The Yule Log

The Yule Log
by Lila

The tradition of the Yule logs dates back millennia. The origin of the word Yule seems to originate from the Anglo Saxon word for sun and light. People used to burn a yule log on the Winter Solstice in December. The Winter Solstice is the day of the year with the shortest amount of daylight. Yule is celebrated by fire, which provides a dual role of warmth and keeping evil spirits away. Many people thought that evil spirits were more likely to wander the earth on the longest night of the year. All night bonfires and hearth fires kept evil at bay and provided gathering places for folks to share feasts and stories.

Winter Solstice marks the sun’s victory over darkness; the days would now grow longer. The cinders from the burnt log were thought to protect homes from lightning and the evil powers of the devil. The ashes were also sprinkled on the surrounding fields to ensure good luck for the coming year’s harvest. The largest remaining part of the log was kept safe to kindle next year’s fire.

The Yule log has waned in popularity with the advent of electric heaters and wood stoves. With no access to a hearth, fireplace or fire pit, modern folks are losing a sacred tradition. Today, we may still partake of the Yule Log tradition by creating a smaller version as a table ornament, embellished with greenery and candles, or the popular Yule log cake. As we eat a slice, we can imagine taking in the protective properties of the log.

Many enjoy the practice of lighting the Yule Log. If you choose to burn one, select a log and carve or chalk upon it a figure of the Sun (a rayed disc) or the Horned God (a horned circle). Set it alight in the fireplace at dusk, on Yule. This is a graphic representation of the rebirth of the God within the sacred fire of the Mother Goddess. As the log burns, visualize the Sun shining within it and think of the coming warmer days. Traditionally, a portion of the Yule Log is saved to be used in lighting next year’s log. This piece is kept throughout the year to protect the home.

Whether you are burning a log or creating a centrepiece, different woods may be used to produce different effects:
Aspen: invokes understanding of the grand design
Birch: signifies new beginnings
Holly: inspires visions and reveals past lives
Oak: brings healing, strength, and wisdom, symbol of the Oak king, the New year
Pine: signifies prosperity and growth
Willow: invokes the Goddess to achieve desires
Decorate your log with the any of the following items:
bright green needles of fir represents the birth of the new year
dark green needles of yew represent death of the waning year
vines of ivy or birch branches represent the Goddess
sprigs of holly with red berries represent the Holly king of the dying year
As you light the Yule log chant the following:

As the yule log is kindled
so is the new year begun
as it has been down through the ages
an unending cycle of birth, death, and rebirth
every ending is a new beginning
May the Yule log burn
May all good enter here
May there be wheat for bread
and vats full of wine
(or may we never hunger may we never thirst)

When the log has almost completely burned, collect a small piece of the Yule log (dip in a bucket of water to ensure it is completely out) wrap carefully and keep somewhere in the home for safety and protection.

collect some of the cold ashes and store in a glass bottle. The ash can be used for spells of protection and amulets. The remainder of the Yule ash can be scattered over fields or gardens to ensure fertility in the spring.

Pauline Campanelli; Wheel of the Year

Lila is an initiate in The Sacred Three Goddess school. She lives on a mountain in beautiful British Columbia with her husband, four cats, two ferrets and other varied critters of nature. She spends her time communing with the Faerie folk and long walks by the river.

Simple Self Dedication

Simple Self Dedication

A simple self dedication rite for beginners or for those who would like to rededicate themselves to nature path


SELF DEDICATION RITE

 

Prepare yourself by doing the Ritual Bath and Self Blessing. If you are performing this ritual at the sea or a river, bathe there if you so desire. As you bathe, prepare for the coming rite. Open your consciousness to higher levels of awareness. Breath deep. Cleanse your mind as well as your body. After bathing, dry and dress for the journey.

 

Go to a place in the wild where you feel safe. It should be a comfortable spot where you won’t be disturbed by others, an area where the powers of the Earth and the Elements are evident. It may be a mountain top, a desert canyon or cave, perhaps a dense forest, a rocky outcropping over the sea, a quiet island in the center of a lake. Even a lonely part of a park or garden can be used. Draw on your imagination to find the place.

 

You need take nothing with you but a vial of richly scented oil. Sandalwood, frankincense, cinnamon or any other scent is fine. When you arrive at the place of dedication, remove your shoes and sit quietly for a few moments. Calm your heart if you’ve exerted yourself during your travel. Breathe deeply to return to normal, and keep your mind free of cluttered thoughts. Open yourself to the natural energies around you. When you’re calm, rise and pivot slowly on one foot, surveying the land around you. You’re seeking the ideal spot. Don’t try to find it; open your awareness to the place. When you’ve discovered it (and you’ll know when), sit, kneel or lie flat on your back. Place the oil on the Earth beside you, Don’t stand – contact the Earth. Continue deep breathing. Feel the energies around you.

 

Call the Goddess and God in any words you like, or use the following invocation. Memorize these words before the rite so that they’ll spill effortlessly from you, or improvise:

 

O Mother Goddess, O Father God, Answers to all mysteries and yet mysteries unanswered; In this place of power I open myself to Your Essence. In this place and in this time I am changed; From hence forth I walk the Paths of the Craft. I dedicate myself to you, Mother Goddess and Father God. (rest for a moment, silent, still.)

Then continue:

 

I breathe your energies into my body, commingling, blending, mixing them with mine, that I may see the divine in nature, nature in the divine, and divinity within myself and all else. O Great Goddess, O Great God, Make me one with your essence Make me one with your essence Make me one with your essence.

 

You may feel bursting with power and energy, or calm and at peace. Your mind might be in a whirl. The Earth beneath you may throb and undulate with energy. Wild animals, attracted by the psychic occurrence, might grace you with their presence. Whatever occurs, know that you have opened yourself and that the Goddess and God have heard you.

 

You should feel different inside, at peace or simply powerful. After the invocation, wet a finger with the oil and mark the symbols of the Goddess and God somewhere on your body. It doesn’t matter where; you can do this on your chest, forehead, arms, legs, anywhere. As you anoint, visualize these symbols sinking into your flesh, glowing as they enter your body and then dispersing into millions of tiny points of light.

