Imbolc

The following blog post is a short excerpt from my book:
The Spiritual Feminist

witch 52


Imbolc

(February 2)

The Goddess celebrates renewed fertility, fertility of body, mind, and spirit.  Seeds are sown now for future harvests; the bricks and mortar of new paths and new adventures are laid.  The Goddess is reborn as her younger self, the Maiden, and it is her strength and power and sinewy young muscle that we imbue ourselves with, so as to have the strength and endurance to fulfill our life journey.

This is also a festival of the Celtic goddess, Bride, so beloved by the people of the old world that the Roman Church couldn’t eradicate her. Instead, they made her a saint, Saint Brigit. In Celtic lore, the Old Woman of Winter (the Cailleach) was reborn as Bride, the Young Maiden of Spring.  It’s this image that is most nostaligic in my mind, from the halls of Catholic Parochial School, the beautiful shining faces of the female saints, innocently biding their time among the patriarchal rhetoric, waiting for The Great Awakening…St. Brigit most prominent among them (the nuns adored her).

The celebration of Imbolc is also a celebration of light, a celebration of the sun, in the fact that a successful new growing season depends upon it.  The light and warmth of the sun is celebrated in the flames of candles and bonfires.

My Celebration:

This milestone passes all but unnoticed at our house, in all truth.  I touch on it with a public comment and picture at social sites, or among my pagan internet friends; but here, it’s like a soft shadow passing over the house, sometimes lit with the glow of a blue candle on the kitchen table that hardly anyone else notices, since I’m always burning candles it seems.  But I notice, and I remember, and I think…The time of The Great Awakening has come.

Imbolc Correspondences

Herbs: basil, bay, celandine, benzoic
Altar Flowers/Herbs: angelica, myrrh, flowers that are yellow/white/or blue
Feast Foods: bread, cakes, dairy products, seeds
Animals: burrowing animals, ewes, deer, goats, lambs
Incense: jasmine, myrrh, neroli
Rituals/Spells: candle magick, initiation, hearth/home blessings, fertility magick, healing magick, cleansing rituals

Imolc Recipes

Creamed Cabbage

1 lb. pre-cooked ham, 1″ cubed or shredded
1 heaping tsp. flour
1 firm white cabbage
1/2 tsp. each salt & pepper
1 cup cream
grated nutmeg (optional)

Cut cabbage in half, then cut the halves once again.   Drop them into a pot of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, drain. Slice them up. Melt a little butter or margarine in a sauce pan and add the shredded cabbage. Stir it up good. Add salt, pepper, and a dash of grated nutmeg. Next add the cream and a heaping teaspoon of flour, still stirring, and let it come to a boil. Add the cubed or shredded ham, and lower the heat. Cover the sauce pan and let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 6-8 servings.

Interestingly enough, and just as a sidenote, Nutmeg is the most popular herb used to induce fidelity in a romantic partner. Think about this, when used with magickal intention, if you’re making this dish for your husband, boyfriend, fiance, etc.  (“This is a perfect example of a little innocent kitchen witchery in the making.”, she says with a wicked grin.)
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Brigit’s Biscuits

2 1/4 cup Bisquick
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Drop by Tablespoon onto baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Serve warm with butter.

 

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The Witch’s Desk: Celebrate October! ~ Full Moon & Samhain

Samhain

(October 31)

The goddess is old and wizened. She’s settling into this stage of her persona to reap the benefit of all that she has experienced, all that has transpired on her journey to this point. She’s preparing for the dark months, gathering her harvest about her, both for her physical survival and her emotional revival, using this time to rest, to gather energy for the future and the light that she knows will return. On this phase of her journey she can afford to sit back in quiet reflection, to shed those things in her life that have become a burden, and to look forward to the end of her journey, or rather, the beginning of the next.

Samhain (pronounced ‘Sou-wen’) is a celebration that has a more somber side than the revelry of modern Halloween. It is a day of remembrance of your ancestors and for those family members who have passed over. Pagan families may set an extra place at the supper table on this evening, to honor those loved ones who are no longer with them. The veil between the world of the living and the dead is thinnest on this eve, and this night is an excellent time to perform divination, or to try and connect with those spirits from the other side.

My Celebration:

Samhain is a big deal at our house. Some years ago we began the tradition of a bonfire in the front driveway, an open house for friends, childrens’ friends, and acquaintances. You’ll find a table set up by the fire pit for a weinie roast, with smore’s for dessert. In the kitchen, I’ve got a large kettle of chili on the stove, and a large kettle of hot apple cider. Costumes are optional, for those who are comfortable dressing up, I say go for it; for those who are not, don’t sweat it. And, of course, there will be a large bowl of candy for the children in our neighborhood who follow the age-old custom of trick or treating.

You always hear that the veil has thinned on this night and spirit contact is almost inevitable if one wishes to put forth some effort. Samhain is also reputed to be a superb night for divinantion of any kind, and with this in mind, I set up a table on the backporch full of divination tools: tarot cards, rune stones, pendulums, oriental divination sticks, and don’t forget the ouija board for those who wish to try their hand communing with the spirits. Guests seem to love this opportunity, and there will be people seated around this table off and on all evening. It gives many a chance to learn about, touch, and use divination tools that they may not be familiar with and might otherwise not have access to.

