Posts Tagged With: winter

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

Yule – The Winter Solstice

The day of the Winter Solstice marks the longest night, and shortest day, of the year.

The sun has reached its Northern most point along the horizon, where it will stay for a few days, before beginning its journey back Southward.

The sun rides low in the north, rising late and setting very early.

Days and nights are cold, dark and dreary.

The mornings are laid in frost and fog.

Winter is upon us.

The dreary days of Yule

The dreary days of Yule

Yule holds a little seed of hope, a seed of regeneration, a spark of light in the darkness.

For although the sun is now too far away to lend us it’s warming rays, Yule marks the beginning of our return to the light and warmth of the summer months.

 

In mythology, The Goddess is giving birth.

Her son, and future lover, is being reborn, returning us  into the waxing half of the year.

She labours to birth her son, her lover, the sun and the light.

 

The Goddess herself  is in her triple aspect.

She is the Crone, sleeping, tired and reflective, immersed in the dark days of winter.

She is the Mother, whom is giving birth.

She is the Maiden, regenerated, a seed dormant in the earth, awaiting the return of the light to call her to the surface.

demeter and demophoon

At Yule, with the dark days and long nights of winter upon us, we celebrate the promise of a return to the light and the beginning of a New Year.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Sabbat of Yule coincides with Christmas, itself steeped in Pagan tradition.

The Christmas tree originates from Yule tradition.

By bringing  an evergreen tree into our home, a tree that has been grown and nurtured in the light of the sun throughout the year, we can bring that light and warmth into our homes.

Light plays a big part in Yule and Christmas celebrations, symbolizing our hope of the return to the light and the warmth that it brings with it.

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The Longest Night Of The Year is steeped in dark Pagan mythology.

One of the more well-known stories, is that of The Wild Hunt.

On this dark night, the Horned Gods shall ride with their band of lost souls.

Tearing through the countryside, they will take with them anyone that is unfortunate enough to cross their path.

Fire and light provides protection from the Wild Hunt, which rides only through the darkened places.

Bonfires, Yule lights and candles blaze, keeping safe those that reside within the confines of the light.

If you hear the wind screaming around the eaves on Solstice Night, chances are the Wild Hunt is passing nearby.

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Bonfires are traditional for this Fire Festival.

A fire kept burning throughout the darkest night of the year, ensures the return of the sun and keeps the Wild Hunt at bay.

You can make a Yule log to burn in the fire.

Tradition dictates this log comes from the root of a tree, or even the entire tree itself.

In Australia, the Yule Log is taken from the roots of a eucalypt tree.

 

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One of my personal markers of this Sabbat, is the first shoots of my Winter bulbs.

Planted in Autumn, they are now breaking ground, their tender green shoots sprout from the Earth.

I love Winter bulbs.

They bloom around Imbolc, during the height of winter days, a flash of colour breaking the gloomy surroundings.

Yule sees the potential of these winter bloomers, little shoots of hope.

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Yule is a time of pause and quiet.

A time to give thanks to our loved ones for their love and support during the past year.

A time to give thought to what we wish to achieve in the coming year.

Yule is when we first begin to form these plans, to let our hopes and dreams incubate and take shape.

This is not a time of action, but it is the first stirrings of our future actions.

What are you hoping to achieve this coming year?

Yule2015 (2)

During the dark days of Yule, look to the cold and the darkness which now surrounds us and take time to honor the eternal dance of the earth and the sun, the light and the dark.

Celebrate promise, hope and regeneration.

Merry Yule!

 

Yule Incense:

  • 2pt Frankincense
  • 2pt Pine Resin
  • 1pt Sandalwood
  • Ipt Juniper Berry
Cauldron Fire

Cauldron Fire

Colours:

  • Red
  • Green
  • Gold
  • White
  • Silver
  • Black

The symbolic colours of Yule are red, white and green.

Red for the rebirth of the sun and The God.

White for the regeneration of The Goddess.

Green for the regeneration of the Earth.

