Posts Tagged With: Southern Hemisphere

Merry Esbat

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Hope you are all enjoying tonight’s beautiful full moon, as I certainly am.

Tonight’s moon is in Virgo.
This is a good time to cast spells and perform workings in service of others.

To me, February’s moon is the Fruit Moon, which fits well with my local area. 
This is the time when stone fruit is harvested and there is an abundance of delicious fresh fruit available.

The February full moon in the Southern Hemisphere can also be dubbed the following names:

Harvest Moon
Grain Moon
Sturgeon Moon
Red Moon
Wyrt Moon
Corn Moon
Dog Moon
Barley Moon

Merry Esbat!

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Categories: Photography, the moon | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Imbolc – First Stirrings

The Sabbat of Imbolc is celebrated at the height of winter, but in contrast to the cold and dreary days, this is a celebration of the early signs of spring.

Imbolc (or Imbolg), translates to ‘In the belly’, a reference to the potential for life, held within the belly of the Great Mother, our earth.

Another version of Imbolc, is ‘Oimelc’, which means ‘Ewe’s Milk’, making reference to the lambing season which Imbolc coincides with.

 

Imbolc marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.

The days are gradually growing longer, with the sun rising a few minutes earlier each morning.

The trees are beginning to bud and seeds begin to stir under the soil.

In the midst of winter, the promise of spring abounds.

Imbolc is a fire festival, though not a solar celebration, but a day when we celebrate a return to the light and the lengthening of the days.

Personally, Imbolc is a celebration of the quickening earth, a joyous recognition of the Great Mother awakening from her winter slumber.

The Goddess Awakens

The Goddess Awakens

I know when Imbolc has arrived, by the profusion of yellow across the countryside.

Wattle is the harbinger of spring for me.

It’s bright and cheery color is a welcome relief from the dreary winter landscape and brings with it the hope that the warmth and light of Spring shall soon be upon us.

The small yellow flowers of the wattle are symbolic of the sun.

Here in Australia, with our warm climate, the early signs of spring are very evident, as the almond and wild cherry trees blossom white, alongside the vibrant yellow of the wattle.

Platypus {Ornithorhynchus anatinus} swimming underwater

Imbolc sees the commencement of the breeding season of the platypus, the native monotreme unique to Australia.

The platypus is an extremely elusive animal, which lives in the creeks and streams.

I have lived in Australia my entire life, and have sighted the platypus only once in the wild.

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In rural Australia, Imbolc is lambing season.

This brings us the traditional roots of Imbolc: milk, cheese and dairy products.

Milk again begins to flow, as new life pops up in paddocks everywhere.

This would have been a festive time in the old days, having dairy products again, as winter food supplies began to dwindle.

The return of milk brought promise of the abundant food supplies soon to come.

 

Mythology-

The Goddess is evident in all three aspects.

She is the Maiden, young and playful, leading us out into Spring.

She is the Mother, nurturing her seeds within the Earth.

She is the Crone, retreating into the shadows of Winter.

Imbolc is sacred to Brighid, the Celtic Triple Goddess of Fire, Poetry, Metal Working, Crafts, Fertility and Healing.

Hestia, the Greek Goddess of the Hearth and Home, has several similarities to Brighid, and can be honored at Imbolc also.
Ask Hestia for assistance in ritually purifying the home, as part of your Imbolc celebrations.

Brighid by Jo Jayson

Brighid by Jo Jayson

The Great Goddess has now recovered from giving birth at Yule, the young God, the child at her breast.

He is reflected in the gradually growing sunlight which gently caresses the earth, the Maiden, the Mother,  in childlike innocence.

The Goddess is Mother, yet she turns to her aspect of Maiden at Imbolc, her innocence and fresh vitality reflected in the buds and early flowering blossoms.

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Persephone prepares to return from her time in The Underworld.

She will soon rejoin her Mother, Demeter, who will rejoice at her return, bringing the lush profusion of Spring upon the earth.

Persephone is the seed that lies in the soil, no longer dormant, but ready to burst forth under the light of the growing sun.

In The Underworld she has been renewed, life from death in the fecund earth that is the realm of the Queen of Corpses.

During Winter she presides over the shades of the dead, but upon her return she is the vibrant daughter, the bright petalled flower.

During Spring she is life just begun, life in all its infinite possibility.

Persephone Awakens

Persephone Awakens

Another myth of Imbolc is that of the Cailleach, the old crone that brings winter down upon the land.

It is said that the length of the winter can be determined by the weather on the day of Imbolc.

