The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Elements Within - The earth element

 Good Evening,

Firstly, allow me to apologize for the sparse entries I've been submitting of late.  Unfortunately, even for a witch, modern computer technology and its inherent challenges have been visiting me on a regular basis!  I'm casting a spell to allow me to acquire a new laptop, and hopefully I'll be back in force in a short while.

I've also had a dear friend and customer of Enchantments comment that she would like to see this 'witches blog' in its entirety become a bound book!  I will admit to being quite flattered, but personal pride aside, I ask you, my magickal reader, if this would be something you also would be interested in?  Please comment at the bottom of this discussion and I will take all suggestions and comments quite seriously, and try to provide you with what you wish.  Again, allow me to express my humble thanks that so many have expressed such nice comments regarding my work.  Now, onto the discussion of this evening.   

Well, New England has certainly lived up to her fickle reputation of changing weather every few minutes, especially this week. The rain and spits of snow and sleet we've been graced with this past week has made me think about the elements a witch works with. 

We've discussed before the four elements the witch focuses on, earth, air, fire and water. Our fifth element is spirit, which tops them all.  The elements appear at first easy enough to work with, and many start by using them in ritual.  The lit charcoal briquette along with the lit candles brings the element of fire to the altar, the incense as it wafts and floats in the air brings the element of air.

The water is of course the water element and the salt is earth. We use these in ritual, but the elements are also within us.  How so, you may well ask.  The witch believes we are made up of the elements and each element corresponds with human qualities.

The earth element speaks to our physical selves. The air element is our minds, our intellect.  The fire element is our energy, our strength, our sexuality and our passion. The water element is our emotional selves. The fifth element, the spirit, speaks to our spiritual selves. Tonight's discussion will focus on the first four elements.  The witch recognizes that each element in our world, around us and within us needs to be addressed, acknowledged, respected and worked on when there is a deficiency. Totally ignoring an element will eventually create an in-balance that can affect your entire life in an adverse way.

This can be a lengthy discussion as each element covers so much of our lives, we'll touch on one for each of the next few discussions. Tonight we'll discuss the Earth Element.   It think it important to tell you that I have not read about these concept in any book, from any author, although I wouldn't be surprise if others came to these understandings on their personal paths of exploration and discovery, for that is how I came to this understanding  of working and honoring the elements within.

Let's look at the earth element within.  How healthy are you? How much effort do you put into your health? A witch knows that at times we need to be sick. I know!! Crazy, radical concept!! But if we do not give ourselves downtime, our bodies will take that time.  Have you ever wondered how you can be around lots of people who are sick, perhaps everyone has the flu and you get through an entire cold and flu season with no illness?  Or the contrary experience of getting a killer cold in the middle of summer, when no one else you know is sick!! What's up with that??  Simply because our bodies recognizes and deals with stress even if the 'stress' is a super fun vacation.  Our bodies need downtime, to rest, rejuvenate and repair.

We need sleep. Period.  I know, I know, just because you can get by on five or six hours of sleep doesn't mean your body likes it.  If you normally have a short sleep cycle and you are strong, healthy and able to function at your highest level, o.k. you're a 'mutant'.  But many of us adopt this sleep pattern because of work, responsibilities (new moms), extra curricular activities i.e. weekends, holidays, vacations etc.  We, as a culture, no longer know what to do with ourselves when its just ourselves and the opportunity for down time.  Besides sleep, there should be other opportunities for rest,  that is so very important to keeping your earth element balanced and healthy.  Just learning to sit and be. To be comfortable with yourself and your thoughts and just that. With no other distractions or 'stressors'.Now, I'm not saying all the time, but at least some of the time.  Give yourself some time just for you to rest, relax and rejuvenate in a healthy way.

I remember growing up on the farm, and when the men would go out to the hay fields to load hay bales on a flatbed truck. A hay bale weighs appx 100 lbs, or the ones on my father's farm did.  I remember asking once, and always thought when I was able to heft one myself, how strong I must be.  I know now, depending on the wetness of the hay, they can average between 70 and 100 lbs.  The men would walk along behind the truck and pick up these baled cubes of dried grass that a tractor driven machine would make a few days prior, by driving over the cut grass suck up the grass into the body of the baling machine, push the grass into a shoot and out the other side came bales of hay tightly wrapped with baling twine, each identical in size and shape.  These would fall off the back of the baler and later that week, farm workers would pick up each and every bale of hay, and there were thousands in one harvesting season.

The men would work, hefting and stacking bale after bale, in the hot sun, sweaty, sticky and itchy as the hay seeds stuck and the dust from the hay covered everyone. A hot, messy, incredibly tiring job.  Several hours in, and many trips to the farm and barns during the day, as the trucks needed to again be unloaded and the hay barns stacked with the hay that was just collected in the fields, it would be lunch time.  Sacks with sandwiches and fruit would be opened and everyone would sit in the shade of the field's treeline and eat and just be. Seldom was there talking, everyone just ate and rested and just sat there. I think back and the silence, the stillness was so appropriate.  After that much hard work, just giving into the moment to sit.

You may sit and relax after work at home, yet if you are over-indulging in alcohol, watching television, on the computer, even reading a book, you are still putting stress on your body and mind. Just sit. Interaction with another, or a few other people, a loved one, family members can be relaxing and rejuvenating, that's up to how you feel around that person.  Some people can be 'stressors' and some people act as a balm to our souls. Seek out those 'balmy'  individuals to spend quality time with.



Attention needs to go towards how we nurture our bodies also. But don't be thinking I'm going on some nature, health food kick here. I do try to eat healthy, more fruits and vegetables, less red meat, but within reasonable limits, of course.  I mean, every body need a bit of chocolate, at least this witch does!

Remember in the Harry Potter stories how when the dementors came around to suck our someone's soul, the remedy to make the horrible feelings they made everyone feel go away was a healthy bit of chocolate! As it should be.  A more complete magickal potion is yet to be created!  Chocolate just proves to me the creator is a Goddess!!  Of course over indulging in foods known to cause long term disease and illness, high fats, sugars, high calories can again set up a case of earth energy imbalance. Moderation is key.

Exercise, I personally believe, is important.  Of course, you need to respect any medical limitations, but we are physical beings and our bodies are designed for physical activity.  A lack of physical activity can also result in stress build up in the body.  Find fun, stress relieving ways to exercise, and each person should find that physical activity they enjoy most. I won't suggest any, as there are literally thousands of choices, only you can decide that one.  If you're having a hard time narrowing it down, think about when you last were sweaty and smiling. What were you doing? O.K. now, we're getting closer!

