Spirit Message of the Moment – Happy New Year 2014

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HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014 Spirit Friends

Thank you so much for all your support, light, and great comments on both my blog and Facebook page this past year! I’ve so enjoyed the last four and a half years writing this blog and sharing readings with you of some of my favorite or405368_10150500037554734_1317162623_nacle systems with you; I am so pleased it resonates with where you find yourself – at that exact moment in time. Here’s to a beautiful new year for you – full of intuition, infinite possibilities, adventures, laughter, abundance, and joy. Unlimited happiness is waiting for us today, we just have to open the door to let it into our lives.

My advice for the new calendar year? Take time to dream – and Dream BIG. Then Dream even Bigger than that! Go ahead and surprise yourself and take the chance; you’re worth it. Life always gives us the opportunity to change, expand, and grow into who we want to be; whether reinventing ourselves and rebuilheartart2ding our lives, or simply being brave enough to let our light shine with others and proudly shine it into the world at large. Here’s to letting your light shine – and Bright! May you find inspiration everywhere you travel, with whomever you meet. May you use your intuition and spiritual instincts to discover new passions (and remember old ones), find ways to help heal hearts (even if it’s only your own), and invent countless ways to add something of good spiritual value to the world. May you live your life with a full heart and your time for learning, change, and growth never end. Wishing you much love and light for a great new year for 2014.
Bright Blessings to You,
Angela 

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MESSAGE FOR YOU – Endurance – Keep Going! 
THE MERMAIDS SING
“When a long journey begins, or when a quest is undertaken, be it a pilgrimage, or an ambition or a desire, or a dream that you wish to create in this earthworld you live within, human one, there is the excitement of the beginning…the unknown still lies before you. And it is a th5391_369223603191483_1899532215_nrill, every moment, to take another step forward. But at some stage, just as we tire, you too tire. The terrain can become unfamiliar. Issues arise, challenges greet you, and at this point, too many of you feel that this must Not be meant for you – for you have told yourself that if it is truly meant to be, it will be simple, it will flow, and it will be…well easy.

We are here to share that for all creatures, and in both the seen and unseen worlds, there are parts of the great journey that require our stamina, our courage and our endurance – our ability to commit, and to stay with the task and dream and promise until we have made it. Do not enter into agreements lightly – enter into them, if at all, wholeheartedly. And be prepar66200_294003430716354_40209912_ned to develop your strength and tenacity, your courage and your honor along the way.

Without what you describe as a challenge, there will be no growth. If you work through and into and with the challenges, you will emerge stronger, and more able to realize the next dream. Flee at the first sign of difficulty, and you will be what we call a shore-hugger – one who never goes deep, who only goes to the places they know. There may be nothing wrong with this. But if this card has come to you, you have sent out the request to the great ocean mother to go on this great journey, to take on a mission. And the time has come for you to build up your endurance. Commit. Practice. Train!

We do, although most often you will only hear tales of our beauty and vanity. How else do we live so well within the great power of the ocean? The answer for us, and for you, is that we develop our power – and we endure, when others would give in or turn away. We are stronger than that. 399864_422942047801829_2145979321_nAnd so are you!

You may believe you are weak, or physically unable to complete a task. You may have committed to believing that there is no way your strength can increase. It is not always about your physicality – so often, it is the amazing endurance of Spirit and your soul and your creative force that requires the ability to go that little bit further, to reach a little harder, to extend yourself, to go well beyond a comfort zone. You may also believe that to become more aligned, powerful and strong physically is to weaken the intuitive self. But this is not the case.

Like these mermaids, you are reaching an important stage of your journey, and it is essential that you continue. There will be times when you feel you have had enough and you wish to suddenly stop moving…to sink, rather than to swim. 1394051_1391520577756380_2015272875_nBut the mermaids are here to ask you to continue to swim, tired though you may be, full of doubt you may be. The second part of your strength is readying itself, and will come through, just at the point you are ready to give up. Keep going. And you will go so much further than you currently believe you can! This is not the time to run back, or to allow the waters to take you! This is the time to continue the journey you committed to – because you are being tested, and you can pass this test. But you must keep going. Eyes forward. Intention focused. Purpose clear! Re-commit! And keep going.”

Oracle of the Mermaids by Lucy Cavendish

 

 

 

Spirit Message of the Moment – Are You Living As A Ghost?

GHOSTLANDS
“You can learn from the past and imagine a beautiful future, but you must live in the here-and-now. Whenever you set your sights too far ahead, you run the risk of losing your foo45086_454864761236937_1497985341_nting, for rarely do the present and future match up exactly on the Enchanted Map that is your life story.”

