November, 2013

Merry Meet

November, 2013

Welcome to the November Issue of PaganPages.  We have a wonderful Fall issue for you this month, packed with all the information you could need!! 

We are currently looking for someone to review websites, podcasts, apps, and pagan shops.  If you are interested email us at [email protected]

Watch for the reopening of our Etsy coming soon!

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Signposts

November, 2013

Pagan Education
Learning a Pagan path is a daunting task.  Because everyone’s path is a little different, there isn’t a set curriculum to act as a guide along the way.  Most of us learn about Paganism on our own by reading books and finding information online.  Although we also learn from meeting others, most people I meet seem to apply a self-study approach.
Self-study has many advantages over a set of courses and guides.  It can provide for a more personal exploration of our path and allows us to investigate other areas when we’re interested.  It allows us to take the time we need – most of us are busy with work and family and aren’t able to dedicate as much time as we would like to our studies.  So, for many Pagans, this is an ideal way to learn.
I enjoy self-study but realize there may be things I’m missing – I can’t study what I don’t know about.  It’s also hard to find intermediate or advanced information either in books or online.  While there are countless “Wicca 101” books, there aren’t too many that take the student to the next level.  For many people, the next level is to move to “living” their path – taking what they’ve learned and applying it to their practice.
There are also those that prefer a more “structured” learning experience to either pick up where their beginner’s self-study ended or to supplement and reinforce their knowledge from a hopefully experienced teacher.  Some prefer books with detailed lesson plans while others prefer classrooms – online or  in person.
I’m somewhere in the middle.  I find it rewarding to practice what I’ve learned but I am always eager to learn more.

By meeting and talking with other Pagans I’ve found several places to learn more.  Some are online, some are in person, and some are books with study guides and lesson plans.
One of the first places I found online was an interesting blend of online learning and virtual classrooms.  The Woolston-Steen Theological Seminary (http://wiccanseminary.edu/) is an online Wiccan school with classes held in SecondLife, an online virtual environment.  They not only host virtual classes, but also virtual gatherings anyone can attend.  It’s an interesting way to take classes and meet and get to know other Pagans online.
My local Pagan group introduced me to The Magical Circle School (http://mistresskalpanasrealm.com/) – another online school.  The Magical Circle School is Pagan-generic, or not only Wiccan.  It offers free classes to students who complete an introductory “Entrance Exam”, a set of admission requirements designed to help prospective students learn about the school and how the classes work.

Some of the folks in my Pagan group created study group that recently picked a book to read together – “Towards the Wiccan Circle” by Sorita D’EsteWe plan to meet once a month to go over the lessons and exercises for a chapter in the book.  Reading a book and going through the exercises alone is very different than discussing them with others.  Not only do you learn more about what the book might be teaching you, you also learn more about each other.
Two Pagan shops in my area also offer in-person classes.  The classes are generally once a week, falling along traditional school semester boundaries.  The classes are generally introductory in nature but more advanced classes are also offered at different times.

For many Pagans, the Wicca 101-type books are where the book education ends and the active practice begins.  Learning comes from doing what they know and carefully observing how it impacts their life, adapting as necessary.  After all, what works for one Pagan may not work for another and reading the “next book” or taking a class isn’t for everyone.

For others, having an experienced teacher or mentor can provide structure and motivation to keep them moving along their path.  But, as in any other class, how they are taught is based on the instructors’ own background and experiences, and those looking for instruction may need to try different teachers until they find one that resonates with them.
I’m at a place on my path where I’m looking for that next step.  The signpost for me is to remember that while I continue my Pagan education I need to keep practicing what I know – to keep making this path my own while keeping the spark of learning alive.

Have you taken Pagan classes?  How did you learn your path or craft?  How have you expanded your knowledge?

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November Correspondences

November, 2013

The name is derived from Novem, the Latin word for nine, as November was the ninth month in Rome’s oldest calendar.

THE SNOW MOON
The ninth month in the old roman calandar. In Celtic traditions
it is the beginning of the new year, considered a month of beginnings
and endings.

Astrological Signs: Scorpio, Sagittarius.

Nature Spirits: Banshees and other beings who carry messages between worlds.

Herbs: Ginger, hops, wormwood, hussop, patchouli, mugwort, nutmeg, star anise.

Colors: Black, white, purple.

Flowers: White lily, dahlia, chrysanthemum.

Scents Rosemary, dragons blood, lilac, pine, wisteria.

Stones: Topaz, obsidian, onyx, Apache tear.

Trees: Pine, cypress, yew, elder.

Animals: Bat, wolf, sow, dog, snake.

Birds: Owls, raven, falcon.