Deities:

  • Herne
  • Cernunnos
  • Hecate
  • Demeter
  • Green Man
  • Apollo
  • Lugh
  • Dionysus
  • Odin
  • Woden
  • Horned God
The Yule Tree is a bright and cheerful contrast to the gloomy winter weather

The Yule Tree is a bright and cheerful contrast to the gloomy winter weather

Symbols:

  • Yule Log
  • Evergreens & Ivy
  • Holly & Mistletoe
  • Fire
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Yule Tree
  • Pine & Pine Cones
  • Cauldron
  • Snow & Ice

Stones & Gems:

  • Bloodstone
  • Ruby
  • Emerald
  • Garnet
  • Diamond
  • Cats Eye
  • Tiger Eye

Scents:

  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Cinnamon
  • Bayberry
  • Rosemary
  • Juniper
  • Frankincense
  • Sandalwood
  • Myrrh

Herbs:

  • Pine
  • Frankincense
  • Cedar
  • Cinnamon
  • Bayberry
  • Thistle
  • Holly
  • Oak
  • Sage
  • Poinsettia

 

 

 

Categories: The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Walking The Dark Path

Now that Midsummer is behind us, the sun having peaked and begun to descend, I have found my thoughts turning toward the dark days of winter.
As much as I enjoy the Sabbats of spring and summer, (Beltane is a particular favorite), it is the days of the Dark Goddess that call to me.
Now, just past Midsummer, I notice the first early signs of the Autumn soon to come.
Even though the light and heat of Summer is still with us, it is gradually beginning to fade.
The leaves on the trees have lost their luster, some even visibly beginning to yellow, lending the tree the appearance of late middle age.
I notice the changes happening around me and I redress my altar in Lughnasadh finery.
I begin to go within myself, whereas throughout the longer, brighter days of Summer, I am more outwardly focused.
Summer is my time to work on my goals and projects of the year, to spend time with friends and family, to enjoy and experience life.
During Autumn and Winter I prefer solitude, quiet and stillness.

While the heat of Summer, and the threat of bushfire, still looms high above us, I can feel the approach of cooler days to come.
As I write this, we are experiencing a spell of cold and wet weather.
Rain is so scarce here at this time of year, that this rain band is a joy to behold.
All that, days before, wilted and drooped under the relentless sun, seems to stretch and sigh, plants and trees soaking up the moisture.
Today, is a reminder of the joy and beauty of Autumn and Winter.
I don’t like the heat, and it gets so brutally hot here that I can’t stand it.
So I guess it is only natural that I long for the relief of Autumn.

Harden in Autumn 008

It is not only respite from the heat of the sun that I crave though.
It is the solitary reverence of Samhain.
The quiet reflection of the year that has been, the good, the bad, those I have lost and loved, my achievements and mistakes.
It is sitting quietly in front of my black draped altar, a solitary black candle burning, lost in deep meditative thought.
It is returning to the arms of the Dark Goddess.

Since my first calling into the ways of Wicca, I have felt a deep pull towards the Goddesses of the darkness.
Hecate called to me, one dreary Samhain day, and she has been with me ever since.
Ceridwen, Ereshkigal, Lilith, Nyx and Dark Persephone have all called to me at different times, and they visit regularly.
The deep inner work these Goddesses bring with them can be very hard, but this is where the true goal of the Witch, Know Thyself, is learnt and practiced.
The dark Goddesses lead one into ones own soul, a place of self-knowledge and development.
Working with the Dark Goddesses has always been where my real growth and learning lies.

Harden in Autumn 046

During the light half of the year, I work with the ‘light’ Goddesses; Aphrodite is wonderful to work with, as is the harvest Goddess, Demeter.
Brighid and Persephone the Maiden bring much joy and energy as well.
But my true calling lies on the dark path.

Sometimes, this shadow work can be frightening and confronting, facing your deepest self, your truest will and desire, fears and intentions.
But only through facing what frightens us, facing those parts of ourselves that we would prefer to keep hidden in the shadows, can we really learn about ourselves.
And only through learning about ourselves, both the light and dark halves of our personalities, can we grow and thrive, not just as Witches, but as people too.

Categories: Witchcraft | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Persephone

P is for Persephone, Maiden of Spring and Queen of the Dead.

Known also as Kore, young maiden, or Proserpina, by the Romans.

persephonemaidenPersephone led a peaceful and quiet life, up until her kidnapping.

Though, due to her great beauty, she was highly sought after as a consort, her Mother, Demeter, sheltered her much-loved Daughter and kept her far away from Olympus.

Hermes, Ares, Apollo and Hephaestus had all tried their hand with Persephone, but Demeter had rejected their advances on her Daughter’s behalf.

Demeter and Persephone were earthly Goddesses, preferring to keep their own company and live among the wilds of nature.

