As a part of my Autumnal duties I am doing a lot of cleaning, and purging of old belongings. Two decades of witchcraft, and five years in the same residence leads to boatloads of random occult paraphernalia and other such accoutrements.
However, it’s quite easy for me to be distracted while doing such tasks, as each object evokes memories of a period in my life
Then I stumble across this. My first “Book of Shadows”. Penned by a twelve year old little Matthew. Filled with the most saccharine of bookstore bought ‘Wicca’ and musings about the planets, the gods, and various herbs. Bear in mind this was roughly 22 years ago, and we all start somewhere.
It’s amazes me, how different I’ve become, yet what bits remain the same. But to see how much I’ve grown, how much I’ve learned, how much I’ve changed. How my practice and my voice is confidently claimed as my own.
Though, I suppose that is what such tomes are charged with isn’t it? Records of spells once woven, words once spoken, and of children who would sing to the spirits.
This path incorporates that of Celtic roots and traditions, as well as modern traditions. We celebrate seven major sabbats by the Celtic year, seven sacred trees, seven perceivable realms/sights, & seven great Fae. We work with the earth, planets and the stars. & as for magical practices: Folk magic, traditional witchcraft, Faeid, & hedge witchery are the foundation for this path, while it’s structure is footed in wicca, with the emphasis on the natural order of the world, the seasons, the moon phases, the elements, & the emphasis on the masculine and feminine energies.
The Seven Sights
First Sight The first sight is the natural & physical sight we’re usually born with.
Second Sight The second sight is the signature sight, it’s the ability to pick up on small signatures or footprints of the metaphysical world. ( ghosts or shadow sightings would be placed here )
Third Sight The extra visionary sight, this is the ability to clearly visualize, and revisualize.
Fourth sight The Astral sight, the ability to the perceive things in the astral realm. ( astral traveling and lucid dreaming would be placed here )
Fifth sight The second sight, this is where common spirits and entities wander, and if they so allow can be perceive.
Sixth Sight The third sight, this is the ability to see entities and spirits who don’t wish to be seen, or are more hidden from our perception. ( spirits, faeries, and other such entities )
Seventh Sight This is the all sight, this is the ability to not only perceive the unseen, but to also visualize them. Not all entities have a physical appearance, the ability to put a face to them or to visualize them in a way they condone, or is as accurate as possible. Perceiving aura’s and energies are also in the category.
The path of seven is built upon the understanding that there are realms or dimensions in which coexist along side ours, which are not limited to just our planet, but the universe as a whole. And that everything and everyone is stardust, that is, we’re all made of the same elements and stuff that makes up our universe.
We believe in celebrating of the natural cycles of our planet, and cherishing nature and the spirits who abide there.
The first people
The first people are referring to the entities ( Faerie, Elves, Huldrefolk, Spirits, Deities, Star beings, & other bodies of myth ). Whom roamed and shaped the earth, And who enlightened, inspired, & terrorized man kind. They came to fade out of mans physical existence, and resulted to myth, dimensions away. Like the lore of the first people of Ireland, Fairies ( Aos Si ) withdrew to the Fairy mounds, returning to the earth. These beings who we believe can still be experienced and contacted, and the ones who have come in our time. ( spirits/ghosts ).
Secular Belief System Although the presence of Deities, Spirits, Faeries, & other Entities is strongly woven into our path, We see them as on either side of fact and fiction. Think of them as metaphysical embodiment of energy, Ideas & cosmos, in which can manifest, or perhaps is lingering in a separate realm.
We have a strong belief in the right to choose what is right, and wrong, given you mind the consequences of you’re actions. Harm come & come consequence. Which essentially means, If you intend harm ( such as cursing, or negative actions ) you must accept the consequences, and weigh the price of your actions, does the good out weigh the bad? and are you willing to take the flack for something? its up to you to know whats good and bad given the circumstances.
Physical Description (Image Pending) Lady star is seen wearing a cloak or dress (similar to a bog dress) of stars, mantled with feathers, a crown of seven stars, & a chord belt often adorned with bells. She has long flowing white hair & holds a spindle or lucet in one hand, with silver or white string, & a book, skull, or incense lantern.
