In addition to the four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic year, there are four lesser holidays as well: the two solstices, and the two equinoxes. In folklore, these are referred to as the four "quarter-days" or "Lesser Sabbats" of the year. A solstice is an astronomical point and, due to the precession to the equinox, the date may vary by a few days depending on the year. The summer solstice is the midpoint of summer, when the sun is above the horizon for the longest period, has its northernmost rising and setting, and its highest elevation at noon. It is the apex of the sun's splendor, the longest day and the shortest night, and marks the turning of the year from waxing to waning. Astrologers know this as the date on which the sun enters the sign of Cancer. Modern calendars are quite misguided in suggesting that 'summer begins' on the solstice. According to the old folk calendar, summer BEGINS on Beltaine and ends on Lughnassadh, with the Summer Solstice, midway between the two, marking MID-summer. This makes more logical sense than suggesting that summer begins on the day when the sun's power begins to wane and the days grow shorter.
Midsummer is also known as Litha, Feill Sheathain (Pecti-Wita) and Alban Hefin. The festival of Alban Hefin celebrates the kingly aspect of the god and is also sacred to the Great Mother goddess, sometimes personified as Cerridwen. "Litha" means "stone" and is associated with calendars. In Asatru, it is sacred to the Norse God Balder the Beautiful. Thor and his consort Sif are also remembered at the Solstice. Midsummer is a celebration of the Sun God at his zenith, a crowned king on his throne. He is at the height of his strength and still 1/4 of a year away from his ritual death at the hands of his rival. The spear and the cauldron have often been used as symbols for this holiday - Sun gods are virtually always associated with spears and the midsummer cauldron of Cancer is a symbol of the Goddess in her fullness.
In most Pagan cultures, the sun god is seen as split between two rival personalities: the god of Light and his twin, the god of Darkness. They are Gawain and the Green Knight, Gwyn and Gwythyr, Llew and Goronwy, Lugh and Balor, Balan and Balin, the Holly King and the Oak King, etc. Often they are depicted as fighting seasonal battles for the favor of their goddess/lovers, such as Creiddylad or Blodeuwedd, who represents Nature.
The God of Light is always born at the Winter Solstice, and his strength waxes with the lengthening days, until the moment of his greatest power, the Summer Solstice, the longest day. And, like a look in a mirror, his 'shadow self', the Lord of Darkness, is born at the Summer Solstice, and his strength waxes with the lengthening nights until the moment of his greatest power, the Winter Solstice, the longest night.
This is the time of the rose, blossom and thorn, fragrance and blood. Now on this longest day, Light triumphs, and yet begins the decline into Dark. The Sun King grown embraces the Queen of Summer in the love that is death because it is so complete that all dissolves into the single song of ecstasy that moves the worlds. So the Lord of Light dies to Himself, and sets sail across the dark seas of time, searching for the Isle of Light that is rebirth. We turn the Wheel and share his fate, for we have planted the seeds of our own changes, and to grow we must accept even the passing of the sun.
Senior Druid's Report
The gardens are being planted and work is progressing nicely on the stage and the Nemeton areas. We had 5 people show up for the last work party and hope to see more of you at the next one! We still have more work to do in the Nemeton and would like to get it done before the ritual on 6/19.
Seven of us went to the Wellspring Festival hosted by Stone Creed Grove and had a wonderful time. The weather was good, even though it was a little cold at night, until Saturday, when it rained all day! At least we had a nice day on Sunday to pack up for the trip home.
As festival time quickly approaches, some of us are planning our next road trip. That will be to Starwood, the best festival in the East! We'll be set up in Druid Heights and hope that many of you will be able to join us. More information on it can be found in the calendar.
~ Goddess 2000 Project ~
Launches Community Art Event
~ Goddess 2000 Project ~ "A Goddess on Every Block!" is a Grass-roots community based Goddess Art Project. Thousands of pagans and others who honor the Earth are preparing to welcome the year 2000 by creating large goddess statues and paintings all over the country. Groups in other countries are also participating. Full details are available at the official ~Goddess 2000 Project~ Web site
This year, all over the world, pagan groups, circles, and solitary folks will be making artwork that celebrates and honors the Goddess and the Green Man. The ~Goddess 2000 Project already has participants in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, Iceland, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Romania, South Africa, Sweden and the US. This will be the largest outpouring of Goddess Imagery seen in the past 3,000 years!