Samhain Correspondences

Herbs: patchouli, sage, heather

Altar Flowers/Herbs: acorns, apples, pumpkins/gourds, dittany, autumn leaves

Feast Foods: pumpkin, squash, nut breads, sweet potatoes, milled drinks (cider, wine), roast meat, root vegetables

Animals: bats, cats, crows, ravens, owls

Incense: cinnamon, cloves, myrrh, patchouli, pine, mugwort, nutmeg

Rituals/Spells: making besoms, divination, spirit contact, crone magick, working with dark energy, spells for new beginnings

Samhain Recipes

My Pumpkin Pie:

1 16 oz. can pumpkin (about 2 cups)

1 13 oz. can evaporated milk

(but sometimes I use sweetened condensed milk– it makes it more “chiffony”…is that a word?)

2 eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 sugar

the spices:

Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and a dash of salt. Most recipes call for 1/2 teaspoon each, but I’m much more generous with my spices!

the crust:

I tried for years to learn to make a good pie crust, and I almost gave up out of frustration, then I found this recipe. It’s almost fool-proof, no kidding.

2 and 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup shortening

1 beaten egg

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/4 cup water

Mix the dry ingredients together and cut in the shortening, as usual. Then combine the egg and vinegar, stirring it up a bit, and add this to your dry ingredients. Add the water a dash at a time as you work it in, you’ll be able to tell when you get a good texture.

Bake at 400 degrees the first fifteen minutes, and at 350 degrees for the next 30-40 minutes. When you can stick a butter knife in the center of the pie, and it comes out clean, your pie is done.

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Hot Apple Cider

I have a *Huge*– did I say huge?– kettle that I use to mix up my cider. This sits and simmers all afternoon on the backburner of my stove, wafting a wonderful aroma throughout the house.

Ingredients:

5-7 large jugs of applejuice

8-10 bags of peach tea

a handful of cinnamon sticks

and a large metal tea ball filled

with whole cloves and allspice

You can leave a shaker of nutmeg sit on the counter & anyone who wants to add a dash of this spice to their mug of apple cider can do so.

If you don’t like this cider full force, you can dilute it some with water to suit your own taste.

October

Blood Moon

Herbs: ginger, myrrh, allspice, basil, clove

Stones: alexandrite, citrine, lilac kunzite

Scents: pine, patchouli

Colors: dark green, brown, gold

Trees: yew, cypress, maple, oak

Deities: Astarte, Horned God, Lakshmi, Ishtar

Astrological Signs: Libra, Scorpio

Elements: Air/Water

Crafting Your Magic:

Ancestral magic is cast with the Blood Moon. Do magic now to communicate with family members who have passed, to connect with your ancestors and your heritage. Magic surrounding divination is relevant, it’s the perfect time. Cast spells for justice and balance, and to overthrow anything oppressive which may be blocking your path to success. Ambition is highlighted, use magic to increase the potency of your own, or cast magic to contain ambition that may have run amok. This is also the perfect time to step into the dark shadows and take advantage of the vibrations found there. The gray witch revels in the magic of the Blood Moon and in this season.

Sources:

The information from this blog post was taken from my books ~

The Spiritual Feminist

The Gray Witch’s Grimoire

To order your copies, click  HERE

The Witch’s Desk: Celebrate September! ~ Full Moon & Autumnal Equinox

Wine Moon

Herbs: lilac, mugwort, marjoram,
rose, thyme

Stones: sapphire, bloodstone,
rainbow obsidian

Scents: gardenia, rose, lilac

Colors: brown, yellow-green, amber

Trees: hazel, larch, bay

Deities: Demeter, Ceres, Isis,

Astrological Signs: Virgo, Libra

Elements: Earth/Air

Crafting Your Magic:

Feminine energy is highlighted, receptive energy. Cast magic to draw inward, magic to draw those things– both intangible and material– to you that you need to fill the void. The Goddess is in the spotlight. Work magic to benefit female issues, such as fertility, independence, and protection.

The Wine Moon works its magic in the area of love and relationships. Cast spells to discover your soul mate, find a lost love, or nurture a secret desire. The energy of Libra will bring balance to all magic cast at this time, and its energy promotes the very essence of love and sex. Cast spells now to promote healthy sexuality and to maintain or regain physical health of the reproductive system.

Concentrate on the third eye chakra, opening the doors to psychic experiences. Prepare to enter the autumnal dark months with the clairvoyant vision to see well beyond, into the light of the future.

The Autumnal Equinox: Mabon

The Goddess, in the death throes of the growing season, is at her most beautiful. As she moves towards the final harvest, in preparation for the dark days to come, she shines with the brilliance and color that is mirrored in the physical world as golden leaves, ripened fruit, withering vines, and frost-covered grass. The spiritual aspect of this stage is one that is just as beautiful, emphasizing once more the idea of completion and accomplishment, of finding that moment within development that culminates with depths of wisdom and the light of knowledge.

This day brings equal hours of light and dark, a second celebration of perfect equality. Beyond this day, light will gradually fade as the dark season descends upon the world. At this time of year, the ancient Druids would burn a large human-like wicker figure as part of their celebration. This figure represented the vegetation spirit, and indeed, the heralding of the dark season would bring an end to the growth and flowering of summer.

Modern Pagans may celebrate this holiday with many of the foods connected with this time of year in their area. Decorations may include leaves of autumn hues, sunflowers, pumpkins and gourds. The most amazing thing, I believe, is how this miraculous milestone of earth and time passes almost unnoticed by the mundane multitudes.

