Volume 1 - Issue 2 - Imbolc 2004
Seasons of the Moon is a quarterly online magazine published by students and members of The Order of The White Moon, an eclectic international order of women dedicated to The Goddess. The Order provides personal empowerment and priestess training, and operates local groups. All contributions are original material submitted by our students and members. We do not accept outside contributions. Please direct comments and questions to the Ezine Editor.
Astrology of the Seasons by Diana of the River
Moon Moon, Mother Moon by GrannyMoon
Waking Up and Clearing Space by Lotus Moonwise
Honoring Yourself by Artemisia
Sacred Space ... Dedication by Majka Zmaj
The Dark Side of the Moon: Preparing for Spring and the Practice of Lent by Nicole
Imbolc/Candlemas: The Festival of Lights by Gabriela
Diverse Traditions and Thoughts by Gabriela
Witch Works: Spells and Rituals for Every Season by Kelly
Recipes Fit For A Goddess
Imbolc Recipes by Jade
If You Like Harry Potter You'll Love These Books! by Luna Blanca
Astrology of the Seasons
A Column By Diana of the River, HPS, Order of the White Moon
On Candlemas the Moon will be in its natural ruler Cancer. This feels very appropriate. During Candlemas the Northern Hemisphere is still in a period of incubation before the eventual birth. The ground is still frozen and the air remains arctic, yet there is the promise of spring in the air. We begin to see signs that winter will end and spring is closer then we think.
The Moon symbolizes our Mother, emotions, unconscious, habits, and routines. It holds in it the secrets of what cheers us up and also what lets us down. Knowing your Moon sign can help you unlock the door to deeper understanding of your emotional responses or lack of. Knowing the Moon sign of another gives you clues to the type of presents they would like, what makes them happy, and what gets them down.
As the Moon travels in the heavens, waxing and waning, it changes signs every 2.5 to 3 days. In each signs the Moon takes on the flavors of that sign and it has an effect on all of us. In the sign of Cancer the Moon may cause us to feel more giving, nurturing, supportive. The Moon ruling over emotions and being at home in watery emotionally initiating Cancer can also cause us to be more aware of our emotions, more emotional, or just moody. We may focus more on home and family. Cancer rules the Moon and the 4th house of home and family.
On Candlemas the Moon will be waxing and in Cancer. This is a wonderful time to restock your candle supply for the coming year. To focus on gathering all the things you will need for the coming year that will help nourish and support your plans and goals. The rituals for Candlemas should take the flavor of Kitchen Witch Rituals with the Moon in Cancer during Candlemas. These should not be noisy, loud, complicated rituals with lots of words if you want to flow with the currents of the Moon. Allow the Moon to guide your rituals so they will flow with the currents of the day.
About The Author: I have recently become a HPS of the Order of The White Moon. I am slowly beginning to open a new branch called Moonlit River. I specialize in healing and divination. At this time I offer a 4 week astrology course entitled "Introduction to Astrology: Planets, Signs, & Houses Oh My!" I am also a Reiki Master and offer attunements. Email Diana of the River
Moon Moon, Mother Moon
A Column By GrannyMoon, HPS, Order of the White Moon
The Waxing Moon
After the Dark night, the Waxing Crescent Moon appears, she represents the Goddess maiden, Diana, also a mother figure to many witches. During this phase, the moon is increasing in size. The crescent you see in the sky is facing to your left. Magick concerning any type of attraction and positive energies are performed, as well as healing and protection magick.
The Waxing Moon is a time for increase and abundance. Do a spell for flourishing good health or expanding your wealth, increasing prosperity. This is a time of burgeoning energy and of youthful optimism. It's a good time to set your sights on new goals, a new job and to begin new projects.
Love philters and aphrodisiacs should always be prepared during the waxing of the moon. A time for conjuring, courage, elemental magick, friends, luck, motivation, animals, business, change, emotions, matriarchal strength.
You can feel your own energies getting stronger and more positive, it is a good time for self improvement. Use daily affirmations about what you wish to accomplish and to increase your Inner Wisdom. Dare to be who you truly are. Nurture your inner flame and shine!
Candlemas Faery Wine
1-1/2 cups milk per serving
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Warm milk, being careful not to boil. In each glass or mug, add honey and vanilla. Sprinkle tops with cinnamon. Be sure to share any leftovers outside with the Fae folk at midnight!
