Yesterday was filled with small chores. Both Tempus and I had work to do on the computers, maintenance stuff. Mine was done quickly, but his was still going when we went to bed last night. We had hoped to get as far as shopping, but didn’t. Mostly chores happened, but I did spend some time writing. I’m working on another page of my research, this time into hobby-horses.
Today we have to finish the kitchen chores. I have to set up the newsletters. We have to be at the shop in time to set up for the ritual, too. Busy day!
Today’s feast is the Ludi Piscatorii, the day of the fishermen, in honor of Father Tiber, the Tiber River in Italy. (although Wikipedia has it as 6/7…) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludi_Piscatorii It is also the day of St. Botolph, according to Nigel Pennick, who is an English saint, patron of travelers and fishermen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Botolph Fishing has been a main source of food since the neolithic and the first permanent settlements, such as those at Lepensky Vir (7000BCE or so) were based on fishing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lepenski_Vir
Today’s Plant is the Primrose, Primula vulgaris. This plant, because it iseasily grown, but easily killed, is very popular at garden centers. Even our local grocery and Fred Meyer’s have racks of them outside in February and March. They’re often given as inexpensive gifts for Valentine’s, Easter, and Mothers’ Day. Both flowers and leaves are edible, the flavor ranging between mild lettuce and more bitter salad greens. The leaves can also be used for tea, and theyoung flowers can be made into primrose wine. – Feminine, Venus, Earth, Freya – grow blue and red ones to protect against reverses of fortune, yellow and pink to attract the small Fae. When worn, they attract the love of men, and can cure madness. If you dry them and sew them into a child’s pillow you will gain his undying respect and loyalty, but be sure that you deserve it, first! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primula_vulgaris
The shop is closed on Tuesday/Wednesday! Summer hours are 11am-7pm 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,
New Moon – The beginning of a new cycle. Keywords for the New phase are: beginning, birth, emergence, projection, clarity. It is the time in a cycle that you are stimulated to take a new action. During this phase the new cycle is being seeded by your vision, inner and outer. Engage in physical activity. Spend time alone. VISUALIZE your goals for the 29.6-day cycle ahead. The new moon is for starting new ventures, new beginnings. Also love and romance, health or job hunting. God/dess aspect: Infancy, the Cosmic Egg, Eyes-Wide-Open – Associated God/dess: Inanna who was Ereshkigal. Phase ends on 6/17 at 7:05pm. 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 7/1 at 7:20pm. Diana’s Bow – On the 3rd day after the new moon you can (weather permitting) see the tiny crescent in the sky, the New Moon holding the Old Moon in her arms. Begin on your goals for the next month. A good time for job interviews or starting a project. Take a concrete step! God/dess aspect: Daughter/Son/Innocence – Associated God/dess: Vesta, Horus. Phase ends on 6:20 at 7:05pm.
Can you see the big Coma Berenices star cluster? Does your light pollution really hide it, or do you just not know exactly where to look? It’s currently in the west after dark; look 40% of the way from <<< Denebola (Leo’s tail) to the end of the Big Dipper’s>>> handle (Ursa Major’s tail). Its brightest members form an inverted Y. The cluster is about 5° wide — a big, dim glow when seen in at least a moderately dark sky. It nearly fills a binocular view with its sparsely scattered points.
Saturn (magnitude +0.2, above the head of Scorpius) is highest in the south after dusk. Some 12° lower left of Saturn is twinklier orange Antares, less bright. In a telescope, Saturn’s rings are tilted a generous 24° from edgewise.
Mars is hidden behind the glare of the Sun.
Goddess Month of Rosea runs from 6/13 – 7/10
Celtic Tree Month of Duir/Oak, Jun 10 – Jul 7
Runic half-month of Dagaz/ Dag, 6/14-6/28. – Beneficial rune of light, health, prosperity and openings, signifying the high point of the day and the high point of the year when in light and warmth all things are possible.
©2015 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright.
Celtic Tree Month of Duir/Oak, Jun 10 – Jul 7 – The oak of myth and legend is the common oak (Quercus robur L.). It is sometimes called the great oak, which is a translation of its Latin name (robur is the root of the English word “robust”). It grows with ash and beech in the lowland forests, and can reach a height of 150 feet and age of 800 years. Along with ashes, oaks were heavily logged throughout recent millennia, so that the remaining giant oaks in many parts of Europe are but a remnant of forests past. Like most other central and northern European trees, common oaks are deciduous, losing their leaves before Samhain and growing new leaves in the spring so that the trees are fully clothed by Bealltaine. Common oaks are occasionally cultivated in North America, as are the similar native white oak, valley oak, and Oregon oak. Oaks are members of the Beech family (Fagaceae). Curtis Clark
Duir – Oak Ogam letter correspondences
Color: Black and Dark Brown
Meaning: Security; Strength
to study this month – Eadha – White Poplar or Aspen Ogam letter correspondences
Color: Silver White
Meaning: Problems; Doubts; Fears.
