57F! What is this, the banana belt? Wow…. Everything is dripping, although the sun is fighting to shine through and actually casting shadows at the moment. The wind here in town is at 6 mph, but closer to the ocean and on the beaches it’s running in the upper teens with gusts going higher, of course. Rain is due back by 3pm and then we should have a break during tomorrow morning and early afternoon. We’ve gotten most of 1/4 inch already today.
Yesterday started very quietly. I got mail sorted, caught up on various things and then did some writing for awhile. I was waiting for Tempus to bring the books over by that didn’t happen until …. He was also doing mail and then some dishes, and then got the light over the tags on the car replaced (he got pulled over for it on Tuesday).
So, I did some clipart while he was dealing with dishes and got it uploaded. Eventually we headed home and he dropped me off and then headed into Newport to start the paper run. That went perfectly smoothly until he was actually done… and ended up with an extra paper….. He did figure out where it belonged, but didn’t get home until nearly 7am.
I worked on some embroidery and read during the evening, but mostly I was researching some more recipes and checking how different folks interpret them. It’s amazing how much time it takes to do and how little to write about it….
So we’re both short on sleep, but we’re here and the shop is open. Tempus has some errands to run and I’m hoping he’s going to give me another box of books to work from. …and we have class tonight, so we’ll be at the shop late.
I’m glad it’s not this time last year! Pic from 1/4/17 by Shellie Thompson-Gramz
Today’s plant is Red Elderberry, Sambucus racemosa. It’s a large shrub that has white flower clusters in the spring and red berry clusters late in the summer. – Planet: Venus Element: Water Deity: Hel, Holda, The White Lady Magickal properties: Exorcism, Prosperity, Banishment and Healing – The leaves and berries are used for protection and in breaking spells that were cast against you or to undo spells of evil intent. Growing an elder in your garden will protect your property from misfortune and harm. In Europe they planted elder in cemeteries to keep away the evil spirits. Elder wands can be used to drive out evil spirits or thought forms, and music on panpipes or flutes of elder have the same power as the wand. Elder should not be cut without first making a prayer, and don’t burn Elder in fear of bringing about ill-luck. “Elder is the Lady’s Tree, burn it not or cursed ye be.” More here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sambucus_racemosa and here:http://www.thegoddesstree.com/trees/Elder.htm
Today is the Epiphanios of the goddess Kore, the night when she gives birth to Aeon, the year-god. The last paragraph of this section talks a little about this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aion_(deity)#Identifications …and the page has more information in historical context. Here is some more information about Persephone/Kore.
The Days of Volos – Procines (January) 1-6 – These moonlit and frosty nights have a name: The Holiday of the Wolves. These days are set aside for the worship of the God of pets and of cattle, whose name is Volos. We give our thanks for the animals on these days, which bring food and sustenance to our homes from ancient times. We also defend them from the ravenous wolves which attack. (Slavic Pagan Calendar)
The shop is open 11-5pm 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 1/16 at 6:17pm. Waning Gibbous Moon – Best time for draining the energy behind illness, habits or addictions. Magicks of this sort, started now, should be ended before the phase change to the New Moon. – Associated God/dess: Hera/Hero, Cybele, Zeus the Conqueror, Mars/Martius, Anansi, Prometheus. Phase ends at the Quarter on 1/8 at 2:25pm.
Step out early Saturday morning January 6th to catch Jupiter with Mars. They’ll appear just as close Sunday the 7th, but with Mars now under Jupiter.
Mars and Jupiter (magnitudes +1.5, and –1.8, respectively) rise in the east-southeast around 3 a.m. and are well up in the south-southeast in early dawn. Jupiter is the brightest point in the sky. Mars begins the week 3½° to Jupiter’s upper right and draws closer to it every day. They have a close conjunction, just 0.3° apart, on the mornings of January 6th and 7th. In their background is 3rd-magnitude Alpha (α) Librae, a very wide double star for binoculars.Just before or during early dawn on Saturday morning the 6th, spot bright Jupiter in the south-southeast. Fainter Mars is barely to its right, by just 1/3° — less than the width of a chopstick at arm’s length. The two planets will fit in a medium-power eyepiece view, but both are near their maximum distances from Earth and about as small as they ever look. Mars is especially tiny.