“The future has no substance right now; it is a place that has no grounding as of yet. You can’t live there, yet you can take measured steps toward a goal or dream. These steps are important now. The same goes for nostalgia. You can look into the past wistfully and remember beautiful moments or revisit lessons learned. However, you can’t live there, nor can you go back and change what was. Yesterday is gone forever. Live fully in the present. The ‘now’ is the most powerful place to put your attention. Its magic reaches out in every direction, further than the heart and soul can see.”

MESSAGE FOR YOU
“When the Ghostlands card appears, it could be a sign that you’re wandering in an emotional or intellectual place with no real substance. There is no point lo72851_474916215898458_100607442_nnging for that which has already gone (past you) or hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps you’ve created a fantasy of ‘the good old days’ or some elusive, utopian destination that lies somewhere in the future when this or that happens to make things better.”

“Live one day at a time. Each day is a new beginning filled with truth and beauty. Stay away from  the Ghostlands of past and future – avoid nostalgia and longing for something better. Find Joy in what is Present in your life today.”

Excerpts from The Enchanted Map Oracle Cards by Colette Baron-Reid

A Word From Spiritblogger
What a great reminder to be full present and enjoy living each day as it comes and being fully present in each moment as it happens. When your mind starts to revel in the past or worry about the future, you become a ghost in the present. Re-shift your thinking and focus on your breathing in the moment – to bring all your senses to the present. Remember the famous quote from Kung Fu Panda: 

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a Gift. That’s why they call it a present.”

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Spirit Message of the Moment – Celebrate Winter Solstice 2012

Hold a Family Yule Log Ceremony
“For people of nearly any religious background, the time of the winter solstice is a time when we gather with family and loved ones. For Pagans and Wiccans, it’s often celebrated as Yule, but there aFirebonfirere literally dozens of ways you can enjoy the season. If your family enjoys ritual, you can welcome back the sun at Yule with this simple winter ceremony. The first thing you’ll need is a Yule Log. If you make it a week or two in advance, you can enjoy it as a centerpiece prior to burning it in the ceremony. You’ll also need a fire, so if you can do this ritual outside, that’s even better. As the Yule Log burns, all members of the family (and friends) should surround it, forming a circle.

Here’s How:

  1. If you normally cast a circle, do so at this time. This first section is for the adults – if there is more than one grownup, they can take turns saying the lines, or say them together:

The Wheel has turned once more, and
the earth has gone to sleep.
The leaves are gone, the crops have returned to the ground.
On this darkest of nights, we celebrate the light.
Tomorrow, the sun will return,
its journey continuing as it always does.
Welcome back, warmth.
Welcome back, light.
Welcome back, life.

  1. The entire group now moves deosil – clockwise, or sunwise – around the fire. When each member has returned to his or her original position, it is time for the children to add their part. This section can be divided amongst the children, so that each gets a chance to speak.

Shadows go away, darkness is no more,
as the light of the sun comes back to us.
Warm the earth.
Warm the ground.
Warm the sky.
Warm our hearts.
Welcome back, sun.

  1. Finally, each member of the group should take a moment to tell the others one thing that they are thankful for about their family – things like “I am happy that Mom cooks us such wonderful food,” or “I’m proud of Alex because he helps people who need it.” When everyone has had a chance to speak, walk sunwise once more around the fire, and end the rite. If possible, save a bit of this year’s Yule log to add to the fire for next year’s ceremony.

chocolate yule-logFamily and Friends

Nothing says holiday celebration quite like getting together with the people you love. Learn about gifts, decorating, money-saving, and why it’s perfectly okay for Wiccans to have a big green tree full of lights!

Suggested Reading

By Patti Wigington

Wish Ritual for the New Year
Place a piece of holly bush on your altar for the Yule celebration, in keeping with Pagan traVariegated-Holly-Bush-821312dition. After the celebration, before dismissing the Quarters and taking down the Circle, write down a wish or wishes on pieces of parchment paper and tie them to the holly bush branches on your altar. You can write down as few or many wishes as you desire. However try to keep it simple. Bury the holly bush limb with your wishes attached to it during the next full moon, giving thanks to the Lord and Lady, to assure that your wishes will be realized during the coming year.

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Spirit Message of the Moment – Celebrating The Pagan Holiday Mabon 2012

THE MEANING OF MABON
“The Harvest surrounds us. The bounty of Summer, the fruit of our labor, is ripe and hanging heavy on the vine. The theme for this Holiday is abundance and thanksgiving, rightfully so, as Mabon is the second of the harvest holidays and the most productive, and labor intensive, of the three. In many places, this harvest marks the peak of the garden harvest and the beginning of the fruit harvest, especially of grapes and apples. Due to the grape harvest and the nature of wine making, this is also a wine celebration, as last year’s vintage is finally able to be enjoyed and a new batch is now being started.

