Sewing will not be at Ancient Light tonight. We’ll be meeting at Rowan and Marius’.
It’s 58F. We’re at the top end of one of the “atmospheric river” weather systems. It’s pretty windy and there’s some rain, but nothing much. We’ve been needing rain. It’s good to get some again.
Yesterday was one of those days when I had trouble getting going. Lots of those, lately, hunh? I was sleepy and probably should have gone back to bed, but there was far too much to do. I had blog updates and a writeup on the merchant’s stuff, plus an assignment to finish. Hatch didn’t get started until 1:30, but we talked recipes for awhile and after that I got the week’s newsletters going. By 2:30 the daily info was in. I got nabbed for a bit after that by several people online and then got back to work. I was done 5:30-ish, having stopped for a bath and by Tempus doing bills, although there are a few magic things that still need to go in.
I started fussing at people at 6, that we needed to get to the shop. I still think I shouldn’t have to do that, but we got there in plenty of time and when Marius got there he decided that we shouldn’t un-set the shop, just use the smaller space the way we do for esbats. That will make this morning’s re-set much easier.
Today Tempus and I will be heading for the shop, but we’re going to have to collect up a lot of tools and supplies. Hatch and I will be talking the stuff and heading to Marius and Rowan’s to do some baking and then the Sewing Time will be there, today, since that way we can bake and stitch at the same time. Tempus is going to do the re-set from last night and then back to work on projects.
A good attitude…..
Today’s Plant is Blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, sometimes called “sloe”, wish-thorn or faery tree. The blossoms, the fruits and the crimson sap display the three colors of the Great Goddess: white, black, and red. The dangerous long spikes and the red “blood” that flows in the veins of this tree enhance the dramatic effect of Her symbolism. Blackthorns are sacred to the Luantishees, which are Blackthorn Fairies who guard the trees. It makes great walking sticks, such as shillelaghs. The fruit and leaves contain Vitamin C, organic acids, tannins, and sugars. Otzi, the “Iceman” had fruits in his stomach, even though they’re pretty bitter for food. Good wines and liqueurs are made from the fruits. Steep the flowers for a diuretic, tonic, and laxative. Dried fruits can treat bladder, kidney and stomach ailments. Boil the leaves for a mouthwash or to sooth the throat from tonsillitis or laryngitis. – Feminine, Saturn, Earth – Blackthorn symbolizes the inevitability of Death, Good in magicks of protection and revenge, strife and negativity, the balance between light and darkness. The staves cane help in exorcism, to make wishes, in divination and general protection magicks. Being a plant that’s bad to tangle with it also symbolizes not only death and the conquering of death, but the wisdom gained in life and beyond life and can be used in magicks for the gaining of such wisdom. More here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prunus_spinosa
Feast day of St Agatha, martyr, patroness of victims of breast cancer. – What *is* it about martyrs that makes the stories so gruesome? In this case, because of the tortures, the pictures get pretty “squirmy”. “Agatha is an aspect of the goddess known to the Greeks as Tyche, to the Romans as Fortuna, and to the Anglo-Saxons as Wyrd. Today is especially potent for fortune telling and all forms of divination. Also known as Santo Gato, it is said that she appears as a cat and can summon storms when angry.” (Pip’s) Common primrose, Primula vulgaris, is today’s plant, dedicated to this saint. More on Agatha here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Agatha Tyche here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyche Wyrd: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyrd More on today’s plant here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primula_vulgaris And there’s an article in French with several more pictures of Agatha’s Bread http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santo_Gato
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,
Full Moon – The day of the day before and day after the true Full Moon. “And better it be when the moon is full!”! Prime time for rituals for prophecy, for spells to come to fruition, infusing health and wholeness, etc. A good time for invoking deity. FRUITION Manifesting goals, nurturing, passion, healing, strength, power. Workings on this day are for protection, divination. “extra power”, job hunting, healing serious conditions Also, love, knowledge, legal undertakings, money and dreams. God/dess Aspect: Mother/Abundance/Kingship – Associated God/desses: Danu, Cerridwen, Gaia, Aphrodite, Isis, Jupiter, Amon-Ra. Phase ends on 2/5 at 3:09am. Waning Moon Magick – From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Remember: what goes up must come down. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 2/18 at 3:47pm. Waning Gibbous Moon – Best time for draining the energy behind illness, habits or addictions. Magicks of this sort, started now, should be ended before the phase change to the New Moon. , Associated God/dess: Hera/Hero, Cybele, Zeus the Conqueror, Mars/Martius, Anansi, Prometheus. Phase ends at the Quarter on 2/11 at 7:50pm.
