March, 2012

Merry Meet!!

March, 2012

This month’s issue of PaganPages is brought to you by:

We are currently looking for new writers for the following columns (**Remember you do not have to  be a professional or have been published before**):

gods

herbs

incense & oils

spells

If you are interested, email [email protected]

If you have original artwork you would like to see on our cover, email your work to [email protected]


We hope you have a wonderful month and enjoy this issue…Happy Reading!!

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Musings of a Massachusetts Witch

March, 2012

In Love and Light

The phrase “in love and light” is a New Age sentiment common within the modern pagan community. I’m sure you’ve read it and if you interact with individuals within the community then you’ve heard it more than once but, really, what does it mean? What does this phrase convey? I found that when I asked numerous individuals I received as many different responses as people I questioned.  For some ‘in love and light’ means; “with love and positivity”,  “sending energy through love”, “being wrapped in love and light from the Universe”, “unconditional love and light of The Goddess and God”, “peace and love” as well as, “sending joyful blessings”.

I’m guilty of using the phrase myself on occasion so it has been important for me to define the meaning of the phrase especially when addressing my own students. Here is what I’ve gleaned:

“In love”

The word love, in the phrase, is defined as divine love or agape. It is righteous, good and non-sexual. It is the love of The Goddess and The God; the love for the sacred being that each of us hold within us and that is connected to all beings including deity. It is unconditional and understands what lies beyond our physical human manifestation and within our Sacred Self. So “in love” means being within unconditional love.

“In light”

The word light addresses the concept of energy, specifically positive energy. So being “in light” means being “in positive energy”,

We are, were created from, and will return to, The Divine Source. While we are manifested on Earth and within our current society we are constantly dealing with both positive (light) and negative (dark) energies that also reside on this physical plane. Many of us are also affected by the energies (both negative and positive) that dwell on the spiritual plane however, it is vitally important that we don’t forget that regardless of these energetic influences, we are co-creators and are continually manifesting our own reality. It is the reality that we create for ourselves that gives us our perception of each and every experience we have. We can choose to focus on the positive experiences or the negative, to dwell in the light or the darkness.

It is important to acknowledge and understand that both the light (positive) and the dark (negative) energies originate from The Divine Source. The religion of Wicca acknowledges and honors this concept of polarity. It is the tenet of my spirituality and is beautifully illustrated in the belief of The Goddess and God. They are the prime example of balance that I strive to maintain. Now just because I strive for balance that I ignore the negative (dark) feelings or energies that may invade my life, it means that I don’t continuously indulge them. I don’t believe that Indulgence encourages balance. To feel and express my emotions – all of them – isn’t a “bad” thing however, what I do with the emotions that is what matters most.

Remember you are a manifestation of unconditional love and a co-creator. You, hand in hand with The Goddess and God, and all the energies (both light and dark) of the Unseen realm create your reality, your life experience. The question for you is this …

Will you dare to do so “in love and light”?

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March Correspondences

March, 2012

The Storm Moon

Spring sowing

The name March came from the God Mars, for this month was sacred to him.
Mars is much like the other God’s – Ares’s (Greek), Tiu or Tiwaz (Central Europe), Teutates (celts), and Tyr (Norse).

Astrological Signs: Pisces, February 19 – March 20, Aries, March 21 – April 20

Birthstones: Aquamarine

Nature Spirits: Mer-people, Air and Water beings who are
connected with spring rains and storms.

Animals: Cougar, hedgehog, boar

Birds: Sea crow, sea eagle

Trees: Alder, dogwood

Flowers: Jonquil, daffodil, violet

Herbs: Broom, High John Root, yellow dock, wood betony, Irish moss

Scents: Honeysuckel, apple blossom

Colors: Pale green, red-violet

Stones: Aquamarine, bloodstone

God/dess: Black Isis, the Morrigan, Hectate, Cybele, Astarte, Athene
Minerva, artemis, Luna.

