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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On A Silver Day

Last March, my friends and I had the pleasure of meeting Silver Ravenwolf, renowned author of several books on Wicca and witchcraft and a witch who is known for her eclectic style.  She came to Reading, PA to teach her seminar on Pow Wow. For those who are not familiar with Pow Wow, it is a form of magick with roots in German witchcraft dating back 400 years ago.

 As Silver would say, "It is a belief system, not a religion!"  Pow Wow is indigenous to South Central Pennsylvania and heavily associated with a group of people called the Pennsylvania Dutch who live primarily in the Lancaster county area.  Although I, myself, was actually born and raised in Berks county, Lancaster is just a "hop, skip and a jump away," so to speak, from where I live.  My great aunts and uncles used to speak the Pennsylvania Dutch language and, growing up, I learned some as well. 

Naturally, I had heard of Pow Wow, but never really knew much about it or its' true origins.  Pow Wow draws heavily upon ancient chants, talismans and personal energy.  Unlike their ancestors, a majority of the Pennsylvania Dutch people of today do not even acknowledge its' existence - either because their faith lies strickly with Christianity and as a result they do not follow the Craft or because of the fact that over the years it has deteriorated to a great degree into simple faith healing. Unbeknownst to many of them; however, the hex signs which they hang on their barn doors for protection from fire are a form of Pow Wow. Hex signs are used for a variety of different reasons, other than protection. For example, they are also used for luck and love. 

My friends posing outside Celtic Myth & Moonlight - Sara, Lady Sabrina Rhiannon & Deb.

With Silver Ravenwolf at her book signing

I found Silver to be a terrific speaker, witty and extremely personable. Given the chance, I would definately attend another one of her seminars and I would highly recommend them to anyone!

"Ich leibe bisht du!" (I wish you love) -

Lady Caer Morganna 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday Crafts

Well, it's that time of the year again and I am working on my crafts for the holidays. They are fun and I really enjoy making them!

Mabon wreath

Samhain wreath

Yule wreaths

Celestial wreath

 Heart wreath\

Ostara wreath

I also made these crowns which we use in our sabbat rituals every year.

Winter King crown

Holly King crown

Oak King crown

Brigit's crown

Beltane Goddess crown

I used to sell wreaths like these when we would have our O.P.E.N. (Old Paths Enlightener's Network) craft shows. Now I use them to decorate on the holidays!

Brightest Blessings,

Lady Caer Morganna

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Earth Sisters

In fate they so did meet
In friendship they so stayed
Neither realized the kind of bond
That yet was to be made

Judy, so shy and quiet
And Kim with Pisces eyes
Both are kind and caring,
Free spirited and wise

As years went by so quickly
Their lives seemed such a mess
Always striving to move forward
But growing so restless

Until one day they finally found
A love they both could share
In the precious Lord and Lady
Who are always everywhere

They chose their craft names wisely
One Rhiannon, one Caer
And thus respect natures' powers
Of Fire, Water, Earth and Air

They worship now in perfect trust
As they give back to the Earth
And where they once felt unalive,
They now can feel rebirth

So with each passing day
Their sisterhood grows strong
As does their love of music
Which they share in dance and song

They know someday the time will come
The question, not where but when
As Merry Meet, merry part
And Merry they'll meet again

by Lady Caer Morganna

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Witch Song

Who were the witches? Where did they come from?
Maybe your great, great grandmother was one
Witches were wise, wise women they say
And there's a little witch in every woman today

Witches knew all about flowers and weeds,
How to use their roots and their leaves and their seeds
When people grew weary from hard working days,
They made them feel better in so many ways

When women had babies the witches were there
To hold them and help them and give them care
Witches knew stories of how life began
Don't you wish you could be one? Well, maybe you can

Some people thought that the witches were bad
Some people were scared of the power they had
But power to help and heal and to care,
Isn't something to fear, it's a pleasure to share

(by Bonnie Lockhart)
Artwork by Sabrina Underwood - The Ink Witch

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Paganism: A Legitimate Religion

Is Paganism really a legitimate religion/faith? The following are excerpts from an article found in a London newspaper on Paganism and Witchcraft. I thought it interesting and felt compelled to share it on my blog:

“Organizations such as the BBC and the Metropolitan Police are devoting more and more time to the understanding of Pagans and Witches.  According to 2001 figures, there are 144,500 Buddhists, 300,000 Pagans & Witches and the registered Jewish population numbers 259,000.  Astonishingly, around 100 members of the Armed Forces now classify themselves as Pagans and a further 30 as Witches. There are also thought to be about 500 Pagan Police Officers.”

