guarding Hadrian’s Wall, and his career sent him to Judaea, Macedonia, and Italy as well. By the time he reached Great Britain, he was a good 50-60 years old with quite a track record.

As well as being called “The Once and Future King”, Arthur was viewed as tied to the land. Legend has it when he fell ill, and the Knights were questing for the Holy Grail, all the land fell ill, and the people suffered. This came from Pre-Christian beliefs about divine kingship. The king was responsible for the people. He both blessed and defended them. If he suffered, both the land and the people suffered.

For a lot of modern Neo-Pagans, the Wheel of the year links the land to the life of the god who is born of the goddess at Yule, and develops, and is killed and returned to the earth with harvest. Arthur’s myths fit right in with this.

Papa Was a Royal Stone

Backtracking to the topic of the stones, both Scotland and Ireland had sacred stones used in coronation of kings. The Lia Fal, or Stone of Destiny which still stands in Ireland, was supposed to emit a shout when he who was meant to be king put his feet on the stone. It has been damaged a few times, once being back in antiquity by being split in anger by Cuchulainn when it did not choose the man he wanted to be king- and it only emitted the cry twice after that- for Conn of the Hundred Battles and Brian Boru. It was also hit with hammers and painted in recent years, but it still stands.

In Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle is housed an ancient Stone of Destiny where kings were placed for coronation. Queen Elizabeth the II is the last monarch crowned on the stone. In the 13th century, it was taken by Edward I and transported to Westminster Abbey in Britain. There, it was installed in a seat , used for coronation of British kings. After townsfolk prevented the crown from giving it back to Scotland close to a century later, it is said monks snuck the real stone away, burying it and replacing it with another. Nobody seems to know if this is true or not.

In 1950, it was stolen by some students, and hidden- but after being returned several months later, it was agreed the stone should return to Scotland. In 1996, was taken to Edinburgh Castle to be kept when not used during coronations.

As far as the god whose name the Lochmaben stone contains, nothing is known of what kind of worship of him took place there, but it is known stones held power, and were the places the kings and leaders were crowned or elected.

The Lochmabon Stone itself was used for various purposes after Christianization. It stood as a boundary marker between England and Scotland, and a landmark where people met for doing business. It was recorded that prisoners between Britain and Scotland were exchanged at the stone in the fourteenth century. A Battle where Scotland crushed the invading English occurred in the Fifteenth century, and in the 1800’s a tenant farmer shifted the stones around, trying to find valuables. In the 1995, a re-erection of the stone was had. And although various other stones that comprised the circle are now below ground, the Lochmabon stone still stands today.

It can be argued the idea of divine kingship Arthur and the rulers chosen at Lia Fal embodied so well was carried over into feudalism with the concept of the god of Abraham selecting the monarchy. That the king or leader was selected by omens or birth is something few neo-Pagans might submit to in this day and age of voting in leaders although Pre-Christian Pagans swore by it.

Mabon and Maponos

What all of this has to do with Mabon itself goes back to the name of the god whose name the stone takes- it is accepted there was at one time some sort of devotions done to the god Mabon- or Maponos at the Lochmabon Stone because simply because the stone is named after him. A god revered by ancient Gauls in France, and later by Celts in the British Isles, little is known about him, save he was believed to be a son of a mother goddess, who we likewise know little about!

Today’s neo-Pagans often have a second harvest celebration and decorate their altars with leaves, and flowers and fruits of the season. Some have a kind of thanksgiving celebration. However, I have never personally met a devotee of the god Maponos, although I am sure they are out there. So for many, this Sabbat has little, if anything to do with the god whose name it bears.

Although we all know that our neo-Pagan celebrations are neo- or new- I always look to see if I can find what was done in the pre-Christian days. I specifically wanted to see what was harvested at second harvest time.

Pass the Bottle and the Bag of Wheat

What I found was that before Prohibition in the US, Ireland was responsible for 90% of the world’s whiskey at the start of the 20th century! Now, Ireland’s whiskey accounts for just 2% of what is consumed and has only seven whiskey breweries. A lot of breweries went out of business due to Prohibition.

Whiskey is made using a yeast distilled mash of cereal grains, which may include any of the following- barley, corn, rye, or wheat. The sources I found indicated Irish whiskey is only made using barley. Barley is harvested in mid-July, and it takes years for the barley whiskey to age before it is ready to be consumed. So the barley harvest is not what would be celebrated Mabon time.

Wheat, however, is harvested in September, and despite the modern dislike of all things glutinous- wheat has been a staple in Europe for centuries. It stores well, and grows very well in Ireland, I discovered. So well, as a matter of fact, it is said Irish wheat growers have a leg up on wheat farmers in other Nations. It is said the weather there is best for the wheat. I found that pre Christian Pagan devotees released bags of flour from the newly harvested batch to the wind as gifts to the gods and in thanks for a successful harvest.