Powers: Energy breaks into open, growing, prospering, exploring.
New beginnings, balance of light and dark, breaking illusions. Seeing the truth in your life no matter how it may hurt.
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Rayne’s Ritual Way

March, 2012

Ostara Ritual

Lore:

The Spring Equinox is considered the start of spring; flowers begin to blossom and bloom. And color returns to the Earth. Ostara is one of the only two days in the year when day and night are equal. Because of this day of symmetry, balance is one of the many magical themes for this Sabbat. All about potential: the potential for balance above and below, and the potential for growth, renewal and the possibility of new starts.

Incense:

Cinnamon

Rosemary

Copal Resin

Mullein

Benzoin

Thyme

Agrimony

Spearmint

Lemon grass

Myrrh gum resin

Hyssop

Colors:

Pastels

Blues

Pinks

Yellows

Tools:

Salt

Water

Sage

Athame

Purpose:

Clear away the debris and stagnant energy left over from the cold dark months prepare mentally, physically, spiritually, for a fresh start in the spring. Clearing away the new.

Ritual:

Do whatever cleansing you would like (smudging with sage, sweeping with a besom, ringing of bells, infusion of herbal water) Light a bonfire. Set up the altar. Cleanse yourself and your space, and cast your circle, and call the quarters.

Quarter Call:

Raise your hands to the East Watchtower, say, “Creatures of Air, Spirits of the East I summon thee and ask that you guard the circle with the gentleness of a breath, and the fierce winds of a hurricane. Walk to the South, say, “Creatures of Fire, Spirits of the South I summon thee and ask that you protect the circle with the warmth of a candles flame and the scorch of the sun’s rays. Walk to the West, say, “Creatures of Water, Spirits of the West I summon thee and ask that you wash us a new like the ocean’s waves or the soft touch of a summer’s rain. Walk to the North, say, “Creatures of Earth, Spirits of the North I summon thee and ask that you ground us in the never moving spirit of the Great Oak, and the forever adapting land on which we live. Walk to the altar, say, “Blessed Spirit fill our circle with your presence, with your love, with your guidance, watch over us as we give our thanks to the Earth, and as we align ourselves to your energy. Be with us now, So mote it be.

*As you invoke each element light your candle.*

Goddess Invocation:

Great Demeter, Goddess of the fertile Earth, I ask that you join us today, and as we open ourselves to the possibilities that surround us. Blessed Mother fill us with your healing love, with the energy to grow and change.  Welcome, and Blessed Be. Goddess Persephone, Goddess of Transformation I ask you to join us today, Guide us along our path so that we may be born again, that we may let go of our fears and embrace our dreams; that we may rise like a phoenix from the ashes with a fresh start.

Light the Goddess candle.

Suggested Spellwork would include: Releasing magic, Here’s an example.

Gather your incense mix in your palms as you walk around your bonfire. Say:

“Pains of the past be now cleansed from our hearts, away we send.

By the glow of the fire and scorching flame, break the bonds, break our chains.

By the flow of the water and the oceans gaze, lead us through the darkest haze.

By the shift of the air and the heavenly gale on the winds of a dove our grief away sail.

By the strength of the earth and the core of the land we are always changing following the sands.

And by the Spirit, the cherished divine we are forever changing following the sands.”

Throw your incense into the fire.

Thanking the Quarters:

Walk to the North, say, “Spirits of the Earth we thank you for grounding us, stay if you will go if you must in perfect love and perfect trust So mote it be.” Walk to the West, say, “Spirits of the West we thank you for washing our Spirits new stay if you will go if you must in perfect love and perfect trust So mote it be.” Walk to the South, say, “Spirits of the South thank you for protecting us, stay if you will go if you must in perfect love and perfect trust So mote it be.” Walk to the East, say, “Spirits of the East thank you guarding our circle, stay if you will go if you must in perfect love and perfect trust So mote it be.” Walk to the altar, say, Blessed Spirit thank you for opening our hearts to your Divine love, to your guidance, as we change, and grow, may we always look within and see your eternal warmth and light. Stay with us forever.”

Circle Closing:

For this Sabbat imagine the circle’s energy swirling and instead of going back into the Earth imagine it going into your heart, anytime you need guidance you can search within for that divine energy that you cast.

Blessed Be.