 

The formal self-dedication is ended. Thank the Goddess and God for Their attention. Sit and meditate before leaving the place of dedication. Once home, celebrate in some special way.

Goddess Bless & Good Wednesday to you, dear friends!

Goddess Comments & Graphics

AMAZING GRACE

          Amazing grace, how sweet the Earth

that bore a witch like me!

I once was burned, now I survive,

was hung and now I sing.

T’was grace that drew down the moon

and grace that raised the seas.

The magic in the people’s will will

set our Mother free.

We face the East and breathe the winds

that move across this earth.

From gentle breeze to hurricane

our breath will bring forth the change.

 Turn towards the South and feel the fir

e that burns in you and me.

 The spirit’s flame will rise again

 and burn eternally.

We greet the West, our souls awash

in tides of primal birth.

Our tears and blood, our pain and love

will cleanse and heal the earth.

Reach into the North and know your roots

 down deep ancestral caves.

We find the wisdom of the Crone,

 Of circles we are made.

Amazing earth, enduring life,

from death into rebirth.

 T’is earth I am and earth I love

and earth I’ll always be.

 Amazing grace, how sweet the Earth

 that bore witches like we.

We once were burned, now we survive,

were hung and now we sing.

Goddess bless, so mote it be,

Our magic spirals on.

Merry meet and merry part

and merry meet again.

Our Goddess Lives Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

Blessed Be!

 

~Magickal Graphics~

Candle Colors and What They Mean

CANDLE COLORS AND WHAT THEY MEAN

White:
A balance of all colors; Spiritual enlightenment, cleansing, clairvoyance, healing, truth seeking; Rituals involving lunar energy. May be substituted for any color candle.

Yellow:
Activity, Creativity, unity; brings power of concentration and imagination to a ritual;  use in rituals where you wish to gain anothers confidence or persuade someone, or in rituals that require solar energy.

Gold:
Fosters understanding and attracts the powers of cosmic influences; beneficial in rituals intended to bring about fast luck or money, or in rituals needing solar energy.

Pink:
Promotes romance, friendship; standard color for rituals to draw affections; a color of femininity, honor, service, brings friendly, lively conversation to the dinner table.

Red:
Health, passion, love, fertility, strength, courage, will power; increases magnetism in rituals; draws Aries and Scorpio energy.

Silver:
Removes negativity and encourages stability; helps develop psychic abilities; attracts the influence of the Mother Goddess.

Purple:
Power, success, idealism, psychic manifestations; ideals for rituals to secure ambitions, independence, financial rewards, or to make contact with the spiritual other world;  increases Neptune energy.

Magenta:
Combination of red and violet that oscillates on a high frequency; energizes rituals where immediate action and high levels of power or spiritual healing are required.

Brown:
Earthly, balanced color; for rituals of material increase; eliminates indecisiveness; improves powers of concentration, study, telepathy; increases financial success; locates objects that have been lost.

Indigo:
Color of inertia; stops situations or people; use in rituals that require a deep meditational state; or in rituals that demand Saturn energy.

Royal Blue:
Promotes laughter and joviality; color or loyalty; use to attract Jupiter energy, or whenever an influence needs to be increased.

Light Blue:
Spiritual color; helpful in devotional or inspirational meditations; brings peace and tranquillity to the home; radiates Aquarius energy; employ where a situation must be synthesized.

Blue:
Primary spiritual color; for rituals to obtain wisdom, harmony, inner light, or peace; confers truth and guidance.

Emerald Green:
Important component in Venusian rituals; attracts love, social delights, and fertility.

Dark Green:
Color of ambition, greed, and jealousy; counteracts these influences in a ritual.

Green:
Promotes prosperity, fertility, success; stimulates rituals for good luck, money, harmony, and rejuvenation.

Gray:
Neutral color useful when pondering complex issues during meditation; in magic, this color often sparks confusion; it also negates or neutralizes a negative influence.

Black:
Opens up the deeper levels of the unconscious; use in rituals to induce a deep meditational state, or to banish evil or negativity as in uncrossing rituals; attracts Saturn energy.

BELIEFS OF GODDESS WORSHIP

Christianity teaches that God is transcendent, is separate from nature, and is represented to humankind through masculine imagery. Witchcraft holds a pantheistic view of God. God is nature, therefore God is in all things and all things are a part of God. However, this God is in actuality a goddess.
A fundamental belief in Goddess Worship is the idea that the goddess predates the male God. The goddess is the giver of all life and is found in all of creation. The importance of the Goddess symbol for women cannot be overstressed. The image of the Goddess inspires women to see ourselves as divine, our bodies as sacred, the changing phases of our lives as holy, our aggression as healthy, and our anger as purifying. Through the Goddess, we can discover our strength, enlighten our minds, own our bodies, and celebrate our emotions.

 
The modern Goddess movement is an attempt to integrate the feminine back into the world as we know it. This means bringing the Goddess out of the shadows and back into the limelight where she belongs. Part of most modern Goddess traditions is the idea that Goddess exists within and around everything in creation. Therefore, if Goddess is sacred, then so is the Earth, so our bodies, etc. Moreover, the relationship between all of these things is equally sacred. Therefore, not only do we need to revere the creations of the Goddess, we must revere the relationship and the systems that Goddess has created, for they each have their purpose. The problem is that we don’t always know what the true system is anymore because our society is so corrupted by the patriarchy. For example, if we only examine the system as it exists today, we might come to the conclusion that women’s place within the system is necessarily subservient to the men in the system. Naturally, eco-feminists would laugh at this idea. First of all, eco-feminism maintains that the natural order of things is not linked by hierarchical value, so the very notion of men governing women is absurd. The nature of things would require reciprocal communication and integral networking.

 
In light of this, then, Goddess religion asserts that Goddess and God cannot be viewed separately, but rather as a network of energies that work together to better the entire network.
Goddess Archetypes:

 
THE MAIDEN The Maiden is the first aspect of the Goddess, presented to us as a young woman, blossoming into womanhood, exploring her sexuality and learning of her beauty. She is most often depicted as a teenaged girl or a woman in her very early twenties.