By: Red Knight
1cup finely ground almonds
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 drops almond extract....I like more almond flavor so I add more than 2 drops
1/2 cup butter
1 egg yolk
Combine almonds, sugar, flour, and extract until mixed. With your hands work egg yolk and butter in until well blended. Chill dough. Then reheat oven to 325 degrees .F. Pinch off pieces the size of walnuts then shape into crescents. I roll my dough then I use a moon shaped cookie cutter. Place on greased cookie sheet and cook for 20 minutes.
1/2 cup cold water
1 tsp. shelled cardamom seeds
1-1/2 cup hot, freshly brewed, double-strength coffee
While touching the cardamom seeds, strongly visualize your need. Place the cold water and the cardamom seeds in a saucepan, bring to a full boil; boil for 2 minutes. Strain liquid through a coffee filter. Pour into fresh, hot coffee, and stir. This recipe serves two small portions, share it with a "close" friend!
About The Author: GrannyMoon is a High Priestess and Charter Council Member of The Order of the White Moon. Former staff member and student of the Esoteric Theological Seminary, attended LDS Seminary and is an ordained Metaphysical Interfaith minister with doctoral degrees in Theology and Divinity. Doula, Reiki Master and Lifetime Member of Herbal Healer Academy, Inc. Founder of Sisters of the Burning Branch, dedicated to the Feminine Divine and is currently taking students in Virginia and the Washington DC area. Feel free to contact her at GrannyMoon@goddessschool.com or visit her website: http://goddessschool.com.
Waking Up & Clearing Space
by Lotus Moonwise
When the cold weather begins and the season shifts from autumn to winter, I go into hibernation. I go into that quiet space within and it feels like time stands still. Projects that I've been working on get put on the shelf. I know that things unfinished will have to wait for Spring. I let go of the past year and move into the dark months. During this time, I often find myself wanting to just curl up in a warm bed, like a child in the womb of the Mother. I feel a quiet calmness. If one looks only on the surface, it seems there is not much going on. Though deep within there is much activity. Energies of the past year mingling with energies of what is to come. Swirling together in the void. Within that void, all possibilities exist and from that space, creation springs forth. In this dark space, we wait to be reborn and for new light and inspiration to find us. We wait for the first signs of Spring. I feel the stirrings within me and the excitement of starting over again. Another turn of the wheel and we've arrived at one of my favorite times of year: Imbolc. We start to awaken from Winter's long sleep. We pay attention to our thoughts and notice how inspiration begins flooding in, giving us little clues to follow, opening us up to all the potentials of the New Year. We feel an inner urging to clear our space. We begin to look around and notice all the ways we could simplify, clear out, and unclutter our lives. We make peace with the process of letting go of the past to make room for the new. "Spring Cleaning" is a tradition for many people at this time of year. It's part of our natural cycles as humans connected to the Earth. We feel it in our bodies. We don't need to look at a calendar to tell us it's time to clear our space. We feel it in every cell. We know it by the way we feel. We know it when we feel the flower inside our hearts begin to open up, ready to blossom towards the sun as it grows in strength. We want to open our arms and embrace this new light by sharing it with those we love. In my family, Imbolc is a celebration that lasts over several weeks. It begins when we pack up the Yule decorations and take down the tree. The clearing process starts with our physical space. Starting at one end of the house, usually the kitchen, we turn on some music, open all the windows, empty each room completely, and clean everything from top to bottom, infusing the space with new energies. Then we take our time filling the space again, putting back only what is essential. We usually have a few boxes to categorize the items we remove from the rooms. A box of things we know we want to keep, a box for things that we know we can let go of, and one for things we are not sure of yet. First we put back what we know we want, then we spend time in the room as it is. Going within, we ask, what else is truly needed here? The inspiration comes. Maybe a new altar for the kitchen? Maybe some new pictures to hang on the wall? A new plant? Every year, it's a different answer. The room tells us what it needs. Room by room, we continue like this, until the entire house has been re-born. When we get to the kid's rooms, we talk about what it means to let things go. We talk about how other children may enjoy the toys the kids no longer play with. The kids get their own box to put used toys in that are later taken to a donation center, along with everything else that we are letting go of as a family. It's a process they have become used to. Letting go of things from the past is a natural part of their life. Learning to let go now, as children, sets a foundation for their lives and makes transitions easier to move through.
