Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Equinox

* image found here

The Fairy Ring

This article was written by Anna Franklin

"I don’t remember when I saw my first fairy, but I know that I spent my childhood chatting to them, instinctively understanding that each tree, stream, or district had its own indwelling spirit. Then, when I became a witch, it was part of my training to learn to communicate with the Wildfolk, as we called them. As we cast our circles in the woods, fairies flocked around their edges. Sometimes they were visible only in glimpses out of the corner of the eye; sometimes they manifested fully as small, earth-colored humanoids.

Witches and Fairies
This relationship between witches and fairies has always existed. Look back into the records of witch trials and you will find that most witches maintained that their powers came not from the devil, as their accusers claimed, but from the fairy folk, who taught them how to make potions and cast spells, and who gave them the healing gifts. However, The Fairy Ring is not only for witches, but for everyone who loves fairies.

There are fifty-two cards, each showing a different fairy, and these are divided into four suits—spring, summer, autumn, and winter—according to when the fairy usually makes its appearance. Their chief holidays are the eight festivals of the ancient year: Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer, Lughnasa, Harvest, and Halloween, and these are depicted in eight additional cards, making sixty in all.

Each fairy has its own advice to give and lessons to teach, and the book that accompanies The Fairy Ring cards explores these. Perhaps you might encounter the card of Wayland the Smith, who some say is king of the elves, and who lives in Wayland’s Smithy, a chambered Neolithic long barrow in Berkshire, England. It is said that if a horse is tethered at the Smithy under a full moon, the owner, returning in the morning, will find it newly shod. Wayland was a popular character in English myth, related to the Saxon smith god, Wieland or Voeland. In days gone by, every witch would have to learn the secrets of Wayland’s magic in order to forge his or her own magical tools. Today, we have to apply Wayland’s magic in a different way. He teaches you that new things may be made from old, that by hard work, one thing may be transformed into another, just as the smith transforms lumps of metal into useful or beautiful items, such as horseshoes, swords, and jewelry. This transformation might apply to situations or relationships, as well as the work of the artist or craftsman.

I have also included pathworkings (creative visualizations) that will guide you into the Otherworld, and enable you to meet its fairy inhabitants. I’ll leave you with this pathworking that leads you into the mysterious world of the magical unicorn, a lovely creature seldom seen by humans, a symbol of purity, of the soul within the dark matter of material form, and the perfect reconciliation of opposites. Its horn, called an alicorn, is said to be an antidote to poison, and can cure many ills.

This pathworking will take you on a journey in your imagination to meet the gentle unicorn. Find a quiet place where you can lie down or sit comfortably and relax, undisturbed. Start by relaxing your body completely. Let each muscle in turn relax, beginning with your toes, and working up to your head. Breathe deeply, and with each breath, you become more and more relaxed. Imagine that you are in a woodland clearing, standing beside a still, clear pool. It is warm and sunny, you feel relaxed and comfortable. Water trickles into the pool over mossy rocks and you notice a golden cup attached to the rocks by a silver chain. You are thirsty but feel that to drink from this cup without an invitation would be wrong. Suddenly the air seems to shimmer and the forest hushes. A resplendent, stately white unicorn appears before you. You feel purity and nobility radiating from it. After a while it steps towards the pool, dipping its silver horn into the water. The water glistens and seems filled with a soft light. Stepping back, the unicorn invites you to drink. You dip the golden cup into the water and drink deep. It is cool and sweet and fills you with energy. It is the water of healing, of renewal. Feel its force enter you. When you are ready to leave, bow to the unicorn. Gradually bring yourself back to waking consciousness."

*article found here

Spring into Sun and Fun 

Purim Ostara - Spring Equinox 

Color of the day: Amber
Incense of the day: Hyacinth

Ostara is the Germanic Maiden Goddess of the spring. She lends her name to this festival. Her symbols are the hare, spring flowers, and, of course, eggs. This year the Spring Equinox sabbat falls on a Sunday, which is associated with the Sun, new beginnings, and success. Pick up some fresh flowers for your home. Dye some hard-boiled eggs for the sabbat with your friends and family today. Go ahead and make Ostara baskets for your kids. Include Ostara’s hare (the chocolate bunny), hide those eggs, and have some fun! Also, don’t forget to go outside and celebrate the beginning of spring. Look around you, what signs of the approaching spring do you see? Are daffodils and crocuses blooming? What about the buds on the trees— see how they are swelling? Celebrate the turning of the wheel of the year by spending some time in nature!

