It’s 54F and drizzling. The clouds are so low that the upper half of the arch of the Alsea Bay Bridge was obscured. Yes, I’m at the shop, already, very, very sleepy, but here. Brea just pulled up. The day is starting.
The shop was open by 10am yesterday, although Tempus had only just gotten home a few minutes before from getting parts for his car (a couple of belts were squealing). I got things open and Sabrina was in and setting up a few minutes later. Tempus got there around 11am while we were all making jokes about coffee.
Herbs ended up doing seed starts, tomatoes and luffa gourds. Crystals ended up on selenite and ruby zoosite. At that point I started working on pouches and Sabrina and I talked while she worked on some of her crochet. (pic is a pouch that’s already gone! Still have a green one and a black, almost done, but the pix didn’t turn out….) Tempus was asleep in back by then.
The weather was closing in, too, going from “drizzle” to “pour” to “waterpik”. We had a few people in, off and on. Cat stopped by for a chat with her grand-daughter (…who is getting *so* big! How do they grow that fast?), and Mary came in for Sewing Workshop, so we all moved over by the books and settled in. Eventually Tempus woke and Marius and Rowan both stopped by so we all chatted until late. When we closed up Tempus and I went across the street for dinner because we were too tired to even think, and then came home and crashed.
Today is still Psychic Fair! Wicca 101 for Young Folks is at 9:30. Sabrina will be there with her interesting products all day. Project Day runs from Noon to 6pm and at about 3pm we’re going to be making and tasting fridge pickles of various sorts. I still have my chalice cover that I’m working on (see the Mab’s Creations blog for pix) and a couple of spoons, and I think Tempus is back to sundials.
Today’s plant is Evergreen huckleberry, Vaccinium ovatum, a small shrub that is native to the PNW. The berries were a staple food for the PNW indigines. The fruit is blue-black and tends to be small, but makes excellent jam and the leaves are smoked or made into tea for colds. Gender, Feminine – Planet, Venus – Element, Water – Carry for luck and health. This is a plant that will keep away evil and break hexes. Burn the leaves to bring visions and to make dreams come true. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evergreen_Huckleberry
July 1, 1982, was proclaimed Tartan Day in New York City, a one-time celebration of the 200th anniversary of the repeal of the Act of Proscription of August 12, 1747, the law forbidding Scots to wear tartan. It has become an annual event celebrating Scottish Heritage since the late 80’s in Canada and the US. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartan_Day What does it have to do with April 6? That is the date on which the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320. That’s the Scottish version of the Declaration of Independence!
The shop opens at 11am! Spring hours are 11am-6pm Thursday through Monday, although closing time is drifting later with the longer days. Need something off hours? Give us a call at 541-563-7154 or Facebook or email at firstname.lastname@example.org If we’re supposed to be closed, but it looks like we’re there, try the door. If it’s open, the shop’s open! In case of bad weather, check here at the blog for updates, on our Facebook as Ancient Light, or call the shop.
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
The Moon is a Waxing Crescent. Waxing Moon Magick – The waxing moon is for constructive magick, such as love, wealth, success, courage, friendship, luck or healthy, protection, divination. Any working that needs extra power, such as help finding a new job or healings for serious conditions, can be done now. Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams. Phase ends on 4/15 at 12:42am. at 11:48pm. Waxing Crescent phase – Keywords for the Crescent phase are: expansion, growth, struggle, opportunity. It is the time in a cycle that you gather the wisdom learned in the new phase and communicate your intention to move forward. Light a candle. Write or read an affirmation. LISTEN & ABSORB. Commit to your goal. God/dess aspect: Maiden/Youth, energy and enthusiasm Associated God/dess: Artemis & Apollo, Mayet/Djehuti, Freya/Frey. Phase ends on 4/7 ay 1:31am.
Goddess Month of Columbina runs from 3/20 – 4/17
Celtic Tree Month of Fearn/Alder, Mar 18 – Apr 14. Fern (FAIR-n) Alder
Runic half-month of Ehwaz, 3/30-4/13 – Ehwaz, the horse; time of partnership between humans and Nature, as between rider and horse. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, USA, 1992, p. 55
©2014 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Fearn/Alder, Mar 18 – Apr 14. Fern (FAIR-n) Alder – The common alder (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertner) is common along lowland rivers, where it grows with aspens, poplars, and willows. Like willows, alders sprout from stumps. This allows them to regenerate after heavy flooding. In protect sites they may grow to 20 m (65 feet) tall. Their leaves are more blunt-tipped than most North American alders, which look more like the grey alder (A. incana (L.) Moench). This species is more common in the mountains of Europe, and is not restricted to moist soils. Like ashes, European alders are not widely cultivated in North American (they are often sold as black alders), but several native species are. Alder wood is said to resist rotting when it is wet, and was the wood of choice for pilings in many regions. Alders are members of the Birch family (Betulaceae).
Fearn – Alder Ogam letter correspondences
Letter: F, V
Meaning: Help in making choices; spiritual guidance and protection.
Ogam letter correspondences to study this month– Ailim – Silver Fir
Color: Light Blue
Meaning: Learning from past mistakes; Take care in choices.