The official kick-off for this year long project was Dec. 21, 1998. Already many people have responded, and statues are being made in wood, plaster, concrete, clay, paper, textiles and metal. Paintings, collages, murals and large labyrinths are also being made.
Winter Solstice 1999 will be celebrated with community Spiral Dances around the country and the dedication of the ~Goddess 2000 Project~ tributes to the Goddess. Original music and dances are being created especially for this event.
Sponsors of this event
Goddess Grove" ~
"The Witches' Web" ~ & "Circle
The Power of Chi – Part3
By Keith "Rhino" Veeder
It may be of some interest for practioners of Wicca to try developing and using a preparation ritual to invoke the Chinese Five Primordial Spirits discussed in part two. For guidance I have provided the following information.
|Primordial Spirit||Fin Hsi||Shen Nung||Huang-ti||Shao-hao||Chuan-hsu|
By Lady Heather
Early primitive societies observed seasonal changes and the basic Elements long before they began to develop specific spiritual idealogies and religion. The Elements gave and took away, nurtured and destroyed, and daily tribal life was governed by these forces. In the mundane world, it is easy to lose propinquity with the basic aspects of the Elements. Westernization, technology, and patriarchal religions have set us apart, above, and beyond the basic building blocks of that which all matter (including us) is made.
Familiarization with the fundamental miens and characteristics of each Element is a necessary quest for the Magickal practitioner. After all, the five Elements are the prime factors behind everything else in the Universe - all that we see, taste, feel, touch, smell, believe, and perceive is made up of various combinations of the five Elements. Furthermore, developing a clear understanding of the primary building blocks gives us deeper meaning and greater strength when we contemplate and employ the myriad correspondences identified with each Element. As with the Law of Association, there is "control through a common denominator. If (A) and (B) have something in common, that thing (C) can be used to control both. (A) and (B) have a mutual influence on each other. The strength of the influence is dependant on the magnitude of the thing (C) shared. The more they have in common the more they can be used to influence each other." As you realize the vast realm of correspondences, the dynamic interplay of these influences becomes more apparent. The more distinguished the perception of each of the components, the greater the proficiency of Magickal purpose; enabling the Magickal practitioner to become an engine capable of harnessing and directing the enormous power that lies within and without.
Understanding the Elements and their function in the Universe is the first key to understanding Self. Macrocosm and microcosm are reflections of the same vistas. Just as the only view of the entire Earth is from space, likewise our vices and virtues are under our nose but we cannot stand far enough back to view ourselves as a whole. As we come to understand how the basic forces of Nature operate and associate, we are then in turn able to internalize these effects - how we operate and associate with the rest of the Universe and each other. Instead of seeing the Universe through the window of our eyes, we stand in the open doorway of our souls... feeling the gentle cosmic breezes waft through and around us. We are not minute grains of sand in the endless infinity of the cosmos... we are One with the interstellar ocean itself.
The Elements, as with their correspondences, have positive and negative influences. Remember, positive and negative do not infer good / bad or desirable / undesirable. Positive and negative reflect the natural direction and focus of the energy flow at a particular moment. We must be aware of all directions that those energies can take when utilizing them for Magickal deeds. We must also consider that energies do not necessarily travel within linear or diametrically opposing parameters. These energies can travel in spirals and have complementary effects on other planes.
By learning the significance and interplay of the Elements, seasons, time of day, correspondences, gemstones, Astrology, and knowledge that takes lifetimes to acquire, we are able to utilize the energies at play in a constructive, safe, and meaningful way. No longer are we hapless victims of circumstance jostled to and fro by cosmic forces... we become dynamic conductors of the forces we wish to employ. For untold thousands of years, humanity has lived in subjugation to the unconscious forces of Nature - powerful instincts and drives led our ancient ancestors to act without deliberation or conscious volition, and, in fact, in complete ignorance of the forces at work which really motivated them. Even to this day, many succumb to that blissful ignorance which relieves them of the responsibility to direct their own destinies. But whether one develops an awareness of these forces or not, they are still at play and act as factors which govern our actions. Our studies recognize that in these deep unconscious levels lies a great storehouse of power, awareness and vitality which must not only be awakened but recognized and equilibrated for the serious student (and operative human) to function at maximum capacity and efficiency. With knowledge is Power, and it is our responsibility to channel that power for the betterment of All.