 
Unlike the images of young women in many patrifocal religions, the Maiden is not necessarily depicted as a virgin in most Goddess traditions. In Catholicism, Mary is depicted not only as a virgin maiden, but continues to be a virgin throughout the duration of her lifetime, regardless of the fact that she was married and gave birth to a child. This has more to do with the taint patrifocal religions assign female sexuality than anything else. But because women’s sexuality is not denigrated in Goddess traditions, there is no need to associate virginity with the Maiden Goddess.

 
In fact, the Maiden Goddess is seen as a particularly sexual being. Because she has just bloomed into her womanly form, she is particularly interested in her body and what it can do. She is interested in her beauty, and she learns to manipulate the affections of other’s based upon her feminine wiles.

 
Some might take offense at my use of the word manipulate in the preceding sentence, but in fact, that is what sexuality is about, both on the part of the male and the female. Flirtation, courting and other manners of getting the attentions of the opposite sex is certainly a form of manipulation. It is not manipulation with malicious intent, to be sure, but when you attempt to curb the attitudes or thoughts of others through your own appearance or behavior, this is a form of manipulation, and by no means negative.

 
Because the Maiden is associated with the first blossoming of womanhood, adulthood and sexuality, she is associated with the Springtime. Just as her body develops breasts and she becomes sexually capable, so too does the Earth mimic her development. Flowers bloom, the Earth awakens from the deep sleep of winter and begins to procreate again. Animals lie with one another, flowers are pollinated. Spring is a time for new beginnings. It is the counterpart to the winter of Death.

 
Just as Spring is the counter to Winter, so too is the Maiden the counter to the Crone. The Crone is the embodiment of death, and subsequently rebirth, and it is through the aspect of the Maiden that the Crone is able to pass from this world and be reborn. As the young Goddess delves into her sexuality, and eventually becomes pregnant, the Elder Goddess may pass away and give her life that the Maiden may become Mother, and one day, Crone. The cycle is never ending.

 
The Maiden takes the Green Man (Horned Lord, many other names in many other cultures) as her consort. In some cultures, the Green Man may be her brother or even her son. At first glance, the courtship between the Maiden and the Sun God seems ripe with incest, because he is always somehow related to her. But if you read the myths associated with the Mother Goddess and how it came to pass that she became pregnant, you will usually find that she became pregnant by her husband, who has to give his life for one reason or another, and she agrees to bring him back into he world as the child in her womb. In essence, she gives birth to her husband, rather than taking her son as her lover. This is even true in the Catholic goddess vision: Jesus was the son of God, but he was also God. Because this idea is confusing and can lead to ideas of incest much like I discussed above, the Christian church left Mary a virgin, thus bypassing the whole sexual encounter, and thus the issue of incest altogether.

 
Maiden Goddess of Note include: Diana, Persephone, Kore, Bleudowedd, Artemis, Ariadne, Hestia, Athena, Aphrodite, Minerva, and Venus.
THE MOTHER The aspect of the Mother Goddess is probably the most widely known and most widely envisioned in most cultures. Because the Earth nourishes and replenishes us, most goddess cultures did pay reverence to the Earth as the Mother, and therefore the Goddesses that are most prominent and about whom stories are most prolific are the goddesses that are the representation of the Mother.

 
She is, in virtually every aspect, a divine or celestial representation of our earthly mothers. Everyone has an earthly mother, or at least did at one point, so we readily understand the relationship between mother and child. The mother is the protector, the care-giver, the kisser of wounds, and the disciplinarian. The Divine Mother is no different.

 
Many of the most ancient goddess figures that archeology has uncovered are goddesses depicted as round, pregnant women. They feature large breasts and full, meaty hips. Some archeologists (patriarchal, close minded fellows, to be sure) have written these goddess figures off as nothing more than prehistoric “porn” figures. However, the generally accepted opinion is that these figures, found in such places as France, modern day Turkey, and Egypt, are actually representations of a mother goddess. There is some speculation that perhaps these figures are not goddesses at all, but rather figures used in fertility rites to enable women to conceive children. This too is a possibility, but when combined with other information that we have (such as other evidence of prehistoric goddess worship, and the fact that the connection between sex and pregnancy was not made until much later than the dates associated with these figures) leads most scholars to believe that these statues are indeed goddess representations.

 
Although the depiction of the Mother Goddess as a pregnant woman is prominent, she is certainly not always seen that way. The Mother aspect may be seen with small child in tow (most often a boy, who later becomes her consort, as is discussed in the section on the Maiden). This aspect of the Mother Goddess plays on the care-giving, sweet, loving aspect of the Goddess. However, do not be fooled into thinking that the Goddess as Mother is a pussy cat. She can also be a warrior.

 
Like earthly mothers, the Goddess is fiercely protective of her children, and in order to provide that protection she will often don the face of the warrior. The Warrior Goddess most probably gained popularity among people who had begun to adopt a more patriarchal (or at least patrifocal) structure. It might be presumptuous to say that matrifocal cultures were not particularly warlike, but it is safe to say that patriarchal cultures were more so. In either case, the warrior Goddess did become popular. In this aspect she is Amazon, fierce and strong, and able to take on any man to protect what needs protection.

 
Just as the maiden is represented by the season of Spring, the Mother aspect is present in Summer. By summer, berries and fruits are ripe, ready for the plucking. Vegetable gardens are mature and harvest is close at hand. The sun is high in the sky, and even though the sun is typically seen as a Male Deity, some cultures did associate the sun with the Goddess, (most notably the early Egyptian culture) and thus the high sun of summer was associated with the Mother, who was also seen as the pinnacle of the cycle of life.