Persephone, walking ahead of her Mother, bought the growth of Spring upon the land.

 

The peaceful existence of Mother and Daughter came to an end, when unbeknownst to them both, a deal was struck between Hades and Zeus, Persephone’s Father.

Zeus agreed that Hades may take Persephone as his Wife, and the two plotted together to make this happen.

persephoneflowers

Zeus had laid some beautiful flowers in a meadow, in order to lure Persephone to the trap.

The most beautiful flower, of one hundred, sweetly scented petals, laid in wait for a girl “of a flowers beauty”.

Persephone came upon this garden of allure, while out picking flowers with Artemis and some nymphs.

When she saw the beautiful flower, she reached out to pick it.

The moment her hands touched its stem, the earth opened up beneath her and Hades grabbed hold of the lovely Maiden, dragging her down into The Underworld.

Despite being in company, the abduction happened so quickly,  that none of Persephone’ companions saw it happen.

The only witnesses to the kidnapping was Helios, the Sun God, and the Goddess Hecate, who heard Persephone’s cries for help from her cave.

Demeter was frantic when she discovered her Daughter missing, and fell into a deep depression.

She was furious at the nymphs that had been with her Daughter, and had not intervened.

In punishment, Demeter turned them into the Sirens.

 

On the tenth day of Demeter’s search, Hekate came to her and told her that though she had not seen the abduction, she had heard the girl’s cries.

Hekate suggested approaching Helios, to see what he knew of the disappearance.

Helios told the two Goddesses all he knew, the abduction, the plot and the player’s behind it.

Helios also suggested to Demeter that she leave things as they were, that Hades was a powerful Lord of many and that he would make a good Husband for her Daughter.

Demeter did not, could not, accept this, so she took her plight to Zeus.

Zeus too, refused to return Persephone, arguing that Hades was the right match for the Maiden Goddess.

persephone and hades

Demeter went away with a heavy heart and refused to fertilize the Earth.

The seasons came to a standstill, plant life withered and died.

It wasn’t until Zeus tired of the cries of the hungry mortals below, that he knew he had to right the situation.

Hekate, who is at home in The Underworld, was sent to retrieve Persephone, but Hades, unwilling to relinquish his beautiful new bride, had a trick up his sleeve.

Before he released The Maiden to Hecate, he tricked her into eating four pomegranate seeds, one for each month that she would have to return to him.

ER-Skull-and-Pomegranates

So, although Persephone was returned to her mother, she was bound to return to The Underworld for four months of every year.

When Mother and Daughter are together, the Earth grows and flourishes, food is abundant.

Every year, when Persephone returns to her Husband, the earth withers and dies.

The ascent and descent of Persephone brings us the changing seasons.

awakening

Hekate became close to the two Goddesses during their time of need.

When it is time for Persephone to descend to The Underworld, Hekate bears her torches and lights the way forward for the young Goddess.

On the return journey, Hekate leads the way to the surface.

Though, not only does Hekate walk in front of Persephone, as her guide, she also follows up from behind, protecting her from any harm.

Hekate guides Persephone, not only in her travels, but offering guidance on the ways of The Underworld, on ruling over the souls of the dead, as well.

Hekate is a guide, protector and friend of Persephone, in both her light and dark aspects.

This is also where the Triple Goddess of Persephone, Demeter and Hekate springs from.

hekate and persephone

During the Spring and Summer, Persephone’s time above ground, she is the Maiden.

She is innocence, virtue and purity.

During the Autumn and Winter, she is the Queen of the Dead, a Dark Goddess, who shows no mercy.

Only once, was her heart moved, when Orpheus came to King and Queen, to beg for the return of his beloved.

Persephone granted his wish.

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Persephone is also a character in the story of Adonis.

When Adonis was born, Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Lust, took him under her wing, though she had her own agenda.

She was so enamoured with Adonis’ unearthly beauty, that she planned to seduce him.

Aphrodite gave him to Persephone to watch over him for a while, but Persephone also became entranced with his great beauty and refused to give him back.

The two Goddess fought bitterly over this exquisite beauty.

Their argument was eventually settled by Zeus, with Adonis spending four months with Aphrodite, four with Persephone and four on his own.

hades and Persephone

There is a belief that Persephone ate of the pomegranate seeds of her own free will, that she was a willing consort to the Lord of the Underworld, his Bride of Death.

