Featured photo by Beth Kattleman.
Yesterday was a long tiring day, but so much fun! Tempus and I ended up driving way the wrong direction for the event site, but we finally got turned around and got to the event in plenty of time for a laid-back kind of the thing.
When we got there I got the food take care of right away, although Tempus had to finish part of the thawing of the soups, since I was already teaching my blackwork class by that point. I had two students and at least a dozen people that stopped by for a look and an explanation.
We stopped class when the bardic competition was getting ready to start, since I was one of the entrants. I hadn’t been planning to enter, but got talked into it since there weren’t a lot of people signed up. One lady played her violin, two of us told stories and one young man, who also had been in the blackwork class, read some of his own poetry. …and I won the competition. I did not expect to since it mandates me being back for next year’s…. Well…. we’ll cross that bridge later. The poetry won the youth prize.
It was a tasty feast, but as usual, I got something that set of some allergies and Tempus is swearing up and down that one sneeze blew him off his seat! Afterwards was cleanup and saying goodbyes to friends, and then we headed back to Temperance’s for the evening.
We sat and talked for quite some time, and they showed us pictures and we showed them some, too. 🙂 Tryggr had gotten back from up north in time for the feast and was limping from being tripped, so he sat with alternating ice and heating pads while we chatted and then all had carrot cake and cheesecake as a snack. We all headed off for bed fairly early for us, but they had morning classes to teach!
…and that point in the setting up of the newsletter the computer slowed to a crawl. Tempus’ laptop has been misbehaving for a while, but that got bad. We ran out of time for me to finish! So, we’re home and I’ll be writing today’s events up to publish tomorrow.
Today’s Plant is the Linden Tree, tilia species. It is also called lime tree (no relation to the fruit) and basswood. It is the national tree of many countries, particularly in Central Europe, (the Czech Republic!) where at one time it was sacred and councils met at the sacred linden, just as in the British Isles they met at an oak. The wood is widely used for carving and for guitars. The inner bark of the tree has been used in making fabric. The flowers, which smell delicious, are used in teas and perfumes and a valuable honey is derived from them. The flowers, leaves, wood, and charcoal (obtained from the wood) are used for medicinal purposes. – Feminine, Jupiter, Water, Taurus– Bark used for protection, leaves and flowers for immortality. Good Fortune, Sleep and Love. Hang branches over the door for protection or grow in the garden. Use in love spells/mixtures and protection spells & incenses. Mix equal parts Linden and Lavender flowers and place in a sachet under your pillowcase to relieve insomnia. Keep Linden on a table to release the energies needed to keep the spirit alive and healthy.
Hana-matsuri (flower festival) is the name in Japan for the celebration of the birthday of Siddharta Gautama Buddha. It’s not a national holiday, but celebrated within the temples. The tradition of bathing the altars is interesting. On the festival & practices http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha%27s_Birthday on Japanese festivals http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matsuri on Buddha http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gautama_Buddha
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 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 4/19 at Diana’s Bow – On the 3rd day after the new moon you can (weather permitting) see the tiny crescent in the sky, the New Moon holding the Old Moon in her arms. Begin on your goals for the next month. A good time for job interviews or starting a project. Take a concrete step! God/dess aspect: Daughter/Son/Innocence – Associated God/dess: Vesta, Horus. Phase ends on 4/9 at 1:50pm.
The Moon moves an average of 13° eastward relative to the background stars each day. And because the ecliptic — the apparent path of the Sun across our sky that the planets and Moon follow closely — makes a steep angle to the western horizon after sunset at this time of year, the waxing Moon gains nearly 13° of altitude each evening. Tonight, the 13-percent-lit crescent makes a pretty addition to Mars and the bright Pleiades and Hyades star clusters in Taurus the Bull. Our satellite stands 6° south of the Red Planet and 8° west of Aldebaran, the ruddy 1st-magnitude star that appears to anchor the Hyades. (In reality, the star is a foreground object.) The objects remain on display from twilight until they start to set around 11 p.m. local daylight time. Of course, magnitude 1.5 Mars remains a fixture in Taurus all week, sliding eastward between the two clusters.
The huge bright Winter Hexagon still fills the sky to the southwest and west right after dusk. Start with brilliant Sirius in the southwest, the Hexagon’s lower left corner. High above Sirius is Procyon. From there look even higher for Pollux and Castor, rightward from Castor to Menkalinan and bright Capella, lower left from there to Aldebaran (by the Moon), lower left to Rigel at the bottom of Orion, and back to Sirius.
High over the Big Dipper late these evenings, nearly crossing the zenith, are three pairs of dim naked-eye stars, all 3rd or 4th magnitude, marking the Great Bear’s feet. They’re also known as the Three Leaps of the Gazelle, from early Arab lore. They form a long line roughly midway between the bowl of the Big Dipper and the Sickle of Leo; see the evening constellation chart in the center of the April Sky & Telescope. According to the Arabian story, the gazelle was drinking at a pond — the big, dim Coma Berenices star cluster — and bounded away when startled by a flick of Leo’s nearby tail, Denebola. Leo, however, seems quite unaware, facing the other way.
