There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
–Carl Sagan

Solstice = Standing-Still-Sun

Dec. 21st, we enter the belly of the night.

Winter Solstice: We come to the portal that separates darkness from light. Standing in this arch of time where Earth takes a breath before facing us back towards the sun, we too, take a breath, turn inward, pause in this pregnant moment and let darkness reveal its gifts:

Winter Solstice: A time to look back at the year gone by, gather its lessons and put them in the stew of your life. Time to let the heat of your presence cook the stew. Render the lessons into the sweet nectar of wisdom. Then drink of it. One-small-sip-at-a-time.

Winter Solstice: A time to let the longest night of the year seduce you into stillness. Time to silence inner voices, listen to the beating of your own heart. Time to breathe slowly, become the breath. Linger here. The night is long.

Winter Solstice: Time to savor the sweetness of the dark. Nothing to fear. It’s only you. And millions of years of Earth’s turning; away and then back, away and then back towards the light. It’s all you. The dark, the light, the fire, the night: it’s all you. You’re all it. Sweet oneness, savored in the dark.

Winter Solstice: A sacred link, where Earth’s veil thins, the unseen, seen. Images of ancestors and ancient roots threading back beyond time. Back to first humans, their fires still burning to call back the light. We are the ones who hold them sacred. We honor their struggles, their triumphs. We’re here due to them. They gave us our blood.

Winter Solstice: A time to reflect on your life in this moment. Like never before, or ever again, reflect on this sweet, fragile moment.

Winter Solstice: A time to let go of what burdens. Empty out stones sitting heavy in the heart. Let bygones be bygones. Acknowledge. Forgive. Begin again.

Winter Solstice: A fertile time, a time to ready the womb; a time for pregnant possibility. A time to sow seeds of imagination, to germinate in the darkness. A time to tend the inner hearth; be warmed by the coals of creativity.

Winter Solstice: The union of opposites. Fullness: emptying. Emptiness: filling.
The shortest day meets the longest night. Celebrate the dark. Greet the light. We’ve journeyed long; we’ve journeyed far. In summer, we rejoiced in the sun, now absent. In winter, we settle into the night, now present. We draw inward, tuck in our wings to keep warm. All flights are canceled.

Winter Solstice: A time to check inner weather and road conditions. Are you cold? Are you hot? Are you merely lukewarm? Is it stormy? Is it balmy? Are there blue skies inside? Does the road rise to meet you? Are you on shaky ground? Is it smooth? Is it rocky? Can you see where you are?

Winter Solstice: Can you be with it all, just as it is? No fighting, no trying, no pushing the river. It flows by itself, so you watch it. You notice. You see twigs and branches submerged in the stream of your life. Without effort, the water flows over, under and around it all. Nothing can stop it; it goes on forever. Like you do. Like I do. Like we do.

May you go on forever, like this most pregnant night of the year.

A brief ritual to include in your observance of Winter Solstice:

1) Set aside at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, but whatever works for you is fine.
2) Include friends, family members, or celebrate alone if you prefer. It all works.
3) Settle in, light some candles. Build a fire, if you have a fireplace.
4) Spend time with your eyes closed, breathing slowly, watching the breath.
5) Let your awareness settle down in your belly. Sense it, feel it fill and empty. See your
life coming and going on each inhale and exhale. Feel the strength and fragility of each
breath.
6) You might want to include this magnificent video with images from the Hubble space
telescope. It will connect you with the grandeur of the universe in which we live.
Towards the end of the video, notice the tree-like images from deep in space. As
astrology tell us, “As above, so below.” Here’s proof.
7) Reflect on your connection with the universe and your place in it. Who are you in the
grandest scheme of things?
8 ) Remain in silence for a few minutes after you’ve finished. Savor the moment.

