Another Turn Around the Sun

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Well, it’s been another year of my life… and what a year it’s been! I am so thankful for the sun and warm weather after the past winter. And while I didn’t necessarily enjoy the winter very much, I am thankful for the experience and the being forced to deal with, well, shit. Not to say that it’s over because I think now I am to look at it from a bit of a distance, as a whole, and delve into the spiritual Work that needs doing. There’s a reason why these things hit us hard, and I have a feeling it’s ultimately going to shape my path.

Look at me, all serious! Well, honestly, things are getting serious. I feel as though I’ve only been standing close to the fence after jumping over it into paganism as a fresh teenager; never daring to really walk in the shaded forest beyond. It’s definitely scary, sometimes shockingly so. But I am glad for it.
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These beautiful flowers came in today from my lovely parents 🙂

It’s Ostara this Weekend!

It will officially be Spring this coming Sunday! I’m so excited! I will have a little Ostara ritual, and do some fun, Spring-y stuff, like pick up some soil and pots to grow all of my delicious herbs (and a few choice vegetables!), we will likely create beautiful Ostara eggs (Pisanki) as well, although, we may do that closer to Easter (at the end of April this year).

I’m ever so excited for Spring, and the coming warm seasons. Even though here in the Pacific North West, the winters are actually pretty warm, those clouds that keep the sun away most of the time can get quite annoying! While I do enjoy the warmer weather here, back in Ontario, we have quite a few sunny, very cold, but sunny days during winter.

Anywho, I suppose I could go on about how Ostara is about renewal and yada-yada, but you already know that 😉 Here are a few other cute Spring-y pictures!

P.S. Happy St. Paddy’s tomorrow! 😀 I know a few people who are taking Friday off of work… lol.




Clytie – The Heliotrope

 

by Ovid (adapted)

There was once a Nymph named Clytie, who gazed ever at Apollo as he drove his sun-chariot through the heavens. She watched him as he rose in the east attended by the rosy-fingered Dawn and the dancing Hours. She gazed as he ascended the heavens, urging his steeds still higher in the fierce heat of the noonday. She looked with wonder as at evening he guided his steeds downward to their many-colored pastures under the western sky, where they fed all night on ambrosia.

Apollo saw not Clytie. He had no thought for her, but he shed his brightest beams upon her sister the white Nymph Leucothoe. And when Clytie perceived this she was filled with envy and grief.

Night and day she sat on the bare ground weeping. For nine days and nine nights she never raised herself from the earth, nor did she take food or drink – but ever she turned her weeping eyes toward the sun-god as he moved through the sky.

And her limbs became rooted to the ground. Green leaves enfolded her body. Her beautiful face was concealed by tiny flowers, violet-colored and sweet with perfume. Thus was she changed into a flower and her roots held her fast to the ground – but ever she turned her blossom-covered face toward the sun, following with eager gaze his daily flight. In vain were her sorrow and tears, for Apollo regarded her not.

And so through the ages has the Nymph turned her dew-washed face toward the heavens, and men no longer call her Clytie, but the sun-flower, heliotrope.

 

Post-a-Day

So, wordpress has this post-a-day (or, post-a-week) challenge. I will be taking the latter, as I’d rather not have added stress of thinking what to write about everyday on top of homework, lol. So I will try writing a post a week, hopefully more, for the year of 2011 🙂 I think it’s a good idea, and I like it! Lol.

So, anywho. Yule and the New Year celebrations were good to us, it’s been a quiet time, full of rest, and I’m ready for school coming tomorrow. In fact, I’m excited to go back and be immersed in music once more. The holiday has been filled with spell casting, words sent up to the Gods, magic(k)al cleaning (you would not believe how good my apartment smelled after I cleaned the floors with a homemade floor wash to get rid of negativity and bring about happiness, prosperity and peace, yum!). I feel quite positive about the coming year, I even did a what’s to come in the next twelve months tarot reading for myself, and it seems as though this year will be quite productive for me, as well as having big changes to come near the closing of the year.

Secretly, I’ve been dreaming of babies… but as my dear mother told me, I just started school, and need to focus and finish that before I start even thinking about babies. I won’t be thirty yet by the time I get the degree, so that seems like a sound idea, lol. But shh, the baby dreaming is a secret, lol. So hopefully this is not the big change, lol.

I am quite excited for this coming semester as I will be singing a duet with another aspiring opera singer 🙂 In fact, we both have the same name, it’s hilarious. We will be singing “Dome Epaix” from “Lakme” by Delibes. I feel lazy and don’t want to put the accents on, so sue me 😛 And I think I’ll be doing another duet with another friend as well, but we’re not sure what yet.

Aaaah, there’s just something about the new year that sparks hope and excitement in me… love it! 😀 Hope you all are as excited as I am!

Leo

Aaah, now we come upon the fiery, look-at-me sign of Leo.