It’s always important to remember:

**The confines of ritual are as diverse as the Witch performing within the circle. For this reason it’s important to have an open mind as well as Spirit when learning, planning, constructing, and completing the intentions of a ritual. Tools are the most flexible thing in Magic, and ritual tools are of course no exception. An index finger can serve as a wand, a door knob as an athame. The expanse of the mind is practically limitless when it comes to your tools. Never think that a journal can’t stand as a book of shadows, a drawing as a pentacle. The possibilities are infinite.**

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Rebel Rede

March, 2012

The Benefits of Meditation

With the hectic pace and demands of modern life, many people feel stressed and over-worked. It often feels like there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done. Our stress and tiredness make us unhappy, impatient and frustrated. It can even affect our health. We are often so busy we feel there is no time to stop and meditate! But meditation actually gives you more time by making your mind calmer and more focused. A simple ten or fifteen minute breathing meditation as explained below can help you to overcome your stress and find some inner peace and balance.
Meditation can also help us to understand our own mind. We can learn how to transform our mind from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy. Overcoming negative minds and cultivating constructive thoughts is the purpose of the transforming meditations found in the Buddhist tradition. This is a profound spiritual practice you can enjoy throughout the day, not just while seated in meditation.

The purpose of meditation is to make our mind calm and peaceful. If our mind is peaceful, we will be free from worries and mental discomfort, and so we will experience true happiness; but if our mind is not peaceful, we will find it very difficult to be happy, even if we are living in the very best conditions. If we train in meditation, our mind will gradually become more and more peaceful, and we will experience a purer and purer form of happiness. Eventually, we will be able to stay happy all the time, even in the most difficult circumstances.

Usually we find it difficult to control our mind. It seems as if our mind is like a balloon in the wind – blown here and there by external circumstances. If things go well, our mind is happy, but if they go badly, it immediately becomes unhappy. For example, if we get what we want, such as a new possession or a new partner, we become excited and cling to them tightly. However, since we cannot have everything we want, and since we will inevitably be separated from the friends and possessions we currently enjoy, this mental stickiness, or attachment, serves only to cause us pain. On the other hand, if we do not get what we want, or if we lose something that we like, we become despondent or irritated. For example, if we are forced to work with a colleague whom we dislike, we will probably become irritated and feel aggrieved, with the result that we will be unable to work with him or her efficiently and our time at work will become stressful and unrewarding.

Such fluctuations of mood arise because we are too closely involved in the external situation. We are like a child making a sandcastle who is excited when it is first made, but who becomes upset when it is destroyed by the incoming tide. By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind regardless of the external circumstances. Gradually we develop mental equilibrium, a balanced mind that is happy all the time, rather than an unbalanced mind that oscillates between the extremes of excitement and despondency.
If we train in meditation systematically, eventually we will be able to eradicate from our mind the delusions that are the causes of all our problems and suffering. In this way, we will come to experience a permanent inner peace, known as “liberation” or “nirvana”. Then, day and night in life after life, we will experience only peace and happiness.

Generally, the purpose of breathing meditation is to calm the mind and develop inner peace. We can use breathing meditations alone or as a preliminary practice to reduce our distractions.

A Simple Breathing Meditation

The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid. This can be accomplished by practicing a simple breathing meditation. We choose a quiet place to meditate and sit in a comfortable position. We can sit in the traditional cross-legged posture or in any other position that is comfortable. If we wish, we can sit in a chair. The most important thing is to keep our back straight to prevent our mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy.

The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid.

We sit with our eyes partially closed and turn our attention to our breathing. We breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control our breath, and we try to become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. This sensation is our object of meditation. We should try to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.

At first, our mind will be very busy, and we might even feel that the meditation is making our mind busier; but in reality we are just becoming more aware of how busy our mind actually is. There will be a great temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, but we should resist this and remain focused single-pointedly on the sensation of the breath. If we discover that our mind has wandered and is following our thoughts, we should immediately return it to the breath. We should repeat this as many times as necessary until the mind settles on the breath.