Ostara, gentle Goddess of the spring,
Sweet Maiden, new beginnings you do bring.
Your symbols of the hare,
eggs, and springtime flowers,
I’ll include into my own magical powers.
By this sabbat’s magic, the spell is spun,
For the good of all, bringing joy and fun.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Irish Day

On March 17th, a day we call "St. Patrick's Day", there is often lots of green and lots of drinking that occurs this day. But what few know is why St. Patrick is given a day to himself. St. Patrick was known for his ridding Ireland of the 'Snakes', those of the Old Way. Where a representation of a snake in honour of the Old Way. To me this is a day of sadness and joy as well. We honour the 'Snakes' and can still celebrate the history of the Irish culture. Being part Irish I am often tied between what to do on this day. But I drink and celebrate to the Old Ones on this day, I celebrate Irish Day!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Vernal Equinox

The Vernal Equinox, also called the Spring Equinox, Lady Day and ”Alban Eiler” (which means, "Light of the Earth) is one of the Lesser Sabbats or Low Holidays of the year, one of the four quarter-days. It is also called the Festival of Trees and is a time to cultivate gardens and celebrate Mother Nature's bounty.

Ostara is a celebration of conception, regeneration and the triumph of light over darkness. Life is returning to the land and we begin to see the blossoms of springtime and new plant growth. This marks the first day of spring and as the Goddess regains her strength, she prepares for motherhood once again. During this time, the hours of day and night are equal, and the light is overtaking darkness. This is the season to celebrate the victory of life over death. The young God is maturing, and is once again the consort of the Goddess. The Goddess, who has returned to her Virgin aspect, welcomes the young sun god's attentions and conceives a child. And the child will be born nine months hence, at the next Winter Solstice. And so the cycle continues.

Many call this Equinox "Eostara" or "Ostara". And because of this it is often mixed up with the christian holiday of Easter because it also celebrates the victory of the sun god (or Jesus) over darkness (death). The name 'Easter' was coined from the name of a Teutonic lunar Goddess, Eostre and her symbols were the bunny and the egg, both symbols of fertility. Her holiday, the Eostara, was held on the Vernal Equinox at the Full Moon. Of course, the Church doesn't celebrate full moons, so they celebrate Easter the first Sunday, after the first Full Moon, that falls after the Equinox.

Spring is coming! I"m very excited about this. Spring is the season of rebirth. Like every new moon, the energy of refreshment is in the air. Change approaches and new life begins, old life renews. I recently found an article that I had very strong connections to.

"You will probably find that magick doesn't turn out to be at all like
 you are thinking. Everything in our world including us, is made up of billions and
 billions of tiny atoms...there are many atoms together that are less than stable, the
 outermost orbital electrons aren’t certain as to which atoms
 they belong to. They then may migrate from one atom, to the next,
 and the next and so on. However, as one electron migrates from
 an atom, that atom takes on a free electron from yet another atom.
 This chain goes on in an endless manner, and serves to
demonstrate the idea of balance in nature...
Now that we can see how electrons can move from one atom to
another, and we know that all objects in nature are made up of
 these atoms, then we also know that there is a constant exchange
 of energy. Free electrons are shared among all things,  including
 you and me, with no exceptions and because all matter is
comprised of electrons, we can say that all elements in nature are
 interconnected. They all co-exist, being linked to each other.
The Earth is alive and teeming with an abundance of never ending
 energy, which we all share, exchange back and forth, and are
 an integral part of. This "Life Force" or energy source is in you and
 it is in me. It is in rocks and trees, deserts and streams, plants and
animals, from amoeba to humans and all things in between.
 Everything on earth is made up of the same things: Atoms. "The
entire earth is a living, breathing organism. And energy is nothing
more than electrons in motion that exist as a part of this organism."
You can measure energy. This includes any electricity that you put brainwaves (thoughts) and heart rhythms (emotions). And
 you can change the essence of things by sending out a different
 exchange of energy in a repetitive pattern.
The working of magick is much like tapping into electricity. The
"electrical current" is the universal energy or Life Force. It can be
 directed in numerous ways..."

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