Orion strides boldly up the southeastern sky after nightfall this month. Above it glitters orange Aldebaran, 65 light-years away. Above Aldebaran are the Pleiades, about 435 light-years away. Far left of Aldebaran and the Pleiades, brilliant Capella shines from a distance of 42 light-years.
Goddess Month of Hestia runs from 12/26 – 1/22
Celtic Tree Month of Beth/Birch, Dec 24 – Jan 20
Runic half-month of Eihwaz/Eoh 12/28-1/11 Represents the dead, and the yew tree, sacred to Winter shamanism. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books
©2018 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Beth/Birch, Dec 24 – Jan 20, Beith – (BEH), birch – The silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) is the most common tree birch in much of Europe. It grows up to 30 m (100 feet) high, but is more often found in spreading clumps on sandy soils. It is one of the first trees to colonize an area after a mature forest is cut; this is probably a large part of its symbolic connection with new beginnings. It is cultivated in North America, often under the name of weeping birch. The three trees in my front yard form root sprouts that would take over the bed where they are planted if I didn’t cut them back. The common birch (B. pubescens Ehrh.) is almost as widespread as the silver birch, but grows primarily on acid or peaty soils. It can reach 20 m (65 feet) in height. Birches are members of the Birch family (Betulaceae). Curtis Clark
Beth – Birch – Ogam letter correspondences –
Meaning: New Beginnings; Changes; Purification.
Phagos – Beech Ogam letter correspondences to study this month
Letter: PH, IO
Meaning: New experiences and information coming
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
F 5 High 3:08 AM 7.9 7:52 AM Set 10:32 AM 89
~ 5 Low 8:46 AM 2.5 4:52 PM Rise 9:37 PM
~ 5 High 2:30 PM 8.5
~ 5 Low 9:21 PM -0.9
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Mental Floss prevents Moral Decay.
~ Man is only truly great when he acts from his passions! – Benjamin Disreali
~ Motivation is the pull of anticipation and the push of discipline. – Henry David Thoreau
~ Move your body and let your mind travel beyond you. Get walking – It’s great for lateral thinking! – Ursula James
~ No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong. – Albert Einstein
The Third Man – It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the legendary Orson Welles had the ability to manipulate a scene with such witty wordplay. In the movie, The Third Man, he says the following, which was never in the script: “In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed. They produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace. And what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”
Later Wells said in an interview, “When the picture came out, the Swiss very nicely pointed out to me that ‘they’ve never made any cuckoo clocks’, as the clocks are native to the German Black Forest. Writer John McPhee pointed out that when the Borgias flourished in Italy, Switzerland had ‘the most powerful and feared military force in Europe’ and was not the peacefully neutral country it would later become.” – Orson Welles (1993)
In Mexico, there are two “patron saints.” The first, and foremost, with a holiday on December 12, is Guadalupe, called variously St. Guadalupe and Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Church now says this is the Virgin Mary who made an appearance before a young man named Juan Diego in December 1531. She looked like an Indian maiden and she appeared on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City.
Although she is assumed to be the Virgin Mary, she is nonetheless called the “patron saint” of Mexico. She is most likely nothing but the ancient Aztec goddess Coatlique, whose holy day also happened to have been December 12.
The other saint you hear about a lot in Mexico is the mysterious “San Juan de los Lagos,” Saint John of the Lakes. There never has been such a person, of course. It was obviously an ancient lake god, presumably the patron saint of Mexico City, which was built on top of Lake Texcoco. He could have been Tpoztecatl, ancient god of agriculture, or even Huitzilopchtli, sun god of the Aztecs.
All over the world, in Roman Catholic countries, you will find “patron saints” who never existed. They are the early pagan gods and goddesses converted to Christianity for public relations purposes.