Benefits of Meditation

If we practice patiently in this way, gradually our distracting thoughts will subside and we will experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Our mind will feel lucid and spacious and we will feel refreshed. When the sea is rough, sediment is churned up and the water becomes murky, but when the wind dies down the mud gradually settles and the water becomes clear. In a similar way, when the otherwise incessant flow of our distracting thoughts is calmed through concentrating on the breath, our mind becomes unusually lucid and clear. We should stay with this state of mental calm for a while.
Even though breathing meditation is only a preliminary stage of meditation, it can be quite powerful. We can see from this practice that it is possible to experience inner peace and contentment just by controlling the mind, without having to depend at all upon external conditions.

So much of the stress and tension we normally experience comes from our mind

When the turbulence of distracting thoughts subsides and our mind becomes still, a deep happiness and contentment naturally arises from within. This feeling of contentment and well-being helps us to cope with the busyness and difficulties of daily life. So much of the stress and tension we normally experience comes from our mind, and many of the problems we experience, including ill health, are caused or aggravated by this stress. Just by doing breathing meditation for ten or fifteen minutes each day, we will be able to reduce this stress. We will experience a calm, spacious feeling in the mind, and many of our usual problems will fall away. Difficult situations will become easier to deal with, we will naturally feel warm and well disposed towards other people, and our relationships with others will gradually improve.

So as you can see even a short ten or fifteen minutes can greatly improve our health and well being, will you try it?

Bright Blessings

Pixie

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Witches’ Paradigms: Part One

March, 2012

Whereas non-pagans are guided by sacred books, pagans are guided by nature.  Nature guides us through the course of the seasons.  We take our moods, our goals and the way we pursue them, from the seasonal round, which is called ‘The Wheel of the Year’.

Witches of our Celtic tradition follow three interlocking paradigms throughout the year.  The course of the Sun throughout the year is plotted by the Wheel of the Year.  The course of the lunar month is plotted by the phases of the Moon and their meaning.  And the sequence of lunar months through the solar year is plotted by the Ogham Tree Calendar and the Rune of Amergin, as reconstructed by the poet Robert Graves in his seminal work The White Goddess.

It should be emphasized at the start that none of what follows is obligatory for witches.  If you follow the Rede and are careful of the energy you put out, bearing in mind the Law of Threefold Return, you can call yourself a witch.  The paradigms offered below are tools.  Witchcraft is a craft, and witches make use of ideas as tools.  More specifically, skills are tools, and lore is building material, like wood or stone or metal.   What is important is what you build with them, and that is your personal Craft.  Select your tools and materials among the many available, and feel free to make a re-selection.  Eventually you will have a house to live in that feels just right.

The Wheel of the Year:

When we follow the Wheel of the Year, we invite nature spirits to contact us and become involved in our personal lives.

The Wheel of the Year is depicted as a circle divided, like the compass, into eight equal segments by radii which contact the circumference at the points of the four cardinal directions plus the directions in between.  The eight witches’ sabbats are plotted on these points.  They are as follows:

1. Yule – the Winter Solstice.  Generally falls between 20 and 23 December. The old Oak King, as his sacred bird robin redbreast, fights and kills the Holly King in his sacred bird-form, the gold crest wren, and hangs the latter from the holly bush. The Oak King is then reborn as the Child of Promise.  He rules Middle-Earth until Imbolc, when the Maiden returns to rule with him.

2. Imbolc – The Maiden returns.  The original pagan date was 1 February.  The christian church moved it to 2 February.  Many covens celebrate it on the 2nd because they are unaware of this.  The Maiden may meet with the young Oak King and they may mate at this time.  If they do, we shall have an early Spring.

3. Ostara – the Spring Equinox. Generally falls between 20 and 23 March.  The Maiden and the Oak King are mated and Spring begins in earnest. Witches send out their wishes for the year on a great solar tide.

4. Beltane – May 1st. The preceding evening is called Walpurgis Night.  The Maiden becomes the Mother. The handfasting of the Mother and the Oak King, symbolized by the Maypole. Celts regarded this date as the beginning of Summer.