Deities: Astarte, Calleach, Cerridwen, Circe, Cybele, Freyja, Hathor, Hel, Holda, Horned God, Kali, Maman, Nepthys, Sekhmet

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Connecting with Nature

November, 2013

Falling in Love with Autumn

 

We are well into autumn and many of us will be preparing for the winter months soon. I find this time of year festive and pretty with the leaves changing colours. With the cooler temperatures I find I stay indoors more often than I am outside. To help embrace the change in season and get outside, here are some ideas:

 

Go for a hike and bring your camera to capture all the beautiful colours.

 

Go apple picking and bake something yummy like apple pie or apple coffee cake muffins!

 

 

Clean up the garden or yard outside. Put away outdoor furniture, compost leaves, and plant colder weather flowers such as pansies. The pansies help add colour and life once all the leaves have fallen.

 

Bring some of the outdoors inside by making a fall centre piece or other decoration.

 

 

Enjoy a pumpkin latte or pumpkin chai tea.

 

Put up a bird feeder to attract birds to your yard and to help them prepare for winter. Just be careful you don’t attract bears!

 

 

Go to the farmer’s market and shop for food that’s in season.

 

Start shopping for the holidays.

 

 

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Art & Mystery

November, 2013

Welcome to the Land of Woo-Woo

or Packing Prayers into your Painting

 

I have always had the hardest time explaining my process and my work to people who see my work in the secular gallery in which I exhibit. There is so much spiritual and magical context packed into each piece that starting from square one can overwhelm folks who have just a passing curiosity at the opening reception.

 

Sometimes I ask them if they want the short version or the”woo-woo” version.

 

The short version is easy: My work is an integral part of my spiritual practice. Each piece is a tangible product of my working with an aspect of the Divine. For example, this is a shrine for Dionysus; he is the Greek god of wine and ecstasy.

 

The “woo-woo” version starts off much the same, perhaps peppered with a few more specifics about the spirit for whom the work is dedicated. If the gallery visitor hasn’t adopted the deer-in-the-headlight look, then I may go more into my process.

 

If you are reading this, I’m going to assume for a few minutes that you has asked for the “woo-woo” version and talk about my process, which I learned and adapted from Nikki Shannon of http://www.energypainter.com.

 

My artwork is created in sacred space. I have an altar to Eleggua and another to the Dark Mother in my studio. I light tea lights and incense before starting my work sessions. I have also spray painted personal sigils on the walls that represent me and my work. I choose music that feels right to the spirits I’m working with.

 

I start off most of my canvases with a prayer, invocation, or intention written right on the canvas in colored Sharpie or metallic paint pens. I may also draw sigils and symbols to bring in the energy of the intention to the canvas. I recommend doing some research into Chaos magic and/or runes to help with creating sigils.

 

The intent for this piece is establishing a healthy and loving relationship with my physical body. But beyond a personal intent, this piece is dedicated to the energy of loving one’s body as it is and accepting it as a physical temple of the Divine.

 

 

The first layer of paint is the core essence of the intent laid on in thick paint and just a few colors. Here, bold pinks, reds, and oranges are put down with a palette knife in a simplified vulva shape.

 

 

The following layers are built up one on top of the other to pack as much energy and meaning as needed into the canvas. Since I was dealing with the physical body I wanted to create a layer for the four elements of air, fire, water, and earth, and then connect those with the spiritual aspect of the starry heavens. I used the colors and sigils used in my tradition.

 

 

 

The final layer is the image that people will see. For this piece, I used the Goddess of Willendorf, an image of the great mother that I have always had issues with. I didn’t choose this image specifically — it was part of a class assignment. But I took the image and confronted my body issues with it head on. I wanted that fat body writ large and “in your face,” not ashamed, just big and bold and taking up the whole [email protected]&$ing canvas. All the things I wanted to hide about my body, there was no hiding in this canvas. This Goddess COMMANDED the whole galaxy, and thus the whole canvas.

 

I first drew her in chalk before committing the shapes in gold metallic paint.

 

 

Then, I needed to give her some substance, some dimensionality. Colors of the earth — red ochre, burnt umber, raw umber, burnt sienna — brought it back from the cosmos into the physical.

 

 

When the image is complete, I use gloss varnish to seal and protect the painting and to make the colors really pop.

 

Throughout the process, I’m talking to the spirit coming through the canvas. I’m dancing for the spirit. I’m breathing on the canvas. I’m praying over the canvas. Sometimes I will anoint the canvas with oils or I’ll smudge it with incense or sage. If the image is of a particular spirit or deity, then I am developing a relationship with that being and creating a portal through which they can for them to communicate with this world. Throughout, I am listening to and guided by the spirit. Painting for me is about placing myself in the hands of Mystery and trusting that, through the journey, we will create something powerful together.

 

I invite you to experiment with bringing your spirituality to your art process and welcoming your gods, goddesses, spirits, and ancestors to create with you.

