Featured photo by Iva Šejnohová.
Bright sunshine, now, but it certainly wasn’t, earlier. 57F, wind at 6mph, AQI17, UV4. We got only 0.06 inches of rain, but it made things messy for a bit. It *did* drop the pollen count to almost nothing, though. It’s definitely tending toward spring. The temperatures forecast for the next 10 days are all in the upper 50’s and a minimal chance of rain.
I did a little better yesterday than on Monday. I had to cancel class because I was running a temperature on Monday. I did yesterday, too, just not quite as high and because I was resting I didn’t just collapse the way I did Monday afternoon.
Tempus stopped in to talk with me before he headed to Newport for the paper route. We’d been busy during the day. He had opened because it was Spring Break Week….well, after he did some stuff up in storage, apparently.
Late in the evening, he was apparently getting ready to head out and fellow came into the shop who had had a stroke. After being released from the hospital in Arcata he was on his way to his sister’s in Rockaway….. he had a note to a local church, so Tempus called them and they came to get him and will put him on a bus in the morning. ….wow….
We slept in, but I’m still very wobbly and feverish. That why I didn’t try to get this out until now. I’ve made a lot of progress on my embroidery, even if I’m fuzzy-headed enough to make mistakes and then I have to pick ’em out. I don’t quite have enough energy to scream, so I cuss instead. I guess I’m getting better. Yes, we’ll be open tomorrow, even if I’m not around.
Today’s plant is the California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica. Everyone knows this one, right? 🙂 This is a different plant from the opium poppy and contains a different set of chemicals. It has the same magickal uses, however. The locals used it for an analgesic. –Feminine, Moon, Water, Hypnos, Demeter. – Use in dream pillows and other sleep aids. Eat poppy seed as a fertility charm. Carry as a prosperity charm (money & luck). Make a sachet of flowers and tuck a question inside. Sleep on it. the answer will appear in a dream. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eschscholzia_californica
Today’s feast is that of Gauri, one of the names of Parvati, the Great Mother in the Hindu traditions. One of her great festivals is held around this time of year. She is a fertility aspect of goddess, associated with the corn, hence the name “Gauri” which means “fair complexion” and has a lot of different symbolism. This article here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parvati has more information, but search for “Gauri” to find the specifics.
The shop opens at 11am. Spring hours are 11am-6pm 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 4/6 at 1:58am. 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 3/27 at 9:10pm. 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 3/31 at 1:58pm.
Last-quarter Moon tonight (exactly so at 12:10 a.m. Thursday morning EDT). The Moon rises around 2 or 3 a.m. local daylight time Thursday morning. Before dawn, look for Jupiter off to its upper right and dimmer Saturn roughly half that far to its lower left. And very early before the sky gets too bright, look for the Sagittarius Teapot resting upright at the Moon’s lower right.
Less than 10 minutes after Jupiter pokes above the southeastern horizon this morning, the waning gibbous Moon rises to the planet’s lower left. The two objects remain neighbors as they ascend in the predawn sky.
Jupiter (magnitude –2.2, in the feet of Ophiuchus) rises in the southeast around 2 a.m. daylight-saving time. It’s high in the south just as dawn begins to brighten, the best time to observe it telescopically. The farther south you are, the higher it will be. Orange Antares sparkles 15° to Jupiter’s upper right when the planet rises, and directly right of it by the beginning of dawn.
Old Farmer’s Almanac Sky Map for March
Goddess Month of Columbina runs from 3/20 – 4/17
Celtic Tree Month of Fearn/Alder, Mar 18 – Apr 14. Fearn (FAIR-n)
Runic half-month of Berkana/ Beorc, 3/14-29 Half-month ruled by the goddess of the birch tree; a time of purification for rebirth and new beginnings. Runic half-month of Ehwaz, 3/30-4/13 – Ehwaz, the horse; time of partnership between humans and Nature, as between rider and horse. Nigel Pennick, The Pagan Book of Days, Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont, USA, 1992, p. 55
©2019 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Celtic Tree Month of Fearn/Alder, Mar 18 – Apr 14. Fern (FAIR-n) Alder – The common alder (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertner) is common along lowland rivers, where it grows with aspens, poplars, and willows. Like willows, alders sprout from stumps. This allows them to regenerate after heavy flooding. In protect sites they may grow to 20 m (65 feet) tall. Their leaves are more blunt-tipped than most North American alders, which look more like the grey alder (A. incana (L.) Moench). This species is more common in the mountains of Europe, and is not restricted to moist soils. Like ashes, European alders are not widely cultivated in North American (they are often sold as black alders), but several native species are. Alder wood is said to resist rotting when it is wet, and was the wood of choice for pilings in many regions. Alders are members of the Birch family (Betulaceae).
