Calendar of the Sun for Jan. 28th

Calendar of the Sun
28 Wolfmonath

Day of Rules: Eunomia’s Day

Color: Black
Element: Air
Altar: Upon a black cloth light a single white candle, and lay upon it a copy of the Principles, a book of the House rules, and various implements of measuring.
Offering: Discuss the Rules.
Daily Meal: Any food that is wholly correct.

Invocation to Eunomia

Hail, Eunomia, Keeper of Rules,
Hora of the Upraised Hand!
We gather here to praise you,
Even though you seem most stern and forbidding,
For without Rules there are no boundaries,
No accountability, no way to stop the ravages
Of another’s passions. Though we value those passions,
We must also value their limits,
For all things must be kept in balance.
These Rules are not merely the chains that bind us,
They are the ropes that hold us up,
Keeping us from falling into confusion.
We honor your gifts, Lady of Rules,
You who are not afraid to stop
What is not honorable behavior,
You who will not stand by
In the face of deeds of shame.

Call: Hail Eunomia, Keeper of Rules!
Response: Hail Eunomia, Keeper of Rules!

Call: Speak the Rule of Iduna, Lady of the Nectar of Immortality!
Response: I will maintain purity of body.
Call: For the body is the sacred temple given to us that we may experience life,
And to harm it is to disrespect the Will
Of those who bestowed it upon you.

Call: Speak the Rule of Hestia, Keeper of the Hearth!
Response: I will maintain simplicity in my possessions.
Call: For waste leaves empty mouths and empty hands,
And greed has a cold heart and no soul.

Call: Speak the Rule of Agni, Fire and Truth!
Response: I will strive for clarity of words.
Call: For words are weapons of great power,
And should not be used in ways that deliberately confuse,
Or add to the blindness in the world;
Rather they should open eyes and minds.

Call: Speak the Rule of Gaea, the Earth beneath our feet!
Response: I will strive to live sustainably on the Earth.
Call: For She is our Mother, and She gives us all that we need,
And to harm her is to destroy our own future.

Call: Speak the Rule of Artemis, Virgin Huntress implacable, of the purest intent!
Response: I will place no commitment of the heart above my commitment to my path.
Call: For we are placed here in this world to learn and to do what we must,
And a promise once made must be kept.

Call: Speak the Rule of Ogoun, hunter and smith, leopard-god without mercy!
Response: I will commit only to honorable work.
Call: For work that aids what is wrong
Is tainted with wrongness in itself,
And we will not be part of that wrongness.

Call: Speak the Rule of Athena, clear-eyed virgin warrior, Lady of Strategy!
Response: I will maintain clarity in all relationships.
Call: For Love too must have its rules, and honesty,
And there must be distance between each,
That the Spirit may lay between us and join us.

Call: Speak now the Rule of Parvati, Dancer and Mother, Sacred Whore!
Response: I will strive for purity in my sexuality.
Call: For the power of the Root Chakra is not to be defiled
By the soul’s shame and the heart’s despair;
The tides of the body are sacred, and are the libation of that Temple.

Call: Speak now the Rule of Odhinn, All-Father and Magician, who speaks to his own!
Response: I will sustain clarity of faith.
Call: For faith is what bears us up when all else falls,
And before the altars of the Gods we are all mortal.

Call: Speak now the rule of Prometheus, Titan who defies the King’s corruption!
Response: I will submit humbly to honorable authority.
Call: For although there must be leaders, lest we lose our way,
Leadership is not given, but is earned by right behavior,
And must be held to a higher standard.

Call: Speak now the Rule of Brigid, Eternal Flame of the Abbey!
Response: I will maintain loyalty to the endurance of my Order.
Call: For we will not survive unless we survive together,
And though we are all lights, only a great flame will warm us.

Call: Speak now the Rule of Shiva, Lord of the Cremation Ground, Destroyer of Illusions!
Response: I will strive always for mindfulness and clarity of soul.
Call: For this discipline is great above all others.

Call: Hail Eunomia, Keeper of Rules,
Hora of the Upraised Hand!
Response: Hail Eunomia!

Astronomy Picture of the Day for Jan. 27th

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2012 January 27
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

NGC 3239 and SN 2012A
Image Credit & Copyright: Adam Block, Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, University of Arizona 

 

Explanation: About 40,000 light-years across, pretty, irregular galaxy NGC 3239 lies near the center of this lovely field of galaxies in the galaxy rich constellation Leo. At a distance of only 25 million light-years it dominates the frame, sporting a peculiar arrangement of structures, young blue star clusters and star forming regions, suggesting that NGC 3239 (aka Arp 263) is the result of a galaxy merger. Appearing nearly on top of the pretty galaxy is a bright, spiky, foreground star, a nearby member of our own Milky Way galaxy almost directly along our line-of-sight to NGC 3239. Still, NGC 3239 is notable for hosting this year’s first confirmed supernova, designated SN 2012A. It was discovered early this month by supernova hunters Bob Moore, Jack Newton, and Tim Puckett. Indicated in a cropped version of the wider image, SN 2012A is just below and right of the bright foreground star. Of course, based on the light-travel time to NGC 3239, the supernova explosion itself occurred 25 million years ago, triggered by the core collapse of a massive star.

Astronomy Picture of the Day for Jan. 23

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2012 January 23
See Explanation.Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version.Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution versionavailable.