Dates: July 22 – August 23

Symbol: The Lion

Element: Fire

Planet: Sun

Lions in Mythology:
Sekhmet (Egyptian), Maahes (Egyptian), the Goddesses Cybele and Juno drove chariots pulled by lions (Phrygian and Roman respectively), the Nemean Lion in Heracles/Hercules’ twelve labours (Greek/Roman), the sphynx (Egyptian), the manticore (Persian), the chimera (Greek).

Characteristics of a Leo:
Brave, warm-hearted, creative, enthusiastic, dominant, spontaneous, extroverted, a leader, ambitious. Leos are born to lead and be followed by loyal subordinates. They are grand in their gestures and expressions, and they know exactly what they want and how to get it. These traits are excellent for those who are trying to change things for the betterment for society/the Earth/animals/etc. Leos are meant to be heard, meant to be followed and are quite inspiring.


Month of the Holly


We are now enjoying the month of the Holly, Tinne, from the 8th of July to the 4th of August. Awesomely enough, the new place we are living in has a nice Holly tree in the front yard! They are beautiful trees to say the least and hold a lot of mythological and magical history.

Latin Name:
Ilex aquifolium (English Holly)
Ilex opaca (American Holly)

Parts Used:
Bark, berries, leaves

Herbal Usages:
Holly leaves have been used in infusions as a diaphoretic (induces perspiration) for fevers. The juice of the leaves also aids in jaundice.

The berries are a very strong emetic and purgative, and therefor should not be ingested unless vomiting is needed. In which case, only a few should be taken.
The berries in powder form is also used as an astringent for swelling and to check bleeding.

Associations:
Fire; Holly King; spear; Odin; Mars; Ares; feminine; life, death and rebirth; dark half of the year.

Magic(k)al Workings:
An incredible protective wood, it is used to ward off negative energies, evil spirits, poisons, angry elementals and lightning. It is also used in dream magic(k), placing a piece of holly under your pillow is said to bring prophetic dreams. It works very well in fertility magic(k) too.

It is very useful in magic(k)s that overthrow the old to bring in the new; to bring success to a new stage of development; and when seeking for a successful business endeavour.


Month of the Oak

The Oak has always been one of my favourite trees. Just looking at pictures of one from afar gives me a sense of wonder and simple, homely countrysides. From June 10 to July 7 is the Celtic month of Duir, the Oak. Oak is the seventh moon of the Celtic calendar as well.

Latin Name:
Quercus alba (White Oak)

Parts Used:
Bark, wood, leaves, acorns

Herbal Usages:
Oak is well known for its astringent and antiseptic properties and has been used as a tonic for a long time. Bark can be made into a tea to heal hemorrhoids.
When given with chamomile flowers, it helps eases intermittent fevers.
Very useful when there are chronic diarrhea and dysentery problems, a decoction of 1 oz of Oak bark in 1 quart water, boiled down to a pint and drank in wine glass size portions will aid the bowels.
This decoction is also used externally as a gargle to help sore throats, and as a fomentation (warm or hot liquids that are applied to the body to ease pain; like a poultice). Can also be injected for leukorrhea, and applied to bleeding gums, or hemorrhoids.
Acorns can also be peeled and be used to make potions to treat alcoholism, bad breath and constipation.

Associations:
The word “Duir” comes from the Sanskrit “Dwr” which means “Door”. It is the door to the three worlds of the Shaman.
Fire; Sun;
wren, black, white carnelian; moonstone; Yule fires; Yule log; Brighid; The Dagda; Dianus; Janus; Cybele; Rhea; Pan; Erato; Hecate; Zeus; Jupiter; Thor; Perkunas; lightning; thunder; the Wild Hunt; King Arthur’s round table.

Magic(k)al Workings
As the month of Duir has the summer solstice in it, the Oak is a powerful symbol of midsummer.
Money, success, strength, fertility, stability, health, healing, potency and good luck. Different types of Oak will lend slightly different properties to magic(k)al workings. Red Oak is fiery, White Oak is for solidity and strength, Brown Oak is earthy and is used for grounding.
Acorns can be used to attract someone of the opposite sex, used for divinatory powers, and to attract prosperity and wealth.
Oak is known as the “King of the Grove”; a holy tree; the lord of truth and is one of the three  sacred trees “Oak, Ash & Thorn”. Worship of the Oak may stem from the early nomadic Europeans using acorns for food.
The acorn is seen as the representation of the supreme form of fertility and creativity of the mind; as such, they are used to increase fertility of both projects and ideas and human reproduction, and also ease pain.
Because of its ties to immortality symbolism, acorns are sacred to the Samhain season and are often used in fall decorating.
It is said that the voice of Jupiter can be heard in the rustling of the leaves. At midsummer, the future can be divined by listening to the wind in the leaves. Acorns should be planted during the Dark moon to attract prosperity.
It is a very powerful herb for protection; England is said to be protected by the Oak when using its timbers to build their ships. It is also used as a boundary for its protective qualities. Acorns placed in windows will ward off lightning and beings that would scare us at night; they will also attract luck. Acorns can be born in pockets to ward off storms, to prevent the bearer from getting lost, and protect from evil intent. They are also carried as charms for immortality, longevity, fertility, ward off illness and preserve youthfulness. Three acorns can be made into a charm to attract youthfulness, attainment, and beauty in life. This charm should be bound with the maker’s hair, and blessed at every Full and Dark moon of a year, and then worn.
A leaf worn on the neck and next to the heart will allow the wearer to not be deceived by the world at large.
A few leaves in bath water will cleanse body and spirit. If you catch a falling leaf, it is said you will not be sick for the winter. If a sick person is in your house, light a fire of Oak wood to draw out the illness.
Because the Oak is a male tree, athames,  and certain male-aspect wands and staffs should be made of its wood. The wood is also used to make religious idols.
The Waning moon is the right time to harvest Oak, during the day for Acorns, and at night for the leaves and wood. Offer wine to the Oak’s roots as thanks for allowing you to take a part of him.