The article goes on to say that Police Officers are now being educated on “how to approach Witches & Pagans.”  They are “instructed to avoid touching a Witches’ Book of Shadows and not to handle the ceremonial dagger known as the athame.”

Diane Narraway, the leader of the Weymouth Druid coven and a teacher of tarot and witchcraft, summed it all up by saying:

“We are soldiers, civil servants, teachers, housewives, accountants, university lecturers, farmers, care-givers, historians, policemen and women, forestry workers, gardeners, call center workers, office clerks, dancers and shop workers.  We live our lives quietly, paying taxes, working hard, loving our families, donating to charities, being part of the fabric of society.”

Yup, pretty much says it all - nuff said.


Friday, November 19, 2010

What is a Witch?

What does it mean to be a witch? Well, to begin with, it is far more than simple spells, potions, rituals and divining the future. It is a way of life – the feeling one gets from communing with the elements of nature and every living thing around us. Calling oneself a “witch” means making a personal choice – a commitment to the divine universe and to helping others while enriching our own lives as well through the knowledge of our Mother Earth and Father God.

Being a witch means never judging anyone nor interfering with their freedom and right to choose their own path. It means always respecting yourself, others and the laws of nature.  It means many things to many people. Although, I have often heard it said that it is a lot like “coming home” and, truly, it is.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2011 Sabbats & Esbats

Imbolg - Wednesday, February 2nd
Ostara/Spring Equinox - Sunday, March 20th
Beltane - Sunday, May 1st
Litha/Summer Solstice - Tuesday, June 21st
Lughnasadh - Saturday, July 30th
Mabon/Autumn Equinox - Friday, September 23rd
Samhain - Monday, October 31st
Yule/Winter Solstice - Thursday, December 22nd

Full Moon/Esbats
Wednesday, January 19th
Friday, February 18th
Saturday, March 19th
Monday, April 18th
Tuesday, May 17th
Wednesday, June 15th
Friday, July 15th
Saturday, August 13th
Monday, September 12th
Wednesday, October 12th
Thursday, November 10th
Saturday, December 10th

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Solitary Imbolg Ritual

1 tall single white candle and wax drip catcher
13 white votive candles or tea lights
Oil lamps
Brigit’s Cross
Besom (broom)
1 Grain or Wicker Dolly (to symboize Brigit)
Brigit’s bed
Jasmine, Rosemary or Myrrh incense
Cauldron or incense burner
athame or wand
Bowl of salt
Cup of water
(All candles should remain UNIT  for the start of the ceremony, including the Goddess and God candles, except for the 1 tall single white candle which you will need lit. Place the 13 votive candles around the perimeter of the circle, these candles include the 4 corner candles.)

Cast the circle and call the corners.  Sweep the perimeter of the circle with the besom to  cleanse and purify it.  Light the incense then begin to invoke the Goddess and God.

“I now do call upon the eternal God in the ancient way, as Young Lord of Light and loving consort to the Lady. You who were reborn as the sun at Yule now comes forth in the bright hopes of youth. Send thy spirit forth so that, I, your humble child may feel your light within me. As it is willed, so mote it be!”

I now do call upon the eternal Goddess in the ancient way, as Mother of life, inspiration and hopes. You who are the bride in waiting to the Lord God. Send thy spirit forth so that, I, your humble child may feel your life within me. As it is willed, so mote it be!”

“Blessed be this season of Imbolg,
Blessed be the Goddess, waiting bride of the returning Sun God.”

Take the athame or wand and press it to the heart of the dolly while saying:
“Holy Bride of Heaven and Earth,
Bless this ritual which honors you!”

Then point the  athame or wand upward towards the sun while saying:
“Holy Groom of Heaven and Earth,
Come now to claim your waiting Bride!”

Kneel before the altar while saying:
“Yule is past and the Young God, like his symbol the sun, is returning to his Lady Goddess, the Mother Earth.  As she turns the Great Wheel, she brings him nearer and soon she will offer herself as his Bride.”

Light the God candle while saying:
“Tonight is the night when warmth overcomes cold,
Blessed be the Young God!’

Now light the Goddess candle while saying:
“Maiden Goddess, innocent and fresh,
I beseech you -
Bring the sun of Spring to warm us all once again.”