Ogam letter correspondences to study this month – Ailim – Silver Fir
Color: Light Blue
Meaning: Learning from past mistakes; Take care in choices.
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
W 27 High 5:39 AM 7.3 7:06 AM Rise 2:17 AM 63
~ 27 Low 12:49 PM 0.7 7:37 PM Set 11:34 AM
~ 27 High 7:28 PM 5.7
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.
~ No one is perfect… that’s why pencils have erasers. – Author Unknown
~ The difference between try and triumph is a little UMPH. – Unknown
~ A day patched with quilting seldom unravels. – unknown
~ If you believe you are hexed you are. – Kerr Cuhulain
Look all around thee! How the Spring advances!
New life is playing through the gay, green trees
See how in yonder bower the light leaf dances
To the birds tread and the quivering breeze. – Ludwig Tieck (1773–1853)
Magick – Bread and Its Sacral Meaning in Eastern Slavic Culture = MagPie’s Corner – East Slavic Rituals, Witchcraft And Culture –
There is probably no other food item in Slavic culture that would be viewed with so much reverence and respect as bread. “Bread is everything’s head.” They say in Russia and Ukraine. A piece of bread in a garbage can is the expression of utmost disrespect bordering with insult. The very process of its preparation was treated as sacred. Every Slavic holiday celebration involves consumption of one or the other form of bread: flatbread or large and puffy Karavay, pancakes, crepes, buns, or cookies. Pies and crepes or pancakes were considered a must-be dish at any memorial meal. Bread was commonly used as an offering to Deities and Spirits and as a gift to people. Special breads were baked for divination and to attract love, appease the Bear, and in order to be taken to the cemetery for the Ancestors.
A folk tale asks the listener: what is more precious: bread or gold? “Gold is more precious than bread” says the gypsy in the tale; “Bread is more precious than gold” says the farmer. The God hears their argument and gives each one thing they considered more precious: gold to the gypsy and bread to the farmer, and then leaves them both locked up separately from each other for several days. When the God checks on the gypsy, he is dead, yet the farmer is still alive and happy and even singing. The moral of this story teaches us that gold is only valuable when you’re surrounded by other people that could trade you bread for that gold; when you just have bread (food) on your table – you don’t really need any gold.
Slavic tales offer many versions as to how people learned to bake bread. Some legends suggest that grains were given to human race by dragons (winged snakes), and it was them who taught humans how to grow wheat and rye and prepare bread. Others believe it had to be the gift of the Gods. Finally, another legend even says that demons were the first ones to teach humans bake bread, as well as make beer and other alcoholic drinks based on grains.
Indeed, when you eat a slice of store-bought bread, it is hard to remember how much work had to be put into turning a hard seed of wheat into a puffy baked good on our dinnerplate. Farmers had to do it all from scratch: plow the earth, sow the, watch it grow, making sure there is enough rain to keep the soil moist; then harvest it, thresh it, grind it, and only then use it to prepare bread. Bad crops of grain meant starvation in winter, for grain could generally last longer than most fruits and vegetables. In early spring, when all the food preserved for the winter had been eaten, Slavic peasants had to survive on bread and kvass (a drink made on the base of rye bread), hence many customs associated with fasting during Lent.
In folk tradition, baking bread was often compared to birth of a human being (kind of like American saying “a bun in the oven” referring to pregnancy). For instance, a midwife could “re-bake” the prematurely born and sickly baby in order to make it healthier. For this, she would put the baby on a bread paddle and place it in a warm oven that was associated with mother’s womb. After some time, the baby was removed from the oven and henceforth viewed “born” again, in a better, healthier form. Later on, this ritual became mostly associated with Baba Yaga and Her habit of cooking children in the oven and eating them.