The waning gibbous Moon rises around 8 p.m., depending on where you live in your time zone. High above it, Jupiter is already shining brightly. Look between them and a touch left for fainter Regulus.
“If I had to choose just one deep-sky object to demonstrate the appeal of binocular astronomy, it would probably be the Pleiades,” writes Gary Seronik. The Pleiades are certainly a nice group to become intimate with. For instance, they hold a binocular secret in their center: the 8th-magnitude double star South 437, barely resolvable with 10× glasses. See Gary’s column and chart in the February Sky & Telescope, page 45. (There, the large black circle on his chart spans a typical 10× binocular’s 5° field of view.)
Uranus (magnitude 5.8, in Pisces) is still in the southwest right after dusk.
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 Elhaz/Algiz, from 1/28-2/11. This half month: optimistic power, protection and sanctuary.
©2015 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
Th 5 High 1:32 AM 7.3 7:30 AM Set 8:03 AM 99
~ 5 Low 7:17 AM 2.3 5:31 PM Rise 7:37 PM
~ 5 High 1:03 PM 7.8
~ 5 Low 7:42 PM 0.2
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Do not lose belief in your dreams.
~ Always do whatever’s next. – George Carlin
~ A generous attitude is a balm to the soul. – T. Thorn Coyle: Know Thyself
~ IF ONLY – If I knew how much fun being a Gramma was, I would have done it first! – Sent in by Cindy Crowell
~ Choose to focus on your positive possibilities. – Reginald Cuffee PhD
The Lady’s-Maid’s Song by John Hollander, from Selected Poetry. © Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission.
When Adam found his rib was gone
He cursed and sighed and cried and swore
And looked with cold resentment on
The creature God had used it for.
All love’s delights were quickly spent
And soon his sorrows multiplied:
He learned to blame his discontent
On something stolen from his side.
And so in every age we find
Each Jack, destroying every Joan,
Divides and conquers womankind
In vengeance for his missing bone.
By day he spins out quaint conceits
With gossip, flattery, and song,
But then at night, between the sheets,
He wrongs the girl to right the wrong.
Though shoulder, bosom, lip, and knee
Are praised in every kind of art,
Here is love’s true anatomy:
His rib is gone; he’ll have her heart.
So women bear the debt alone
And live eternally distressed,
For though we throw the dog his bone
He wants it back with interest.
Purification of Mary – Our Lady of Candelaria
The Catholic Church, as it was wont to do, found an opportunity to superimpose a Christian holiday on an existing pagan festival.
Jewish women went through a purification ceremony 40 days after the birth of a male child (80 days after the birth of a female child) and brought a lamb to the temple to be sacrificed. According to Mosaic law, Mary and Joseph would also have brought their first-born son to the temple forty days after his birth to offer him to God, like all first-born sons, along with a pair of turtledoves.
The Presentation was originally celebrated in Jerusalem on November 21st but once Christ’s birth was fixed on December 25th (near the winter solstice), the Presentation and Purification rituals would fall forty days later, in early February when torches were carried around the fields.
First celebrated on February 14th, in 350 at Jerusalem, when it would have coincided with the Roman festival of Lupercalia, it was later moved up to February 2nd. Pope Sergius declared it should be celebrated with processions and candles, to commemorate Simeon’s description of the child Jesus as a light to lighten the Gentiles. Candles blessed on this day were used as a protection from evil.
This is the ostensible reason given for the Catholic custom of bringing candles to church to be blessed by the priest on February 2nd, thus the name Candle-Mass. The candles are then taken home where they serve as talismans and protections from all sorts of disasters, much like Brigid’s crosses. In Hungary, according to Dorothy Spicer, February 2nd is called Blessing of the Candle of the Happy Woman. In Poland, it is called Mother of God who Saves Us From Thunder.