This day is also the Autumnal Equinox, a day when day and night are equal, balanced. From here on out the days will be shorter, the nights longer, the Winter that much closer. A chill in the air, frost on the grass, these mark the entrance of the spiders into our homes, a desperate effort to escape the cold and perhaps survive a little longer.

Within these few characteristics of Mabon, there is an underlying theme: connection. Who is it that we worked so hard with to create the abundance we now enjoy and pull in, but our community, those with whom we are most intimately connected. Our family, our friends, they are our community and they are the ones who celebrate all of our joys with us, with whom we give thanks and of whom we are thankful for. Even the entrance of the spiders into our homes, taking up residence in the corners where they will happily take care of any biting insects, echoes this theme of connection, this time to the larger community. The spiders remind us that we are never fully removed from Nature, even when we hide ourselves away in our climate controlled homes, surrounded by technology and “proof” of our superiority over the natural world.

The energy of the Autumnal Equinox spills over, and at this time when there is so much, we find ourselves pulled to share the abundance with those around us. At this time when Day and Night are equal, so, too, are all people equal; divisions and barriers are taken down, and we are reminded that we are all the same and we are all truly members of the same community.

It’s all cause and effect. When we start to acknowledge our connections, that we are not separate, it is then that we notice the Community to which we belong and notice just how far the breadth of that Community stretches. We notice our place in the scheme of things, and this leads to compassion, to the desire to share what we have with those around us. This sacred day reminds us of the need for community, the blessing of community, and the obligations we have as members of a community.”

Article by Lady Althaea

Spirit Message of the Day – Beltane 2012

PAGAN SABBAT BELTANE / MAY DAY 
“Many Wiccans and Pagans celebrate Beltane, also known as Roodmas or May Day on April 30th/May 1st.  It is one of eight solar Sabbats.  This holiday incorporates traditions from the Gaelic Bealtaine, such as the bonfire, but it bears more relation to the Germanic May Day festival, both in its significance (focusing on fertility) and its rituals (such as May pole dancing).  Some traditions celebrate this holiday on May 1 or May day, whiles others begin their celebration the eve before or April 30th. Beltane has long been celebrated with feasts and rituals. The name means fire of Bel; Belinos being one name for the Sun God, whose coronation feast we now celebrate.

As summer begins, weather becomes warmer, and the plant world blossoms, an exuberant mood prevails. In old Celtic traditions it was a time of unabashed sexuality and promiscuity where marriages of a year and a day could be undertaken but it is rarely observed in that manner in modern times. In the old Celtic times, young people would spend the entire night in the woods “A-Maying,” and then dance around the phallic Maypole the next morning. Older married couples were allowed to remove their wedding rings (and the restrictions they imply) for this one night. May morning is a magickal time for wild water (dew, flowing streams, and springs) which is collected and used to bathe in for beauty, or to drink for health.

The Christian religion had only a poor substitute for the life-affirming Maypole — namely, the death-affirming cross. Hence, in the Christian calendar, this was celebrated as ‘Roodmas’. In Germany, it was the feast of Saint Walpurga, or ‘Walpurgisnacht’. An alternative date around May 5 (Old Beltane), when the sun reaches 15 degrees Taurus, is sometimes employed by Covens. (Both ‘Lady Day’ and ‘Ostara’ are names incorrectly assigned to this holiday by some modern traditions of Wicca.) The May pole was a focal point of the old English village rituals.

Many people would rise at the first light of dawn to go outdoors and gather flowers and branches to decorate their homes. Women traditionally would braid flowers into their hair. Men and women alike would decorate their bodies. Beltane marks the return of vitality, of passion. Ancient Pagan traditions say that Beltane marks the emergence of the young God into manhood. Stirred by the energies at work in nature, he desires the Goddess. They fall in love, lie among the grasses and blossoms, and unite. The Goddess becomes pregnant of the God.

To celebrate, a wedding feast, for the God and Goddess must be prepared. Let them guide you! Breads and cereals are popular. Try oatmeal cakes or cookies sweetened with a dab of honey. Dairy foods are again appropriate…just make a lovely wedding feast and you are sure to enjoy yourself! An early morning walk through a local park or forest could be fun for everyone. Gather up some plants or flowers to display in your home. Mom and daughter could braid their hair, and weave in a few tender blossoms.”

Excerpt from Beltane by Herne via The Celtic Connection.

May Day Delights: The Pagan Celebration of Beltane

“May Day (at least in the Northern hemisphere) heralds the delights of the coming warm season, with intoxicating fragrances of spring flowers and flowering trees to delight the senses. Warming days and shedding of coats signal more pleasures of the coming summer season. Time to celebrate, with a bit of romping outside, relishing the green grass, the sun, the flowers, the fresh breeze. The intensity of the lush flowering trees appears heightened against grey city buildings, a bursting vibrancy of life against more austere form. Flowers broadcast life force and the powers of natural attraction. They offer a magnificent adventure into beauty, diversity, color, and sensual pleasure. There is no denying the pleasures of May.