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
Su 6 High 5:31 AM 6.7 6:48 AM Set 1:58 AM 35
~ 6 Low 12:37 PM 1.0 7:50 PM Rise 11:47 AM
~ 6 High 7:16 PM 5.7
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Rejoice in other people’s triumphs.
~ Our mistakes do not define us. They teach us. And sometimes another’s mistakes we witness to assist us with acceptance. When there is blame, nobody learns…nobody grows…we just run to the end of our chain and point. – Rebecca BlackRaven
~ I suppose no person ever enjoyed with more relish the infusion of this fragrant leaf than did Johnson. – James Boswell (1740-1795) Scottish biographer
~ Man’s Reason is in such deep insolvency to sense, that tho’ she guide his highest flight heav’nward, and teach him dignity morals manners and human comfort, she can delicately and dangerously bedizen the rioting joys that fringe the sad pathways of Hell. – Robert Bridges (1844-1930) English writer
~ Communism is like one big phone company. – Lenny Bruce (1925-1966) US comic
John Keats – To Autumn
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, –
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Beltane Magick – Lore – A Meditation on Beltane – Highway to Hel – Beltane is about deciding what kind of person we would like to be when the harvest is done. By Galina Krasskova, April 26, 2011 – http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Meditation-on-Beltane-Galina-Krasskova-04-27-2011.html
It seems odd to me to be sitting at my computer on a dismal, rainy, dreary April day, with the chill in the air serving as a palpable reminder that spring isn’t quite here yet, and writing about Beltane. Beltane is supposed to be about celebration, passion, fertility, prosperity, magic, heat, and yes, sex. Yep. Beltane is about sex (at least in part) and on days like today, that type of joyous celebration seems very far away. Still, if you’ll pardon the inevitable pun, Beltane is coming and like any of our other holy tides, it deserves a bit of thought.
I’ve been dreading writing this particular column for the past week or so, ever since I realized that Beltane and Walpurgis were right around the corner. This is the tail end of the school year for me (I’m in graduate school again) and papers are due, exams must be prepared for, then of course there are all the professional writing deadlines that are piling up. Thinking about what I’ve always considered a rather ‘happy-go-lucky’ holiday was not on my personal agenda of things I wanted to be doing (or had the time to do).
Still, even for me, misanthropic and overworked though I sometimes may be, it’s difficult not to get pulled into the energetic momentum of this time. With Beltane after all, we lay to rest, once and for all, the inertia of the preceding winter. What began with the land’s seemingly lazy resistance to the inevitable pull of spring bursts full force into bloom with the turning of the seasonal wheel to May.
Highway to Hel
A Meditation on BeltaneQueen of the Sacred Way: An Interview with Melitta BenuVirtual Veneration: Online ShrinesHonoring the Dead: An Interview with Laura PatsourisPhotographing Fortuna: Interview with Mary Ann GlassAuthor Bio »
At its core, Beltane is about planting. At Ostara we honored the readiness of the land to receive the seed; at Beltane we actually plant those seeds, be they literal or metaphorical. At Ostara we celebrated the potential fertility of the land, at Beltane we revel in its actuality.
This is kind of where the sex part of things comes in. Beltane is about life, growth, and all the messiness of unrestrained passion. It’s about the joining of seed to soil, body to body, physicality to physicality, and the potential joining of sperm to egg. It’s about bringing forth new life, new possibilities, new reasons to celebrate one’s traditions.
This is a time when the land, at least for us Northern Tradition folks, was traditionally blessed by happy couples having sex in fields, on the soil where their fluids and carnal enjoyment of each other only served to feed the land itself and further ensure its blossom. The May pole, a symbol we all know and love, is (as any fan of the original Wicker Man knows) “a phallic symbol.” The magic of Beltane is held forth in the erect penis and spurting seed, and in our bodies’ ability to experience pleasure. This, more than any other holy tide reminds us that living is cause for celebration. There is pleasure in being alive, pleasure that, at the appropriate times, can and should be indulged.
Far more than being about the celebrating the penis (or the vulva, or any other body part—not that there’s anything wrong with that; celebrate away, folks), I would interpret the wisdom and ‘medicine’ of this holiday on a broader level. I believe Beltane reminds us that our bodies are sacred. In the Northern Tradition the physical container of the soul is so valued that it’s actually considered part of the soul matrix.
That’s right: each physical vessel of incarnation is intimately connected to one’s soul, an integral part of it. We’re incarnate for a reason. Our bodies are the tools and conduits by and through which we experience everything, including the Divine. Moreover, they may even be the way the Gods experience us, spirituality being, like so many things, a two-way street. Far from needing to escape from the flesh, Beltane reminds us that there’s an awful lot of wisdom inherent in being in the flesh too.
One of the Goddesses commonly honored within the Northern Tradition at this time is the Goddess Freya. She is a tremendously powerful Goddess, associated with sexuality, eroticism, passion, battle and war, fierce fighting, cunning strategy, prosperity and wealth, physical beauty, and witchcraft and sorcery. One of Her primary and most important lessons is about knowing one’s own worth (and being unwilling to compromise that in any way).
