It’s already 66F with only an occasional zephyr to shift things and a beautifully clear sky. There’s no real chance of rain until after midnight tomorrow, so I think I’m going to have to water my plants when I get home.
Dang, yesterday was hot! I swear my brain melted! I was ok early on, and was doing headers and such, but afterwards…. I almost don’t know what all we were doing. I know Maryse came in for a visit and we had customers before that. I know we had our feast. <sigh> I don’t really remember leaving the shop. I *do* remember waking up in bed (it was still quite light) at home and feeling normal again, if tired!
I also remember having a minor meltdown because I couldn’t work out how to edit my pictures. <sigh> That was very late in the day as we were setting up to head home. I managed to find the software that I was looking for this morning. <sigh twice> … and I have a bunch of pictures from yesterday that I barely remember taking! Like that one! <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Tempus put some of the herbs and other backstock away, I see, as well.
Today we’re already at the shop. I did some plant tending at home, waiting for Tempus to come out to the car. I need to clean up the shop a bit from yesterday, work on my seed starts and do more headers. He’s taking Jeanne for another appointment and then going to run up to the house to grab some more stuff.
Yes, we live in Oregon. This guy was on the path down to the apartment a few days back!
Today’s plant is the tropical tree, the Rose Apple, Syzygium jambos – In ancient Sanskrit, the land now called India was referred to by the ancient Indians themselves as Jambudvipa, which means Rose-apple-land (jambud = rose apple; vipa = land). With its thick, leathery leaves and great span of branches, the Jambu Tree offers great shade and coolness against the sun. Stories tell that Lord Buddha sat in the shade of a Jambu Tree (the story is often told as a “Bodhi tree”), watching men plowing the land with oxen and meditating on the burdens we all must carry in this life. He was determined that he would either reach enlightenment or die where he sat. He finally saw his previous births and realized that people are born and reborn into different states according to their deeds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syzygium_jambosInformation on the Bodhi Tree, Ficus religiosa here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhi_tree
Today’s Feast is in honor of the date in 1938 when the super-hero, Superman, first appeared in Action Comics. He’s a cultural icon, probably one of the most recognizable. He’s gone through comic books, newspaper comics, radio shows, television (my childhood… flying on a table with a fan in front of him. <grin>) movies, etc. This is a good article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman The picture is George Reeves from the government film, “Stamp Day for Superman”. This is the Reeves who was the television actor, not Christopher Reeves who played Superman in the movies, and in a irony of fate, was paralyzed from the neck down in a riding accident.
The shop opens at 11am! 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 email@example.com 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
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 4/21 at 10:24pm. 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 Full on 4/20 at 10:24am.
This is the time of year when, as twilight fades, the dim Little Dipper extends straight to the right from Polaris in the north. Very high above the end-stars of the Little Dipper’s bowl, you’ll find the end-stars of the Big Dipper’s bowl.
Mercury at greatest elongation east – Monday, April 18, 10 a.m. EDT – This is the best evening apparition of Mercury for 2016 for observers in the Northern Hemisphere. Mercury remains well-placed low in the west-northwest in twilight, but it’s fading fast: from magnitude –0.3 on Friday the 15th to +0.9 on Friday the 22nd.
Mars (about magnitude –1.0, in the legs of Ophiuchus above Scorpius), rises around 11 p.m. daylight-saving time and blazes highest in the south before the first light of dawn, to the right of dimmer Saturn and above Antares. In a telescope Mars grows this week from 14 to 15 arcseconds in diameter. See our telescopic Mars guide in the April issue of Sky & Telescope, page 48. At its closest approach to Earth in late May, Mars will grow to 18.6 arcseconds wide.
Goddess Month of Maia runs from 4/18 – 5/15
Celtic Tree Month of Saille/Willow, Apr 15 – May 12
Runic half-month of Mannaz/ Man, April 14-28 A time when the archetypal reality of the human condition should be meditated upon. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, USA, 1992, 1992
©2016 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Saille/Willow, Apr 15 – May 12 – The Willow in the Tree alphabet stands for the female and lunar rhythms of life. She is water-seeking, thriving from preference on the damp margins of lakes and streams or across the low-lying water meadows. Water and the tidal movements of the sea are governed by the pull of the moon. The moon in its monthly rhythms is female, contrasting with the male sun’s daily and yearly turnings. In several ways, the Celts held women in higher regard than we do today. On the material level, women were property owners, and whoever controlled the property controlled the marriage. Women of all types and ages appeared in the Celtic pantheon, the spiritual strength and life-giving qualities given by both female and male recognized equally. There were colleges of Druidesses – learned women and teachers – respected equally for their gifts of see-ship, often expressed through dreams, or night visions.
Magical Associations: Romantic love, healing, protection, fertility, magic for women.
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
M 18 Low 5:18 AM 1.5 6:26 AM Set 5:01 AM 83
~ 18 High 11:09 AM 6.5 8:05 PM Rise 4:57 PM
~ 18 Low 5:25 PM 1.1
~ 18 High 11:38 PM 7.2
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – The fruits of your spirits; what are they and how can you grow more of what you need?
~ We must not cease from exploration. – T.S.Eliot
~ A fiction novel contains more truth than people realize-but in a different way than what’s expected. – Shannon Rohrer
~ Everything that you need to take charge of your life is already yours. Believe it or not, it’s been with you since the day you were born, waiting to be used. Kerr Cuhulain
~ Success is a beast. And it actually puts the emphasis on the wrong thing. You get away with more instead of looking within. – Brad Pitt
He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is flap and doodle. It is balder and dash. – HL Mencken, on USA President Warren G Harding, who was born on November 2, 1865
Beltane: Its History and Modern Celebration in Wicca in America – by Rowan Moonstone – http://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos032.htm
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 countries 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 revelers 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 revelers 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.
- MacCana, Proinsias, Celtic Mythology, The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, London, 1970, p.32.
- Squire, Charles, Celtic Myth and Legend, Poetry and Romance, Newcastle Publishing Co., Van Nuys, CA, 1975, p.408.
- Williamson, John, The Oak King, the Holly King, and the Unicorn, Harper & Row, NY, 1986, p.126.
- Squire, p.411.
- Hole, Christina, Witchcraft In England, Rowman & Littlefield, Totowa, NJ, 1977, p.36.
- Bord, Janet & Colin, Earth Rites, Fertility Practices in Pre-Industrial Britain, Granada, London, 1982.
- Danaher, Kevin, The Year in Ireland, The Mercier Press, Cork, 1972.
- Hole, Christina, Witchcraft in England, Rowman & Littlefield, Totowa NJ,1977.
- MacCana, Proinsias, Celtic Mythology, The Hamlyn Publishing Group, Ltd., London, 1970.
- MacCulloch, J.A. Religion of the Ancient Celts, Folcroft Library Editions, London, 1977.
- Powell, T.G.E. The Celts, Thames & Hudson, New York, 1980.
- Sharkey, John, Celtic Mysteries, the Ancient Religion, Thames & Hudson, New York, 1979.
- Squire, Charles, Celtic Myth, Legend, Poetry, and Romance, Newcastle Publishing Co., Van Nuys, CA, 1975.
- Williamson, John, The Oak King, The Holly King and the Unicorn, Harper & Row, New York, 1986.
- Wood-Martin, W.G., Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland, Kennikat Press, Port Washington, NY, 1902.
Accordion to the TV, it’s going to rain tomorrow.