My Celebration:

I welcome the growing darkness that I know will follow Mabon. Moment by moment, day by day, it creeps up almost unnoticed. Until one day, you glance at the clock and realize that afternoon is barely over, evening has barely begun, and it is pitch dark outside.

My favorite way to celebrate Mabon is by lighting candles all over the house. In doing so I’m actually celebrating the darkness with light.

I light white candles for cleansing and purification, for Spirit, for the Goddess. I light white candles to wipe the slate clean, to start new lists, to begin new projects. I light yellow candles to celebrate the sun and its grace and dignity as it steps back to make way for the moon. I light yellow candles to celebrate communication and everything I’ve ever wanted to say to anyone, and those things I might regret not saying. I light yellow candles to fill my mind with words and thoughts that run into sentences and paragraphs and pages. I light lavender candles to celebrate the spirits I know are there but cannot see. I light lavender candles to acknowledge that little voice in my head, the one that’s saved my life over the years, not to mention my sanity. I light green candles to celebrate and embrace the earth. I light green candles to celebrate and embrace this wonderful physcial body that is mine. I light green candles to bathe in the glow of good health and prosperity. I light green candles to feel the soles of my bare feet connect with the dying grass, the withering garden, the falling leaves.

I light one tall black taper candle that is me, to celebrate the spark of life I carry, to celebrate future days to come, to celebrate my passage through another year…and to acknowledge and embrace my mortality.

Mabon Correspondences

Herbs: marigold, myrrh, thistles, sage

Altar Flowers/Herbs: asters, mums, pine, ferns, milkweed, honeysuckle

Feast Foods: autumn berries, nuts, roast game, root vegetables, cider, wine, bread

Animals: stags, goats, blackbirds, canines, owls, birds-of-prey

Incense: cedar, myrrh, patchouli, pine, sage, sweet grass, oak moss

Rituals/Spells: drying herbs, gathering late harvest, past life work, harvest moon rituals, making willow wands, harmony spells, protection spells for winter

Mabon Recipes

Carmel Apple Crumb Treat

2 Golden Delicious apples

4 small (or 2 large) Granny Smith apples

1/8 cup fruit juice

1/3 cup loosely packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

12 soft caramel candies

1/2 cup quick rolled oats

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup tightly packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/3 cup butter

Slice and core the apples, mixing the types together.

Pour the fruit juice into a large pot. Put about a third of the apple slices into the pot. Sprinkle with half the lightly packed brown sugar and dot with 1 tablespoon of butter. Add more apples and the remaining brown sugar and butter, and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.

Turn the heat on Low and simmer for a while. Stir apples occasionally, until they start to soften. The Golden Delicious will pretty much turn to mush, binding together the slices of Granny Smith. This takes about an hour or two, depending on the heat and the apples.

Meanwhile, cut the soft caramels into quarters.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

To prepare the crumble topping, stir together 1/2 cup quick rolled oats, 1/2 cup flour, 1/3 cup tightly packed light brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Slice 1/3 cup butter and add to bowl, then cut it in with a butter cutter until the mixture is loose and crumbly.

Spray a ceramic or glass pie plate with cooking spray. Spoon in about a third of the apples and spread them on the bottom. Top with half the caramel pieces. Spoon in another third of the apples; top with the remaining caramel pieces. Spoon in the remaining apples and spread them smooth. Use another spoon to sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the top of the apple filling.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until filling is bubbly and topping melds into a lightly golden crust. Serve hot.

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Broccoli Casserole

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 package (16 ounces) frozen broccoli cuts, thawed

1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; fold in broccoli. Transfer to a greased 1-1/2 qt. baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Cover and bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Serves 8.

Notes:
1.  The full moon for September 2015 falls on the 28th; the autumnal equinox falls on the 23rd.
2.  The art in this post is courtesy of Craig Koskov
3.  The sources for this blog post are my books: The Gray Witch’s Grimoire & The Spiritual Feminist…
Amythyst’s Amazon Author Page…click Here

The Witch’s Desk: Lammas!

 We’re gearing up for the first Pagan harvest festival of the year:  Lammas (also known as Lughnasadh in some traditions).  How time flies; it’s this time of year again.  Summer may still feel in full-swing in your area, but Mother Nature is tapping us on the shoulder with this first harvest of grain, reminding us that it’s not going to last forever, giving us a heads-up to be prepared for the inevitable winter-to-come.  Following is more information on this holiday in our Pagan “Wheel-of-the-Year”, including the Goddess connection, my personal reflections on this harvest festival, as well as correspondences for Lammas, ritual suggestions, and recipes!

Read on, enjoy.

And…Happy Lammas!

ladyamythyst.com/wheeloftheyear.htm

Lammas

(August 1)

As the matron of ancient times would start early to prepare her family for the harsh winter months ahead, so the Mother Goddess prepares us. She reminds us of the bounty yet to come with an early harvest of grain. She encourages us to take stock of what we have, and this pertains to the physical harvests, of course, but it can also include taking stock of ourselves, re-evaluating our goals, our lives, our paths, our relationships, our strengths, and our weaknesses.

This is the first of the harvest festivals, and in the ancient world this was indeed a time of celebration. A successful harvest would mean survival in the harsh winter months. In the northern countries this was, in particular, a celebration of the first harvest of wheat, thus bread is featured in the celebration of Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh.

As the modern day Pagans celebrate this festival they will build roaring bonfires, feed each other a mouthful of bread, and with wine they will toast each other…”May you eat the bread of life.