Either way, each Winter, she descends to The Underworld and takes her throne beside her King.

Here she presides over the dead, her stoney gaze turned upon her shared Kingdom and the shades of the dead.

As Underworld Queen, she is also Queen of the Erinyes, sending them out from the Underworld, to fulfill curses made in her name.

Persephone is light and dark, life and death, holder of the Mysteries.

 

Symbols Of Persephone:
  • Spring
  • Spring Growth
  • Flowers
  • Waterfalls
  • Rivers
  • Springs

Animals:

  • Bats
  • Rams
  • Parrots and talking birds
  • Monkeys

Plants:

  • Asphodel
  • Pomegranate
  • White Rose
  • Narcissus
  • Willow Tree
  • Lily
  • Ivy
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Maidenhair Fern
  • Daisy
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Aconite
  • Spring Flowers

Incense / Oils:

  • Floral Scents
  • Jasmine
  • Narcissus
  • Bergamot
  • Hyacinth
  • Frangipani

Gems / Metals:

  • Crystal
  • Quartz
  • Agate
  • Onyx
  • Pink Tourmaline
  • Sapphire
  • Obsidian

Colours:

  • White
  • Black
  • Light Green
  • Purple
  • Light Blue

Demeter and Persephone

Categories: Gods and Goddesses, Pagan Blog Project | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Element of Earth

Earth is the element I have left for last.

Mainly, because it is the hardest concept to grasp.

Earth is so vast, so huge, so ‘everything’.

The Planet that is Earth, is difficult to put into words.

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Earth is the ground, the soil.

Solid, supportive, nurturing.

Earth is the trees, their roots entwined deep within the earth, grounded and connected.

Earth provides us a home, the very basics of home.

A solid footing on which to build, to sow seeds, to harvest.

Earth nurtures, provides us sustenance.

Earth holds a seed, enclosed within a womb of soil, giving birth to the fruits and grains that sustain us.

Earth is material, reality, something we can walk upon, lie upon, connect to the ancient rhythms held within.

october 2012

Earth surrounds us with beauty, the ever-changing seasons.

Spring provides growth, new beginnings, a fresh start.

Flowers bloom, grain sprouts from the dirt, the sap rises within the tree.

 

Summer brings green, mature growth.

Trees give shade from the relentless heat of the sun.

Farmers watch crops grow and begin the harvest, another years food supply.

 

Autumn is a gradual winding down.

The Earth takes a breath, and becomes still.

She dons her most beautiful robes, the flush of red, yellow and orange, the wonder of an autumn leaf.

Leaves change colour, curl up, fall from branches, returning back into the earth  from which they came.

Weir and Arboretum June 6th 2013 (19)

Winter is death, dormancy, yet preparing for rebirth.

Buds appear on the trees, bulbs break the soil.

Even in winter, in her slumber, the earth gives forth.
Every year she sleeps, every year she awakens.

The Earth is reincarnation, resurrection.

 

The earth is a cave, deep, dark and still.

The womb of Gaia.

Earth is the mountain, rocks and soil reaching toward the sky.

Earth can be insurmountable, Mt Everest.

Or Earth can be a comfortable and welcoming meadow.

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Earth is also a vessel, holding fire within her belly, her molten core.

She holds the rivers, lakes and oceans.

Earth gives us life, but like all the elements, she can serve us death and destruction.

An earth tremor is a pretty humbling experience.

A full-blown earth quake, reminds us of how small we really are.

When the ground shakes and rips herself apart, we know we are at her mercy.

 

Earth is quiet, peace and stillness.

The deep dark soil, which we return to in death.

Where she cradles our bones,  slowly returning our bodies to the soil.

In death we become one with the earth.

We become her.

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Earth gives us life, yet we continually give her death.

We strip, rape and plunder her body.

Digging deep for the stones and metals she holds within.

We strip her of oil, her lifeblood.

We poison her soil, her lakes, rivers and streams.

We tear down forests, even mountains.

We gouge out pieces of her body, to build roads, towns and cities.

We leave her naked, ripped and torn, then we dig some more.

Yet, even as she receives the most appalling treatment, she still gives for us, nurtures and provides for us, her tormentors.

healthy food

Earth corresponds to midnight, darkness, quiet, stillness, sensuality and abundance.

The Element of earth is deep midnight, within the darkest days of winter.

Harsh, cold, still.