 

Blessings from a full and open heart

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A Year and a Day

November, 2013

Witches in Media

 

Witches are popular characters in books, movies and TV shows.  They have been portrayed in a variety of ways, from the wicked cackling old hag, to the young and sassy neophyte first discovering her powers.  A boom in witch-themed TV and movies in the 90s, such as The Craft and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, spawned the term ‘Generation Hex’, describing the new generation of youth exposed to esoteric and occult-themed media.  This continued with the Harry Potter series, which became immensely popular and had a huge cultural impact.

 

The fact that most of the ‘witches’ portrayed in media have very little in common with real-life witches and Wiccans, and whether or not popularizing witches in this way is healthy and acceptable, is a topic for another post.  However, for entertainment sake, I enjoy watching occult-themed TV shows and movies, and think they have led to the creation of some good strong female lead characters.  Below is a list of some of the most popular ‘witches’ from TV and movies.  Which one is your favourite?

 

The Wizard of Oz (1939) – After Dorothy’s falling house kills the Wicked Witch of the East, Glinda the Good Witch protects Dorothy from her sister, the Wicked Witch of the West, from gaining her powerful Ruby Slippers.

 

I Married a Witch (1942) – The spirit of Jennifer, a witch from colonial Salem, comes back to ruin her enemy, however a love potion backfires and Jennifer’s loyalty is tested.

 

Bell, Book and Candle (1958) – Spiteful Gillian Holroyd places a spell on her neighbour Shep to stop him from marrying an old enemy, however she finds she must choose between her love and her powers.

 

Bewitched (1964) – Samantha falls in love with mortal Darrin Price and attempts to play housewife in the suburbs.  Chaos ensues as Samantha’s meddlesome mother Endora, pesky Uncle arthur and others make life difficult for the couple.

 

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) – Eglantine Price is an apprentice witch who reluctantly takes on three orphans during the Second World War.  Along with her cat, Cosmic Creepers, she attempts to use her witchcraft to assist in the war effort.

 

The Witches of Eastwick (1987) – Friends Alex, Jane, and Sukie meet the enigmatic Daryl Van Horne in their small town of Eastwick.  Each woman is easily seduced, however discover their own powers when they attempt to overthrow his control.

 

Hocus Pocus (1993) – The Sanderson Sisters, hung in colonial Salem, are resurrected by a group of children on Halloween night.  Wishing to stay in the world of the living, the sisters fight the children for their life essence.

 

The Craft (1996) – Troubled teen Sarah moves to LA and meets rumoured witches Bonnie, Nancy and Rochelle.  She joins the group but quickly discovers the dangers with playing with their new-found power.

 

Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996) – Sabrina, who lives with her aunts Hilda and Zelda and their cat Salem, discovers she’s a half-witch on her 16th birthday.  The aunts attempt to teach Sabrina the ways of magic as she tries to survive the tribulations of high school.

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) – Willow Rosenberg, a shy bookworm, develops her magical abilities through studying witchcraft.  She assists her friend Buffy battle supernatural enemies with her magical powers, later fighting her own darkness within.

 

Practical Magic (1998) – Sally and Gillan Owens are sisters raised by their eccentric aunts Frances and Jet.  The sisters try to navigate life while avoiding the dreaded ‘Owen curse’, which leads to the men they love die an untimely death.

 

Charmed (1998) – Sisters Prue, Piper, and Phoebe (the Charmed Ones) discover that they are powerful witches destined to save mankind from supernatural enemies.  They read the inscription on their ancestral Book of Shadows, which unlocks each of their unique powers.

 

Harry Potter (2001) – One of the brightest witches of her time, Hermione Granger joins Harry Potter and Ron Weasley at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Although seemingly bookish and arrogant, her incredible talents help Harry and Ron escape from many a precarious situation.

 

True Blood (2011) – Season 4 centers on Marnie, a witch who uses her coven’s powers for necromancy.  Marnie later invokes the powers of a 16th century witch to kill all vampires out of revenge.

 

Vampire Diaries (2009) – Bonnie Bennett discovers she comes from a long line of witches, including her Grandmother, who teaches her the ways of the Craft.

 

The Secret Circle (2011) – After the death of her mother, Cassie returns to Chance Harbour and finds out she’s a hereditary witch.  She joins a secret coven of young witches, and soon finds out that the danger faced by their parent’s coven was still present.

 

Once Upon a Time (2011) – In an act of revenge, the Evil Queen Regina interrupts the marriage of Snow White to Prince Charming, transporting all the fairy tale characters to a small town in Maine, erasing their memories in the process.

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The Mugwort Chronicles

November, 2013

Singing to the Trees

The Three Sisters

Photo by Louise Harmon

Throughout my study of plant medicine I frequently encounter herbalists who describe their ability to receive healing knowledge communicated directly from the plants themselves. As much as I respect intuitive knowledge, I will admit that I was always a bit cynical about such claims. Sure, I have had those moments when I’ve passed by one of my house plants, did an about-face because on some level I felt it was telling me it needed watering-and yes, those feelings were always accurate. Plants are undeniably living creatures, but having the ability to talk to humans…really?