My Celebration:

Yes, it’s a harvest festival. Yes, bread and wheat, as well as other grains, figure into it. But for me, it was more about the passage of time. It’s about how time plays tricks on us, and as a child on summer vacation from school, these three months seemed like a whole year rolled up into one magickal moment.

August 1 in South Dakota meant lots of lingering blistering summer days ahead, the heat being almost as intense as July; but it also meant something different in the air, that faint scent (an autumn scent), a nuance of change in the sunlight, the slight tinge starting at the edge of the leaves. And then one morning, being greeted with crisp air and a sky so blue it was almost painful to look at, so beautiful it was.

This holiday, this moment in time, is a mystery. It is the ability to look back into the past while standing on some invisible magickal horizon so that you can see the future, but just enough of the future to tease you forward. And you come to this exact same time and place year after year. August 1, another summer coming to a close, one of so many, and another autumn returning. An end, to make way for something new to begin, again, and again, and again.

The figure standing on the horizon grows, matures, changes, morphs, ages, expands, learns, regrets, loves, hates, wonders, questions, fears, laughs, and listens. The figure on the horizon passes through a human life time in the blink of an eye, with one inaudible breath…and then they fade into an ethereal creature of smokey wisps with a voice that is but the wind.

Lammas Correspondences

Herbs: frankincense, wheat, cornstalks, heather

Altar Flowers/Herbs: corn ears, hollyhock, myrtle, oak leaves, wheat

Feast Foods: apples/apple pie, cornbread, sweet potatoes/sweet potato pie, grapes, blackberries

Animals: calves, roosters, deer

Incense: chamomile, rose, rosemary, allspice, sandalwood, carnation

Rituals/Spells: maternal magick, prosperity spells, purification spells, thanksgiving rituals, career spells

Lammas Recipes

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
(with glaze)

For the Muffins:

2/3 cup sugar

Grate 2 lemons

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

For the Icing:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan with paper muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

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Banana Bread

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped nuts, if desired

Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2×4 1/2×2 1/2 inches, or 1 loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches.

Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Pour into pans.

Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour, 9-inch loaf about 1 1/4 hours, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top side up on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing.

[Source:  This blog post is an excerpt from my book The Spiritual Feminist]

Good-by Sweet Summer

For all the Pagans out there who celebrate Mabon (the autumnal equinox), may you have a glorious day of equal sun-light & darkness.  The dark season will be upon us now, before we know it.  This means that I will happily light candles around the house earlier and earlier in the evening and relish their beautiful golden glow.

For more information on this Pagan Holiday, including a beautiful video by MsJulieCarol, follow this link:
http://www.ladyamythyst.com/wheeloftheyear.htm

Mabon Altar

Imbolc: The Next Pagan Holiday

Happy Imbolc! If you’re not pagan, you may recognize this holiday as ‘Candlemas’ (February 2), a holiday celebrating the purification of the Virgin Mary, according to Jewish law, and a presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple, also according to Jewish law. However, long before Judaism & Christianity arrived on the scene, pagans in the old world celebrated this day as ‘Imbolc’, a celebration of birth and lactation, as their herds of sheep began to grow with the birth of lambs. The celebration of Imbolc is in honor of the Old Woman of winter who is magickally reborn as the Young Maiden of spring.

This was also a festival to celebrate the Celtic goddess Bride, a goddess of fire/flame, poetry, craftsmanship, and healing. This goddess is invoked when survival is an issue, whether physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual. When the Roman church invaded the British Isles, they discovered that the people’s devotion to Bride was so strong it could not be eradicated. To solve this dilemma, the Roman Catholic Church renamed the Celtic goddess ‘Brighid’ and made her a saint.

The following is a list of corresponding herbs, flowers, animals, feast foods, etc., that are used in the festivals of Imbolc for symbology, as decorations, and for the magick performed at this time:

Herbs: basil, bay, celandine, benzoic
Altar Flowers/Herbs: angelica, myrrh, flowers that are yellow/white/or blue
Feast Foods: bread, cakes, dairy products, seeds
Animals: burrowing animals, ewes, deer, goats, lambs
Incense: jasmine, myrrh, neroli
Rituals/Spells: candle magick, initiation, hearth/home blessings, fertility magick, healing magick, cleansing rituals

Pagans today celebrate the Wheel of the Year, eight sabbats (holidays) which recognize and acknowledge the changing of seasons, the earth, and nature. This celebration of and homage to the natural world, and the practices that accompany this spiritual path, is called “Witchcraft”.

For more information, including videos, go to: http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/wheeloftheyear.htm

 

Happy Beltaine!

 

Traditions:  love/sex magic, leaping the bonfire to bring luck, dancing ‘round the Maypole, honoring garden and house spirits, fertility magic

Pagan Lore:  The Maypole…in ancient Irish history there was a sacred tree believed to be the forerunner of the maypole.  It was thought that dancing around this tree on Beltane would send energy to the womb of the Earth and awaken her.

May Day Baskets…comes from the ancient Beltane Eve tradition of a young man leaving a garland of flowers at the door of a young woman who has caught his eye.  This was an invitation, and if accepted, the young couple would steal away for a night together in the forest, awaiting the Beltane sunrise.  In modern times, the garland was replaced with a basket of sweets.

Youth and Beauty…it’s said that at sunrise on the morning of Beltane, those women wishing to recapture their youth, as well as all women wishing to retain their beauty, should go out into the grass at the break of dawn, sweep up the morning dew within their hands, and bathe their faces with it.