Addressing these areas of potential stress build up, which can be taxing on our physical bodies and can also affect the other elements within, can help you become more balanced and happy in your day to day magickal life.  So your homework this week is to take ten minutes, just ten and just .  .  .  sit.  Sit and be.

Wouldn't it be nice if every home had a porch and an old porch swing? Why don't we see porch swings as we once used to, you might ask? I personally think because we've simply forgotten how to use one.  To sit or lay down and watch the world go by, and do simply nothing for just a little while. Now wouldn't that be a magickal moment?



Peace and Happiness 



© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday!! Birthday magicks, legend and lore

 Good Evening,

Ah, yes. Just in case you thought winter was over!!! She is back with a vengeance! Yet, that's o.k., most New Englanders are accustomed to this and are patiently waiting for the break in winter and the spring breezes and warm temperatures to come around.

  I have many friends who have birthdays in the January, February & March months so I thought we'd discuss birthdays and birthday magicks tonight.

The celebration of birthdays goes far back into the mists of ancient legend and lore. The roots of a birthday celebration is entirely made up of magick and religious tradition and date back into antiquity to the earliest Greek and Romans cultures.  Well, it is common knowledge that a birthday is the anniversary of a person's day and month of birth. It is typically celebrated annually on that date and many celebrations traditionally include a special  cake and the burning of candles on top of the cake, that the birthday honoree is expected to blow out, and presents. 

There are various educated guesses as to why the birthday celebration has been so special for so many centuries.  It is commonly felt that because ancient peoples were very superstitious, that the gods on whose day one was given birth to, would follow that person throughout their life. In the ancient world, in complex, highly civilized societies like those found in the Greco/Roman world, it was common to have at least one god or goddess honored on any given day of the year. That's a lot of gods!

But each god/dess had their specialty. Much like people will associate various traits from a symbol in the horoscope, i.e. Virgos are organized, Rams or Aries are fiery,  Aquarians are dreamers, it is believed that the person born on the day of a specific god/dess would integrate those traits in their life. For example, if born on a day that honors a warrior god, it is thought that child  would be successful in battle later in life. It would be probable that that child would be brought up with the fighting arts and be expected to make military life a career. All because of the day he was born.

A child born on the day of a god/dess who was a healer and brought relief from pain of childbirth for instance, most likely would be steered into a lifetime of midwifery and the healing arts.  This was at a time, far back in ancient history when mankind looked around him to give his world understanding, a sense of balance and did what made sense, all in the pursuit of survival.

It was believed that the god/desses, spirits and other worldly energies that follows a person for a lifetime were closer and therefore more available on the anniversary of someone's birth. It soon became a day for wishes and prayers and somewhere along the line, presents were introduced. Perhaps to make manifest that person's wishes instantly on that day. Nonetheless, I for one think the introduction of presents a very good one.

I haven't seen it written, but I suspect that birthdays were first celebrated by mothers for their children as a day of gratitude and to give thanks to the god/desses that brought both mother and child through the birth process safely so that a first birthday could be celebrated.  Remember, it has only been in the last 100 years or so where childbirth is no longer the leading cause of death in women, and death in the first year of life is no longer the leading cause of death in children. Oh yes, that's specific to first world countries, only. 

I don't believe people can appreciate today how very dangerous the act of giving birth was for mother and child, for thousands of years, and even today in second and third world countries with poor medical facilities and virtually no prenatal care.   So somewhere along the line, I think a grateful mother wanted to show her thanks to the gods and goddesses that looked over her baby, and a celebration was born out of love. As all good celebration are.

We've spoken before of the birthday candle spell to Artemis, but let's go over it again.  In ancient Greece, many worshiped Artemis, Goddess of the hunt, the wilderness and animals.   She was also a protector of children. Her temple, which had open sides,  where the moon could be seen during evening rituals,  were often decorated with cakes, round like the moon when full, and crescent shaped like the moon waning or waxing.  Small candles would be placed around and in the cakes and lit in honor of Artemis.

The supplicants would then pray to Artemis and ask her to grant them a boon, or a special blessing or wish. After they asked for their special wish, it was necessary for this candle spell, to blow out the candle with one breath. If it took no more than one breath, it was said Artemis would grant the request. Ah, Ha!  So, if you have partaken of this most ancient of magickal spells, then you have conducted a candle spell well over 5,000 years old! Now doesn't that feel special? Well, it should, you are!

Cakes are significant because cakes at one time were most special and many times only the priests in the temples would be allowed to eat a sweet bread, as that is what cakes back then really were like. More like a bread you might have at Easter time nowadays, slightly sweeter, yet still bread like and yeasty. As these contained uncommon and valuable ingredients, such as yeast and a sweetener, most likely wild honey, it was not a common item amongst the populace until later Greco/Roman times. Even today to have a cake, frosted with special writing on it, is still considered a special thing.

We still burn candles to Artemis, even though many don't know that's what they're doing. But that's the fun part, she doesn't care. She'll answer your wishes anyways. Birthday spell wishes work on the same lines as Spell Manifestation, why and how spell work. (See Spell Manifestation Nov 11, 2010 for further details)

Other cultures celebrate birthdays and other rites of passage such as:

In Japan they celebrate a coming of age for men and women who turn 20, whereas in some Asian cultures 60 is a significant age to honor a person.

In America a sweet sixteen party is customary for girls, whereas the 18th birthday marks the official coming of age as an adult, and 21 as the official, 'now you can drink alcohol' age.

I found in my research a birthday that is called the golden birthday or star birthday is the year a person turns the age of the day they were born on. For instance when someone turns 17 and they were born on the 17th of a month. I personally had never heard of this before, but its celebrated in America apparently.  Well, this witch was born on the 28th so I guess I missed it, by a few years!

The Christian church also celebrates its birthday with The Feast of the Pentecost, and the birthday of Jesus, well that's an entirely different discussion. (See Yuletide to Christmas where did this holiday really begin? 12/1/10) We know that religious birthdays and birthdays of politically significant people, such as Presidents in the United States are often celebrated as national holidays.


There is magick one can do on their birthday when it comes around. Or actually on the full moon following their birthday.  Within the 28 lunar days between the full moon following your birthday and the full moon of the next month, write on a piece of paper a list of the material things you'd like to acquire in the next year.  This is the time for materialistic wishes, remember no martyrs on this path!!