Last year at the Portland Plant Medicine Gathering, one of workshops’ presenters started off her class by having everyone stand up and sing. I do not like workshops that include singing, games and introductions of the participants-I just don’t. I arrive at conferences psyched to hear the wisdom teachers have to impart about their craft and simply find the other stuff all too distracting. However, as our class was the first one of the day, held early while the Portland autumn morning was still dark, gray and misty, I understood our teacher’s need to get some energy going. She had us all rise and led us in “The Cherokee Morning Song”, in an effort to coax the reluctant sun to come out of hiding and warm our day.  We sang the song four times-once for each direction, and one more time to honour Spirit. When we were finished, the energy in the room had noticeably shifted.

I’ve heard “The Cherokee Morning Song” several times before at Pagan gatherings but was not aware of its history or its meaning. Our teacher explained that it is a song traditionally sung to greet the day, a song of gratitude, of honouring connection to all living things and to Great Spirit.

Following the Gathering, I could not get the song we sang that morning out of my head and realized how devoid of spirituality my daily routine had become. My morning ‘ritual’ consisted of hitting the snooze button on the alarm several times before racing out of bed in time to catch the bus to work before it left the transit mall. As I was mulling all this over early one Sunday morning while staring out the patio door, I glimpsed the three magnificent Douglas Firs that tower over our back yard from the adjacent property. They have always reminded me of sisters huddled together in gossipy conversation and over the years I began referring to them as The Three Sisters.

As I watched the fir trees through the glass door, it came to me that what better way to honour Spirit and give thanks for the gift of this new morning than to sing to these beautiful Douglas Fir trees. I crept across the lawn, and standing barefoot under the protective umbrella of The Three Sisters, I softly sang “The Cherokee Morning Song”.

I continued this tradition each Sunday morning. On days when it was too cold or rainy, I would sing to The Sisters while watching them through the window. As time went on, I began to notice a deep connectedness to these magnificent trees as well as to the other plant life in and around our yard. I began sensing the energy of the plants from a distance. If all was well, there was definitely an upbeat feeling in the garden. If something wasn’t quite right, such as the need for water or issues with insects, the mood was quite different, often a feeling of distress.  I became much more aware to ask before harvesting, explaining my need but being respectful to avoid gathering from plants that sent out a strong, clear message this was not the time for them to share. I also made quite certain to say thank you each and every time I gathered something.

As time went on, my song was sung to include the elements and all the creatures of our yard and surrounding area. I began to notice a sense of trust develop which often allowed me to come within fairly close proximity to visiting wildlife. A squirrel who was raiding the hazelnut mulch I put down for bits of hazelnuts allowed me to come within a foot of where he was diligently working and quietly watch. When I was startled by a garter snake (snakes scare me), instead of my usual reaction of shrieking and running off, I pulled myself together. I stooped down and gently told  the snake that it scares me when snakes slither quickly between my feet and asked that she not do this again. The snake lingered for a long time, lifting her head slightly as if to listen, before slowly turning and slithering away from me.

My relationship with The Sisters deepened, too. No longer did I just look at them merely as trees decorating the landscape, but I began to see them as complex beings. Now when I work in the garden, I take time to smile up at them and say hello. The Sisters seem more aware of me, as well. Several times when I needed fir branches for medicine or other projects, I softly asked The Sisters if they would kindly share a few small branches, and the following day I found all that I needed on the ground.

So far, I had only been singing to The Sisters on Sunday mornings, but I started thinking about ways to incorporate my new morning ritual into my work week. However, leaving as early in the morning as I do, often when it is still quite dark, did not provide much opportunity to do this ….until I remembered another group of trees.

Along the block that I walk each morning to my office building is a row of Maple trees. I noticed their rough bark, evidence of city pollution, and a certain indignity they seem to endure by having holiday lights permanently taped to their limbs, but otherwise, I gave these trees little thought. I started to wonder if anyone ever spoke to them, acknowledging their presence or thanking them for the shade, the oxygen or the beauty they provide. I suddenly had my ‘ah-ha’ moment-my weekday ritual would be to sing to these six trees that I pass by every day.

As the weeks went by, I began noticing a very individual connection to each one. The first tree I encounter is large and jovial-I named him Henry. Next, is Monica-very stately, reserved, and from what I sense, she doesn’t really think much of humans. Steve and Larry, the quiet, shy ‘brothers’ are next, followed by the last two trees on the end of the row, The Guardians, who have a large, protective presence. I end my chanting with a prayer, thanking the Universe for the gift of this precious new day, with all of the joys, the challenges, the opportunities and the lessons it may provide.

In the year since beginning my new morning ritual, I have developed a very strong awareness of not only the plant life around me, but a deeper connection to animals, birds and the elements, as well. I truly feel a part of the web of life in the Universe, grounded, connected. And yes, I often do “hear” the plants speaking their wisdom to me, too. Ho.