Then with the single white candle in your hand, light the surrounding white candles around the circle – symbolizing the Young Goddess (Brigit) turning the Wheel of the Year back to Spring. Kneel  before the altar and light the oil lamps while saying:
“Behold the light!
 The God has returned for his Bride,
Blessed be the light that warms,
Blessed be the God!
Blessed be the Wheel which turns,
Blessed be the Goddess!”

Take the dolly representing the Goddess Brigit  and place it in her bed overnight.  Close ritual and open the circle. Thank the deities and the elements – remembering to give back to the  Earth afterwards.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Solitary Yule Ritual

A bowl of salt
Cup of water
Yule Log (or wreath that holds alteast 3 tall candles)
Yule Cake
Chalice of wine or juice
Rosemary or Frankincense incense
4 corner candles
1 tall Gold God candle
1 tall Silver Goddess candle
Bloodstone or Carnelian gemstones
1 tall white candle (for Maiden)
1 tall red candle (for Mother)
1 tall black candle (for Crone)
Athame and/or Wand
Cauldron or incense burner
Cast circle and call the corners. Light the incense then begin to invoke the Goddess & God.

"I now do call upon the eternal God in the ancient way, as Lord of the Sun. Who, in this season, will be reborn as the Oak King. Send thy spirit forth so that I, your humble child, may feel your light within me. As it is willed, so mote it be!"

INVOCATION OF THE GODDESS: (While lighting the SILVER candle)
"I now do call upon the eternal Goddess in the ancient way, as Young Mother, great womb from whom all life flows. Send thy spirit forth so that I, your humble child, may feel your life within me. As it is willed, so mote it be!"

"Blessed Lady Goddess, mother of the newborn King, I thank you for the bounty of your Earthly body - my home. Blessed be this season of Yule and the newborn God. Blessed be the Lord!"

(Place the holly on the altar in a place of honor)

"Tonight Goddess and God are reunited,
Tonight life and light begin anew,
The Lord and Lady are again one!"

Light the tall WHITE candle while saying:
"Blessed be the Maiden, innocent and fresh!"

Light the tall RED candle while saying:
"Blessed be the Mother, fertile and loving!"

Light the tall BLACK candle while saying:
"Blessed be the Crone, powerful and wise!"

Then light the tall GOLD GOD candle while saying:
"Blessed be the Father, the Lord God and King!"

Take the bowl of salt and pour it into the cup of water. Then take your fingertips and anoint your feet (Maiden), belly (Mother) and head (Crone) for this is the Blessing of the Triple Goddess.

When finished, take the Yule cake and break a piece off to sacrifice to the Goddess. Then hold it upward while saying:

"This bit of life-giving grain of your Earth I give back to you  now in humble thanksgiving. You are in and of this cake, Young Mother. Allow me to use it to fill myself with your boundless presence."

Break off another piece of the Yule cake and eat it. Place the rest of the cake back on the altar to give back to the Earth later. Then take the Chalice of wine or juice and hold it upward while saying:

"Blessed Lady, I thank you for your gift of the newborn King. This water of your Earth I give back to you now in humble thanksgiving. You are in and of this ale, Young Mother. Allow me to use it to fill myself with your boundless presence. Blessed be the Lady!"

Take a drink from the chalice of wine or juice and then place it back on the altar.

"Farewell old year, farewell Holly King."

Then remove the holly from the altar and replace it with the mistletoe, symbol of the Oak King, while saying:

"Blessed be the God, King of the waxing year!
I pray you will guide your children safely through to the season of warmth and light."

Sit for a moment, reflecting upon the Goddess and God and the meaning of the season. When finished close the ritual and open the circle.

"I am a child of deity, I am part of the creative life force which moves the universe, I am part of all that is; Though we are apart, we are ever together - For we are all one in the spirit of our Goddess and our God. 
Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again - Blessed  be!"

(Thank the Goddess and God and the elements - remembering to give back to the Earth afterwards.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Yule - The Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the Christian holiday of Christmas and the arrival of the man called Jesus Christ, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. 

In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule, the Winter Solstice, from December 21 through January.  In recognition of the return of the sun, families would bring home large Yule logs which they would set on fire.