The most unpretentious way to integrate the Elements into your sphere of thinking is by viewing them in fundamental and tangible terms. Instead of imagining Air as an abstract Magickal idea, feel the cooling breezes... see the leaves rustle in the trees. Notice the direction from which it comes and if you can smell rain. Observe the direction that the clouds are moving and the fragrances that the Air carries. See Air when a hawk gracefully glides overhead, when the birds first appear in the Spring, through early Summer butterflies, and in waves of harvest grain swept by the wind. But the Element of Air can also be seen in ways less pleasing to the senses. Air can be seen in the wind chill factor, when real tall trees topple over during storms, through pelting rain, when roofs are torn from houses, when tarps and tents tear from the ropes tethering them, in dust and smoke blowing in your eyes, and when snow drifts up over your head.
In a Magickal context, Fire is inspiration, passion, and fervor. But before we commence to romanticizing or intellectualizing, perhaps we should look at Fire for what it is in its natural medium. An appreciation for the great power and volatility of Fire and a deep seated respect for this Element should be held akin. Fire can be a warmth and comfort - but uncontrolled it can sweep through the lives of the unsuspecting with a relentless vengeance. Bonfires are always an added pleasure at festivals and get-togethers, and they conjure up a Magickal element for rituals (literally and figuratively speaking). The concept of actually using it for heat has become somewhat abstract as we hear the furnace kick on in temperature controlled environments. The ancestors knew only too well what significance Fire had when wood burning was the only source of heat. The clans' social life centered around the hearth when the cold winds blew on Winter nights. Even as modern Pagans, an appreciation for the Element of Fire becomes very tangible when the Wheel turns around to Samhain, Yule, and Imbolc and the Priest/esshood still insists on conducting ritual in the great outdoors. Hot and cold are measurements of the same entity and we need to learn of and appreciate both aspects. Early peoples (and those of us who live a more "rustic" lifestyle) learned to appreciate the warmth of Fire in what seemed hours as they huddled next to the fire or hearth waiting for heat. Fire to a lesser degree (cold) creates refreshing ice cubes and natural preserving (freezing) but also causes frostbite, numbness, and death. Fire for illumination has become a luxury and a settling pastime - turning off the lights and sitting by candlelight is great for mood or meditation. And when the period of relaxation is completed, the devotee can conveniently turn the lights back on and snuff out the flames. In earlier times when the luxury of electricity was not an option, folk knew what influence Fire had in their lives. And at the day's end, when the big fireball in the sky disappeared over the horizon, the day was really done. Evening activities were curtailed by conservative use of candles or oil lamps.
Water quenches the Earth and makes gardens grow by leaps and bounds in the form of rain, but that same rain also dampens clothes and shoes, creates muddy ground, erodes and floods. During the hot, scorching summer months, rain is a welcome relief that cools and revitalizes. Rain pelting against the canvas of a tent shakes and quivers the entire shelter in an erotic explosion of nature's majesty. Water can be the hazardous fog that masks the nighttime road - visibility zero... or it can be the early morning mist that transforms the valleys into mystical oceans from which rise majestic hills. Water is the sound of babbling brooks, spring streams rushing their course, waterfalls, and the rhythmic beat against a time roof. It is your life blood and it is the sweat that drips from your brow as you labor under the hot sun. The tear that trickles down your cheek expressing grief, remorse, or perhaps even ecstatic jubilation is the element of Water. Water is the embryonic fluid of the womb and encompasses the entire body... in fact, it encompasses most of the Earth. Water is everywhere, but without it you would die.
