Oiyoiyoi! Here I’m finally writing today’s newsletter and it’s 11pm! Yesterday’s apparently didn’t go out, either, although I thought it had. I *hate* moving!
We managed to flip my main computer over out of the shelf it was on and it won’t turn back on. I’m hoping it’s just something unseated itself. It’s in the shop. Well….
Yesterday was not a particularly busy day as far as customers went although we had lots to do. Some of it was unpacking and sorting out for me. Some of it was shifting more stuff. Tempus was running around doing the same. We’ve a *long* way to go!
Today was mostly trying to make room in the new place and then taking the computer to the shop. He’s out on his newspaper run, by now. I’ll try to do better about getting the notes out, but until the main computer is back, I don’t have a lot of the files. Today was the day I was supposed to start putting those together!
A Ken Gagne photo from 5/4/15 of the area by the Yachats Ocean Road.
Today’s Plant is Sword fern, Polystichum munitum. It grows all winter on the coast, getting greener and lovelier every year as the new fiddles come up out of the center of the plant and develop into fronds. I’ve been enjoying those, watching them for months, now. they can get to be 6 feet tall and some of the ones down in the park where the stream crosses through are that size! The indigenes used the rhizome as a poverty food (baked and peeled), and the fronds are one of the best remedies for relieving the pain from the sting of a Stinging Nettle. It is also commonly used by florists as an ornamental plant. – Masculine, Air, The God, the Puck. – This is an herb of masculine power, protection and luck. Use in spells to guide to treasure. Burn to drive away pests.…and as any fern, burn for rain…. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sword_fern
The Hanshi or Cold Food Festival is a Chinese tradition for this time of year. Coming from the practice of changing the type of wood used for starting fires with the change of seasons, and originally including ancestor worship, the festival now mostly is games and housecleaning, despite a rather grisly myth attached to it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_Food_Festival
The shop is closed on Tuesday/Wednesday. Spring hours are 11am-6pm Thursday through Monday, although the time that we’re there 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
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 4/7 at 4:24am. Hecate’s Brooch – 3-5 days before New Moon – Best time for Releasing Rituals. It’s the last few days before the new moon, the time of Hecate’s Brooch. This is the time that if you’re going to throw something out, or sweep the floors, or take stuff to Good Will, do it! Rid yourself of negativity and work on the letting go process. Release the old, removing unwanted negative energies, addictions, or illness. Do physical and psychic cleansings. Good for wisdom & psychic ability. Goddess Aspect: Crone – Associated God/desses: Callieach, Banshee, Hecate, Baba Yaga, Ereshkigal, Thoth. Phase ends at the Dark on 4/5 at 4:24pm. Dark of the Moon, End of the cycle – In the time leading up to the “New Moon” you may do banishings and other baneful magicks and healings that require blasting a disease away, as well as using the time for introspection and self-work. Do scrying, now. Good for reversing circumstances. God/dess Aspect: The One Beyond, the Watchers in the Outer Dark, psychopomps – Associated God/desses: Hecate, Kali, Arianhrod, Anja, Kore in the Underworld, Ereshkigal who was Inanna, Set/Seth, Hades, Osiris. Phas ends at the Tide Change on 4/7 at 4:2am.
The huge, bright Winter Hexagon is still in good view at nightfall, filling the sky to the southwest and west. Start with brilliant Sirius in the southwest, the Hexagon’s lower left corner. High above Sirius is Procyon. From there look even higher for Pollux and Castor, lower right from Castor to Menkalinen and bright Capella, lower left to Aldebaran, lower left to Rigel at the bottom of Orion, and back to Sirius.
Venus is deep in the glow of sunrise. Can you still make it out at all? Bring binoculars, and look barely above the horizon due east as dawn grows very bright. This the end of its long dawn apparition that began last summer.
Goddess Month of Columbina runs from 3/20 – 4/17
Celtic Tree Month of Fearn/Alder, Mar 18 – Apr 14
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
©2016 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).