Once the physical space is clear, it's time for a clearing of another kind. A clearing of the emotional, mental, and spiritual space within. A time to take stock of everything in our lives and what it means to us. Family, friends, career, spiritual practice, hopes, dreams, goals. It's the time to get quiet and listen to your inner voice tell you what it needs. A time to set your intention to be open to allow all avenues of blessing and abundance into your life. Sometimes the inner voice will tell us if we have gotten off track and how to get back to the basics of what we truly need. Maybe we need to spend more time with family or friends. Maybe it's time to change our job if it's not bringing us joy. Maybe it's time to move to a new place? The possibilities are endless. I use this time to re-dedicate myself to my chosen spiritual path and to re-write my personal statement of intent. I call upon Brigid at this time for inspiration for new projects that I'm starting, and to revive old projects that I put on the shelf when the winter months began. I visualize the waters of her sacred well washing me clean of the past and nurturing me in the wholeness of the now moment. I allow myself to be actively fulfilled by the present moment and open to the truth of the perfection that is within me. It's time to fertilize the soil of our souls with the seeds of our dreams, knowing that these seeds will grow and blossom as the year progresses through it's cycles once again.
Have a Blessed Imbolc!
Statement of Intent - 2004
My intent is to walk in Peace and Love, feeling that Love, spreading that Love, by BEING that Love.
My intent is to forgive and have compassion for all people, including myself.
My intent is to exist in the moment with no attachment to outcomes. To observe what IS, while also affirming what I choose to create and attract.
My intent is to see every person on this Earth as a Brother or a Sister and as a being of the Divine, for we are all One and so it is.
My intent is to recognize the divinity in each person, no matter what their external projection is.
My intent is to feel joy when I look out onto this world, and to let that love well up inside me like a raging river, flowing out onto everything and everyone I come in contact with.
My intent is to feel all that I feel. To honor all feelings as valid, and then choose to direct my energy in a way that best serves my higher goals.
My intent is to live in the energy of YES. Yes to myself. And to realize that sometimes saying "No" is needed in order to say "Yes" to myself.
My intent is to recognize that I am deserving and worthy of love and abundance. And that I am perfect just as I am in this moment.
My intent is to stay open to my intuition and to the messages of my soul. To trust that I am taken care of and provided for in all moments and in all situations.
My intent is to trust that I will know what to do in each moment to care for myself and those I love.
My intent is to tell the truth in all situations to myself and others.
My intent is to be aware of the sacredness that is all around and within me and to be aware of the sacred process that I am a part of.
My intent is to count my blessings everyday and give thanks for all that I have. To thank myself for I am the creator of my own Universe.
My intent is to stand brave and strong in the face of my fears. To feel my fears, allow them to be what they are and flow through me, embracing my Shadow Sister with compassion and acceptance.
My intent is to break out of any barriers and limitations that I've put on myself.
My intent is to fully remember, in every moment, my power of love and my power to create.
My intent is to acknowledge, embrace, accept, and allow every aspect of my being....giving them each a place at my table.
My intent is to shine a light for others by enjoying who I am and what I've created, letting them know by my actions and energy that they too are welcome to feast on life and enjoy themselves.
My intent is to affirm daily, to myself and the God/dess:
I AM light, I AM dark, I AM peace, I AM sorrow, I AM forgiveness, I AM compassion, I AM ALL THERE IS, I AM GOD/DESS!!
All that is around me is of my creation.
All that is around me is at it should be.
All that is around me is right and perfect.
All that is around me is balanced and whole.
All that is around me is LOVE...
As I am love...
Eternally, Never ending
And so it is...So mote it be!
About The Author: Lotus Moonwise is studying to become a Priestess of the Order of the White Moon.
For many, especially in my native New England, the long winter months are difficult. We donít get to see much sunshine because we are in the office all day, and even if we have free time, often itís too cold to go outdoors. This is the time of year when we naturally want to hibernate by staying home, resting and relaxing. Unfortunately, we do not always have the opportunity to stay in and rest like Mother Nature would like, so many of us end up with colds, flus or otherwise feel fatigued. Why not honor yourself at Imbolc with a special retreat designed to rekindle your energy for the coming spring?
Just as the moon cycles through its phases thirteen times a year, from waxing to full to waning to dark again, so do the sun and earth cycle through their phases together in one year. Beginning at Yule, for us here in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun enters the waxing phase, but the increase in daylight is gradual. The days begin to get longer and the nights slowly become shorter. There is still a lot of darkness (and cold depending on where you live). Imbolc marks the point when the light really seems like itís returning, and if you look and listen carefully, you can sense the humming of the Earth as she makes her preparations for the Spring.