This holiday is one of the most Pagan.  It is a celebration of fertility.  To the modern world, it’s more commonly known as May Day.  What the Roman Church tried so hard to control, to portray as evil, sinful, or dirty is the very thing celebrated at Beltane…human sexuality.  The ancient rites of Beltane celebrate the copulation of the God and the Goddess (the priest and the priestess); and in some Wiccan traditions this celebration of sexuality is honored with a ritual known as The Great Rite.

What was once considered wonderfully human, delightful, a miracle of life, and in some cases a spiritual act, was degraded by the Roman Church, the same church which branded women as evil and with it the emotions of lust and passion.

Modern-day Pagans have reclaimed the celebration of human sexuality and the miracle of fertility that accompanies it.  People still dance around the Maypole, a phallic symbol, while they hold brightly colored streamers spilling from the top of this pole, symbolic of the creative force of sex.

The information above was taken from,
“The Gray Witch’s Grimoire”
by Amythyst Raine
Moon Books/JHP

Correspondences for Beltaine

Herbs: cinquefoil, frankincense, marigold, meadowsweet,
woodruff

Altar Flowers/Herbs: daisy, hawthorn, lilac, primrose, wildflowers, rose

Feast Foods: barley cakes, oat cakes, red fruit, elderflower drinks, herbal salads

Animals: honey bees, cats, horses, rabbits, white cow

Incense: frankincense, lilac, passion flower, rose, vanilla

Rituals/Spells: bale fire, fertility magick, sex magick, handfasting, beauty magick, love spells, The Great Rite

(From “Natural Magick the Gray Witch Way”
by Amythyst Raine © 2011)

Imbolc & the In-Laws

This isn’t just a blog about Imbolc, though that’s a large part of it. It’s also a blog about religious intolerance, ignorance, and the repercussions of both. As many of you who might know me are aware, my spiritual path has caused almost a complete severance of ties between my husband and his family, by this I mean his parents, some aunts/uncles, and his four siblings. The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back came when one of his aunts, (M.), who has been making an effort to connect, called me the other day to chat and wanted to know what the word “Grimoire” meant in the title of my book. I explained this to her, and we went on with our conversation, mostly about her duties and activities in the Lutheran church– I listened politely. The next evening my husband’s uncle (M.’s brother) called. He said: “M. called me the other night. She sure doesn’t think much of your wife. We can’t understand why you married a witch.”

I have to make a couple points here. I find it slightly unnerving and totally Twilight Zone for someone to call and talk to me as though they actually liked me, even ending the conversation with “Love you”, when in fact they don’t. I also find it a very strange experience to be respected and liked by a certain segment of society, and then to walk into a group of people who not only despise me, but may be suspicious and even afraid of me. It’s mind boggling to say the least, and my mind is so spacey anyway, it doesn’t need any extra boggling.

I thought about this situation, and it seems that there are two problems: 1) a lack of information (knowledge). These people know zilch about paganism in any form. They live in a very small rural community, and anything outside their world that is not understood seems to be threatening to them, so they dismiss it with hostility and an Amish type of ‘shunning’; 2) they are extremely intolerant of anything they view as ‘different’, whether it be spiritual practices, or even very personal things like body adornment, clothes, makeup (“You don’t wear black eyeliner do you?”…ummm, Yes!), and we don’t want to go anywhere near the subjects of body alterations like tattooing or piercing.

Thinking about this situation, I took it upon myself to spread some knowledge, hoping that this might turn on a lightbulb somewhere, open a crack to a doorway of understanding, or at at least invite some tolerance into the picture. I’m being optimistic, I know. But I thought I would begin this adventure by writing up a nice letter on Imbolc and sending it along, just as you would letters or cards for any other major mainstream holiday. Whether this will work or not, I have no idea. Here’s the letter I mailed off. I tried to keep it simple. I didn’t want to overwhelm them with too much information at once, just a tidbit to give them a glimpse:

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Happy Imbolc! If you’re not pagan, you may recognize this holiday as ‘Candlemas’ (February 2), a holiday celebrating the purification of the Virgin Mary, according to Jewish law, and a presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple, also according to Jewish law. However, long before Judaism & Christianity arrived on the scene, pagans in the old world celebrated this day as ‘Imbolc’, a celebration of birth and lactation, as their herds of sheep began to grow with the birth of lambs. The celebration of Imbolc is in honor of the Old Woman of winter who is magickally reborn as the Young Maiden of spring.

This was also a festival to celebrate the Celtic goddess Bride, a goddess of fire/flame, poetry, craftsmanship, and healing. This goddess is invoked when survival is an issue, whether physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual. When the Roman church invaded the British Isles, they discovered that the people’s devotion to Bride was so strong it could not be eradicated. To solve this dilemma, the Roman Catholic Church renamed the Celtic goddess ‘Brighid’ and made her a saint.

The following is a list of corresponding herbs, flowers, animals, feast foods, etc., that are used in the festivals of Imbolc for symbology, as decorations, and for the magick performed at this time:

Herbs: basil, bay, celandine, benzoic
Altar Flowers/Herbs: angelica, myrrh, flowers that are yellow/white/or blue
Feast Foods: bread, cakes, dairy products, seeds
Animals: burrowing animals, ewes, deer, goats, lambs
Incense: jasmine, myrrh, neroli
Rituals/Spells: candle magick, initiation, hearth/home blessings, fertility magick, healing magick, cleansing rituals

Pagans today celebrate the Wheel of the Year, eight sabbats (holidays) which recognize and acknowledge the changing of seasons, the earth, and nature. This celebration of and homage to the natural world, and the practices that accompany this spiritual path, is called “Witchcraft”.

