The shop is open only by appointment until the COVID #s come down, and we’ll probably stay closed until 2/1.Watch here for notifications about that! For appointments contact us at 541-563-7154, firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook or here on the blog, or just leave a note on the door! Featured photo by Ken Gagne.
It cleared off enough to get chilly!. I’ve been sitting here, shivering, even with a heater under the desk, a shawl *and* my warmsie. 40F, wind at 2-11 mph and gusting, AQI 8-34, UV1. Chance of rain 100% today and 19% tonight. The clouds are starting back but the chill has given us a *lot* of fog that’s like to last to mid-morning. After that it should be dry into suppertimes with the clouds coming and going, but turning to rain in the evening. There’s a BEACH HAZARD STATEMENT that lasts through this morning and we’re under a SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY until 4pm on Sunday. Sunday should we cloudy, but dry. Tuesday, we’re looking at another storm rolling through. We might evening see a little sun next Saturday, but the rest of the forecast is all showers or rain.
Yesterday ended up being a sleepy day. I stayed up for the 11am appointment, and that went just fine, but I was also waiting for a delivery that happened much later than expected, so I didn’t get a nap as soon as I needed afterwards. I eventually flopped into the nap bed, after asking Tempus to set an alarm.
Tempus made bread and started on some paperwork, plus some other chores. I forgot to ask him to go to the PO until it was too late, drattit, so some of those are going to have to wait until Monday. He got the shop doors opened up and aired the place out, hoping that it would help with my coughing. He’s also been playing by the furnace, so I’m hoping that new furnace filters are on the way.
I managed to wake back up at 3:30 and was fine for the 4pm appointment. We have some *real* pretties sitting on the coffee table, from an agate/rock supplier. There’s a piece of lovely Needle Blue, and one agate with an “infinite recession” pattern, some lovely carnelians, ranging from the tiny one (that escaped and meant we had to pat the rug down), to one the size of my palm. Lots of *nice* moss agate bits, plus lots of pretty agates, and even some blue tiger eye, and *lots* of fossilized wood. We have both tumbles and slices. I wanted some of the bigger pieces and a couple of specimens but we spent enough to get started and I can get more, because he’s local. We talked rocks for 2 hours. 🙂
…and then I was kinda exhausted. Tempus went across to the China Restaurant and got me egg foo yong and egg flower soup. There’s a 2nd meal’s worth, in the fridge, now, since their servings are huge.
….and I slept after supper. He’s still asleep right now, although it’s almost time for the paper route. …past time. I’m going to try to get a little cooking done still, but probably not much. …He’s heading out at 2:45. Papers are running late.
Today we’re definitely doing some cooking, since Sash is coming on Sunday. I want to make some hand pies and I have lots of berries for turnovers. I thought to make him some jam along with the marzipan and either lemon curd or a custard. Tempus is going to make some rye bread today, and we’ll share with Sash.
Today’s Plant is Cascade Oregon Grape, Mahonia aquifolium, or Dull Oregon Grape, Mahonia nervosa. It’s a lovely, spiky-leaved large shrub or small tree with amazing clusters of bright, yellow flowers in the early spring. ull 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
Karel Capek, Czech novelist, short-story writer, playwright, essayist; born in Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (now in the Czech Republic). He wrote R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), in which the word ‘robot’ first appeared and the play Ze života hmyzu (Life Among the Insects) which Grandma and I saw when in Prague. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karel_Capek
I have a personal “funny” associated with that play. It’s a satire, as is much of Capek’s work, comparing different types of societies/governments to different insects. I was having no trouble with the vocabulary, but Grandma was missing some of the more adult colloquialisms that she never learned, having been working hard at learning English as her second language at the same age that I learned Czech as mine…and I learned it from lurking under the dining table while the teti were chatting. They usually forgot I was there….. So we got to the part of the play where a butterfly throws herself on her back with her legs in the air and yells, “Oh, somebody f*** me!” There was a titter from the audience and then Grandma said loudly, in English and the too-loud tones of the hearing-impaired, “WHAT did she say?” The audience roared….. It took me 3 tries to explain what had happened, later, but Grandma howled with laughter once she realized what happened.
The shop is open only by appointment until the COVID #s come down, and we’ll probably stay closed until 2/1.Watch here for notifications about that! For appointments contact us at 541-563-7154, email@example.com, on Facebook or here on the blog, or just leave a note on the door!
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 1/12 at 9pm. Hecate’s Brooch – 3-5 days before New Moon – Best time for Releasing Rituals. It’s the last few days before the new moon, the time of Hecate’s Brooch. This is the time that if you’re going to throw something out, or sweep the floors, or take stuff to Good Will, do it! Rid yourself of negativity and work on the letting go process. Release the old, removing unwanted negative energies, addictions, or illness. Do physical and psychic cleansings. Good for wisdom & psychic ability. Goddess Aspect: Crone – Associated God/desses: Callieach, Banshee, Hecate, Baba Yaga, Ereshkigal, Thoth. Phase ends at the Dark on 1/11 at 9am.