We all need things. Even if its out of the realm of what you think you can achieve, write them down anyways. A new car, perhaps a different, newer car will become available. A watch or new cell phone? How about a new laptop? Mmmm, I should have done this spell after my birthday last year! Ha! Well, anyways, write down the items on a piece of paper and put the paper away. Someplace you will remember and then go about your year. Next year, take out the paper and see how many things came to you over the last twelve months. 

On the topic of manifesting your reality, which is what the witch does with her magick,  you may have to work harder, save money differently or even gasp! ask for what you want, but you will start to gather those items you asked for. I've seen it happen again and again.

So, just a little birthday legend, lore and magick for you!!

Happy Birthday!


© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website.

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Spring!!

 Good Evening,

Oh my Goodness!! What beautiful weather we are having the last few days! Makes you want to just get out. This is also a great time to smudge your home or office.  We smudge not only to get rid of harmful, unhealthy energies, but also to eliminate stagnant and stale energies that have been hanging around since Yule!!

Burn a smudge stick, or even a mixture of dried herbs on a charcoal briquette and a nice banishing, cleansing mixture could contain the following:  mint, sandalwood, copal, cedar and thyme.  Burn a little of the mixture of the smudge stick in each room and open the windows and doors a bit and let some fresh air in while allowing the smoke to dissipate.

This is especially helpful if you have had sickness or any sort of illness in the home or office lately. Remember it still is cold and flu season!

Bring in the spring! Buy fresh flowers to have around your area, go for a walk in the nice weather and notice the subtle but persistent signs of spring. Look for a robin, watch the geese still flying back from warm winter locals, look for new spring plants pushing through the dirt, plan just a bit of spring cleaning. 

Spring will be here in its own good time, but that doesn't mean we can't put up the welcome banners and celebrate its return, even if more snow flies in a few days!!


Peace and Happiness




© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Christian vs Pagan - and a playing field where the two can't play together

 Good Evening,

Today's topic comes to me from some recent consultations I've given regarding spirit possession and other creepy things that may go bump in your head!

Let me explain.  You know I'm a witch, yes? I also work in a world that is filled with magick, possibilities and many exciting things.  Yet, there are darker things in our world, I freely admit that. Yet some people tend towards the belief that when things go wrong in their life, they believe something else, usually malevolent, has caused the disarray.  I firmly respect anyone's beliefs, but .  .  .  BUT .  .  . if you're going to come to me for help, I will not feed into the beliefs that others over time have created to generate fear and to build their own power.

As far as an 'entity', 'spirit', demon'  crazy, weird little Chucky doll, or what have you, overtaking your body and mind and causing havoc in your life. I can't, .  .  .  NO  .  .  . I won't go there.  The discussion this evening goes into exactly why I won't play into those beliefs.

What we have when discussing the magickal world, my world,  that has Goddesses, Gods, spells, magick, and deep spiritual gifts to bestow, is one world. A world that was created long before a devil or adversary first was introduced in the ancient Hebrew texts approximately 7,000 years ago.  My world of magick works on basic ancient scientific principles that derives its foundation from nature and the natural world we live in.The other world is the world of Judeo/Christian beliefs that include a Satan, evil, spirit possession and malevolent entities. Ooooh!

For the first world, as an example, may I present to the court, the concept that there is no evil in nature.   Again, no evil inherent in the natural world. Of course I speak of a natural world without human kind.  But I don't want to give the ending away!!  Yes, animals hunt and kill one another for food, survival, mating rights, territoriality, all that can be better understood by watching Animal Planet. Most will understand what I'm saying, I believe. Even the cat that plays with the mouse before killing it, does not do so out of a desire to torture or harm, but out of curiosity and a sense of play. Most animals that kill, do so swiftly.  I will not include human-trained animals that are trained to harm other animals for the cruel, twisted enjoyment of the human animal. 

In the natural world, human kind has come up with a phrase to describe natural events like hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes. Natural disasters.  Disaster for whom? Humans and the animals domesticated and made to rely on us.  Hurricane Catrina would have been simply another of the Earth's storms if not for the people who put themselves in the way.  Now, understand, I am not discounting or trivializing the tragic human toll these disasters have taken.  Yet, believe it or not, there were many people, ministers of the church amongst others who have claimed that a hurricane like Katrina was 'punishment' for human kinds misdeeds. Really? I have such a hard time believing that, anymore than a world wide flood was sent to destroy all of human kind. Oh, I believe there was a flood, scientists have proven this. But, there are thousands of floods throughout history.  Evil, no. Nature at her most powerful, yes. Nature doesn't pass any judgment, nature just is.

Then we present the case of the Christian belief system. Again, I will say as I have often, Christianity has worked for millions of people for thousands of years, and that's just fine.  I personally don't believe it needs to work for everyone, as I firmly discount that there is anything as restrictive as a religion on the other side. As a belief system, it is said, if one follows Christianity and does all that's expected, follows the rules, well then things are supposed to turn out great.  I for one assume they do  for those that do all of that.

The trouble begins to brew when one comes from a Christian belief system, wants to firmly keep the beliefs they have, and then wishes to toddle into the world of the magickal.  If a magickal person believes in ghosts, that's just fine. But a devote Christian, by teachings, will have to believe that all ghosts are evil and malevolent.  Even great grandma! A person who beliefs in the world of devils, evil entities and demons must realize they are coming at the world from a very Christian, very old Christian, understanding.  If this is you, do not call on the local witch, High Priestess or psychic to help you.  Oh, you'll find the disreputable that will charge you plenty and do little for you. Why? Again, these two worlds cannot interact on the same playing field. Because to fundamentally understand and believe in one worlds principles is to not be able to believe in the other worlds principles. Christianity demands complete exclusivity.  

For me to help someone who believes they are possessed by something evil, that exists outside of them, yet has taken over or entered their body and mind, I would need to:

1.) Believe in a Judeo/Christian theology.
2.) Believe in a Satan, demons, or evil entities that exist purely on their own.
3.) Have no understanding of how the human/mind psychology really works. Though I do not practice, I have studied human psychology for over 20 years, including abnormal psychology and psychiatry.
4.) Believe every  horror movie, scary or ghost movie I've ever seen, scary book I've ever read.
5.) Have a victim mentality, that other things or people are capable of causing mischief and harm by manipulating the magickal world. That I have or had nothing to do with it. That I am a victim,.  Of this I do teach and practice and it just ain't so!!!

Truly, if spirits and evil entities could overtake us, and possess us. Well, .  .  .  .  think about it .  .  .  wouldn't they. Every moment of every day, why wouldn't they? 