 
In western traditions, the Goddess remains pregnant until the Winter Solstice, at which time she gives birth to a sun god of some kind. (Note the adaptation of the Christian church …Christmas, anyone?) The Catholic Goddess Mary also falls into the category of the Mother Goddess, because she does give birth to King at Solstice. (At least this is how the Christians celebrate the holiday, even though biblical scholars suggest Jesus was very likely born during a warm month)

 
Mary is a curiosity though, because she is a Dual Goddess, and not a Triple Goddess as most multifaceted Goddesses are. She is a maiden because she remains a virgin (and though not all maidens are virgins, all virgin goddesses are maidens), and yet because she gives birth, she is also a Mother. However, there is no reference in the Catholic tradition of Mary as an older woman. Therefore, Mary’s development ended with her at the Mother phase.
Mother Goddesses of Note include: Demeter, Isis, Cerridwyn, Kali, Gaia, Oceana, Brigit, Nuit, Hera, Selene, Anu, Dana, Arianrhod, and Epona
THE CRONE The Crone is the final aspect of the Goddess. The Crone is most often depicted as a Grandmother, a SageWoman, or a Midwife. She is the keeper of Occult Knowledge, the Mysteries and the Queen of the Underworld. It is through the Crone that knowledge of magick, the Dark, and other secrets of the ages are passed down.

 
The Crone is, in some ways, a Triple Goddess herself. She has lived through the tender, sensual age of Maidenhood, suffered the birth pains of Motherhood, and now carries with her the memories of these passages into her old age. But though she has experienced these events, these are not the things she represents, and therefore she is not revered for these traits. Nevertheless, having endured these experiences makes her the wise woman that she is, and enables her to guide us through the dark.

 
Her role as Midwife is both symbolic as well as actual. Traditionally, it is always the older women of the tribe who facilitate the birth of children, most likely because they themselves had gone through, but also because the role of midwife was a sacred position, and thus suitable for an older tribeswoman. Certainly the Crone fulfills this aspect in that she is the midwife to the Queen of Heaven when she gives birth to the Oak King at Yule.

 
But symbolically she is the midwife in our lives as well, guiding us from one phase of life to the next. If you see progression from one phase of life to the next and can see it as a rebirth process, then envision the Crone as the aspect of the goddess that guides you through that time. Transition is very difficult, and for most people it is a time of darkness. It is a time where we have to rely on our intuition, because we are unfamiliar with the territory. But according to the myths and ancient lore, we receive our intuition from the Crone. It is she who guides us, and it is she who facilitates our birth.

 
The Crone Goddess is often times the least seen, because she does represent death, and with death comes fear: fear of the unknown, fear of losing our loved ones, and fear of being alone. But we must remember that with death always comes rebirth. The Crone always brings with her promises of the Maiden, and the cycle never ends

 

.
The Mother aspect of the Goddess is discussed as being a Warrior Goddess, but the Crone can be a Warrior Goddess as well. Where the Mother Goddess is the blood of battle, the War Cry incarnate, the fighting Amazon, the Crone is the Strategy, the ability to see what cannot be seen. She is the seer, the General. The Crone Goddess does not don the face of the warrior to shed blood, but she will provide the courage to walk through the dark, the ability to seek and destroy the enemy, whether the enemy is actual, or internal.

 
In many respects, the Crone Goddess is the aspect of the Goddess that is most called upon to conquer inner demons. This is due to the fact that as the keeper of mysteries, the Crone is also the Keeper of the Underworld. With her help, we are able to travel into the Underworld and fight whatever demons haunt us. Likewise, once we are ready to be reborn, she again acts as the midwife and guides us once again into the light.

 
Crone Goddesses of Note include: Hecate, Kali, Cerridwyn, Badb, Cailleach, Macha, and the Morrigan

 
written by susan lucas

Daily Feng Shui Tip for Monday, June 11th

Many moons ago I started studying Native American spiritual concepts and cultural ceremonies. And I learned that many Native American tribes refer to their god as the Great Spirit, and they would honor this powerful Universal force by offering blue corn as a gift. So on this ‘Corn on the Cob Day’ I am reminded that corn has a played a central role in North and Central American religions for thousands of years. The Maya and the Navajo both believe that humans are created from corn, and nearly every Native American tribe wove corn into their sacred ceremonies. The Corn Mother, perhaps the most widely worshipped deity in pre-Colombian America, symbolized fertility, resurrection and eternity, so corn was considered a magical a gift to the Mother Goddess. The Hopi tribe used it as part of their prediction processes. In fact, each of us can learn to bring that ancient exercise into our modern lives. Fill a small bowl with exactly thirty kernels of dried corn of any color. Then, concentrating on a specific question, take a random number of kernels from the bowl and place them on a table. Divide them into groups of four. If there is an even number of piles with an even number of leftover kernels, the answer to your question will be favorable. However, if the piles and leftover add up to an odd number, then the answer to your question will be negative. Lastly, if you are left with an even number of piles but an odd number of leftovers, confusion could reign. Finally, an old wives tale says that hiccups can cured by naming three kernels of corn after three friends, placing them in a receptacle of water and holding it over your head. Corny as that sounds, I’ve tried it and it works!

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com

On Becoming a Crone

On Becoming a Crone

Author: Belladonna SilverRayne

Why is it so hard to admit we’re growing older? Why do we fight it tooth and nail? Society and the media as a whole, wants to show aging as something to be fought against, to be put off as long as possible. Why? Look at any sit-com, news broadcast, music video…. it’s all about being young and “beautiful”. Youth is made out to be the epitome of what we all want to be. Who wants to get old, right? Wrong!

I will be 45 on my next birthday. A fact that, when said out loud at first, made me mentally cringe. “Me? 45?? That means only 5 more years till I’m 50!!” After I said it aloud several times, and really thought about it, I could say it with confidence. Yes. Me. 45 going onto 50.

And I love it! I am moving into the Crone stage of my life, and enjoying every minute of it!

I loved the Maiden stage, when I was young, supple, carefree, and self-indulgent. Who among us didn’t? Life seemed so simple, so easy to handle. And it was. My biggest worry was what outfit I’d wear out to the club to dance and make merry with friends.

I sowed my oats, looked out for number one (me, of course) and just basically did my own thing. I moved at the speed of light, never really stopping to appreciate the things around me, never really taking anything in. Just “doing”. As I got a little older, I met the person that would become my husband and the father of my kids and we began our life together.

And I grew.