5. Litha – the Summer Solstice.  Generally falls between 20 and 23 June.  The union of the Mother and the Oak King reaches the acme of power.  Then the Holly King appears.  He is like the Oak King’s dark twin, his shadow, as the Jungians would say.  He fights the Oak King for the favor of the Lady and wins.  He kills the Oak King and imprisons his spirit in the sacred oak, which is cognate with the World Pillar.

6. Lammas or Lughnasadh – August 1st. Lammas, meaning ‘loaf mass,’ is the later christian name, but many witches like to focus on baking sacred bread on this eve (July 31st), so the name Lammas is often used.  The Mother becomes the Crone.

7. Mabon or Modron – the Autumn Equinox, falling between September 20 and 23.  Initiate witches travel in spirit to the threshold of the Summerlands and there invite their ancestors and dead friends to visit them in Middle-Earth during the month of October.

8. Samhain – October 31st.  The culmination of the series of ‘dumb suppers’ held with visiting ancestors.  Now the gates of the Summerlands open wide, and Herne the Hunter (the Underworld aspect of the Holly King) leads forth the Wild Hunt, comprising human and non-human spirits.  The Wild Hunt will range the skies from Samhain to the following Imbolc.  Souls of those who have died during the year but failed to find the path to the Summerlands are gathered up at Samhain and shown the way. The Crone goes to the Summerlands to rest for the Winter. The ageing Holly King, soon to become the Lord of Misrule for the December festivities, takes over.

In general, Sabbats are celebrated on the evening before their date.  Exceptions are at the solstices and at Beltane and Samhain.  The solstices fall on the day of shortest and longest sunlight and should be celebrated on those actual days.  Beltane is celebrated both on the preceding evening as Walpurgis Night, and on the following day when the dance around the Maypole and other festivities take place.  Samhain, Hallowe’en, is celebrated on the evening of its date, October 31st.  Its name means ‘Summer’s end’. The following day is a christian implantation and is ignored by witches.

The Lady and Lord together illustrate dynamic balance.  The Lord, the god Cernunnos, is both the Oak and Holly King.  They represent opposite tendencies of his dual nature.  The Oak King is of Middle-Earth and rejoices in the outer world and its pleasures.  The Holly King is an Underworld deity who promotes inner, spiritual work and journeys down the World Pillar to the Summerlands.  Left to themselves, they would tear the cosmos apart but the Lady holds them together in harmony.  She has three visible aspects: the Maiden, Mother and Crone. (Graves in his witchcraft utopian novel of the future, Watch the Northwind Rise, names these the Maiden, Nymph and Crone.)  Unlike Cernunnos, she can manifest any of these at any time: “She is old or young as she wishes.”  But left to herself, the harmony she creates would be static.  It would be like always eating so many vegetables, or taking so many sips of wine at meals.  The extremes of the Oak and Holly Kings add passion and adventure to the cosmic harmony through their excesses, which the Lady keeps within prudent limits.  This serves as an example to witches, who seek dynamic balance in their lives.  As Lin Yutang once said, pursue moderation moderately.

The word ‘Sabbat’ means ‘restful recreation.’  The word ‘Esbat’ is from Middle French esbattier, and means ‘to frolic.’  Thus the main celebrations of witchcraft are joyous affairs, the farthest thing from the grim oh-so-solemn assemblies of some churches.  Esbats are generally held at the Full Moon.  When an Esbat and a Sabbat fall on the same date, the Sabbat is given precedence.

Ancient Ways and The Wheel of the Year, by Pauline and Dan Campanelli, are recommended guides to the Sabbats.  See also West Country Wicca, by Rhiannon Ryall, as an alternate but related account.

The Wheel and the Elements:

Witches seek a dynamic balance in their lives with humanity, plants, animals, and spirits, both of Middle-Earth and the worlds on The Other Side.  In so doing, they focus on the four ancient elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth.  These correspond roughly to the three states of matter (solid, liquid and gas), plus detectable energy (Fire).  Etheric matter or energy is a fifth element or ‘quintessence,’ that witches cutivate through achieving a good working balance with the other four, and can be understood as referring to energies not yet detectable by current scientific methods.