What does this waxing phase mean to us and how can we use this time to honor ourselves? Well, consider the waxing moon time of the month. This energetically corresponds to the end of a womanís bleeding and detoxing time. During this period, we usually have a lot of energy because we have finished a natural detox of our bodies and we are renewed. The waxing moon energy is about beginnings, optimism and the energy to make anything possible. The waxing moon corresponds to the Amazon archetype - a young woman/warrior with her whole life ahead of her. She is full of possibilities, and she has the energy, the self-esteem, the power, the confidence and the belief to make her dreams come true.
In the solar picture, during this waxing time of the year, we can honor ourselves by invoking the Amazon within. Set aside some time just for you to do the things you love and enjoy. Access your inner spontaneity and do something you havenít done in years, that makes you feel free and youthful! Visualize yourself as a warrior - someone with the confidence, power, and energy to accomplish your heartís desire. Even if you donít feel like a warrior, spend some time daydreaming or fantasizing to help bring your passionate, energetic self into focus. Consider this meditation, from the Book of Shadows of the Griffin Grove Inn, to rekindle your connection with your inner power:
I am the cup, the chalice of life
Ever filled, ever flowing
Molded by what I hold, shaping what I pour
I am the waters of creation
I am the sword, giver of death and spring
Ever sharp, ever piercing
Edged by what is true, cutting what is not
I am the fires of rebirth
I am the salt, purifier of the earth
Ever seasoned, ever healing
Birthed by what is rock, growing with the world
I am the spice of mother
I am the censor, keeper of the air
Ever fresh, ever blowing
Scented by what I touch, moving with my will
I am the winds of change.
While Iíve got your attention, I also encourage you to honor yourself during the drudgery of the middle of winter, by tending to your body. Although there are not a lot of fresh, seasonal foods in the colder climates, we are lucky in that we can usually find imported items from the warmer parts of the country or the world. Try giving yourself a bit of a nourishing cleanse to help your body release some of the excesses that we all tend to take in over the winter holiday season. Eat fresh fruit daily, dig into those hardy greens, cooking them lightly, and fill up on all the hardy vegetables you can find in your market. Try taking this time to eliminate - for good or for a period of time - a few of the foods, drinks, or habits that keep you from achieving wellness: sugar, coffee or fried foods. But, donít forget at this time of year to keep warm; we need building foods like whole grains and legumes. Get creative and try a few new recipes to spice up the doldrums of winter - using spices like curry, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, and thyme.
Rekindle your energy by going to the gym, and going for hikes or walks when the weather permits. Make time to rekindle your inner fire by stretching, dancing, and moving around joyfully! Now is the time to add some tai chi, yoga, martial arts, or pilates into your life - whatever makes you feel youthful, strong and well!
Whatever you do, make sure that it FEELS GOOD to you. The easiest way to honor yourself is to live a joyful life.
Many Blessings to you! May your inner Fire burn brightly!
About The Author: Artemisia is studying to become a Priestess of the Order of the White Moon. She is a graduate student in Natural Health and practices Holistic Rites. She now officiates all Rituals and Rites of Passage at The Griffin Grove Inn.
a Column By Majika Zmaj
Setting aside a space as sacred is a symbol of our dedication to the spiritual. It stands as a reminder of the sacred in our daily lives. Small or large, quiet corner or walled garden, sacred space offers a focal point for daily meditations. It is a concrete statement and yet it is alive and should reflect the ever turning wheel and your ever changing needs. If you do not yet have scared space, this time of year is an excellent time to select and dedicate a space.
NEW SPACE, YOUR SPACE
Simply put, sacred space is a space with a single use - to honor the sacred. It can be as simple as a single item on the table you pass each day as you leave the house. The item placed on the table reminds you of your spiritual path and you might pause each day to say thanks and ask for guidance. Your sacred space might be a simple altar in the corner of a room or the corner of your balcony where you meditate.
If you have the room for a sacred space in your (or community) garden, consider building a labyrinth as part of the space. There are great instructions at http://www.geomancy.org/home.html. Click on "Sacred Space", and then "Labyrinths" for lots of great information. A classical 3-circuit labyrinth need only be about 12 feet in diameter (18" paths).
Sacred Space is also a place to personalize! Your favorite Goddess figure, seasonal plants and flowers, prayer bowls, homage to departed ones - all these can find a home in your sacred space. Your space may include an altar that you use for other purposes, or it maybe a separate space you use for meditation and daily devotions alone. Your own needs will determine where and what becomes your space. For some, one picture or one candle is all that is needed to call them to focus on the spiritual.