Colours: White, Silver, Blue. Planet/Star/Constilation: Polaris Constilation, Pleiades. Element: Air Moon Phase: Waning Crecent. Time Of Day: Twilight. Stones: Blue calcite, Meteorite, Blue Goldstone, White Fluorite. Herbs/Flowers: Lavender, Star Anise, Dandilion, Elderflower, Trientalis. Tree: Elder Objects & Tools: Feathers, Bells & Chimes, Chords, Skulls, Quills, Incense, Lucet, Spindle, Wand. Season: Fall. Animal(s): Blackbird, Swan, Spider, Bear, Bat. Tarot card(s): The Fool, The Star, Ace of Wands. Traits: Knowledge, Growth, Freedom, Creativity, Rebirth, Maturity. Knowledge: Divination, Arts & Muses, Smoke, Knot, Chord, & Paper Magic, Imagination. Godesses Associated: Astrea, Arianrhod, Nyx, Nut, Artemis, Noxx, Tianquiztli, Citlalmina, Hera.
So, being pagan, I usually go into the local wildlife preserve to pray and such, especially when something big has happened. I went there when my mom took a turn for the worse a.month or so ago, and again today, when I got a new job at my dream company.(thank the Gods)
The reason I am talking about this is because unlike most religions, I don’t exactly have a place to ‘go.’
And so, I am thinking of maybe erecting a small outdoor altar at this public wildlife reserve. I even found an area for it. So, what to you think? I’d like some opinions, and maybe suggestions on what it could be like.
I want it to be out of the way, so people won’t just stumble onto it, but I also want it to be recognizably a pagan altar. The area I chose is near a new bridge they’re building that goes into a second part of the trail. It overlooks the river, and would be at the base of a tree. So.
It has been a busy day! Harvesting, drying and enjoying the “weather”,,, My offertory herbs are looking great for Aug 1st so life is good, Yes my Mullein has a slight “issue” atm. Please pardon the drill, forgot to put it away…
Physical Description (Image Pending) The Night King is seen wearing a cloak of stars trimmed with gold, & a Fir branch crown or belt. The moon frames his head. in one hand he holds a chalice, the other a snake,
So, I just got a big how-do-ya-do for Brighid. I was in the Post Exchange looking for a new book to exclusively write poetry in and I saw the lovely little green notebook with beautiful, raised, knotwork all over it. I had seen it before and considered buying it but had refrained as I was trying to be good (I have way to many notebooks as it is). This time though, that idea popped into my head that I could use it for devotionals but that didn’t make too much sense because I only *just* started working with Isis and a Celtic styled notebook doesn’t really fit her. However I felt a very strong draw to the book and the idea of poetic devotionals wouldn’t get out of my head, so I ended up buying it.
On the way home I kept thinking about a Celtic deity of poetry but I couldn’t think of the name. When I got home I looked it up and the second I saw Brighid’s name it was like *click* that’s who’s talking to me. It makes sense that she would try to contact me as I’ve always been a very big fire person (raised with a potbellied stove for central heating, Leo, lots and lots of being the fire tender while camping, center on fire in all of my witchcraft), I have been a poet for about 13 years now and I always end up being everyone’s little doctor lady. That and I have just started reaching out to the gods to try and find some that I would like to work with.
So can anyone tell me a bit about what I might be in for as I begin trying to work with her?
Did you ever have that feeling where you had to cleanse your mind body and soul before you could truly tap into your energies and abilities in your path? I also feel out of touch with my natural energies and the abilities I have.
Do any of you lovelies have any advice on like a cleansing? Or unblocking of energies of some sort?
So. I am Celtic Eclectic Pagan. The title of Celtic Wiccan comes very close to describing me, but not close enough. I have functioned as a High Priestess for a small coven, though we were fairly informal. I have taught several people, at least to the point they could continue on their own, or chose to stop.
That said, I am so very tired of all this ‘dick measuring’ I see going on in the pagan community. People take their religion very seriously, I understand. My problem is that I feel there shouldn’t be an argument over Gardenian Wicca vs Druidic Paganisim vs Golden Dawn. At least there shouldn’t be a *who is right* argument. Go ahead, debate, but keep it friendly. Or at least keep it cordial. If we keep doing this, like the vast part of the pagan community seems to be, what will be accomplished? Nothing. Nothing but hot air buffeting what is left of the icecaps. Religion should never devolve into who is right and who is wrong, but evolve into what is right for each individual. We have the three fold law, and the charges to help guide us on our individual paths, but don’t you think we would get so much more done on our beautiful earth if we ceased arguing and just helped each other out a little?
