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Archive for February, 2013

snow moon

This Snow Moon I trekked to a nearby lake for a hike and a little bit of magic.

Tobacco and apple were given to the Guardian, an ancient Cottonwood who lives upon a hill, and a few healing prayers were spoken to the lake’s water, not quite melted yet from a recent snow. Once deep into the woods I carved out a diagram for myself to stand in and charged it with the directions. I’m not a huge fan of the cold, but snow does have it’s advantage when wanting to draw out circles to stand in.  Incense was offered to the west and a cycle of death and rebirth was reenacted upon the grounds still sleeping undernieth me.

snow moon 1

My sacred stones were taken out: The Shaman, The Queen, The Witch. I buried them in the snow, offered more tobacco and resurfaced them to dry in the sun.

February’s Snow Moon is like the last hour of one’s sleep: grasp on to the dreams and visions you have before you awaken! Soon the land will wake-up to the sweet smell of flowers and spring buds new.

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Oh witch bottles, interesting to make and probably even more interesting to find!

Here are some links to archeology witch bottle finds for your pleasure…

The U.K.:It apparently took some seriously bad mojo to go up against 17th-century witches. According to the Sept.-Oct. Archaeology magazine, U.K. researchers opened and analyzed the contents of a rare intact “witch bottle,” which was buried to ward off spells. Inside were “bent pins, a nail-pierced heart made of leather, fingernail clippings, belly-button lint, and hair, all swimming in a bath of 300-year-old, nicotine-tinged urine.”

And Pennsylvania: Here
Greenwich London: Here
Here are some protective plants to use in charms or what have you from the older book, Mastering Witchcraft A Practical Guide for Witches, Warlocks and Covens by Paul Huson:
Holda (Elderberry- flowers or berries gathered at midsummer)
Madwort (alyssum), Marjoram
Dragon Herb (tarragon), Angelica, Fennel
Bay Laurel, Asafetida Grass, Holy Thistle Herb, Bishop’s Wort  (betony)
Garlic Flowers, All-Heal (mistetoe), Dog Roses, Arum Lillies
“Trefoil, vervain, St. John’s Wort, dill,
Hinder witches of their will.”
(trefoil is a three-leafed plant)

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(sign my friends and I put up along a highway for Pagan Pride Day)

Rewind my life about eight years ago…

I had been assistant coaching high school color guard with a respected older role model in my life for years and I was afraid to tell her that I was Pagan. I was afraid to tell anyone at that point. I grew up with so much discrimination because of my faith in my own family that I was convinced everyone else would despise me too if they knew my true religious identity. And then one day one of my pentacle wearing friends visited me at practice and the other coach made a comment after my friend had left. It was then that I made a decision: I am not going to hide who I am anymore. I told her I was Pagan. You know what happened? Not what I initially expected: because she was actually pleasantly surprised! She said that she had met a Pagan couple on her honeymoon and that they were the nicest people she had ever met! A few years later she came to my handfasting and enjoyed herself.

If it hadn’t been for that one experience with that nice Pagan couple, this important woman in my life could have responded much, much differently. I am so grateful  for all of the friendly Pagans and Wiccans before me that have been proudly out of the broom closet. Wicca and Paganism is still very, very new for our society to grasp. Often new= scary.

The other day I was in my graduate school classes and we were talking about multiculturalism, tolerance and diversity appreciation. When the teacher asked us to name different subcultures someone mentioned Earth Based Spirituality. The teacher went on to use that as an example of how we are going to have to be understanding of different beliefs, “like Wicca”,  to be effective counselors. Looking around the room made my heart sink. A look of disgust swept across one woman’s face and I wanted to cry and yell at the same time. The subject was quickly changed but I knew that once the subject came around again I would reveal my religious identity for the sake of educating everyone in the classroom about my faith, like I had so often done during my undergrad. This is not a small task to be open. I risk  losing the respect of some of my professional peers and professors.

There are so many stereotypes that can hurt us. The most common is that Pagans and Wiccans  are either evil or are just a big joke. Both perceptions are hurtful and highly disrespectful.

Watch this shocking video to see the media openly mock Pagans and Wiccans:

http://www.causes.com/actions/1733105-demand-fox-news-apologize-to-pagans-and-wiccans?recruiter_id=46939271&utm_campaign=own_timeline&utm_medium=wall&utm_source=fb

I wanted to slap these ignorant reporters after watching this, but I thought back to that mysterious “nice Pagan couple” from before that had so willingly helped pave the way for me to be accepted. These reporters had never known any Pagans or Wiccans, but I am willing to bet you that they actually had- but the people were still in the closet about their identity. I know a lot of openly Pagan people, but it would shock you to know how many more people I know who are Pagan and do not tell others. I am not judging them, it is their own business why they want to stay in the closet. My only point is that there are way more Pagans out there than people realize!