Each element has a power contained within it which increases through the practice of witchcraft.  Air contains the power to know, Fire the power to will, Water the power to dare, and Earth the power to keep silence.  Ether contains the power to go, that is, to conduct spirit journeys either from waking or dream, up and down the World Pillar.  Travelling to the Summerlands while in the body is an etheric goal of initiates.

While the four powers are cultivated throughout the year, the four quarters of the Wheel of the Year are each associated specially with one of the elements.  The North, from Samhain to Imbolc, is associated with Earth and the power to keep silence, that is, to keep still both mentally and physically, within and without.  It is a time favorable to meditation and quiet home handicrafts.  The East, from Imbolc to Beltane, is associated with Air and the power to know, that is, the power of understanding.  The South, from Beltane to Lammas or Lughnasadh, is associated with Fire and the power to will.  And the West, from Lammas or Lughnasadh to Samhain, is associated with water and the power to dare.  This means the power to dare to go beyond one’s limits, to reach out for new life, whether through a change of consciousness or of life circumstances.

The major Sabbats occur on the cusps between one elemental quarter and the next, because the transitions from one element to another are of primary importance.  Thus, the minor physical Sabbats occupy the cardinal points of the Wheel, while the major spiritual Sabbats are on the points in between.

Imbolc, occurring on the cusp between the power of silence and the power to know, is a time of silent intuition, when images and feelings from the dream-soul (who corresponds in some ways to the Holly King) begin to stir, like lambs in the bellies of ewes at this time of year.

Beltane, occurring on the cusp between the power of knowledge and the power of will, stands for the union not only of heaven and earth, but of theory and practice.  Witches are nothing if not practical.  The price of knowledge gained in the East is putting it into practice in one’s life in the South, cultivating the will.

Lammas, occurring on the cusp between the power of will and the power of daring, is the time when the witch applies will power to the uncanny realms of spell-casting and change of consciousness, as well as to adventures that lead to revolutionary life-changes.

Samhain, occurring on the cusp between daring and silence, is when acquired skills are allowed to sink down into the unconscious mind, there to incubate and give rise to new life.  A musician will put away sheet music and improvise quietly on his or her instrument.  The cast spell will be ‘earthed’ and put out of mind.  Problems will be set aside for the unconscious to solve.  Spontaneity will replace methods and rules, and one will be ready to join the celebrations of Yule and Saturnalia.

The power to go is cultivated through lucid dreaming, knowing one is asleep and dreaming while it is happening, and also from a peculiar state of heightened awareness while awake called lucid waking.  A few people have the knack to cultivate this power up front, but most of us need to approach it gradually, through the balanced development of the other four powers, by following witches’ paradigms and conducting sacred rituals.

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Manifesting the Crystal Tower

March, 2012

Every man and every woman is a Crystal Tower according to Consilium XVIII. You will find the that

The Crystal Tower is a reconstruction of find the Higher Self if you read the Consilium Babel in the

Consilium Bereshith; it allows us to reclaim the Tower of Babel and reconstruct it in unity. The

perspective of the Crystal Tower is that in the astral plane, there really is a Crystal Tower in the Astral

Plane. The foot of this tower is at the element of the earth in the primordial beginning, before the

creation. The fulfillment of realizing your astral world and manifesting the beautiful Crystal Tower is

one key to living a better life. When you choose to create yourself as that tower then you live by your

True Will at that very moment and chose the path of the awareness, conscious mind, and the Will. I

have a tendency to believe the Crystal Tower chooses you to create itself. I have previous experiences

where the tower chose me.

You can create this tower in the most simple fashions of life. One of the major steps to create the tower

is in the three step method mentioned in the paragraph above, also the preferred method. The three step

method of awareness, taking control of your conscious mind, and True Will are that equivalent to the

proper forces of the Great Triad described in the invocation written in Consilium XVIII. If you

meditate daily, reflect at the end of your day, work to fix your character flaws, and see yourself as the

Crystal Tower then your journey has begun.

