Yesterday was a nice break in the routine. Most of the day I spent embroidering and working on some culinary herbs that were harvested in the last couple of weeks. Tempus puttered with this and that and sorted out some bones for bone needles.
Today we have some chores to do, mostly pick-up-&-put-away. Rayna’s going to be finishing her 101 class today.
Today’s plant is Kinnikinnick, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi. It is used medicinally for urinary tract complaints, as a “poverty food”, and as a smoking herb, known for giving visions. Magickally it is used for ceremonies. Add to sachets designed to increase psychic power. Full article here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctostaphylos_uva-ursi More inhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bearberry
For those of us who love our kitties, today’s feast is National Cat Day, a day to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless and feral cats. It’s a day to celebrate the ones that have forever homes with us and to open our eyes to the ones that don’t and should. The website is here: https://www.nationalcatday.com/ and there’s a facebook page and a Wikipedia page, plus events at various shelters.
The shop opens at 11am. Our hours are changing! Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday. 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 11/7 at 8:02am. 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 10/31 at 9:40am.
Draw a line from Altair, the brightest star very high in the southwest after dark, to the right through Vega, very high in the west and even brighter. Continue the line half as far onward and you hit the Lozenge: the pointy-nosed head of Draco, the Dragon. Its brightest star is orange Eltanin, the tip of the Dragon’s nose, always pointing toward Vega.
Look high in the southeast after darkness falls this week, and you should see autumn’s most conspicuous star group. The Great Square of Pegasus stands out in the evening sky at this time of year, though it appears balanced on one corner and looks more diamond-shaped. These four almost equally bright stars form the body of Pegasus the Winged Horse. The fainter stars that represent the rest of this constellation’s shape trail off to the square’s west.
Mars continues to put on a great show these October evenings. The Red Planet appears more than 30° above the southern horizon once darkness falls. The world shines at magnitude –0.7, significantly brighter than any star visible on October evenings, against the faint backdrop of Capricornus. A telescope reveals a disk that spans 12″ and shows several subtle surface features.
Old Farmer’s Almanac Sky Map for October – https://www.almanac.com/content/sky-map-star-chart-october-2018
Goddess Month of Cailleach/Samhain runs from 10/31 – 11/27.
Celtic Tree Month of Ngetal/Reed Oct 28 – Nov 24
Runic half-month of Hagalaz/Hagal – October 29-Novmber 12 – The Runic half-month of Hagal commences today, represented by the hailstone of transformation. It is a harbinger of the need to undergo the necessary preparations before the harsh northern Winter.
©2018 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Ngetal/Reed Oct 28 – Nov 24 – nGéadal – (NYEH-dl), reed – The term “reed” is used with great imprecision in North America, but it is clear that the reed of the ogham is the common reed (Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steudel). This is a giant grass, with stems as high as 4 m (13 feet). It grows in marshy areas, where it often forms dense stands. Like most other grasses, the vertical stems live only a single year, dying in the autumn and being replaced with new green shoots in the spring. The dead stems rattle and whisper in late autumn winds. Common reed has spread as a weed throughout the world; in North America it is widespread in cooler climates. Common reed is in the Grass family (Poaceae, or Gramineae). “The Reed Month, is said by some to be most favorable for communication with ancestral spirits and the strengthening of all family ties, with magickal associations with fertility, love, protection, and family concerns. ‘Thin and slender is the Reed. He stands in clumps at the edge of the river and between his feet hides the swift pike awaiting an unsuspecting minnow to come his way. In his thinness the reed resembles arrows that fly, silver-tipped, up into the unknown air to land at the very source that one had searched for all these years. Firing arrows off into the unknown is an expression of the desire to search out basic truths. If you loose off without direction, the place of landing will be random. If the firing off is carried out with the correct conviction, determination and sense of purpose, then the act becomes secondary to the event that comes both before and after the moment.'” Source: Earth, Moon and Sky
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
M 29 High 4:54 AM 6.6 7:50 AM Set 1:04 PM 80
~ 29 Low 10:12 AM 3.1 6:10 PM Rise 10:29 PM
~ 29 High 4:01 PM 8.0
~ 29 Low 11:13 PM -0.3
Affirmation/Thought for the Day –
Be an Island
~ When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused. – Rainer Maria Rilke
~ It is nobler to declare oneself wrong than to insist on being right – especially when one is right. – Nietzsche
~ Let the people think that they are governed, and they are governed. – William Penn
~ I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon. – Ronald Reagan
Here was October, here
Was ruddy October, the old harvester,
Wrapped like a beggared sachem in a coat
Of tattered tanager and partridge feathers. – Stephen Vincent Benet (1898–1943)
Pagans and Death – http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/DeathandDying/ss/Pagans-And-Death.htm
Is death the end, or just another beginning?
[Pagans & Death 01] Image © Patti Wigington 2010; Licensed to About.com
For many modern Pagans, there is a somewhat different philosophy on death and dying than what is seen in the non-Pagan community. While our non-Pagans see death as an ending, some Pagans view it as a beginning of the next phase of our existence. Perhaps it is because we view the cycle of birth and life and death and rebirth as something magical and spiritual, a never ending, ever turning wheel. Rather than being disconnected from death and dying, we tend to acknowledge it as part of a sacred evolution.
In The Pagan Book of Living and Dying, author Starhawk says, “Imagine if we truly understood that decay is the matrix of fertility… we might view our own aging with less fear and distaste, and greet death with sadness, certainly, but without terror.”
As the Pagan population ages – and certainly, we are doing so – it’s becoming more and more likely that at some point each of us will have to bid farewell to a fellow Pagan, Heathen, Druid, or other member of our community. When that happens, what is the appropriate response? What can be done to honor the person’s beliefs and send them on their way in a way that they themselves would have valued, while still managing to maintain sensitivity in dealing with their non-Pagan family members and friends?
