53F and sunny, although the sunshine’s a bit thin. An occasional gust whips things around for a moment, but other wise it’s pretty still. The ocean is still roaring. You can hear it in the main room of the house. It’s supposed to be clouding up today, but still not much of a chance of rain.
Yesterday morning’s class went well. I got almost through Lesson 4 with a young folks. Marius arrived to finish the class and worked with them on Lesson 5. While he was doing that Hatch and I headed up to the house to work on food.
Our big experiment was making several kinds of piroški. We stuffed them with a filling of beef, barley and mushrooms, or a scalded milk cheese, or whole garlic cloves. Most of them got boiled, but we discovered that even though I use paper towels for almost everything when it comes to separating them it doesn’t really work. I should have known that. Hatch suggested oiling them, the way we do pasta, but stuck to each other and flavored with paper or not, they were still pretty yummy. Most of them were fried in a butter sauce, but they were also good cold, fried or not! There were only 5 of us for the feast, and we had plenty of food, to put it mildly. We also had made the cheese for the stuffing and did carrots and stuffed mushrooms, as well.
We were all very tired, afterwards, so sat and talked and then went home. I worked on pictures and Tempus worked on some lawnmowers and we turned in early, while Hatch and Travis crashed out right away.
Today I’m going to be at the shop, hopefully sewing. Tempus has more mowers to work on. The class tonight should finish up Lesson 4.
Now we just need some caffeinated soap….
Today’s Plant is the Linden Tree, tilia species. It is also called lime tree (no relation to the fruit) and basswood. It is the national tree of many countries, particularly in Central Europe, (the Czech Republic!) where at one time it was sacred and councils met at the sacred linden, just as in the British Isles they met at an oak. The wood is widely used for carving and for guitars. The inner bark of the tree has been used in making fabric. The flowers, which smell delicious, are used in teas and perfumes and a valuable honey is derived from them. The flowers, leaves, wood, and charcoal (obtained from the wood) are used for medicinal purposes.– Feminine, Jupiter, Water, Taurus – Bark used for protection, leaves and flowers for immortality. Good Fortune, Sleep and Love. Hang branches over the door for protection or grow in the garden. Use in love spells/mixtures and protection spells & incenses. Mix equal parts Linden and Lavender flowers and place in a sachet under your pillowcase to relieve insomnia. Keep Linden on a table to release the energies needed to keep the spirit alive and healthy.
Today’s feast is the anniversary of the day in 1993 that Vaclav Havel was elected President of the Czech Republic. How many playwrights, even dissident playwrights, become president? How many countries would *pick* a playwright as president? Maybe the country whose anthem is this:
Where is my home, where is my home?
Water roars across the meadows,
Pinewoods rustle among crags,
The garden is glorious with spring blossom,
Paradise on earth it is to see.
And this is that beautiful land,
The Czech land, my home,
The Czech land, my home!
No war, no battles, no glorious gore…. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaclav_Havel and on the republic here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_Republic and the anthem here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_national_anthem A youtube of the anthem http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPTwOZWnm6E and another with some lovely sights http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qn87PI9K99M Or even better still for today…. The version from Havel’s state funeral. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zL1fBSyXI5U Can you tell that I love my ancestral home?
The shop opens at 11am. Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday. 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,
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 at the Tide Change on 2/3 at 3:09pm. Waxing Gibbous Moon – From seven to fourteen days after the new moon. For spells that need concentrated work over a ¼ moon cycle this is the best time for constructive workings. Aim to do the last working on the day of the Full moon, before the turn. Keywords for the Gibbous phase are: analyze, prepare, trust. It is the time in a cycle to process the results of the actions taken during the First Quarter. During this phase you are gathering information. Give up making judgments; it will only lead to worry. Your knowledge is incomplete. Laugh. Analyze and filter. LOOK WITHIN. God/dess aspect: Maiden/Youth, but in the uncommitted phase, the Warriors Associated God/desses: Dion, Dionysius, Venus, Thor. Phase ends at the beginning of Full Phase on 2/2 at 3:09am.
Monday, January 26, 11:48 p.m. EST – First Quarter Moon – The First Quarter Moon rises around 11 a.m. and sets around 1 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.