Then came Mother-hood. My body showed great evidence of the birthing of my children, as did my energy levels, emotional (in) stability, and newfound patience. I now had three other human beings, put on this Earth by me, all looking TO me to provide, nourish, teach, and love. Wow! As they grew, learned, made mistakes, and matured, I did as well. I managed to learn along the way to slow down a bit, to really notice things as they happened around me. I watched and listened a little more carefully now. I loved every moment, good and not so good, watching these amazing people who were once actual, living parts of my own body, turn into individuals, all truly unique within themselves, seeing them overcome hurdle after hurdle. Such a reward in life I will never receive again. Or will I?

I divorced my husband, and watched my kids growing older, going out on their own, and beginning their lives as young adults.

And I grew.

When I first began my Pagan path, I was still in what is considered the Mother stage, my kids were still relatively young and “needed” me in a mommy way. I was still very fertile, and the idea of having another baby sometime was not out of the question. Time passed and that idea faded, along with my monthly menses. (Can’t say I miss them much!)

It took me quite awhile to realize that I was no longer in that stage once the Croning period began. I wanted to fight it, to deny it, all for vain reasons, I’m sorry to say. I wanted to cling to that youth, or at least the image of it. Or so I thought. Now, after having met, gotten to know, and come to love, many admirable women, all in the Crone cycle of life, I am fully aware that I too am at that stage. And come to find out, it’s not so bad after all!

As I move into my Croning time, I don’t look at it as an ending, but a beginning, very akin to giving birth (only this time, I don’t think I’ll need all the medications!) . I will be giving birth to my Self. I can allow my Self to now grow, learn, and experience life, as I once allowed my children to do these things.

I am eager to gain more wisdom as time goes by, as the Great Wheel turns, and as season drifts into season.

I am learning to cherish the lines on my face, as each one stands for some lesson learned, some path walked down, perhaps a hardship suffered and come through stronger because of it.

I have begun to admire my stretch marks as battle scars, won not on the field of some war, but fighting to bring life into this world, one wonderful child at a time.

I now embrace the fullness of my softened body, knowing that even though it may not bring life into this world any longer, or be as taut and supple as it was two decades ago, it can still allow for pleasures, for physical support, and for living life in a healthy, Goddess-filled way!

I am now allowing my mature mind to expand and create in ways that it could not in the past.

I enjoy the younger ones coming to me, asking for my opinion, needing a particular sort of comfort that only someone my age can offer.

I am now ready to walk towards the end of my path in this particular life, knowing that even though it comes towards me quicker than ever, there is still much to gather, much to pass on, but still much MORE to learn and take in.

In Pagan societies (as well as many others) Elders are looked to for advice, comfort, wisdom, and as examples. Who better to follow than a grand Crone or Sage, not past their prime, but fully embracing it, fully aware of themselves as human beings? I so hope to be such an example, to my children, my Pagan brothers and sisters, and non-Pagan friends, alike. I want to show what it is to age gracefully, to accept that life is a never-ending cycle of birth, growth, death, and re-birth, in so many ways. I want everyone to see that while youth has it’s merits and perks, so does growing older and wiser.

Whatever stage of life you may be in as a woman. Maiden, Mother, or Crone, realize the absolute beauty of the moment, embrace it for all it is worth, and live each cycle to the fullest. Know that you have earned all that you are made up of, inside and out. And fear not, for Crone is not the end of the line, it is the goal we, as women, all strive to attain.

The First Direction Of Divine Creation

The First Direction Of Divine Creation

Author: Erik Stearns

I have a question for you. How does each of us, when we experience our paths, our own experiences, our own belief systems, and our own spirituality, create our own mythos? What is mythos? Here’s one way to explain it. If one looks at the story telling traditions of many cultures, we see that this art is based on stories illustrating how the culture sees itself as part of and in relation to creation, connection to the divine, connection that spans its citizens, and ways of looking at things that represent the perceived unknown, and the exploration of the mysterious, and resultant rediscovery and insight into itself.

Buffalo Thunder, a fellow Shaman, friend, and somebody whom I consider as a spiritual brother and elder, shared a very interesting story in a conversation we had based on this very topic.

Long ago, there was a nation torn apart by warriors who were fighting with each other, and who had divided the clans against themselves; family member against relative, friend against friend, and individuals against themselves. In addition to threatening the end of their society and culture, it threatened the very survival and existence of the people.

So the Elders and the chief got together in an emergency meeting. The anxious consensus was that something had to be done and now! So the chief was consulted and he asked what the argument was about.

“It’s the warriors, Grandfather, ” said one of the elders. “They’re fighting over which creation story is best or even worse, whose is true.”

The chief, listening in his quiet strength, thought about it and nodded his head sagely. “Call a talking council. We will sit down and each person will tell their story and all will listen.”

Later, the council was convened amid grumblings, accusations, and a more than a few thinly veiled threats that traversed clan boundaries. Seeing his people in this state required that every part of his essence had to come from the quiet inner strength that walked with him on his quest to be as he was.

“I’ve called this council so that we might share what it is that some of you have found a difference worthy enough to divide you. It seems that you wish to war with each other and destroy what seven generations back and beyond have worked so hard to build. What is it that is so valuable to you that you must use it as an excuse to hurt each other and yourselves?”

One of the young warriors stepped forward in defiance of the fact that the elders had such interest in their affairs and worse yet, wanted to mettle in their battle. “It’s the creation story, Grandfather! The other clans have different stories that don’t tell the truth of what really happened! They are wrong! We tried to tell them so, but they accuse us of blaspheming the stories given to us through generations by saying that we’re wrong!”

The whole tribe erupted in passionate and defiant cheers, shouts, accusations, and threats directed to their unwanted spokesman and at each other; a scene that left the elders to shake their heads in dismay. How could they do such a thing? These people were family, friends, teachers, and students! Had they not learned anything? Or was there something even more sinister at work here? Had the teachings and wisdoms of so many generations been lost? Did they not pay attention to the stories of the different worlds and transitions from one to another? Did they not remember what the wisdoms taught to those who would listen of how to traverse the changes?

The piercing hunting cry of Eagle Spirit swooped in on the den of anger and immediately silenced the self-righteous insurrection. But it didn’t come from outside the lodge. All Eyes turned to the center where their leader gazed at each and every soul in that space at that moment with the glance that would have made any adept at the “I dare you” skunk medicine, proud. His eyes were clear and sharp like Eagle, inviting anyone to speak out of turn, much less in anger. He knew where the respect, at least for now still resided. If they wouldn’t listen to each other, then they would listen to him.