There are no rules to sacred space, except one; it must mean something to you. It should not be built for someone else (solely). It should call to you; remind you of your path or journey. I feel it should also represent a sacrifice. For a pack-rat crafter like me, any space given over to something besides craft supplies is a sacrifice!
Candlemas - what a perfect time to dedicate (or re-dedicate) your sacred space! Dedication is an important part of sacred space. In a dedication you are making a sacred contract. Write your own dedication ceremony that includes what space you are dedicating, why you are dedicating it and how you will keep it sacred (ex: daily meditations).
Some things you might include in a Candlemas dedication are: red/white candles, beer (both for Brigid), seeds, willow branches, and/or hand gathered stones. Do not cut or pick plants for a Candlemas dedication or ceremony. This is the season for celebrating new growth - not ending it.
If you have sacred space in an indoor or outdoor spot that gets sun, consider starting some seeds as part of your dedication. Perhaps pumpkin seeds or sunflowers! This would be great to involve the children. If your space is outside, be sure to bring the seedlings indoors until the last frost. If you are planting something that will get large, like a pumpkin plant or tall flowers, be sure to plant it in a heavy enough container so that the growing plant wonít tip it over. Include a hole for drainage. Most plants do not like wet feet! How fun to have a pumpkin growing in your space (and then maybe transplanted to the garden). Maybe youíll have pumpkins for Samhain!
About The Author: Majka Zmaj is a perennial student and teacher. Most recently she has enrolled at the White Moon School to further her studies into Goddess Spirituality. She is a profession scientist and project manager in her mundane life. Gardening is one of her passions. When she discovered the labyrinth and its mythology, she knew she was destined to teach others about it. She is always ready to discuss labyrinths or other sacred space at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her other interests include cooking, web design, blogging, beading and writing. Her current home is in North Carolina.
For the past few months we have been living inside our homes and ourselves. It has been the dark cycle of the year and we have, hopefully, used this time to contemplate our past year and made some plans and set some goals for the coming year. We have witnessed the light returning to the gray skies, we have heard the cry of the geese over the lakes, and we have been keeping vigil over our gardens, waiting for sprouts of green to appear.
For our ancestors, this was a time of struggle - and of hope. Now is when the winter stores would be running low, but the returning sun promised a new spring and a new harvest. Soon would be the time when you would have to plow the fallow field despite the cold winds and the lean oxen, all in the hope that it would be ready for planting come the spring.
In the Roman Catholic Church, now is the time of Lent; the 40 days of fasting before the celebration of the story of the Resurrection of Christ at Easter. The Teutonic word Lent, originally meant no more than the spring season. Still it has been used from the Anglo-Saxon period to translate the more significant Latin term quadragesima, meaning the "forty days", or more literally the "fortieth day". Traditionally, Catholics use this time to pray, fast, and give offerings. Often Catholics will "give up" a treasured pastime or habit such as eating chocolate or meat, drinking wine, or smoking. Some Catholics will use this time to "give of" themselves and volunteer at soup kitchens or participate in prayer circles.
However, to think of Lent only as a time of penance is to do it an injustice. While the traditional practice of "doing something" for Lent is praiseworthy, there is much more to this season than just additional practices of piety or acts of penance and mortification. In Lent, the Church calls its members to metanoia. Metanoia is a Greek word meaning "going beyond the mind". The time of Lent calls for a change of mind and heart, altering one's mind-set toward whole new ways of thinking and acting. This involves taking a look at where we are and trying to see where we ought to be. It involves testing our current values and discerning how they stack up against the values we wish to have.
For this reason, Lent can apply to other spiritual paths, including pagans. At the heart of Lent is a practice of sacrifice that teaches us that often what we think we need, is in fact keeping us from the Truth. If we hold on tightly to the old, our hands will never be open to embrace the new. Lent comes at an appropriate time of the year - we have been in our homes, eating and celebrating the winter holidays, we have thought about the goals we wish to achieve in the coming year. Lent calls us out of our hibernation and asks us to use these 40 days as a microcosm of the year to come.
Lent owes much of its spirit to the forty days Jesus spent in the desert preparing for his ministry. The Church says he was tempted there, but a more accurate translation may be "tested". The Jewish view of the desert was an abode of demons, especially that part of the desert where winds would howl around tall, rough stone. It must have been terrifying at night: dark, looming shapes, unearthly wailing of wind, and nothing else. In this place, Jesus was offered the opportunity to be the wrong kind of messiah. He rejected each possibility (much in the same manner as Buddha under the Bodhi tree). When Jesus entered the desert, he left behind all the expectations of others, all the hopes, all the illusions. It was just him, the wind, the sand, and his God.