Earth is the Element that hills and mountains are made of. Hills can be laborious on an automobile's transmission and on your legs... but they also create the scenic panorama that unfolds before us in a pageantry of awesome splendor. Earth is landscape covered with trees and dotted with open meadows, lake filled valleys, gorges, cliffs, and flat plains. Colorful and priceless gemstones and crystals are this Element. Earth provides the fossil fuels and gasses that sustain us; it is the bank from which come all of our natural resources. The Earth is our Mother, the Nurturer who provides Her children with what they need to live. She wears the face of Death as She buries cities in the eruption of volcanos and in the unfathomable torrents of mud slides. Rumbles from Her heart can topple buildings and devastate lives. And She has opened up great crevices which swallow up all we have built... in an instant. Earth is the unseen, dark, measureless depth of the deepest ocean floor and the highest mountain peak that disappears into the clouds. From the Earth spring our hopes, our dreams, and our foundation. Just as slender stems reached out to the Sun from beneath the garden soil in Spring, so too, do we arise in optimistic magnificence from our roots. The Earth is sacred ground, sacred space owned by no one - but free and available to be shared by all. It is the fertile place where we have labored to plant our seeds and now watch as our endeavors flower and come to fruition. The Earth stood before our inhabitance and will stand long after we become dust. The Earth is our home where we will live and eventually die - and be returned to Her womb.
And the Element of Spirit is what joins the other four Elements together. It is the center… the hub of the Wheel that connects the spokes. Spirit is the window of the soul that looks out at creation. It is the mind that interprets what the other senses touch, taste, smell, and feel. Spirit sees beauty on the canvas and gives meaning to the day. Of all the Elements, it is most essential to come in tune with Spirit first. Without the influence of Spirit, the other Elements cannot be seen, felt, or understood. With the enlightening influence of Spirit, we can live in 'constant prayer'. Perhaps a bit of clarification is essential here. The Biblical phrase 'in constant prayer' refers to being continually in a state of spirituality. Jesus Christ, whether or not the Son of God, exemplified this concept. The Christian records of his life suggest that he was an example of the ability of a human being to live on a continual spiritual level. Unlike the Church's model, we need not live our lives on our knees in prayer, forsake all things, or die in the name of some god - because our spirituality is founded on the sacredness of all life. And we need not to rise above either, because that very sacredness is all around us. The gap between the physical and metaphysical is closed - for all becomes One. The Elements, the seasons, the Moon and stars, plants, animals, people - all are part of the sacred drama, the Spiral Dance. 'Constant prayer' means being aware, celebrating, and understanding our part in the cosmic whole. When you realize, nurture and exalt your Spirit, you will rediscover the center of your own microcosm and step in queue with the rest of the Universe. Spirit will be the center of your life... a life in a constant prayer of thanksgiving!
A deep-seated cognizance of the Elemental correspondences cultivates an integration of the physical and metaphysical to merge... to make life's seemingly mundane existence come ALIVE! Instead of contemplating the Elements, go out and touch them! Seasonal changes are not observed as much in temperature controlled environments and the phases of the Moon mean little unless you actually look up into the night sky.
The Wheel of the Year
i awaken… there is nothing but darkness. the cold earth completely surrounds me… almost suffocating me. i feel something gently brush past me. as it travels on i take a quick breath… before the earth once again fills the empty space left by its passing. there is a warmth from above… it seeps into the earth and i fell an urge… to reach up… up towards the warmth… to feel its heat deep within me. i begin to stretch… straining upwards… towards the warmth… towards life.
i’m free… my arms uplifted feel the heat of the sun… the coolness of the breeze. i breathe deeply of the sweet air… and feel the gentle spring rain as it washes over my still slender arms. hesitantly… i peek out… slowly unwrapping my arms from around myself… to view the world about me. i look around and see my sisters surrounding me. a breeze blows and we stretch out our arms to each other in a welcoming embrace. gaining confidence… i lift my head higher… open my arms wider… relishing in the fresh clean scent of spring… and the heat of the sun courses through me. i grow taller… straighter… stronger.
i am radiant… dancing slowly in the breeze… i am beautiful to behold. my colors are vibrant… my body supple… my scent alluring… and many are those who come to me… drawn by my passion and grace. delicately their hands reach out to me… gentle is their wondering touch.