The Blessing of the newborn Sun God: “Out of Darkness Light is Re-born. Carry the hope of this moment like a torch in your heart through the coming year. Let it sustain you in your times of darkness, 
and be a symbol of blessing in your times of joy. Let Peace be with you.

source

With just my heart and my mind
I can be driving, driving home
With you asleep on the seat…
Go to sleep, little Earth!
–Kate Bush

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Mabon — The Autumnal Equinox

September 24, 2010

Mabon, the Autumnal Equinox, is always a Sabbat that is special to me. It’s the first Sabbat I ever celebrated, so it’s like an “anniversary” to me. Every Mabon marks one complete turn of the Wheel of the Year since I began my journey in the Craft. This year marked my third Mabon. It feels like no time at all has passed, and I’m still learning all the time and deciding what I think, feel, believe, and want to do — but I’ve grown so much since that first Sabbat. It feels simultaneously as if a thousand years and none at all have passed.

This year I celebrated with my sister and my friend S, both of whom are my “students”. Together we are our own little makeshift coven — and it’s nice to have such a thing. We had a bonfire in S’s firepit, a lovely meal, mulled cider, and we made holy water because of the Full Moon. It was really nice to have a Sabbat and an Esbat coincide like that! Our ritual focused on balance and thankfulness. I think we all needed the time out we took for it.

I think everyone’s favourite part was the toast — I wrote the ritual, and I wrote three toasts in. One to the Earth and its seasons, one to the Goddess, and one to the God. Everyone cheered when I raised the mug of hot, spicy cider and near-yelled, “To the Goddess!” before continuing with the rest of the toast. I think we’ll definitely keep that in the rest of our Sabbats together, maybe with a little re-writing depending on the season.

I need to hold on to the way I feel following Mabon. I’ve been letting school & life really get the better of me lately. It’s time to take a step back and practice some of that good old-fashioned letting go of attachments.

Blessed Lughnassadh

August 2, 2010

I’m alone for tonight, but will be celebrating later in the week with friends. We are focusing on what we have seen come to fruition already, and I will be blessing the starting school year.

hmm.

July 11, 2010

“‘The home is a sacred place where you can communicate with the four elements of the universe: earth, water, air and fire,’ says writer and kitchen mystic Laura Esquivel, author of the luminous novel Like Water for Chocolate. ‘You mix it with your love and emotions to create magic. Through cooking, you raise your spiritual level and balance yourself in a world that is materialistic.’ In a world that is frequently out of kilter, the kitchen is as mystical as a monastery.” ~ Simple Abundance, a Day Book of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach

I have been quiet lately. I’m not doing much, just getting ready for the fall, though I know Lughnassadh is less than a month away! My altar is taken down at the moment because we have to have windows repaired, and I’m on the work schedule for Lughnassadh. I thought I might just celebrate it during the day that day, but I don’t remember what day of the week it is — if it passes me by without any marking it, I’ll be too sad. I’ll figure something out.

My sister, S, and I all went to the Beltane ritual last night. I have to say we were all… underwhelmed. The person officiating the ritual did silent quarters when casting the circle, which is fine, but her lack of confidence and unprepared manner made it a very odd feeling ritual. It was very short and somewhat rushed. There was no mention of the Goddess really the… entire time we were there. There wasn’t much talking about spirituality at all, in fact! I had been expecting a sort of run-down on “this is Beltane, what it is, and why we are celebrating”, I guess, but that was not a part of this ritual.

A note, now, on elitism in the Pagan community, which my friend M has blogged about recently. Because I had not met up with other pagans prior to this ritual, I had not really had to worry about experiencing this elitism offline. However, when we showed up to this group/ritual — well, one woman made it a point to mention that she was going to another city’s longer Beltane celebration, where they would have “THE Ritual! with Real Sex!!” The manner in which she said this made it pretty clear that she was looking to shock us. After the ritual, a man came to us and was quite patronizing and almost-rude in the guise of being helpful. It was a very holier-than-thou attitude, that sort of, “I’m testing to see how Fluffy or Serious you are” business. Apparently we caught this group at a bad time, someone mentioned, and there were some people who weren’t in attendance. Either way, I don’t know. I am not really interested in meeting with them again. The fact that it’s a 45 minute drive doesn’t help, either!