Earth to dodge a bullet! A relatively large near-Earth asteroid, 2004 BL86, is flying by our planet, passing us by three times the distance of the Moon. Tonight the asteroid will brighten to 9th magnitude as it crosses Cancer, nicely placed in the evening hours for telescope users in the Americas. See the article and detailed finder chart in the February Sky & Telescope, page 50, or our version online: Mountain-size Asteroid Glides Past Earth.
Mars (magnitude +1.2, in Aquarius) still glows in the southwest at dusk, to the upper left of bright Venus. It continues to set around 8 p.m.
Comet Lovejoy is now fading somewhat, and the Moon increasingly brightens the night sky this week for comet viewers. Even so, the comet is still a nice sight in binoculars at magnitude 4½ or so. And it’s high overhead. See our article and finder chart: Where To See Comet Lovejoy Tonight. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/spot-comet-lovejoy-tonight-122920141/
Goddess Month of of Bridhe, runs from 1/23 – 2/19
Celtic Tree Month of Luis/Rowan, Jan 21-Feb 17
Runic half-month of Perdhro/ Peorth, 1/12-1/27. – Feast of Brewing, Druidic, Source: The Phoenix and Arabeth 1992 Calendar. Runic half-month of Elhaz/Algiz, from 1/28-2/11. This half month: optimistic power, protection and sanctuary.
©2014 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Luis/Rowan, Jan 21-Feb 17, Luis (LWEESH)/rowan – The rowan, or mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia L.) is related to servceberries. The red berries were historically used to lure birds into traps, and the specific epithet aucuparia comes from words meaning “to catch a bird”. Birds are also responsible for dispersing the seeds. Rowans thrive in poor soils and colonize disturbed areas. In some parts of Europe they are most common around ancient settlements, either because of their weedy nature or because they were planted. Rowans flower in May. They grow to 15 m (50 feet) and are members of the Rose family (Rosaceae). They are cultivated in North America, especially in the northeast.
Luis – Rowan Ogam letter correspondences
Color: Grey and Red
Meaning: Controlling your life; Protection against control by others.
Quert – Apple Ogam letter correspondences to study this month
Meaning: A choice must be made
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
M 26 High 4:53 AM 8.4 7:41 AM Set 12:03 AM 35
~ 26 Low 11:29 AM 1.3 5:17 PM Rise 11:11 AM
~ 26 High 5:21 PM 6.3
~ 26 Low 11:17 PM 1.7
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Make this an amiable day!
~ The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness. – John Muir
~ Knighthood isn’t about appearance, but action, not about tinsel, but tenacity, not about glitter, but genius, not about fashion, but faculty. – Kerr Cuhulain
~ Stick-to-it-iveness is strength and entanglement is weakness. You must know the difference. – Miyamoto Musashi
~ Middle age is when you’ve met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else. – Ogden Nash
‘Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone
No flower of her kindred
No rosebud is nigh
To reflect back her blushes
Or give sigh for sigh
I’ll not leave thee, thou lonesome
To pine on the stem
Since the lovely are sleeping
Go sleep thou with them
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead
So soon may I follow
When friendships decay
And from love’s shining circle
The gems drop away
When true hearts lie withered
And fond ones have flown
Oh who would inhabit
This bleak world alone – Thomas Moore (1779 – 1852), Irish poet; ‘The Last Rose of Summer’
In Mexico, there are two “patron saints.” The first, and foremost, with a holiday on December 12, is Guadalupe, called variously St. Guadalupe and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Church now says this is the Virgin Mary who made an appearance before a young man named Juan Diego in December 1531. She looked like an Indian maiden and she appeared on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City.
Although she is assumed to be the Virgin Mary, she is nonetheless called the “patron saint” of Mexico. She is most likely nothing but the ancient Aztec goddess Coatlique, whose holy day also happened to have been December 12.
The other saint you hear about a lot in Mexico is the mysterious “San Juan de los Lagos,” Saint John of the Lakes. There never has been such a person, of course. It was obviously an ancient lake god, presumably the patron saint of Mexico City, which was built on top of Lake Texcoco. He could have been Tpoztecatl, ancient god of agriculture, or even Huitzilopchtli, sun god of the Aztecs.