Deep Orion Over the Canary Islands
Image Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN) 

Explanation: Which attracts your eye more — the sky or the ground? On the ground are rocky peaks in Teide National Park on Tenerife Island of the Spanish Canary Islands off the northwestern coast of Africa. The volcanic landscape features old island summits and is sometimes used as a testbed for instruments on future Martian rovers. The lights of a nearby hotel shine on the far left. Storm clouds are visible on the horizon, artificially strutted from multiple exposures. Dividing the sky, across the middle of the above deep image, is the vertical band of the Milky Way Galaxy. The red circle on the right is Barnard’s Loop, near the center of which are the famous belt stars of the constellation Orion. Soon after the above image was taken, during an evening earlier this year, storm clouds rolled across, and indoor locations began to attract eyes the most.

Calendar of the Sun for Jan. 22

Calendar of the Sun
22 Wolfmonath

Day of the Water Bearer – Beginning of Aquarius

Colors: Purple and electric blue
Element: Air
Altar: Set with cloth of purple and electric blue, with a tall glass vase holding carbonated water, or plain water with dry ice in it, a feather from a large bird, incense, and a Uranus symbol.
Offerings: A joke that no one has heard yet. Do something differently, or in a new way.
Daily Meal: Waterfowl such as duck or goose. Or try an entirely new and preferably foreign sort of cooking or diet for the day.

Invocation to Aquarius

Bearer of the heavenly waters
Of knowledge and inspiration,
The ebb and flow of the Apsu,
Dipped from the Milky Way,
Neither man nor woman,
Looking ahead in time,
Whose gift is Newness,
Bless us with the ability
To be ready for the future
And all it may bring,
And welcome rather than fear changes.
By the power of all inspiration,
You challenge us
To be open to new things,
And never to give in to stagnation.
May we all go forth in wonder.

Chant:
Wearing my long wing feathers as I fly
Wearing my long wing feathers as I fly
I circle around
I circle around
The boundaries of the Earth.

(Let all present hold hands and dance a simple circle dance while chanting, hands raised high between them. One who is chosen to do the work of the ritual should stand with a great fan, and fan air at the dancers as they pass, like a great wind.)

Astronomy Picture of the Day for Jan. 15th

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2012 January 15
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Infrared Portrait of the Large Magellanic Cloud
Credit: ESA / NASA / JPL-Caltech / STScI 

Explanation: Cosmic dust clouds ripple across this infrared portrait of our Milky Way’s satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. In fact, the remarkable composite image from the Herschel Space Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope show that dust clouds fill this neighboring dwarf galaxy, much like dust along the plane of the Milky Way itself. The dust temperatures tend to trace star forming activity. Spitzer data in blue hues indicate warm dust heated by young stars. Herschel’s instruments contributed the image data shown in red and green, revealing dust emission from cooler and intermediate regions where star formation is just beginning or has stopped. Dominated by dust emission, the Large Magellanic Cloud’s infrared appearance is different from views in optical images. But this galaxy’s well-known Tarantula Nebula still stands out, easily seen here as the brightest region to the left of center. A mere 160,000 light-years distant, the Large Cloud of Magellan is about 30,000 light-years across.

Astronomy Picture of the Day for August 10th

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

The Summer Triangle Over Catalonia

Image Credit: Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN)Explanation: Can you find the Summer Triangle? It’s not hard to find this famous triangle of stars this time of year from northern locations. Just look straight up after sunset and find three of the brightest stars in the sky that nearly form a triangle. Then compare these stars to sky images like the one shown above, or hold up a smart phone running a good sky labelling application. The three stars that form the vertexes of the Summer Triangle are Vega, Deneb, and Altair. Pictured above is a 360 degree full sky projection framing not only the Summer Triangle but the great arch of our Milky Way Galaxy. The image was taken last week in front of a small river that encircles the historic town of Sant Llorenç de la Muga in Catalonia, northeastern Spain.

The Witch’s Altar

The Witch’s Altar
 
Some scholars think that the first altars were actually tombs of the dead where offerings were made to a deified ancestor. Others believe that the idea of the altar came from the Pagan belief that the newly deceased were gathered on the borders of the sky, under the constellation call Ara, meaning “the altar.” Ara lies in the Milky Way, south of Scorpius, and is well to the south of the celestial equator. The ancient Greeks visualized it as the altar on which their Gods swore an oath of allegiance before challenging the Titans for control of the universe. The word “altar” comes from a Latin word that translates to “on high.” We could put a variety of meanings to this terminology–from a physically high place, to a seat in the stars, to the more esoteric meaning of consecrating a sacred area that sits between the worlds of human and deity, enabling the human to work with deity on the deity’s level from where the Witch physically stands. Ancient altars were often made of stone or, if constructed of wood, held some type of stone surface in the center. Many were carved or painted with symbols of animals and deities. It was during the various Inquisitions that the Witch altar took on a more lurid, negative role–an inappropriate and unaccurate representation of the Craft altar–that was reflected in many horror movies from the 1940s through the 70s, feeding the inaccurate, sensationalist information to the general public. During a few modern Craft ceremonies, a person’s body may become the altar for a few moments to meld them with the elemental and divine energies so that in the future they may work easily through space and time; however, sacrifices and rampant sexual excursions, as shown in the movies, are not part of Wiccan dogma.