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
W 17 High 1:03 AM 8.3 5:31 AM Rise 6:55 AM 0
~ 17 Low 8:02 AM -1.6 9:03 PM Set 9:52 PM
~ 17 High 2:34 PM 6.7
~ 17 Low 7:59 PM 2.2
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Life! Life! Only Life!
~ I wanted only to try to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult? – From Demian, by Herman Hesse
~ I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them. – Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) Dutch philosopher
~ Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. – Thomas Edison
~ Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief. – Proverbs 14:13, New International Version
What we would like to do is change the world – make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended for them to do. And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, of the poor, of the destitute … we can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing that we can do but love, and, dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as well as our friend. – Dorothy Day; ‘Love Is The Measure’, The Catholic Worker, June 1946
A Midsummer’s Celebration – A history of St. John’s Eve, the celebration of the sun. By Mike Nichols – Reprinted from The Witches’ Sabbats website. Used with permission.
The young maid stole through the cottage door, and blushed as she sought the Plant of pow’r;
“Thou silver glow-worm,
O lend me thy light,
I must gather the mystic
St. John’s wort tonight,
The wonderful herb,
whose leaf will decide,
if the coming year
shall make me a bride.”
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” of the year, and modern Witches call them the four “Lesser Sabbats,” or the four “Low Holidays.” The summer solstice is one of them.
Technically, a solstice is an astronomical point and, due to the procession of the equinox, the date may vary by a few days depending on the year. The summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches the Tropic of Cancer, and we experience the longest day and the shortest night of the year. Astrologers know this as the date on which the sun enters the sign of Cancer.
However, since most European peasants were not accomplished at reading an ephemeris or did not live close enough to Salisbury Plain to trot over to Stonehenge and sight down its main avenue, they celebrated the event on a fixed calendar date, June 24th. The slight forward displacement of the traditional date is the result of multitudinous calendrical changes down through the ages. It is analogous to the winter solstice celebration, which is astronomically on or about December 21st, but is celebrated on the traditional date of December 25th, Yule, later adopted by the Christians.
Again, it must be remembered that the Celts reckoned their days from sundown to sundown, so the June 24th festivities actually begin on the previous sundown (our June 23rd). This was Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Eve. Which brings up another point: our modern calendars are quite misguided in suggesting that “summer begins” on the solstice. According to the old folk calendar, summer begins on May Day and ends on Lammas (August 1st), with the summer solstice, midway between the two, marking midsummer. 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.
Although our Pagan ancestors probably preferred June 24th (and indeed most European folk festivals today use this date), the sensibility of modern Witches seems to prefer the actual solstice point, beginning the celebration on its eve, or the sunset immediately preceding the solstice point. Again, it gives modern Pagans a range of dates to choose from with, hopefully, a weekend embedded in it.
Just as the Pagan midwinter celebration of Yule was adopted by Christians as Christmas (December 25th), so too the Pagan midsummer celebration was adopted by them as the feast of John the Baptist (June 24th). Occurring 180 degrees apart on the wheel of the year, the midwinter celebration commemorates the birth of Jesus, while the midsummer celebration commemorates the birth of John, the prophet who was born six months before Jesus in order to announce his arrival.
Although modern Witches often refer to the holiday by the rather generic name of Midsummer’s Eve, it is more probable that our Pagan ancestors of a few hundred years ago actually used the Christian name for the holiday, St. John’s Eve. This is evident from the wealth of folklore that surrounds the summer solstice (i.e. that it is a night especially sacred to the faerie folk) but which is inevitably ascribed to “St. John’s Eve,” with no mention of the sun’s position. It could also be argued that a Coven’s claim to antiquity might be judged by what name it gives the holidays. (Incidentally, the name “Litha” for the holiday is a modern usage, possibly based on a Saxon word that means the opposite of Yule. Still, there is little historical justification for its use in this context.) But weren’t our Pagan ancestors offended by the use of the name of a Christian saint for a pre-Christian holiday?
Well, to begin with, their theological sensibilities may not have been as finely honed as our own. But secondly, and more importantly, St. John himself was often seen as a rather Pagan figure. He was, after all, called “the Oak King.” His connection to the wilderness (from whence “the voice cried out”) was often emphasized by the rustic nature of his shrines. Many statues show him as a horned figure (as is also the case with Moses). Christian iconographers mumble embarrassed explanations about “horns of light,” while modern Pagans giggle and happily refer to such statues as “Pan the Baptist.” And to clench matters, many depictions of John actually show him with the lower torso of a satyr, cloven hooves and all! Obviously, this kind of John the Baptist is more properly a Jack in the Green! Also obvious is that behind the medieval conception of St. John lies a distant, shadowy Pagan deity, perhaps the archetypal Wild Man of the Wood, whose face stares down at us through the foliate masks that adorn so much church architecture. Thus medieval Pagans may have had fewer problems adapting than we might suppose.
