We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Wordless Wednesday



Black Widow Mermaid ~ by JFM


Do not listen to her call
you must ignore her plea
do not answer, do not follow
when she calls you toward the sea

she has a dark, ebony beauty
while sitting on the rocks
where she has lured many a sailor
from the safety of the docks

she will enchant you and bewitch you
then take you by your hand
where she will lead you into deep, dark waters
far away from land and sand

there she will become her true self
the Black Widow that she was meant to be
where she will drown your cries and sorrows
deep in her lair below the sea~

-JFM

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A very special THANK YOU to my dear friend and very talented artist, Jan for being so kind as to allow me to share her beautiful painting and poem with all of you on our blog. She knows what a mermaid lover I am! Please feel free to visit her at her blog, All Mingled Together.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The History of Groundhog Day


German tradition holds that if the sun comes out on Candlemas, the precursor to Groundhog Day, the hedgehog (or badger) will see its shadow and six more weeks of winter will follow. When German settlers came to Pennsylvania they continued this tradition, using groundhogs instead of hedgehogs to predict the weather.

The first official Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2, 1886 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, with a proclamation in The Punxsutawney Spirit by the newspaper's editor, Clymer Freas: "Today is groundhog day and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen its shadow." The legendary first Groundhog Day trip to Gobbler's Knob was made the following year by a group of spirited groundhog hunters who dubbed themselves "The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club." Clymer, a member of the club, used his editorial clout to proclaim that Phil, the Punxsutawney Groundhog, was the one and only official weather prognosticating groundhog.

Phil with one of his long-time handlers, John Griffiths. He is one of only two of the Inner Circle members who take care of Phil all year round.


Phil's fame began to spread and newspapers from around the world began to report his predictions. Growing legions of fans started making the trek to Punxsutawney every February 2, and with the release of the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray, the crowds began to number in the tens of thousands. Phil's yearly Groundhog Day predictions are actually even entered into the Congressional Record!


Where does the name Punxsutawney come from?
Punxsutawney was first settled by the Delaware Indians in 1723 and its name comes from the Indian name for the location "ponksad-uteney" which means the "town of the sandflies." The name woodchuck also has Indian origins, coming from the legend of "Wojak, the groundhog."

Where exactly is Punxsutawney?
Punxsutawney is located in Western Pennsylvania, about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.


How did Phil get his name?
The groundhog's full name is actually "Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary." It was so proclaimed by the "Punxsutawney Groundhog Club" in 1887, the same year they declared Punxsutawney to be the weather capital of the world.


How do you know it is really Phil at Gobbler's Knob?
For most of the year, Phil lives in a climate-controlled home at the Punxsutawney Library. He is taken to Gobbler's Knob and placed in a heated burrow underneath a simulated tree stump on stage before being pulled out at 7:25 am on Groundhog Day, February 2, to make his prediction.


How old is Phil anyway?
Phil is reputed by townspeople to be more than 100 years old, surviving beyond a marmot's normal life span thanks to the strong constitution of his wife, Phyllis, and a steady diet of Groundhog Punch.


Was the 1993 film Groundhog Day really filmed in Punxsutawney?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Columbia Pictures decided to film the movie in a location more accessible to a major metropolitan center. Punxsutawney is located in a very rural area with few highways, so Woodstock, Illinois was chosen as the site for the movie. As a result adjustments had to be made for the production. The actual Gobbler's Knob is a wooded hill with a beautiful view; the Gobbler's Knob in the movie is moved to the town square though it is recreated to scale based on detailed notes and videos the crew made on its visit to Punxsutawney.

I can't make it to Gobbler's Knob this year? Is the ceremony going to be on TV?
Most major television stations across the country, as well as the big screen in Times Square, broadcast the official Groundhog Day ceremony.




A German poem:
"For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
  So far will the snow swirl until May.
  For as the snow blows on Candlemas Day,
  So far will the sun shine before May."


Source:  http://pittsburgh.about.com/cs/punxsutawney/a/groundhog_day.htm

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A girls day out!


Greetings my dear friends! I hope your weekend is going well. Today I had a lovely lunch date with four beautiful gals! I finally had the chance to take my goddaughter, Kyli, out for her birthday celebration at Applebees. In addition, my long-time lovely friend (and Kyli's grandma) Kiki joined us along with Kyli's little sister Kayleigha and Kiki's goddaughter Mya ...

Kayleigha, Mya & Kiki
Kyli's complimentary birthday hot fudge sundae!


Sometimes, you just need a girls day out! 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Imbolc




Imbolc or Imbolg (pronounced i-molg), also called (Saint) Brigid's Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Bríde, Scottish Gaelic: Là Fhèill Brìghde, Manx: Laa'l Breeshey), is a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is held on 1 February, or about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals—along with Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain—and corresponds to the Welsh Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau. Christians observe it as the feast day of Saint Brigid, especially in Ireland.

