Yesterday I started with fighting the sleepies again. Ok, that’s not fair when I had enough sleep. Marginally, but enough! After we had some food Tempus took off to get a couple of tomato plants for me from a guy who offered. …and took forever getting back.
I spent quite awhile cleaning up displays. What is it that makes people tote something like books from one part of the shop to another (candles) and then just *park* them on top of something spoilable? I was just lucky that it wasn’t hot enough to cause the candles to stick to the cover any harder!
We did have some customers in, especially early on. I was sitting at my desk embroidering for a lot of that, so I’d be available for questions. Eventually Tempus sat down with a bone needle and Amy got here and sewed, as well, and we had our get-together.
I fell into bed, waking for a couple of hours in the middle of the night when I read. We’ve been out this morning in the garden, getting the tomatoes planted. One is a gold cherry and the other a regular black, which is a sort of “trendy” variety that’s supposed to be very sweet.
It’s back to the regular stuff today, although I hope to get the the other pieces of fabric for the new project cut out.
Found this pic on Facebook with no attributions. Too cute not to share! …and found the original. I love the reverse image lookup! https://penseadiante.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/sapatos-nao-entram-em-casa/
Today’s Plant is Cascade Oregon Grape, Mahonia aquifolium, or Dull Oregon Grape, Mahonia nervosa, occasionally called Holly Grape. It’s a lovely, spiky-leaved large shrub or small tree with amazing clusters of bright, yellow flowers in the early spring. Dull Oregon Grape is a shorter plant with duller leaves with a nerve-like pattern of veins, but they both have the same magickal properties. The locals used it to help with rheumatism and it has been tested to replace Goldenseal in the pharmacopeia with some good results. The fruits can be made into jam or wine, although they’re too sour to eat. – Feminine, Earth – carry to draw money and prosperity, or popularity. More on aquifolium here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_grape and on nervosa here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahonia_nervosa
There is an Irish saint, Gobnait, who is worshiped as the patroness of bees who, according to Nigel Pennick, is a version of the goddess Domna, who is the goddess of perambulation to sacred stones and cairns. Gobnait’s feast day is 2/11 and I’m not finding info on Domna at all! Gobnait still has a number of centers of worship in Ireland and even a couple of sacred wells. Melissa is the name that I’m used to seeing in conjunction with bees, as the priestesses of Demeter. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gobnait and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melissa#Ancient_Greek_Mythology
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 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 6/9 at 6:10am. 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 6/7 at 6:10pm.
Epsilon Lyrae, the famous “Double-Double,” is barely resolved in this photo. Zeta Lyrae, below it where lines meet, is not. Next lower left from Zeta is Delta, a very wide binocular pair. (In the sky these evenings, Lyra is rotated somewhat counterclockwise compared to this.) Credit: Bob King
Do you sometimes like to watch the stars come out, one by one and then in great numbers? After sunset this evening, how soon you can spot Jupiter, the brightest point of all? It’s about 25° (2½ fist-widths at arm’s length) upper right of the Moon, as seen in twilight for North America. Next, watch for <<<< Arcturus to appear 30° above the Moon. And then comes Spica >>>>. Find the midpoint between the Moon and Jupiter, and watch just below or lower right of there for Spica to appear.
Venus (magnitude –4.4) shines in the east during dawn. A telescope shows it very close to dichotomy (half-lit phase).
Goddess Month of Hera runs from 5/16 – 6/12
Celtic Tree Month of Huath/Hawthorn, May 13 – Jun 9
Runic Half-month of Othala/Odal/Odel 5/29-6/13- The rune Odel signifies ancestral property, the homestead, and all those things that are “one’s own”…
©2017 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Huath/Hawthorn, May 13 – Jun 9 – I am fair among flowers – Color: Purple – Class: Peasant – Letter: H – Meaning: Being held back for a period of time – Hawthorn – Like willows, hawthorns have many species in Europe, and they are not always easy to tell apart. All are thorny shrubs in the Rose family (Rosaceae), and most have whitish or pinkish flowers. The common hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.) and midland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata (Poiret) DC.) are both widespread. They are common in abandoned fields and along the edges of forests. Both are cultivated in North America, as are several native and Asiatic hawthorns. Curtis Clark
to study this month – Ur – Heather and Mistletoe Ogam letter correspondences
Class: Heather is Peasant; Mistletoe is Chieftain
Meaning: Healing and development on the spiritual level.
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
M 5 Low 5:03 AM 0.5 5:33 AM Set 3:49 AM 80
~ 5 High 11:07 AM 5.6 8:57 PM Rise 5:20 PM
~ 5 Low 4:43 PM 1.9
~ 5 High 10:52 PM 7.5
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – If you are seeking a healthy relationship, make a list of all the characteristics you seek in someone and seek to become all of those things! Then that person will appear…because like attracts like!
~ Live truth instead of professing it. – Elbert Hubbard
~ Many are wise after the event. – Fljotsdale Saga, c.19
~ Many of us who want eternal life do not seem to know what to do with one single rainy afternoon. – Robert Harris
~ Martyrdom and renunciation belong to the shadow side of the warrior. Deliberate martyrdom is not courageous, it is a form of escape. – Kerr Cuhulain
Weather Or Not
Blossoms latent in the stems
Sprouts asleep in seeds.
Spring is lazy so it seems
In answering our needs.
We want flowers right away
Yet first the buds must grow.
Spring brings chills and breezes brisk,
Even sometimes snow.
Spring blows cold as well as hot
Welcome change and smile.
If you don’t like the way it is,
Just you wait a while.
Spring’s capricious, yet we know
Sure as days in June
Summer’s warm and gentle time
will be with us soon.
We are seldom satisfied,
One day we’ll complain,
Saying it’s too hot and dry
And wishing it would rain. – Written and Submitted By Tasha Halpert
Litha Magick – Lore
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!