This information is offered for educational purposes and is not intended to take the place of personalized medical care from a trained healthcare professional. The reader assumes all risk when utilizing the above information.

Copyright© 2013 Louise Harmon

All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

Resources

The Cherokee Morning Song

lyrics:

http://theband.hiof.no/lyrics/cherokee_morning_song.html

 

music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TChazq0npVQ&noredirect=1

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Meditation Moment

November, 2013

Connecting With Departed Loved Ones

The easiest way for our loved ones on the other side to get messages to us is in our dreams.  We can train our minds to be more receptive to their communications with practice, and this meditation, or a variation of it, is an excellent tool for such training.  Try doing this one before sleeping several nights in a row, and make sure you record your dreams!  I am calling the Light Being in this meditation an angel. If you prefer to think of it as your totem or spirit guide, simply substitute your term of preference.

If you record this meditation to listen to with your eyes closed, give yourself a few minutes of air time to communicate with the other side without your voice intruding.  Give a small amount of time if you are knew to guided meditation, and a longer amount of time if you are something of a pro.

If you don’t get much the first time you practice, that’s okay and perfectly normal.  The more you practice, the easier it will get for you.  If you fall asleep during the meditation, that is okay too.  Remember to ask your angel, or spirit guide, to help you remember when you wake up.  Train yourself to think about your dreams first thing when you wake up every time you wake up, and keep a journal and writing utensil by the bed for recording them.

 

Take three slow breaths, pulling as much air into your body as you can hold and expelling as much air as you can push out.

Visualize your aura forming an egg of protective violet energy; a shield only beings of love and light can pass through.

Now, imagine a cord from your navel pushing from your body down into the earth, and tie it around a huge boulder far below the surface.  Know that you are grounded, and that the energy of the Earth will keep your body safe as your mind journeys.

Take three more breaths: push out stress, pull in peace; push out doubts, pull in presence; push out distracting thoughts, pull in Purpose.

Now become aware of a beautiful radiant Light Being waiting patiently for you to See it.  This is your angel, a being of pure unconditional love who will carry you to see your loved ones on wings of light.  Feel its warm arms surrounding you like a fuzzy blanket, keeping you warm, safe, and surrounded by love.  Picture in your mind the loved one you want to see, and feel the angel take you to see that person in the place that feels most right to you.

When you arrive, notice what this place looks like.  Notice it with all of your senses.  Reach out with your senses and find your loved one.  Say what you want to say, ask what you want to ask, and listen with all of you for answers.

When you are ready to return to your body, ask your angel to bring you to it.  Ask your angel to help you communicate with your loved ones in your dreams, and to help you remember those dreams upon waking.

Take three deep breathes.  Become aware of your body, heavy with relaxation.  Stretch every muscle.  Release the cord holding you to earth, and open your eyes.

Write down every detail you can, to keep your messages and to compare future experiences.

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Goddesses of Sorcery

November, 2013

Branwen, White Raven

Goddess of Sorrows

I’m writing this article at Samhain, the time of the year when the veil between the worlds is thinner and Witches remember and honour their beloved dead. How do Witches understand grief and sorrow? One way is by using the story of Branwen as a blueprint for guided meditation. I offer this story and these ideas to you to help you understand and learn from the sorrows in your life.

Once upon a time Branwen, White Raven, sister of the giant Bran the Blessed King of Britain was given to Matholwch the King of Ireland in marriage to make peace between the two nations. During the betrothal feast Efnisien their half-brother arrived and was furious that the marriage was to take place without his approval. In anger he mutilated the horses of Matholwch. War almost broke out then and there but Matholwch was appeased by Bran who gave him a magical cauldron which could bring the dead to life, although they would remain mute following their revival.

Branwen went to live in Ireland but was treated cruelly by her husband Matholwch as punishment for Efnisien’s mutilation of the horses, though not before she gave birth to an heir, Gwern.  Branwen became a kitchen slave and was beaten and starved. During her time in the kitchen she tamed a starling and sent it across the Irish Sea with a message to her brother about her sad life and Bran brought a force from Wales to Ireland to rescue her.

When Bran arrived Matholwch agreed to give the kingdom to Gwern, his son by Branwen, to pacify Bran, but the Irish lords did not like the idea, and many hid themselves in flour bags tied to the pillars of a huge newly built house made to honour Bran. They planned to ambush Bran’s forces. Efnisien, checking out the house prior to the arrival of Bran and his men, guessed what was happening and killed the hidden men. All was not well and at the feast to celebrate Gwern’s becoming King of Ireland, Efnisien in an unprovoked moment of rage threw his nephew Gwern into the fire and kiled him.

War broke out and all the Irish were killed except for five pregnant women while only seven of the Welsh survived to return home with Branwen, taking with them the severed head of Bran. On landing in Wales at Aber Alaw in Anglesey Branwen died of grief that so much destruction had been caused on her account. She is buried in a square grave.