When he completed his tour of looking into each person’s heart, he produced the talking stick and held it for all to see. “Each person will say their piece. We will hear each of these stories. Respect and honor will be given and no one will speak unless he or she holds the stick. You will keep silent until the time comes that you do hold it.” The people knew It wasn’t presented as an option at all. The opportunity and the ground rules had been given, and the choice in their immediate destiny was theirs to make. He stepped forward and handed the stick over to the first presenter.

It was a tale of Ictoma, Spider who fed upon the Great Void or Great Mystery to spin her web, traveling through the cosmos, each step another thread spun and how she traversed existence, back and forth, in all directions, weaving and joining together everything that is, was and shall be. It told of her making places in father sky the paths and homes for the stars, and how she hung Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Sun in the heavens so they could watch upon Earth Mother’s and Father Sky’s children.

The end of the legend was greeted by a nod from the chief as he said, “And so it is.” Of course this didn’t sit well with the others as a tide of grumbling and harsh comments were hurled.

“How can you accept this story when you heard none of the others?” asked one of the disgruntled participants.

“Would you like to be escorted out by the guardians?” The chief asked in response. The dissenters backed down. No one would show anger to the children who stood as council guardians.

With peace somewhat established, the second warrior was offered the talking stick and the crowd was regaled with the story of how Turtle with her shell helped to shape the mountains, canyons, valleys, hills and oceans of Earth Mother and how Turtle’s shell carried Grandmother Moon and grandfather Sun and the Star Brothers and Sisters to their homes in Father Sky.

The chief nodded again and said, “And so it is.” The same cycle happened again and again with each succeeding story, but each time with less unrest until everyone had his or her say. At the end, he spoke. “Now you see that each one of us has our own perspective; our own story.”

“How can you say this?” raised the protests, “when you know what the story of creation is? It’s not the one you told a while back.” Shouts of agreement punctuated the statement.

“It’s okay that each one of us has our own creation story, ” said the chief. “You see, our elders teach us that creation is an infinite number of possibilities that arise from the Great Mystery. We know creation as a process that gives birth to each moment that we experience. Each created moment is different, but all the instances come together as one to relate to one another and therefore each of their influences is passed on. This makes the tapestry of the cosmos. So therefore, we are of one creation.”

More uneasy grumbling arose. “Should we call council and have this man removed? Has he lost his mind?” But that was replaced with a realization that he was right. It explained the path, to and of all our relations to a tee. So from then on, more stories were shared and passed on. Aho metaque yoyassin.

Each of us has our own story and we, being reflections of one another are each other’s storytellers. Whether it comes from the Native American traditions and the stories of Kokopelli, or the story of Shaha, the storyteller of the African nations, we are shown in legends that every time they are invited in on a council meeting to hear the decisions of a group or an individual, and are asked what they should do, the storytellers would always say, “It’s your story. I’m just your storyteller. I only speak the truth of what is. How do you want it to be created?”

From that point on, I began to realize that what we say, think and what we do manifests what we want. Even though we think that we don’t want it, we eventually realize at some level, that yes, we did need or want this. We took the journey to learn the lesson.

I was studying with a couple of Pagan, specifically Wicca High Priestesses, and I was told about the Law of Three or the Law of Ten. What we do is returned to us three or even ten-fold, depending on what you do or what you believe. But this came across as baffling to me. If classical physics says that you have an equal and opposite reaction to every action, the conservation of energy, etc., how can this be? How do we get three times as much energy as what we put in? There has to be an equal and opposite reaction, right?

This also came at a time when in meditation, I saw these two snakes forming this perfect circle by swallowing each other’s tail. Neither snake would swallow more than what had been swallowed of them, preserving the balance of the circle. So how does what I was being shown and what I was being told equate to one another? When I asked about this, they didn’t know. They had just accepted the laws as being “as is”. Personally, that strikes me as being dangerous, because in that sense, we give in to blind faith by surrendering our power.

I was at a paradox in my search until I realized that there was more to the symbol than I realized. A subsequent vision appeared to me where the circle became greater and then smaller and greater again, all the while, the serpents being in perfect balance with each other. The way that this balance is maintained is that the circle has infinite amount of room to grow and shrink, as it needs to. The balance is ensured by the great potential. Needless to say, I was amazed and awed at what I found. Now, what amplifies the returning energy? Thus what is also behind the attractor energy or the cause? There are a couple of things. First is the energetic impact, this can manifest in any variety of ways such as: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc. Then at the same time, the universe always seems to have this consistent way of measuring how much of what we need and can handle, and most fascinating: what we need in that moment! Energy through the auspices of the vast potential of “what is” is infinite, therefore automatically conserving energy. Nothing is lost. It allows for things like the Law of Three and the circle of serpents to coexist without conflict.

There was more to it though. When I was receiving my Reiki Master’s attunement, I was taken through a meditation to where I would journey through the great void to the Cosmic Inipi, the sweat lodge where the Star Elders and the others who exist beyond the worldly veils reside. It was the journey that showed me that this void is the playground of creation. Some would call it God/Goddess’s playground. This is our playground. We are all iterations of this creative consciousness. So are the rocks, blades of grass, clouds that float, and drift, the hairs on our heads are all born of sentient thought.

Consequently, we being self-aware, we too have a hand in creating Creation. This void is exactly what the Buddhists talk about. It’s the “no-thing-ness” that the Buddhists would refer to. What’s more, the most astonishing thing one might find in witnessing my journey, was that I went inside, not anywhere else.

Now the inside is referred to as the “seventh direction” of the medicine wheel. The other six being East, South, West, North, Earth, and Sky, with the seventh being the inside of one’s self – the direction of divine connection. So I got this wild hair up a certain area of my body and decided to do an experiment. Next time I do ceremony, why not honor the inside direction first? That would indeed prove to be a hard habit to break considering I’ve done it the other way so many times before.