For Pagans, May Day is celebrated as the religious festival of Beltane. The burgeoning life force of this season balances winter’s cold and death, and the wheel of the year turns. Many will gather to celebrate, wearing spring colors, adorned with flowers, ready to dance. The traditional maypole is central to many celebrations with long (perhaps 30 feet!) ribbons attached to a tall wooden pole. In some rituals a hole is prepared in advance, blessed and readied to receive, and the tree is also blessed, honored as a sign of life. Sometimes the joining is considered sacredly sexual, and other times simply functional and celebratory.

The dance around the maypole is a communal one, with dancers holding the long colored ribbons and weaving them over and under other ribbons. Around and around, carrying intention into the larger weaving of many strands of community. In some rituals, women and men dance in opposite directions, weaving the gender differences into the larger union. Other dances are more free form, playful and even chaotic. There’s coherence in the pattern, with the inclusion of imperfections and fun, with areas of systematic weave and areas of unique design. Dancers old and young engage, often sharing ribbons and turns around the pole. Around and around, over and under, sometimes in step and sometimes out of phase, how like life. We may not see the overall pattern until the dance is over, so the main thing is to participate, and to do so as fully as possible.

Contemporary Pagans honor sexuality, and often consider the erotic sacred. It’s not just about the pole and the hole, or the flowers and the bees, or the exuberance of May. For Goddess worshipers, “All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.” This phrase comes from the Charge of the Goddess, one of the few and more widely known texts in this earth-based religion. In a small way I honor the Goddess and gifts of life as I stoop and smell the lush and fragrant hyacinths planted in buckets along New York City streets. The flowery exuberance is intense with multiple blossoms and strong scent, with it’s own part in the dance of life. What’s the flowery show all about? Attracting attention? Creating enough energy for the bulb to survive for another year? Rejoicing in the returning warmth and light? Is it an offering of the simple pleasures of fragrance? Is it an affirmation of hope in the powers of attraction? Of the pleasures of life that are free and available despite life’s challenges? What does it mean to hold pleasure sacred?

Surely at the very least I can pause and take in the flowers’ intoxicating perfume. Surely I can appreciate the flower’s fragrant offering of pleasure. Surely I can honor the gifts of May. Perhaps it is honoring the balance of life, where we know there is loss and pain, and there is also pleasure and joy, all to be experienced as part of a life’s journey. Just as Pagans hold the elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit as sacred, not to be bought or sold, abused or hoarded, so too is May sacred, belonging to all, with fertility and exuberance bursting forth in flowers. With the power of the internet, Beltane celebrations and maypole dances are readily found. I’m ready to dance. Happy Beltane.”  

– Article by Grover Harris, writer and speaker and consultant on religious diversity in America.

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Spirit Message of the Day – Mabon, The Autumnal Equinox 2010

CELEBRATE THE HARVEST
The leaves begin to turn from green to brilliant reds and yellows, animals start to migrate, and the harvest is underway by the time of the autumn equinox. Celebrate Mabon with rituals, mythology, craft projects, and magic!Mabon is a time to give thanks for the bounty of the earth, and falls on the date of the autumnal equinox, which varies from year to year. Typically, it is between September 20 – 22 in the Northern Hemisphere, and March 20 – 22 in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2010, the autumn equinox falls on September 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. Below the equator, Mabon 2010 is on March 20.

It is the time of the autumn equinox, and the harvest is winding down. The fields are nearly empty, because the crops have been plucked and stored for the coming winter. Mabon is the mid-harvest festival, and it is when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest. For many Pagan and Wiccan traditions it is a time of giving thanks for the things we have, whether it is abundant crops or other blessings.

Mabon Traditions and Folklore – Customs of the Autumn Equinox
Interested in learning about some of the traditions behind the celebrations of September? Find out why Mabon is important, learn the legend of Persephone and Demeter, and explore the magic of apples and more!

Rituals and Ceremonies

Depending on your individual spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Mabon, but typically the focus is on either the second harvest aspect, or the balance between light and dark. This, after all, is the time when there is an equal amount of day and night. While we celebrate the gifts of the earth, we also accept that the soil is dying. We have food to eat, but the crops are brown and going dormant. Warmth is behind us, cold lies ahead. Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying — and remember, any of them can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group, with just a little planning ahead.
The apple is the symbol of the Divine in many cultures. Honor the old gods with an apple ritual at Mabon, the second harvest Sabbat. How to Hold a Mabon Apple Harvest Right
 

 

Ten Ways To Celebrate Mabon 2010
Mabon is the time of the autumn equinox, and the harvest is winding down. The fields are nearly bare, because the crops have been stored for the coming winter. Mabon is a time when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest. On or around September 21, for many Pagan and Wiccan traditions it is a time of giving thanks for the things we have, whether it is abundant crops or other blessings. It is also a time of balance and reflection, following the theme of equal hours light and dark. Here are some ways you and your family can celebrate this day of bounty and abundance.