Branwen, the White Raven, is an aspect of the Goddess who can never die, so what is the deeper meaning of this story?  In every belief system in the world we find the figure of the Lady of Sorrows.  She is the Mother who understands our grief, our pain and all our losses.  Examples are Kwan Yin, who will never go to the Otherworld until all the souls of the world are liberated from suffering, Mary weeping at the foot of the cross where her son hangs dying, or Isis searching for the dismembered body of Osiris.  Native American stories tell of Mother Bear who carries our sorrows for us.  We have all experienced grief and pain that changes us and teaches us compassion and hopefully not bitterness!

 

What is the meaning of your sorrow? What are your fears and shadows?  Why have they come to you and what have you learned from them?  Wiccans understand that Efniessin is the God of Chaos.  You may think that he is an evil character but he is the force that stirs the Cauldron, keeping the Universe moving in its cycle of change, of death and re-birth. His existence is crucial or our energy would stagnate and die.

 

One way to work with the images of this story is to create a square altar to represent the grave of Branwen. Take as much time as you need to understand all your sorrows, meditating on them, writing about them and contemplating their lessons. You can ask the starling to help! When you are finished take some small pebbles or stones, smooth and round, and paint an image of your sorrows on them, one sorrow per stone. Place them on the altar and ask Branwen, Goddess of Sorrows to hold them for you until you are ready to heal and let them go. When you are ready you can take the stones and throw them into running water under the Full Moon. The secret of this ritual is then to never talk about these sorrows again, to let them fade away into the water, leaving only their lessons and the compassion and wisdom learned from them. Allow the grief to leave you forever with the blessings and the help of Branwen White Raven.

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Astro Report for November 2013

November, 2013

Samhain – Day of the Dead

Friday, November 1, 20137:42 am EDT – sun rise

Sun in Scorpio at 9 degrees

Samhain (Allhallowmas/Hallowmas)

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

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

Astro Correspondence: 15 degrees Scorpio
Color: secondary colors of greens, oranges, purples and blacks

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

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

 

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

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

The period between Samhain and Yule is also known as the Dark Times. It is a time when you are supposed to delve into your personal issues to resolve them by Yule. Work those Dark Shadows!!

 

 

Retrograde Mercury conjuncts the Sun in Scorpio – 9 degrees

Friday, November 1, 20134:05 pm EDT

Miscommunications thwart every nuance of making your point well-known. When you are not completely understood, the other person thinks you might have a personal, yet secret, agenda, hence the Scorpion energy. All of this misinterpretation goes away soon enough when Mercury goes Direct on the 10th – see below.

 

 

Day Light Savings – 1st Sunday of November:

Change your clocks an hour back from 2 am to 1 am

Sun in Scorpio – 10 degrees

Sunday, November 3, 20132 am EDT (1 am EST)

It’s that time of year when clocks go backward an hour to return to Standard Time that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 enacted. As an Astrology Student and Teacher, I feel it is necessary to remind folks as the time gets closer, so it doesn’t surprise you the following Monday morning when you arrive to work an hour too early. SMILE

 

On Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 2 am, change your clocks to 1 am. You will GAIN an hour of sleep… Share this information among your family and friends.

 

The general rule of Daylight Savings Time is:

Start: Second Sunday in March to change clocks an hour ahead and lose an hour of sleep…

End: First Sunday in November to change clocks an hour back and gain an hour of sleep…

Time: 2 am local time

http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/time-zone/rules/usa.htm

 

Though mentioned by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, the modern idea of daylight savings was first proposed in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson and it was first implemented during the First World War. Many countries have used it at various times since then.

The practice has been both praised and criticized. Adding daylight to evenings benefits retailing, sports and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours, but can cause problems for evening entertainment and other occupations tied to the Sun. Its effect on health and crime is less clear. An earlier goal of DST was to reduce the evening usage of incandescent lighting, formerly a primary use of electricity. Today, modern heating and cooling usage patterns differ greatly and research about how DST currently affects energy use is limited or contradictory.

 

Today, the Sun ends its Journey thru the first decan of Scorpio instilling an underlying feeling of Piscean energy. If you weren’t laid back enough, now you will really feel laid back and less energetic. It’s a time of repose and relaxation any way, so don’t fight the feeling to take a well-deserved break from all the hectic energy of the world.

 

 

Eclipsed New Moon in Scorpio

Sunday, November 3, 20137:50 am EST

The New Moon will begin its trek across the Sun’s face after the sunrise in Scorpio. Although New Moon energies are good for fresh and initiating energy, eclipses tend to put a backward spin on that. The Sun in Scorpio typically allows us to take control of our personal convictions, but an eclipse could thwart those energies, throwing us for a loop. Beware that overt emotions can be masking underlying issues. During the Dark Times, this would be a good time to explore those issues.