In Germany, people honored the god Oden. In Rome, people celebrated Saturnalia by honoring the god Saturn and so on.  However, between the years of 200-500AD, Christianity had successfully maneuvered into the Roman government which was at that time still predominately Pagan. To the Romans, Christianity resembled several elements of their Roman-Pagan beliefs, particularly Mithraism. Mithra was closely tied to the sun gods Helios and Apollo and Mithras’ birthday was celebrated on December 25th, close to the Winter Solstice which was later changed  by the Christians to Jesus’ birthday.  Furthermore, shepherds were thought to have witnessed Mithras’ birth and were to have partaken in a “last supper” with Mithra before his return to heaven.  The Mithratic Priests’ title, Pater Patrum, soon became the title for the Bishop of Rome, “Papa” or “Pope.” In deed, these remarkable similarities were no coincidence.

Today we, as Wiccans, still celebrate Yule and the Winter Solstice. We honor the birth of the God who was born of the Triple Goddess. Yule is also a time when we look forward to seeing the end of the winter hardships and we can look forward to Imbolg and the on-coming of Spring!

YULE FIRES - by John G. Mackinnon

In ancient days the folk of old
When chilled with fright by the winter's cold,
Did kindle up a great Yule fire
With leaping flames in its' great pyre
So to entice the waning sun
To rise again and wider run;
Its' fiery course across the sky
To warm them so they would not die

So we, whose minds now sense a chill
of anger at the evil will
The human conflict, hate and strife
Which holds a menace over the life,
Would kindle up a flame of love
That we within our hearts many move
In Yuletide joy with love embrace
And thus abide in peace and grace

(For sabbat dates, please see the post, "The Wheel of the Year..." - November 2010)

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Wheel of the Year Turns On and On

The Wheel of the Year consists of the eight Wiccan holy days which we call sabbats and it is the seasonal cycle of life. These Pagan celebrations are directly linked to the Goddess and God in all their aspects and they are divided into two separate groups – the Greater and Lesser sabbats.

The Greater Sabbats are:

Samhain literally means “summer’s end” and is pronounced “sow-in” or “sow-een.” It is the Wiccan New Year and the third harvest of the year. It is the sabbat from which Halloween was born. The Goddess is in her Crone aspect and the God will die and enter the Summerland only to be reborn again at Yule.

Imbolg means “in the belly" (of the Goddess) and is also known as Imbolc (“in milk”).
It is the sabbat which honors the on-coming of Spring. Candlemas (“candle night”) is the Christianized version of this celebration. The Goddess is in her Maiden aspect and the God in his youth. The Celtic goddess Brigid (pronounced “Breed”) is honored at this time.

Beltane is the sabbat which celebrates the sacred marriage of the Goddess & God. The name was taken from Irish-Gaelic meaning “Bel Fire” or “fire of Bel.” Bel was the God of Light and was also known as Beli or Belinus. It is only one of two times a year that the veil between the world of the living and the world of spirit is thin. Samhain is the other.

Lughnasadh literally means “the chase of Lugh” (Lugh was the Celtic Sun God) and it celebrates the first harvest of the year. This sabbat is also known as Lammas (Irish for “old style”) and is also a mid-evil Christian holiday meaning “loaf mass.” The Goddess is in her Mother aspect, but beginning to age. The God is also getting older.

The Lesser Sabbats are:

Yule is the Winter Solstice. The word Yule was taken from the Norse “Jul” which means “wheel.” This is the sabbat from which the Christian holiday of Christmas originates.  The Goddess is a “Triple Goddess” – Maiden, Mother & Crone and the God is born once again of the Goddess.

Ostara which is pronounced “o-stara” is the Spring Equinox and the sabbat from which the Christian holiday of Easter evolved. Much of the Easter lore i.e. rabbits, colored eggs, etc. stems from this Pagan holiday. The goddess Eostre, who was the Teutonic Lunar Goddess of Fertility, is honored at this time. Her sacred animal was the hare. Ostara also celebrates new life with the rebirth of the sun. The Goddess is in her Young Mother aspect and the God, the Young Father.

Mabon, pronounced “may-bone” or “may-bon” is the Autumn Equinox and the second harvest of the year. The name was taken from the Irish “Mabon ap Modron” which means “son of the mother” (Earth). The Goddess and God continue to grow old.

Litha, also known as the Summer Solstice or Midsummer, celebrates the long days and warm weather. Litha is Anglo-Saxon for “before summer” (Aerra Litha). “The Fae” (faeries) are honored at this time and animal blessings and protection spells are usually performed at this time as well. The Goddess is at her peak as Mother and the Father God at his.

Depending upon the tradition, the names of these Pagan sabbats may vary. However, the basic meanings and symbolisms of these ancient earth-based celebrations, for the most part, remain the same.