Today’s Plant is the Western Azalea, Rhododendron Occidentale. I’ve talked before about the azaleas being a subset of the rhodys. This picture is the main kind that grows around here. It’s hard to tell from the shape and size of the plant that it’s an azalea, or even from the flowers, although the branches are thinner and the leaves shorter and rounder than those of rhododendrons. It least it’s hard for those of us who are familiar with the showy garden hybrids, which tend to be small and compact! The other West Coast azalea is Rhododendron Albiflorum, and there’s not a whacking lot of info floating around about that one. The wiki is here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhododendron_occidentale The Chinese call azaleas “thinking of home bush”. Magickal uses for azalea are to encourage light spirits, happiness and gaiety.
Today’s Feast is that of the Founding of Rome in 753 (752?) BCE on this date by Romulus who plowed a furrow around the Palatine Hill to describe the boundary of his city. This is the date used in the Roman calendar that dates Ab Urbe Condita, (from the Founding of the City) or Anno Urbis Conditae (Years since the founding of the City), usually abbreviated to A.U.C. There are a lot of different dates given, but the circumstances fall around this year pretty well, at least partially because of the dating of eclipses related to specific events. Romulus and Remus were abandoned as infants and nursed by a she-wolf (Lupa, honored in the Lupercalia) before being adopted by a shepherd. This date is also the celebration of the Palilia (Par Ilia) which is a feast of shepherds and their flocks. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Founding_of_Rome and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ab_urbe_condita
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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. 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 4/24 at 8:16pm.
As the stars come out, sail-shaped Corvus sits to the right of Spica and Jupiter. As night descends, look high in the west for Pollux and Castor lined up almost horizontally (depending on your latitude). These two stars, the heads of the Gemini twins, form the top of the enormous Arch of Spring. To their lower left is Procyon, the left end of the Arch. Farther to their lower right is the other end, formed by Menkalinan (Beta Aurigae) and then brilliant Capella. The whole thing sinks in the west through the evening.
The weak Lyrid meteor shower should peak in the hours before Saturday’s dawn. The Moon will be only a waning crescent. The shower’s peak usually lasts just a few hours, but this year the predicted timing (12h Universal Time April 22) is good for North America, especially the West.
Neptune is still too low for observing before dawn.
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
F 21 Low 3:14 AM 2.9 6:22 AM Rise 3:58 AM 36
~ 21 High 8:50 AM 6.1 8:09 PM Set 2:44 PM
~ 21 Low 3:36 PM 0.9
~ 21 High 10:08 PM 6.5
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – I am a woman..I am strong…
~ Make yourself necessary to somebody. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
~ Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs. – Henry Ford
~ One does what one is; one becomes what one does. – Robert von Musil
~ One falsehood spoils a thousand truths. – Ashanti Proverb
April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet. – Sara Coleridge (1802–52)
Constructing a Maypole (by Anja) – The Maypole of Beltane stands for the combination of the fertility of the Divine Masculine when joined with the Divine Feminine. No one knows the ancient roots of the ceremony, but the symbolism is obvious. Instructions here work for a Maypole for between 10 & 20 people. This is a lot of prep work, but massive amounts of fun!
There are several parts to a Maypole: the pole itself, the foundation, the ribbons, the wreath and the topper.
This can be of almost any material, but unless you live in a forest, where there are slender (2” -3”) straight trees with few branches, the most practical is a piece of closet pole from a lumberyard! Get it cut from 10-12 feet long.
At the same time buy a length of 1/8 inch dowel. Drill a hole in one end at least 1 ½ inches deep.
Drill 3 holes about 8” down from that end of the long pole, spaced equidistant around the pole. They should be to 1/8 inch diameter and about a 1/4 to ½ inch deep.
Cut 4 pieces of dowel 8 inches long. Make sure that they are loose in the holes, but don’t just fall out. You will balance the wreath on these dowels.
Save the 4th piece of dowel for the “topper”.
You will need to dig a hole in the ground at least a foot deep, (better yet, two!) and be prepared to tamp the dirt back in very, very hard. Some people have tried to use “portable holes” for this, but since they are no more than 8 inches long they usually fail and someone gets knocked on the head! We had good success one year using a round, folding picnic table with an umbrella hole in the center and tamping the pole in about 6” or so into beach sand. It leaned badly, although it didn’t fall. (The table became the ritual altar). You can also construct a stand for holding the pole upright, but try it several ways, yanking on it, because when the dancers get going the pole had better not fall over. The stand will usually have to support the pole up to 3 feet off the ground to give it any stability.