If she intends to make the winter last longer, she will need to replenish her wood pile to keep herself warm in the days ahead.

If the day is sunny, then the Cailleach will be out wood carting.

But if the day of Imbolc brings bad weather, the old woman sleeps, and will soon deplete her stock of wood, being forced to bring an end to winter.

The Cailleach - Altara The Dark

The Cailleach – Altara The Dark

Imbolc Activities- 

At Imbolc we plant the metaphorical seeds of our goals and plans, for the year ahead.

In practical terms, I will list my goals and the steps I need to take to achieve them.

I have many ideas floating around this year and need to decide which of them I wish to plant and nurture.

Imbolc is the perfect time to begin planning the achievements of your goals, working with the natural flow of the Earth.

It also sets a natural time of completion, of achievement, for the harvest Sabbats towards the end of the year, Lughnasadh, Mabon and Samhain.

Working with the natural rhythms of the earth and sun in this way, has brought about much success for me, and each year I look forward to harnessing this power to realize my ambitions.

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Imbolc is a time of purification, cleansing and new beginnings.

It is a good time to reflect on the bad habits you no longer wish to carry with you, and to perform banishing spells to free yourself of the burden.

Spell work of purification, rejuvenation, health and vitality, fertility and growth and renewal, are all the work of Imbolc.

Ritual purification and cleansing of the home should be performed, clearing the home of negativity and setting a positive trend for the year ahead.

Work that blesses your future endeavors, such as good luck and prosperity spells are appropriate.

This is also a good time to cleanse and rededicate your Craft tools and sacred spaces.

Fire- Element of Cleansing and Purification

Fire- Element of Cleansing and Purification

Imbolc is sometimes also known as Candlemas, which comes from the Christian festival.

Interesting in itself, because Brighid herself was made a Saint in the Catholic Church.

The name, Candlemas, can also be interpreted literally, as it is traditional Imbolc practice to light every candle in the house, or place a lit candle in every window, as a way to welcome back the light.

It is also a good time to cleanse and consecrate new candles for future ritual use.

Imbolc is a powerful time for working candle magick in all it’s forms.

A great Imbolc activity, is to actually make candles for future ritual and spell use.

Otherwise, cleanse and consecrate candles you have purchased for future use.

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As a time of beginnings, Imbolc is the perfect time for initiations into the Craft.

I like to use Imbolc as a time to rededicate myself to my practice and my Mother Goddess.

This is something I like to do annually, to renew my promise to myself and my Mother and to set new spiritual ideals for myself.

 

Imbolc Altar

Imbolc Altar

As Brighid is a Goddess of craft, you can also get creative at Imbolc.

Making Brighid’s crosses is traditional for Imbolc.

As is making a ‘bed’ for Brighid, to welcome her into the home.

You can also make a pine cone wand, which is a symbol of The God and represents the promise of God and Goddess coming together at Beltane.

Brighid's Cross

Brighid’s Cross

One of my favorite Imbolc traditions, is that of Brighid’s mantle.

Brighid taught the Irish to weave and is the Patron Goddess of Knitting and Crochet.

She would sit at her loom, beside the hearth, weaving the very flames into her work.

If you knit, crochet or quilt, make a blanket or shawl and leave it outside your house at Imbolc.

As Brighid passes, it will drawn her attention.

As she admires your handiwork, her touch will bless your creation and it will bestow her healing energy on anyone who wears it.

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On a more practical level, honor the spirit of Imbolc by spring cleaning your home and ridding yourself of possessions you no longer use.

Having a good spring clean is a good way to start a new, clutter-free, year.

 

Take the time for a walk through the countryside, keeping your eyes open for signs of the return of Spring.

Spring is discreet right now, but she is making her first appearance.

 

 

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Imbolc Incense:

  • 3pt Frankincense
  • 2pt Dragons Blood
  • 1/2pt Red Sandalwood
  • 1pt Cinnamon
  • Few drops Red Wine
  • Pinch of the first flower available (Dried)

 

Brandied Milk and Honey:

This is a traditional favorite for my family and I.

  • 375ml Full Cream Milk
  • 75g Honey
  • 75ml Brandy
  1. Stir milk and honey over low heat until honey dissolves.
  2. Bring to just below boiling. (Be very careful not to let it boil!)
  3. Remove from heat and stir through the brandy.
  4. Serve hot.

