Everything’s very wet at the moment. What woke us this morning was rain pounding on the solarium roof, but an hour later, then sky over the ocean is blue, the clouds are moving off to the east and north and the sun is out. It’s supposed to stay dry into Saturday.
Yesterday started late, as Wednesdays do. I got going on my various projects, the one of which that I was determined to complete was the newsletter set-up. ….well…. our Air Force son, who is heading for a new station over the next month, called and we talked for hours and then he talked to Tempus for awhile and by then, it was time to head home and get our weekend’s chores finished! I’m am *not* complaining!
So nothing got finished and it’s all to do today. At least I got a good night’s sleep. We have sewing tonight at 6pm, too. Tempus has the paper route tonight, I’m going to go home to sleep. I’m hoping to get some more herbs or incense materials packaged today, too.
Today’s Plant is Lovage, levisticum officinale. It seems to have originated somewhere near the eastern Mediterranean and has been cultivated for a long while, being a very useful plant. It has a strong, long-lasting scent, that reminds a person of celery and parsley, but with the volume turned up. It’s great in salads, but chop it small and mix with other greens or it overpowers! Both leaf and seed are great in soups, especially seafood chowders and the roots can be eaten as a vegetable. I’ve drunk lovage cordial, which is tasty. It has a high flavonoid content, as well. Medicinally, a strong leaf tea, iced, is a good antiseptic, especially for extensive scrapes, where it takes down the sting and swelling very quickly and can be splashed on as often as needed. It can be used for mild cases of water retention, as well, and even with high blood pressure. –Masculine, Sun, Fire – This herb is often used in love magicks, but works best as a self-confidence enhancer. Take a bath with a sachet of the leaves, or make a strong tea that you toss into the bathwater before going out to meet new people or to start a new job. It also helps to squeeze a small sachet of the leaves if you’re having trouble concentrating on a task. Wiki has more:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovage
Vadersolstavlan, (sun-dog painting, or weather-sun painting) created in 1535, is the oldest painting of the city of Stockholm and is believed to have been painted of a real (i.e. not imagined) event, shortly after this weather phenomenon happened. It’s also the oldest depiction of “sun dogs”, which are what are pictured here. More on the painting here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V%C3%A4dersolstavlan and on Sun Dogs here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_dog which page includes a lot of links to other atmospheric phenomena of this type. The pic of the painting is with the article. It just looks like a blur, this small, so I didn’t put it in the newsletter.
The shop is open Thursday through Monday, although we’re there a lot later most nights. 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 4/26 5:16am. Waning Crescent Moon – Best time for beginning introspective magicks that are more long term (full year cycle) A good time for beginning knot magicks to “bind up” addictions and illness (finish just before the Tide Change of Dark to New) and “tying up loose ends” God/dess aspects – Demeter weeping for her Daughter, Mabon, Arachne Tyr. Phase ends on 4/21 at 8:16pm.
This is the time of year when, as the last of twilight fades away, the bowl of the dim Little Dipper extends straight to the right of Polaris. High above the end-stars of the Little Dipper’s bowl, you’ll find the end-stars of the Big Dipper’s bowl.
Mars (magnitude +1.5, in Taurus) glows in the west in late twilight to the lower left of Aldebaran — which is similarly colored and slightly brighter. Look for the sinking Pleiades above Mars early in the week, and to the right of Mars by week’s end, as shown at the top of this page.
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
©2017 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
Th 20 Low 2:04 AM 3.4 6:23 AM Rise 3:22 AM 46
~ 20 High 7:37 AM 6.0 8:07 PM Set 1:39 PM
~ 20 Low 2:39 PM 1.0
~ 20 High 9:22 PM 6.0
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Strive for progress, not perfection.
~ Leaders shouldn’t just collect followers, they should empower their fellow men. – Kerr Cuhulain
~ Leadership is doing what is right when no one is watching. – George Van Valkenburg
~ Let there be more joy and laughter in your living. – Eileen Caddy
~ Live your own life, for you will die your own death. – Latin Proverb
Whan that April with his showres soote (that is, sweet)
The droughte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veine in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flowr; – Chaucer; Canterbury Tales (ll. 1-4), modernized for The Norton Anthology of English Literature
Beltane – Rowan Witch Day~Kalends of May~May Day~Cetsahmain
April Showers Bring May Flowers! Leave a bouquet of May flowers at a friend or loved ones door today!