There are many different kinds of studies that can be accomplished through hard work and practice in

the discipline of the mind taught by many oriental schools. I advise the Crystallite to take the training

of the mind first before working in any metaphysics that dives deep in the rabbit hole. One of the basic

studies that requires the an intense study of Self is the art of astral projection. It is one of the primal

methods to understanding the Self in all respect, only due to the fact it is a straight path to the Inner

Self. I advise the student to work on themselves before attempting astral Travel. The search of the Self

is the primary key to build yourself like the Crystal Tower. In the near future there will be recorded

exercises for all the Crystallites to search their Inner-Self through a meditation that will be free

download. There is also a huge paper underway to underline the basic foundation of the forces of

Phoebus Apollo, Aphrodite, and Pallas Athena to unleash the Crystal Tower in you. Be the King, the Queen, and the Magician.

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Musings From the Mossy Trail

March, 2012

The Norse Goddess Idun


The once harsh winter winds transform to gentle breezes. Daffodils, Crocus and Tulips push through the newly thawed earth, barren trees begin to bud, animals are birthing their young, and the spring peepers serenade us with their throaty song. To this harmonious wonder we honor Idun.

Idun, “She who renews”, is known as the goddess of spring, eternal youth, health and life.  It is said that she had no birth and is destined to never know death. At times she is known as a fair maiden, soft and delicate, and at others, sturdy and hard working. She is charged with tending the sacred orchard from which all fruits stem, blessing health and longevity for all who partake.

Idun’s constant care of the land and trees reminds us that working directly with the earth tends our bodies, our minds and our souls. Together with her beloved Bragi, god of poetry, they bring peace, health and abundance to our lives, filling our days with harmony and meaning.

But it is not only humans that depend on Idun’s blessings, for not all Norse gods and goddesses are immortal and they too require this special Goddess’s care. For them she reserves a never ending supply of golden apples, which she carries within her casket made of Ash wood. These not only ensure beauty and eternal youthfulness, but deter all injury and disease .

“Bright Iduna, Maid immortal!
Standing at Valhalla’s portal,
In her casket has rich store
Of rare apples, gilded o’er;
Those rare apples, not of Earth,
Ageing Æsir give fresh birth.”
-Valhalla: The Myths of Norseland

(1878, by Julia Clinton Jones)

You can honor Idun by tending orchards, gardens or potted plants, appreciating the beauty of early spring blooms, enjoying all fruits and garden vegetables, showing respect to land spirits, enjoying the tart delicacies of apple pies and ciders, and losing yourself in the words of a beautiful poem.

Watch closely those women who walk the stands of Farmer’s Markets, praise and twinkling in their eyes; for they might be Idun in a mortal disguise here to bring her blessings to all who partake of her delicious fruits!

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InterWeavings

March, 2012

A Place for Order

With the vernal equinox occurring this month I feel a natural sense of balance. I have a need to bring my house, body and spiritual life into order so as to meet the growing energy of the turn of the year.

How does order affect our daily life as a person? How does order affect our life as a Pagan?  How does it affect our intent?

Putting our life in order.

There are bookshelves full of how-to books on creating order out of chaos in our closets, kitchens, and garages; books that show us how to bring order to our finances and health. There are many that try to teach us how to bring order to our thoughts and inner world. Books we usually buy, glance at once or twice, and put aside because it all seems too big a project to handle right now. And if we hear the words “baby steps” one more time we’ll scream!

But we are in the month of March and that traditionally means Spring Cleaning. How awful that sounds! But wait. What if we make spring-cleaning a ritual in itself? A mindful, one day at a time, ritual that brings blessings to every room of our home.

Energy is stirred up and moved and every corner awakens. Deities are called to fill the now cleaned spaces.   If we choose one room to focus on at a time, it does not feel overwhelming. And remembering January’s virtue of Simplicity and February’s virtue of Love, we can remove surface clutter, wipe with a damp cloth infuse with an oil of our choosing, sweep or vacuum followed by breathing blessings into the space. Simplicity, Love and now Order fill our home.

Putting our Pagan “house” in order.

My guess is that everyone has their own way of bringing order to   their spiritual life. Perhaps there is no “one size fits all” formula.