Every religious group, while perhaps a majority somewhere, is also inevitably a minority somewhere else. Thus, religious organizations & individuals should and do show tolerance toward members of other religious denominations.

http://www.circlesanctuary.org/liberty

 

 

 

Mabon

 

Mabon

Autumn Equinox

September 21 (approx.)

Also known as: Mabon

Traditions:

celebration of the second harvest festival of the season, thanksgiving for plentiful harvest, in some cultures this is a corn festival, marking the beginning of the autumn season, the witches’ Thanksgiving 

Pagan Lore:

Descent of the Goddess…in Sumerian myth she’s known as Inanna; in Greek/Roman legends it was Demeter and Persephone. The descent of the Goddess into the Underworld meant an end to the lush growing season, a time when nature would rest beneath the cloak of winter.

The Harvest Lord

…in the Celtic tradition, the Harvest Lord was slain at the time of Lughnasadh, marking the end of the growing season and the beginning of harvest time.

Mabon

…is the masculine counterpart of Persephone; the fertile male aspect of the growing season. He is a Welsh god, stolen from his mother Modrin as an infant and, so the myth goes, rescued by King Arthur. All the while, he was held captive in the Otherworld– Modrin’s womb, so as to be ‘reborn’ with the spring, bringing with him fertility to the land.

Wickerman

…at this time of year, the ancient Druids would burn a large human-like wicker figure as part of their celebration. This figure represented the vegetation spirit, and indeed, the heralding of the dark season would bring an end to the growth and flowering of summer.

This day brings equal hours of light and dark, a second celebration of perfect equality. Beyond this day, light will gradually fade as the dark season descends upon the world. Modern Pagans celebrate this holiday with many of the foods connected with this time of year in their area. For us this would include pumpkin pie, pumpkin breads, and apple cider. Decorations may include leaves of autumn hues, sunflowers, pumpkins and gourds.

Correspondences for Mabon

Herbs: marigold, myrrh, thistles, sage

Altar Flowers/Herbs: asters, mums, pine, ferns, milkweed, honeysuckle

Feast Foods: autumn berries, nuts, roast game, root vegetables, cider, wine, bread

Animals: stags, goats, blackbirds, canines, owls, birds-of-prey

Incense: cedar, myrrh, patchouli, pine, sage, sweet grass, oak moss

Rituals/Spells: drying herbs, gathering late harvest, past life work, harvest moon rituals, making willow wands, harmony spells, protection spells for winter

(The information above is an excerpt from my books,
“The Gray Witch’s Grimoire” and “Natural Magick the Gray Witch Way”)

© The Gray Witch’s Grimoire,
Amythyst Raine 2011

© Natural Magick the Gray Witch Way,
Amythyst Raine 2011

 

Wykid Wytch Newsletter– September!

Hi, Everyone!

My September newsletter from The Witch’s Corner has gone live this morning. You’ll find that I’ve changed up the format a bit with the addition of some new sections, including one entitled “Pagan Highlights”. You’ll find information about pagan authors, artists, activists, and other unique individuals that need to be brought into the spotlight so that we can all benefit from their wisdom, their sense of humor, their talent, and their eclectic pagan views. This month features Lunea Weatherstone, Susan Weed, Mickie Mueller, and Witches Rising.

There’s an essay on“Autumnal Holidays” and links to an article on interfaith marriage,“A Christian & A Witch”, learn how this couple handles both interfaith and inter-racial issues in their relationship. We’ll be “Makin’ Magick ‘Round the Kitchen Table” with some “Workplace Mojo”– bosses beware! And “From the Witch’s Kitchen” is a recipe for “Full Moon Biscuits”, it’s easy as pie.

I’ve also edited a photo slideshow called “Nebraska Autumn” with some new pics.

You’ll find updates and news from The Witch’s Corner with links.

The Wykid Wytch Newsletter
September 2011

click Here

Lammas…Let the Harvest Begin

As the dog days of summer are still upon us, it’s strange to realize that so is the first of the pagan harvest festivals, Lammas…aka Lughnasadgh.  Summer will soon be winding down, and August is the transition that will carry us into autumn.  As we celebrate the first harvest of wheat, let’s also celebrate the changing of seasons, the transparency of time, and the miracle of continuity.

Happy Lammas!

August

Barley Moon

Herbs: rosemary, jasmine, lilac, violet, calamus

Stones:  bronzite, peridot, green sapphire

Scents:  frankincense, heliotrope

Colors:  yellow, gold, green

Trees:  hazel, alder, cedar

Deities:  Ganesha, Hathor, Hecate, Nemesis

Astrological Signs:  Leo, Virgo

Elements:  Earth/Air

Crafting Your Magic:

The Barley Moon is the time to reap the harvest of magic cast at the beginning of the summer season. It’s a time for the powerful assertive energy of Leo to give way to the calmer vibrations of Virgo. Do magic at this time to cleanse before the winter, cleansing not only your personal space, but intangible aspects as well. Clear out unwanted rubbish, whether it be inertia, conflict, indecisiveness, or some other personal weakness. As the summer winds down and wildlife begins to prepare itself for the dark months to come, this is where the heart of your magic lay as well.

divider sunflower 1

August 1:  Lammas
(also known as Lughnasadgh)

Traditions: celebration of first harvest/grain harvest, celebration of the Feast of Bread, weather magic, gathering bilberries as a symbol of abundance, games showcasing athletic ability

Pagan Lore:

Lugh…Lughnasadh celebrates the Irish god, Lugh, a god of strength and athletic prowess. Tradition has it that Lugh’s mother Tailtia passed to the Summerland while working in the fields preparing for the planting season.