Immediately after sunset, a stunning sight will greet you in the southwestern sky: Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn all sit within a 2.3°-wide circle. Mercury, closest to the horizon, shines at magnitude –0.9 and is 1.9° due south of Jupiter (magnitude –2). Saturn sits just to the right of a line drawn between them, glowing a dimmer magnitude 0.6. The sight can be enjoyed with the naked eye, or with binoculars or a telescope. Get out early to observe them, however — an hour after sunset, only Jupiter remains, and it’s a scant 1.5° above the horizon. The trio remain close all week and change position quickly, making a great sunset target for the next several days.
Twilight challenge: the planet-conjunction finale. Jupiter and especially fainter Saturn are becoming ever harder to pick up low in bright twilight, but bring those binoculars for a look this evening. Because now they are three! Mercury is emerging to pass them, on its way up toward its good evening apparition later this month. You’ll pick up Jupiter first: it’s brightest at magnitude –1.9. Mercury is –0.9, and Saturn is a feebler +0.6. This evening the triangle they form is 3° tall (at twilight in North America) as shown above. For the next three days, Mercury will step toward the upper left past the other two. Tomorrow the 10th they will form a tighter, roughly equilateral triangle about 2° on a side.
Although the universe is vast, galaxies often meet and interact. Such is the case with Bode’s Galaxy (M81) and the Cigar Galaxy (M82), two nearby spirals located about 10° northwest of Dubhe, Ursa Major’s magnitude 1.8 alpha star. The pair is visible in a small scope, whose low power can capture both in a single field of view — they sit roughly 35′ apart. Higher power (or larger apertures) will reveal more detail in each, particularly in M81, whose spiral arms become visible under dark skies and greater magnification. The Cigar Galaxy, which gains its name from its long, skinny appearance, is tilted sideways with respect to Earth, meaning its dusty disk is visible edge-on, hiding its spiral arms.
In this very coldest time of the year, the dim Little Dipper (Ursa Minor) hangs straight down from Polaris after dinnertime, as if, per Leslie Peltier, from a nail on the cold barn wall of the northern sky. After dark, Ursa Major is already climbing higher in the northern sky, with the Big Dipper oriented so the end of its handle touches the horizon. The Great Bear will continue her upward climb as the night progresses, eventually turning onto her back into the early morning as the stars near the North Pole rotate around it.
The Moon reaches perigee, the closest point in its orbit to Earth, at 10:37 A.M. EST. It will then sit 228,284 miles (367,387 kilometers) from our planet.about:blank
Mercury is hidden deep in the glow of sunset for much of the week. But by January 9th it joins Jupiter and Saturn very low in the southwest in bright twilight. See the top of this section, above. Bring binoculars.
Old Farmer’s Almanac NIGHT SKY MAP FOR JANUARY 2021: THE BRIGHTEST SKY OF THE YEAR – https://www.almanac.com/night-sky-map-january-brightest-sky
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 Runic half-month of Perdhro/ Peorth, 1/12-1/27. – Feast of Brewing, Druidic, Source: The Phoenix and Arabeth 1992 Calendar.
Goddess Month of Hestia runs from 12/26 – 1/22
Celtic Tree Month of Beth/Birch, Dec 24 – Jan 20
Uranus (1/14/21) Retrograde
Color – Blue
©2020 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
Sa 9 Low 2:15 AM 3.0 7:51 AM Rise 4:12 AM 24
~ 9 High 8:33 AM 8.8 4:56 PM Set 1:51 PM
~ 9 Low 3:50 PM -0.2
~ 9 High 10:19 PM 6.2
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – There’s no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream!
Journal Prompt – What does this quote say to you? – You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do. — Henry Ford
~ Communism is like one big phone company. – Lenny Bruce, American comedian, born on October 13, 1925
~ Consider every day that you are then for the first time – as it were – beginning; and always act with the same fervour as on the first day you began. – Saint Antony of Padua
~ Destiny is an absolutely definite and inexorable ruler. Physical ability and moral determination count for nothing. It is impossible to perform the simplest act when the gods say “no.” I have no idea how they bring pressure to bear on such occasions; I only know that it is irresistible. – Aleister Crowley; attributed
~ Health food may be good for the conscience but Oreos taste a hell of a lot better. – Robert Redford
Keep warm by inner fires, and rest in peace.
Sleep on content, as sleeps the patient rose.
Walk boldly on the white untrodden snows,
The winter is the winter’s own release. – Helen Hunt Jackson (1830–85)
ALL ABOUT BRIGID – A Message for Imbolc by Rel Davis, Minister, Unitarian Fellowship of South Florida
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 – To Help You Smile – Descartes walks into the bar. The bartender asks him, “will you have your usual tonight?” Rene replies “I think not” and he disappears.