I know I am on autopilot when it comes to the order in which a ritual is planned. Order, which brings me peace in knowing I have not forgotten anything. And having my ritual tools in one place and lovingly cleaned and attended to are important. I do think we need to   clean our own “house” of assumptions yearly as well.

Autopilot can let a lot of clutter into not only our homes but also   our thoughts and beliefs. Releasing those things that no longer serve us not only creates space for more good in our life, but also allows us to focus on those things that really matter. Anger, resentment, hurt need to be looked at and lovingly let go.

Forgive does not mean forget.

Harm None refers to ourselves as well as others.

Putting our priorities in order.

For me, this is where real living begins.

Our time, talent and treasure need to be managed in order to fully bless. It is overwhelming to list all of the parts of my self as well as my life that need prioritizing. I’m guessing that is true of everyone.

Let us think about what really is sacred to our life. I watch people interviewed after natural disasters where everything they owned as well as their job was destroyed. With each and every one, they say having their loved ones safe is all that matters.

Number one priority – the people I love and who love me.

Number two priority – showing those people I care.

For me, there is a lot of work involved with just those two priorities. For some of them it involves a loving home and nurturing food and all the financial resources to make that happen. For others it involves encouragement and ideas. And both require spiritual support.

When swept, cleaned, cleared and organized, our inner as well as outer lives can rest in the knowledge that all is well. The coming energy of spring and summer has a place to fill. We are ready.

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Myths and Legends: Journeys Through Time

March, 2012

If you’re ever in Russia, you might want to be a careful about going into the woods. Even for a

little bit. Not only are there animals and weather conditions you would probably not want to

deal with…as well as the chance of getting lost, but there’s also Baba Yaga. Who is Baba Yaga?

Well..she’s a witch. A witch of Russian folklore actually. She’s not your typical witch fairy tale

witch in that she flies on a broom and performs magic, spells and what else. Instead, Baba

Yaga has two things.  A moving, living house of which the feet are chicken legs, and a mortar

and pestle which she mainly uses for travel. The stories vary on what her house looks like.

Some say it has windows and a door, some say only a door, while other say no windows, no

door, only a chimney though which she enters and exits. All stories agree though that the

house is a log cabin that either moves around on chicken legs, is surrounded by a fence made

out of the bones of her victims (often children) or both. Oh, it would seem that I forgot to

mention that Baba Yaga was a cannibal. She was particularly fond of children and a good

number of tales involve her seeking out children to eat. Whether or not she ever actually

found any, depends on the story. Mostly she was used to teach a lesson of why a child should

always behave. In a way you could say she was the Russian version of the Boogey Man. Quite

often she fulfilled the role of a donor. In essence, she would help a hero or heroine with their

journey but only if they did something for her in return…and quite often it was unpleasant.

Sometimes she was willing to help, sometimes she wasn’t. Like all beings of mythical nature,

she could be tricked. Especially if one knew the phrase that got her house to show the front

door. If a person uttered the phrase ”Turn your back to the forest, and your front to me.” then

the house would turn around revealing it’s door to whomever spoke the phrase. In some

stories Baba Yaga is accompanied by three riders. One rider dressed completely in

white;white rider, white horse, white outfit. This rider represented Day. A second rider

dressed completely in red; red rider, red horse, red outfit. This rider was the sun and a third

rider who was dressed completely in black; black rider, black horse and black outfit. This rider

was Night. Baba Yaga also has servants…but they’re invisible and inquiring about them would

mostly likely get a person killed. Inquiring about the riders is alright though.   Baba Yaga’s

main mode of transportation is a mortar and pestle. She travels in the mortar at great speeds,

using  the pestle as an oar to direct her. She also sweeps away her tracks with a broom made

of silver birch, so she’s not exactly easy to find. People do come across her though. If they’re

kind, good of heart and pure of spirit…she’s more likely to help. If they’re rude, mean and

just generally unlikeable…she’s more likely to eat them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baba_Yaga

http://www.oldrussia.net/baba.html

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/b/baba_yaga.html

http://www.pantheon.org/areas/featured/witchcraft/chapter-8.html

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