That can be a hard, hard lesson for many people today (especially, I hate to say it, for women). Freya’s lessons often involve self-satisfaction and confidence in one’s physical being (and I’m not talking just about sexuality here). This is a Goddess who knows how to celebrate the flesh, both its passion and its power. Here is a Goddess not afraid to take up space, claim Her territory, defend Her territory, and own Her strength. Here is a Goddess who can teach Her devotees to say “where I stand is holy ground” and mean it.
Beltane’s call is a call to that type of commitment and courage. It reminds us that our physicality is sacred, no matter what messages we may imbibe from our families, our culture, or the media. We’re called to stand up and live our truth. Learning to express ourselves well physically and kinetically, learning to have both trust and confidence in our bodies is part of honoring this tremendous gift that we’ve been given. It’s part of living our truth.
Tending to our bodies, just as we tend to the land is good and sacred work. Our bodies support and nourish us just as the land supports and nourishes us. One might see in the microcosm of one, the macrocosm of the other. Sometimes that is the way these things work. So learning to nourish, care for, protect, and defend one’s physical form and knowing to the marrow of one’s being that this might even be a sacred obligation, is all part of what Beltane can teach us. Imagine how our lives would be different if treating our bodies kindly, loving our flesh, and living healthily was something we could all do with joy. How many of us can look in the mirror and say “I love my physical form” and mean it? How many of us can stand naked in front of the mirror and say those words and really mean them? Freya can teach us how, if we honor Her rightly and well. Beltane’s wisdom can show us the way.
Our world is out of balance. I’ve talked about this before many times in many different articles and columns. I think that it is inevitable that our collective psyches bear the brunt of that sickness. We have come to embody it physically. Our bodies and the way we relate to them have suffered generations of fear, shame, and abuse because we have forgotten that simple truth that flesh is sacred.
We have forgotten so much in abandoning our ancestral ways and our Holy Powers but most of all, we’ve forgotten how to interact with ourselves in a healthy manner. We’ve forgotten how to love being. Beltane calls us to throw ourselves into the inevitable change this time brings, the momentum, the urgency, the growing sense of joy and movement that fills the land. It urges us to seek our passions, to find that which nourishes us and to live it fully each and every day of our lives. Beltane’s wisdom is, above all else, a call to embodied joy.
Moreover, Beltane reminds us not just to honor our physical bodies, but to rejoice in the physical experience of the natural world. That world is a gift in all its beautiful, breathtaking, sometimes confusing diversity. This holy tide calls us to move beyond our dearly held paradigms into the reality of being: beyond our dichotomies (sexual, gender, and otherwise) into the rich tapestry of possibility inherent in creation.
Diversity is nature’s greatest achievement. As we celebrate the beauty, bounty, and blessings of corporeality, physicality, and incarnation, we’re reminded to celebrate it all, not just those forms that are comfortable. Nature is an explosion of diversity and this is a lesson we can take to heart as we honor our bodies: we’re part of that diversity too. As a good friend of mine once pointed out: there is no “normal.” Let’s do away with the idea of “normal.” There is only what is normal for us, for each individual, one by one. Beltane gives us a chance to celebrate that and given how much hate is in our world for any type of diversity of being, that too, is no small thing.
This is a holy tide all about action and restoration. We have the chance as we move into May to recommit to picking up those threads of connection—to our Gods, our ancestors, the land itself, and to ourselves—sundered so long ago. Healing that damage doesn’t happen with grand gestures; it happens with small commitments, like planting a seed. That’s Beltane’s wisdom. It’s about making those promises—to ourselves, our families, our communities—that we will see fulfilled with the coming harvest. It’s about deciding what we wish to harvest in the coming season for ourselves, our lives, and our spirituality. It’s about deciding what kind of person we would like to be when the harvest is done.
May Freya smile upon each of us this Beltane.
Silliness – So there’s this fella with a parrot. And the parrot swears like a sailor, an absolute pistol. He can swear for five minutes straight without repeating himself. Trouble is, the guy who owns him is a quiet, conservative type, and this bird’s foul mouth is driving him crazy. One day, it gets to be too much. The guy grabs the bird by the throat, shakes him hard and yells, “QUIT IT!” But this just makes the bird mad and he swears more than ever. Then the guy gets mad and says, “OK for you.” He locks the bird in a kitchen cabinet. This really aggravates the bird and he claws and scratches, and when the guy finally lets him out, the bird cuts loose with a stream of vulgarities that would make a veteran sailor blush. At this point, the guy is so mad that he throws the bird into the freezer. For the first few seconds there is a terrible din. The bird kicks and claws and thrashes. Then it suddenly gets very, very quiet . At first the guy just waits, but then he starts to think that the bird may be hurt. After a couple of minutes of silence, he’s worried enough to open the freezer door.
The bird calmly climbs onto the man’s outstretched arm and says, “Awfully sorry about the trouble I gave you. I’ll do my best to improve my vocabulary from now on.” The man is astounded. He can’t understand the transformation that has come over the parrot. Then the parrot says, “By the way, what did that chicken do to you?”