Imbolc is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and there is evidence it has been an important date since ancient times. It is believed that it was originally a pagan festival associated with the goddess Brigid and that it was Christianized as a festival of Saint Brigid, who is thought to be a Christianization of the goddess. At Imbolc, Brigid's crosses were made and a doll-like figure of Brigid, called a Brídeóg, would be paraded from house-to-house. Brigid was said to visit one's home at Imbolc. To receive her blessings, people would make a bed for Brigid and leave her food and drink, while items of clothing would be left outside for her to bless. Brigid was also invoked to protect homes and livestock. Special feasts were had, holy wells were visited and it was also a time for divination.

Although many of its customs died out in the 20th century, it is still observed and in some places it has been revived as a cultural event. Since the latter 20th century, Celtic neopagans and Wiccans have observed Imbolc, or something based on it, as a religious holiday.

Neopaganism
Imbolc or Imbolc-based festivals are held by some Neopagans. As there are many kinds of Neopaganism, their Imbolc celebrations can be very different despite the shared name. Some try to emulate the historic festival as much as possible. Other Neopagans base their celebrations on many sources, with historic accounts of Imbolc being only one of them.

Neopagans usually celebrate Imbolc on 1 February in the Northern Hemisphere and 1 August in the Southern Hemisphere. Some Neopagans celebrate it at the astronomical midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox (or the full moon nearest this point). In the Northern Hemisphere, this is usually on the 3rd or 4 February. Other Neopagans celebrate Imbolc when the primroses, dandelions, and other spring flowers emerge.

Celtic Reconstructionist
Celtic Reconstructionists strive to reconstruct the pre-Christian religions of the Celts. Their religious practices are based on research and historical accounts,but may be modified slightly to suit modern life. They avoid syncretism (i.e. combining practises from different cultures). They usually celebrate the festival when the first stirrings of spring are felt, or on the full moon nearest this. Many use traditional songs and rites from sources such as The Silver Bough and The Carmina Gadelica. It is a time of honouring the Goddess Brigid, and many of her dedicants choose this time of year for rituals to her.

Wicca and NeoDruidry
Wiccans and Neo-Druids celebrate something based on Imbolc as one of the eight Sabbats in their Wheel of the Year, following Midwinter and preceding Ostara. In Wicca, Imbolc is commonly associated with the goddess Brigid and as such it is sometimes seen as a "women's holiday" with specific rites only for female members of a coven. Among Dianic Wiccans, Imbolc is the traditional time for initiations.



A Solitary Imbolc Ritual

Hundreds of years ago, when our ancestors relied upon the sun as their only source of light, the end of winter was met with much celebration. Although it is still cold in February, often the sun shines brightly above us, and the skies are often crisp and clear. As a festival of light, Imbolc came to be called Candlemas. On this evening, when the sun has set once more, call it back by lighting the seven candles of this ritual.

** Note: although this ceremony is written for one, it can easily be adapted for a small group.

First, set up your altar in a way that makes you happy, and brings to mind the themes of Imbolc. You'll also want to have on hand the following:

Prior to beginning your ritual, take a warm, cleansing bath. While soaking, meditate on the concept of purification. Once you're done, dress in your ritual attire, and begin the rite. You'll need:

Seven candles, in red and white (tealights are perfect for this)
Something to light your candles with
A large bowl or cauldron big enough to hold the candles
Sand or salt to fill the bottom of the bowl/cauldron
If your tradition requires you to cast a circle, do so now.

Pour the sand or salt into the bowl or cauldron. Place the seven candles into the sand so they won't slide around. Light the first candle. As you do so, say:

Although it is now dark, I come seeking light.
In the chill of winter, I come seeking life.

Light the second candle, saying:

I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.

Light the third candle. Say:

This light is a boundary, between positive and negative.
That which is outside, shall stay without.
That which is inside, shall stay within.

Light the fourth candle. Say:

I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.

Light the fifth candle, saying:

Like fire, light and love will always grow.
Like fire, wisdom and inspiration will always grow.

Light the sixth candle, and say:

I call upon fire, that melts the snow and warms the hearth.
I call upon fire, that brings the light and makes new life.
I call upon fire to purify me with your flames.

Finally, light the last candle. As you do so, visualize the seven flames coming together as one. As the light builds, see the energy growing in a purifying glow.

Fire of the hearth, blaze of the sun,
cover me in your shining light.
I am awash in your glow, and tonight I am
made pure.

Take a few moments and meditate on the light of your candles. Think about this Sabbat, a time of healing and inspiration and purification. Do you have something damaged that needs to be healed? Are you feeling stagnant, for lack of inspiration? Is there some part of your life that feels toxic or tainted? Visualize the light as a warm, enveloping energy that wraps itself around you, healing your ailments, igniting the spark of creativity, and purifying that which is damaged.