Actually this festival has long been associated with fire. Spicer writes that in ancient Armenia, this was the date of Cvarntarach, a pagan spring festival in honor of Mihr, the God of fire. Originally, fires were built in his honor in open places and a lantern was lit which burned in the temple throughout the year. When Armenia became Christian, the fires were built in church courtyards instead. People danced about the flames, jumped over them and carried home embers to kindle their own fires from the sacred flames.
The motif of fire also shows up in candle processions honoring St Agatha and the legends of St Brigid. The fire represents the spark of new life, like the seeds blessed in northern Europe on St Blaise’s Day and carried home to “kindle” the existing seed.
New Year Pledges
Many years ago, on Imbolc, I was accepted into a year-long class taught by two respected elders in the magical community in Seattle. All potential participants in the class were interviewed and 13 of us were selected by lot. The class was offered to us for free; our only commitment was to attend every one of the weekly sessions for the entire year. I remember being nervous about the scope of this commitment. It seemed more demanding than any I had made before (except, perhaps, to my daughter when she was born; I’ve never been married–that’s a commitment that gives me pause).
At times, during the start of the year, when the group was struggling to coalesce, I felt unsure about my choice. But because I made a commitment, in sacred space, with solemn intention, I never considered dropping out. As the weeks passed, I felt a sort of joy grow within me at my perseverance; in fact, because of my commitment to stay in the group, I was outspoken about what wasn’t working for me. By Winter Solstice, with only six weeks to go, I felt buoyant and amazed that the year had gone by so quickly. There were many marvelous rewards gleaned from this commitment, but one of the most profound was the experience of making a year-long pledge and keeping it.
Now I make a pledge every year, incorporating it into my Candlemas ritual. I like to use an idea I learned from the Reclaiming Community in San Francisco, which sponsors a Brigid ritual every year, of making three pledges: one to myself, one to my community and one to the world. (Sometimes when the world seems too large, I make a pledge to myself, a pledge to my community and a pledge to the Goddess.)
One year, when I was feeling stressed about the lack of time in my life, I made a pledge to take one day off a week. This meant that I would schedule no work, no obligations on that day. It would be an open day, which I could devote to spiritual practice, relaxation, whatever I pleased. Many times during that year, I felt certain that I needed to use my day off to catch up on work or that it was the only possible day I could meet with someone. But, by and large, I was able to follow through on my commitment, by reminding myself that I had made a solemn vow in the presence of the Goddess and such a vow should not be lightly broken. Taking a day off on a regular basis taught me the importance of the rhythm of rest in the cycle of time. It was a great year, a time of relaxation and good health and balance.
Not all commitments come to fruition exactly the way we wish. Two years ago, I enrolled in a priestess training program offered by my friend Joanna Powell Colbert. Even the preparation for this program was instructive, as we were asked to write out why we wished to be priestesses. It should have been a clue to me that I couldn’t think of any good reasons, but I went ahead anyway, and participated for a few months in the rituals, reading and homework. It took a while before I realized that the time commitment was too great for me and I regretfully withdrew.
However I took with me one new idea that has become the cornerstone of my spiritual life. Joanna asked us to commit to 15 minutes a day for a spiritual practice. I loved listening to my sister priestesses, who were considering many ideas including a daily self-blessing and dancing for 15 minutes to sacred music. I finally chose a simple practice of greeting the directions each morning when I first go outside.
For the past several years, my pledge has been to a creative project that puts me in greater touch with the natural world around me. One year I took photographs in the cemetery near my house on each of the eight seasonal holidays. This became a wonderful practice of setting aside time for spiritual pilgrimage and also produced a wonderful series of photographs.
The following year I wrote a haiku (almost) every day, usually based on something I saw during my walk with Chester the dog. The haiku is a difficult form and I was disheartened when I approached the end of the year without having produced any one that was truly produced the effect I think a haiku should have, of startling your heart awake. But just this morning I recognized that the practice had irrevocably altered the way I see certain natural phenomena in my neighborhood. The fat buds puffing up on the cherry trees down the street are now always rosary beads to me.
This year I am hoping to integrate my seasonal studies, writing and my website by writing a (semi-)weekly short essay about ways to align with the season or celebrate a particular holiday that come from my immediate experience.
New Year Pledges are different than New Year resolutions in that they have a spiritual dimension and are made in a sacred way. Although I undertake them seriously, I also make them with great joy.