my lover comes… i feel his weight on my body… i feel his caress as he moves upon me. his mouth tastes me. willingly i give myself to him… offering up my sweet nectar… gratefully accepting his offering in return. he departs… but is not truly gone… the bond never completely broken. others come…
i grow heavy… the consequences of my unions grow larger within me… my beauty begins to fade. my once slim, graceful limbs grow stronger and thicker… to support my extra fullness. i nurture the new life growing within me… my time is soon.
it is time… my back bends with the weight of my childrn… my body grows failer as my children grow stronger. the wind… sensing my discomfort… blows a cooling breeze… my body straightens… standing tall once again… and finally… release. i open myself… discharging my brood… the wind catches them… cradling their delicate new life until they are tenderly placed in their new home within our Mother.
i grow tired… my body cannot support me any longer and i lay my weary head on the cool earth. i hear my Mother softly whisper to me… and i know that soon i will be cradled once more in her safe embrace. my skin… brown with age… begins to break off… pieces of myself returning to the earth from which i came. the rain falls… cold… so cold. the sun’s light no longer warms me… i long for sleep… for peace.
i retreat… back into the safe haven of the earth… coldness envelops me… seeping down from above. so tired… my time here is done… i have accomplished much and now it is time to rest. i linger… in the cold… within the Mother… waiting… waiting… soon… there is … nothing.
i awaken… there is nothing but darkness…
For A Moment
I took a road untravelled
and found myself alone.
Through barren hills
The path I took
became a bridge
to cross the gap
I walked alone
with millions of others.
We are all alone
in the stillness of night.
Could our shadows emerge
from the darkness
and dance forever
for a moment?
I hope so.
The gypsy in me yells from under a red tide hat, coins jingling, gold glinting in the sun.
Freedom, the wind in my hair, on my skin, a tingle to the palms.
The rolling hills my sister, the sea, mother mine, the sky enfolds me.
Time, like flies brushed away, a gypsy is life, forever flowing, a river growing.
A world of wisdom, life like light.
As a flower unfolds, freedom is felt, freedom is known, freedom is chosen.
Invocation of the Bard
by Willow Nimfeach
I stand before you as the Bard.
My face, is the face of all the bards
who have come before,
and all that will follow.
My words have echoed down
the corridors of time,
and will resound in the future.
My song is the melody that sings
My memory reaches beyond
the mists of years, of centuries,
My voice is the remembrance
of the ancestors,
and the cry of our children.
But for this time,
in this place,
I am the Bard.
Invocation to Mielikki
by Willow Nimbeach
O Mielikki, Mistress of the Forest,
hear my loving call.
You who walk through the woodlands of eternity,
You who dance with the spirits of Nature,
You who aid those who have lost their way,
You who heal those who have need of healing,
You who guard our kin that walk, or slither, or fly,
You who protect the Forest with arrows,
if necessity demands it.
O Mielikki, Lady of the Wood,
guide me on my journey,
teach me how to live in harmony with the Universe.
Let Your spirit lighten my heart, when I walk in shadow.
Be with me in my struggles,
I who am servant to Your path.
O Mielikki, Mistress of the Forest,
hear my loving call.
Make A Difference
a comment by KiaMarie
In the Beltain Issue of Muin Light, "Make a Difference" talked about giving back to the community in the form of stuffed animals for the Children’s Ward of a hospital and canned/non-perishables for local food banks. The following article "Balance" spoke of maintaining a balance by sharing the blessings we receive in the plentiful Return Flow with those less fortunate than we... whereby honoring the Gods and Goddesses we hold in such high esteem.
Perhaps most of the participants at Beltain never got a newsletter. Maybe most of the participants were so busy that they didn’t have a chance to read it. Maybe almost everyone at Beltain hardly had enough to afford gas to get to the Grove. I dunno.
I hope that the Gods and Goddesses haven’t looked into the donation boxes. We decided to undertake the project of Community Service at each ritual and have set the energies into motion. And now we are bound to honor those committments before Deity. The donation boxes are still there.
Looking into nearly empty boxes makes me afraid to look into Dagda’s Cauldron of Plenty, where each receives according to one’s worth... Balance.