The desert experience is about deprivation. Most of the world experiences it involuntarily. For many people, however, deprivation is a great evil, and to be avoided at all costs. In deprivation, we discover that we are not all-powerful. We are slaves to our bellies, to the opinions of others, to pleasure. Doing without can strip away some of the illusions and give us a glimpse of truth, and help us to understand the suffering of others.
Through fasting and contemplation, we have the opportunity to hear voices that are usually lost in the din of pleasure and meaningless talk. We can enter into a private desert even in the midst of the world and face our own demons. If we are brave, we can stand in the torrents of wind and sand and feel the presence of the Divine within us.
During Lent, abstinence from meat, acts of penance, offerings, etc. are metaphors. In a very small way, they model the rejection of illusions about what we need, who we are, and who the Divine is. In this life, we try to make some progress in discarding our "attachments", and Lent is a good time to begin this work.
About The Author: Nicole is an Adept of the School of the White Moon, where she has recently embarked upon a Path of Prayer. She is interested in Eastern Spirituality and Christian Mysticism. She has a background of studying Medieval and Renaissance Literature and has just begun her Master of Fine Arts in Theatre.
Imbolc/Candlemas: The Festival of Lights
The promise of things to come, is celebrated on February 2
by Gabriela, High Priestess, Order of the White Moon
A tradition brought over from Germany and other parts of Europe still survives today as Groundhog Day (Germany's Badger Day).
Some of Pennsylvania's earliest settlers were Germans and they found groundhogs in many parts of the state. They thought that it was evident that the groundhog, resembling the European hedgehog, was a most intelligent and sensible animal and therefore decided that if the sun did appear on February second, so intelligent an animal as the groundhog would see its shadow and rush back into its underground home for another six weeks of winter.
For as the sun shines on Candlemas Day,
So far will the snow swirl until the May.
(German narration): Brown, pink, red, silver and white are the traditional Groundhog Day colours in Germany. Traditional incenses are basil, myrrh, birch and frankincense. The traditional motifs are candles, bread, alfalfa sprouts, and spring flowers.
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2-cup soft butter
1 egg slightly beaten
Currants or raisins
Sift dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter and sugar well. Blend in Molasses and egg yolk. Stir in dry mixture, mixing well. Form into a ball and chill an hour or longer. Roll out a small amount at a time on a sugar/ flour sprinkled board. Cut out cookies with floured groundhog cutter and place on greased baking sheet. Brush top of cookie with slightly beaten egg. Decorate with a currant or a raisin eye. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in 350-degree oven. Cool Slightly before removing from pan.
Recipe was provided by:The faculty and staff of West End Elementary School, Punxsutawney, PA.
About The Author: Gabriela, Counselor and Doctor of Naturology, apprentice in the Society of Celtic Shamans and High Priestess in the Sisters of the Burning Branch, Order of the White Moon.
Diverse Traditions and Thoughts
A Column By Gabriela, Adept, Order of the White Moon
Imbolc (German: Lichtmess)
In Germany, Lichtmess is a celebration of Light. Light that is associated with purity innocence, and initiation. The Goddess awakens and Her wonders in nature come back to life as the Magick of Spring begins to return. To aid the Lady's safe return ,the Elemental Kings Paralda ( East ), Djinn ( South), Niksa ( West) and Ghob ( North) are invoked to maintain the protective circle.
According to Norse traditions, the Witch's altar is decorated in white - for purity and initiation, and green- for the return of Spring. "The Star" tarot card is also placed on the altar as a symbol and affirmation of spiritual rebirth, hope and purity.
Sharing food after the Lichtmess ritual is very important in Norse traditions. And the feast usually includes foods such as spicy Chili and Salmon for the main dish, as well as plenty of grains and breads. The traditional drink is Honey Ale.
It is a custom to have candles lit all through the month of February as a symbol of welcoming the Goddess back from Her winter journey.
About The Author: Gabriela, Counselor and Doctor of Naturology, apprentice in the Society of Celtic Shamans and Adept in the Sisters of the Burning Branch, Order of the White Moon.
Witch Works: Spells and Rituals for Every Season
A Column by Kelly
Candlemas, or Imbolc, is the Feast of Flames. Usually celebrated on February 2, Candlemas was a celebration of the coming spring with all of its promise and bounty. Even though the winters were long and the food supply was dwindling by this point of the year, the ancient Celtic people who first celebrated Candlemas still found reason to do just that: celebrate! Traditionally, Candlemas involved an extinguishing of the all of the lamps, candles and the central home hearth, followed by a relighting celebration which became the Feast of Flames. Below are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate Candlemas. Try them out for yourself or combine them with your existing Candlemas traditions!