Bread crust, for it touched the hot metal of the bread pan, is associated with the Element of Fire, while the rest of it represents the life-giving power of Earth. These association allowed Russian healers use different parts of bread in healing various ailments. The dough, kneaded by hand, was considered a powerfully charged magical object, as the mistress who kneaded it added her own thoughts and wishes into the dough while she was at it. It was very common to recite incantations and prayers when kneading dough for a ritual bread: whether it was a wedding bread Karavay, Christmas cookies Kozuli, Christmas-time Kalach (a ring-shaped ritual bread), Spring Equinox buns “larks”, or an Easter bread Kulich or Paska.
Dishes and utensils that were used to make bread were considered sacred, as well. For instance, a barrel in which the dough was rising, kvashnya was used in some regions to “test” bride’s honesty before the wedding. A bride was offered to sit on kvashnya, yet she could only do so if she was a virgin, otherwise, if she tried to lie, kvashnya would be “punish” her with infertility and an unhappy life. While the test was purely psychological: admitting before your own and your future husband’s family that you are not a virgin or unleashing all the possible disasters upon your own and your family’s head, not too many brides dared lying to their families and sitting on kvashnya if they had something to hide.
As the most sacral form of food, bread symbolizes material wealth. While it is viewed as the gift from the God, it is also seen as an independent living creature or even an embodiment of a Deity. In Belarussian Polesye, if someone cursed, they added: “With due respect to the bright sun, mother earth, and the gift of God [bread]”. While it was believed that Ancestral souls visiting the house on holidays and memorial days enjoy the very scent of freshly-baked bread, a loaf of bread was always kept in the Red Corner (on the household altar). Bread on the table symbolized wealth (a gift from the God on the “hand of God”), readiness to welcome guests, as well as served as protective charm and symbol of God’s blessing and protection. Bread brought out on a towel with a dish of salt on top of it is a common symbol of hospitality (hence, the saying “greet someone with bread and salt” means welcome someone wholeheartedly). At Belarussian wedding, parents took over the role of Gods and blessed the newlywed with bread and salt, while accompanying the blessing ceremony with words: “I give you good luck and good fate, bread and salt, steers and cows; everything good that I have I am giving to you.” Generally, parental blessing with bread and salt is considered a must-be ritual at any Slavic wedding. Special towels are prepared for this bread: they are called bread-and-salt towels and are used to hold the bread during blessing. Such towels most commonly feature symbols of good luck, happiness, and prosperity. During engagement, the young couple had to place their hand on the bread as a sign of agreement, and in Yekaterinslavl “wedding ceremony for barge-pullers”, the whole ceremony consisted of the newlywed kissing the bread and swearing “On God and bread” to live peacefully.
A loaf of bread, and particularly its first slice or even crumb symbolized the human fate – it was believed that one’s strength, good health, and luck depend on it. Therefore, it was not allowed for one person to finish someone else’s piece of bread – you’d “eat” his or her power. For the same reasons one was not allowed to eat behind someone else’s back. The one who would give a piece of bread from the table to the dog was believed to become poor. A piece of bread could not be left on the table out of fear of weight loss: “the bread would eat the person instead or chase his or her soul in the Otherworld”. Crumbs falling out of mouth while eating foretell an upcoming death for the eater. When a bread crumb fell, one had to pick it up, kiss it and eat it or throw it in the fire. Belarussians used to say at this: “Please forgive me God”.
While it was man’s duty to cut and share bread, preparing dough and baking bread was considered primarily woman’s occupation. Women could not bake bread at “unholy”, transitional periods of their lives: during a menstrual period, after a sexual intercourse, and after birth. Bread could not be baked on great holidays (it should be prepared in advance), on Sundays, and sometimes on some other days of the week. Rising dough was believed to “fear” of sudden noises, arguments, and wind drafts, so people were not allowed to talk loudly, curse, sweep, or make other noise when the dough was rising, placed in the oven, and baked. No one could enter or leave the house when the oven was open (so that the draft would not deflate the dough). Flour, dough and bread were frequently crossed during preparation.
As a protective charm, bread was placed into the newborn’s cradle, given to travelers before they headed on the road, placed at the spot where the dead was laying (so that bread would “defeat” Death, and the deceased would not take fertility with him or her); bread and tools to prepare it (the barrel for the dough and a bread paddle) were taken outside before the storm to protect the fields; bread was carried around the burning building or thrown in the fire to prevent it from spreading.