Jupiter (magnitude –2.3, in the feet of Ophiuchus) rises in the southeast around midnight or 1 a.m. daylight-saving time. It shines fairly high in the south before the beginning of dawn, so that’s the best time to observe it telescopically. Get set up about two hours before your local sunrise. By that time you’ll also find Antares to Jupiter’s lower right, and the dimmer Sagittarius Teapot to Jupiter’s lower left.
Old Farmer’s Almanac Sky map for April https://www.almanac.com/content/sky-map-april-2019
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 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
M 8 High 2:46 AM 7.8 6:45 AM Rise 8:50 AM 5
~ 8 Low 9:29 AM 0.0 7:52 PM Set 11:34 PM
~ 8 High 3:45 PM 6.6
~ 8 Low 9:21 PM 2.2
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Make friends wherever you go…and cherish the ones you have.
8~ Sister, you’re trying to keep me alive as an old curiosity, but I’m done, I’m finished, I’m going to die. – Last words of George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, who died on November 2, 1950 Source
~ Beauty, truth, friendship, love, creation – these are the great values of life. We can’t prove them, or explain them, yet they are the most stable things in our lives. – Jesse Herman Holmes
~ Between 18 and 20, life is like an exchange where one buys stocks, not with money, but with actions. Most men buy nothing. – André Malraux, French author/statesman, born on November 3, 1901
~ I figure if my kids are alive at the end of the day, I’ve done my job. – Roseanne Barr
TO F. C. iST April 1876.
Now if to be an April Fool
Is to delight in the song of the thrush,
To long for the swallow in air’s blue hollow,
And the nightingale’s riotous music-gush.
And to paint a vision of cities Elysian
Out away in the sunset-flush —
Then I grasp my flagon and swear thereby.
We are April Fools, my Love and I.
And if to be an April Fool
Is to feel contempt for iron and gold,
For the shallow fame at which most men aim—
And to turn from worldlings cruel and cold
To God in His splendour, loving and tender.
And to bask in His presence manifold —
Then by all the stars in His infinite sky.
We are April Fools, my Love and I. –Mortimer Collins (1827–76)
A Meditation on Beltane – Highway to Hel – Beltane is about deciding what kind of person we would like to be when the harvest is done.
By Galina Krasskova, April 26, 2011
It seems odd to me to be sitting at my computer on a dismal, rainy, dreary April day, with the chill in the air serving as a palpable reminder that spring isn’t quite here yet, and writing about Beltane. Beltane is supposed to be about celebration, passion, fertility, prosperity, magic, heat, and yes, sex. Yep. Beltane is about sex (at least in part) and on days like today, that type of joyous celebration seems very far away. Still, if you’ll pardon the inevitable pun, Beltane is coming and like any of our other holy tides, it deserves a bit of thought.
I’ve been dreading writing this particular column for the past week or so, ever since I realized that Beltane and Walpurgis were right around the corner. This is the tail end of the school year for me (I’m in graduate school again) and papers are due, exams must be prepared for, then of course there are all the professional writing deadlines that are piling up. Thinking about what I’ve always considered a rather ‘happy-go-lucky’ holiday was not on my personal agenda of things I wanted to be doing (or had the time to do).
Still, even for me, misanthropic and overworked though I sometimes may be, it’s difficult not to get pulled into the energetic momentum of this time. With Beltane after all, we lay to rest, once and for all, the inertia of the preceding winter. What began with the land’s seemingly lazy resistance to the inevitable pull of spring bursts full force into bloom with the turning of the seasonal wheel to May.
Highway to Hel
A Meditation on BeltaneQueen of the Sacred Way: An Interview with Melitta BenuVirtual Veneration: Online ShrinesHonoring the Dead: An Interview with Laura PatsourisPhotographing Fortuna: Interview with Mary Ann GlassAuthor Bio »
At its core, Beltane is about planting. At Ostara we honored the readiness of the land to receive the seed; at Beltane we actually plant those seeds, be they literal or metaphorical. At Ostara we celebrated the potential fertility of the land, at Beltane we revel in its actuality.
This is kind of where the sex part of things comes in. Beltane is about life, growth, and all the messiness of unrestrained passion. It’s about the joining of seed to soil, body to body, physicality to physicality, and the potential joining of sperm to egg. It’s about bringing forth new life, new possibilities, new reasons to celebrate one’s traditions.
This is a time when the land, at least for us Northern Tradition folks, was traditionally blessed by happy couples having sex in fields, on the soil where their fluids and carnal enjoyment of each other only served to feed the land itself and further ensure its blossom. The May pole, a symbol we all know and love, is (as any fan of the original Wicker Man knows) “a phallic symbol.” The magic of Beltane is held forth in the erect penis and spurting seed, and in our bodies’ ability to experience pleasure. This, more than any other holy tide reminds us that living is cause for celebration. There is pleasure in being alive, pleasure that, at the appropriate times, can and should be indulged.