1. Find Some Balance

Mabon is a time of balance, when there are equal hours of darkness and light, and that can affect people in different ways. For some, it’s a season to honor the darker aspects of the goddess, calling upon that which is devoid of light. For others, it’s a time of thankfulness, of gratitude for the abundance we have at the season of harvest. Because this is, for many people, a time of high energy, there is sometimes a feeling of restlessness in the air, a sense that something is just a bit “off”. If you’re feeling a bit spiritually lopsided, with this simple meditation you can restore a little balance into your life. You can also try a ritual to bring balance and harmony to your home.

2. Hold a Food Drive

Many Pagans and Wiccans count Mabon as a time of thanks and blessings — and because of that, it seems like a good time to give to those less fortunate than ourselves. If you find yourself blessed with abundance at Mabon, why not give to those who aren’t? Invite friends over for a feast, but ask each of them to bring a canned food, dry goods, or other non-perishable items? Donate the collected bounty to a local food bank or homeless shelter.

3. Pick Some Apples

Apples are the perfect symbol of the Mabon season. Long connected to wisdom and magic, there are so many wonderful things you can do with an apple. Find an orchard near you, and spend a day with your family. As you pick the apples, give thanks to Pomona, goddess of fruit trees. Be sure to only pick what you’re going to use — if you can, gather plenty to take home and preserve for the coming winter months. Take your apples home and use them in rituals, for divination, and for delicious recipes that your family can enjoy all season long.

4. Count Your Blessings

Mabon is a time of giving thanks, but sometimes we take our fortune for granted. Sit down and make a gratitude list. Write down things that you are thankful for. An attitude of gratefulness helps bring more abundance our way — what are things you’re glad you have in your life? Maybe it’s the small things, like “I’m glad I have my cat Peaches” or “I’m glad my car is running.” Maybe it’s something bigger, like “I’m thankful I have a warm home and food to eat” or “I’m thankful people love me even when I’m cranky.” Keep your list some place you can see it, and add to it when the mood strikes you.

5. Honor the Darkness

Without darkness, there is no light. Without night, there can be no day. Despite a basic human need to overlook the dark, there are many positive aspects to embracing the dark side, if it’s just for a short time. After all, it was Demeter’s love for her daughter Persephone that led her to wander the world, mourning for six months at a time, bringing us the death of the soil each fall. In some paths, Mabon is the time of year that celebrates the Crone aspect of a triune goddess. Celebrate a ritual that honors that aspect of the Goddess which we may not always find comforting or appealing, but which we must always be willing to acknowledge. Call upon the gods and goddesses of the dark night, and ask for their blessings this time of year.

6. Get Back to Nature

Fall is here, and that means the weather is bearable once more. The nights are becoming crisp and cool, and there’s a chill in the air. Take your family on a nature walk, and enjoy the changing sights and sounds of the outdoors. Listen for geese honking in the sky above you, check the trees for changing in the colors of the leaves, and watch the ground for dropped items like acorns, nuts, and seed pods. If you live in an area that doesn’t have any restrictions on removing natural items from park property, take a small bag with you and fill it up with the things you discover along the way. Bring your goodies home for your family’s altar. If you are prohibited from removing natural items, fill your bag with trash and clean up the outdoors!

7. Tell Timeless Stories

In many cultures, fall was a time of celebration and gathering. It was the season in which friends and relatives would come from far and near to get together before the cold winter kept them apart for months at a time. Part of this custom was storytelling. Learn the harvest tales of your ancestors or of the people indigenous to the area in which you live. A common theme in these stories is the cycle of death and rebirth, as seen in the planting season. Learn about the stories of Osiris, Mithras, Dionysius, Odin and other deities who have died and then restored to life.

8. Raise Some Energy

It’s not uncommon for Pagans and Wiccans to make remarks regarding the “energy” of an experience or event. If you’re having friends or family over to celebrate Mabon with you, you can raise group energy by working together. A great way to do this is with a drum or music circle. Invite everyone to bring drums, rattles, bells, or other instruments. Those who don’t have an instrument can clap their hands. Begin in a slow, regular rhythm, gradually increasing the tempo until it reaches a rapid pace. End the drumming at a pre-arranged signal, and you’ll be able to feel that energy wash over the group in waves. Another way of raising group energy is chanting, or with dance. With enough people, you can hold a Spiral Dance.