Candlemas Altar Decoration
Candlemas is most closely associated with the Celtic Goddess Brigit. If you are not already familiar with Brigit, Candlemas is the perfect time of year to introduce yourself! Try incorporating Brigit and her sacred symbols into the magick you perform this Candlemas. Brigit had several animals that were considered sacred to her: the boar, the cow, the fish, the sheep, the snake or serpent, the wolf, the bear and the badger. If you plan to decorate your altar for Candlemas, try utilizing her sacred animals as well as the colors of Candlemas (red and white) into your decoration theme!
Being that Candlemas is the Feast of Flames, any magick that calls for fire will be especially sacred at this time of year. If you are not already familiar with pyromancy, divination by fire, there are several formats you can try.
First, there is flame scrying. Take a white candle and place it in front of a black scrying mirror. Focus on the candleís flame in the mirror and wait for the images to reveal themselves. This is a highly effective form of pyromancy. Second, if you plan an outdoor celebration that will include an open pit fire, try sitting beside the fire and meditating on the flames as they dance. Relax and wait for the dancing flames to reveal their message to you.
Libanomancy, or divination from smoke, is another excellent form of magick to engage in during Candlemas. You can either use the smoke from stick incense that you have burning or you can burn some herbs on a charcoal brick. Try to divine the images the smoke produces.
A lesser known form of divination is called ceromancy, which is melting max in a traditional manner and pouring the melted wax into a large bowl of water and then looking for symbols and images that the wax produces.
There are several rituals that go hand in hand with the spirit of Candlemas. The first is a self-blessing ceremony. With the beginning of a new year, some people like to clear themselves and get a fresh start, so to speak. A self-blessing ritual is a perfect extension of that ideology. A self-blessing ritual you can follow is below, or write your own if you are inspired!
Step 1 - Take a ritual bath and dress yourself in white clothing or go skyclad.
Step 2 - Cleanse the area you are going to work in
Step 3 - Ground and Center
Step 4 - Cast a circle
Step 5 - Call the elements or deities you like to work with. Donít forget that Brigit would be an excellent choice for this!
Step 6 - With anointing oil or holy water, dip your fingers into the substance and anoint your feet, groin area (not internally!), stomach, heart, throat or lips depending on the substance, eyes and forehead or third eye, repeating a blessing on each part that you anoint. The blessings need not be complicated. You could say "bless my feet that aid my physical earthly journey, bless my loins that bring pleasure and life" etc.
Step 7 - Meditate on clearing yourself and seeing yourself as blessed.
Step 8 - Thank your deities and elements and release them from the circle.
Step 9 - Break down your circle and then rest.
Repeat this ritual as often as needed.
Candlemas is a wonderful time to perform a house/room cleansing or blessing as well. Clean the house/room thoroughly before you begin. Then you can simply smudge the locale with a smudging stick or incense, repeating a simple house blessing as you smudge, such as "bless this space in the name of The Goddess. Let it be free from negativity and filled with love."
Also, if you have a personal sanctuary or room for your spiritual practices, now would be an opportune time to clean it out, physically and spiritually. Or, you maybe find your altar is in need of revamping. Spend a little time cleaning it and maybe reorganizing the layout of the altar. Cleanse and reconsecrate your altar tools as well.
Given its name, Candlemas is my favorite time of year to make candles! On Candlemas, I like to replenish my candle stock. I check and see what colors or shapes I am running low on and spend some time making candles for the upcoming Ostara and daily meditation and ritual use. Candle-making is really simple and an excellent creative outlet! If you have not tried making your own candles before, stop by your local craft store and pick up a few candle molds and experiment!
Have a blessed Candlemas!
About the Author: Kelly is a solitary practitioner from the Midwest. She is currently a student at The White Moon School, studying to become a High Priestess. Kelly has been a practicing witch for 4 years and performs tarot readings and long distance energy work via the Internet. To contact the author, please email email@example.com
Recipes Fit For A Goddess
Here is a recipe I make every year for Candlemas. Our children love it! I like to add candles to the bread after it is baked like you would w/a birthday cake).