 This is the first of the harvest festivals, and in the ancient world this was indeed a time of celebration. A successful harvest would mean survival in the harsh winter months to come. In the northern countries this was a celebration of the first harvest of wheat and grain, thus bread is featured in the celebration of Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas. Freshly baked loaves of aromatic bread are the main feature found upon pagan alters for this holiday.

As modern-day Pagans celebrate the festival of Lughnasadh, they will build roaring bonfires, feed each other a mouthful of bread, and with wine they will toast each other…”May you eat the bread of life”.


For more more information on Pagan Holidays, including videos and rituals, visit my website, The Witch’s Corner:

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/wheeloftheyear.htm

© “The Gray Witch’s Grimoire”
Amythyst Raine 2011

 

Welcome to My Wytchy Realm

The following is an overview of my website:

The Witch’s Corner

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Follow the url to enter this magickal realm:

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com

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The Triple Goddess

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The Maiden

The maiden is overflowing with all of the possibilities of the future. Within her are the seeds of what will be. She is the fresh dawn of a new day. She is strength and tenacity and power. She is unbridled enthusiasm and wonder and hope.

The Mother

The mother is ripe fruit hanging pregnant from the vine. She is the foundation, the nurturer, the protectress. She is fortified with strength and placid with the calmness of a sunny day. She is who we turn to for stability and reassurance.

The Crone

It is the crone we seek in the darkening twilight. We find comfort in her quiet presence and yet we are challenged by her intuitive knowledge and aware of the darkshadows she casts…forcing us to seek the light and answers.

© Amythyst Raine 2007

Reconnect with the Goddess:

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/thegoddess.htm

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Divination

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Divination brings to mind the stereotype of the gypsy woman ensconced in her tent, peering intently into her crystal ball—and that may very well be an accurate picture somewhere in the world. I grew up in my grandmother’s house, surrounded by books on astrology, numerology, handwriting analysis, dream interpretation, etc. The world of divination is a natural one for me.

But divination in this modern time of neo-paganism has come a long way baby.

Tarot cards of all kinds abound and fill the shelves at not only new-age and metaphysical shops, but also at the mainstream bookstores such as Borders, Barnes & Noble, Hastings, etc.

Crystals, crystal balls, runes, quija boards are as popular now as they were in times past—more so, perhaps. I like to think of this day and age as the “New Renaissance” for the occult world.

© Amythyst Raine 2007

At the url below you will find information on all forms of divination with links to pertinent sites, tales of my own personal psychic experiences, interviews with Allison Dubois and Patricia Arquette—the actress who plays Allison in the television show “Medium”, and more:

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/divination.htm

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Spells & Potions

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This is the “meat” of witchcraft, the most fascinating (and sometimes fear inducing) aspect of The Craft for many people. To most of the mundane world the idea that anyone would have the power and the ability to create change using occult means is awe inspiring and often intimidating. The Christian influence in our culture and on our society has taken such natural power away from the multitudes, deeming it “evil”, “sinful”, and even dangerous.

To those of us practiced and gifted in the use of “the black arts”, it carries none of those negative labels. It is awe inspiring, but in an uplifting and promising way. It empowers those who cultivate its secrets and those who learn to use it wisely. It opens doors of dimensions undreamed of; it embraces the forces of nature in all her glory; it wreaks of a time before recorded history…it calls to those of us with the spirit of the Olde Ones, those of us who wish to practice the Olde Religion, those of us who wish to return to these ancient times and reclaim that which is our birthright.

© Amythyst Raine 2007

Follow the url to my online Book of Shadows:

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/spellspotions.htm

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/spellspotions2.htm

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Herbs

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This is the magickal medicine cabinet of the witch, and especially the Green Witch. Those who practice the olde ways have known since time immemorial of the powers contained in the molecules of “the green”. Herbs have been used since ancient times—and still are used today—for their medicinal and healing powers. But the Witch knows that these gentle and lovely plants contain other powers as well…magickal powers to be used and tapped into for spells and potions and rituals and cleansing.

© Amythyst Raine

Follow the url for a list of herbs and their magickal uses:

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/magickalherbs.htm

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The Elements

(Earth, Air, Fire, Water)

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FOR ME: Water is the mist of yesterday and today and tomorrow all wrapped up into one magical moment. Water is dreams and visions and questing endlessly to know the unknown. It is divination– searching for answers and listening to the universe for its response. It is the mystical and the elusive…it slips through your fingers leaving you wet and cold and shivering, knowing that you have been touched by the Divine.

FOR ME: Air is the soft breeze on your face that makes you feel touched and not touched. It is thought brought alive and moved through space and time by the Divine. Air is the part of your mind that is clear and sharp and focused and ever changing, never still and never content, but always swept up within another breeze and moved along on the current of time.