9. Celebrate Hearth & Home

As autumn rolls in, we know we’ll be spending more time indoors in just a few months. Take some time to do a fall version of spring cleaning. Physically clean your home from top to bottom, and then do a ritual smudging. Use sage or sweetgrass, or asperge with consecrated water as you go through your home and bless each room. Decorate your home with symbols of the harvest season, and set up a family Mabon altar. Put sickles, scythes and bales of hay around the yard. Collect colorful autumn leaves, gourds and fallen twigs and place them in decorative baskets in your house. If you have any repairs that need to be done, do them now so you don’t have to worry about them over the winter. Throw out or give away anything that’s no longer of use.

10. Welcome the Gods of the Vine

Grapes are everywhere, so it’s no surprise that the Mabon season is a popular time to celebrate winemaking, and deities connected to the growth of the vine. Whether you see him as Bacchus, Dionysus, the Green Man, or some other vegetative god, the god of the vine is a key archetype in harvest celebrations. Take a tour of a local winery and see what it is they do this time of year. Better yet, try your hand at making your own wine! If you’re not into wine, that’s okay — you can still enjoy the bounty of grapes, and use their leaves and vines for recipes and craft projects. However you celebrate these deities of vine and vegetation, you may want to leave a small offering of thanks as you reap the benefits of the grape harvest.

Celebrating the Dark and the Light
Mabon Balance Meditation
Honor the Dark Mother at Mabon
Mabon Cooking Magic From the Kitchen
Mabon Prayers and Blessings
Mabon Crafts and Projects

The Symbolism of the Stag
In many Pagan and Wiccan traditions, the stag takes on a level of almost mythical signficance. Find out why this king of the forest — and his crown of antlers — appears so often in Pagan and Wiccan ritual symbolism. 

Mabon is the season in which the harvest is being gathered. It’s also the time in which the hunt often begins — deer and other animals are killed during the autumn in many parts of the world. In some Pagan and Wiccan traditions, the deer is highly symbolic, and takes on many aspects of the God during the harvest season.

For many Wiccans, the antlers of the stag are associated directly with the fertility of the God. The Horned God, in his many incarnations, often appears wearing a headdress of antlers. In some depictions, the horns grow directly from his head. Early Paleolithic cave art shows men wearing antlers on their heads, so it would appear that the horn or antler has long been a symbol of worship in some form or another. In Egyptian legend, many gods appear to wear a pair of horns on their head.

In some Pagan paths, there is a correlation between the shape of a pair of horns and the crescent moon. The image of a stag with a full moon between his antlers represents both the male (the antlers) and the female (the moon) aspects of the Divine.

Mabon is the time, in many areas, when hunting season begins. While many Pagans are opposed to hunting, others feel that they can hunt for food as our ancestors did. For many Pagans, equally as important as the idea of caring about animals is the concept of responsible wildlife management.

Scarecrows – Guardians of the Harvest
Few things represent the image of the harvest season as well as the scarecrow. Learn about the history of this long-used harvest helper. Anyone who watches horror movies regularly knows just how creepy scarecrows can be. On the flip side, sometime they’re fun, and decorated in a country-cute style, or silly like the lovable “If I only had a brain” type in The Wizard of Oz. Although they haven’t always looked the way they do now, scarecrows have been around a long time and have been used in a number of different cultures.In the fields of ancient Greece, wooden statues were placed in the fields, carved to represent Priapus. Although he was the son of Aphrodite, Priapus was also hideously ugly, and his most prominent feature was his constant (and huge) erection. Birds tended to avoid fields where Priapus resided, so as Greek influence spread into Roman territory, Roman farmers soon adopted the practice.

Pre-feudal Japan used different kinds of scarecrows in their rice fields, but the most popular one was the kakashi. Old dirty rags and noisemakers like bells and sticks were mounted on a pole in the field and then lit on fire. The flames (and presumably, the smell) kept birds and other animals away from the rice fields. The word kakashi meant “something stinky.” Eventually, Japanese farmers began making scarecrows that looked like people in raincoats and hats. Sometimes they were equipped with weaponry to make them look even more frightening.

(Note: There is one school of thought that states that rotten meat was hung on these as well; however, with crows and other such carrion eaters, it seems more logical that they would come TO the scarecrows, rather than staying away. This is mentioned in numerous secondary sources, but there do not appear to be any primary sources that verify the claim of the rotten meat being hung on the kakashi.)

During the Middle Ages in Britain and Europe, small children worked as crow-scarers. Their job was to run around in the fields, clapping blocks of wood together, to frighten away birds that might eat the grain. As the medieval period wound down and populations decreased due to plague, farmers discovered there was a shortage of spare children to scamper around shooing birds away. Instead, they stuffed old clothes with straw, placed a turnip or gourd up on top, and mounted the figure in the fields. They soon found that these lifelike guardians did a pretty good job of keeping crows away.