 

 

Venus enters Capricorn

Tuesday, November 5, 20133:36 am EST

Hedonistic tendencies tend to be more cautious. Be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. It will be easy to remain flirtatious, but find a way to express yourself with an amount of practicality. Innuendos can be a blessing in disguise!

 

 

Election Day

Sun in Scorpio – 13 degrees

Tuesday, November 5, 201308:00 am EST

To understand how the election will go, we have to examine the 11th House, which rules politics, among other aspects. On this day at the 8th hour EST, the 11th House bears one Planet – retrograde Mercury in Scorpio at 5 degrees.

 

Mercury in Scorpio keeps our communications secretive and we tend to use innuendos a lot. There is more than one meaning for the way you say something and how it is interpreted. When retrograde, you might want to take the proverbial foot out of your mouth and replace it with the other as utterances will be self-understood of your exact intentions. Your Freudian slip is showing!!

 

The 11th House is generally ruled by both Saturn and Uranus. Saturn’s placement in Scorpio poses a mysterious energy and retrograde Uranus in Aries throws away the passion of ambition. Regardless of whom you plan to vote for, be wary of slyness and sneakiness. Make your decisions on knowing facts, not the arbitrary notions.

 

 

Sun conjuncts Saturn in Scorpio – 14 degrees

Wednesday, November 6, 20136:18 am EST

Saturn is a very self-disciplined Planet. When it conjuncts the Sun, it allows that self-discipline to be more personal. Scorpio adds an ounce of secrecy and mystery to the mixture. Sometimes we do things out of habit only to find that it slowly becomes a personal tradition. It is not easy to break yourself from any bad habits, especially when you hide it from others. If you are trying to break an old habit and find yourself hiding from others when you do it, maybe it’s time to reconsider asking for assistance. Nobody died from asking for help.

 

 

Samhain by Planetary Position

Sun in Scorpio – 15 degrees

Thursday, November 7, 20131:02 am EST

The Dark Times have already begun and it’s time to introspect and work those Dark Shadows. If you were to look down upon the Solar System and see where the Earth aligns with the Sun and the seasons, today would mark a halfway point between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice. The wintering season begins as the northern hemisphere continues its Journey into darkness. We will reach this same point on the otherside at Imbolc, when the light noticeably begins to return.

 

 

Jupiter goes retrograde in Cancer – 20 degrees

Friday, November 8, 20132:06 am EST

The Planet of expansion will become reclusive for a while. While generosity is on the up and up at face value, there is another reason for the offer. Avoid playing head games with those, whom you would not trust otherwise. Keep your emotions to yourself – do not share your thoughts that may create fodder for shame later.

 

 

Mercury goes Direct in Scorpio – 2 degrees

Sunday, November 10, 20138:28 pm EST

Ah, finally… Communications can go back to being normal. (Normal? Normal is a setting on my dryer!) Those computer malfunctions or testy quirks will soon subside. Mercury will take a stand among the other Planets as the Healing begins. Family squabbles will make amends and friends will return to their favored positions. As Mercury transits thru Scorpio, maintain your ability to express your hidden desires. Allow yourself to open up and be yourself. You can relax again!

 

 

Veteran’s Day

Mars in Virgo – 15 degrees

Monday, November 11, 201300:01 am EST

Armistice Day is a holiday to remember and honor the Veterans and Warriors. It stems from the Nordic Traditions of Einherjar. What was originally known as Armistice Day, is now called Veterans Day and is held on November 11th as a time to remember the fallen Warriors, who have joined the ranks of Valhalla. It is a time to remember and honor those, who have fought at times of war and lost their lives protecting the land they served. It is common practice to drink a toast in their honor.

 

Mars is the active Planet for Warriors. When in Virgo, this energy can be rather exacting. Although the energy seems to be hectic, there is a certain precision involved.

 

 

Neptune goes Direct in Pisces – 2 degrees

Thursday, November 14, 20133:14 am EST

Anytime a Planet goes direct, there is a sigh of relief. Direct energy puts forth stronger energy from that Planet. However, Neptune is known as the “Pink Fog Machine”, where you get to view the world thru rose-colored glasses. Your world vision may be eschewed. Neptune can be elusive and mystical, but it rules all forms of divination, Mysticism and the Supernatural.

 

Neptune can promote confusion, vagueness and a lack of clarity when Direct. However, it tends to be compassionate, imaginative and sympathetic overall. Beware of fraud, indecision and chaos, though.

 

 

Eclipsed Full Moon in Taurus – 25 degrees

Sunday, November 17, 201310:15 am EST

In astrology, eclipses are seen by some as portents for natural disasters, most notably earthquakes. The pull of the Sun’s gravity in exact opposition to the Moon’s pull can wreak havoc on the Earth. A Lunar Eclipse simply means that the Moon, Earth and Sun are in exact alignment, making such a force of gravity even stronger. Emotionally, it can wreak just as much havoc on people that it physically does on the Earth. Full Moons produce feelings of confrontations, where two sides oppose each other.