I will make a direct comment to the modern Catholic Church about the topic of possession and how they view it today. Shame on you! If you follow the Catholic church's breadcrumb trail concerning this topic over the past thousand plus years,  you will see  that originally the church, during the burning times especially, created a mythology to shore up their new teachings and beliefs. This was primarily a belief that evil spirits existed everywhere and humans were weak and incapable of resisting spirits from possessing them. Therefore they needed the church and the priests to save them. Humans lived at this time, in a world where it was believed  evil, darkness and death was around every corner. A fearful, hysteria filled belief where no rational thought was allowed to exist.

The church then exited the burning times and entered a modern world where the understanding was, those things did not exist. There were no such things as witches, ghosts or evil spirits. Just the light of the Church. This was a predominant belief throughout the twentieth century.  Even the mention of an exorcism would most likely get you kicked out of church, and treated as if you were less than sane.

Then today. In the midst of the most recent maladies suffered by the Catholic church and the predominance of the priests that were accused of pedophilia around the world, the Church has taken a new stand in regards to spirit possession. In November of 2010, a two day conference attended by over 100 Catholic priests in Baltimore, MD was to focus on the church's new agenda. Spirit possession. They have now taken a stance that spirit possession is real and you really need the priests to help exorcise the demons out of you.

I would have much more regard for the Catholic church if they sent their priests to study psychology and psychiatry for those who really believe this can happen.  But then, that would take an awful lot of power away from the priests who the church says you need to save your soul. I find it disturbing that so many people are pulled and turned in different ways by the whims of the church and the need to create a better media image.  Truly we are no longer the ignorant souls that education and knowledge was withheld from for centuries, expected to blindly follow the teachings of the church. Yet so many still live in fear of the promised eternal damnation, should they question or turn away from some teachings.

I recently counseled a woman who believes she is possessed. She had gone to a priest, and they had her drink holy water, and hold a crucifix at night when she sleeps, and all the while she was getting more and more disturbed and was receiving no help. All I could do for her was refer her to a professional that can work with people with these mental illnesses. There are no magic potions to help you when internal demons demand to be addressed and dealt with.  (Oh, yes, don't ever drink holy water!!!  It's not made to be safely ingested and is far from sanitary. I have this on excellent authority) There are no magick spells either. The Goddess will help you, but first you must realize the work is to be done within. And sometimes its just hard work to get where you wish to be.

Believe me my lovely reader, if I could wave my magick wand and make everything better, you better believe I would.  For you, for me, for everyone.  It just doesn't work that way.

If you are looking for evil, we have only to look within. Demons, they're ours also. Just another facet of who we are, or who we believe ourselves to be.  It is a journey of self discovery, that so many choose to make in one lifetime. To find ourselves and learn to love ourselves. Yet, to blame it on an outside source or influence, I believe, just slows the journey down. For truly, when one discards the outside influences, where else can one go. But within. 

Peace and Happiness













© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

 Happy Valentine's Day!,




All out of love spells, no red candles to burn?

You feel all thumbs, 'There's so much still to learn'!

 
One of the most powerful love spells known to man,

anyone can cast it, truly anyone can.


Simply say 'I love you' to someone today


 as you celebrate Valentine's Day!



Have a beautiful day, and spend it with someone you love!!


Peace and Happiness



© 2011 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day - A retail gimmick or real love magick?

 Evening Greetings,



Tonight we will discuss St. Valentine's Day or Valentine's Day as it is now commonly called.  Actually, St. Valentine's Day is no longer appropriate as the Catholic church removed St. Valentine from the Calendar of Saints for universal liturgical veneration when it was revised in 1969.

But how did this holiday start? Does it have anything to do with love? Where do the roses and chocolates come in? O.K., O.K. people want to know!  Long before Christianity, Saints and a man named Valentine,  mankind held festivals that took place all over Europe,  in various cultures,  to celebrate, you guessed it, Spring!  Some may wonder at the vigor and intensity the ancients put into these Spring festivals, for out of eight Celtic holidays, three are to recognize and celebrate the Spring.  Let me explain as we travel back in time to another age.

Long before modern heating of today, with our comfy homes, our warm conveyances (automobiles), warm work places, warm stores and back again to warm homes, people actually experienced winter.  I kid you not. No, really. Do not sit there and tell me you know of winter.  Yes, it's been colder than the last few winters, and without question snowier, but do we really know of winter. Not as our ancestors did.

In ancient times, commonly people heated their homes by living with only a wall between them and their farm cattle. Yes, large beasts of burden and the manure they produce all create heat. Understandably smelly conditions but warmth of some small measure.  In these ancient times, a fireplace to provide sufficient warmth for a small room needed to be large enough for a man to stand up in, and to be blazing. Remember insulation was not in use. There are many diary accounts of waking up in the morning with frost on ones blankets, ice coating the inside of windows and let's not forget the bathrooms were outside, if chamber pots weren't in vogue.

Then add to the winter experience the numbers of people who would sicken and perish due to flu, colds and other illnesses. These often would strike a body whose immune system was already weakened by lack of solid nutrition as many would subsist on scant amounts of food.  Yes, my witchy reader, winter was an entirely different beast many years ago. So it makes sense that Spring was serious reason for celebrations to be held.

Spring celebrations which started for many at the beginning of February have various times designated all the way through until May 1st in many cultures.  An ancient Roman Spring festival was held in February and was called the festival of Lupercalia.  Lupercalia is thought to be a pastoral holiday which recognizes the animals giving birth in the pastures to new spring lambs and calves. Seen as a renewal and cleansing holiday many would do their 'spring cleaning' in February and by doing so magickally and actually eliminate the old, stagnant, germ infested and replace with the new, clean and fresh. The origins seem to suggest that the dead that had perished over the long winter would also be given proper burial and thusly the home or village would be cleansed of the energy of death and dying.

Lupercalia was a festival of fertility and rebirth.  In ancient Rome teenage boys would take strips of animal hide, dip it in bowls of sacrificial blood and run through the towns gently slapping women and crops with the 'fertilizing' agent of the fresh blood. Women looked forward to receiving a swipe of the animal hide on their bodies as they would be granted fertility and good health for their babies. Interestingly, today blood meal is often used in spring gardens to put new life into the soil. 

Many still observe a day of spring cleaning even in these modern times.  Remember we discussed at Imbolc getting rid of old ritual candles and replacing with new candles? The same can be true for many things that represent the winter such as holiday lights, old Yule trees and such.