Many neo Pagans celebrate the equinox as a thanksgiving and for saying goodbye to long Summer days. I have never found that a good thing- some of us are tired from Fall through mid Spring- so I admit, Mabon is not a favorite of mine. But a lot of people look forward to the cooling days, and view the coming Winter as time to rest and die back with the earth.

Taking all the things I have read over in the past few days into account, the suggested working this time will include taking stock of our own personal power through the accomplishments of the harvests in each of our lives. Like our once and future king, we are the kings and queens of our own worlds. Our people- loved ones- and land…yards and work lives- reflect how we are doing. If we suffer, they suffer. Likewise, if we thrive, so do they. Some harvest celebrations will find us feeling we have accomplished more than others- but all in all, what we HAVE done is what needs to be celebrated.

Saoirse’s 2016 Mabon Working

Like most of my suggested rites, invite everybody over and have a potluck. Before the ritual begins, set a gorgeous table with all the things that makes you think of Fall Equinox time. Use whatever seasonal decorations you desire- or if you just don’t decorate- line the table with the food only, and that will look plenty festive enough!

I like to use a great free Sabbat decoration come Fall time… LEAVES! I stuff jars and vases full of branches of leaves and scatter leaves from outside EVERYWHERE, even the floor! You can sweep them right out the door and vacuum up any particles left behind. If you think about this, fallen leaves are the perfect symbol of the Sabbat. The trees have produced all they are going to and are now changing colors as they die back, and nothing looks prettier.

Also, if it is affordable, buy a bottle of Irish whiskey to use in this ritual. You can have a little something from the motherland right in your home anywhere on earth for Mabon that way!

To prepare for the ritual, come with a story. It should be a story of some accomplishment of yours- the proudest moment for you this harvest season. For some, it will be they got a new job. For others, it will be figuring out how to fix the plumbing. For others, it will be overcoming the urge to honk at people in traffic- thus defeating your own road rage!

No accomplishment is too small, but let there be a twist in how this is done. Amplify the story to some heroic level. For example- a friend was selected to be the one who chases geese off of her place of businesses property. When she told us about a bloody battle in which she emerged victorious- she started by saying she stealthily inched out the front door with her mighty broom in hand, and looked the largest geese in the bunch in the eye and said “You have slept your LAST peaceful night, goose!” Realistically, all she did was charge at them and scatter them a couple of times until they flew away. Yet to hear her tell it, the battle was a major military excursion, and will go down in the annals of history as the time the Great Anna defeated the Gang of the Filthy Tailfeathers.

In our culture, we are encouraged to tear ourselves down, hate our bodies, downplay our accomplishments, and then everybody wonders why our self-esteem is so low and depression levels are so high in this country! At this Sabbat, we are going to reverse this, at least for our dinner. I suggest a Mabon Bragfest Dinner where everybody takes a turn bragging about some major accomplishment before the food is blessed and everybody feasts.

I highly suggest beginning by first blessing and opening the bottle of whiskey, giving some as offering to the gods, and then passing it from person to person and having everybody take a sip to get nice and warm.

Next, begin the storytelling. Each person will first pour a bit out to the gods, as the gods come first, then take a sip themselves, tell their story of esteem, and pass the bottle to the next person. If your party does not want to drink alcohol, grab some amazing sparkling juice or fresh cider. Remember that you can always give the gods the whiskey, even if you prefer non-alcoholic beverages yourself.

While I understand modern people cannot do all just as the ancients did, these ARE still ancient gods. Many are used to getting whole herds of animals or even human being sacrificed to them as well as caches of bronze, gold, silver, and whatnot. To just give this god a little sip of apple cider or juice or milk or something seems like little effort, and is a far cry from what they are used to. Give em’ the whiskey!

Make sure that after each person has told their story of mighty accomplishment, everybody cheers and claps riotously- the whiskey should help with this. Not only are we tooting our own horn, but we are encouraging and tooting each other’s horns!

To bless the food, once everybody has spoken, join hands, or do a group hug in a circle around the table and say something like,

Lady and Lord, we thank you for this second harvest and for all of the beautiful things we have brought into our lives. Accept the offerings of all good things we have done, and all good things we plan to do and build up our strengths, and let us build one another up.

We have enjoyed another harvest together, and a third is yet to come as the days shorten, and the nights cool and lengthen. Thank you for all we have been blessed with, and for all the blessings we have bestowed upon one another. We are the sons and daughters of the gods of the Old Ways. Let us never hunger. Let us never thirst, and let us never wither or weaken before our time to join our brethren in the Summerlands comes. So Mote it Be.”

Then feast and have wonderful fellowship.

Blessed Mabon.

Blessed Be.

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