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Imbolc Colors:

  • White
  • Red
  • Pale Yellow
  • Silver
  • Pink

Herbs:

  • Basil
  • White Sage
  • Bay
  • Chamomile
  • Cinnamon
  • Crocus
  • Dandelion
  • Dill
  • Frankincense
  • Myrrh
  • Primrose
  • Rosemary
  • Wattle
  • First flowers of the year.

Symbols:

  • Lamps
  • Wells
  • Cauldrons
  • Candles
  • Besom
  • White Flowers
  • Candle Wheels
  • Brighid’s Bed
  • Brighid’s Crosses
  • Anything Iron, like horseshoes
  • The Star tarot card

Animals:

  • Lamb
  • Platypus
  • Snake
  • Swan

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Foods:

  • Curries
  • Onions
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Wine
  • Seeds
  • Honey Cakes
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese

Stones:

Deities:

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Categories: The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Litha – The Midsummer Solstice

Litha, also known as the Midsummer Solstice, marks the longest day of the year.
Litha is the peak of the sun’s power, the height of summer.
Litha is light, abundant energy and heat.

In Australia, the sun is very powerful, and at Midsummer the sun rules supreme.
The earth wilts under the relentless heat of the sun.
Water becomes scarce, as rain is not so common around this time of year.
Animals and humans alike, seek the shade, respite from the heat.
The sun rides high in the sky and the days are very long.

The Height of Summer

The Height of Summer

Pagans celebrate Litha as the prime of  life of the solar and vegetation gods.
At this time the God is strong, having reached the zenith of his manhood.
At Beltane he fertilized the Goddess with his seed, and now he nurtures both his lover and his unborn child.
Litha is a time of production and creative energy for God and Goddess.
They come together as one, to produce and sustain life for another year.
The warming rays of the sun, nurturing the growth and life of the earth.

The Goddess basks in the warming rays, preparing herself, as her time is yet to come.
She will become evident again as the harvest ripens in the fields, the bounty of another year coming to fruition.
The fruit, vegetables and grains that will sustain us for another year, another turn of the wheel.

God and Goddess harmonize at Litha, they are one, yet they are also opposites.
The God is the sun, the wild growth of vegetation.
The Goddess is the shade, the cool kiss of water in the heat, the productive soil.
They are sun and moon, light and shade, earth and solar energy.

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Magical Midsummer

 

In Australia, even non-pagans celebrate this time.
While some still cling to the Christmas traditions of a far-off country, for many, this is a time of enjoying the outdoors, of spending time with family over the holidays.
I have posted before about the non-sensical celebration of Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere, but Australians are gradually phasing over to a celebration more fitting to our Australian summer.
A lot of Aussie’s spend this time by the water, swimming and water skiing.
Barbecues in the sun, beer and plenty of food.
It is the summer holidays, a time to relax and enjoy these long days of light, heat and good cheer.

While Litha is a celebration of the sun, the culmination of the year, it is also a gateway into the dark half of the year.
The sun, having reached its height, will now begin to decline.
While we have yet to experience the hottest time of the year, the sun will now begin to slowly pull away from the earth.
The God will begin to grow old.
He will soon give of himself, a voluntary sacrifice, to ensure the life of the harvest to come.
A strange paradox, at the very pinnacle of the year, we enter the dark half of the year.
Again, light and dark, life and death.

In Celtic traditions, the eternal battle between the Oak King and the Holly King is once again fought.
During their Midsummer clash, the Oak King is defeated and the Holly King takes his dark throne.
The Lord of Winter has defeated the reign of Summer.

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Midsummer is a time of strong earth and fire magick, Litha being a fire festival.
Both earth and sun are radiating energy at this time, and this can be harnessed and channeled into love, good luck and prosperity spells.
The Faery folk are very active and alive at Midsummer, and this is the perfect time to connect and work with these powerful earth elementals.
Welcome the Fae to your garden and Midsummer celebrations.
Leave them offerings of milk, bread, water and honey.
Work with them to channel the radiant energy of earth and sun into spells of growth and abundance.

Most of all, get outside and enjoy the balmy days of summer.

A Bright and Happy Midsummer Solstice to you.