Scarecrows are also found in Native American cultures. In some parts of what is now Virginia and the Carolinas, before the white man arrived, adult men sat on raised platforms and shouted at birds or ground animals that came near the props. Some native tribes discovered that soaking corn seeds in a poisonous herb mixture deterred birds as well, although one has to wonder how the corn would taste to people. In the Southwest, some Native American children had contests to see who could make the most frightening scarecrow, and the Zuni tribe used lines of cedar poles strung with cords and animal skins to keep the birds away.

Scarecrows also came to North America as waves of emigrants left Europe. German settlers in Pennsylvania brought with them the bootzamon, or bogeyman, which stood guard over the fields. Sometimes a female counterpart was added to the opposite end of the field or orchard.

During the heyday of America’s agricultural period, scarecrows became popular, but following World War II, farmers realized they could accomplish a lot more by spraying their crops with pesticides like DDT. This went on until the 1960s, when it was discovered that pesticides are actually bad for you. Nowadays, although you don’t see a lot of scarecrows guarding fields, they’re extremely popular as a fall decoration. In more rural countries, scarecrows are still in use.

Excerpts taken from about.com.

Spirit Message of the Day – Step Out of Your Way

IT’S A MIRACLE
“M.I.R.A.C.L.E. which stands for Magically Incited Reality Adjustment Concealed by Loving Entities.”

“The truth is, nothing you do is short of miraculous. So why is it that some of the things you do, you let the Universe do for you effortlessly, while other things you do, you insist on doing it alone with clenched teeth, sweat, and self-criticism? Why do you only trust the Universe to grow your cells, beat your heart, and finish the sentences you start, when it’s just as capable of helping you live in abundance, find love, feel peace, and achieve goals? The bigger truth is that all of those things are done by the Universe anyway. Yet we think that we must do them ourselves, alone.”

“So fess up, set your goals, and understand that there’s a process bigger than you. Visualize, move, trust, and let the Universe take over. Could it be any easier? There are only miracles — especially when we get out of their way!”

Today’s message is from Mike Dooley’s book entitled Thoughts Become Things – Choose Them Wisely!

Spirit Message of the Day – Celtic Tree Month Birch – Strength

CELTIC TREE MONTH – BIRCH
December 24 – January 20: The Birch Moon is a time of rebirth and regeneration. As the Solstice passes, it is time to look towards the light once more. When a forested area burns, Birch is the first tree to grow back. The Celtic name for this month is Beth, pronounced beh. Workings done in this month add momentum and a bit of extra “oomph” to new endeavors. The Birch is also associated with magic done for creativity and fertility, as well as healing and protection. Tie a red ribbon around the trunk of a Birch tree to ward off negative energy. Hang Birch twigs over a cradle to protect a newborn from psychic harm. Use Birch bark as magical parchment to keep writings safe.

–Excerpt taken from http://paganwiccan.about.com
BIRCH LORE
  • 1st Moon of the Celtic Year – (Dec 24 – Jan 21)
  • Latin name: Yellow birch – betula alleghaniensis; black birch – betula lenta; canoe or common birch – betula papyrifea.
  • Celtic name: Beth (pronounced: beh)
  • Folk or Common names: Beithe, Bereza, Berke, Beth, Bouleau, Lady of the Woods, Birth, Canoe Tree, Paper Tree, Silver Birch, White Birch. “Birch” is derived from the meaning “Bright” or “Shining” in Indo-European and Sanskrit terminology. Quite possibly it came from the Anglo-Saxon term “Beorgan” meaning “to protect or shelter”
  • Parts Used: Leaves, bark, wood, sap, branches.
  • Herbal usage: Birch leaves can be used to make an infusion that is good for breaking up kidney or bladder stones. Birch bark is an astringent and can be used to treat non-hereditary baldness. Birch tea can be made from the inner bark and leaves and this is good for rheumatism or as a sedative to aid sleep. Birch sap can be harvested the same way maple sap is, and then boiled down into birch syrup.

Magical History & Associations
The bird associated with the Month of the Birch is the pheasant. Birch’s color is white, its day is Sunday and its gemstone is red chard. The Celtic symbol of Birch is the White Stag with a rack with seven tines. Birch is associated with the element of water, is a tree of the sun and the planet Venus, and its Herbal Gender is feminine. The Birch tree is sacred to the God Thor and the Goddesses Diana and Cerridwen. Birch is considered to be a Goddess tree, the symbol of summer ever-returning. The Birch is also a special tree to the Celts (“On a switch of birch was written the first Ogham inscription in Ireland, namely seven B’s, as a warning to Lug son of Ethliu, to wit, ‘Thy wife will be seven times carried away from you into fairyland or elsewhere, unless birch be her overseer.” – Robert Graves (The White Goddess).