The Earth Elemental is the Gnome.

The Direction of Earth is North.

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Birds Of A Feather

I have posted before about Magpies appearing to me lately, but now it appears to be birds in general.

Not sure what is going on here, it could be a migration.

It was pretty impressive, not to mention noisy, when I got a visit from this flock.
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Birds of a feather certainly do flock together!

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Winter Growth

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Winter has truly arrived, the weather is atrocious!
I’m going to spend this squalling winter day inside, not straying too far from the heater.

I am still working on my Book of Shadows, transferring the stuff I have found useful, from my old Book of Whimsy.
This is the advantage of starting a new book every so often.
I collect so many notes and bits from all over the place, some I use constantly, some are handy, some are useless.
So, each new book becomes more personal, more powerful, as I weed out the un-necessary and add the things that have worked for me, adding my own twists as I go.

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At each turn of the year passes I gather more of my own observances and knowledge, the things that are real to me, because I have lived them.
Each Sabbat entry grows as the great wheel turns, adding traditions, rituals and seasonal symbology.

A Book of Shadows is a living thing, growing and changing with the seasons.
Nurturing this Book, this tome, this journal, is one of the true pleasures of this path.

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Winter Months

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I love this time of year.

A time of quiet, peace and reflection.
A time of drawing inward, reflecting on the year that has been and preparing for the one that is ahead.

The Earth is winding down, drawing into itself, annual slumber.
Even my work in the garden is about removing the old, cutting back old growth, to allow new shoots to thrive come springtime.

I don’t mind the cold so much.
Lazy days inside, in front of the heater.
Catching up on movies, books and my knitting.
Away goes the fine lace work that I stitch in the warmer months, substituted for warm, bulky knits.
Maybe even an afghan or two.

The smell of cooking filling the house.
A slow cooker, simmering all day, filling the place with delicious aroma.
Baked goods, biscuits and cakes, comfort food against the cold.

The older I get, the more I appreciate the winter months.
Like a bear, I enjoy this time of hibernation, retreat from the world.
Just as in nature, we rest, giving us the energy to burst fourth with new life, once the sun returns to us again.

In this quiet, restful time, we can more easily find our center, access our true nature.
I discover more about myself.
This is also a time when I consult the tarot regularly.
Not for outer concerns, but in a bid to understand myself.

The cold drives me inside, so my rituals tend to be quiet meditation in front of my indoor altar.
Though, I have just bought a fire pit, so that will give me some more options.

Sometimes the frigid temperatures can get to be a bit overwhelming, but I find the positives of winter outweigh the negatives.

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Boreas – The North Wind

I am Boreas, the Wind of the North.

Boreas - Old Man Winter

Boreas – Old Man Winter

I am the bitter chill of mid-winters night,
The snow which falls through the darkness,
frost settled on frozen and arid ground.

I am the frigid northern wind, which howls around the eaves.
I am the grass that crackles beneath your step, brittle ice on a winter night.

I am old age.
The grey which streaks your hair,
The arthritis creeping into your joints.
I am the wrinkle on your brow,
The unease of your mortality.

I am midnight.
The deep darkness of night, the longest of the year.
I am the deep stillness of that night, the quiet of the earth.

I am Yule.
The Winter Solstice, my darkness never wanes.
I am the earth, sleeping, barren, unforgiving.

I am the Earth.
The subterranean stillness, the soil which cloaks you in death.
I am stillness, peace, the depths of the unchartered cave.

boreas

I am North.
I am winter.
I am Earth.
I am darkness.
I am midnight.
I am old age.

I am Boreas, the Wind of the North.

 

Categories: Gods and Goddesses, Mythology, The Elements | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter Winds of Change (My Inner Goth)

Tomorrow is the first day of winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, and it certainly feels it.
I’ve removed the Autumn leaves from my altar and made a few more changes to suit the season.

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I love setting up my winter altar, black and minimalist, it appeals greatly to my inner goth.

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I found the branch today, dropped from a pine tree, a sign that it is time for a change.
Sitting here now, candles aglow, I love how it reflects the skeletal hands of the branch up the wall.

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This altar reminds me of why I love the dark part of the year and feel most at home with the crone aspect of the Goddess.

Winter is a time of quiet, of looking inward.
It is a time to meditate and reflect on the year that has passed.
I love to sit quietly at my winter altar, meditate and just ‘be’.

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