The earliest recorded “conversion” of a pagan goddess was Saint Sophia in Asia Minor. Very early, Christians had a hard time converting the populace of Greece and the Hellenic cultures of the region because the people were quite happy with their goddess, Minerva, also known as Pallas Athena, the patron deity of the city of Athens.
The word “pallas” is the ancient Greek term for a maiden. Athena is thought (by Robert Graves and others) to be a version of Anatha, the Sumerian Queen of Heaven. With the title of Pallas, she would have been the ancient Goddess in her maiden aspect.
Minerva was universally called Sophia — wisdom. So a “Saint Sophia” was invented, and churches all over Asia Minor were built in her honor. She was even said to have had three daughters — St. Faith, St. Hope and St. Charity!
The entire region converted to Christianity as soon as the church declared the region’s favorite goddess to be a Christian saint.
So it really wasn’t the inherent stupidity of the Irish, as some scholars allege, that allowed them to be converted in a similar way. They reacted like people all over the world did. “Make my god a Christian saint and I’ll become a Christian.”
Interestingly, the Irish goddess converted to Christianity was the same as Pallas Athena, it was the maiden aspect of the Goddess. Where in continental Europe, the Mother aspect was chosen — witness all the cathedrals built to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God — in Ireland, as in Asia Minor, it was the maiden goddess honored.
The Irish goddess was called Brigid (pronounced “breed”) or Brigit. She was a triple goddess (some said all three were named Brigid!) and she was the goddess of wisdom (like her Asia Minor counterpart). Her sisters were the goddesses of healing and smithcraft respectively.
At Kildare there was a temple to Brigid, with a perpetual fire kept by 19 priestesses. The number 19 was used because there are 19 years in the Celtic “great year,” when the solar and lunar calendars coincide. Brigid was always called “The Three Blessed Ladies of Britain” or “The Three Mothers” and she was identified with the moon and the three phases of the moon. (As such, she is also identical to the ancient earth goddess, Hecate.) It was common for the ancients to accept their goddess as being three people. This is where the Christians got their concept of the trinity.
Actually, Brigid can be traced back to Illyricum, the ancient land now occupied by Croatia (and extending over Serbia, Bulgaria, and Austria). Her shrine was in the city of Brigeto and she was called Brigantes, accepted by the Romans as identical to Juno Regina, Queen of Heaven. Her followers were often called Brigands, or outlaws, and Robin Hood was most likely the title of a leader of “brigands” fighting against the Christian conquerors.
The Gaelic Celts brought Brigid with them when they left their original home in Galatia — in Asia Minor, no less, and moved across Europe to settle in what is now Ireland.
In Ireland, the Church could not talk the people into giving up the worship of Brigid, so they “converted” her to St. Bridget, claiming she was a nun who founded a convent in Kildare (where the goddess’ temple already was located.)
The stories about “St. Bridget” were the same stories told about the goddess: that everywhere she walked, flowers and shamrocks sprang up (the three-leafed shamrock, of course, was the symbol of the triple Brigid), that in her shrine it was always springtime and that in her convent the cows never went dry — all fertility stories.
The Irish priests said, however, that Brigid wasn’t really a saint at all: she was the Queen of Heaven, the mother of Jesus herself. The Church ruled that since Bridget couldn’t be the mother of Jesus (Mary already had that job all sewed up), she could be the step-mother of Jesus — which meant, of course, that Jesus had to have been raised in Ireland, a story frequently told in the old days.
The goddess Brigid had a consort named Dagda, meaning “father.” The Latin word for father was Patricius, so the Church made him a saint as well, “St. Patrick.” The myths say Patrick was the person who Christianized Ireland in the year 461, but we know Ireland actually was converted in the seventh century by Augustine of Canterbury, who was responsible for getting Patrick canonized.
Patrick, the sun-god, has his day on March 17, the beginning of spring in Ireland.
Interestingly, the churches in Ireland dedicated to “St. Bridget” were also dedicated to the O’Kelly clans. All the baptismal fees in those churches belonged to the O’Kellies. If you know any Irishman named Kelly you can tell him or her something about the history of their name. The word means they are descended from the kelles, or sacred harlots (to use the Church name) of the goddess Brigid.