Far more than being about the celebrating the penis (or the vulva, or any other body part—not that there’s anything wrong with that; celebrate away, folks), I would interpret the wisdom and ‘medicine’ of this holiday on a broader level. I believe Beltane reminds us that our bodies are sacred. In the Northern Tradition the physical container of the soul is so valued that it’s actually considered part of the soul matrix.
That’s right: each physical vessel of incarnation is intimately connected to one’s soul, an integral part of it. We’re incarnate for a reason. Our bodies are the tools and conduits by and through which we experience everything, including the Divine. Moreover, they may even be the way the Gods experience us, spirituality being, like so many things, a two-way street. Far from needing to escape from the flesh, Beltane reminds us that there’s an awful lot of wisdom inherent in being in the flesh too.
One of the Goddesses commonly honored within the Northern Tradition at this time is the Goddess Freya. She is a tremendously powerful Goddess, associated with sexuality, eroticism, passion, battle and war, fierce fighting, cunning strategy, prosperity and wealth, physical beauty, and witchcraft and sorcery. One of Her primary and most important lessons is about knowing one’s own worth (and being unwilling to compromise that in any way).
That can be a hard, hard lesson for many people today (especially, I hate to say it, for women). Freya’s lessons often involve self-satisfaction and confidence in one’s physical being (and I’m not talking just about sexuality here). This is a Goddess who knows how to celebrate the flesh, both its passion and its power. Here is a Goddess not afraid to take up space, claim Her territory, defend Her territory, and own Her strength. Here is a Goddess who can teach Her devotees to say “where I stand is holy ground” and mean it.
Beltane’s call is a call to that type of commitment and courage. It reminds us that our physicality is sacred, no matter what messages we may imbibe from our families, our culture, or the media. We’re called to stand up and live our truth. Learning to express ourselves well physically and kinetically, learning to have both trust and confidence in our bodies is part of honoring this tremendous gift that we’ve been given. It’s part of living our truth.
Tending to our bodies, just as we tend to the land is good and sacred work. Our bodies support and nourish us just as the land supports and nourishes us. One might see in the microcosm of one, the macrocosm of the other. Sometimes that is the way these things work. So learning to nourish, care for, protect, and defend one’s physical form and knowing to the marrow of one’s being that this might even be a sacred obligation, is all part of what Beltane can teach us. Imagine how our lives would be different if treating our bodies kindly, loving our flesh, and living healthily was something we could all do with joy. How many of us can look in the mirror and say “I love my physical form” and mean it? How many of us can stand naked in front of the mirror and say those words and really mean them? Freya can teach us how, if we honor Her rightly and well. Beltane’s wisdom can show us the way.
Our world is out of balance. I’ve talked about this before many times in many different articles and columns. I think that it is inevitable that our collective psyches bear the brunt of that sickness. We have come to embody it physically. Our bodies and the way we relate to them have suffered generations of fear, shame, and abuse because we have forgotten that simple truth that flesh is sacred.
We have forgotten so much in abandoning our ancestral ways and our Holy Powers but most of all, we’ve forgotten how to interact with ourselves in a healthy manner. We’ve forgotten how to love being. Beltane calls us to throw ourselves into the inevitable change this time brings, the momentum, the urgency, the growing sense of joy and movement that fills the land. It urges us to seek our passions, to find that which nourishes us and to live it fully each and every day of our lives. Beltane’s wisdom is, above all else, a call to embodied joy.
Moreover, Beltane reminds us not just to honor our physical bodies, but to rejoice in the physical experience of the natural world. That world is a gift in all its beautiful, breathtaking, sometimes confusing diversity. This holy tide calls us to move beyond our dearly held paradigms into the reality of being: beyond our dichotomies (sexual, gender, and otherwise) into the rich tapestry of possibility inherent in creation.
Diversity is nature’s greatest achievement. As we celebrate the beauty, bounty, and blessings of corporeality, physicality, and incarnation, we’re reminded to celebrate it all, not just those forms that are comfortable. Nature is an explosion of diversity and this is a lesson we can take to heart as we honor our bodies: we’re part of that diversity too. As a good friend of mine once pointed out: there is no “normal.” Let’s do away with the idea of “normal.” There is only what is normal for us, for each individual, one by one. Beltane gives us a chance to celebrate that and given how much hate is in our world for any type of diversity of being, that too, is no small thing.
This is a holy tide all about action and restoration. We have the chance as we move into May to recommit to picking up those threads of connection—to our Gods, our ancestors, the land itself, and to ourselves—sundered so long ago. Healing that damage doesn’t happen with grand gestures; it happens with small commitments, like planting a seed. That’s Beltane’s wisdom. It’s about making those promises—to ourselves, our families, our communities—that we will see fulfilled with the coming harvest. It’s about deciding what we wish to harvest in the coming season for ourselves, our lives, and our spirituality. It’s about deciding what kind of person we would like to be when the harvest is done.
May Freya smile upon each of us this Beltane.