This experience cements in my mind the idea that I want to find a Dianic or a women’s only group. I don’t think that will happen until I move out of this State! So, for now, I’m content with being solitary.

Blessed Beltane!

May 1, 2010

Blessed Beltane!

Tonight I celebrate with my first non-solitary ritual! Enjoy this beautiful day of passion~

Beltane

April 29, 2010

A quick post this morning…

At Beltane the Pleiades star cluster rises just before sunrise on the morning horizon, whereas winter (Samhain) begins when the Pleiades rises at sunset. The Pleiades is a cluster of seven closely placed stars, the seven sisters, in the constellation of Taurus, near his shoulder. When looking for the Pleiades with the naked eye, remember it looks like a tiny dipper-shaped pattern of six moderately bright stars (the seventh can be seen on very dark nights) in the constellation of Taurus. It stands very low in the east-northeast sky for just a few minutes before sunrise. Beltane, like Samhain, is a time of “no time” when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest. No time is when the two worlds intermingle and unite and the magic abounds! Celebrated approximately halfway between Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice, Beltane traditionally marked the arrival of summer in ancient times.

My sister & I are going to a Beltane ritual this Saturday — and my friend, S, is going to come, too! I’m very excited and can’t wait to share how it goes.

(:

March 20, 2010

Blessed Ostara/Equinox! May your day be filled with the signs of new growth! ♥

This is the official return of the young Goddess after her Winter hibernation.

I love to read both the Charge of the Goddess (especially Starhawk’s version) and the Charge of the Dark Goddess (version II). They both speak to me deeply, particularly the bolded lines.

Hear me child, and know Me for who I am. I have been with you since you were born, and I will stay with you until you return to Me at the final dusk.

I am the passionate and seductive lover who inspires the poet to dream. I am the One who calls to you at the end of your journey. After the day is done, My children find their blessed rest in my embrace.

I am the womb from which all things are born.
I am the shadowy, still tomb; all things must come to Me and bare their breasts to die and be reborn to the Whole.

I am the Sorceress that will not be ruled, the Weaver of Time, the Teacher of Mysteries. I snip the threads that bring my children home to me. I slit the throats of the cruel and drink the blood of the heartless. Swallow your fear and come to me, and you will discover true beauty, strength, and courage.

I am the fury which rips the flesh from injustice.
I am the glowing forge that transforms your inner demons into tools of power. Open yourself to my embrace and overcome.

I am the glinting sword that protects you from harm.
I am the crucible in which all the aspects of yourself merge together in a rainbow of union.
I am the velvet depths of the night sky, the swirling mists of midnight, shrouded in mystery.

I am the chrysalis in which you will face that which terrifies you and from which you will blossom forth, vibrant and renewed. Seek me at the crossroads, and you shall be transformed, for once you look upon my face, there is no return.

I am the fire that kisses the shackles away.
I am the cauldron in which all opposites grow to know each other in Truth.
I am the web which connects all things.

I am the Healer of all wounds, the Warrior who rights all wrongs in their Time. I make the weak strong. I make the arrogant humble. I raise up the oppressed and empower the disenfranchised. I am Justice tempered with Mercy.

Most importantly, child, I am you. I am part of you, and I am within you. Seek me within and without, and you will be strong. Know me. Venture into the dark so that you may awaken to Balance, Illumination, and Wholeness. Take my Love with you everywhere and find the Power within to be who you wish.

Today I am hounded by the scent of crushed lavender. I turn my head and smell it everywhere, the awakening of Spring. The Vernal Equinox, Ostara, The Feast of Persephone, the Festival of Trees, Alban Eiler — it goes by so many names — is coming up at the end of the month. I am feeling the energy of the Earth moving all around me.

I buried my hands in dirt and planted herbs today, taking in the sunshine and the cold breeze on the back of my neck. I truly felt the presence of the Goddess as I placed the tender plants within the earth. On the Equinox I will bless them and water them with charged water.