FOR ME: Earth is all the treasures buried deep within the soul. It is the material things you long for and were told you shouldn’t have. It is the security of that which is solid and immovable, and it is “manifestation” into the real world of touch and taste and smell and sight.

FOR ME: Fire is that physical passion so burning that it can consume. It is enthusiasm so powerful that it is what drives you to succeed. Fire is that fiery will that doesn’t allow you to give up in the face of adversity. It is what draws lovers together across insurmountable odds and provokes the passion that fights endlessly for justice.

Earth, Air, Fire, and Water…the four elements from which we can draw power to create magick.

© Amythyst Raine 2006

Follow the url for more information on The Elements, including an extensive list of correspondences and a Quarter Call:

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/theelements.htm

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Wheel of the Year

(Pagan Holidays)

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The Christian “holidays” all have Pagan roots. This is a fact that was constantly brought up to me years ago by a lady who was my friend and a Jehovah’s Witness. It was her oft repeated reason to me why she didn’t celebrate any of the modern Christianized holidays now.

I am surprised by the number of people who do not know this, and even more surprised at how many refuse to believe it. It just goes to show how completely saturating cultural training can be.

I find the history of our Pagan holidays fascinating and joyful and uplifting. I and my family embrace and celebrate them.

© Amythyst Raine 2007

Follow the url for more information on the Pagan roots of our modern holidays, pagan lore, and rituals for celebration.

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/wheeloftheyear.htm

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Chakras

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The word chakra is Sanskrit for wheel or disk and signifies one of seven basic energy centers in the body. Each of these centers correlates to major nerve ganglia branching forth from the spinal column. In addition the chakras also correlate to levels of consciousness, archetypal elements, developmental stages of life, colors, sounds, body functions, and much, much more.

This definition of chakras is taken from:

http://www.sacredcenters.com/chakras.html

Follow the url for more information on the chakras, extensive correspondences related to the seven chakras, and a link to Ambika Wauters website, “The Institute of Life Energy Medicine”:

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/chakras.htm

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Rituals

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Rituals put a stamp on the passage of time and the progression of our life stages, from a Wiccaning (baby naming) to a death and remembrance ritual, and all those celebrations and milestones in-between. Rituals validate our existence in some implausible elusive way. They bring family and friends together, open doors to the future, and create memories for generations to come.

© Amythyst Raine 2007

Follow the url and you will find rituals for all of life’s passages and links to sites where you can purchase ritual items and clothing:

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/rituals.htm

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Ghosts/Ghost Hunting

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Growing up in my grandmother’s house prepared me for the paranormal occurrences that I would experience in this, my own house. My grandmother’s house was very active and anyone with an ounce of sensitivity to such things was always very aware of it…the feeling of being “watched” when no one else was near you, the hair suddenly standing up on the back of your neck and the sensation that “someone” was standing behind you, unintelligible whisperings in the dark of the night, a blanket being pulled from you by something you couldn’t see, lights going off and on with no explanation—and stove burners doing the same unnerving thing, objects occasionally moving, etc.

Growing up with these occurrences, I thought it was natural—wasn’t everyone’s house like this?

Apparently not, I was to learn as I became older. That enlightenment helped me to appreciate, study, and cope with paranormal activities on a very basic level. It also taught me to conquer any fear.

But witchcraft taught me how to tame these ethereal spirits, how to control them instead of allowing them to control me. Witchcraft taught me it was possible to have dominion over the spirit world.

© Amythyst Raine 2007

Follow the url and enter the paranormal world of ghosts and ghost hunting. You will find a slideshow on ghosts created by me, a list of haunted cemeteries, information on poltergiests, the Bell Witch, TAPS, the “Hauntings Website”; and a section called “Our House”, which reviews our own paranoral occurances that my family and I have experienced.

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/ghostsghosthunting.htm

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My Path

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I am a solitary eclectic witch. My path consists of hoodoo, Wicca, and green witchcraft. I am neither a “white” nor a “black” witch; I prefer to see myself in shades of gray— nothing else on this earth is completely clear cut, the practice of The Craft isn’t either.

I am a hereditary witch, taking after the traditions of my mother, my sister, and cousins. I am now watching my own daughters grow in this path. I was raised by my grandmother, a woman steeped in the study of the occult, yet probably not realizing the title many in this world would have attributed to her.

I am a legally ordained member of the clergy, yet I avoid the usual titles which smack too closely of Christianity for my taste. I prefer the simple, yet deeply meaningful title of “Lady”.

© Amythyst Raine

Follow the url to learn more about my path, with links to sites on hoodoo, wicca, and green witchcraft. You will also find a “code of ethics”, “rules of conduct”, my explanation of the “kitchen witch”, and my feelings on “Hexing and Cursing”:

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/mypath.htm

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Photogallery

I’ve opened a window on this page, a window into my private world.  I have tried to post images on here that I haven’t posted anywhere else, they are exclusive.  I haven’t decided yet whether to continue the Photogallery or relegate it to an archive, but my camera is always ready, and life somehow or other always has something interesting to show me. 

© Amythyst Raine 2007

Follow the url and you will find a slide show, as well as personal photos of my home, gardens, family, & ’stuff’.

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/photogallery.htm

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Monthly Newsletters

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/monthlynewsletters.htm

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/newsletterarchives1.htm

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Follow my raven to the Magick Forest where you can view/sign the guestbook, subscribe to the site, and find links to unimaginable places and incredible people.

http://ladyamythyst.webs.com/themagicforestllinks.htm

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