May gets its name from the Roman Goddess Maia, who embodies the earth’s renewal during spring. Next to New Year’s Eve, May Day (Beltane) was among the most popular holidays in the old world, marking the time when the sun’s warmth and nature’s fertility began appearing in the land. Later, well over 100 nations chose to celebrate Labor Day on May 1, giving everyone a much-needed rest from winter’s tasks.
For the purpose of your magical escapades, the theme is definitely blossoming and liveliness. Use as many flower parts as possible in spells and rituals, and go outside frequently to get closer to nature. Energies emphasized by this month include creativity, inventiveness, fertility, health, and metaphysically “spring cleaning” any area of your life or sacred space.
The New Moon in Taurus is always a fertile time. Earth energy is rising, offering a rich environment in which to develop basic resources, talents and physical vitality. Expansive Jupiter in Leo squares the New Moon, pushing Taurean caution with grand schemes. Some risk-taking is appropriate, if it’s not just ego driven. Assertive Mars and spiritual Neptune in Aquarius also square the New Moon, bringing inspiration to Taurus’ more practical side. Chasing fantasies is possible if you pursue your highest ideals and keep one foot on the ground. Normally, the New Moon in Taurus fills us with comforting sensations that remind us of the past. This month, though, with Mars, Jupiter and Neptune forming a tense t-square with the New Moon, the urge to risk safety can be strong.
May Day is the ancient festival of Beltane, the midway point between the vernal (spring) equinox and the summer solstice. The days are growing longer, coaxing the earth to open to the life-giving qualities of the sun and to bring forth every kind of fruit. Beltane is a celebration of the fertility of the earth and the fertility of our own souls. It is a call to gratitude that everything in the universe is continually being re-created, including ourselves.
The air and Earth begin to warm, Spring has arrived in full force and is making way for Summer. The leaves and grass have greened and the flowers are in full bloom (as are the allergies for some!) Man and woman begin to start their lives together, new loves are born, new lives are created.
The word “Beltane” in modern Irish means May. Beltane comes from the meaning “fire of Bel”, in which Bel is the “bright or shining one”. In his honor, the Ancient Celts set two large fires made up of nine of the sacred woods:
During this time, the herds of cattle were driven through these fires to clean off the ticks and mites and also as a symbol of purification to protect them. They were left to graze in the pastures until the new year and winter. Witches’ celebrate the fruitfulness of Mother Earth in the union between Witches’ celebrate the fruitfulness of Mother Earth in the union between Her and the young Horned God. This coupling symbolizes the new fertility of the Earth, the beginnings of Spring going into Summer.
May or Beltane, has traditionally represented the sensuality and revitalization of love-making in all living things. This is why many couples traditionally marry around this time of year. In ancient Celtic days, couples would live together for a year and a day, after which they may decide to get married or part ways. The Celts believed in the idea of marriage, but understood people and nature grow, change and sometimes move apart. This is not to say they did not believe in the family unit and still remain together as a family.
In some cultures, the May pole traditionally represented a fertility symbol – specifically a phallic symbol – dancing around it in celebration was a ritual of thanks for the time of season with which all life begins the cycle.
From GrannyMoon’s Morning Feast 2002
Beltane/CetSamhain/MayDay – The first day of May is celebrated in many parts of the world. It is believed it evolved from ancient agricultural and fertility rites of spring. There are signs of the first celebrations in Egypt. However, the majority of the current traditions stem from the Roman Festival, Floralia. This was a five day festival to honor the Goddess Flora with offerings of flowers, dancing, ringing bells, May Queens and erecting a Maypole.
The May Queen would oversee crops and rule the day. Some places also selected May Kings. The crowns were typical made of twigs, leaves and flowers.
The Maypole was typically fabricated the night before. The men would strip down a birch tree and plant it in the ground; this ceremony was symbolic of fertility rites. The next day both men and women danced about the Maypole. Several longs ribbons hung from the top of the Maypole holding up a crown of colorful flowers. Each dancer held an end of one of the ribbons. The dancers alternated man and women. All the women would dance in one direction and the men danced in the other direction. The dancers would go under the first person and over the next weaving the ribbons about the tree and lowering the ring to the ground. Today this tradition is still practiced but danced mostly boys and girls.
The Celts had a similar celebration known as Beltain, Beltane, or Bealtaine which in Gaelic means “Fires of Bel” or “Bright Fires”. The ceremony honored the god of the Sun and the rebirth of the earth. Feasting, games and bonfires, began on the eve of May Day and continued through the next day with a day of bonfires and merrymaking. It was customary for couples to walk through the fires smoke or leap over the flames to insure a successful relationship. Faeries were (and are) abundant on the first day of May. Windows were decorated with flowers and food was left on the doorstep to keep the mischievous faeries out.