 

Having the Moon in Taurus can be normally slow and conservative, but when it’s retrograde, this Eclipsed Full Moon could upset the apple cart. Make sure that you make assertive statements that express exactly what you want within a mundane intention. If you leave anything emotional in the request, you might find yourself with a snorting bull ready to fight.

 

 

Native Lore

The mid-fall Full Moon is called the Frost Moon and is native to northern tribes of the American continent. It is a time when the frost becomes more obvious in the mornings. The grass is crisp and the car windows need scraped. If you can park your vehicle facing the morning sun, it will alleviate some of that frost on the front windshield. Beaver Moons are more of an English term. Beavers are predominantly active during the darker hours of the night and become more active during this time of year to rebuild their lodges and dams for the winter hibernation period. The Full Moon of November helps them see better for those renovations. Beaver hunters would set traps to capture them. Other Full Moon names include the Snow Moon and Hunter’s Moon.

 

 

Sun enters Sagittarius – Happy Birthday, Sagittarius!!

Thursday, November 21, 201310:37 pm EST

Scorpio is a Fixed Water Sign. So, right away we can see that people born under the Sign of Scorpio tend to be determined, conventional, organizing, dogmatic and consistent. They also have characteristics of being compassionate, sensitive, possessive, placid and intuitive. Traditionally, this Sign is called Scorpius. It is ruled by Mars and Pluto.

 

Scorpio people are extremely secretive and mysterious. They are quite precise about performing duties accurately and well. They have no fear of death and can be big risk takers. They have magnetic personalities and are well liked by others. It is difficult to insult a Scorpio, because they are so secure in their own rite. Another fact is that they tend to have deep, secret sexual and emotional desires and fantasies. They can be rather kinky and perverse at times.

 

The Symbol or Glyph of Scorpio is the letter M with a stinger on the end.

 

Scorpio, the Sign, rules the eighth House of the Zodiac. The Sign helps to define the House as well.

 

The body parts ruled by Scorpio are the genitals and reproductive organs. Scorpio people are prone to urinary infections and venereal disease. In addition, if they are emotionally volatile, they often become victims of exhaustion and ill health. They tend to wear themselves out with emotional outbursts.

 

The special color of Scorpio tends to be crimson, burgundy and maroon and the metal most favored is often plutonium.

 

DANGER: Scorpio people can evoke anger in others by their secretiveness and jealousy. Their sharp, stinging tempers can also enrage others to the point of violence.

 

 

Thanksgiving

Retrograde Jupiter in Cancer – 19 degrees

Thursday, Nov 28 – 00:01 am EST

Thanksgiving is a time when family and friends join together for a moment of familiar fellowship. In the US, it is celebrated officially on the fourth Thursday of November as of 1941. The first Thanksgiving in the US is attributed to the 1621 Plymouth feast. The feast has been celebrated as an annual affair since the Civil War. As a holiday, its origins stem from celebrating the harvest of the year.

 

 

The 13th Sign

The 13th Sign has two names; Ophiuchus and/or Serpentarius. It is a combination of a man, Ophiuchus (the snake holder), and the serpent he holds. It is Greek in origin and remains one of the 88 major constellations of the sky. Today the common name is Ophiuchus, but it sometimes is still referred to as Serpentarius.

 

This Sign stretches between Scorpio and Sagittarius, because of the Serpent. Thus, it shares the Qualities and Elements of both, although it tends to favor the Sagittarius characteristics more. The Sun passes thru Ophiuchus from about November 29th/30th until about December 17th.

 

People born under the Sign of Ophiuchus tend to have many intuitions and premonitions. They are seekers of peace and harmony. They will often find themselves in a field of healing, like a medical or science doctor where natural-pathic healing is key. They like natural ways of health and healing.

 

The Symbol or Glyph of Ophiuchus/Serpentarius is a straight line representing the man with a serpentine S entwined representing the snake. OK, so it looks like a simple dollar sign with only one line through the S. There is an arrow point on the head of the S pointing northeast. It resembles the Caduceus with only one snake, not two, entwined.

 

As the 13th Sign, it doesn’t rule any House of the Zodiac.

 

There are no body parts ruled by Ophiuchus, but the mind is. Ophiuchus people become more popular among their friends after their death. They are well remembered and adored from the grave. They tend to be independent people, but are always in the world trying to save it from itself somehow.

 

The special color of Ophiuchus tends to be anything vibrant, especially plaids, and the metal most favored is anything malleable for creativity and structure.

 

DANGER: People born under this Sign are prone to mental breakdowns and migraines. However, they tend to be elaborate thinkers and healers.

 

 

There are no notable Harmonic Concordances, Astro configurations or special Planetary transits at this time.

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