 There are many scholars that believe that the Catholic church during its rapid rise to power commandeered the Spring rituals as they did to most of the other pagan holidays. They absorbed them, renamed them and gave them all a heavy crust of Christianity. We know that many of the old gods and goddesses were  named as Saints in the early days of the Catholic Church  and that a human, somewhere in legend was declared the actual person who was sainted and many miracles would be attributed to them. This was the case of the Irish Goddess Brigit.  She had been an ancient Goddess to the Celtic people since before written history, and the Catholic Church in its early days found a woman from history, that had actually lived and they fashioned a legend to her memory, and declared her a Saint. She became Saint Brigit.

I personally don't mind the Christianization of the old gods and goddesses because the Church, inadvertently kept them alive and available to us today.  This was finally somewhat recognized by the church in 1969, when many saints of questionable origin, perhaps pagan? were eliminated from their Calendar of Saints.

It is very possible that there was no specific man named Valentine, although it was a common name for the third century of the Roman era. He may have simply been a fictional person created to give credibility to the celebration of the now Christian observance of that day of the year. The Church desired to rid the common people of their pastoral goddess focused holidays and have them turn their devotion to the church. As the holidays that recognize spring have strong love, lust and sex energies, for procreation really was the key for survival of the tribes, it makes sense to say that the focus of spring was love.

The birds are mating, the animals bearing young, the trees are budding and everywhere nature is kicking up her heels and enjoying her lusty visage. The Church is credited as picking the day of February 14th as the supposed day of the death of the priest called Valentine. His story is that he was imprisoned by the pagan Romans a hundred years or so before Rome became Christian and Valentine was executed for the crime of marrying young men and women against the new laws of Rome that forbade young men from marrying. It was felt by the emperor that a single man was a better soldier than a man with a wife and children. Te church used this story to declare St. Valentine of love, young people and happy marriages.


Scholars believe though that the first association between Valentine and love did not occur until Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382 when he wrote this line of prose  "For this was on seynt Volantynys day whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make."    translation: For this was on St. Valentines day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate." An obvious reference to the mating of the birds and animals in the world of nature.


The chocolates and roses are obvious to a witch. Roses have natural love drawing magickal properties and so does chocolate. Chocolate is actually one of the worlds best aphrodisiacs and love potions available. Small amounts of quality chocolate nibbled on throughout a romantic encounter is reputed to be a very lusty love potion for both men and women.  The giving of gifts and flowers redoubtably became popular in the Reconnaissance age and again during the Victorian age when the language of flowers and gift giving became almost a religion in and of itself!


Some may poo, poo the concept of Valentine's Day as being a commercial gimmick.  Funny, no one ever says that about Super Bowl Sunday?  The retailers are just there to provide what so many people are looking for at this time.  Something special for someone special. 

There are those who argue that if we show love everyday do we really need to celebrate a special day dedicated to love. Yes. In my opinion, we as a human race,  celebrate and make special that which has meaning to us. Our birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, heck we even celebrate the weekends!!   Yes, if love is important to you and to have in your life, it's important to not thwart the Gods and Goddesses of love, and not take for granted the loves in your life and celebrate one day that just makes everyone feel good. 


But that's just this witches opinion.






Peace and Happiness along with roses and chocolates!!






© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Solitary vs Coven practice . . . . some words of caution

Evening Greetings,

Solitary practice versus coven practice, which is better for you? This may be a sensitive subject for some people but let's discuss and see where it takes us, shall we?  I started practicing many, many years ago as a solitary simply because I didn't know where to find others of like mind.  I read every book I could get my hands on, and started practicing on my own.  The ideal I strove for,  was to belong to a coven and I soon found that so many others often feel the same way. Why? Firstly, because according to most books written on the subject of witchcraft,  you aren't a real witch if you're not in a coven. Nonsense!!  I believe its a simple matter of everyone wants a like minded group to 'play' with.  Those that feel the same way as you do, believe the same way as you do, etc.  It really is the foundation for all religious belief systems.  Fellowship with others.

Yet it is difficult for new witchlings starting off to find a coven, because many are closed or just not that 'in your face' as to be obvious to new comers where to find them or how to go about becoming a member of one. A good way to find groups that are welcoming new members in CT, is through a wonderful periodical called The Door Opener Magazine.  It's an excellent compilation of holistic therapists, new age ministers, spiritual groups, covens, drum circles, interesting articles, directories of shoppes and professionals, and all that is new age and very cool. The Door Opener Magazine can be found at all fine witch supply stores. Their website is:  thedooropener@comcast.net   There is also a wonderful website for CT called Conscious CT which features the Holistic Community of CT and their website is www.consciousct.org.  There is again an amazing site, that covers our world nationwide called 'The Witches Voice' and this site can be found at www.witchvox.com.  Truly this site is like the CNN or New York Times for witches and pagans!  I love it! This is a site that features the world of the witch and pagan, in articles, a listing of the shoppes, clergy, covens and open gatherings and events in every state in our country.   It's really a priceless website for those seeking others of like minds. I have personally worked with and been a part of these sites listed above and they are authentic, professionally run and responsible websites. 

When I first opened Enchantments as a retail witch shoppe in 2004, I posted a sign up sheet asking people if they would be interested in joining a coven. I had over 200 people sign it, in a little over a month!!  Well, the numbers told me a lot. Primarily that there were many people in our community that wanted to learn more about what we do and how we do it.  So I opened Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts.

I personally feel that someone should be well versed in witchcraft, magick and Wicca before jumping into a coven. Although it is quite common for one to be initiated into a coven without any experience or knowledge and then have them doled out bit by bit,  the 'mysteries' that is.  I find that inconsistent with our beliefs. One needs to know first, if anything the witch is the wise one, the educated one. Then we need to believe second, and then thirdly, wish to belong. For how can anyone say this is what they want, if they don't know what this is? I started the school at Enchantments because I felt that after a student studies for a year and day they are then more able to make an informed decision as to whether this is the path they are really looking for.

When one is looking for a new path, especially a spiritual one, one can safely assume it is because the person does not find comfort in the one they have. But to find comfort in your choice of spiritual path takes work. Inner, personal, at times, life changing work. Many are not willing to do that. Instead, they wish others to change in accordance to their views and desires. They continue along, disgruntled and unhappy, finding fault in others around them in their spiritual group, or even more commonly finding blame in the minister, leader, pastor or other facilitator of their group. 

Even though I have run into those individuals who wanted to join a coven, regardless. They would have jumped through any hoops just to say they were initiates. This really misses the point. Joining a coven isn't about being an initiate, as some feel they are not 'real' witches unless they have been initiated into a coven. To this I say, nonsense!!  If you call yourself a witch, then you are! Becoming a functional part of a coven, well this speaks about ones spiritual growth within a family. Needed change and evolution. This is about hard inner work, and a willingness to put what we think we know aside and look anew at a situation. To become a functional part of a functional family.  Many covens fall short of this. So many are just happy to belong. But change!? What. I've been told by many young priestesses, "There's nothing wrong with me, why should I have to change." To this I never had an answer. Because there is no answer, not one they could hear, anyways.