The Wiccan Holiday of Lammas or Lughnasadh: August 1st or 2nd
The Wiccan Holiday of Lammas or Lughnasadh: August 1st or 2nd
For a good idea of what this holiday means, you should read “sir Gawain and the Green Knight” a poem from the Middle English period (when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote Canterbury Tales). This is the time when the Holly King dies and the Oak King takes over. The New god is born at Yule. This is a time for remembrance of all the gifts the gods and goddesses have given you that year. This is also the First Harvest of the year.
The gods Strength begins to wane. The goddess is in sweet lament as she accepts his death while knowing that he lives on inside her as her child. Tammuz is dead in the underworld, Persephone is in the Labyrinth, Hecate Begins to Claim her reign. Lammas is also called Lughnasadh, August eve, and feast of bread. The Roman holiday was called the Festival of Demeter and Persephone and celebrated the reunion of the Grain Goddess her daughter. The Native American Hopi Holiday is called The Flute Ceremony.
This is the celebration of the first harvest; one of the mysteries of Lammas is the wonderful paradox of abundance and loss. We enjoy great bounty yet the sun is growing weaker as we celebrate the harvest and honor the Corn Mother. We also celebrate the sacrifice of the Grain God.
Lammas is the time of waiting, Changing, and Focusing on things to come. This is the time to contemplate the life in death and death in life aspects of the Goddess, Mother Earth.
Lammas is also called Lughnasadh in honor of Lugh the shining one, an Ancient Celtic sun and Grain God. At first glance it appears the we are celebrating the death of Lugh, but the god of light does not really die until the Autumnal Equinox “Mabon”. If you study Irish myths you will discover that it is not Lugh’s Death that we are celebrating but the funeral which he hosted to commemorate the death of his foster mother Taillte.
The goddess is eternal, she ripens, ages, then sleeps through winter and awakens renewed as the maiden again. But the god must die in order to be reborn. This theme is repeated again and again. The tale of Adonis, Llew, Balder, and the battle of the Oak King and the Holly King are but some of the ledgends.
Of old, Human Survival was dependant on a bountiful local harvest. Still today life is affected by the rhythms of Nature. At harvest in ancient times, the last sheaf of grain left standing was believed to hold the spirit of all the grain. No one would cut it, Instead they their sickles at it until it fell. It was then ritually gathered and fashioned into the shape of a woman and called the Corn Mother. She was adorned with ribbons and clothing and then joyfully carried along with the rest of the harvest back to the village threshing floor and remained there while the harvest was being threshed. The Celts called her Calliach and her spring counterpart is called Bride. They are 2 aspects of the great goddess: the Crone at Lammas or Lughnasadh and the Maiden at Imbolc.
Many Wiccans fashion Corn Mothers or Corn Dollies at Lammas. In the city you can purchase Bunches of Wheat at a craft supplies store, a florist, or a farmers market. Here is a simple method of fashioning a
Corn Mother: Save part of the bundle for the arms and head. Tie the bundle around the middle; bend the tops all over all around to form the skirt. Tie the bundle around again to make the waist. Make 2 small bundles and insert them in the upper portion to form the arms. Insert a bundle in the top to form the head. Adorn your Corn Mother as you desire. You may wish to carry her all around your circle then place her on the alter during your rites. Store her in a safe resting place until you honor her again as Bride at Imbolc.
In the Northern Hemisphere, Lammas is berry picking time in many regions. In the British Isles it is traditional to gather bilberries, This gathering was once considered a sacred act. Traditional Alexandrian and Gardnerian Books of Shadows say very little about the Lammas Holiday stating only that poles should be ridden and a circle dance performed.
This is an excellent time to make gifts from the garden for gifting at Yule. Gifts from the garden are among the most personable , pleasurable and practical.
Some traditional foods to be enjoyed are bread, berries, acorns, crab apples, grains, cider, cakes and local produce. Some Wiccans honor the Grain god as John Barleycorn with drinks of ale, beer, whiskey, or other grain liquors. It is traditional to plant the seeds from the fruit which is eaten today. The word Lammas is the medieval Christian name for the Holiday and comes from the old English “Hlaf” (Loaf) and Maesse (Mass). Thank the Goddess our Mother for the bountiful harvest and enjoy this ancient holiday