Trust... It's certainly complicated and difficult. Trusting yourself is usually the easiest. Trusting others can be tricky. But trusting the universe- now there's an accomplishment. Many of us have things we want to do, or need to do, but the logical part of our brains calculates things and usually tells us it's not possible (we don't have time, it costs too much, it's too risky, etc.). Logic cannot debate with intent and purpose and will. Take my story as an example. I’ve been trying to move to Syracuse for about three years now. I came close in January, but I quit my job and my money dwindled because I couldn't find a job to replace it. Then I had people I was gonna move in with, who ended up having money problems. So my moving date kept getting pushed back. I told the universe (in no uncertain terms): "I am moving to Syracuse on Spring Equinox!" I was supposed to move into this room I was gonna rent, but I got up here to find it didn't exist (a miscommunication). Over that weekend, a friend said he'd talk to someone for me. And I got a cheap place because of it. (Ok, it was ratty and not too pleasant, but it was a start). This same friend then offered me a job, where I still am to this day. This opportunity is so much better, on any level, than the job I had lined up in Cazenovia. I still lacked a roommate though. This changed a few days later. We found a house, and moved in on Beltaine. Now, my car is dying (well, she's been dying, but she's now well past her last leg). Not too long ago, I found out about a fairly decent car for $500. It's an 88, so I can expect to get 2 1/2 to 3 years out of it. Ok, so my budget is tight now, but the universe is throwing things at me that I need, and I don't want to spite the universe by saying" well...um... My money's tight... Um...". So, in a few weeks I will be the proud owner of a new (to me) car. At each point along the way, when things looked bleak, the universe came through for me. See I told the universe that I trust it, and that makes all the difference. Now, as opposed to struggling against it, the universe and I work in unison on most things. I walk towards that cliff, look at the lack of a bridge, and trust the universe that it will create a bridge for me as I take each step, knowing I need to go that particular direction. Don't get me wrong, I still pause and fret over "is there still a bridge in front of me?" And I contemplate running back to the safety of nice firm ground. In time, I re-realize this would be harmful, and I continue forward, and continue to tell the universe I trust it.
My life is working well this way. Since moving to Syracuse, my life (on many levels) is flourishing, and I am enjoying that. I am where I want to be (or closer to it), I am doing what I want to do (or closer to it), and I am with the people I want to be with (for the most part- most importantly I am with and near Amanda: we celebrated our one year anniversary recently). I'm learning so much more about myself, and that pleases me. I do not, in all honesty, think this could have happened had I not told the universe I trust in it, or had I not removed my safety net.
Trust... It's not easy. But the universe will work with you if you just trust it.
unspoken voice, intangible embrace
there is a house with a beautiful inside
and a wonderful outside.
arching the sidewalk are two birches,
following it, you meander past a willow,
and around a fey mound.
and there it splits,
leading you out to the back,
or up to the house.
bordered by a colourful floral wall,
it takes you to a clearing
with stumps to sit on
and a bonfire in the center.
drumming and dancing can be seen and heard on any given night.
you are welcomed by a loving, unspoken voice
and embraced by intangible, endearing arms.
a skylight adds subtle lighting of the sun by day
and the stars and moon by night.
everything seems natural here,
even the tap water is fed by a natural spring.
the library is full of books to learn and laugh with.
the walls are decorated with the residents' art.
it is so comfortable that you forget how long you were here,
and you wish not to leave.
but leave you must,
and regret it you shouldn't;
because the birches will always welcome you,
there is a drum waiting for you to join in,
and coffee and tea are always brewing.
Muin Mound Grove, ADF
Is proud to host
Muin Mound Madness IX
August 20 to 22
Come and meet the newly elected officers of Ar nDraiocht Fein for a relaxed Leadership Retreat!
· Hot showers
· Primitive Camping
Pot-luck supper Saturday evening followed by the
Saturday Night Concert!
Opening with Muin Mound Grove’s own
Bloc o’ Mahogany Band.
And the featured attraction
Fee for the week-end is $40 per person.
Located near Syracuse NY. For further info and directions:
· Email - firstname.lastname@example.org · Call - 315-656-8681
If you have any contributions, they are always welcome and encouraged! Write to us c/o Muin Mound Grove, PO Box 592, East Syracuse, NY 13057-0592 or via e-mail
Past Issues of the Newsletter are Available Here
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