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
Tu 5 Low 5:40 AM 1.0 6:49 AM Rise 5:56 AM 10
~ 5 High 11:37 AM 7.7 7:49 PM Set 5:58 PM
~ 5 Low 6:01 PM 0.0
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Someday, we’ll forget the pains, who caused the tears, and why we cried. We would finally realize that the secret of being free is not revenge but letting things unfold in their own ways…
~ Avoiding problems you need to face is avoiding the life you need to live. – Paulo Coelho
~ About all I can say for the United States Senate is that it opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation. – Will Rogers (1879-1935) US actor, humorist
~ Sad but true: Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done. – Peter Drucker
~ First thing we’ll do, kill all the lawyers. – Shakespeare Henry VI
Glimpses of Spring
The new light of Spring
Shines on the rain wet road:
Sparkling sheets of brightness.
Trees lining its side
Wait patiently for leaves;
The sap rises slowly.
Spring beckons me
To trade my winter mind’s endurance
Not as patient as the trees,
I want to run, jump, sing
Fling my arms wide and embrace
The dancing light before me!
But it runs away down the road.
Breathless, I run to catch it,
Always it eludes me.
Yet in time, Spring will come to me
And like the trees
I will dress myself in new garments
To make her welcome. By Tasha Halpert www.heartwingsandfriends.com
Heartwings: Love Notes for a Joyous Life is now available for purchase at www.galdepress.com.
Beltane (Bealtaine, May Eve) – April 30th/May 1st (May day).
Incense : Lilac, Frankincense
Decorations : Maypole, Flowers, Ribbons
Colours : Green
This is a holiday of Union–both between the Goddess and the God and between man and woman. Handfastings (Pagan marriages) are traditional at this time. It is a time of fertility and harvest, the time for reaping the wealth from the seeds that we have sown. Celebrations include braiding of one’s hair (to honor the union of man and woman and Goddess and God), circling the Maypole for fertility and jumping the Beltane fire for luck. Beltaine is one of the Major Sabbats of the Wiccan religion. We celebrate sexuality (something we see as holy and intrinsic to us as holy beings), we celebrate life and the unity which fosters it. The myths of Beltane state that the the young God has blossomed into manhood, and the Goddess takes him on as her lover. Together, they learn the secrets of the sexual and the sensual, and through their union, all life begins.
BELTANE: Its History and Modern Celebration in Wicca in America , by Rowan Moonstone
The celebration of May 1st, or Beltane as it is known in Wicca Circles, is one of the most important festivals of our religious year. I will attempt here to answer some of the most often asked questions about this holiday. An extensive bibliography follows the article so that the interested reader can do further research.
- Where does the festival of Beltane originate?
Beltane, as practiced by modern day Witches and Pagans, has its origins among the Celtic peoples of Western Europe and the British Isles, particularly Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
- What does the word Beltane mean?
Dr. Proinsias MacCana defines the word as follows: “… the Irish name for May Day is Beltane, of which the second element, `tene’, is the word for fire, and the first, `bel’, probably means `shining or brilliant’.”(1) The festival was known by other names in other Celtic countries. Beltaine in Ireland, Bealtunn in Scotland, Shenn do Boaldyn on the Isle of Mann, and Galan Mae in Wales.(2)
- What was the significance of this holiday to the ancients?
To the ancient Celts, it symbolized the coming of spring. It was the time of year when the crops began to sprout, the animals bore their young, and the people could begin to get out of the houses where they had been cooped up during the long dark cold winter months. Keep in mind that the people in those days had no electric lights or heat, and that the Celtic counties are at a much more northerly latitude than many of us are used to. At that latitude, spring comes much later, and winter lasts much longer than in most of the US. The coming of fair weather and longer daylight hours would be most welcome after a long cold and dark winter.
- How did the ancient Celts celebrate this festival?
The most ancient way of observing this day is with fire. Beltane, along with Samhain (Nov. 1), Imbolc (Feb. 1), and Lughnassadh (Aug. 1), was one of the four great “fire festivals” which marked the turning points of the Celtic year. The most ancient records tell us that the people would extinguish all the hearth fires in the country and then relight them from the “need fires” lit by the druids (who used friction as a means of ignition). In many areas, the cattle were driven between two great bonfires to protect them from disease during the coming year. It is my personal belief, although I have no documentation to back up the assumption, that certain herbs would have been burnt in the fires, thus producing smoke which would help destroy parasites which might make cattle and other livestock ill.
- In what other ways was this festival celebrated?