When you are ready, end the ritual.

You follow up with a Cakes and Ale ceremony.

Sources: Wikipedia, About Religion.

)o(    )o(     )o(     )o(     )o(     )o(     )o(     )o(     )o(    


Saturday, January 21, 2017

This and That ...


Happy Saturday everyone! Whatever you have planned, I hope you are enjoying your weekend. Today was a rather lovely day for me as I had a surprise visit from my sister, Robin (Aurora Skye). We spent the day shopping at our local Barnes & Noble bookstore and having a wonderful chat with Dark Elf. All in all a very relaxing day. 


Speaking of relaxing, my cats took full advantage of the lazy Saturday as well ...

Kiki and Tabitha sharing the couch

Lazy Leo lounging on his cat condo

I don't know how many of you have Facebook accounts, but I found a fun little quiz which  "guestimates" what you will look like in the future based on your current profile pic. Here is what the software came up with ... LOL 



Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend  and until next time, Brightest Blessings!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fun Friday!

                   HAPPY FRIDAY & ENJOY THE WEEKEND!  
            

                                                                                                           

Throwback Thursday

 Greetings friends! This week's 'Throwback Thursday' is dedicated to my long-time and very dear friend, Kiki. Tomorrow is her birthday so ...
  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KIKI!! I love you!

My Kiki-girl and me back in 2008 take at a company Christmas Party
 And a pic just taken tonight before her birthday dinner - 2017

And finally, a pic of Kiki and my cat Kiki whom was named after her because she was given to us after her cat, Jinx, had kittens.

Monday, January 16, 2017

2017 Sabbats & Full Moons

 FULL MOONS 
January 12
                                 NEW MOONS
                    January 28
February 10                   February 26
March 12                   March 28
April 11                  April 26
May 10                  May 25
June 9                 June 24
July 9                July 23
August 7               August 21
 September 6              September 20
 October 5             October 19
 November 4            November 18
 December  3            December 18

)o(       )o(       )o(       )o(       )o(       )o(       )o(


Samhain Third Harvest

October 31
Yule  Winter Solstice

December 21
Imbolc Imbolg

February 2
Ostara Spring Equinox

March 21
Beltane May Day

May 1
Litha Midsummer/Summer Solstice
June 21
Lammas Lughnasadh/First Harvest

August 1
Mabon  Autumn Equinox/Second Harvest

 September 21

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Birthday Blessings!


Just a quick shout out to my lovely little (although not so "little" anymore) god-daughter Kylianna who celebrated her 11th birthday this past week. I am so very proud of this gal. She is definitely growing up too quickly.  LOL!!!

My Kyli-girl!

Kyli and her little sister Kayleigha loving on her beloved cat, Neicy

Kyli with her mom, Brit


Next week, I am planning to take her out to her favorite place to eat for lunch, Applebees. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Update to our blog ...


Greetings everyone and Happy Saturday!!  Just a quick message regarding our blog - I have recently added a playlist feature from Hypster.com for your enjoyment. It is turned on automatically when you open our blog link up BUT if you do not wish to hear the music you may feel free to STOP the playlist by CLICKING on the PAUSE button on the left-hand side at the bottom of the playlist box. If you scroll down the blog page, the playlist is to the right-hand side of the NetworkedBlogs widget/feature. 

The song list includes:

Loreena McKennitt
   "The Mummer's Dance," "Marco Polo," and  "All Soul's Night"
 Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac
   "Nightbird," "Rhiannon (live version)," "Sisters of the Moon," and "Crystal," and "Never Going Back Again"
Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic"
Sophie B. Hawkins - "As I Lay Me Down"
The Beatles - "In My Life"
Songs from "The Craft"& "Practical Magic" ~
   Jewel - "Under the Water"
   Lisa Hall - "Is This Real?"
   Matthew Sweet - "Dark Secret"
   Juliana Hatfield - "The Witches Song"
   Love Spit Love - "How Soon is Now?"
  Evanescence - "Bring Me to Life"

And, a selection of Celtic songs by Connie Dover and Kevin Burke 
    
Brightest Blessings All!!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Fun Friday! ("Ho Hey" by The Lumineers)



Throwback Thursday


 Well my friends, it has been a while since I shared a 'Throwback Thursday' post with everyone so here goes ...  :)

 An old pic of me officiating for Lady Sabrina Rhiannon in 2003. She is a Wiccan High Priestess who married a Christian and so she decided to have an inter-faith ceremony. Ironically, it was held at the little Sunday School which I grew up in.

Me hanging out with friends in 1992 ...

in 2002 ...

and in 2009!

Posing for a pic in my first apartment in Shillington, PA (a suburb right outside of Reading, PA) while having lunch with a very dear friend of mine in 1991.


Until next time, Brightest Blessings!