If you are out of the “broom closet” I want to give you a big hug! It is only through exposure and advocacy that  people can begin to tolerate and accept us. The public needs to see that we are a diverse population with varying personalities, education levels, ages and ethnicities. It can be a scary thing to be out, and we won’t be able to win everyone over, but simply wearing a goddess or pentacle necklace in public can lead to wonderful conversations with people who are generally curious. Let’s not let the few intolerant “bad apples” of the crowd deter us from being open if we really want to.

~Blessings,

Cicada

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imbolc 13

Yesterday the kiddies and I did our candle making Imbolc tradition. Out came the dusty candles with drowned or broken wicks and we broke them into little pieces with hammers.  I had a whole pile of half melted, crooked tapers and so we mashed these up too and saved the unused wick parts for the new candles.  After calling it a day, we lit the candles and had  a ritual welcoming the growing light as the seasons get ready to turn. I told them that between now and Ostara signs of spring will start popping up so be on the look out! Offerings of white food and milk were also given to the White Goddess and my six year old made up a song while my toddler and I played bells and rattles.

Saturday Tulie hosted an Imbolc ritual at her big farmhouse and we all had a wonderful time. I wrote a new song for Imbolc/St. Bride’s Day/Candlemas and sang it with my autoharp to help shift the energy into circle casting. We decorated Bride’s Bed with wish-flowers and we drew cards from the wands tarot suit. I received the five of wands which indicated the spark of inner courage. We meditated to the song Fire Prayer and received visions or feelings from Bride. (If you have never heard of this musician I highly, highly recommend checking out her whole Fire Prayer CD!)

The evening was topped off with feasting, singing, chit-chat, laughter and more magic. As the night wore down it was only Tulie, JJ and I left. I felt the urge to dance. JJ felt the urge to drum. Tulie didn’t have a choice… more magic was coming! She began to sing and before we knew it we were all raising energy and invoking the Goddess once more.

As a Mystic, I rely mostly on experience to guide me on my spiritual path. Opening up one’s practice for room for spontaneity welcomes this experience.

Here is text from the Carmina Gadelica about the custom of making Bride’s Bed:

The older women are also busy on the Eve of Bride, and great preparations are made to celebrate her Day, which is the first day of spring. They make an oblong basket in the shape of a cradle, which they call ‘leaba Bride,’ the bed of Bride. It is embellished with much care. Then they take a choice sheaf of corn, generally oats, and fashion it into the form of a woman. They deck this ikon with gay ribbons from the loom, sparkling shells from the sea, and bright stones from the hill. All the sunny sheltered valleys around are searched for primroses, daisies, and other flowers that open their eyes in the morning of the year. This lay figure is called Bride, ‘dealbh Bride,’ the ikon of Bride. When it is dressed and decorated with all the tenderness and loving care the women can lavish upon it, one woman goes to the door of the house, and standing on the step with her hands on the jambs, calls softly into the darkness, ‘Tha leaba Bride deiseal,’ Bride’s bed is ready. To this a ready woman behind replies, ‘Thigeadh Bride steach, is e beatha Bride,’ Let Bride come in, Bride is welcome. The woman at the door again addresses Bride, ‘A Bhride! Bhride thig a stench, tha do leaba deanta. Gleidh an teach dh’an Triana,’ Bride! Bride, come thou in, thy bed is made. Preserve the house for the Trinity. The women then place the ikon of Bride with great ceremony in the bed they have so carefully prepared for it. They place a small straight white wand (the bark being peeled off) beside the figure. This wand is variously called ‘slatag Bride,’ the little rod of Bride, ‘slachdan Bride,’ the little wand of Bride, and ‘barrag Bride,’ the birch of Bride. The wand is generally of birch, broom, bramble, white willow, or other sacred wood, ‘crossed’ or banned wood being carefully avoided. A similar rod was given to the kings of Ireland at their coronation, and to the Lords of the Isles at their instatement. It was straight to typify justice, and white to signify peace and purity–bloodshed was not to be needlessly caused. The women then level the ashes on the hearth, smoothing and dusting them over carefully. Occasionally the ashes, surrounded by a roll of cloth, are placed on a board to safeguard them against disturbance from draughts or other contingencies. In the early morning the family closely scan the ashes. If they find the marks of the wand of Bride they rejoice, but if they find ‘long Bride,’ the footprint of Bride, their joy is very great, for this is a sign that Bride was present with them during the night, and is favourable to them, and that there is increase in family, in flock, and in field during the coming year. Should there be no marks on the ashes, and no traces of Bride’s presence, the family are dejected. It is to them a sign that she is offended, and will not hear their call. To propitiate her and gain her ear the family offer oblations and burn incense. The oblation generally is a cockerel, some say a pullet, buried alive near the junction of three streams, and the incense is burnt on the hearth when the family retire for the night.

~Blessings to All~

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