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Litha Incense:

  • 3pt Frankincense
  • 2pt Benzoin
  • 1pt Dragons Blood
  • 1pt Goat Weed (St. Johns Wort)
  • 1pt Blackberry (leaves or flowers)
  • 4 drops Neroli Oil

Colors:

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Gold
  • Blue

Deities:

  • All Solar Gods
  • Horned Gods
  • Pan
  • Zeus
  • Prometheus
  • Ares
  • Helios
  • Llew
  • Athena
  • Eos
The Sun - Witches Tarot

The Sun – Witches Tarot

Symbols:

  • Sun Symbols
  • Solar Cross
  • Sun Dials
  • Sunflowers
  • Spirals
  • Vines
  • Athame & Swords
  • The Sun, Tarot Card
  • Flames
  • Stags and Wild Animals
  • Dragons

Stones & Gems:

  • Carnelian
  • Fire Opal
  • Red Tiger Eye
  • Red Jasper
  • Ruby
  • Citrine
  • Blood Stone
  • Amazonite
  • Aventurine

Scents:

  • Frankincense
  • Benzoin
  • Dragons Blood
  • Pine
  • Rose
  • Lavender
  • Geranium
  • Sage
  • Cedar

Herbs:

  • Rose
  • Honeysuckle
  • Oak
  • Mugwort
  • Lavender
  • Goat Weed ( St John’s Wort)
  • Blackberry
  • Pine

 

Categories: The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Confusion of Quarters

Q is for Quarters.

The Quarters and directions of the Wiccan circle, seem to be quite straightforward at first.

Tradition, and just about every book on the subject, lays down the accepted directions and their associated elements.

North is Earth. Here lies Winter, Midnight, Grounding and Pentacles.

East is Air. Spring, Dawn and Swords reside here.

South is Fire. Realm of Summer, Noon and Wands.

West is Water. Place of Autumn, Sundown and Chalices.

(I reverse the Sword and Wands, placing my Athame in the realm of Fire and Wand in Air. But that’s another subject altogether.)

Traditional Elemental Directions

Traditional Elemental Directions

Now this is all well and good, unless you reside in the Southern Hemisphere!

Or even somewhere where these Elements do not fit in with the land where you live.

If you live on the East coast, putting Water in the opposite direction doesn’t make a lot of sense.

So here is where it starts to get tricky, and cause many an Aussie Witch a headache.

 

If North is geared towards the colder climbs of the North Pole, how does that fit us in Australia?

It doesn’t.

This works better in reverse, putting the Element of Earth in the South, towards the South Pole.

This then puts Fire in the North, which works well too, as North, from where I live, is Queensland, warm and sunny.

North is also the direction in which the equator lies.

This part is simple, as it makes sense and is easily switched.

 

My real problem with this, lies with East and West.

I live in Central NSW, which is far removed from Water.

The best we have in this regard, is a barely trickling Weir, which runs through town.

Looking East, at a total lack of Water.

Looking East, at a total lack of Water.

The nearest ocean, is several hours drive away, yet it lies to the East.

Drive not to far West from here, and there is dry, flat plains, reaching on and out to the deserts of Central Australia.

 

After some careful thought and observance, I have decided my Element of  the West is Air.

West is where the hot, dry winds of Summer blow in from.

Looking West from my backyard, I see a flat expanse, a straight horizon.

 

So far, so good.

I have a place for all the Elements.

But the problem I have here, is that the mythology of these Elemental directions is then out of whack.

This causes me problems, because I like the idea of endings in the West, where the sun sets, and begins in the East, with the rising sun, and the many stories that go with these associations.

Placing my Elements as I have, doesn’t fit this.

So what is one to do?

Looking West at Sunset.

Looking West at Sunset.

To be honest, I don’t think I have settled on a definitive place for my Elements, I switch them around to fit my purpose.

The funny thing is, if I am casting a circle indoors, I tend to use the traditional placements.

But outdoors, in direct contact with the Elements, I mostly place them as I have written above.

This might seem a bit strange and indecisive, but it is what feels right to me at the time.

 

I have spoken with other Australian Witches about this dilemma, and it is one that is common to us all.

Many do as I have, and set their own directions to what feels right to them, adjusting their incantations to fit.

But this topic is an always ongoing subject, among those South of the equator.

There are just so many variables, which are near impossible to fit neatly together.

 

Then, throw into the mix the idea of Widdershins and Deosil.

Technically this should also be reversed in the Southern Hemisphere.

I haven’t put much thought into this to date, and continue to work clock-wise for Deosil.

Though, the definition of Widdershins is against the course of the sun, so at least reversing this makes sense, and is much easier to implement.

Australian Elemental Directions

Australian Elemental Directions

So, for now, until I come across a way that feels definitively right to me, I will continue to set the Elements in the directions that feel right at the time and work to my intended purpose, either geared to the movement of the Sun and Sabbats, or according to Elemental directions.

If it feels right, so mote it be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Pagan Blog Project, Witchcraft | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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