All over the world, in Roman Catholic countries, you will find “patron saints” who never existed. They are the early pagan gods and goddesses converted to Christianity for public relations purposes.
The earliest recorded “conversion” of a pagan goddess was Saint Sophia in Asia Minor. Very early, Christians had a hard time converting the populace of Greece and the Hellenic cultures of the region because the people were quite happy with their goddess, Minerva, also known as Pallas Athena, the patron deity of the city of Athens.
The word “pallas” is the ancient Greek term for a maiden. Athena is thought (by Robert Graves and others) to be a version of Anatha, the Sumerian Queen of Heaven. With the title of Pallas, she would have been the ancient Goddess in her maiden aspect.
Minerva was universally called Sophia — wisdom. So a “Saint Sophia” was invented, and churches all over Asia Minor were built in her honor. She was even said to have had three daughters — St. Faith, St. Hope and St. Charity!
The entire region converted to Christianity as soon as the church declared the region’s favorite goddess to be a Christian saint.
So it really wasn’t the inherent stupidity of the Irish, as some scholars allege, that allowed them to be converted in a similar way. They reacted like people all over the world did. “Make my god a Christian saint and I’ll become a Christian.”
Interestingly, the Irish goddess converted to Christianity was the same as Pallas Athena, it was the maiden aspect of the Goddess. Where in continental Europe, the Mother aspect was chosen — witness all the cathedrals built to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God — in Ireland, as in Asia Minor, it was the maiden goddess honored.
The Irish goddess was called Brigid (pronounced “breed”) or Brigit. She was a triple goddess (some said all three were named Brigid!) and she was the goddess of wisdom (like her Asia Minor counterpart). Her sisters were the goddesses of healing and smithcraft respectively.
At Kildare there was a temple to Brigid, with a perpetual fire kept by 19 priestesses. The number 19 was used because there are 19 years in the Celtic “great year,” when the solar and lunar calendars coincide. Brigid was always called “The Three Blessed Ladies of Britain” or “The Three Mothers” and she was identified with the moon and the three phases of the moon. (As such, she is also identical to the ancient earth goddess, Hecate.) It was common for the ancients to accept their goddess as being three people. This is where the Christians got their concept of the trinity.
Actually, Brigid can be traced back to Illyricum, the ancient land now occupied by Croatia (and extending over Serbia, Bulgaria, and Austria). Her shrine was in the city of Brigeto and she was called Brigantes, accepted by the Romans as identical to Juno Regina, Queen of Heaven. Her followers were often called Brigands, or outlaws, and Robin Hood was most likely the title of a leader of “brigands” fighting against the Christian conquerors.
The Gaelic Celts brought Brigid with them when they left their original home in Galatia — in Asia Minor, no less, and moved across Europe to settle in what is now Ireland.
In Ireland, the Church could not talk the people into giving up the worship of Brigid, so they “converted” her to St. Bridget, claiming she was a nun who founded a convent in Kildare (where the goddess’ temple already was located.)
The stories about “St. Bridget” were the same stories told about the goddess: that everywhere she walked, flowers and shamrocks sprang up (the three-leafed shamrock, of course, was the symbol of the triple Brigid), that in her shrine it was always springtime and that in her convent the cows never went dry — all fertility stories.
The Irish priests said, however, that Brigid wasn’t really a saint at all: she was the Queen of Heaven, the mother of Jesus herself. The Church ruled that since Bridget couldn’t be the mother of Jesus (Mary already had that job all sewed up), she could be the step-mother of Jesus — which meant, of course, that Jesus had to have been raised in Ireland, a story frequently told in the old days.
The goddess Brigid had a consort named Dagda, meaning “father.” The Latin word for father was Patricius, so the Church made him a saint as well, “St. Patrick.” The myths say Patrick was the person who Christianized Ireland in the year 461, but we know Ireland actually was converted in the seventh century by Augustine of Canterbury, who was responsible for getting Patrick canonized.