But upon doing that, I realized that here’s where the power resides, because I’m honoring the fact that I’m a part of creation and that creation is a part of me. It is all one. Because I did this, I was able to draw the power that I needed. I plugged in the wiring first, rather than last. Because of this, I saw that we could be so powerful; because we realize who and what we are created as, and the vast potential that is there for us to be.

In my subsequent celebration, Spirit put a hand on my shoulder and asked, “What is your story?” Now I needed to think I’ve studied many things from different religions, philosophies, shamanism, science, quantum physics; I must have touched it all at one point or another. But I still needed to think about it. So I took the dive and went deep within to the time when there was no thing and no time.

There was only the vast potential. Nothing yet had existed thus far. The first thing that I saw was an empty cup. It was full of nothing. I could put anything in it such as water, wine, stones, pens… hell, Lagos for that matter. Whatever I wanted in there could be put in that cup. It was also something my Aikido and Kung Fu Sensei was showing me at one time while teaching me how to tap my center as a power source.

I had studied many traditions from Christianity, to Buddhism, many forms of Paganism, including Shamanism, to the sciences, including cosmology and quantum physics. Nothing that I had studied though prepared me for the pure astonishment of this confirmation I was about to experience.

So Spirit comes back to me and says, “Now you know what to do.” I stilled myself and thought and thought about it. It was then that I saw this little tiny essence in this great vastness. It then extended itself into a random direction and immediately found that it could extend in the opposite direction. Thus it became a line and the first dimension was born. The line realized that it could grow in another direction and yet another and became an infinite plane, then expanded in another, forming space which could give birth to geometries and shapes and such, then expanded again in another direction and another producing more dimensions. Consequently other essences did the same thing.

This produced infinite number of collisions between dimensions producing moments in creation, all instances. Thus abundance of possibilities and causalities were created. Every little decision and its possible results came into existence all at once. Albert Einstein said, “All times, all possibilities exist all at once.” He was right based on what I was experiencing.

So I began to move through all these instances of people’s lives and mine. I saw the effects of my actions on myself and that of other people’s lives, and their actions upon mine. I realized then that I can move anywhere in this cosmos of ours. I can experience anything I want to. I can move anywhere in this grand tapestry as long as I believe in it. Give it the voice and let the potential carry it. It’s there. That’s how we manifest it.

I literally fell out of the meditation with this feeling of “Holy Smokes!” It was an “Oh my god” moment! We have all the potentials and thus all these creation stories. This one was mine. Therefore as a result, that story became my mythos or my story. “My-thos”, just like everyone has his or her “thos” or their story.

So when we realize the vast potential of what we can be and what others can be, we realize that we are infinite in our power. Why? Because we are parts of the same creation and that creation is always a part of us. What is your story and how do you create it?

One way we can think about this is in the way we pray. Just as there are any number of ways for a story or what we consider reality is created, so too are the number of ways that prayer is offered. Essentially when we pray, we are focusing on a certain action to happen. We are focused on a specific manifestation with at least varying forms of results and successes. We attract that focused upon target to be present in our experience. So how do we do this? Pray that whatever you intend, is. Don’t pray “for” it. If you do that, you are focusing on the lack and therefore that vibration or energy is sent out and thus, that is what is echoed back. Pray that it is. For instance, instead of praying for rain, pray rain. Don’t pray for healing; pray healing. The same goes for peace or whatever you wish attracted to you in that moment.

One person I’d love to meet and just “talk shop” with is author and consciousness researcher Greg Braden. He relayed this story during a recent interview on “Coast to Coast AM”.

A group of researches was investigating prayer, so they went all over the world to talk with various religious people and spiritual practitioners about how they prayed and what the process behind it was, and generally, what the secret was to prayer and how it was made successful. One day these researchers visited this Pueblo village and during their stay, a shaman decided to invite the scientists to witness a rain ceremony. Now to give a little background to this story, there was no forecast for rain, just like so long before, and by meteorological observations, conditions weren’t going to change any time soon.

The researchers took the shaman up on his offer and they headed out to a nearby place in the dessert. The shaman quietly sat for a minute and meditated to get himself centered and connected with his surroundings. Then he called in the directions and stated his intention for rain. After performing what seemed to be preparation of the sacred space, the medicine man quietly sat with his eyes closed for a few minutes.

Suddenly he opens them and says to his audience, “I’m hungry. Let’s go get something to eat.”

The scientists looked at each other and then back at him and asked, “That’s it? You’re not going to do a dance of some kind or anything like that?”

“No, ” he replied. “I’ve already let Great Spirit know what it is that I wish to happen.”

After the food was eaten and appetites satisfied, the shaman took his charges back to the village where a nice big and dark rain cloud had formed overhead and had begun to pour. The researchers in stunned amazement asked their subject what he did.

“It was simple, ” he said with casual aplomb. “When you were observing me meditate, I created the experience in my mind, right down to the way the rain sounds when it hits the ground, how it looks when it falls from the sky and how it splatters on the ground and village walls. I could smell the earth after being watered for the first time in a while. I could see the flash of lightning; hear the roll of the thunder as it echoed the truth of what is. I felt the raindrops on my skin. I could even feel the energy of Father Sky as he gives his gift to Mother Earth. I could taste the renewed sweetness of the air, and so on.”

His audience listened as he continued. “I paid attention to all my senses and created the story around what my senses would tell me, living the experience, and in doing so, I created a vibration that would happen in return. I was very specific in what I was creating so there was no doubt or question of what I had in mind could exist. As you can see, this is the result. This is how it is brought into our present tense.”

So this begs the question: Why do we live in a world where we focus on the illusion of separation, when the answer is so simple?

So what I’ve given you today is a couple of great secrets in experiencing ones own personal magick. No, this is not ‘magic’ that is based primarily on illusion, but that of co-creation, because that’s really what it is. When we help the creator create something out of seeming nothingness, or even if it’s a linear or logical impossibility, if we believe it, we have faith in it, and we know that it is; there is nothing that we can’t manifest. There is nothing whether you consider positive or negative or right or left or whatever; there is nothing that you can’t manifest. If you believe it, and you want it, and you pray that it is, then it is. You are connecting to that divine source within, not within your body but within your soul or spirit – that little essence that is you.