The goddess’ priestesses were not allowed to marry, so they were free to choose any man they wished. Children born to such unions were called O’Kelly, because they were born of a kelle.
Every woman today who gets married is given the goddess name, of course, for the word “bride” is simply an alternate spelling of Brigid.
The feast day of Brigid is February 1, which was also considered the first day of spring to pagans. It is the day of quickening, when vegetation comes alive (quickens) in the bowels of the earth. For this reason, it is often called Imbolc, a Celtic word meaning “in the belly.” It’s also called Oimelc (“ewe’s milk”) for this was also the lambing season in ancient Ireland.
In ancient Rome, the first two weeks of February were called the Lupercalia, in honor of Lupercus (or Faunus), god of agriculture, and Venus, goddess of fertility. It was also a festival of quickening, and also honored the goddess as maiden. It involved parades and the lighting of fires.
Lupercalia ended, of course, on February 14, a day we now call St. Valentine’s Day, after yet another spurious “saint.” The name was most likely originally “Gallantine’s Day,” the day of the lover. On this day, a couple could agree to a trial marriage, living together until the next Lammas, August 1. “Will you be my Valentine?” was the way a woman would propose such an engagement to a man. (The Valentine “heart,” of course, was not the physical heart we are acquainted with, but another part of the anatomy entirely.)
Fires have always been important on Imbolc. The fires symbolized the new-born sun, born at Yule and the sparks of new life in springtime. One ancient custom was the lighting of candles in every window of the house, to let the world know of coming spring. The sight of every home blazing with candles must have been comforting to people still feeling the bitter cold of February up north!
The Church made this time the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin (“virgin” was just another word for “maid,” of course) and they called in Candlemas, the feast of candles. Since people were already lighting candles at home anyway, the Church declared this a time to go to church and get your candles blessed.
During the Burning Times, the great Inquisition of Europe, it was said that witches considered Candlemas their most sacred festival. This was probably the Church’s way of warning people not to take Brigid too seriously.
One of the most important customs at Candlemas in ancient times was the forecasting of weather. In the old English poem: “If Candlemas Day be bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.” It was once thought that the quarters (the equinoxes and solstices) foretold the weather directly (i.e. a warm Christmas meant a warm winter) while the cross-quarters (Imbolc, Beltane, Lammas and Samhain) foretold the weather negatively.
We keep this custom by calling February 2 “Groundhog’s Day” and predicting the rest of the winter by whether or not the groundhog sees its shadow or not. If it sees its shadow then Candlemas Day will be “bright and clear.”
There were a number of customs associated with this day. One was the baking of “Bridget’s bread” on this day. This goes back thousands of years to the baking of cakes for the Queen of Heaven spoken of in the Bible. The last of the precious grain stored over the winter would be prepared into cakes on this day, in the prospect of much more grain in the year ahead.
Another custom called for the making of “Bridget’s crosses” out of straw. The cross was the ancient symbol for the sun (the rays of the sun seem to come out in cruciform shape) and the straw crosses were in honor of the reborn sun. The crosses would be placed around the home for protection during the following year.
One young woman each year would also be chosen to represent the goddess, the “Bride.” She would wear a crown of candles on her head that day, again in honor of the sun.
The meaning of this holiday for us is simply this: this is the time of quickening, the time of new life. It’s a time to be thankful for all the new life that arises in spring, a time to plan ahead for the new year and a time to begin the long processes of making a living, bringing in a new crop or getting on with our lives.
New projects are well begun on Brigid’s Day. This is a time of hope, a time for looking positively at one’s world.
This week, go out and buy a candle for the Maiden Goddess — and for yourself. This week, light it and place it in a window of your home. Focus all your hopes and dreams for the coming year onto that candle. And dedicate it to hope.
Silliness – Lots of Letters
Q: What starts with a P, ends with an E, and has a million letters in it?
A: A Post Office!