One of the most beautiful customs associated with this festival was “bringing in the May.” The young people of the villages and towns would go out into the fields and forests at Midnight on April 30th and gather flowers with which to bedeck themselves, their families, and their homes. They would process back into the villages, stopping at each home to leave flowers, and to receive the best of food and drink that the home had to offer. This custom is somewhat similar to “trick or treat” at Samhain and was very significant to the ancients. John Williamson, in his study, The Oak King, the Holly King, and the Unicorn, writes, “These revelers were messengers of the renewal of vegetation, and they assumed the right to punish the niggardly, because avarice (as opposed to generosity) was dangerous to the community’s hope for the abundance of nature. At an important time like the coming of summer, food, the substance of life must be ritually circulated generously within the community in order that the cosmic circuit of life’s substance may be kept in motion (trees, flocks, harvests, etc.).”(3) These revellers would bless the fields and flocks of those who were generous and wish ill harvests on those who withheld their bounty.
- What about maypoles?
The maypole was an adjunct to the festival of bringing in the May. It is a phallic symbol, and as such represented fertility to the participants in the festival. In olden days, the revellers who went into the woods would cut a tree and bring it into town, decking it with flowers and greenery and dance around it, clockwise (also called deosil, meaning “sun-wise”, the direction of the sun’s apparent travel across the face of the Earth) to bring fertility and good luck. The ribbons which we associate with the maypole today were a later addition.
- Why was fertility important?
The people who originated this custom lived in close connection with the land. If the flocks and fields were fertile, they were ableto eat; if there was famine or drought, they went hungry. It is hard for us today to relate to this concept, but to the ancients, it was literally a life and death matter. The Celts were a very close tribal people, and fertility of their women literally meant continuity of the tribe.
- How is the maypole connected with fertility?
Many scholars see the maypole as a phallic symbol. In this aspect, it is a very powerful symbol of the fertility of nature and spring.
- How did these ancient customs come down to us ?
When Christianity came to the British Isles, many of the ancient holy sites were taken over by the new religion and converted to Christian sites.
Many of the old Gods and Goddesses became Christian saints, and many of the customs were appropriated. Charles Squire says,” An ingenious theory was invented after the introduction of Christianity, with the purpose of allowing such ancient rites to continue with a changed meaning. The passing of persons and cattle through flame or smoke was explained as a practice which interposed a magic protection between them and the powers of evil.” (4) This is precisely what the original festival was intended to do; only the definition of “evil” had changed. These old customs continued to be practiced in many areas for centuries. “In Scotland in 1282, John, the priest in Iverkething, led the young girls of his parish in a phallic dance of decidedly obscene character during Easter week. For this, penance was laid upon him, but his punishment was not severe, and he was allowed to retain his benefice.”(5)
- Were sacrifices practiced during this festival?
Scholars are divided in their opinions of this. There is no surviving account of sacrifices in the legends and mythology which have come down to us. As these were originally set down on paper by Christian monks, one would think that if such a thing had been regularly practiced, the good brothers would most certainly have recorded it, if for no other reason than to make the pagans look more depraved. There are, however, some surviving folk customs which point to a person representing the gloom and ill fortune of winter being ostracized and forced to jump through the fires. Some scholars see this as a survival of ancient human sacrificial practices. The notion that animals were sacrificed during this time doesn’t make sense from a practical standpoint. The animals which had been retained a breeding stock through the winter would either be lean and hungry from winter feed, or would be mothers nursing young, which could not be spared.
- How do modern day pagans observe this day?
Modern day pagan observances of Beltane include the maypole dances, bringing in the May, and jumping the cauldron for fertility. Many couples wishing to conceive children will jump the cauldron together at this time. Fertility of imagination and other varieties of fertility are invoked along with sexual fertility. In Wiccan and other Pagan circles, this is a joyous day, full of laughter and good times.
- What about Walpurgisnacht? Is this the same thing as Beltane?
Walpurgisnacht comes from an Eastern European background, and has little in common with the Celtic practices. I have not studied the folklore from that region and do not consider myself qualified to write about it. As the vast majority of Wiccan traditions today stem from Celtic roots, I have confined myself to research in those areas.
Silliness – A Dog’s Telegram
On a slow day with few customers, a clerk at a telegram office looks down from her counter and sees a dog waiting in line.
“Oh, aren’t you cute?” she says. “What would you like me to put on your telegram?”
“Bow wow wow, Bow wow wow,” the dog replies.
The clerk says in a cutesy voice, “But you can add another ‘Bow wow wow’ for the same price.”
The dog responds, “Now wouldn’t that sound a little silly?”