Patrick, the sun-god, has his day on March 17, the beginning of spring in Ireland.
Interestingly, the churches in Ireland dedicated to “St. Bridget” were also dedicated to the O’Kelly clans. All the baptismal fees in those churches belonged to the O’Kellies. If you know any Irishman named Kelly you can tell him or her something about the history of their name. The word means they are descended from the kelles, or sacred harlots (to use the Church name) of the goddess Brigid.
The goddess’ priestesses were not allowed to marry, so they were free to choose any man they wished. Children born to such unions were called O’Kelly, because they were born of a kelle.
Every woman today who gets married is given the goddess name, of course, for the word “bride” is simply an alternate spelling of Brigid.
The feast day of Brigid is February 1, which was also considered the first day of spring to pagans. It is the day of quickening, when vegetation comes alive (quickens) in the bowels of the earth. For this reason, it is often called Imbolc, a Celtic word meaning “in the belly.” It’s also called Oimelc (“ewe’s milk”) for this was also the lambing season in ancient Ireland.
In ancient Rome, the first two weeks of February were called the Lupercalia, in honor of Lupercus (or Faunus), god of agriculture, and Venus, goddess of fertility. It was also a festival of quickening, and also honored the goddess as maiden. It involved parades and the lighting of fires.
Lupercalia ended, of course, on February 14, a day we now call St. Valentine’s Day, after yet another spurious “saint.” The name was most likely originally “Gallantine’s Day,” the day of the lover. On this day, a couple could agree to a trial marriage, living together until the next Lammas, August 1. “Will you be my Valentine?” was the way a woman would propose such an engagement to a man. (The Valentine “heart,” of course, was not the physical heart we are acquainted with, but another part of the anatomy entirely.)
Fires have always been important on Imbolc. The fires symbolized the new-born sun, born at Yule and the sparks of new life in springtime. One ancient custom was the lighting of candles in every window of the house, to let the world know of coming spring. The sight of every home blazing with candles must have been comforting to people still feeling the bitter cold of February up north!
The Church made this time the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin (“virgin” was just another word for “maid,” of course) and they called in Candlemas, the feast of candles. Since people were already lighting candles at home anyway, the Church declared this a time to go to church and get your candles blessed.
During the Burning Times, the great Inquisition of Europe, it was said that witches considered Candlemas their most sacred festival. This was probably the Church’s way of warning people not to take Brigid too seriously.
One of the most important customs at Candlemas in ancient times was the forecasting of weather. In the old English poem: “If Candlemas Day be bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.” It was once thought that the quarters (the equinoxes and solstices) foretold the weather directly (i.e. a warm Christmas meant a warm winter) while the cross-quarters (Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain) foretold the weather negatively.
We keep this custom by calling February 2 “Groundhog’s Day” and predicting the rest of the winter by whether or not the groundhog sees its shadow or not. If it sees its shadow then Candlemas Day will be “bright and clear.”
There were a number of customs associated with this day. One was the baking of “Bridget’s bread” on this day. This goes back thousands of years to the baking of cakes for the Queen of Heaven spoken of in the Bible. The last of the precious grain stored over the winter would be prepared into cakes on this day, in the prospect of much more grain in the year ahead.
Another custom called for the making of “Bridget’s crosses” out of straw. The cross was the ancient symbol for the sun (the rays of the sun seem to come out in cruciform shape) and the straw crosses were in honor of the reborn sun. The crosses would be placed around the home for protection during the following year.
One young woman each year would also be chosen to represent the goddess, the “Bride.” She would wear a crown of candles on her head that day, again in honor of the sun.
The meaning of this holiday for us is simply this: this is the time of quickening, the time of new life. It’s a time to be thankful for all the new life that arises in spring, a time to plan ahead for the new year and a time to begin the long processes of making a living, bringing in a new crop or getting on with our lives.
New projects are well begun on Brigid’s Day. This is a time of hope, a time for looking positively at one’s world.
This week, go out and buy a candle for the Maiden Goddess — and for yourself. This week, light it and place it in a window of your home. Focus all your hopes and dreams for the coming year onto that candle. And dedicate it to hope.