Birch wood is one of the nine traditional firewoods to be added to the Belfire that is burned at Beltane. It is one of the three pillars of Wisdom (Oak, Yew, Birch) and often symbolizes the first level of Druid working. Birch trees often have Otherkin spirits attached to them and the “Lieschi” or “Genii of the Forest” are said to dwell in their tree tops. The Ghillie Dhu (pronounced “Gillee Doo or Yoo”) are guardian tree spirits who are disguised as foliage and dislike human beings. They prefer birch trees to all others, and jealously guard them from humans. If the spirit of the Birch tree touches a head it leaves a white mark and the person turns insane. If it touches a heart, the person will die.

Magickal Usage
The month of Birch is a good time to do magick associated with new beginnings. Magickal work done in this moon adds strength and momentum to any new choices made. The Birch has applications in magick done for protection, creativity, exorcism, fertility, birth, healing, Forest Magic, Inner Authority/Self-Discipline, Lunar workings, love, and purification. Magickal protective uses of Birch include tying a red ribbon around the trunk of a birch to ward off the evil eye. Also, gently whapping someone with a Birch twig drives out negative energy, and Birch branches hung near a cradle will protect the newborn from psychic harm. In fact, cradles can be made from Birch wood to further protect a newborn. Many farmers plant Birch around their houses to protect against lightning. For magical parchment, gather Birch bark from a tree that has been struck by lightning (chosen by Thor) – and the Birch paper will keep the writings safe. Because Birch wood has the qualities of exorcism and protection, its twigs are traditionally used to make witches’ brooms. Brooms made of a mixture of Ash, Birch and Willow are said to be especially powerful in magick.

Birch rods are also used in rustic rituals to drive out the spirits of the old year. Birch is also perfect to use to make a ‘Goddess’ wand, since Birch is the tree known as ‘the Lady of the Woods’ and a grove of Birch trees is an excellent place to communicate with the Goddess. Birch wood is also a good choice for making rune sets to use for divination. Be sure to harvest your branch for the rune set during the waxing moon, and make sure you ask Odin or Byarka to inspire your work. Also ask the tree if it will allow you to take a branch and be sure to leave the tree an offering of thanks when you are done. Birch trees especially appreciate gifts such as pretty stones, sea shells, flowers or herbs. (Please note: never take bark off a living Birch tree, since this will kill it.)

–Excerpt taken from http://www.dutchie.org/Tracy/trees/celtic_tree_birch.html

THE MONTH OF BIRCH

Names: BETH, Birch,  Beath, Bethi, Bedw, Beithe, Bedwen, Beithi, Betula pendula
Celtic Symbol : The White Stag
Zodiac Degrees : 2º00` – 29º59` Capricorn
Ruling Planet : The Sun – Sul
Ancient Gods Associated With The Sun
Greek : Helios, Apollo ( Alson Known As Phoebus), Cynthius And Pytheus
Celtic : Hu, Beli, Taliesin, Arthur
Full Moon: Birch Moon; Moon of Inception, Moon of Beginning
Magickal Properties include Protection of children; purification; creativity
Tarot Key: The Magician

The birch is the tree of inception, representing birth, initiation, discipline and sacrifice. The time is ruled by the force of wild, un-tamed nature, and is reflected in the unconscious (inner) self and the rebirth of the Sun from winter’s solstice.  This is the first tree that takes away  the decay of  the mysterious elder.  Both the Birch and the Elder stand on either sides of The One Nameless Day.   They both represent a link between life and death, with the Birch being the beginning of all things.  It is also associated with the training of Druids, the birth of new life and is both energetic and spontaneous.Children’s cradles were made of Birch. Axe handles were also made from Birch. On the Isle of Man, off the west coast of Scotland, criminals were ‘birched’ to purify them and to drive out evil influences.

The silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) is the most common tree birch in much of Europe. It grows up to 30 m (100 feet) high, but is more often found in spreading clumps on sandy soils. It is one of the first trees to colonize an area after a mature forest is cut; this is probably a large part of its symbolic connection with new beginnings. It is cultivated in North America, often under the name of weeping birch.

Its symbols are the horned animals, especially goats and stags. Connected to pentagrams and mountains. The Magician tarot card. Symbolized by Cernunnos – the horned one, said to be the Soul of Lugh, and the Dagda – Celtic Earth god. Archetypically related to other horned gods such as Pan, the Hircocervus (sacred Goat-Stag), the Egyptian horned god Asar (Osiris), and Shiva who is lord of the animals.

Birch trees have been long associated with fertility and healing magic, and the twigs were used to bestow fertility on cattle and newlyweds. Birch is most useful for fertility and healing spells. The birch has a multitude of uses: it yields a sap similar to maple syrup; its bark can be used as flour and also make birch beer; and birch tea is said to ease rheumatism and gout. The inner bark provides a pain reliever while the leaves can be used to treat arthritis.

–Excerpt taken from http://www.crystal-forest.com/celtictreemonthBIRCH.html