The problems seems to primarily come from those who enter covens bringing with them the same baggage that they had when they left whatever Western religious tradition they belonged to in the first place.  Many people do this. They become disgruntled with Catholicism so they become Methodists, or pagan, or some other faith.  Some are disgruntled with the fundamentalist Christian belief system they were raised in and become agnostic, atheists or pagan.  So what happens when they join a witches coven? Unless they do serious, inner work to change, the same thing that happened in their last religion. After they learn a bit, figure out the hierarchy and become comfortable,  those who just want to belong and don't wish to do any work, after a while,  their baggage becomes visible again.  Their unhappiness becomes obvious as to the perceived downfalls of yet another religion in their eyes, or when the people facilitating the group 'let them down, in some way'.  Interestingly they always blame others, never themselves.

Not everyone mind you. But for every one who is doing the hard work, the inner work, who quietly move forward and ahead on their path, I have personally seen the drama queens, throwing disarray and negative energies out to others, complaining, whining and casting harmful spells "because I am powerful enough to handle them damn it, and the H.P. doesn't need to know!!" , to putting down others because of a misunderstanding of what rank and the term Priestess really means, and it doesn't mean Princess!! Yes, unfortunately the same attitudes and issues that one finds around any water cooler in any work environment in the world exists in our covens.  At times it's the initiates, other times its even those who hold the rank of High Priest or Priestess. I have often discussed the dangers of the power trip, and then there are those who mistake serving the Goddess with serving the older ranks of the circle. Both sides are dysfunctional.




As a high priestess, I  myself have been accused of all sorts of things. In brief, I'm too strict, not strict enough, too open, not mysterious enough, too honest, abrupt, direct, "you wear your heart on your sleeve.", and my favorite "you're too sensitive."   Yes, I am.  Because I strive to be authentic, to me and those around me.  I only wish that more people would develop a sense of sensitivity and compassion for those around them. Don't misjudge me, I may be a sensitive woman, but I can be hard as nails when I need to be. I try to be compassionate, but I'll speak out against injustice, especially when its politically incorrect, I always stick up for  the underdog, because someone needs to and maybe I'm considered a bit of a liberal, because I don't feel one answer works for everyone, in every situation.  I also take responsibility for my mistakes, and I take credit for my successes.  I piss some people off, and I won't apologize for it.

For I feel personally that we have developed into a society accustomed and familiar with blaming others for our issues. Harshly and without kindness.  We blame our politicians for the state our economy is in, blame others for polluting our earth, chastise our doctors for over prescribing medication, and ridicule our ministers for our lack of spiritual growth. It's the teachers fault our kids can't read, and and although we freely admit we're not perfect, we in turn expect others to live up to standards we ourselves couldn't possibly reach.

I believe we are responsible, each and every one of us, for the world around us, for the happiness we get out of life or that we don't.  In retrospect I have come to a place where the concept of a coven, which is simply a name for a pagan or witches congregation, is simply that, a name for a spiritual gathering.  It contains no special magick, other than the personal magick of those who join the circle. If the work is not done, you find the same situations and frustrations found in any gathering or group. Petty jealousies, gossip, speaking ill behind others backs, even theft and betrayal to those of the group. Why?

When situations developed, other members have asked me: "Well, don't they know what they send out comes back to them? Then why would they do that?" I smile. Just because someone walks a particular path doesn't make them any better or worse than their own actions and words. It certainly doesn't give them anything more or less than the next person, as many falsely believe. There are wonderful, kind and loving people in every walk of life, race, creed, culture and religion. Just as there are those who are less than kind, loving and wonderful  to be found in each group also.

I've had some wonderful experiences working with covens over the past twenty years, and some not so great experiences. But like every experience, it has something to teach you.  What I have learned is there is an incredible world of magick that exists in solitary practice, or practice with a few people, two to three.  Once you start getting a larger group, you get larger problems. I seldom practice magick with a group nowadays, simply myself and the Goddess and of course my wonderful Saturday morning students when we conduct esbats as part of class.

Many covens today are social groups, and they can be anything they choose.  Yet covens can wield great power today with the freedoms our country allows. Their power comes not from the fear they can generate in their communities, but from their work in their communities, helping others and bringing magicks and knowledge to the people as the ancients had.

If you wish to find and join a witches coven, I encourage you to do so.  Yet be aware that it will not take away your issues, do the work you need to do, or make your life any easier. If you find a group with a high priest or priestess worth their salt, they will challenge you, frustrate you and give you plenty of reason to question this path. If you're lucky you will find one like this, because only when you question something's validity does it become clear if it does hold value for you or not.  The ancient Druid's felt that when life was smooth, easy and 'balanced' it was stagnant and dead. They revered change and chaos as necessary to spiritual growth and development.  There are covens that will bring this out, be aware that this exists and choose carefully.  Meeting everyone involved several times and getting a feel for the people that make up the coven is important.

If personalities are such that you feel uncomfortable around them, know they will not get better or more comfortable down the road. Initial energies are important to pay attention to. It is important to try not to allow personalities you encounter to dictate your spiritual path. We can all move along the same path without liking everyone. There really is enough room for everyone. 

Today I find solitary practice, along with teaching others to find their way on the solitary path very rewarding. Don't misunderstand, if you choose solitary the challenges will be there also. Just delivered a bit differently. I respect that a coven is as individual as those who run it, and that they do have an important place in our magickal community.  I also respect that its not necessary to belong to one to be a very fulfilled and happy cauldron stirring witch!   I hope you choose, but choose carefully!  .  .  .  .   eerie witches cackle fades into the distance


Peace and Happiness




© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year!! What magicks can we learn from our Asian friends?

 Evening Greetings,

Wow, what a jammed packed beginning to February we've had. Let's see, first, on the first we celebrated Imbolc. Then on the second, yesterday, we celebrated Groundhog's Day.  Now, today, we celebrate Chinese New Years.  I love celebrations don't you?  Well, tonight we'll be discussing the magicks to be found from our Asian neighbors to the East or West, depending where in the world you hail from.