Those traditions created a wonderful medieval holiday that is still celebrated today. We still elect May Queens and Kings and dance around Maypoles. During this time women would wash their faces with the May Day’s morning dew believing it would bring a good complexion and everlasting beauty.
“The fair maid who, the First of May,
Goes to the field at break of day
And washes in the dew from the hawthorn tree,
Will ever after handsome be.”
People began gathering twigs and flowers to decorate their homes and the lovely tradition of May baskets began. Children would leave baskets made from twigs and filled with flowers on their neighbor’s doorstep, knock and then hide waiting to see the expression of the lucky recipient. From Folklore,Magic and Superstions
New Moon in Taurus/Peony Moon – The new moon of the fourth lunar month was called the Peony Moon in China. This lunation was viewed as an auspicious time for going on pilgrimage to sacred places. Blackburn, Bonnie and Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999
Between the Beltanes – Children born between the Beltanes (May 1 and May 8) have “the skill of man and beast” and power over both. Kightly, Charles, The Perpetual Almanack of Folklore, Thames & Hudson 1987
Bona Dea – This was the day of dedication for the Aventine festival of the mysterious and generically named Good Goddess. Her cult was older than that of Heracles, which was itself pre-Roman. She was known as the wife of Faunus, a rustic god of woods and flocks, and she governed fertility and healing. Her rites were for women only and her oracles were revealed only to women.
Also on May 1st, the priests of Vulcan sacrificed a pregnant pig to Maia. Since a pig is the appropriate sacrifice for an earth goddess, Maia was equated with the earth by some Roman writers, as was Bona Dea. Blackburn, Bonnie and Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Oxford Companion to the Year, Oxford University Press 1999
Lei Day – Apparently in Hawaii this is a day for wearing leis and honoring the spirit of the lei: friendliness and good will. It seems appropriate to me to do this on May Day and in the middle of the Floralia, the festival in honor of flowers and sexuality.
Snake Festival – On the first Thursday in May, the town of Cocullo Italy is full of snakes, in honor of San Domenico. Snake handlers gather the snakes on March 19 (St Joseph’s Day or equinox) when they are first emerging into the warmth of the spring sun and store them in jars of bran. On the feast day they bring them out and people get their photograph taken with a snake draped around them. Previously they took the snakes to Mass and waved them over their heads when the Host was elevated. Now they carry them in procession, along with the image of San Domenico. The festival used to end with the snakes being killed or sold to pharmacists to be made into ointments and cures. Now they are let loose.
San Domenico, a Benedictine monk, who was born in Umbria in 951, protects people from the bites of venomous snakes and rabid dogs, perhaps because of the story of how he tamed a fierce wolf that was about to steal a child. The story says he came to Cocullo when it was plagued by an invasion of snakes and charmed them out of their nests, just like St Patrick. But before San Domenico arrived in these parts, the Etruscans, the indigenous people in this part of Italy, worshipped the goddess Angizia, a snake enchantress who lived in a nearby sacred wood and protected people from serpents. She was said to be a sister of Circe. She may be connected with Isis who mated with a serpent. Until some time in the last century, the people of Abruzzo believed the serpent copulated with all women.
Just as in the story of St Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland, this legend may record the transition from the earlier times when snakes were associated with the goddess and the bad reputation they acquired under Christianity. At one time, snakes were symbols of wisdom, and brought the gifts of prophecy and healing, which is why they appear on the caduceus, the symbol of the medical profession. They were also associated with fertility, since they penetrate the earth, and with rebirth, because of the way they shed their skins.
Ciambellone, special breads shaped like a snake biting its tail, are made to decorate the poles which support the statues in the procession. Treats called ciambelle, made from little twisted wreaths of bread, flavored with anise seed, look like snakes wrapped around each other. These sweets that are shaped and coiled like snakes occur only in regions of Italy where the Etruscans lived. Field, Carol, Celebrating Italy, William Morrow 1990 From School of Seasons
)0( NOTE: Because of the large number of ancient calendars, many in simultaneous use, as well as different ways of computing holy days (marked by the annual inundation, the solar year, the lunar month, the rising of key stars, and other celestial and terrestrial events), you may find these holy days celebrated a few days earlier or later at your local temple .
Silliness – Signs and Notices – Sign in King’s Canyon in California. ‘Slow Parking Ahead’