Bread was left overnight at a place where the house was planned to be built to see if the place is fitting for construction; a loaf of bread was carried into the new house when moving. Ritual bread Krachun was rolled from threshold towards the table in Winter Solstice divination about the future year. In Zhitomir Region, Ukraine, a place for a new house was marked with a cross, next to which a table with bread on it was installed. This bread was cut into four portions: one was placed on the cross, so that Saints could eat and pray for happiness of those who would live here; second portion was placed under the table for house spirits, so that they would eat and not harm the household; third was eaten with a prayer to God about wealth and fertility of crops and animals; fourth was given to domestic animals, so that they would be healthy and full.
As a ritual gift, bread was given to carolers during Christmas celebrations; it was taken along when heading to propose; used to bless the newlywed and welcome guests; bread was brought along with bride’s dowry and shared in different ritual situations. Offerings of bread were left in the fields, woods, cemeteries, and other places. Bread, honey, and cheese are considered ancient Russian offerings to Rozhanitsy (Birthers).
Bread was used as an offering to the Ancestors: it was placed in a coffin, bread crumbs were cast on the grave for the birds, as they represented Ancestral souls, left on a cross. Steam rising from hot bread was considered food for the souls that could even reach the Otherworld; so was the first loaf, often marked with a cross. In Poltava County, such bread was broken in half and left on the household altar or a windowsill (an entrance into the Otherworld) for the Ancestors. Breaking of the bread in half is primarily related to the cult of the dead, and in Christianity it reminds of the Last Supper: Jesus broke the bread and shared it between people.
Bread that was forgotten in the oven was considered special: it was given to a person who missed someone dearly, so that he or she would forget his or her loved one. It was also used in healing.
Nowadays, often when having plenty and not needing to prepare the basic essential foods from scratch, people tend to forget the sacral meaning of foods like bread and treat it with less or no respect. In well-developed countries, tons of edible products are being thrown away every day, just because people did not feel like eating them at the moment. Starvation is hardly imagined by many of us, and bread – “everything’s head” is no longer honored as it once used to be.
Prepared by Olga Stanton
P.S. Some materials are taken from the articles by Toporkov, A.L., Plotnikova, A.A., and Bayburin, A.K., as well as the book by Larin, V.N. “World of Russian Cunning Man: The First Steps”
My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION:
“Just wait until your father gets home.”
My Mother taught me about RECEIVING:.
“You are going to get it when we get home!”
My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE:
“What were you thinking? Answer me when I talk to you…Don’t talk back to me!”
My Mother taught me LOGIC:
“Because I said so, that’s why.”
“If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”
My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE:
“If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way.”
My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD:
“If you don’t pass your spelling test, you’ll never get a good job.”
My Mother taught me ESP:
“Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you’re cold?”
My Mother taught me HUMOR:
“When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”
My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT:
“If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”
My Mother taught me about SEX:
“How do you think you got here?”
My Mother taught me about GENETICS:
“You’re just like your father.”
My Mother taught me about my ROOTS:
“Do you think you were born in a barn?”
My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE:
“When you get to be my age, you will understand.”
My Mother taught me about JUSTICE:
“One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you. Then you’ll see what it’s like.”
My mother taught me RELIGION:
“You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”
My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL:
“If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”
My mother taught me FORESIGHT:
“Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”
My mother taught me IRONY:
“Keep crying and I’ll *give* you something to cry about.”
My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS:
“Shut your mouth and eat your supper!”
My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM:
“Will you *look* at the dirt on the back of your neck!”
My mother taught me about STAMINA:
“You’ll sit there until all that spinach is finished.”
My mother taught me about WEATHER:
“It looks as if a tornado swept through your room.”
My mother taught me how to solve PHYSICS PROBLEMS:
“If I yelled because I saw a meteor coming toward you, would you listen then?”
My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY:
“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times: Don’t Exaggerate!!!”
My mother taught me THE CIRCLE OF LIFE:
“I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”
My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION:
“Stop acting like your father!”
My mother taught me about ENVY:
“There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do!”
[forwarded by Pastor J & Gabe Combs] Copyright 2001 Youth Specialties