Brightly colored ribbon is the traditional material. I have heard of folks using macramé cord, rope and yarn for this, as well. We have used surveyors tape several times now, because it is strong, bright and inexpensive. Do *not* use florist’s ribbon with the cut edges! Those edges *cut* and you don’t want your dancers bleeding. This ritual doesn’t call for blood sacrifice. J Cut the ribbons ½ again the length of the pole, iow for an 8 foot pole, cut ribbons 12 feet long, one per person, but always an even number.
You need a 12” wreath. This is often constructed of hawthorn, but again, no need for blood sacrifice, so most folks use a grapevine wreath base that you can get at a craft store and stick fresh flowers in it.
If you weave your own, you need a wire ring, 12” diameter, thread and freshly-cut flowers & herbs. I often use rosemary, since it smells great and holds up.
Tie your thread to the wire ring and then begin wrapping around and around (about 1” distance per wrap), laying a new branch of rosemary in when about ½ of the previous one is tied down. Try not to catch the needles or smaller branches in the thread. Tie off when about 1/3 of the way around, again about another 1/3 and when you get all the way around.
As you go around a 2nd time, add at least 1 flower with each wrap, tying off with each 1/3 of the wreath. You can make a 3rd pass if you don’t add enough flowers on the 2nd pass.
Maypole Topper – cones of various trees follow the correspondences.
Gather 9 spruce cones (the long slender type), one larger cone (a large pine cone), and a double handful of alder/larch cones. You also need a small bunch of babies’ breath.
Drill a hole longways through the largest cone (two sets of hands are necessary!). Insert the last piece of dowel leaving about 4 inches sticking out the bottom of the cone.
Using a hot glue gun, glue 3 of the spruce cones spaced equidistant around the larger cone, all pointing the same way.
Glue 3 more with their bottoms touching the dowel and between the bases of the other spruce cones.
Repeat with the last three on the top of the construct, only glue the babies’ breath at the very top between the cones. Fill in spaces with the alder cones.
You can decorate with gold glitter and/or spangles
Assembling the pole
Get your hole dug first. Hang the wreath near the drilled end of the pole. Add your topper by inserting the dowel into the hole in the pole. Count noses for your group and tack as many ribbons on as there are noses as near the end of the pole as possible. Carefully insert the dowels into the other holes with the ribbons in 3 bunches between them, then set up the pole. If you are careful as you lift the pole the wreath will drop onto the small dowels without dislodging anything. Patience or a tall enough ladder is required!
To “Dance the Pole”
Space all your dancers around the pole as equidistant as possible. Each takes a ribbon and pulls it outwards until they are holding only about 2 feet of ribbon in their hands. Usually this will knock the dowels loose and the ribbon will be holding up the wreath. If they don’t, shake the ribbons closest to the dowels while folks are holding theirs tight
Have them count off “1, 2, 1, 2…” then tell the “ones” to face left and the “twos” to face right. Go around the first person on the right, those on the inside ducking under the ribbon, then pass the next on the left and so on. Talk them through a bit of it and then get someone to sing or drum or whatever you have. As the ribbons weave around the pole the wreath will gradually drop. When you’re done, or everyone’s ready to drop, gather the ribbons in two bunches and tie in a “true love knot”, i.e. a square knot.
It’ll be a bit of a mess, no matter what you do. Laugh, sing and play!
©2009 Anja Bartlett
For years and years they told me,
“Be careful of your breasts.
Don’t ever squeeze or bruise them.
And give them monthly tests.”
So I heeded all their warnings
And protected them by Law…
Guarded them very carefully,
And always wore a bra.
After 30 years of careful care,
The doctor found a lump.
He ordered a mammogram
To look inside that clump.
“Stand very close,” she said,
As she got my tit in line,
“And tell me when it hurts,” she said,
“Ah Yes! There! That’s just fine.”
She stepped upon a pedal…
I could not believe my eyes!
A plastic plate was pressing down…
My boob was in a vice!!!
My skin was stretched and stretched
From way up by my chin.
And my poor tit was being squashed
To Swedish pancake thin!!!
Excruciating pain I felt,
Within its vice-like grip.
A prisoner in this vicious thing,
My poor defenseless tit!
“Take a deep breath,” she said to me
Who does she think she’s kidding?
My chest is smashed in her machine,
I can’t breathe and woozy I am getting.
“There, that was good,” I heard her say
As the room was slowly swaying,
“Now let’s get the other one,”
“Lord, have mercy,” I was praying.
It squeezed me from the up and down,
It squeezed me from both sides,
I’ll bet she’s never had this done
To her tender hide!
If I had no problem when I came in,
I surely have one now…
If there had been a cyst in there,
It would have popped it–POW!!!
This machine was made by a man,
Of this I have no doubt…
I’d like to get his balls in there.
For months he’d do “without!!!!”