Views of the Afterlife
Many Pagans believe that there is some sort of afterlife, although that tends to take varying forms, depending on the individual belief system. Some followers of NeoWiccan paths accept the afterlife as the Summerland, which Wiccan author Scott Cunningham described as a place where the soul goes on to live forever. In Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, he says, “This realm is neither in heaven nor the underworld. It simply is — a non-physical reality much less dense than ours. Some Wiccan traditions describe it as a land of eternal summer, with grassy fields and sweet flowing rivers, perhaps the Earth before the advent of humans. Others see it vaguely as a realm without forms, where energy swirls coexist with the greatest energies – the Goddess and God in their celestial identities.”
Members of non-Wiccan groups, particularly those who follow a more Reconstructionist slant, may see the afterlife as Valhalla or Fólkvangr, for those who adhere to a Nordse belief system, or Tir na nOg, for individuals who participate in a Celtic path. Hellenic Pagans may see the afterlife as Hades.
For those Pagans who don’t have a defined name or description of the afterlife, there is still typically a notion that the spirit and the soul live on somewhere, even if we don’t know where it is or what to call it.
Tawsha is a Pagan in Indiana who follows an eclectic path. She says, “I don’t know what happens to us when we die, but I like the idea of the Summerland. It seems peaceful, a place where our souls can regenerate before they reincarnate into a new body. But my husband is a Druid, and his beliefs are different and focus more on the Celtic view of the afterlife, which seems a little more ethereal to me. I think it’s really all just different interpretations of the same place.”
Deities of Death and the Afterlife
[Pagans & Death 02] Anubis guided the souls of the dead through the underworld. Image © Getty Images
Cultures have, since the beginning of time, honored deities associated with the process of dying, the act itself, and the journey of the spirit or soul into the afterlife. Although many of them are celebrated during the harvest season, around Samhain, when the earth itself is slowly dying, it is not uncommon to see them called upon as someone is approaching their last days, or has recently crossed over.
If you follow an Egyptian, or Kemetic, path, you may choose to honor Anubis, the jackal headed god of death. Anubis’ job is to determine whether the deceased is worthy of entering the underworld, by taking the individual’s measure. To help ease their passing, you may choose to sing or chant to Anubis about the dying or dead person’s accomplishments.
For Pagans who follow an Asatru or Heathen belief system, prayers and chants to Odin or to the goddesses Hel and Freya might be appropriate. Half of the warriors who die in battle go to spend the afterlife with Freya in her hall, Folkvangr, and the others go to Valhalla with Odin. Hel takes charge of those who have died from old age or sickness, and accompanies them to her hall, Éljúðnir.
A Maryland Heathen who asked to be identified as Wolfen says when his brother died, “We had this huge ceremony with a big bonfire, lots of drinking and toasts, and song. My brother had already been cremated, but we added his ashes to the fire, and we sang a song honoring him and his accomplishments, and introducing him to Odin and Valhalla, and then we continued it by calling upon our ancestors, going back about eight generations. It was what he wanted, and probably the closest thing to a Viking funeral that you can get in suburban America.”
Other deities you may wish to call upon as someone is dying, or has crossed over, include the Greek Demeter, Hecate, and Hades, or the Chinese Meng Po. Be sure to read more about:Deities of Death and the Afterlife.
In many countries in the modern world, the practice of burying the dead is common. However, it’s a relatively new concept by some standards, and in some places, it’s almost a novelty. In fact, many of today’s contemporary funeral practices might be considered a bit strange by our ancestors.
In other societies, it is not uncommon to see the dead interred in trees, placed on giant funeral pyres, closed up in a ceremonial tomb, or even left out for the elements to consume.
One trend that is increasing in popularity in the Western world is that of “green burial,” in which the body is not embalmed, and is simply buried in the soil with no coffin, or with a biodegradable container. While not all areas permit this, it is something worth looking into for someone who truly wishes to be returned to earth as part of the cycle of life and death.
Memorial and Ritual
How will you be remembered when you’ve crossed over?
[Pagans & Death 03] Image © Getty Images; Licensed to About.com
Many people – Pagans and otherwise – believe that one of the best ways to keep someone’s memory alive is to do something in their honor, something that keeps them alive in your heart long after theirs has stopped beating. There are a number of things you can do to honor the dead.
Rituals: Hold a memorial ritual in the individual’s honor. This can be as simple as lighting a candle in his or her name, or as complex as inviting the entire community together to hold a vigil and offer blessings for the person’s spirit as they cross over into the afterlife.
Causes: Did the deceased person have a favorite cause or charity that they worked hard to support? A great way to memorialize them is to do something for that cause that meant so much to them. Your friend who adopted all of those shelter kittens would probably love it if you made a donation to the shelter in her name. How about the gentleman who gave so much time to cleaning up local parks? What about planting a tree in his honor?
Jewelry: A popular trend during the Victorian era was to wear jewelry in the deceased’s honor. This might include a brooch holding their ashes, or a bracelet woven from their hair. While this may sound a bit morbid to some folks, bereavement jewelry is making quite a comeback. There are a number of jewelers who offer memorial jewelry, which is typically a small pendant with a hole in the back. Ashes are poured into the pendant, the hole is sealed with a screw, and then the friends and family of the dead can keep them nearby any time they like.
Silliness – Emergency Call
Dad’s pager went off, summoning him to the hospital, where he is an anesthetist. As he raced toward the hospital, a patrol car sped up behind him–lights flashing.
Dad hung his stethoscope out the window to signal that he was on an emergency call.
Within seconds, came the police officer’s hand in response, dangling a pair of handcuffs out the window.