In England, it was the ancient custom on St. John’s Eve to light large bonfires after sundown, which served the double purpose of providing light to the revelers and warding off evil spirits. This was known as “setting the watch.” People often jumped through the fires for good luck. In addition to these fires, the streets were lined with lanterns, and people carried cressets (pivoted lanterns atop poles) as they wandered from one bonfire to another. These wandering, garland-bedecked bands were called a “marching watch.” Often they were attended by morris dancers, and traditional players dressed as a unicorn, a dragon, and six hobby-horse riders. Just as May Day was a time to renew the boundary on one’s own property, so Midsummer’s Eve was a time to ward the boundary of the city.
Customs surrounding St. John’s Eve are many and varied. At the very least, most young folk plan to stay up throughout the whole of this shortest night. Certain courageous souls might spend the night keeping watch in the center of a circle of standing stones. To do so would certainly result in either death, madness, or (hopefully) the power of inspiration to become a great poet or bard. (This is, by the way, identical to certain incidents in the first branch of the “Mabinogion.”) This was also the night when the serpents of the island would roll themselves into a hissing, writhing ball in order to engender the “glain,” also called the “serpent’s egg,” “snake stone,” or “Druid’s egg.” Anyone in possession of this hard glass bubble would wield incredible magical powers. Even Merlyn himself (accompanied by his black dog) went in search of it, according to one ancient Welsh story.
Snakes were not the only creatures active on Midsummer’s Eve. According to British faery lore, this night was second only to Halloween for its importance to the wee folk, who especially enjoyed a ridling on such a fine summer’s night. In order to see them, you had only to gather fern seed at the stroke of midnight and rub it onto your eyelids. But be sure to carry a little bit of rue in your pocket, or you might well be “pixie-led.” Or, failing the rue, you might simply turn your jacket inside-out, which should keep you from harm’s way. But if even this fails, you must seek out one of the “ley lines,” the old straight tracks, and stay upon it to your destination. This will keep you safe from any malevolent power, as will crossing a stream of “living” (running) water.
Other customs included decking the house (especially over the front door) with birch, fennel, St. John’s wort, orpin, and white lilies. Five plants were thought to have special magical properties on this night: rue, roses, St. John’s wort, vervain and trefoil. Indeed, Midsummer’s Eve in Spain is called the “Night of the Verbena (Vervain).” St. John’s wort was especially honored by young maidens who picked it in the hopes of divining a future lover.
And the glow-worm came
With its silvery flame,
And sparkled and shone
Through the night of St. John,
And soon has the young maid her love-knot tied.
There are also many mythical associations with the summer solstice, not the least of which concerns the seasonal life of the God of the sun. Inasmuch as I believe that I have recently discovered certain associations and correspondences not hitherto realized, I have elected to treat this subject in some depth in another essay. Suffice it to say here, I disagree with the generally accepted idea that the Sun-God meets his death at the summer solstice. I believe there is good reason to see the Sun-God at his zenith–his peak of power–on this day, and that his death at the hands of his rival would not occur for another quarter of a year. Material drawn from the Welsh mythos seems to support this thesis. In Irish mythology, Midsummer is the occasion of the first battle between the Fir Bolgs and the Tuatha De Danaan.
Altogether, Midsummer is a favorite holiday for many Witches in that it is so hospitable to outdoor celebrations. The warm summer night seems to invite it. And if the celebrants are not in fact sky clad, then you may be fairly certain that the long ritual robes of winter have yielded place to short, tunic-style apparel. As with the longer gowns, tradition dictates that one should wear nothing underneath–the next best thing to skyclad, to be sure. (Incidentally, now you know the real answer to the old Scottish joke, “What is worn beneath the kilt?”)
The two chief icons of the holiday are the spear (symbol of the Sun-God in his glory) and the summer cauldron (symbol of the Goddess in her bounty). The precise meaning of these two symbols, which I believe I have recently discovered, will be explored in the essay on the death of Llew. But it is interesting to note here that modern Witches often use these same symbols in the Midsummer rituals. And one occasionally hears the alternative consecration formula, “As the spear is to the male, so the cauldron is to the female…” With these mythic associations, it is no wonder that Midsummer is such a joyous and magical occasion!
Silliness – Late Night Funny – Scientists have discovered that a 5,000-year-old mummy is covered with at least 60 tattoos. Scientists are calling him the earliest known member of the NBA. – Conan O’Brien