First, Chinese New Years or Spring Festival, as its also known as, is the most significant holiday in China. From not just an economic standpoint but from a social one as well.  This holiday was at one time linked to both the sun-solar and the moon-lunar calendar followed by the Chinese.  This was a holiday that would be very familiar to the pagans of the Western world.  This was an extended- family holiday replete with many favorite luxury foods and much feasting.  The Chinese would honor not only their deities during this holiday , but also household spirits and ancestors.  

The Chinese adopted the widely recognized Western Gregorian calendar in 1912, and started following the rest of the world in watching the ball drop on December 31st, and celebrating January 1st as the first day of the year.  The twentieth century as it entered the technological age really made it necessary for all First and Second world countries to be in sync with the yearly calendar, especially where business and economics are concerned. Yet China, although it adapted, continues to celebrate the traditional Chinese New Year, which in the past century has started to be known as the Spring Festival.  I see so many similarities as we often compare our modern holidays with their ancient counterparts. Also, people everywhere, may adapt for political, economic and survival purposes, yet they will still hold close to them the traditional, the familial. 

Traditionally the Chinese New Year was an opportunity to renew family ties, although now many young people use it as an opportunity to take vacations and time off from work. Just as our holidays in the Western world have morphed and evolved and today may be as individualistic as the people who celebrate them, so the same is true for those halfway across the globe. A holiday like Chinese New Year is fun to celebrate and open to everyone.  As it is a holiday that is celebrated for an entire week, you can celebrate anytime this week. 


The Asian people have a long history of magickal practice and I'm not very familiar with most of it. I just know their understanding of energy and energy movement, which is very similar to how modern Western pagans and magickal practitioners view energy.  The art and science of Feng Shui is widely accepted and respected in many Asian cultures.  One does not need to be Asian or a descendant from, for Feng Shui to work for you. The principles are sound and for those familiar with energy work as any self respecting witch should be, will recognize the validity of Feng Shui and its benefits. 

Now, I will preface this portion by saying Feng Shui is an art and a science and as such one needs to study and practice considerably to be considered a master.  Yet, you can use simple Feng Shui principles in your home or office everyday and benefit from the results right away.  It would be a complete column in and of itself to discuss this ancient art of energy movement and object placement in its entirety, but we'll touch on some simple principles. 

Feng Shui is the understanding that energy moves and flows around us at all times. Consider the air currents in a room with air conditioning or heat on. If its on high enough we can even feel the wafts of air as it brushes past us, tickling our skin or blowing our hair slightly.  Energy currents also flow around us always. It is believed by those of us who believe in this stuff, that these currents can bring prosperity, good fortune and good health or cause these things to be driven away from us.  By using care in the placement of objects in your home or office, you can affect these currents in ways that will benefit you. 

A common understanding in Feng Shui is sharp edges and straight lines are reminiscent of a knife blade and can cause harm or illness in a person. If you have tables, counters and other surfaces with sharp corners, spending a lot of time around them, is believed to make a person susceptible to illness or fatigue.  We fabricated our counters in our kitchen so we rounded all the corners and our table has squared corners, but they are rounded or beveled along the edges making the necessary curve.  For those who are not able to chop off corners you can change the energies to more beneficial ones by hanging a living plant or a set of wind chimes in the area. Wind chimes are used often indoors in Feng Shui practice to correct little issues like this. Suspending a quartz crystal over your office desk is said to keep clutter from accumulating.  Having a quartz crystal on or near your desk can keep even a busy desk, with many files and papers, neat and organized.

If you spend a lot of time in a basement room or area that has exposed ceiling beams, it is believed your health and temperament can be affected as if they are knives cutting into your aura, or soul energy. This you can change by hanging a wooden flute overhead. These wooden flutes, which by the way are not musically functional, are sold at Oriental markets just for this purpose. It is believed that the energy is re-directed through the flute changing it and making it beneficial rather than harmful.

A straight sidewalk coming straight to the front door is also a no no, but the question is how to change such a permanent hard-scape feature, without major reconstruction? Planting circles of flowers along the path. If some of the plantings trail over the edges of the sidewalk, all the better.  We actually re-surfaced our sidewalk with wood and built in a slightly sloping bridge towards the end, which brings in the ideal curvature required, while the sidewalk remains straight.

Always keep the door to the bathroom closed, as its thought an open door can allow financial prosperity to flow down the drain. If you have a cover on your toilet, keeping it closed is also helpful with keeping money in your life.  One of the worst case scenarios is a house built so the front door and back door are in a direct line and when both are opened one can see out of both. Its an unusual enough construction design, but for those who have this issue be aware that it allows financial prosperity to not stay within your home or family and can cause other serious issues. Rectify this by placing large potted plants along the sight line, which causes the energy to flow in a curving line and not a straight one. Wind chimes hung along this straightaway are also recommended.

The placement of furniture in an office or home is also very important, and if you have an area where you just don't feel comfortable, pick up a book on simple Feng Shui for some simple ideas for placement of your objects.  With a-little financial investment, and a bit of re adjusting and considering the area you spend the most time in, you can make the energies around you much happier and peaceful. If you are highly sensitive and very intuitive, and if you listen carefully  you may be able to hear your home or office speak to you.  But a book on Feng Shui is quite helpful and fun to work with.

A book on Feng Shui will teach you of the Bagua Chart and how it can help you in re-arranging your home. The bagua chart I've featured below in two common varieties. One uses it to map out a room, or an entire home. It tells you the areas of your room or home and how these areas interrelate to your life. Yes, each room and building has an area for friendships and romance, wealth and prosperity, creativity, children etc. By placing the chart over a diagram of a room or even your entire house you can see what needs to be done. Of course, this works best with a corresponding book to help you decipher  what's going on. 



For instance if you place the chart over a diagram of your house, and you see the area of relationships in over a room that has lots of clutter, say the laundry room, well its common to find the relationships in your life to also be cluttered and in disarray.  An organization and clean up of this room or area of a room is very beneficial.  Is your financial -wealth area of your home over a bathroom!!?? Oh no! Yet things can be done to help change this event.  How are things in your family? Check the chart and notice the area of your home that family covers, and look to the room.  If the room is just fine but family matters are not as you'd like, you can change the color of the room, put accents of that color, in this case, green is for family, to help things move int he direction of harmony and happiness.

Its important to note that in the Asian culture the colors we are familiar with are not necessarily the colors they us. They use purple for financial wealth where in the West we are more comfortable using green. When utilizing Feng Shui I use the colors of the culture. I find it important not to become rigid and inflexible in my magickal practice. Magick, much like the energies recognized in the art and science of Feng Shui must flow unrestricted. 