Month of the Hawthorn

It is coming to the end of the Celtic month of Huath, the Hawthorn. In the Celtic calendar, there are thirteen months, each month with a presiding tree. Between May 13, and June 9, the Hawthorn’s energies encourage us to clear away bad habits, and the cobwebs that collect in our spirituality.

Latin Name:
crataegus oxyacantha

Parts Used:
wood, branches, berries, seeds, flowers, leaves

Herbal Usages:
The berries are used in cardiac tonics for organic (the heart is inflamed or deformed) and functional (the heart does not act as it should) heart troubles.
A tea made from the leaves and blossoms aids in anxiety, poor circulation, and appetite  loss. The tea made of only the leaves can act as substitute for oriental green tea.
The seeds can be roasted and used like coffee.
The flowers and berries are astringent so can be used to make a decoction (mashing, then boiling herbs to extract their chemical substances).

Associations:
Night Crow; black; Lapis Lazuli; masculine; Mars; fire; Beltane; sacred to the Fairies; guardians of wishing wells in Ireland; one of nine woods placed on the Balefire

Magickal Workings:
As stated above, a good month to clear yourself of the negative and stagnant. It’s a inner-self spring cleaning month.
Used for protection, love and marriage, health and prosperity, fertility, chastity, purification, inner journeys, purity, fishing magic(k), male potency, intuition, happiness, cleansing and female sexuality.
It is one of the tree Fairy triad of Britain. If you see Hawthorn, Oak and Ash growing together, you may see Fairies. You should also never cut a blooming Hawthorn, as it is said that it may make the Fairies angry. It is also said that if you sit under a Hawthorn tree in the month of May, you may be lost forever to the mysterious Fairy world.
Still today in Ireland and Wales, people create braided crowns of Hawthorn blossoms and leave them for the Fairies to dance around at night. The crafter of the crown will then be blessed.
For men, the blossom has a strong smell of female sexuality, and has therefore been used in talismans of fertility and sexuality.
Hawthorn is also used in flying ointments.

Early Beltane morning, a lady wishing to remain beautiful for the rest of the year should go to a Hawthorn tree and bathe in its dew while chanting the following:

The fair maid, who on the first of May,
Goes to the fields at the break of day

And bathes in the dew of the Hawthorn tree,
Will ever strong and handsome be.”

Because of its strong ties to witchcraft, it is a favourite tree of us witchy peoples to use for brooms (besoms) and wands. When you want to take wood from a Hawthorn tree, it is best to do on Beltane (May 1), as taking any other day is bad luck. Also, picking Hawthorn’s flowers before the first week of May also brings horrible luck, “a sign that death is on its way if brought into the house.”

Beltane

Beltane Reunion - Emily Balivet

Beltane Reunion – Emily Balivet

Blessed greetings to one and all! I thought I would write up some thoughts and history on Beltane here, as this will be a blog for me to present my findings of research and practice, and personal discoveries. So Beltane! And here we go “a-maying!” 🙂 Beltane Belenos (amongst many different spellings) is a generic Celtic god of the Sun and simultaneously of the crops. Belenos literally means “Fire of the Gods”. Balefires were lit in honor of the sun and it’s return, people would usher their herds between fires to purify and ensure fertility before loosing them out to pastures for the summer season. The fires are quite restorative, in energy and symbolically. Symbolically, they were lit and danced around to usher in the sun and summer, bringing the Belenos/The Oak King/The Horned God/The Green Man to his full power and virility in this light part of the year. May poles are erected with flowers and long ribbons for the people to dance around and create beautiful patterns as they move around the pole. The May pole is obviously a phallus placed within the earth symbolizing the union between god and goddess, the land and the sun. People would traditionally make love in fields where crops were to transfer a sort of sympathetic magic to the land, enforcing its fertility, ensuring a bountiful harvest the entire month of May. Beltane does not necessarily need to be celebrated by making love, or focusing on sexual energies, although that part is quite fun 😉 No, Beltane can be celebrated alone, by loving oneself and finding unity within; by walking in the park and witnessing the change of the land, the fertility and growth in plants trees and animals around; by ushering in new ideas, big changes, and cleaning out one’s mind and body for new things to grow and bear fruit.