When we incarnate into different densities; such this physical dimension, we come deep from within Source. We come deep from within Spirit’s heart because of the fact that our hearts are resonant or “in rhythm with Mother Drum”.

I find this to be true. Our hearts beat the same beat. Our hearts beat the same rhythm so why can’t we create? Well, we can. There is no such thing as “can’t” as far as the cosmos is concerned. If the universe doesn’t know the definition of the word “no”, then why should we when we, when we are the architects of our lives? And so therefore, why should we fear anything – especially that of lack or something that may seem different or strange to us?

We know who we are and so therefore, we can respect and love one other in one peaceful creation and this gives credence to the phrase that becomes the heart of my path: known as “Aho Metaque yoyassin!” Roughly translated, that means “To and of our relations.” This includes our relations to each other, our relations to Spirit, our relations to everything that is, and our relation to ourselves, because all time really exists at the same time.

So when you realize that, you begin to walk in your own power and nobody can take that away from you. You have discovered your own divine right. When you have discovered your own divine right, then you take your rightful place in creation and move on from there.

So what is your story that you create?


Footnotes:
Adapted from the speech given at the First Spiritualist Church of Austin July 9, 2006

Dragon Magick

Dragon Magick

 
 
Western and Eastern European and Scandinavian dragons are the true fire dragons. They are primarily guardians of gold, described as the life blood of the earth, and live in caves. The Oriental dragons are mainly air and water dragons, associated with life-giving rain, with winds and storms and with gems and pearls, through there are the fiery kinds as well, as seen in processions.
 
Dragon magick uses the spiritual power associated with fire-breathing dragons to protect your own particular treasures. These treasures might be tangible ones like your home or your family. Less tangibly, treasure to you might represent speaking the truth or receiving honesty from others, the power to develop your career or heaing powers, or the ability to love or gain knowledge. Dragon magick is also good way of manifesting prosperity in your life, not for its own sake but in order to have the resources to do all the things you want to – and so that you don’t need to worry and can bring happiness to others.
 
For despite their bad press in Christian times as symbols of the earth mother, dragons are essentially wise and noble. Of course, physical dragons don’t exist. By means of visualization however, you can build up a connection the huge energy field of the dragon that exist spiritually, the same way the love and altruism are real.
 
Fire dragons are variously described as possessing all or some of the following: eagles’ feet, bat-like wings, the front legs of a lion, a reptile or dinosaur’s head with a huge mouth and teeth from which smoke and fire pours, huge scales, the horns of an antelope, a soft underbelly and a spade-like snake or lizard-like tail that may being close to the head.
 
Smaller fire drakes, found in the myths of France and Germany, don’t have wings, but are red and have fiery breath. They live in caves with their great hoards, the riches of the earth.
 
According to Bulgarian dragon lore, the male dragon is the fiery one and is a benign protector of humans and the crops, in contrast to his watery and less well-disposed sister. In this tradition, dragons have three heads and wings.
 
The ruler of the fire dragons is called Fafnir, whose name comes from the Norse and German culture. He was once a dwarf but was transformed into a dragon because of his love of the treasures he created and the metals he forged. He was killed by Sigrid Volsungr or Siegfried who burned himself, licked his fingers and so absorbed the dragon’s power to commune with the birds.
 
This isn’t a straightforward legend and has a lot to do with the overcoming of the earlier earth goddess power as typified by the dragons. Therefore, Fafnir shouldn’t be thought of as a greedy dwarf who became a dragon to be slain, as in the patriarchal, monk-recorded legends. Rather, Fafnir is lord of the dragons, who guards from the greedy and insensitive the power of the hidden treasures, whether these be of the goddess or your own potential. So if you do include Fafnir in your dragon chants recall his wonderful craftsmanship and how he conserves the minerals of the earth – not a bad lesson for modern times.

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage Five Moving to a Conclusion

The Five Stages of Spellcasting: Stage Five Moving to a Conclusion

 

Staging 5: Moving to a conclusion – grounding or internalizing the power

If you would like to incorporate cakes and ale into a spell or ritual, this would be the point at which you would first take the cakes on the dish. When you are working alone, this is a lovely part of a spell or ritual to help to connect you with the love all round you.

Raise the cakes on their plate (one for you and one for the birds if working alone) skywards away from the altar.

Then lower them to waist height in front of you, saying:

“May the abundance of the Mother and the bountifulness of the Father bless and nourish, sustain and protect me/you/us all my/your/our days.”

 

You can, if more than one person is present, choose one to hold the dish and another to bless the cakes by making either a pentagram or a cross over the dish as the words are spoken. You can, of course, do this alone with your power hand.

Put the plate in the center of the altar.

Now take the chalice or goblet in your receptive hand and your wand in your power hand and gently lower the tip of the wand so it almost touches the surface of the wine or juice. Say:

“As male to female, god to goddess, so in this wine/juice is joined power and love, strength and compassion, striving and acceptance.”

 

Return it to the center of the altar.

If more than one person is present, one can bless the cakes and another can bless the wine. The same people are usually chosen to carry out the blessings, but you may prefer to share the duties. Often the wand is held by a female and the cup by a male for the crossing of energies, but two women or men can carry out the ceremony.

You should then take the cakes, scatter a few crumbs on the ground (or in a dish indoors) and say:

“I return the gift to the earth mother in thanks for blessings received. Blessings be.”

 

After the ceremony feed the rest of this cake to the birds.

At this point if there were two people involved, you can offer each other a cake and then pass them round to anyone else present. Each person can say:

“Blessed be.”

 

Or add a blessing before eating.

You should then return the plate to the altar and take the wine, pouring a little on the ground and thanking mother earth again for her blessings. (Pour this offering into a dish if indoors and you can put the crumbs and liquid outside after the ceremony.)

Now drink or offer the drink to the other person who blessed the chalice. He or she will take a sip and offer it to you and to the other person who carried out the blessings, saying:

“Blessings be.”

 

If others are present, pass the cup round so each can take a sip, saying:

“Blessings be.”

 

And perhaps adding a blessing before passing it on.