There is a lot more to this interesting subject and I hope if you find it fascinating you will explore it deeper. I have been using Feng Shui principles for many years and find it makes a big difference in how comfortable and happy I am in any given space.  My blessings to you and I hope you have a great Chinese New Year! 


Peace and Happiness
 


© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Celtic Imbolc - Groundhog's Day - The first of spring!

Happy Imbolc Greetings,

Today is officially our Sabbat of Imbolc. This is a spring celebration that hearkens from the ancient Celtic peoples and today it is primarily celebrated with the American holiday of Groundhog's day.  How did this holiday get started and why do we consider the beginning of February the beginning of spring?  It certainly doesn't look like spring out there, but let's discuss this interesting subject, shall we?

The Celtic, over 1,000 years ago,  followed the Julian calender, and the spring/ vernal equinox fell on the 16th of March.  February 1, is exactly 6 weeks prior to the equinox and as we've discussed before, the Druid's revered all things 'in-between'. They had two sides of the year, the light side and the dark side. Summer and winter. Each half celebrated one solstice, either summer or winter and three other Sabbats, either spring or autumn.  If you pay close attention, you'll see there is a delicate dance that occurs around the wheel of the year.

As Yule is the winter celebration, Imbolc would be the first spring celebration.  Imbolc is an ancient Gaelic word, also known as Old Irish, which has been translated as "In the belly", and 'ewes milk'  a reference to the cattle in the fields going into estrus or heat, and becoming impregnated.  The first spring lambs and calves are to be born soon, and  it's important to note that the weather in Great Britain and Ireland is a bit warmer due to the ocean currents even though it is the same time of year, than here in New England.They have spring blossoms and a warming of the ground a few weeks before we do, even though we are on a similar latitude.

I compare what we do here in New England with the history of the Celtic people in Western Europe because my witchcraft has its roots in those origins. It may not feel like spring with the storms we've been pummeled with and as I write this, there's a lovely winter storm happening.  Yet, it is true. Our spring has just arrived. How do I know this? Look around you at the signs of nature.

The Canada geese have begun flying North again, if you pay attention you'll see them in the skies. As cold as it is, the rivers have started to run faster, the squirrels are much more active than they have been for a couple of months, and the Blackthorn tree is in bloom at this time of year.  If you are fortunate to have cyclamen plants under your shady shrubs and larger trees, you can remove the snow at the ground level, and their beautiful pink, red and white blossoms are visible!!

I know my cylamen are blooming under the snow, as they do every year, yet I won't be attempting to wade through 4 feet of snow to disturb their private, quiet party. If you'd like to see blossoms first thing in February, then this summer plant cyclamen plants in your yard. Give them a nice home in the dark fertile soil to be found under larger plantings such as border shrubs, rhododendrons, azaleas, or evergreen shrubs. just make sure they have 8 to 10 inches of air space between them and the overhanging branches or fronds they are planted beneath.  The overhanging branches also provide a bit of a snow break so the plants underneath aren't under feet of snow, but merely inches.
Cyclamens are a low growing ground level plant with pretty blossoms, that when planted within the protective shelter of a stronger, larger tree or shrub can bring so much excitement and delight in the apparent midst of winter, with their happy blossoms.  Here are some pictures of cyclamen, now available in many colors,  thanks to modern horticulture.






  Plan your winter garden in the spring and summer when the plants you need are readily available.  So is it spring yet? Well I leave it up to you to decide if you can sense the delicate, subtle energies of spring. But no worries, just a few weeks from now we will be feeling the warmer air, hear the constant gurgle and drip of melting ice and snow and bemoaning the wet and the mud.

A few things of interest concerning our Sabbat of Imbolc.  It is the Sabbat where we traditionally replace all of our ritual candles with fresh new candles. If you still have plenty of wax in your old candles, burn them as atmospheric candles, or even annoint them with some oil and the green can be burned in combination with some incense for money magick. The same goes with the other candles. Red can be burned during a love spell, blue to help with communication and understanding between people, and yellow to help sharpen your intellect and to bring truth into a situation.  These are not burned as spell candles, but in conjunction with spell candles just to add a bit of ummph to your spellwork.

 Imbolc is also a traditional Sabbat that is known as the witches initiation. This is primarily a day for witches to declare their path or dedication to the world of magicks and mysteries. Of workyou intend to do with the Goddess and serving her as she desires you to. It is typically a self initiation and you can do this simply by lighting a candle and speaking your intent to the Goddess. She will hear you. It needn't be formal and stuffy.

Imbolc has in ancient history been observed on the first of February, as the Greater Sabbats were at one time all observed on the first of their respective months. Over many years, with the introduction of Christianity into the Pagan world, the Pagan celebration of light, Imbolc, became Candlemass in the Catholic church which in turn moved its observance to February 2nd. This was a common tactic employed by the Catholic church, to absorb a Pagan holiday and add days around it, such as Samhain (October 31st, which became All Hallow's Eve, November 1st, Hallows or All Saint's Day and Nov 2nd All Soul's Day).  As if the naming of a new celebration would erase the tradition followed by a civilization for thousands of years.  Imbolc was turned into a Christian celebration of light, not much different from what the Pagans had observed for millennium. Candles, as the name implies, played a great role in this celebration. 

Now, to discuss Groundhog Day.   Groundhog Day is an American holiday that seems to have been developed amongst the Germanic immigrants of Pennsylvania in the 19th century.  It is believed that it has its origins in the ancient winter-spring nature observances from Europe, primarily the Celts and Romans.  Except the European version had a badger as the animal of honor.  The legend goes that on the day in question, the groundhog or badger comes out of the ground, out of the womb of mother earth and by the lack or presence of a shadow, predicts whether the winter will soon end or will continue for several more weeks.

Interestingly, if its a sunny day and the groundhog sees his shadow, the winter will be prolonged an additional six weeks, and spring will be delayed until the spring equinox,Ostara.   If it's an overcast or sunless day, and there is no shadow, the groundhog predicts an early spring.  As this storm that is presently raging has obliterated any hint of sunshine, and will continue for at least another day, it seems unlikely the groundhog will see his shadow tomorrow.   So looks like spring is coming early, yeah!

The etymology of the word February means expiatory offerings. Expiatory means atonement. So an offering  or a sacrifice for the purpose of atonement, is the root of this month's name. Hmmmm. Isn't this fascinating?


Happy Imbolc,

Peace and Happiness





© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. 

If you know someone who would like my work, please send them this link. If you or they would like to be included on our daily email distribution list send me an e mail with your email address to be included. If you ever wish to unsubscribe to this blog, please contact me and you will be immediately removed from our list.