Braided Brigit Bread
2 T yeast
1/2 C warm water
pinch of sugar
1 C milk
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 t salt
1 clove garlic; passed through garlic press
1/2 t each of dried oregano, thyme, and basil
4 T tomato paste
5-6 C. flour
1 egg yolk, beaten
Dissolve yeast in warm water sprinkled with pinch of sugar. Combine the milk, egg, sugar, oil, salt, garlic, and herbs in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, place the tomato paste and add water until it reaches the 1/2 cup mark. Pour into the milk mixture and stir well. Add the yeast mixture. Begin adding flour, one cup at a time until the dough can no longer be stirred. Turn out onto a floured board and knead, continuing to add flour to keep the dough barely dry. You want a loose, soft dough so be mindful of how much flour you add. Don't let the dough get stiff. Place dough in a oiled/greased bowl and turn it to coat both sides. Cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down. Cut the dough in half, divide each half into thirds and then roll into thick coils. Braid three coils into a loaf and pinch ends together. Repeat with the other coils. When the loaves have doubled in size, paint all surfaces with the egg yolk. Bake 35 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven or until the internal temp of the bread reaches 200 degrees.
Yield: Two beautiful and yummy loaves!!
Other than that, we light many candles to encourage the sun to grow stronger
and read any stories I may have that are appropriate.
About The Author: Jade is a special education teacher turned stay at-home mom. 30-something Mom to six children via birth and special needs adoptions. Our family resembles a beautiful, diverse, and colorful patchwork quilt. Witch. Married. Living near the beautiful Wind River Mountains in Wyoming. Human to one standard poodle, one Siamese cat, and one cat who is truly my peer, companion, and equal in many ways. Member of the Order of the White Moon. Currently trying to connect to my ancestors and learn about our family's Celtic roots and traditions to pass along to my children.
The Dark Is Rising Sequence
by Susan Cooper
Susan Cooper introduces us to a race of Old Ones who keep the forces of Dark and Light in balance through ancient magic in these five books set in England and Wales: Over Sea, Under Stone; The Dark is Rising; Greenwitch; The Grey King; and Silver on the Tree. Several young adults test their mettle as they assist the Old Ones in various quests, all of which eventually lead to King Arthur. The sequence provides a very enjoyable read for ages 10 and up, and will especially charm Harry Potter fans. Once you finish these five, I also recommend other books by Cooper, The Boggart and Seaward were two of my favorites.
The Enchanted Castle And More
by E. Nesbit
E. Nesbit is credited with creating the magic adventure story. Written in the late-1800's, these classics haven't lost any charm. Begin with The Enchanted Castle and discover a ring that makes you disappear, statues that come to life at night, and a puzzling mystery about the past. Next pick up The Phoenix and The Carpet to journey through time and space with the same group of children. The adventure continues with The Story of the Amulet when the children obtain a portkey in an antique shop. Lastly, and ancient sand-fairy dangerously grants the children's every wish in The Five Children and It.
The Book of Wizard Parties
by Kilby and Baggetta
A delightful and useful resource for adult wizards with children who love to throw parties. Eight different themed parties are profiled, each with fun-to-make decorations, recipes, games, and costumes. Some of my favorites are the "dance of the spheres" centerpiece (mothballs bubbling in vinegar!) and the "magical imprisonment of the dragon's egg" (an egg sucked down into glass jar). A joy for young and old.
So You Think You Know Harry Potter
by Clive Gifford
This quiz book, available only from http://www.whsmith.co.uk/, contains over 1000 quiz questions from the first four books. Questions are categorized by book and by level of difficulty - easy, medium, and hard. My partner and I have enjoyed hours of fun with this already and we've only made it through the first 200 questions. Highly recommended for serious fans!
This column will be continued in future issues!
About The Author: Luna Blanca is a college professor and spiritual teacher who lives in the foothills of northern California with her partner, Red Beard, and her cat, Lion. She heads White Moon School of The Feminine Divine through her website TheWhiteMoon.com. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Weaving The Web...
Further information on this issue's theme can be found by searching online using a search engine such as Google. Here are some links to get you started.
WitchVox: Imbolc Events
An incredible collection of events from the largest Pagan site on the internet.
A Mystical Grove
Celebrating the Sabbats
Imbolc Lore and Symbolism
Candlmas Customs and Lore
The articles featured in Seasons of the Moon are written and/or submitted by members of The Order of The White Moon and are their own intellectual property. Please feel free to share this publication but please do give credit where credit is due and link back to the source.
Thank you for reading, we hope that you have enjoyed it just as much as we have enjoyed presenting it to you!
Many blessings to you and yours!
Seasons of The Moon Staff
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